9. Chapter 9: Fallen into Shadow
Disclaimer, Summary and Warning could be found in 1st chapter.
Special Warning: Lines taken from FoTR movie.
Chapter 9: Fallen into Shadow
"He is not dead, Aragorn," Thranduil told him softly.
Aragorn frowned, not seemingly convinced by what Legolas's father was telling him.
"Where…where is he?" Aragorn asked as he stared at the elves; Legolas was definitely not amongst them.
"I do not know; I wish I knew where he is," Thranduil replied sadly.
"What do you mean, King Thranduil?"
"First, young man, I am not a king in your homeland and you may address me as Thranduil. Secondly, I have heard from my elves that he left our home, with no horse or any weapon," Thranduil replied, and he could see the man's expression change.
"Why would Legolas not take his weapons and Arod?" Aragorn asked.
"I believe he is seeking death," Thranduil replied simply.
The shock that featured on the Aragorn's face was hard to miss, and the man seemed determined to leave the bed in spite of his ill health.
"Where do you think you are going, little brother?" Elrohir asked him, stopping the man.
"To find Legolas," Aragorn replied to him and added, "I will not let him find death as I was supposed to be the one who found it."
"Your time is up, Thranduil. Please leave my son to rest," Elrond commanded as he entered the room, all of a sudden. He had clearly heard what Aragorn had said for he moved toward his son. "Aragorn, I will not going to let you out of your bed. Need I remind you that you are still in pain?"
"First of all, Elrond, my time has just begun, and I believe that you are acting very obstinately towards your son. You do not belong here, as Aragorn needs his family to support him and not add to the chaos that you have already created," Thranduil said, leaving his chair as he walked toward the lord, his eyes locked upon Elrond's.
"King or no king, I will not tolerate such attitude," Elrond was fuming and he spoke in a hostile tone. "Get out of here at once; all you did was make my son feel that he did something wrong."
"I will go only after I get the truth," Thranduil stood his ground and then added, "Then I will go to find my son alone, and hope that he has not died before I find him."
"I had rather you leave this moment," Elrond stated.
Thranduil nodded, not bothered to retort. He knew that he was not welcome at Imladris, and Imladris was not as friendly as it was before.
"No, please…" Aragorn weak voice stopped him.
"I cannot, son, I am not welcome here and neither will Legolas be – if I find him," Thranduil told him softly, hoping that the man would understand.
"You are not his father," Elrond reminded him.
"Neither are you," Thranduil shot back.
"I wish…to come…with you…Thr…" Aragorn said weakly, barely having the strength to call his name.
"I know, son." Thranduil said softly.
"Are you leaving?" Elrohir asked the king, and Thranduil could hear the sadness in his voice.
"Aye, although I do not have all the answers, I must seek my son before it is too late," Thranduil replied.
With that, he turned toward the guest room, where he had left his weapons and his belongings. He wished to leave as soon as possible, now that there was no use staying here. Busy in his thoughts, he did not hear Elladan entering the room.
"Thranduil," the younger elf called, and then, with hesitation clear in his voice, he asked, "Will…I mean, could you wait for us in Lothlórien?"
Thranduil stared at the twin, wondering why he should be waiting for them in that land, but knowing the question would not have been in vain, he nodded and replied, "I will. But on the seventh day, when night falls, I will be gone."
"Hannon le, Thranduil," Elladan thanked him and added, "We will be there."
Lord Glorfindel and Lord Erestor watched as King Thranduil and his guards left, knowing in their hearts that, from what they saw of the horses, they might not see the royal Mirkwood party again.
Aragorn stared at his foster father, as questions and doubts surfaced in his mind.
He wanted to leave his bed so badly, if it was indeed true that Legolas might die of grief.
"Why?" Aragorn asked.
"Why what?" Elrond asked and came forward the bed.
"Why do you act like this?" Aragorn asked, wishing to gather his strength back to normal.
"Like what?" Elrond asked.
"Like a mean lord. You are not the lord who raised me; he who raised me was more open and less unreasonable, unlike how you're acting now," Aragorn explained and then moaned as the pain shot up when he tried to move.
"I am still your father, and you will do as I will tell you," Elrond told him, pushing him back into the bed before leaving the room.
Elrohir sighed in relief when his adar left the room and walked closer to his brother, placing a comforting arm on him. He could feel his twin coming as well and moved so Elladan could speak to Estel.
"We will leave for Lothlórien soon, but Estel, you have to take it easy as you are still in pain," Elladan told him softly, and after a while, he added, "Thranduil will wait for us there, and hopefully Legolas will not find death so soon."
Estel nodded, and when he closed his eyes, Elrohir asked his twin, "How long will Thranduil wait?"
"Till dawn on the seventh day, and then he will leave." Elladan replied.
"And what should we do now?" Elrohir asked.
"We leave, of course," Elladan replied and then he added, "Thranduil needs us now, and so does Legolas, wherever he may be."
"When will we leave?" Elrohir asked, and before his brother could answer, he continued, "We need to prepare to bring Estel along, and carry extra bandages and some of adar's healing herbs."
Elladan nodded. "Tomorrow; it will be for the best. Watch over him, brother, and let me settle things with the help of Erestor and Glorfindel," Elladan told him and left the room, in search of Erestor and Glorfindel, both of whom proved not difficult to find.
"Master Elladan, is something wrong?" Glorfindel asked, clearly noticing the sadness in the elf's blue eyes.
"Aragorn is not feeling well, and Thranduil is leaving," Elladan summarised.
"King Thranduil is leaving? What happened?" Glorfindel asked, the concern apparent in the elf's eyes.
"Ada," Elladan replied with a sigh. "It seems that he does not wish for our brother to know what all the fuss is about."
Glorfindel and Erestor observed the elf before them, and Erestor, noticing the determined light in Elladan's eyes, thought to ask, "What are you planning to do?"
"Leaving, of course," Elladan replied.
"Where to?" Glorfindel asked.
"To Lothlórien," Elladan replied and then he continued, "I have asked Thranduil to wait for us there before he continues searching for his son alone."
"Do you need anything from us?" Erestor asked.
"What are you going to take with you?" Glorfindel asked.
"Clothes, weapons and some food for the road," Elladan replied gratefully.
"I want you to take something for your brother," Erestor advised, and then he added, "You will have a long and exhausting journey ahead."
"I will prepare the wagon that we have in the livery; it will help you while you are on the road and you can watch over Estel," Glorfindel added.
"Hannon-le," Elladan thanked them and continued, "I wish adar will show some sympathy like you do."
"Unfortunately, your adar is not listening to anyone," Glorfindel told him sadly.
While on the way to Lothlórien…
Thranduil stared at the bloody sunset, and his gut wrenched at the thought of his son dying somewhere, alone.
Keeping his eyes alert, he rode on toward Lothlórien with a heavy heart. How he wished to turn aside to seek for his son, but he remembered his promise to Elladan and stopped himself.
With his eyes betraying his grief, the king rode on, thinking of those last moments he shared with his son. He could remember his precious son's spirit breaking into a thousand pieces like a delicate shell, and it pained his heart.
'Legolas, ion-nin… do not die… I love you… do not leave me alone,' Thranduil could only pray that his son would not leave him like the rest of his family had.
Urging his horse on, he rode toward the sunset, hoping that the next day could bring him the hope he was soon losing.
On the next morning…
Glorfindel and Erestor had readied the horses and the wagon for Aragorn, and they watched as the twins made the final preparations.
"I hope to see another one or two added to your company when you return," Glorfindel said, and knowing that he would miss them, he suggested, "If you should change your plans, send a messenger so we will know how you are doing."
"I will do that," Elladan assured him, and then he clasped his hands on the warrior's shoulders, "Thank you, my lord and my friend."
"Keep Thranduil safe; do not let him sink into despair," Erestor advised, stepping closer.
The twins thanked them, and prepared to mount their horses, but just when Elrohir was leading his out of the stables, he was stopped by his adar's voice.
"Where do you think you are going?" Elrond asked them, adding, "Your brother is in no shape to travel."
"We are leaving for someplace safe, and you are not going to stop us," Elrohir replied, walking toward his gelding.
"Where exactly?" Elrond asked.
"Lothlórien, to meet our grandpa and grandma," Elrohir replied as he mounted his horse.
"Thranduil is not passing your way, is he?" Elrond asked, and suddenly feared that somehow the king was planning something against his family.
"We should go," Elladan told his brother as he checked that the wagon was attached securely to their horses' reins.
"Aye we should," Elrohir agreed and turned to look at his father for the last time, "We are already wasting precious moments here."
Elrond watched as his sons left him, leaving trails of dust behind them, but much as he wished he could do something to make them stay, no option presented itself to his mind.
With a heavy sigh, he slumped his shoulders in defeat and walked back to the empty house.
With every bump on the trail, the ranger could feel the waves of pain within him growing but he could only moan weakly, begging it all to stop.
The twins quickly stopped the horse and Elrohir dismounted and hurried to check how his brother was doing. He sat on the wagon beside his brother, and finally turned to his twin. "I need to sedate him; we cannot move on like this," he said.
"Do what you can, little brother. Hopefully, we will reach our grandmother soon and she will know what to do," Elladan suggested softly.
Elrohir did so as gently as he could and then returned to his gelding. Without a word, they rode on, doubling their pace as they hurried toward Lothlórien.
Near Lothlórien's border, Rúmil, Haldir's brother came to greet King Thranduil.
"Mae govannen, King Thranduil," the March-warden greeted him and then he added, "I am Rúmil, Haldir's brother."
"Hannon-le," Thranduil thanked him and followed as the elf led him into the forest.
Rúmil seemed surprised to see the king alone, without his guards. He certainly had many burning questions but he did not wish to upset the king with them.
Still, Thranduil, walking beside him, could sense the tension in every step that he took. "Is there something wrong?" he asked.
"Nay, aye… umm…" Rúmil started to reply and only managed to face the king with a confused expression.
"What is it, young one?" Thranduil asked softly.
"I have been wondering… I mean… Why are you here alone? Where are your guards? Has something happened in your land?" Rúmil asked, feeling relieved now that it was all out.
Thranduil looked at the guard, as though still waiting for more questions, and when he heard none, he asked with a grin, "Have you no more questions or are you taking a break?"
Rúmil smiled as he replied, "Nay, I believe I've got it all covered."
"I think I should answer them, my friend," Thranduil replied as he walked toward the nearest tree and leaned on it as he continued, "I had sent my guards away as I had reached Imladris and there was no danger for me." He sighed heavily before he continued, "Something has happened between my son and Aragorn, and I believe Elrond may have said something hurtful to my son. I no longer seem to know my son and the last thing I know is that he ran away with no weapons, and he fears me. That all said, Mirkwood is still safe."
"What do you mean 'with no weapons'?" Rúmil asked immediately.
"Without his arrows and the bow that I gave him for winning the contest in my land, as well as the sword that was the last gift that his naneth gave to him before…" Thranduil could not continue. He could still feel the pain arising from the memory of his beautiful wife.
"King Thranduil?" Rúmil asked as he noticed how far away the king seemed, his eyes staring at something only he saw.
"The sword was covered with blood, dried blood," Thranduil said. "After every fight, he would clean his sword, so that it always remains in the same good condition."
"I hope you will find your son, King Thranduil," Rúmil told him, unsure of what else he could say.
"I am no king in your homeland, Rúmil. Addressing me as 'Thranduil' is fine here," Thranduil mentioned.
Rúmil nodded as they continued walking.
Thranduil could felt the presence of the lord and the lady of light coming toward him. It seemed as though the light was somehow filling the darkness his heart had been trapped in the past few days. Perhaps, just perhaps, there might be hope for finding Legolas alive.
"Welcome to Lothlórien, King Thranduil," Galadriel welcomed him.
"How does Mirkwood fare?" Celeborn asked.
"All is well under the best care," Thranduil replied.
"Your heart is in despair and yet you fear to lose hope that your son might leave you," Lady Galadriel read it from his eyes, and then she added, her blue eyes shining brightly, "Do not lose hope, Thranduil."
Thranduil nodded as he met her gaze. He was still angry at his former friend, the lord Elrond, and this must have shown because the lady continued, "I will act for you concerning this anger you bear toward him. Now you need to concern yourself with keeping your hope alive. Do not lose hope; he needs you as much as you need him."
"I love him too much to lose him."
"And this we know," Lord Celeborn told him gently.
"May this land bring your heart some peace while you rest," Lady Galadriel blessed him and watched the king leave for the tent prepared for him.
"Hannon-le," Thranduil thanked them.
While on the way to Lothlórien
Aragorn felt himself somehow moving. Each bump on the road sent pain through his body, and made him question where he is going.
"W… Where?" he asked weakly, his throat still feeling as though on fire.
"We need to stop, Elladan," Elrohir told his twin as he was concerned about their brother. "He is awake."
Elrohir dismounted and hurried to his brother's side while Elladan followed closely, going to the other side of the wagon, where he watched his twin taking care of Aragorn.
"How is he?" Elladan asked.
"Not good. The fever is still climbing, and I fear that every irregularity on the road is increasing his pain," Elrohir replied and stared at him. "We need to hurry, and yet we need to slow down for his sake."
"Will it help if I could take him on my horse and ride hard to Lothlórien?" Elladan asked.
"Perhaps, but you should take these herbs with you as well, in case he feels the pain," Elrohir replied and helped his brother carry Aragorn to his horse.
"I will follow you as soon as I can prepare the wagon and my horse. I'll be riding next to you in no time," Elrohir told him with a grin.
"I will be ready for you, muindor; just hurry," Elladan looked at him kindly, and then he held Aragorn tightly, not letting him fall, as his horse danced in the wind while they rode away.
Elrohir sighed heavily, knowing that in two more days, Thranduil would leave Lothlórien, seeking for his son alone; and he knew that Elladan was right – they needed to hurry.
It was Haldir's shift when he saw a white stallion riding as though being chased. He could see two riders on the horse and quickly called for his brother.
"What is it?" Orophin asked as he walked toward him.
"We have company; alert the lord and the lady."
"Rúmil," Haldir called, as he could see that the human Elladan was holding was bleeding and growing rather pale.
"What is it, Haldir?" Rúmil asked.
"Prepare the healing tent; we need all the herbs, fresh leaves and water to stop the man from bleeding to death," Haldir replied and then he mounted his horse and rode out to greet the newcomers and lead them to the tent where the others were waiting.
"I wish you would come more often, Lord Elladan," Haldir greeted him with a welcoming smile.
"Hannon-le, Haldir, and since I am not a lord in your homeland, you should call me 'Elladan' – without the title," Elladan thanked him and let Haldir help him with his wounded brother.
"Then Elladan it is," Haldir grinned, and then as they walked to the tent, he asked, "Where is Elrohir?"
"He should be here soon," Elladan assured him, and he sighed in relief when he saw Thranduil also in the tent.
"Is there something that I should be worried about, mellon-nin?" Haldir asked as he noticed the exchanged glances and the concern in the king's eyes.
"Nay, not for now," Elladan replied as he watched the lady of light lay his brother on the bed and take care of his wound.
"Are you certain?" Haldir asked while the wheels in his mind worked. He was certain that something amiss was going on.
"Haldir," Celeborn warned him, not wishing to upset his guests.
"I am only saying this, because, Legolas is not here, your brother is badly injured, Thranduil is here, and Elrohir is near," Haldir explained.
"Haldir." Celeborn's warned tone was sharper this time.
"I know, I know," he seemed to finally realize what his lord meant and smiled at the guests. "I will take my leave and will not speak of this matter."
"Forgive me, it will not happen again," Lord Celeborn said, giving the elf a stern glance as he walked off, and then he added, "I am afraid our chief march-warden needs to know his limits."
"You have no need to apologize, Lord Celeborn," Thranduil said with grace and then he added with a smile, "I suppose each land has its own trickster."
"What do you mean by that?" Celeborn asked.
"From what I can gather from the twins, this man," Thranduil motioned toward the injured human, "was creating havoc and lots of mischief in Imladris, and I am certain that Haldir is doing the same here, as is my son…"
"Spicing our life…" Elladan added in agreement.
They could hear some conversation outside the tent…
"Let me show you the way, Lord Elrohir, no, Elrohir" Haldir corrected himself right away. "First Thranduil, then your brother, and now you, what is wrong with you? You are lords, are you not?"
"We are, in our lands, but not here," Elrohir replied and then he continued more cheerfully, "By your words, I assume that my brother has arrived, and Thranduil has not left, of which I am pleased."
"Perhaps something good will come from it," Haldir's grin could be heard in his voice.
"What do you mean by that?" Elrohir asked curiously.
"Before this, the land was quiet, and now…" Haldir replied and stopped himself with a sigh, "You have made me curious."
"Curious, about what?" Elrohir asked wondering what Haldir's point was.
"Well, just know that you have made my brothers' lives and mine more interesting," Haldir replied, grinning widely.
"Haldir, you never cease to amaze me," Elrohir told him, and then he asked, "How is Estel doing?"
"I do not know, though the lady is attending to him, under the supervision of your brother and Thranduil. That's about as much as I can tell," Haldir responded.
"I had better see things for myself," Elrohir told him and headed toward the tent that Haldir had left.
Elrohir entered the tent. He could sense his twin, his brother, his grandma and grandpa, and even Thranduil – and they all seem pleased.
"How is he?" Elrohir asked.
"I hope that Haldir did not bring you any trouble," Celeborn told his grandson.
"Nay, he did not, even if he seems bored," Elrohir replied with a smile.
"Bored he is, all right," Elladan agreed with him, shooting their friend a smile.
"Estel needs to rest, I have cleaned his wound and added the fresh herbs," Lady Galadriel spoke at last. "It should renew him and help him feel better in time to come."
"That is indeed good news," Thranduil said gratefully and sat beside the young man.
"It has been a while since I saw you both here," Galadriel gestured toward the twins.
"We know," Elladan nodded.
"Besides your brother being here – and the king himself – what could have chased you from your warm home?" Galadriel asked them.
"Our father," Elrohir replied almost emotionlessly.
"What has he done?" Celeborn asked.
"He chased Legolas away for harming Estel, but we have yet to know Legolas' part in these events," Elrohir replied, giving the shortened version of all that had happened.
"Where is Legolas now?" Celeborn asked with concern.
"I do not know; I wish that I knew," Thranduil replied sadly.
"What do you mean by that?"
"He left his horse behind, as well as all his arms. He is defenseless now," Thranduil replied.
"Oh Valar, this is not good, not good at all." Haldir said. Apparently he had sneaked back into the tent.
"Haldir," Celeborn warned him.
"I know. I am leaving now," Haldir said and hurried off.
"Thranduil, if you and the twins will follow me outside, there is something that I hope will help us find Legolas."
"Your mirror," Thranduil knew at once, his eyes lightening with hope, as he continued almost in wonder, "I have heard of it, but have never seen it for myself."
Galadriel led the way, gliding past Elven statues among the trees, frozen amid their merriment in the dark night. She looked neither to the right nor the left nor did she make any apparent sign.
Thranduil and the twins followed her quickly as she descended to the garden, veiled in the glade and filled a silver ewer with water from a clear, trickling stream. She stood before an ornate stand bearing a shallow silver basin, and began to pour the water smoothly into the silver mirror.
"Things that were… things that are….and some things…" she paused as she emptied the ewer and stepped back as she continued speaking, "…that have not yet come to pass."
Thranduil looked into the silver mirror. Initially, he saw only himself, and then he saw his son on the snow. Aragorn was near, his blood coloring the white snow. And then image changed. Aragorn was at Lothlórien, laughing, and Legolas' lifeless body lay somewhere that the king could not recall, bleeding its life away.
"Nay, that cannot be," Thranduil turned from the silver mirror; he could not bear to see what other grave scenes awaited him.
The twins, however, continued watching, and they could see themselves, along with Thranduil and Aragorn, seeking for Legolas.
"We will find Legolas; you will see this, my friend," Elrohir told him.
"How exactly? We do not know where he is," Thranduil pointed out, feeling himself on the verge of drowning in despair.
"Estel will find him," Elladan answered. Thranduil shot him a glance, and he quickly explained, "Aragorn is a ranger, and he can follow tracks well. He will find Legolas; all we have to do is to follow, and watch his back."
Thranduil nodded in thanks, and added, "Forgive me, I do not know what has come over me. Perhaps I am not prepared to see my son dying alone in some unknown place."
"You have nothing to apologize for," Elladan told him reassuringly.
"When will we leave, then?" Haldir asked immediately, having reappeared some time during the conversation.
"'We'?" Galadriel asked her March-warden in surprise.
"Of course, "we". I assume that the King, the twins and the injured man will be much aided if they were watched over by Lothlórien's best guards," Haldir replied with a grin.
"You still have chores here, Haldir," Celeborn mentioned.
"They will be fulfilled by my brothers, while the guards and I could go along with them," Haldir replied. He had certainly thought it all out; he wanted to have a part in the adventure.
"All right, then," Celeborn said as he watched his March-warden, and then he turned to the king, "My guards will help watch your back."
"Hannon-le, Lord Celeborn and you too, Haldir," Thranduil bowed lightly to both of them in turn and excused himself. Walking alone to the line of trees, he sought strength and support to bear the image that he had seen. He could only pray that the Valar would not allow his son to fall to what death he must be seeking. If his son should die, he would certainly kill Elrond. And he confirmed that with a vow.
End of Chapter 9.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.