All of Mirkwood had been searching for Queen Glivereth that night. Though none could fully see the culprit, they believed it was one of the large spiders that had captured her. King Thranduil led the search party, and every single son and daughter of Mirkwood's King and Queen had been out looking, followed closely by all the guards and even a number of the civilians. They came with their bowstrings and arrows, their swords, and their torches, ready to wage war on the spiders who have long outlived their stay in their woodland.
But when Legolas, the youngest son of Thranduil and Glivereth, discovered his mother, he found that it was it no spider that had claimed her life. Legolas had strayed from the party when he thought he heard something far to the right of their path. He took no torches with him but used his keen elven sight to maneuver in the darkness, for the trees here grew thick and blocked what little light that came from the moon.
The strange sounds led him to a wide glade in the forest. A long slender creature shrouded in shadows was hunched over something. The sounds Legolas had heard was that of the creature gulping as the it fed on its victim. A long trail of golden hair could be seen underneath the villain; Legolas could also see an arm that protruded from underneath the creature; this arm still wore band of gold adorned with green leaves. With a painful leap of his heart Legolas realized the victim was his mother, and the creature was feeding from her neck, draining the elvenqueen of her blood.
Bile rose up Legolas's throat. Under the moonlight he could vaguely make out his mother's face. He didn't need to step closer to see that she was dead, for the stench of the body filled the air. Rage and grief gripped him; he pulled back an arrow against the bowstring, ready to strike the beast, but at that moment the creature looked up straight at him.
Its vivid eyes bore into Legolas, freezing him in his place. Though the moonlight shined directly on the creature, it was still difficult to see anything of it besides the bright red eyes and the blood that dripped from its long fangs. Like a dark phantom it was, fusing with every other shadow of the forest. Still, Legolas could make out its general shape: not of that of a beast, but more of an elf or human. He tried to raise his bowstring again but found that he could not move. Nor could he tear his eyes away from the feral creature before him. No matter how hard he tried, his body was incapable of moving. The bowstring and arrow slipped from his grip as a horrible chill overcame him. Thoughts of never seeing the sun again consumed him, and his heart leapt to his throat, pounding hard.
The creature's eyes continued to pierce through Legolas. Its mouth stretched wide into an exaggerated imitation of a sneer. In its eyes there were no emotions that Legolas suspected to find, not even hatred. What, then, was the look in its eyes that sent shivers down Legolas's spine? He felt strangely weak as though his very life force was being sucked out of him. Images before him blurred. Legolas focused his eyes again and saw hunger in the creature's eyes. It was the only emotion he could sense from the beast.
Legolas wished he could cry out for help, but since he had strayed from the path the search party had been on, he didn't know how far they were separated and if they could hear him at this point. His throat burned as he struggled to utter any sound at all. His brain screamed at him to move, to run away as fast as he can, but it was all in vain. He simply could not move. Yet his mind continued to demand him to run as the creature slipped over his mother's body and slithered towards him. Its grin burned itself into Legolas's mind. His commands to himself to move faded, replaced by the creature's laughter ringing inside his head. Legolas's heart grew still from the shock: the creature had full control of his mind. He could not even close his eyes in anticipation of the attack, nor could he blink. His eyes watered and his legs wobbled.
There was a sudden flash and a cry, breaking the spell Legolas was in. An arrow flew past Legolas and struck the beast, but it seemed to have went right through it as though the creature was truly made of nothing but a shadow. It gave Legolas another sickening sneer and slipped away quickly into the dense darkness of the trees.
Legolas could breathe again. The feeling returned to his limbs. His head spun with the events that had just taken place. He vaguely became aware that cold sweat covered the length of his back. His legs shook and he would have collapsed to the ground had his father not caught him at that moment.
The cries of the Mirkwood elves shook Legolas from his trance long enough to look at his mother's body, seeing for the first time the extent of the damage. The beast had been feasting on not just the blood, but also her body. Large chunks from her torso were missing, and one leg had been torn. Her eyes were closed, but the expression was that of utmost agony and terror. Not a single inch of her was left unmarred.
With a horrible cry, Legolas buried his face in King Thranduil's chest and sobbed uncontrollably, unembarrassed by his display of weakness in front of his kingdom. Everything was crashing down on him at that moment as the full realization of everything that had taken place sunk in. He wept still when he thought of how close he was to suffering the same fate. His heart froze whenever the red eyes and bloody sneer reemerged in his memory.
King Thranduil was at a loss for what to do. His son was in a dreadful state, trembling and crying uncontrollably. Legolas was gripping onto his robes with such strength that the tiny beads and small jewels were ripped from the seams. Thranduil's keen scent picked up the smell of urine, and with a lurch he realized that it came from his youngest son.
"My child, what has happened this night?" he asked gently. "What did you see?" Legolas gave no response other than crying harder. Thranduil steered his attention away from his son long enough to observe the fallen queen. He shook at the sight of his beloved wife as grief and anger consumed him.
"The spider, where has it gone?" King Thranduil demanded no one in particular. No one had moved, devastated as they were at the discovery of their queen. The rest of Thranduil and Glivereth's children were holding each as they sobbed. Thranduil turned to his guards. "Find the fiend and destroy it at once! They have plagued our land for too long! Let no beast find mercy in your hands!"
Legolas shook his head but he was unable to tell his father that the beast was no spider. In his mind the horrifying eyes never left him. He could almost see the beast still, sneering at him from behind the beech trees, waiting for an opportunity to come back for him and claim him the same way he had claimed his mother's life.
But the beast was not there. It had slithered far away from the forest by then, licking its lips and savoring every last drop of the elf it had enjoyed. It was far from Mirkwood when the elves returned to their caves with the remains of Queen Glivereth wrapped in sheets. Past the Great River of Wilderland and the Misty Mountains the creature passed while Legolas lay in his bed, wide awake and crying from the horrors he had experienced this dreadful night.
It wasn't until the creature reached the river of Bruinen that it finally stopped to rest. It continued to smack and licking its lips, savoring its catch, but soon its mind was filled with the young beautiful elf. How he craved to taste the fear from the elfling again. Bloody drool seeped down its chin at the thought of sinking its fangs into the child, and for a time the creature stayed in Bruinen, its mind obsessed over the young elf.
One night he sensed an elf nearby. The creature's nostrils flared with desire when its eyes caught long strands of golden hair gleaming in the dark. Though the elf turned out not to be the elfling, the creature could feel something was special about this elf. His body was weak, but the elf himself did not seem aware of this. He had no wound on him and his stride spoke of great health.
But the creature could feel it, this empty void just waiting for someone to occupy it. With a silent leap like a flying shadow the creature slipped into the elf's body with great ease, and neither sound nor movement disturbed the night. The only thing the elf felt was a brief flicker of wind brushing past his arm, but Glorfindel thought nothing of it as he rode back to Imladris.