3. Chapter 2 : One Look
Legolas's heart fluttered whenever he remembered his conversation with Haldir the night before. It had given him the first true rays of comfort since Gandalf's death. He was finding it more difficult to display good spirits in front of the Company when he himself was slowly spiraling into despair. Haldir had given him just enough strength to keep up with his facade just a little longer. For the Fellowship, for his friends.
Though they walked in blindfold, Haldir had kept a friendly conversation with the everyone, even the dwarf (though Legolas noted that only silence came from Gimli.)
Legolas sighed and slipped back into his own thoughts. He marveled at how just one look could forever change someone's life. Just one look was all it took to send him into a series of illnesses for many years. Just one look was all it took for him to realize he was in love and ready to bond. And just one look was all it took to bring back the horrors of his mother's death, just one look to remind him that the monster he saw ninety years ago was still alive and well and eager to destroy him.
* * *
When Legolas jumped off his horse, he was instantly greeted by Lord Elrond himself, great among Elves and Men alike. Standing besides him were some of his counselors, including Erestor and Melpomaen.
Legolas turned to smile at his traveling companions, all who were relieved to finally reach their destination. Ithildis, youngest daughter of the elfking and elfqueen, had wanted to join him, but King Thranduil had not allowed it. This was to be Legolas's own journey, to get him to travel the land without a family to hold his hand. And though Legolas would have loved to have delivered the message to Elrond along with his sister - he was closest to her from all his siblings - he was glad to have a chance to do something by himself, to prove himself as a capable elf once more.
Elrond sent Melpomaen to help with Legolas's escorts and he approached Legolas. "I hope your journey was without danger," he said.
"It was tiring for us all, myself especially," Legolas confessed. "But nonetheless it was a safe journey."
"You are still growing strong from your illness," Elrond said. "Any journey will tire you. Tell me: does the dark still bring you fear?"
"No. Not as much as before. I seemed to have grown accustomed to it, though my party was determined to embarrass me. They wished to keep a campfire burning for the entire night, thinking I was still a helpless elfling!"
Elrond chuckled. "They do this because they care much for you, young prince. Come, let me take you to your rooms."
Legolas followed, all too glad to finally be in Imladris for the first time in a century. Memories of his childhood came rushing back as they passed house after house. It was autumn and leaves of brown and gold littered the floor. Legolas smiled as he imagined being a young elfling again, running amongst the leaves and making a big mess before rushing to his father's arms, laughing while his father gently scolded him for his mischief.
Elrond interrupted his thoughts suddenly. "Glorfindel, well met! Legolas, from all the times you have come to Rivendell, you have never met my chief counselor."
"The great elf lord and hero of Rivendell?" Legolas said, quickly interested. "I've heard much stories of -"
Just then a tall golden-haired elf approached them, and Legolas's voice died in his throat. The moment their eyes met, Legolas felt a terrible jolt of fear run past him, and in that same moment Glorfindel's eyes flashed as if he recognized the prince. Glorfindel must have also felt a jolt overcome him, for his eyes widened momentarily in surprise before his face relaxed again to his normally jovial expression. However, something inside his eyes did not change.
Legolas tore his eyes away after much difficulty. His cheeks burned.
Elrond smiled; to his eyes, the prince appeared like the many starstruck elflings upon first meeting the legendary elf lord.
"Prince Legolas, I would like to introduce you to Lord Glorfindel," Elrond said.
"Gîl síla na lû govaded," Legolas choked out. Glorfindel's eyes were icy blue but in them burned an intense hot hunger. He regarded Legolas closely until Elrond turned to him. As suddenly as it had happened, his eyes returned to normal.
"Ah, Prince Legolas of Mirkwood, mae govannen," he said, his voice sliding out like wind against ice. "It is with great pleasure that I meet the young prince of Mirkwood."
Just then one of Elrond's servants arrived to show Legolas to his room, and Legolas jumped at the opportunity, thankful for a chance to escape. He ran after the servant. When he looked over his shoulder, it was to see Elrond deep in conversation with the elf lord. Right before Legolas turned the corner, Glorfindel glanced back and the mad glint in his eyes returned.
The evening went terrible for Saelbeth and Silinde, the elves who accompanied Legolas to Imladris. A madness had struck their prince, but none could obey his wish to leave back for Mirkwood immediately. They had been arguing loudly without realizing the loud noises they were making - a very uncharacteristic thing for elves - until another elf stepped into the rooms.
"What seems to be the matter?" the elf asked. He was tall and looked rather old, which was also rather unusual for elves.
"Galdor!" Legolas ran and embraced him.
Galdor of the Grey Havens smiled and returned the embrace. He knew Legolas since he was a tiny elfling, and to Legolas Galdor was a grandfather that he never had in his life. All young souls who've met Galdor loved him, for he was very gentle and had a special gift for comforting frightened children. "It is good to see you again after so long, Prince Legolas," Galdor said. "I have heard much grievous stories of you recently, and I hope none are true. Tell me, what is the meaning behind all this racket?"
"We arrived in Rivendell only this afternoon to deliver an important message to Lord Elrond, and already he is begging to leave back to Mirkwood!" Silinde shouted out before Legolas could reply.
Galdor pulled himself away from Legolas and gave him a questioning look. "Why is that? Surely you must be exhausted from your journey!"
"He is afraid," Saelbeth said. "He thinks he saw the monster that killed his mother, and now he wants to go back to Mirkwood."
"Oh? This would be a most rude gesture to Lord Elrond, my prince," Galdor explained kindly to Legolas. "Please, stay a little longer. Do not forget why you have come here. You alone must deliver your message, as you had promised, I'm sure."
"The demon is here!" Legolas shouted back. "Why don't you believe me?"
"You've done a lot of traveling after a long absence," Galdor explained. "You need to rest."
"I cannot bear the thought of traveling another sixteen days so soon," Silinde muttered this to himself, but the sensitive ears of the other elves picked up on it. Saelbeth shot Silinde a warning look. In his defense, Silinde said, "Galdor is correct in his words. Rest for the night, prince. Your mind could have been playing tricks on you."
"I don't understand why you're behaving this way," Saelbeth said to Legolas. "Throughout our travel you were just like the elf we have known all our lives - you were becoming yourself and all was well. Maybe we should not disregard his concerns. Perhaps Legolas has after all seen-"
"It could be just his mind twisting reality," Silinde said. "Anyone in his state could become nervous at being so far from home. He just needs to become familiar with this place again."
And that settled the matter among the elves. They made to leave Legolas to his rooms, but like a child he held unto Galdor's robes.
"Please believe me!" Legolas begged. "I speak not out of madness! Don't leave me alone in my room tonight! I have truly seen the beast again! He rests within one of the elf lords -"
Galdor sighed deeply. "Legolas, listen to how you are talking," he said gently. "You are no longer an elfling; by law I cannot sleep in the same room as you. King Thranduil would never approve of this, and my punishment would be severe. However, as a long-time friend and confidant I will watch over your door to make sure no one disturbs you. My own room is just across the hall, and from where I will be sitting I will have a clear view of your room. I will not rest tonight; I have my poetry to amuse myself."
Legolas thought of the long difficult travel Galdor had endured throughout his own journey from the Grey Havens. He was far older than Thranduil, and although elves did not age as men did, Galdor was clearly an elf who had grown quite old even for elves. On his face was etched the sorrow of seeing many tragedies that had long become simply stories to young elves like Legolas. His eyes were wise unlike any elf Legolas had ever met. But he was getting tired, and Legolas knew it; he knew that Galdor had been speaking longingly of sailing to the West ever since they had last seen each other.
So to expect this grandfatherly elf to deny himself rest in order for a much younger elf to rest peacefully brought great guilt into Legolas's heart. But Legolas was also terrified of Glorfindel slipping into his room while he was unaware, so he thanked Galdor for his help.
Regardless, Legolas could not fall into reverie that night no matter how hard he tried to will it, even though he was sure Galdor was watching his door, because Galdor always kept his promises even when he himself was greatly exhausted.
* * *
The next day Legolas took as much time as possible before he left his rooms. He made every effort not to cross paths with Glorfindel while alone. Some events such as meals were impossible to attend without being in his presence, but in those times Legolas was with other elves and thus felt slightly safer. However he never attended the Hall of Fire no matter how many times Lord Elrond invited him.
After the fifth night spent in Rivendell Legolas confessed to Galdor the identity of the elf who terrified him.
"The heroic elf Glorfindel?" Galdor said incredulously. "You understand he is very known. His deeds are told in tales across Middle-earth. If there was any drop of evil inside him it would be common knowledge by now. But he was once the lord of the house of the Golden Flower. The Valar would not have allowed him back to Middle-earth if he was truly wicked."
Legolas sighed. "I know all about Glorfindel's courageous deeds. I've read the tales many times in my youth. But please listen to my words, Galdor. Something happened when I looked into his eyes. The same fear I felt when I met my mother's killer returned when I saw him."
Galdor sat down and massaged his temples. "I confess, Legolas, this is too much for me to believe. I have known Glorfindel a very long time, and he never seemed he could be capable of killing anyone innocent. I want you to be honest with me. Was it an elf who killed Queen Glivereth, one who perhaps resembled Lord Glorfindel?"
"No, it was not an elf," Legolas said. "I am certain of that although for many years the face never resurfaced in my mind. I was desperate to forget its face. But when I saw Glorfindel, his eyes changed and I remembered how the killer's eyes looked - it was only the eyes that I remember. In fact, that was all I could remember seeing of it - and it's mouth! It had long fangs that dripped with my mother's blood.
"Now that those awful eyes are back in my memory, I am surprised I was ever able to forget them. There was no emotion inside but there was great hunger and a desire to inflict as much pain as possible to me."
Galdor didn't speak for a few moments, troubled as he was with Legolas's description. "I have never heard of such fiends during all my life, but there is still much that we do not know of this world. This creature could have powers we may have never dealt with before. I wonder if it could be taking control of Glorfindel's body…because I must confess I am very skeptical that Glorfindel could ever hurt another elf. But I will keep an eye on him.
"I must also say something to you." He stepped close to Legolas and held his chin in his hands. "I don't want you to let this fear consume your actions while you are here. You are a representative from Mirkwood - remember that. As you are the youngest of King Thranduil's children, you need time to build your reputation. The news of your illness has leaked among elves of Rivendell. Do not worry," he added, for Legolas furrowed his eyebrows, "Elves are very kind with ones who have suffered ill, but remember that as prince this is not an image you would want to be in everyone's memories.
"Please remain calm throughout your visit. You have been avoiding Lord Elrond's request to join the Halls of Fire for too long. He is becoming upset with you - yes, he has confessed this to me. You have to sit with him at least once; he has taken much time to make this visit an enjoyment for you. I will be there myself if you need me. And if Glorfindel speaks with you, remain diplomatic. At this point we have no evidence of what is going on inside his mind. Do you understand?"
"Yes, I understand, Galdor," Legolas said. His heart sank at knowing how Elrond felt about him. "I have been acting foolish. I should be stronger than this. I cannot let my fear of Glorfindel get to me. It's pushing me away from others. It's stopping me from living."
Galdor patted him on the shoulder. "Precisely. You must never let fear control your life, Legolas, or you will find that you will walk this earth alone forever, and it will be a prison far more agonizing than anything anyone will ever have to endure."
* * *
The next evening a feast was held in celebration of an injured hobbit named Frodo Baggins who had been ill in the past few weeks. Legolas mainly ate without talking to anyone, lost in his thoughts. He was not unhappy, but his mind was too full with thoughts: a hobbit named Baggins and his father's story that seemed to cure him, of the merrymaking in the Hall of Fire he was to attend at last, of his home. And he wondered how long the letter his sister Ithildis was most likely writing had gotten by now before Thranduil had to make her end it.
Smiling at the thought, Legolas glanced up without any reason to, and it was then that he noticed Glorfindel was studying him from across the room. The elf lord quickly looked away and continued his discussion with Elrond. Legolas turned away, his heart pounding. A little while later Legolas looked up again in time to see that Glorfindel's eyes had strayed back to him. The familiar unappealing sensation of his heart throbbing in his throat returned; the predatory look had crossed Glorfindel's face once more, and his grin stretched wide, exposing long fangs stained with the wine he had been drinking.
Legolas turned to see Galdor, who caught his eye and smiled.
"Did you see anything?" Legolas asked desperately.
"I have been keeping one eye on him all evening," Galdor said. "Nothing has been out of the ordinary."
"Were you looking just now?"
"Yes. When I say all evening, I mean all evening. Legolas, is something ailing you?"
It seemed as though the ground was falling apart beneath his feet. Legolas studied every face in the dining hall, growing paler by the minute with every cheerful face he encountered. Had anyone seen the evil look that crossed Glorfindel's face? Legolas turned to his dish, his heart sinking. Galdor could not see it. Elrond could not see it. No one could see it. Only Legolas could see the look of sheer lust in the handsome Vanyarin elf.
"I do not feel well," Legolas said under his breath. Before Galdor could question him again, he ran from the table without a backward glance. He did not stop running until he was leaning on the ledge of the outside porch, far from the dining hall. He took big gulps of air to steady his nerves.
"Have I completely lost my mind?" he asked himself. "Have I forgotten so soon what Galdor has told me? I cannot let Glorfindel frighten me like this! I am stronger than this! I will not have him destroy my life!" And after taking more deep breaths, Legolas turned back to the hall of Elrond's house.
* * *
The Hall of Fire was comforting to be in, even with Glorfindel sitting not too far off. Legolas was listening to the minstrels sing their sweet songs while at the same time trying to catch a glimpse of Frodo speaking to an old hobbit. He was much interested to finally catch sight of Bilbo Baggins the hobbit in his father's tale.
Old Bilbo was sitting at a far end of the Hall, and he had apparently begun singing for some elves were playing music to match his words, while others gathered around to listen to to his tale. Interested, Legolas stood up to get closer.
"A rather lovely evening it is," a cold voice caught Legolas off guard. Glorfindel stepped in front of him and offered him a glass of wine. "Care to join me while the others listen to the hobbit's tale?"
"I apologize, but I must decline," Legolas said calmly. "I have an important meeting to attend to. I must leave." He spun around and headed straight for the door, knocking over an elf.
"You must excuse him!" Glorfindel laughed as he came up right behind Legolas and wrapped his arm around his waist. In an instant, a horribly painful jolt shot through Legolas's body, and he began to feel weak. "My friend here has had too much wine."
Legolas fought to keep his eyes open. With another hearty laugh, Glorfindel led him far from the Halls; soon Legolas found himself outside once more, leaning against the ledge and looking out into the valley. His heart pounded inside him.
Glorfindel was regarding him with a coy smile as he took sips of his glass.
"The wine of this valley is exceptional," he said, "though I find my body craving something sweeter. And preferably thicker than this drink." He poured out the rest of the wine over the ledge.
Legolas said nothing. He continued to gaze out into the night. There were elves about everywhere conversing and laughing, and Legolas was glad he was in their view. However, this did not discourage Glorfindel. He studied every part of Legolas without blinking. Unashamedly his hand caress Legolas's back.
"You are beautiful, Prince Legolas," Glorfindel said. Legolas turned to him, struck by the irony of what he was seeing, for Lord Glorfindel was angelic in his beauty but behind the soft blue eyes was a demon glaring hungrily back at him. Legolas glanced away; the pounding in his heart was beginning to make him sick, and every minute that passed he felt weaker still. "Yes, so beautiful, someone I would love to just sink my teeth into."
His hand moved to Legolas's buttocks, and Legolas yanked his hand away. Glorfindel glared at him for a moment, but then that coy smile returned. He moved till he was pressing Legolas's body against the ledge, and to Legolas's horror he found he could not fight back. His body was frozen, yielding only to Glorfindel's touch. From the corner of his eye he could still see elves far in the distance, but he could not find his voice to shout.
Glorfindel's hands explored Legolas's body. Legolas trembled, and his legs almost gave out underneath him. Sweat was trailing down his forehead, his breathing was hard and labored, and his sight became blurry. And still he continued to feel his life force slipping away.
"Ah, your heart pounds louder than any drum I've heard!" Glorfindel laughed. "What is the matter? I will not hurt you. I will love you, every part of you, just like how I loved your mother…yes, cry all you wish, let me lick those tears for you…you taste wonderful…my body trembles with the thought of tasting all of you. Your body will shine red under the moonlight, how beautiful your mangled body will look in the night. No one will ever find you; I will hide you deep in a dark mountain where only I can drink from your body's fountain." He licked the pointy tip of Legolas's ear and dug into it using a long fang. "Ai, yes…there nothing more I desire than to feel you ripping apart inside!"
Startled, Glorfindel jumped away from Legolas, and Legolas's eyesight returned. He saw now that Galdor was the one who had interrupted. He made no acknowledgment of what he had just witnessed. Glorfindel was watching him with something dangerous gleaming in his eyes.
"Look at the hour, Prince Legolas!" Galdor's voice broke through the tense silence. "Come, the others are expecting you for the meeting. If you do not mind, Lord Glorfindel. It's business among Mirkwood elves and myself."
"It is no problem with me at all," Glorfindel said happily, but his eyes betrayed him.
Eagerly Legolas ran to Galdor's side without looking back.
When they left and Glorfindel was standing alone at the balcony, his eyes seemed to darken then brighten till they were a soft blue hue. He stood looking around himself in confusion, wondering why and how he was out here alone holding an empty wine glass.
* * *
"I am eternally grateful to have you as a friend," Legolas said, panting as he ran back to his room. Galdor could barely keep up with him. He paused in front of his door. "Had you not stopped him-"
Galdor placed his hand behind Legolas's back but quickly moved it away. "My dear child, you're drenched in sweat! And you're shivering!" Galdor was regarding him with concern. "Lord Glorfindel is truly affecting you! I did not realize it was this bad."
"Do you now believe me, Galdor?" Legolas asked softly. "Everyone thinks I have lost my mind, but they do not understand! Only I can see the monster inside him! But even you cannot deny what you have witnessed out there! He was going to-" and he stormed into his room without another word, unable to speak it.
Galdor followed him inside. "Legolas, please accept my apology. I was ready to think your fear came from the journey's exhaustion, but now I better understand the situation."
Legolas flopped down onto one of the chairs. Hunching over, he buried his face in his hands. "It is a relief that someone finally can see through him. His hunger was becoming too strong for him to control it."
Galdor took the seat beside him. "I see only his effect on you. When I discovered him on top of you, there was no sign of lust in his eyes, nor of any danger." Legolas removed his hands and stared at Galdor in alarm. "You did not even look scared! To any outsider you two appeared to be nothing more than elven lovers in an autumn night. I did not sense anything evil coming from him. I only knew something was amiss because I knew of your suspicion. I did not even notice that you were sweating until now."
"This is terrible!" Legolas sighed deeply. "It is no wonder then that no one came to my aid. I was terrified! He creates illusions…I wonder if this is how he trapped my mother. He has probably deluded Elrond as well!
"We must inform someone before he takes another victim! But who could believe me when they only see the smiling and charismatic side of him? Not even Elrond can see who he truly is!" He groaned. "He will be at the Council meeting tomorrow! I wish not to see him!"
"Legolas, you came here to deliver a message to Elrond," Galdor said sternly. "And you are to stand by your task. I too come with news from the Grey Havens. I will sit beside you; you need not fear."
* * *
True to his word once more, Galdor sat beside Legolas during the Council meeting. Glorfindel was sitting beside Elrond, his smile as radiant as his long golden hair. Legolas avoided looking in his direction as much as he could. He tried instead to remain focused on the meeting. He knew not how many of the elves attending had known of his condition. And if they had known of his maladies, he was careful to not do anything that could hurt his image further.
Glorfindel spoke as though nothing had transpired between them the night before. He was charming to everyone around him, and it made Legolas sick whenever he thought of how this charming elf had held him down ready to tear him open.
Legolas struggled not to let the tears come. He kept his mind on the matter at hand. There were other threats endangering Middle-earth, and he Legolas was responsible for losing an important figure in the war. Galdor beside him was obsessed with the discussion, and Legolas's mind became so full of what was at store for them in the near future that he was unaware of the deadly glances that Glorfindel continually stole at him from time to time, the hunger glint unseen by all.
* * *
Glorfindel's body was on fire one moment, and the next a dead cold storm would consume him. He knew not what caused his body to behave in such a manner. At times he seemed to wander to strange places and have no recollection of how or why he got there. As he'd stand and think hard on what brought him here, the fiery thrill would fill him once more. And he would become happy, forgetting all his confusion; the world around him would become more vivid than it was possible for an elf. He felt invincible.
The hunger would return. A face of an elf so young and fair would then occupy every corner of his conscience. At night he rubbed himself against the silk covers of his bed while hissing out the elf's name, his fangs biting down on his own lower lip while imagining it was the younger elf in his mouth. In his mind's eye, the elf was withering in agony as blood trickled down from every wound caused by the deep punctures of his fangs.
But fantasies were not enough to sustain the creature. He had to have the elf underneath him. He had to claim Legolas, to take him till he could bleed no longer, to hear his screams and to revel in his fear and pain. And to drink him, to consume every drop of life inside him.
Glorfindel sat up in his bed, panting. His mind became clear once more, and looking down he gave a small cry of shock at the wet stain in his night clothes. He tentatively touched the spot, wondering what had roused such a reaction in him.
And then as suddenly as it left, the feeling returned: the hunger, the lust, the need to rip Prince Legolas apart and laugh as the elf shrieked for mercy. And lying down on his bed again he resumed grinding his hips against the mattress, his mind intoxicated with the mad desire.
With a satisfied moan, he spilled his seed for the second time.
The body of the elf lord was perfect in every way, the creature decided. A perfect body to do far more damage than he ever could alone as a phantom. To feel these hands on the elf's pure body…he had been so close the night before…
With a growl he recalled the elf Galdor. Since that night on the porch, the old fool never seemed to leave Legolas's side.
Glorfindel propped himself on one elbow and began to scheme how to get Legolas alone. "Patience, patience," he told himself. One hand trailed down his torso and up his chest. "It would be too much a risk to do anything here in any case. Even if some think the elfling's mind is unhinged, there would be no way I could cover up the bite marks even with my best illusions. I have to get him far from Imladris, far from any elven realm."
By daybreak Glorfindel had a plan. It would take time, but the wait would only make Legolas's blood sweeter to his hungry lips. It was becoming harder to keep his bloodlust at bay. There were plenty of elves he could whisk into his rooms and claim them, but Glorfindel's feeding habits didn't work in that way. He selectively hand picked his victims. Only the most beautiful, the most innocent. They were the ones whose screams were best. But in the meantime he had only the nights to let his lust take over him. In the day, he kept to Elrond's side, who he had charmed to keep their relationship open and friendly. From Elrond Glorfindel listened carefully to every word, waiting for the perfect opportunity.
Several weeks after the Council meeting, Glorfindel's true good soul and the creature's wickedness had merged completely. His smiles were only a mask to the outside world. The lust swam inside him every minute, giving him a high he could never have imagined. Others have noted the change In Glorfindel, calling him radiant and more handsome than before.
"Why not select Prince Legolas of Mirkwood?" Glorfindel asked Elrond one evening when the opportunity arose.
Lord Elrond considered the matter for several silent minutes. "This is a very curious suggestion, Glorfindel. The prince has been through a lot. He is very skilled with the bow and arrow, and his father had personally taught him how to battle with swords. However, I am not convinced he would be suitable. He is simply not as experienced as others, such yourself."
"I agree Legolas has gone through horrors, but I believe this mission can be a chance for him to grow stronger. I do not doubt he will come out of it a changed elf."
"I suppose if another inexperienced person like Frodo is going…" Elrond glanced up at him. "If he is unable to accept my offer out of fear, would you be willing to come along with him?"
Even with the maniacal grin on Glorfindel's face, Elrond was blind to the demon within him. "It would be an honor to go with him," Glorfindel said. "A darling elf he is, and I would love to know him intimately, grieved as I am by his tragic past."
"Then it is settled." And Elrond said no more on the matter.
* * *
Legolas was selected by Elrond to be among the scouts traveling with other Rivendell elves and Aragorn. For two months they traveled in search for any signs of Gollum or the Riders. They had gone as far as Mirkwood, but Legolas didn't get a chance to visit his family. Galdor went with him though the journey took its toll on him. Legolas considered asking Galdor to leave back to Imladris out of concern, but traveling in groups were safer than alone.
Thankfully, Glorfindel had not joined the scouts. Legolas had resolved to tell Elrond everything if Glorfindel tried anything again. But the golden-haired elf lord didn't seem to pay much attention to Legolas after the night in the Hall of Fire, and Legolas secretly hoped the monster had either given up or somehow left Glorfindel's body after his last failed attempt.
At last they had reached Imladris once again with tidings from their journey. Legolas returned to his rooms to find a guard standing beside his door. He bowed to Legolas when he approached.
"Prince Legolas, you have a package from Mirkwood," the guard said, and he showed Legolas a thick stack. Galdor's eyes widened at the size, but Legolas laughed.
"This must be from my sister," Legolas said. "Thank you."
His spirits, already more cheerful than two months ago, rose even higher as he cut open the package and began to read. Galdor glanced over the pages written in a tiny neat handwriting and had a good laugh.
"Blessed Ithildis!" Galdor said. "Has anything of such importance happened during your absence that Ithildis felt the need to write to you?"
Legolas shook his head. "She feels compelled to describe in as much detail as she can of every moment that has passed while I'm away. I have gone through an entire page and all she's written thus far was how everyone felt after I set off on my journey."
There was a knock on the door, and Galdor answered. "Lord Elrond!"
Legolas stood up to welcome Elrond into his room. "Good afternoon, Lord Elrond. How may I assist you?"
"Legolas, I have been thinking much of the Fellowship that is to set out for the quest," Elrond said. "There will be at least one representative from each free race of Middle-earth, and I have decided to offer you to be among the Nine. Do you accept?"
Legolas glanced at Galdor with a look of disbelief. His heart seemed like it would burst. In all these weeks he had worried for his reputation among the Rivendell elves, that he was viewed as the weak elf in the Mirkwood royal family, one who was incompetent. He had been scared that Lord Elrond's disappointment with him would never be reversed. But at that moment all the insecurities left him, and he could see that Elrond was smiling warmly at him.
"It will be my greatest honor to serve in this allegiance!" Legolas said, fighting to keep his voice from showing his excitement. His mind went to Ithildis' letter and how his own letter back home would be just as long. Galdor patted him on the shoulder, his eyes shining with pride.
"And it is my greatest honor to see you among the Nine Walkers," Lord Elrond said. "Your service will be much needed in the Fellowship of the Ring. I understand that you have gone through difficult illnesses. I apologize if I had seemed I doubted you. Nonetheless, understand that the world is very large, Legolas, and this will be the first time you enter such a journey. You won't be the only member who has never traveled far. Frodo is will be the journey, Gandalf will accompany him. You also will have a guide - not Galdor. The previous journey has been too tiresome for you. For Legolas I am considering that your guide be Glorfindel. He is a great elf from whom you will learn a great deal."
Legolas's smile remained on his face, but his mind had gone numb. Galdor's hand squeezed his shoulder. "I believe I can do this mission on my own. You shouldn't have to find me a guide. If I will only be a bother to Lord Glorfindel…"
"He expressed great interest in training you," Elrond said. Galdor squeezed Legolas's shoulder again but spoke nothing.
"Oh. Thank you." It was all the prince could think of to say without blurting everything out. Legolas only let his smile falter when Elrond was far from his rooms.
"He wishes to trap me with the fiend!" he cried to Galdor.
"Nothing has been finalized yet," Galdor said. "Do not fall into despair!"
"The fiend has tricked Elrond!" Legolas said. "He has the him completely under his thumb! Elrond cannot see past the illusions Glorfindel has created around him! Ai, the ring! He must be after it as well!"
"That is another problem all together," Galdor said. "Though I have personally not heard him say anything about wanting the ring for himself. But perhaps he may be hiding that desire from us. It wouldn't surprise me if he wished to throw the ring into the Sea only to come and take it at a later time."
"In all your watch, have you ever seen him speak with Frodo?"
"Not once. To be honest with you, as luring as the ring's power is, I have suspicions that Glorfindel does not desire it. I never got the feeling that he wants it."
"But he wants me," Legolas said. His once cheerful face was turning paler every minute.
"You need not despair!"
"But how am I to escape him?"
"Legolas, let me help you. I can think of one who will be willing to listen to us."
* * *
Galdor found the wizard sitting alone on a porch with a pipe in hand. He approached Gandalf slowly, hoping he was not interrupting him on his meditation. But the wizard looked up and gave him a warm smile.
"Galdor! Mae govannen," Gandalf said.
"Gandalf, good friend!" Galdor said. "How does this day find you?"
"Very well, very well. I see you have come with urgent news for me."
"Yes, I have." Galdor sat on the stone bench. "It is admittedly a strange conversation we are about to have. You see, I am much concerned for Legolas. We have both noticed that-"
"That Glorfindel has not been himself and a demon lurks within him," Gandalf finished casually. "Yes, I know that already."
Galdor gaped at him. "Well, this certainly makes the discussion a little easier! Please assure me: is Elrond aware?"
"I'm afraid the great elf lord is blind to everything Glorfindel is thinking," Gandalf said. "Glorfindel has especially protected himself against Lord Elrond so he can have more control over matters. That was what occurred to me during the Council meeting when I first became aware that something odd was settling inside Glorfindel."
"Do you know what it is that has plagued him?"
"I know not though I have my theories. The hunger in his eyes are not much different than those of any ordinary vampire bat."
"From what I understood from Legolas, his mother's killer was not a bat. A sort of phantom Legolas had described it, like a shadow that can easily slip from your grasp."
"No matter the form of the beast, its purpose is to drain blood from others," Gandalf said. "That is how the fiend lives. I suspect this particular one could possess bodies, though why it picked Glorfindel is out of my grasp."
"An elf drinking the blood of another?" Galdor winced. "Do you know of any unexplainable catastrophes that has occurred in Rivendell in recent years?"
Gandalf shook his head. "That is an unusual trait among blood drinkers. This particular creature can live a long time without feeding. I assume he had marked Legolas as his next victim, and for a very long time he's lived dormant inside Glorfindel's body undetected by even Lord Elrond himself. He was awakened only when he laid eyes on Legolas again."
"This is very grave," Galdor said. "We must inform Elrond at once! This fiend is as much a threat to Glorfindel as Legolas and all of Rivendell! Legolas and I also suspect he's after the Ring."
"The Ring is safe, I assure you. However I'm afraid to say that Glorfindel and the creature have merged completely into one," Gandalf said. "In time, if it has not happened already, the two will become so inseparable that killing one would end the other. Glorfindel will come to desire what the fiend desires. To draw attention to Glorfindel now would be a danger to everyone."
"It would be like awakening a volcano. No one will be able to withstand his power at that point. Consider that we have forever lost Glorfindel by now. There is nothing we can do for him. It is best to leave him wallowing in his desire for Legolas, as much as it distresses the prince. But, at the very least Glorfindel's attention is only on one victim. Everyone else is safe from him.
"Galdor, I see you are worried, but I know more of what's happening inside him than you possibly can. His lust has reached high peaks and he is becoming desperate, but even in his deepest desperation he will never harm another save for his marked victim. Though there are plenty of elves around him to seduce into death, his mind is set on only Legolas. He is a slave to his sinful desires. He will keep obsessing over Legolas until he has him, but we will not give him any opportunity to do so of course. If we take Legolas away from his sight, he will still suffer the bloodlust, but he will still function as Glorfindel in society. No one has to know of what he does in the privacy of his own rooms. Exposing the beast inside him will only endanger everyone. As long as he continues living as Glorfindel, there is nothing to fear."
"Unless you are Legolas," Galdor pointed out.
He nodded before taking another puff of his pipe. "The fiend inside Glorfindel feeds on the blood and fears of others, and he needs nothing else. He will never desire the Ring simply because of this. The only power he desires runs in Legolas's blood, and he is vain enough to think he will achieve this without a ring of power."
Galdor threw his head back and watched the clouds above them. The sense of helplessness was overcoming him. "This is grave," he kept muttering. "I love Legolas as though he were my own grandson, and it pains me to see him in this state. He was such a happy elf once. Now it surprises me that none can see the strain behind his smiles." Finally he looked back to Gandalf. "How do you know so much of this beast?"
"I've had dealings with one in my past," Gandalf replied. "I still have the scars."
* * *
It took a loudmouth wizard and two eager hobbits to defeat Glorfindel in becoming one of the Nine Walkers. When Elrond had informed Glorfindel of the names of those who will undergo the Quest of the ring, Glorfindel kept a cheerful face, laughing over the story with hobbits Pippin and Merry, but once Elrond left him, Glorfindel exploded with rage.
Someone had planned against him, he was sure of it. He stormed around his room racking his brain for who the enemy could be. Indeed in his anger he did not stop to ponder if the wise wizard could see through his illusions. Instead his mind turned back to the old elf from the Grey Havens. Of course. Galdor had stopped him from enjoying the prince on that night. He has been alongside Legolas ever since.
Glorfindel flung a vase against the wall. Getting onto his knees, he studied the broken pieces one by one in a mad obsession. He had to get rid of Galdor before he revealed him to Elrond. Mangling the old fool would rouse suspicion. It was not so easy to dispose a corpse around Imladris, for the scent would be picked up and he discovered before he could escape. He also couldn't bear the thought of leaving the body he lived comfortably in for ninety years; indeed, he couldn't understand how he had once hunted without a body.
But what to do with the elf? There were other ways to rid of him besides death. He could simply leave Galdor alone and hunt after Legolas, but what if the fool decided to speak all he knew to Elrond then?
Growling, Glorfindel ran his sharp fingers through the carpet.
The prince. How was he to take the prince under his grasp? His status in Rivendell made traveling alone difficult; far too frequently he was expected to stay in Rivendell holding counsels with other elves. He had to make do with the new turn of events. Glorfindel rocked back and forth, his eyes glued to the intricate designs on the pieces. Amazing how the vase now looked. Despite its pieces scattered all over the ground, the vase was still a complete image. It was not hard to visualize how everything fit together: the lines of a square began on one piece and continued in another.
Glorfindel suddenly leapt to his feet, a mad grin twisting his angelic face as the first ghosts of an idea came to him. He decided that having Legolas once would not be enough for him any more. Like the vase Legolas would become broken but also whole.
The elf lord set off to work immediately.
* * *
At last the day had come for the Fellowship to depart. Galdor had shared with Legolas everything he had learned from Gandalf earlier, and both had agreed to remain silent about the monster inside Glorfindel.
Legolas would be lying to say any optimism sat in his heart. He had already written a letter - far shorter than Ithildis' novel - to be sent to his father when Saelbeth and Silinde left back for Mirkwood. His eyes scanned around the peoples in the Hall of Fire who were to see them off. Galdor was in the front, and though he kept his face stoic his eyes twinkled bright. Silently he gave Legolas looks of encouragement. He had promised to meet Legolas again once the quest was over, no matter how long it took.
With a heavy heart Galdor watched the Fellowship of the Ring depart on their quest. He continued to silently pray for Legolas's well being as he stepped out into the porch, watching the Nine make their way towards the Ford of Bruinen.
"What a perilous journey awaits them," a voice behind him said. In the corner of his eye Galdor saw Glorfindel come to stand besides him. "The thought of what dangers they may face fills me with concern. Does it not for you?"
Galdor spoke nothing. But he turned to face Glorfindel, and it proved to be the worst move to make, for all it took was one look and the elderly elf from the Grey Havens was under Glorfindel's spell.
"You look much too tired, my dear Galdor," Glorfindel said, his voice as sweet as honey. "Too tired to journey back to the Grey Havens alone. I will come with you. You need to rest. To Valinor you must go, and never shall you look back to this time."
Galdor glanced back out into the valley silently, his eyes watching a spot some point far from where even their elven eyes couldn't see. Then he turned again to Glorfindel with a tired smile, and his promise to Legolas was broken. "The Sea calls to me, and I can ignore it no longer. My body has grown much too weak. It is time I sail West."
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.