The elf’s body was still critically wearied. He couldn’t grasp
what was happening; to Legolas it seemed like some kind of horrible
extension of the nightmare he had already been having, a replay of
yesterday, unreal. Reacting to the perceived dream with elven
reflexes, despite his weakened state, Legolas rolled quickly towards
Scatha, sliding out from under the knife. The sharp blade bit
down quickly, cutting only the bandages that were already around the
elf’s neck before sinking deeply into the mattress, driven by Scatha’s
Tumbling off the bed and half into his assailant, Legolas landed hard
against the human’s injured leg, sending them both sprawling on the
floor in a tangle of bedclothes.
Caught up in the jumble of sheets and blankets with legs that were too
weak to support him, Legolas experienced that horrible dream-like
sensation of knowing that something terrible was coming to get you and
being unable to move any faster than a pathetic crawl. It didn’t
even occur to the prince to call out for help because at this point he
honestly thought he was still caught in his nightmares. And in
his nightmares he could never scream.
Scatha pounced on the elf with the determination of a man who has
nothing left to live for but one last act of vengeance.
Legolas rolled away just in time and the knife barely grazed his
arm. Scooting backwards on his elbows as the world spun around
him, Legolas bumped into the night table in the corner of the room,
causing the used vials, mugs and bowls that Elrond had left atop it
earlier to rattle and wobble. The sharp flash of pain across his
arm brought the elf out of his daze as the realization burned itself
upon his mind that this was no dream. Somehow it was very
Scatha lunged after him, knife in hand, but his own injured leg was
slowing him down as he extracted himself from the bedclothes
tangle. Crashing into Legolas in his wild, ungraceful rush the
human knocked the prince back against the table leg behind him, causing
the table to tumble over on top of them, sending the items atop it
A large ceramic mug hit the hard wood floor close to Scatha’s head;
smashing into a million pieces and making the thief pull back as it
sprayed them both with biting, broken shards. At the same moment
Legolas, half underneath the human, grabbed the man’s knife hand and
tried to wrench the dagger out of Scatha’s grip. Not about to let
that happen, the horse thief rolled violently towards the elf, throwing
his weight onto the wounded being beneath him, attempting to drive the
blade downward between them and impale Legolas through the
Only the blade was no longer turned downward.
The backdoor of the bedroom flew open with a bang. Aragorn
entered first with Elrond and Éomund on his heels.
A saucer spun agitatedly on its rims as it settled onto the ground near
the recently over-turned table. For an instant Aragorn’s eyes
searched the torn-up room, passing quickly from the empty, slashed bed
to the tangle of sheets and bodies on the floor.
For an instant the ranger’s heart stopped beating. Neither
Legolas nor Scatha were moving and the white sheet tangled near them
was quickly turning a very dark red.
Then Scatha fell back slightly, his eyes glazed, his own dagger
protruding from his chest. He laughed mirthlessly. “I guess
it was by your hand after all, elf...”
He was dead before his head hit the floorboards.
Legolas was shaking, his hands covered with the human’s blood as he
released the knife handle and let Scatha fall away from him.
Freca, Fastred and Léod were avenged then. This man would
steal no more lives.
Aragorn knelt quickly by Legolas’ side as Éomund stooped to
check on Scatha and make sure he was really dead. Elrond picked
through the contents of the dumped table, finding the large drinking
horn he had filled with the newly mixed AntiVen and making sure that it
was still intact. He could recreate the potion easily enough now,
but some of the supplies had been spilt or destroyed in this fight and
it would take a little time to find more. Fortunately the AntiVen
he had already made would be enough to see Legolas through the
remainder of his illness.
Aragorn squeezed Legolas’ shoulders gently, relieved to see that his
friend was unhurt save for a minor cut to his arm. Pressing his
forehead against the side of the elf’s head, Aragorn let his breath out
slowly, unable to hide the fact that he was trembling as well.
Legolas leaned sideways against the ranger, feeling totally run-out now
that the adrenaline had left his system. “I thought I was
dreaming...” he murmured as Aragorn and Elrond helped him back to the
bed. Éomund went to fetch Helm and another soldier to deal
with Scatha’s body once he saw that the elf was all right.
“And I thought I had nearly lost you in spite of everything,” Aragorn
whispered back as Elrond easily cleaned and bandaged the elf prince’s
Legolas shook his head, finally beginning to come out of his daze a
little. “No, Thorongil,”
the elf stressed the ranger’s new name
with a small smile. “You won’t get rid of me that easily, my
“Heaven help us all,” Elrond muttered good-naturedly. “You know
when I said that I wanted to see how you two got into so much trouble,
I should have known to be careful what I wished for. If I had any
sense, I’d lock you both up in Rivendell and never let you go anywhere
Aragorn laughed and shook his head.
“Believe me, right now, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea,”
Legolas said with a rueful chuckle. “I feel like I could sleep
for a week.”
Elrond stayed on in Rohan until Legolas had completed his course of
treatment. Before he rode back to Lórien, he taught
Aragorn how to make the anti-venom and bid him share it with the
Rohirrim and the neighboring villages.
“But, Father, why don’t you...” Aragorn started to protest, knowing
the people would hail him as some kind of hero for the life-saving
secret and he did not feel that that was his right to claim.
Besides, being a public figure was not something the ranger was
comfortable with; he far preferred to remain behind the scenes.
Elrond shook his head. “Estel... they will accept it better from
you than from me. Trust me, my son,” he whispered softly.
“If they get it into their heads that it is ‘elf magic’ of some kind
and not merely a remedy, it will cause more harm than good. For
them, Aragorn, share it for their sake.”
The ranger nodded, bidding his elven father one more farewell as Elrond
mounted up on Kynter, whom Legolas had more than readily given him
permission to use, and rode northward once more.
Aragorn ended up entrusting the knowledge of how to make the AntiVen to
Éomund and his men who spread it throughout the
countryside. They wanted the ranger to come with them now that
his ‘contract’ with the elf lord seemed to be over, but Aragorn was
unwilling to leave until Legolas was fully recovered.
Éomund did not give up easily and vowed he would come back at
that time and see if the northerner had changed his mind about joining
them or not. Trackers with Thorongil’s skill were hard to come
by, and the young Marshal of the Mark liked the older man, even if he
was not a native of that land.
Legolas remained in Émuseld some time longer, but it was not
very long before he wearied of convalescence and desired to be active
again. He still needed to report to his father about the
orcs that he and Trelan had encountered and after a fortnight he knew
he could linger no longer.
It was at that time that Éomund returned, true to his
word. He brought news that between the capture of the horse
thieves that had been plaguing this area for far too long and the
selfless distribution of the secret to making the AntiVen, King Thengel
had heard much about this man named Thorongil and greatly desired for
him to journey to Edoras with the Rohirrim if he was willing.
Aragorn requested the night to think on it, which Éomund
“You are still mulling over the offer to join the horse lords,” Legolas
observed quietly as he sat down next to his friend by the fire.
Aragorn nodded. “There is so much that we don’t know about the
world we live in... you know that, Legolas?” he said thoughtfully,
gazing into the sparking flames. “You can pass through a country
a dozen times and never really stop to look at it. I want to know
more about these people, Legolas. If I truly could help them,
I want to do some good somewhere.”
Legolas smiled and squeezed the ranger’s arm. “You do good
everywhere you go, mellon-nín,”
he whispered. “If your
heart leads you to remain with these people, then I trust it is right
and they will benefit from you in ways they cannot even begin to
Aragorn laughed and shook his head. “I fear you overestimate me,
“I do no such thing,” Legolas protested with a smile. “I speak
what I see.” He paused, his attention turning outward. He
placed one slender finger to his lips. “Someone approaches.”
It was a few moments before Aragorn could hear them as well: hoof
falls. Horses were approaching. Two of them. Both
friends tensed, their hands going to their weapons automatically.
Avornwen, by now fully recovered herself, nickered softly in the
darkness where she was grazing off to their right, whinnying a soft
There was an answering call from some distance away and Legolas smiled,
rising to his feet. “We have nothing to fear,” he shook his head
and Aragorn relaxed, slowly standing next to him.
A few minutes later two riders came into sight, one tall and dark, one
fair and short.
The smaller of the two swung off his horse almost as soon as they came
within seeing distance. “Legolas!”
Legolas’ grin widened. “Trelan! It is good to see you again
my friend. I was so worried about you!” The prince clasped his
arm in greeting.
“Me? I was worried about you!
I couldn’t find you,
Legolas. I lost you!” Trelan shuddered slightly, quickly banishing the
frightening memories. He shook his head, nudging the prince with
an impish grin. “Do you have any
idea what your father would do
to me if I came back without you? Or Raniean for that
matter? I’ll tell you one thing, my lord, if you were not all
right, I do not think I would ever have risked leaving
Legolas laughed and clapped his friend on the back. “Well I’m not
dead and you’re not in self-imposed exile, so we can ride back home and
weather my father’s displeasure over our extended absence
“Oh what fun. You had to go and spoil a perfectly good reunion by
bringing that up,” Trelan
made a face and this time Aragorn laughed
Lord Elrond, for he was of course the other rider, dismounted with a
little more grace and decorum than his companion. While Legolas
and Trelan talked, he drew his adopted son aside.
“I am returning to Rivendell, Estel,” he informed quietly.
Aragorn nodded slowly. “King Thengel has requested that I go to
Edoras and Éomund would have me join his company if only I
agree...” Aragorn was waiting for something and even he barely knew
Elrond nodded. Estel had much to do in the years allotted to him
and he had no doubt that getting to know the ways of these people was
one of them.
“Then go with my blessing, my son,” the elf lord smiled gently, letting
his fingertips brush over the star-shaped brooch that rested against
Aragorn’s chest. “And remember what we told you the day you were
given this crest. However long you are away, your home will
always be your home to return to, and our love will always be with you,
Estel, wherever you go.”
Aragorn smiled, his heart feeling very full at that moment.
Reaching out he hugged his father tightly, and Elrond wrapped his arms
around his son’s shoulders. The boy had become a man. A man
he was very proud of.
Aragorn, Legolas, Elrond and Trelan settled down around the fire.
Tomorrow morning Aragorn would tell Éomund that he had decided
to accept both the offer and the summons, Elrond would depart for
Rivendell and Trelan and Legolas would head back to Mirkwood. But
tonight they had all the time in the world to laugh, to talk and to be
Elrond and Trelan had brought some spiced wine out of
Lothlórien, which they heated over the fire. As Legolas
poured and Aragorn passed the warm mugs of wine out, Trelan caught
Aragorn’s fingers, looking at the healing scratches that covered the
back of his hand, resulting from a mishap involving a thorn bush the
“What happened to your hand?” the small elf inquired as he accepted the
cup of wine given to him.
“Stuck it into a thorn bush,” Legolas promptly answered for his friend,
shooting the other a devilish grin. “Don’t you know?
Strider touches everything.”
Aragorn glared at his friend and Trelan started laughing so hard he
nearly spilt his drink.
“I did not touch the bush intentionally!” Aragorn
“As I recall I was trying to retrieve that bird that you shot...”
Legolas shrugged innocently. “It’s not my fault it fell into a
“Oh no, it never is, but somehow they never land there when you’re
the one going to be doing the retrieving...” Aragorn shook his head
with an amusedly accusing stare.
Legolas pretended to look offended.
The uncommon sound of Elrond, Lord of Rivendell laughing with
un-contained mirth made the bickering friends look up.
“What’s so funny?” Aragorn couldn’t even muster up enough composure to
look miffed at this point and his wide grin gave him away. “I
swear that he does it on purpose.”
Legolas whacked his friend upside the head for that, before quickly
putting a dismayed Trelan between himself and the human.
“You!” Elrond chuckled. “All of you. Life is going to be so
dull without the two of you around all the time. I don’t know
what I shall do without you to create havoc at every turn!”
Trelan looked thoughtful. “Get some rest perhaps?”
That was the last straw, and everyone dissolved into quiet,
comfortable, heartfelt laughter.
The stars twinkled down over their merriment and if it were possible,
even they were smiling.
Stories > Series
Stars of Harad" > "Dark
Visions" > Next story in the Mellon Chronicles: "Traitor"