Siege of Dread
Chapter 14: It’s too Soon for You
First > Previous > Next
Aragorn moved his hand from Legolas’ shoulder and eased his fingers
around the small knife concealed in his boot, drawing it slowly.
It wouldn’t do much damage against the warg, but it was all he
had. The glint of steel caused Mrdhdúk to lean in closer,
her growl deepening to a warning, stilling the human’s movements.
Aragorn kept his eyes locked onto the beast in front of him. He
wondered that she had not already ripped his head from his shoulders,
but the warg seemed to be waiting for something.
Placing one large paw on Legolas’ chest, the beast effectively pinned
both human and elf in place. Her claw grazed Aragorn’s hand where
it lay over Legolas’ heart. He tried to move his fingers, but the
slight motion alerted Mrdhdúk and she barked a warning at the
man while applying slightly more pressure. Most of her attention left the pair
as the large warg leaned around the human.
Mrdhdúk nuzzled Guruth, snuffling his body and whining
softly. Her master was dead, she could smell it; he reeked of
death. Almost gently she licked his face clean once more.
Beside her, the ranger was trying to move again and she snapped her
large head back towards him, growling low and deep. Her orc
companion had been slain; in her small mind she rationalized that it
had been this creature that sat before her on the ground. She
tensed, not sure if she should run or kill the small being that had
provoked her ire. Unlike many wargs, she had never been free,
Guruth had always been her master and she wasn’t entirely sure what to
do without him to command her. She settled on killing them.
The claw that rested on Aragorn’s hand dug into his flesh and he
stifled a cry.
The ranger flinched as the massive head drew nearer. His fingers
tightened around the small boot knife as the warg bent closer to
Legolas, nudging the elf with her nose and smelling his scent
deeply. The one that lay in the ranger’s arms smelled like
her. She recognized the elf that Guruth had let her play with.
“Have fun with the young one, so long as you don’t eat him. I want him alive.”
The words of the dark tongue reverberated in her mind. It hadn’t been
that long ago, and she hadn’t forgotten her master’s words just
yet. That changed things.
Aragorn stopped moving and watched the warg curiously. Something
was going on in the creature’s mind. He realized with a start
that the warg wasn’t going to kill them. Something had happened
to stay her, something about Legolas stopped her short of harming
them. The claw that pierced the back of his hand slowly withdrew
and Mrdhdúk backed a step away from the human and the elf.
Glancing back into the battle behind them, the warg watched as the orcs
fell to the superiority of the elves. A large male warg yelped
and dropped to the ground, arrows protruding from his back.
Returning her attention to the ranger who was now shielding the one who
had been their toy, her dark eyes watched him intently; he hadn’t
dropped the knife he held but he hadn’t hurt her either. A
high-pitched cry behind her drew Mrdhdúk’s attention once more
battle. A young warg was under attack. It was one of her
The orcs were dead, her master was gone. She had no love for
orc-kind in general and owed no allegiance to those that still stood in
the glade. She would obey Guruth one last time and spare the elf
and his companion, but she had no reason to stay. Her mind was
not too small to register that this was a losing battle. It was
time to retreat. The forests were full and thick here, her pack
could easily lose any pursuers that might try to track them and the
woods were full of game; they didn’t need the orcs to survive.
Throwing back her head, Mrdhdúk howled, calling the remaining
wargs to her. Her low, keening cry reverberated through the
glade, nearly stopping all fighting as the large, wolf-like creatures
disengaged from the battle and pelted up the hill towards their
Aragorn’s face paled as he watched the wargs running towards him.
Pulling Legolas tightly to him, he tried to back up but was stopped as
he scooted against Guruth’s dead body. He had no weapons and the
boot knife was useless under the onslaught that raced in their
direction. They were dead.
Satisfied the wargs were obeying her, Mrdhdúk turned back to the
wild-eyed human. A low, grunting snort in his direction checked
his movement once more. Padding quietly back towards him, the
large female warg nudged the elf, pushing Legolas’ head to the
side. She ignored the human’s hand on her large nose, trying to
move her away as she licked the blood from Legolas’ face and sealed the
deep cut below his chin with her saliva. Yes, she remembered his
taste and growled in satisfaction, a deep, low, throaty sound.
As the first of the wargs reached them, Mrdhdúk turned, nipping
at the heels of the youngster that lunged at the seated human.
Slamming her head into the side of the juvenile she darted off in front
of the pack, leading them into the woods and abandoning the orcs to the
slaughter they deserved.
Aragorn watched them disappear, their dark hides blending almost to
invisibility within the depths of the woods. He started slightly
when he heard Mrdhdúk’s lone, howling cry bidding her master
farewell... and then all trace of them was lost.
“Aragorn!” Trelan bolted for the small hill where the ranger sat
holding Legolas. “Strider! Are you alright?” The small elf
dropped next to the two friends and looked them over carefully.
Elladan pelted up the hillock, his bow drawn and trained on the last
place he had seen the wargs. They seemed to have just melted into
the woods but he was unsettled by what he had witnessed. He had
been unable to reach Aragorn before the wargs had departed and he
feared what he would find when he did. That his brother and the
prince were alive was nearly more of a surprise than he could
handle. Dropping his bow to his side, Elladan stepped back near
the ranger and gently rested his hand on Aragorn’s head, his eyes still
searching the forest. They couldn’t risk the wargs' returning.
“Estel?” Elladan questioned shakily.
Aragorn gently grasped his brother’s wrist. “Yes, we are well.
Legolas lives, he is merely unconscious.” Aragorn sighed deeply
and glanced up at Elladan. “It did not kill us.” He was still a
little shocked over that turn of events.
“What did you do?” Trelan asked incredulously. “We watched the whole
thing from below but were unable to get to you. We thought you
were both dead for certain!”
“I did nothing.” Aragorn glanced over his shoulder into the woods
before looking back into the pale face of the elf he held in his lap.
“There was something about Legolas that kept her from killing
us.” He sucked his breath in sharply as he flexed his hand that
the warg had pierced. The bleeding had stopped and the wound was
sealing closed already. Some of Mrdhdúk’s saliva had
dripped onto his gloved hand and seeped through the leather, speeding
up the healing process. He held his hand up and glanced at the
clear, sticky substance that coated it.
“That’s disgusting, Strider.” Trelan started to wipe the saliva from Legolas but the ranger stopped him.
“I think it was her way of fixing what had happened. It seems the
wargs’ saliva closes off the wounds. Look.” Gently Aragorn
tipped Legolas’ head, revealing the nasty cut that grazed his
chin. It had already stopped bleeding.
The battle below was waning. The orcs, greatly outnumbered, fell
before the elves and after a time silence hung over the glen once
more. The soft sounds of the wounded drifted up to the small
knoll where the ranger sat, now surrounded by some of Thranduil’s own
guard. Raniean walked slowly towards them, trailing the King,
whose protection he had taken over from Trelan earlier.
Thranduil looked as bad as Legolas but he would not accept the help of
his royal guard, insisting that he needed to see if Legolas were
alive. Raniean, no less anxious, did not argue.
The prince stirred gently in Aragorn’s arms and the ranger immediately focused all his attention on the elf.
“Legolas?” the human whispered his friend’s name softly.
It was quiet and there was a peace that pervaded even the darkness
where he lay. Someone was calling his name, touching his
face. There was more than one voice now. He recognized
Aragorn’s, the last voice he had heard was the first one that filtered
through the hazy, warm peace that enveloped him. Legolas
concentrated on his friend’s words, smiling softly as the ranger
slipped into the grey tongue.
“He is gone, Legolas, it worked. But I need you to come
back.” Aragorn stopped speaking as the elf’s blue eyes opened and
locked onto his face. “The battle is over and we are safe.”
“Legolas?” Thranduil’s worried voice cut through the prince’s sluggish thoughts.
“Yes, Legolas, it is I.” Thranduil knelt on the grassy floor of
the forest and leaned over to gaze at his son. “You passed out.”
“Aragorn told me to,” the prince whispered.
“Oh that’s it. Blame it on me.” Aragorn laughed softly.
“Well you did.” Legolas didn’t move. He hurt too
much. The past two days had been more than his body could handle
and he simply let his friend hold him. “I smell like a
warg.” He frowned, wrinkling his nose as he touched the now dry
saliva that coated his chin and cheek. “What happened?”
“You wouldn’t believe it. I’ll tell you all about it later, but
we need to get you and the other wounded back to the rendezvous where
Elrohir and Father are waiting for us. We’ll be able to treat you
better there, all of you.” Aragorn glanced up and pierced the
Sinda king with a knowing glare. If his son were in this kind of
shape, then there was no telling what wounds the king was hiding.
“Yes, my Liege, he is correct.” Raniean gently hooked his hands
under his liege’s arm and helped the king stand stiffly to his feet.
“Although I would hear this tale of how you survived that warg.”
Trelan rose and offered his liege a shoulder to lean upon.
“Later we all will, I believe,” Elladan countered quickly as he leaned
down and helped Raniean relieve Estel of the prince so the human could
stand. “For now though, we need to retreat and regroup and then
we will comb the forest to make sure that the threat has been truly
dealt with.” The elven twin was still not settled in his heart
and he kept glancing into the woods around them. They needed to
make sure the threat was really gone this time.
Calling more help up to the top of the knoll, Raniean agreed.
Trelan walked Thranduil back down the hill, following Elladan as he led
the way back to the place where they had left Elrohir and Elrond
Raniean and Aragorn trailed the others, supporting Legolas between
them. The royal guard brought up the rear, carefully watching the
woods around them as they stepped over the orcs that lay in the glen.
“I’m sorry we did not come sooner, Legolas,” Raniean whispered quietly
in his friend’s ear. “I thought my heart was going to stop when I
saw that orc holding you... and I couldn’t get there.”
Legolas smiled faintly, squeezing Raniean’s shoulder where he clung to
him. “’s all right Ran. You came. Ada’s all right and
I’ll mend. If you hadn’t brought the warriors....” Legolas was
interrupted by a small coughing fit before continuing. “Then
Estel would have tried to take them on all by himself, I’m sure, and
none of us would have survived.”
Aragorn grinned, gently supporting Legolas from the other side. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
Legolas smiled warmly at his friend, making sure Aragorn knew he was joking.
Raniean smiled as well. “Well then, I’m glad disaster was averted.”
The trip back to the secluded meadow near the deep pool took more time
than they might have wished since the elves walked only as fast as
the wounded could go. By the time they reached Elrond and
Elrohir, Aragorn was carrying Legolas over his shoulder because the
prince had passed out again.
Aragorn headed straight for his father and Elrohir. The younger
of the elven twins jumped up immediately and helped Estel when he
“My cloak, Elrohir.” Aragorn shifted Legolas from his shoulder and held
his friend against him. “Get my cloak and lay it on the ground so I may
set Legolas down.”
Quickly Elrohir did as he was told, unfastening the family brooch and
laying the brown cloak on the grass as Estel gently set Legolas down
“Father, he is hurt badly and I believe the king is in no better
shape.” Aragorn was slightly surprised to see Elrond
conscious. He scooted nearer his father who was tending a small
fire. The older elf’s movements were slow and deliberate.
He had woken not long after Elladan and Aragorn had left the secluded
glade. With Elrohir’s help he had eaten and regained some of his
strength. The world no longer spun around him where he sat and
although he ached more than he would allow his family to know, with
wounded being brought to him, the healer in him took over and he pushed
his own weariness aside. Focusing his attention on the human next to
him, Elrond gently took Aragorn’s hand and eased the bloodied glove off.
“It seems as though they were not the only ones that were
injured.” Elrond turned the ranger’s hand over in his own.
The puncture wound had not gone all the way through. “You had a
run in with wargs?” Elrond glanced up at his youngest son, still
holding the man’s wounded hand, “This is warg saliva. It has
strange healing potential, but I would wonder how it is you came into
contact with such.”
“That, father, is a tale that I will need Legolas’ help to tell...” Aragorn was interrupted by Elladan.
“We thought they were both dead. A huge warg attacked them but
did not kill them - I do not know why. It was amazing
father,” the eldest twin added. He glanced between Elrond
and his human brother with a quirky smile. “And speaking of
wargs, most of the pack retreated. We need to set up perimeter
and scour the surrounding areas to be sure that we are really
safe. Elrohir will you come with us? I will need
you.” Elladan and Elrohir rarely fought separated from one
another and Elladan had missed his twin keenly in their latest attack
on the orcs. He was loath to leave his brother behind again.
With merely a nod, Elrohir jumped to his feet. Leaning back down,
the young elf kissed the top of their father’s head and quietly spoke
to him, “Ada you are not well yet either. Do not overwork
yourself until you are better. I would not want to lose you so
soon. Please be careful.” He glanced at his human brother
quickly. “Estel, see that he does not injure himself further,” Elrohir
begged softly as Thranduil sat stiffly down next to Legolas.
“I will, but should I not accompany you?” Aragorn started to rise from
his seated position. Elrond’s hand on his thigh stopped him as
did his brother’s protests. It seemed as if everyone spoke at
“No, stay with Father,” Elladan ordered.
“I will need you here, my son,” Elrond implored softly.
“We will not leave you alone.” Raniean stepped forward, pulling
Trelan away from the royal families. As much as he wanted to stay
with Legolas and Thranduil until they were well, he knew that Elrond
and Estel were the healers; he was a soldier, and his job was to make
sure they stayed safe. The twins were right, reconnaissance was
in order. “Trelan will take half the warriors and set up a
perimeter on the outskirts of the glen until we return. We won’t
be long, Trey.”
In moments everything was decided and Raniean’s warriors, accompanied
by the twins, took off into the woods. Aragorn sat back down and
smiled wearily at his father who still held his injured hand. He
placed his other hand on Legolas’ chest and began to quietly explain to
the two elven lords what had transpired as Elrond cleaned and bandaged
his wound first.
It was the least life-threatening of all their injuries, but Elrond
needed Estel’s help and he had worried over the human while he was
gone. The cut to Aragorn’s temple had reopened sometime during
battle and Elrond gently re-wrapped the gash with a clean bandage as
the human answered Thranduil’s questions.
“And the warg just... left It did not try to injure you?”
Thranduil pressed. The tale the ranger told them was highly
surprising and if not for the fact that they were both alive, he was not
sure he would have believed it coming from a human.
“Only this.” Aragorn held up his now bandaged hand.
“Estel, help me see to the king...” Elrond’s request was interrupted as Thranduil resisted.
“Please see to Legolas first. I fear he took more injury than I
did.” Thranduil gently brushed his hand through his son’s hair.
“I meant only to ask Estel to help me see you seated more comfortably
while I looked over your son.” Elrond smiled softly at the other
elf. “I will need full access to him and must unfortunately ask
you to move while we work with him.”
Thranduil glanced down quickly. Wasn’t he always reprimanding
those around him for interrupting his sentences and pre-guessing his
“My apologizes, Lord Elrond. I fear I am not quite myself,” he countered quietly as he moved aside with help from Aragorn.
“I don’t think any of us are,” Elrond concurred quietly.
The ranger wadded up a discarded cloak and gently pressed the elven
king back against the base of a large tree. He handed Thranduil a
mug of warm tea with healing properties that Elrond had been brewing
and quietly reassured him before joining his father.
Elrond was carefully looking over Legolas’ injuries. They were
bad, very bad. The prince seemed stable for the moment but
something about his condition concerned the healer. He had
learned long ago that the outward appearance of a patient could not
always tell him what he needed to know. Elrond leaned closer,
placing his hand against Legolas’ forehead, wanting to probe
deeper. But as he started to reach out into Legolas’ body with
his senses, a thing that was almost second nature to the elf lord after
all these years, Elrond’s vision hazed and it felt as though everything
was spinning again. It seemed even that small expenditure of his
strength was taxing for his wounded body. Elrond was forced to
drop both hands to the ground to steady himself lest he lose his
Sharp, biting pain shot up the elf lord’s side when he lurched suddenly
forward and he pulled one arm back quickly to hug his middle, gasping
softly as painful pressure jabbed into his lungs. Squeezing his
eyes tightly shut, he concentrated solely on fighting back the
nauseating waves of pain. Elrohir was right; he was in no shape
to be up and moving around.
Aragorn turned back just in time to see his father grimace and pull in
on himself, pain flashing across the elf lord’s features
Hurriedly he scrambled over to his father’s side, wrapping his arms
around Elrond’s shoulders in support and alarm when the elf lord
remained hunched over, holding his chest and seeming to struggle for
breath for a few moments.
“Ada!” the ranger said in concern as Elrond slowly straightened up.
It was obvious the Noldo elf was in pain, but he was unwilling to let
his son see how much. Elrond’s breath was still labored a little
when he smiled weakly at his youngest. “You won’t believe me, but
I am all right, Estel.”
“You’re right as usual,” Aragorn murmured fondly, but with
concern. “I don’t believe you.” He laid his hand on
Elrond’s chest, which seemed to be the new trouble area. “What is
Elrond didn’t have enough breath to sigh. It felt like someone
was jabbing hot, sharp arrows into his lungs. He knew very well
what was wrong. “I have some broken ribs. They’re
twisted inward and lodged against my lungs. If I am careful I
will be fine, Estel. With rest they will eventually re-seat
themselves and heal correctly.”
Aragorn was not impressed. His eyes narrowed with concern.
“And if you’re not careful you could puncture your lungs and die.
Did Elrohir know? I don’t believe he would have let you move around
like this; you’ve got to be still until we can stabilize those ribs.”
Elrond smiled ruefully. “Elrohir is not as stubborn as you and some of my children are still willing to accept that their father is
wise enough to know his own limits. I’m all right, Estel; it’s
Legolas who needs our attention right now, and swiftly. He needs
help; there is something about his condition that is troubling me.”
Elrond pulled away from Aragorn’s hands, turning purposefully back
towards the unconscious elven prince. Unfortunately it was not a
good move. Sharp pain stabbed at him again, making his face pale
and his vision swim. This was going to be a real nuisance.
Aragorn caught his father before Elrond even realized that he was
tipping sideways. “Yes, he does, but not from you, Ada,” the
ranger said quietly.
Elrond frowned in irritation at his own impairment. “They must be
a little deeper than I thought,” he murmured breathlessly as Aragorn
eased him back against the bundles of supplies and rolled up cloaks
that Elrohir had made for him earlier.
As soon as he was leaning back and no longer forcing his injured body
to support him, the elf lord’s breathing eased greatly and he let out a
small sigh of relief. As much as he hated to admit it, Aragorn
was right that he was in no shape to be doing much at the moment.
“All right, Estel,” he said softly when he met with Aragorn’s worried
gaze, silver eyes speaking what he could not. “Go back to
I do not like what I am reading from his body; he needs you, my
Aragorn nodded, glancing back towards where Legolas was beginning to
stir uneasily. “Don’t worry, Ada. I will take care of him.”
Elrond smiled faintly. “I know you will.”
Assuring himself that his father was going to be all right, he made his way quickly back to the prince.
Legolas was awake now, but seemed a little confused and distressed.
Lightly, Aragorn touched his friend’s face, letting the elf know he was
there. Legolas pulled a small breath in and turned his head just
enough to look the ranger in the eyes. He smiled at his
friend. Weak though it was, the grin was heartbreakingly bright
as Legolas figured out where he was and what must have happened.
“Well, here we are again, Strider,” Legolas said with faint mirth.
“Right back where we always are. You’re going to have to fix me
up again and I’m going to hate it. I wonder sometimes if you
think of me as a friend or a lifetime patient...” Legolas had to catch
his breath as a shiver of pain raced through him, panting for a moment
before he could push it to the background once more. He did not
feel at all well. The pain he felt now was different from fiery
ache of the gashes he had sustained and he found it slightly disturbing
as a numbing cold slowly began to wrap around his body.
No matter how many times Aragorn had tended his best friend’s wounds,
it was hard for him to see Legolas like this. The elf prince was
extremely pale and very weak. He looked so incredibly
vulnerable. Aragorn hated it.
The ranger smiled gently as he began cleaning and wrapping the multiple
lacerations that the wargs had left on the prince. Legolas
grimaced and pillowed his head on his arms, closing his eyes against
the sting and breathing deeply.
“You really should stay away from orcs in the future, Legolas. You just
do not seem to get along with them at all. You know, I thought I
was supposed to be the clumsy human who always got hurt; what happened
to you?” the human teased back with gentle remonstration.
“Don’t know,” Legolas murmured, his words slurring slightly around his
dry mirth. “Must have been your influence...” The elf’s body was
beginning to tremble and he frowned. He looked at his hand for a
moment, a perplexed look written over his fair features. “Why am
I shaking, Estel?”
Aragorn was a little disturbed by his friend’s slow and confused mental state - it wasn’t like Legolas.
“You’ve been through a lot, Legolas, your body isn’t happy,” the human
tried to keep his voice light. His mind supplied the more serious
explanation; Legolas was in the early stages of shock. Really it
was a miracle it had taken so long to set in, considering how injured
“Ada?” Legolas’ voice was plaintive as he looked around, searching for his father.
Thranduil scooted closer, touching the back of his son’s head comfortingly. “I’m here, Legolas.”
“Mmmnn,” the prince murmured and blinked, as if his eyelids were
heavy. He winced sharply as Aragorn cleaned his wounds. The
ranger was worried by how foggy his friend’s eyes were becoming.
He moved more quickly, trying to stabilize the prince. It seemed
the more he worked over Legolas the worse the elf was doing. His
mind raced through every conceivable reason and always he heard his
father’s quiet warning in the back of his thoughts...
“ ... there is something about his condition that is troubling me.”
“Ada... where’s Nana?” Legolas asked totally out of the blue.
Thranduil froze, the question itself frightening him. Legolas
hadn’t asked about his mother in millennia. He knew very well
that she had sailed a long time ago. The elf king shifted closer
to his son. “She... she’s not here right now, Legolas,” he said
softly, doubting the younger elf really knew what he was asking at the
moment; obviously, Legolas was not quite all the way there.
Aragorn frowned deeply. His friend was not doing well at all and
nothing he did was helping. In fact...Aragorn realized with
mounting horror that Legolas was actually slipping away more quickly
now. He was getting worse. It confused him; the elf should
be doing better than he was.
Lifting Legolas’ head and shoulders, Thranduil eased them into his lap
while Aragorn continued to clean and dress the prince’s wounds.
Legolas seemed comforted a bit by this and settled down a little,
curling into his father’s lap, still shaking. The physical contact
settled his heart even though it did not ease the strange chill that
crept through his body. Thranduil looked questioningly at Aragorn as he
stroked his son’s hair gently.
“Shock,” Aragorn mouthed quietly, over Legolas’ head.
Thranduil’s brows furrowed in concern.
Legolas sighed as his mind cleared a little. “Of course she’s
not, I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m just
tired... so tired...”
Aragorn touched Legolas’ eyelids softly. “Then rest, mellon-nín, rest.”
“There you go again, I hope it ends up better than last time...”
Legolas’ voice faded and his eyes glazed slightly as he slipped into
Aragorn was glad that the prince would get a small respite from his
pain. Yet Legolas’ slumber, if it could be called that, was light
and he still trembled slightly, which did not sit well with the
human. His elven friend’s body was incredibly injured, but it
seemed to be doing its best to fight back. Legolas’ will to live
was strong and this was an asset to his healing right now, but what was
it that thwarted their combined efforts to get him stabilized?
“Can you hold him up a little?” Aragorn requested of Thranduil as he
gently uncurled Legolas from his father’s lap, attempting to reach the
deep, dangerous gashes on his back. Aragorn winced. In many
places the warg claws had cut Legolas to the bone. He was not
bleeding as badly as might be feared, but he had obviously already lost
quite a bit more blood than was good for him.
Thranduil complied, easing his son into a new position in his grip so
that Aragorn had clear access to Legolas’ back. “You can heal
him?” he asked after a moment, his eyes fixed on the Dunèdain
who was treating his son. He did not doubt the human’s worthiness
as a being, but he had never seen him in action as a healer before and
wasn’t entirely sure the man would be able to do best by his son.
Aragorn easily heard and just as easily forgave the unmistakable ‘do
you know what you’re doing?’ implication hidden within the Elvenking’s
words. He suspected Thranduil would have been more comfortable if
Elrond had been able to help, or one of the twins had remained,
but did not fault the King for doubting that which he did not
know. Aragorn was well aware how big a step it had been when
Legolas’ father accepted him as a suitable friend for his son; for an
elf to consider a human a capable healer was quite another step up.
The ranger nodded reassuringly.
“Yes. He is badly hurt, but he is strong. We will pull him
through this,” Aragorn assured. Yet even as he did he frowned
slightly, his hands momentarily stilling against his friend’s clammy
skin. His father was right, something in Legolas felt vaguely...
wrong and he could sense it now himself, more urgently than
before. He couldn’t pinpoint what, but it niggled at the back of
his mind as he gently rested his hand against Legolas’ cold
cheek. The elf shouldn’t be cold, not like this.
Thranduil nodded slowly, trying to make his worried heart accept the assurance that the human offered.
“You’re sure?” he questioned quietly, gazing down sorrowfully at his son’s battered face.
Aragorn nodded, touching Thranduil’s shoulder reassuringly. “I
promise. Your son is strong; he will not desert us if he is given
any choice. I have seen him pull through many injuries, with less
will to live.” The ranger eased Legolas’ hair gently away
from his cuts as he washed the blood and sticky residue of the warg’s
dried phlegm off the elf prince’s back.
Thranduil nodded once more, then his eyes turned distant as Aragorn’s
words brought his dream back to him again. “Have you ever seen
that?” the king inquired softly, the fingers that cupped Legolas’ head
to his breast, playing lightly with the younger elf’s loose golden
hair. “Have you ever seen him lose the will to live?”
Aragorn froze for a moment, a look of grief and hesitancy passing over
his features. He was almost certain that their time in Mordor was
not something Legolas would want him to speak to his father about.
Thranduil did not miss the look, nor the way Aragorn studiously bent
his head keeping his focus to cleansing the wounds on the prince’s side
and would not look at him directly when he answered. “I have seen
Legolas through many things, your Highness. He is one of the bravest,
strongest beings I know.”
Thranduil knew very well that Aragorn was not telling him something,
even as Legolas had not, but now was not the time to press for more
information, not when Legolas’ condition was so precarious.
Aragorn turned his full attention back to the wounds he was
dressing. The bandages he had just laid against Legolas’ back
were already soaked and dripping. Something was not right,
Legolas should not have been bleeding this heavily, he had not even
been bleeding this much before. The trembling was increasing.
Thranduil frowned as he saw the same thing. “What is the matter? It’s getting worse.”
Aragorn wished he could deny that statement or assure that this was
natural, but it wasn’t. Something was wrong. What scared
him was that he did not know what.
“I don’t know,” Aragorn murmured distractedly, his hands flying rapidly as he checked his friend’s vitals.
Legolas’ pulse was racing out of control. His blood was not
clotting. Fear clutched the human’s heart. This was all
wrong, all wrong!
“Something is not right.” Aragorn quickly grabbed his pack. “Ada?” He
called to his father as he rummaged through the sack, pulling out a
small, round tin. The ranger swore in frustration when he found
the contents wet and ruined from his previous underwater
adventures. The powder had to be dry! He couldn’t even find
the other vial he wanted and feared it had been lost somewhere over the
course of the last few hectic days.
“No.” Aragorn denied the helpless feeling that swept over him.
His brothers, one of them had to have brought their packs! Oh
please Valar let them have what he wanted, let them have remembered
their father’s constant remonstrations not to leave unprepared... he
spotted Elrohir’s pack lying near Elrond and felt a short burst of
“Aragorn!” Thranduil’s voice was alarmed. Legolas had begun
shaking convulsively in his arms; the prince’s body was sliding swiftly
down the slippery slope of trauma-induced shock. He felt his
son’s light dimming before his eyes and fear took hold of him.
Ignoring Thranduil’s call for the moment, Aragorn snatched up Elrohir’s
pack, and hastily dumped the contents on the ground, rifling urgently
through them. His brother kept a different assortment of herbs
than he did and Morgoth take it all he had them all crammed into a
jumbled mix of unlabeled pouches and bottles that made sense only to
him. Aragorn knew instantly what was what, but had to waste
precious moments opening pouches and un-corking vials to see what was
Elrond was struggling to sit up. His sensitive perceptions could
hear warning signals radiating loudly from Legolas’ body. “Estel,
poison,” he said breathlessly, realizing that must have been what he
was sensing to begin with. He cursed himself for being so
weak. If he had been operating at full power he would have been
able to tell immediately. “Something in his system, he’s reacting
Thranduil held the younger elf tightly, his heart pounding
furiously. “Legolas? Legolas...” his voice choked in
desperation. The prince was not responding and his father’s heart
was gripped with terror and helplessness at this sudden turn for the
Aragorn swiveled around, alarmed at his father’s words. Oh Valar no, Legolas was going into full-fledged shock now.
“Estel...” Elrond was trying to make himself heard. “Wargs... sometimes their claws...”
“Are poisoned, I know, Ada,” Aragorn finished for his father. He
had been worried about that since he first saw Legolas, but thought the
prince had somehow escaped the harm that filthy warg claws usually
inflicted since his wounds seemed to be closing. Classic warg
injuries were usually very slow healing and bled profusely, resisting
clotting. Yet Legolas had not exhibited any of these signs until
now. What could have changed? What could have
happened? How could his condition have deteriorated so
quickly? All that had transpired was that he had washed the
prince’s wounds and... his heart froze.
“Oh no. The coating, the warg saliva, it must have been acting as
an artificial clotting agent, countering their natural poison!” Aragorn
could have kicked himself, but he hadn’t known; he had never dealt with
It was a surprise even for Elrond, but the instant Aragorn spoke, it
made sense. The elf lord leaned up urgently on his elbows, trying
to ignore the burning fire that ignited in his chest and ribcage.
“Estel, the wounds must be closed, he’s too damaged to lose anymore
blood. Do you have any of the fire-weed in your pack?”
Aragorn had reached the same conclusion moments before and already had
in hand a small vial of red powder and a second of similarly colored
oil. Both were taken from a spicy pepper plant, one of the many
herbs cultivated in Elrond’s gardens.
“No, but fortunately El does.” He lifted them swiftly, showing
Elrond that he already had them before he scrambled quickly back to his
friend’s side, his intense fear only just covered with the cloak of his
quick thinking and even quicker acting healer’s instincts.
Elrond tried to follow his son, forcing his dizzy, protesting body to
move. Aragorn shot the elder elf a quick, warning look that he
would never have dared use on his father under normal circumstances.
“Daro, Ada,” he shook his head urgently. “Stay. I cannot
care for both of you.” Aragorn was afraid that Elrond would shift
the broken ribs pressing on his lungs again. Elrond understood
the justified fear and stilled his movements, gathering his strength.
The change Aragorn found when he returned to his friend’s side was
drastic and terrifying. Legolas’ eyes were closed and he was
slipping away. Thranduil was trying to cling to his son’s
essence, but the prince was fading too fast. It was proving
beyond the King’s ability or strength to hold onto him, no matter how
deeply into the abyss he waded in an effort to do so. Legolas’
wounds were not deadly in and of themselves, and that was the deceptive
problem. It was not the injuries that were trying to kill him; it
was the subtle toxins that made his heart race; it was the already
serious loss of blood that was being added to by the moment; it was the
deadly shock that had already enveloped his body, disrupting all his
Thranduil’s eyes met Aragorn’s for only a moment. It
frightened the elven king to feel Legolas’ presence fading away from
him like this. It seemed so sudden, so uncalled for, so...
terrifying and there didn’t seem to be anything he could do to stop it
or help. “Don’t let him die!” he shook his head, his tone part
command and part desperate plea. “Don’t let him die!”
//You promised...// Thranduil’s eyes accused with anguish. //You promised me... don’t you dare let him die.//
The look smote straight into Aragorn’s heart. He would do anything to keep Legolas with them, anything.
Uncorking the vial with his teeth, the ranger opened Legolas’ mouth
gently and placed a few drops of the oil under his friend’s
tongue. They had to try to pull him out of the deadly slide into
The effect was not immediate, but after a few moments Legolas’ eyes
started to clear a little and the convulsions eased as the potent herb
helped drag the elf’s body out of the traumatized state it had been
sinking into. Unfortunately, the ranger knew it was a momentary
reprieve only. The part of Aragorn’s mind that had been trained
as a healer told him that his friend was in a bad way. Told him
that his friend would very probably not survive. The part of
Aragorn’s mind that had been through too much with this particular elf
to accept that diagnosis resisted it utterly, clinging to the hope that
was his namesake.
Working swiftly, the human feverishly tried to push from his thoughts
the horrible, creeping knowledge that every other time he had seen
anyone this far gone, whether on the plains of Gondor or right here
near his own home, they had always died.
This was different. Aragorn focused on his task, blocking
everything else from his mind. He did not even feel when Elrond
leaned gently against him, trying to see over his son’s shoulder.
This had to be different. He and Legolas had cheated death so
many times... he could not believe this was meant to be the end
now. He could not lose his friend like this, not to something so
absurdly simple after all the harrowing things they had survived.
Legolas’ movement had stilled, his body too spent to even
tremble. His eyes fluttered open as he was dragged painfully back
to consciousness by Aragorn’s ministrations. He saw the two
worried faces bending intently over him.
“Estel... Ada...” he wanted to speak. Wanted to say something
that could take the pain out of both their eyes as he felt himself
slipping towards eternal starlight, but he could not find the words.
“Shh, don’t speak, Legolas, save your strength, ion-nín,”
Thranduil soothed him, cupping the fading young elf’s cheek gently in
Legolas smiled up at his father softly. He had no strength left
to save, but he wanted his father to know he wasn’t afraid. He
was at peace. Having walked with mortals, he had decided that
death was not something to be feared, even for an elf.
Opening the vial of powder, Aragorn pulled away the ineffective and
blood-soaked bandages he had only recently placed. He spread the
dark, red dust over the worst of the prince’s bleeding cuts. To
the ranger’s relief the blood began clotting almost immediately and he
swiftly followed up by re-binding the wounds as quickly as he could
with fresh cloths salvaged from his older brother’s pack.
The bleeding was stopped almost as quickly as it had re-started, but
the elf’s body was weak, too weak. The warg poison, even if held
in check outwardly by Mrdhdúk’s primitive care, had been
silently working its way inward and wreaking havoc on the prince’s
internal systems. His heart was traumatized and beating
erratically. His vital functions were shutting down.
Pain creased Legolas’ features as the fiery herb stung his wounds like
a cauterizing brand. He moaned through his teeth, turning his
face into his father’s tunic so he would not disgrace himself in front
of them by letting them see his tears.
Aragorn’s cool, gentle hands squeezed his shoulders, his heart hurting
so much he felt ill. “I’m sorry, Legolas, I’m so sorry my friend. I have
to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible. The sting will fade,
I promise. Forgive me, mellon-nín.”
He felt this was all his fault. As a healer he should have
thought, should have realized what washing the wounds might do!
In reality, however, it would not have mattered. The infectious
toxins had already been at work before the father and son had even been
rescued; it had only been a matter of time. And that was
something they had never had.
Legolas could hear in the ranger’s voice that he was also crying.
The elf slowly turned his face outward once more and gave his friend a
weak smile, masking the pain he was still feeling with a portion of his
usual façade of strength. Reaching out, he squeezed
Aragorn’s hand. The human had been a good friend. His best
Over Aragorn’s shoulder, Legolas saw Elrond’s bruised face
appear. The elven lord knelt gingerly next to his human son, one
hand resting on Estel’s arm for support as he reached out to Legolas,
brushing the prince’s hair back from his face and assessing his
injuries, although even those small exertions seemed to drain
him. He had ultimate faith in Aragorn’s healing abilities and
skills, but Legolas’ condition was obviously spiraling out of
control. He did not know if he could help or not, but he would
not simply remain where he was and let Estel struggle alone to save his
best friend’s life. He had to see if he could help Legolas.
For the prince’s sake, and for his son’s.
When Elrond touched the prince his heart despaired at what he
felt. His eyes locked with Legolas’ for a moment and realization
passed between them. Legolas knew he was dying, and now so did
The future flashed before the elven lord as it sometimes did, mapping its possible trails across his sensitive psyche.
Elrond saw Legolas carried home to Mirkwood on a bower of pine
boughs. The prince’s skin was pale and his eyes closed... closed
forever on this side of the sundering seas.
He saw Aragorn walking slowly beside the sad procession with heavy
steps. His son’s eyes were red from sleepless nights of tears and
he refused to release his friend’s hand even in death as he saw the elf
prince on his last journey. Elladan and Elrohir trailed behind
their brother, looking worriedly from one to another. A light had
been extinguished from the ranger’s eyes and Elrond shuddered at the
empty void that was swallowing up the bright spark that had been
Estel. In this vision however, Estel was no more; for the human
had let hope die with his friend... his brother whom he had been unable
Thranduil walked at the head of the procession, his lost, tearless eyes
even emptier than Aragorn’s. There was loss, remorse and
resentment there where light and life had once lived. Thranduil
blamed himself for Legolas’ death... and he blamed Aragorn too.
It was unjustified, but grief knows no reason. The ranger
accepted the mantle of guilt far too readily, adding Thranduil’s silent
condemnation to his own. The weight had obviously crushed the
young man’s spirit.
Elrond saw the Elvenking at home in Mirkwood. He saw him
fading. He saw Thranduil’s grief overcome him completely and now
it was the King who was borne on a sad, funeral litter to be laid to
rest beside his son. Without their Sindar rulers, Mirkwood fell into
darkness, the groping shadow of Dol Guldur spreading upward like a
stain to extinguish the light of the elven realm.
Elrond saw Raniean and Trelan fall side by side in battle before the
last defenses crumbled. He saw Aragorn standing in the middle of
a burned and devastated wood, surrounded by bodies... a lone survivor,
or come too late, the elf lord could not tell.
All sound was sucked away as if in a vacuum and Elrond saw Aragorn fall
to his knees in gut-wrenching despair, his spirit devoured by the loss
of not even being able to save his dear friend’s people. A dark
shape appeared behind Aragorn, but the human was too lost in grief to
notice. Elrond’s body stiffened as the orc struck quickly. Suddenly Aragorn was looking down in shock at the blade
protruding from his chest. The ranger’s glazing eyes looked up,
locking with the elf lord’s gaze and Elrond almost felt his heart stop
beating, the vision was so clear, so real.
Then suddenly, with a flash and a start it was gone, and Elrond found
himself looking not into Aragorn’s face, but into Legolas’ silver-blue
eyes... eyes that were glazing and fading before him just as surely as
the ones in his vision. It had all passed before him in the
breadth of an instant and yet he had seen the years fall away into
chaos and darkness. The path ahead of them that they now trod
was dark indeed and the chances of changing the foreseeable future were
waning before his very eyes.
Aragorn glanced between Elrond and Legolas in concern. He was
worried about his father, but Elrond seemed to be coping for the
moment, he was more concerned with what he saw in the elder elf’s eyes
when he looked at Legolas. Elrond had stiffened and gone
still. The momentary glassy-eyed look was a familiar one to the
human and he realized with breathless anxiety that his father was
caught in a vision. He feared what the older elf had seen.
Legolas already knew what was happening to him, before he saw the
undeniable truth of it flicker across Elrond’s face. He had been
too close to death too many times to not know its familiar taste.
“Ada?” Aragorn hardly dared to breathe the word.
Elrond turned tortured, pain-filled eyes on his youngest son. He
wanted to lie, wanted to deny what his healer’s instincts had already
told him. Faced with Aragorn’s deep, searching gaze, however, he
could tell nothing but the truth, no matter how hard it was to do so.
“He’s dying, Estel,” the elf lord murmured in regretful disbelief around
the huge lump in his throat. Elrond knew the possible futures he
saw were not always certain, but his heart told him that if the prince
died, all he had seen would indeed come to pass in one way or
another. So much would be lost. It was hard to comprehend.
Aragorn shook his head, unable to speak. He would not, could
not accept that. He had never known his father to be wrong, but
he had to be in this case, he HAD to be!
Thranduil’s reaction was equally vehement, if much more vocal.
“No, he is not! How dare you say that!” he raged hotly around the
painful tears clouding his sight and choking his voice. He held
Legolas tighter, clinging to his only child and burying his face in the
prince’s hair. “He is not! You are healers, do something!”
Legolas fumbled to catch his hand in a fistful of his father’s
tunic. “Ada...” he murmured. He didn’t want his father
angry, didn’t want him to blame Elrond or Aragorn for being the bearers
of bad news they could not change.
“Legolas...” Thranduil shook his head, caressing his son
tenderly. He could feel the boy fading in his arms, it was
horrible. “Don’t go. Do not leave me like everyone
else. Please, my child...” his gaze came up to rest on Aragorn and
Elrond once more. The anger was gone and now it was openly
pleading, something Aragorn had never seen before in the strong,
proud Elvenking’s eyes.
“Don’t let this happen,” Thranduil pleaded for them to fix the
unfixable, no matter how desperately unreasonable the request. He
was offering Legolas all he had; he would give his life if it would
save his son’s, but he was helpless to stop what was happening.
“Don’t let him die... please, you are healers, you can do what I
cannot... please...” Thranduil let his head fall forward to rest
against Legolas’ breast, his voice cracking as his heart broke.
Aragorn couldn’t breathe around the pressure in his chest. He was
trying everything he knew to do, every cure he had ever learned to give
strength, every measure of support he could offer... but the
deep-seated knowledge that it would never be enough had taken hold of
him and the whole scene had become increasingly surrealistic. He
would do anything to grant Thranduil’s request, but as he watched
Legolas’ eyes flutter closed he knew he was just as helpless as the
“I-I am trying, I don’t know what else to do... I’m sorry.
Forgive me, forgive me! Legolas...” Aragorn could hardly speak as
he gripped his friend’s hands, willing him to live, to be stronger than
this, to fight through as he had so many times before.
Legolas shook his head, forcing his eyes open with effort.
“Please...” he croaked quietly. “Please don’t... shhh... Ada...
Estel...” he didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t think; he
couldn’t form words. Imploringly he turned his gaze to
Elrond. Legolas’ ability to speak had left him, but his eyes
caught the elf lord’s and Elrond read his last thoughts as clear as
day: //“Don’t let this destroy them. Don’t let them blame themselves because I must leave. I’m sorry.”//
Elrond blinked back tears, stunned by the simple, but obviously unlimited faith the younger elf had in him. //“I won’t, Legolas, I promise!”//
the elder elf responded without heed to how impossible was the promise
he had just made. Elrond kept his vows, and he would keep this
one if he had to die trying.
Legolas relaxed at the assurance. He knew that he left his father
and his friend in good hands. He sighed softly, letting the air
out of his lungs... and did not breathe in again.
Thranduil felt his son stop moving in his arms. Pressing his hand
to Legolas’ heart, he felt no movement, no breath passing between the
The prince was dead. Legolas was gone.
First > Previous > Next
Still choking from knowing the love you've given me
It's hard to believe what I see is no dream
I'm drinking and sinking, still it's haunting me
Not yet, not yet break me from these visions
Not yet, not yet it's too soon for you...