Siege of Dread
Chapter 15: Come Back Home
First > Previous > Next
Come back home for another year
and ask yourself if you could handle this.
Say my name before you disappear
I always thought that you could handle this...
And you know you're hard enough
and you find you're strong enough
and you feel you're strong enough...
Come back home
Yeah, come back home.
Aragorn just stared, letting the vials in his hands fall uselessly to
the hard ground. He couldn’t understand it, could not make sense
of the horrible reality. He had seen death a hundred times or
more, but it had never prepared him for this moment. It was all
so horribly wrong. Their whole adventure since the warg rider
attack on Rivendell had been bizarre, but this ending was too twisted
for comprehension. It should not have happened, they should not
have lost Legolas like this. How had so many simple things gone
so wrong? How had he gone so fast from injured but stable to...
to this? Aragorn knew well that death often came suddenly and
without warning, but he had never hoped to see just how suddenly in
Thranduil curled over his son’s body, his shoulders shaking
silently. Aragorn bowed his head, gathering Legolas’ face between
his hands and resting their foreheads together as he had done so many
times in life. He wept. He wept as if his heart would break
from the force of his grief. He felt he would never feel joy
again, never recover from this loss.
Elrond watched all this unfold with a breaking heart; he knew with
crushing certainty that in one way or another, all he had foreseen
would come to pass. Estel was right, he would never recover
from this... none of them would.
The elf lord saw again the horrible future mapped out before them, and
running underneath this despairing knowledge was Legolas’ voice in his
//“Don’t let this destroy them. Don’t let this destroy them...”//
There was only one way to keep his promise. Only one way to try
to change what he saw... one way he could try to bring back the bright,
lively elven prince that he loved almost as another son. His own
life was a small price to pay.
Moving forward with urgency, he gently but firmly took Legolas out of
Thranduil’s arms, ignoring the surprised and uncomprehending look that
that action garnered him from the elf king. Pushing Estel
aside, he lay the prince’s body on the ground and bent over him.
Elrond placed one hand on Legolas’ heart and the other on his temple,
their faces so close they were almost touching.
“Ada?” Aragorn’s tearful voice was questioning, but he did not hinder
whatever his father was doing, nor press his question when Elrond did
Elrond focused his attention on Legolas to the exclusion of all
else. Letting the waking world fall away from him, the elf lord
used his special gift as a healer to reach into Legolas’ body in a way
that few other elves on Middle-earth could have. It was an
extreme use of his skills and power that taxed him to his limits.
Elrond had done this only once before. He had done it to save
Celebrìan the night she almost died when the twins brought her
home from that accursed place that now lay in ruins. He had been
strong then, and even so the effort had critically drained him.
This time... Elrond knew he did not have enough strength for them both
this time, but he might have enough for Legolas.
Plumbing the depths of their newly forged connection, Elrond felt
Legolas’ spirit lingering on the very fringes of oblivion, resisting
the call to the halls of waiting. His body had failed, but his
fëa, his spirit, had not yet fled, holding on tenaciously until
the shell that held it had gone so far that it could never
return. Legolas had the will to fight, to live if only his body
did not betray him. Elrond was determined to give him that
chance. Steeling himself, he practically forced his life energy
into the ‘dead’ elf’s body. He concentrated so hard that his hand on
Legolas’ chest began to tremble as he focused on the prince’s heart,
commanding it to contract, willing it to beat again.
“Tolo, Legolas! Come!”
Elrond murmured in elvish, gritting his teeth as the effort made his
head swim. Forcing himself past his own physical weakness, Elrond
intensified the energy flowing out of him. //“Please let me do this last thing, please help him...”// the elf lord prayed silently as he felt his strength failing.
Legolas’ frame jerked as an almost physical jolt of power or
electricity shot through him and he arched up against Elrond’s hand on
his chest. His heart fluttered, but did not respond.
Elrond’s vision hazed yellow at the strain of the extended connection
and supreme effort he was tendering, but he did not break contact even
as he felt himself sliding into the grey twilight. They were so
close, so close...
Aragorn observed his father with concern. He could tell that a
massive surge of power was passing out of the elven lord and into
Legolas’ body. He feared what it was doing to Elrond, but dared
not interrupt. Instead he moved quickly to his father’s side,
laying his hand on the elder elf’s back.
The ranger’s eyes widened. It was like touching a vacuum.
All of Elrond’s strength was funneling downward into Legolas with the
force of the elf lord’s will propelling its rush. With his
connections flung wide open and no strength to keep up any guards,
Estel touched his adopted father in a way that was usually only
possible between elves. Aragorn felt as if he were being sucked
under with that powerful vortex, his strength spiraling out to join his
father’s in its focused rush to oblivion.
Knocked breathless and reeling, Aragorn refused to move away from the
staggering connection. He didn’t know if he could help either
Legolas or his father, but he was going to try.
Elrond felt the small, bright flame of Estel’s consciousness enter his
awareness. He felt his human son’s presence anchor him, giving
him enough strength for one last try.
Elladan and Elrohir topped the small hill, returning from their foray
only to find the heart-breaking scene unfolding below them.
Thranduil was watching Elrond and Legolas with obvious concern and
uncertainty, and Aragorn was pressed close to their father, seeking to
give him anything that would help, but neither the king nor the ranger
truly grasped what was happening. The twins, however, recognized
what was going on instantly. They had witnessed it before.
Now, they could almost see their father’s essence flowing out of him as
he struggled to bring Legolas back. They knew they were about to
“Ada!” Elladan pitched himself down the hill at a dead run, stumbling
and tripping down the incline in his heart-pounding haste.
Elrohir was right behind him as they gained the bottom. “Ada, no!”
Legolas jerked and arched again under Elrond’s hand. The elf lord
could not hear his sons, and if he could have, it would have made no
difference. He had made his choice, and it was too late now to
turn back even if he wanted to.
This time, Elrond was rewarded with the hesitant feel of Legolas’ heart
contracting and expanding under his tingling fingers. It had
started beating once more.
That was a start, but it was not enough. Elrond’s body was
failing him, but he knew that Legolas would only slip away again if he
were not strengthened sufficiently to keep his wounds and weakness from
overtaking him once more. Feeding the last measure of his
strength into the elf prince’s body Elrond gave all, keeping nothing
back for himself. He was not afraid to die, in fact at the moment
he did not think it sounded like such a bad idea at all. He was
weary in heart and soul, old wounds having been stirred painfully back
to the surface. He knew that death was not the end, even for an
elf. The halls of waiting were not to be feared and after that
there would be Valinor, even if it was the long route there. He
was ready to see Celebrìan again. He was looking forward
Warmth spread across Legolas’ chest as the gift of life, given freely and selflessly, flowed throughout his being.
Elladan and Elrohir reached them. The twins dropped to their
knees by Elrond, Aragorn and Legolas. Part of them wanted to yank
their father away and sever the connection that was killing him, yet
they knew to do that now would condemn both he and Legolas.
“What? El, what?” Aragorn remained by Elrond’s side, breathless
and wide-eyed. His connection with Elrond had severed as the elf
lord poured the last of his strength into Legolas, but Aragorn had yet
to fully understand the depth, or the cost of the gift that had been
“We’re losing him,” Elrohir grit out in horror as he laid his hands on his father’s shoulders.
Aragorn was confused for half a moment, still reeling and a little
unsteady from what had just happened. He thought they were
talking about Legolas. “I know...” he choked softly. “He’s
“No, Estel! Ada!” Elladan shook his head, kneeling next to his
human brother on Elrond’s other side and wrapping his hands around his
father’s shoulders from the opposite direction.
Suddenly, Aragorn understood what he had felt, what was truly
happening, and found that his heart was being torn down the
middle. No! He could not lose them both, he could
not! His hand tightened on his father’s arm. //No, Ada...//
Elladan and Elrohir did not waste any more time talking; Elrond
was slipping away in front of their eyes and so was Legolas. They knew
what their course needed to be now... the only thing they could
do. Closing their eyes and tightening their grip on their father,
they attempted something they had never done before. Taking the
long plunge, they tried to join Elrond’s connection, attempted to
initiate with their father the same bond he had created with Legolas.
It was hard. Elrond was no longer open, no longer
possessing the strength to maintain the connection he had had moments
ago. The twins were untried at this, they were not as gifted as
their father and weren’t even sure it was possible... but they had to
make the attempt. Elladan felt his heart speed up until his pulse
was pounding painfully between his temples, making the world swim in a
blinding haze of whites and yellows as he sought to go deeper than his
own gifts and skills as a healer truly allowed. Elrohir winced as
painful pressure compressed his eardrums, the strain going immediately
to his weakest point. It felt like being deep, deep underwater
with no way to relieve the pressure. Despite the consequences,
neither twin was willing to give up the attempt. They would not
lose again. Elrohir let his head fall gently against his father,
ignoring the pain that sought to disrupt the bond they were forming.
Aragorn’s feeling of helplessness was deep as he watched his family
struggling. He feared and hated that he could not help
them. He had never more cursed the fact that he was not an elf
than at this moment.
Thranduil did not understand what was happening, but he found himself
holding his breath, rooted in place and able only to beseech the powers
above for help and intervention for his son, for Elrond, for the elven
lord’s sons... for all of them.
Elrond was dimly aware of a new and foreign source of strength
rejuvenating his weary body. He could not tell its source at the
moment, but he was glad for it, because it enabled him to give one last
push to Legolas’ mending body.
The elf prince’s eyes fluttered open. Silver-blue eyes tried to
focus in confusion. Legolas had a jumble of memories and emotions
that he could not reconcile for a moment. He was so deeply
connected to Elrond that he was almost not sure who he was, or where
his consciousness started and that of the other elf began. He knew
things that his own experiences should not have made known to
him. He could see pieces and memories of a life that was not his
own. It was confusing, but strangely not particularly
distressing. He was still in pain, but it was greatly lessened,
the deadly edge sapping him had receded and he did not understand how
this could be. Was he dreaming? Or had before been a dream?
Then everything suddenly snapped back into focus and he gasped deeply as his lungs abruptly began functioning once more.
Elrond smiled faintly as he saw the confusion leave Legolas’ eyes when
the younger elf’s fëa returned to his body completely.
Legolas would live. He had succeeded. With that final
realization of success, Elrond’s grip on his own body slipped quietly
away and he let go his ties to the world.
Legolas saw the elf lord smile faintly at him and for a moment he felt
Elrond’s presence wash over him like a wave rolling out to sea... and
then suddenly it was gone. Not just receded from its connection
with him, but gone. Elrond’s eyes closed and he slumped forward
against the elf he had just poured his life out into.
Legolas struggled to sit up, alarmed. He was trembling again a
little, but he felt stronger than before. He knew that that was
because of Elrond, but a deep fear gripped his heart about what price
had just been paid that he might live.
“Ada!” Elrohir half cried, half moaned. The twins had not severed
their connection and clung to the elf lord’s failing body, fighting to
replenish enough of the strength that had just been lost, fighting to
bring him back as they all slid down the slope towards darkness.
They meant what they had said to Glorfindel before they left.
Either all three of them came home, or none of them would.
Daradwayn could not have this last, final victory over them.
Legolas was gasping still as he scooted back a little on his elbows
with difficulty, staring in confusion and horror at the three Noldor
elves. His trembling gaze turned on Aragorn. “What have I
done?” he whispered hoarsely. “What have I done?!”
Aragorn broke away from his helpless desire to aid his family long
enough to quickly gather his shaky friend against him, trying to
sound more confident than he felt. “Shh, Legolas, you haven’t
done anything,” the ranger’s voice choked.
Legolas was shaking his head, looking in horror at where Elrond lay
still on the ground, Elladan and Elrohir kneeling over him now,
clinging to him in a strange replay of the situation he himself must
have been in a moment ago. Strange memories and longings that
seemed both familiar and foreign ghosted faintly across his
consciousness. He saw in his mind’s eye a beautiful golden-haired
elf woman and the feelings that accompanied that image told the young
archer that these memories were not his own. The prince blinked,
trying to clear away the strange after-images of Elrond’s psyche that
had been imprinted on his own.
“No... I’m sorry... I-I’m sorry, mellon-nín,” Legolas was still
confused, but clarity was coming back and with it the understanding of
what had just transpired. “I-I didn’t want it this way... I would
never have asked for this... this wasn’t what I meant...”
Aragorn shook his head, touching Legolas’ lips softly with a trembling
hand. “He gave you a gift, Legolas, it is not your fault.
Quiet now, regain your strength...” the ranger’s voice choked
off. He felt incredibly blessed that his friend had been returned
to him from the brink of death, but with Elrond’s life now slipping
away his heart was rent in two. He didn’t know how he was
supposed to handle this, first Legolas, now Elrond... things were
happening almost too fast for him to comprehend. He felt lost and
incredibly helpless. He had never experienced the type of healing
that his father and now his brothers were employing. It was both
fascinating and horribly terrifying. He could only pray that it
would work a second time.
Raniean had returned with the twins, but remained quiet on the
sidelines, his heart aching. He hurt for Legolas, but he hurt for
Aragorn too. He had been where the ranger was once. His
father too had once been willing to give his life that Legolas might
live. It was horribly twisted to have to watch something like
this play out again, but he could only hope that somehow this situation
too, would work out. He did not know Elrond and the twins very
well, but he knew they were powerful elves... he had to believe they
could find a way through this. He hoped so.
Thranduil was at Aragorn’s elbow, staring unbelieving at his son who
was definitely not dead. Gently, Aragorn passed Legolas back to
his father who was already hovering over them, desperate to hold his
son, to assure himself that the younger elf really was still with them.
Legolas smiled faintly at his father, squeezing Thranduil’s hand
against his chest. “Sorry,” he murmured. “You’ll have to
put up with me a little longer.”
Thranduil held Legolas close, unable to speak.
Legolas’ gaze drifted back to Elrond and the twins. He frowned,
his heart bleeding. Why? Why did he cause so much pain to
those he loved? Valar, why did they not just let him go?!
He wasn’t afraid. Outwardly, it seemed that Elladan and Elrohir
were merely holding their father’s limp body, but the connection with
Elrond that had brought his body back to life left Legolas with a
lingering understanding of what was truly happening.
“Estel...” Legolas whispered urgently. “Your father... he is not
sure he wants to return. He could fight his way back... but not
without a reason. Help them, if your brothers cannot pull him
back, they will go with him...” the quiet , dazed conviction in the
prince’s voice frightened the ranger. Legolas spoke of things he
should have had no knowledge of, but Aragorn did not doubt for a moment
that he spoke the truth.
The ranger scrambled back over to his father and his brothers,
wondering how in the world he could help them. Please heaven, let
there be a way!
Elladan and Elrohir were locked in a silent but deadly struggle.
Reality was slipping away from them as they chased their father down
into the twilight seeking to take him from them. They fed all
their combined strength into his failing body, but the elven lord
seemed to be unwilling or unable to grasp that lifeline to pull himself
back to them. Still they refused to let go.
A soft, gentle touch brushed through their minds.
//Dear ones, let me go... do not follow where it is not your time to go...//
The twins hung on stubbornly. //It is not your time either, Ada. You must fight, you must stay with us...//
Yet all three of them were almost gone beyond recall now.
Standing on the outside of the struggle, Aragorn felt a rush of ice
through his veins as he realized that Legolas was right. He could
possibly lose all three of them together, for his brothers were
unwilling to return alone.
“Don’t do this, don’t go...” the human whispered hoarsely, gripping
Elrond and Elrohir’s shoulders. They could not hear him; they
were too far away. All his knowledge of healing could not help
the ranger now, because it was not a physical malady that they were
“Call them,” Legolas rasped quietly, his voice returning to him
slowly. “Reach out and call them, Estel... you are the only thing
they will come back for now.” He had had a privileged look into
the minds that were now sliding away from them and he knew that of
what he spoke.
Aragorn did not hesitate, did not question, but did as he was
told. Reaching out as his father had taught him to do many years
ago when he had learned to dispel the shadow cast by the black breath
of the Nazgul, the human put all the strength of his love for his
family into the effort, into the call.
“Ada, Elladan, Elrohir... come back. It is not your time, come
back... I need you. Arwen needs you. Middle-earth needs
Instantly, Aragorn seemed plunged into a world of shadows as his senses
tuned out that which was visible for the strange realm of that which
The blackness was comfortable, not frightening. Elrond was not
disturbed by it and neither were the twins, not any more. They had
forgotten why they were struggling, there didn’t seem to be a
point. The sky was lightening and away in the distance a
beautiful dawn of light like the sun shining through reflected crystal
glass was beginning to appear. They were together, all was
well... and all of them felt ready to go to meet the light.
Then they heard a voice. It seemed to be coming from a long distance off, but all of them recognized it.
“Estel?” Elrond murmured questioningly, struggling through his
complacency to try to ascertain where his youngest son’s voice was
“Ada, don’t go. Elladan, Elrohir... I need you to come back. Please... come back.”
Aragorn’s presence burned like a twinkling flame in the distance, on
the other side of the darkness they had crossed. The three elves
felt themselves drawn to it, drawn to his call.
“I know you want to go, but not yet,” the human’s voice pleaded from
afar, getting slowly closer. “There is too much yet to be done...
too many who need you. Please, do not make me the one who has to
tell Arwen that her family is gone. Do not... do not leave me.”
The shadow world slowly dissolved before Aragorn’s eyes and he realized
he was seeing the waking world around him once more, still bent close
to his father and brothers. A deep, dreadful ache filled his
heart for a few moments as he thought he had failed and lost them.
Then, Elrond’s eyes opened.
Elrohir started coughing and he shook his head, as if coming up from
deep underwater. Elladan jerked and looked around, seeming to be
unsure where he was for a moment. Both felt as if they had run
thousands of leagues without rest.
Aragorn felt strong relief course through him and realized he was
trembling. He felt so drained he thought he could sleep for a
month, but his heart was light.
Elrond was too weak to move, but his lips curled into a soft, small
smile as he looked up at his sons who had all been willing to give
everything they had for him. Yes, he would stay; he would stay
for them. “You’re... very persuasive, Estel,” he murmured faintly.
Aragorn smiled, gently touching the side of his father’s face with the back of his hand. “I had a good teacher.”
Elrohir ran his hand through his hair with a chuckle, waiting for his
ears to stop buzzing; the pain in them was slowly receding.
“Let’s not take anymore little family trips like this, shall we?
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I do not feel very well.”
Elladan rolled his eyes at his brother, but could not have agreed
more. Curling his arm around his stomach he sat back a little,
closing his eyes. “Yes, the next time we all almost die, let’s
just leave well enough alone and go quietly. Coming back is
Aragorn laughed and clapped his brothers on the shoulder, pushing aside
his own weariness. “Well there had better not be a next time;
how much of this do you think I can take? I’m only human.”
“Mellon-nín,” Legolas’ soft voice nearby made them look up. “That would be considered an understatement.”
Smiling, Aragorn scooted back over to the prince. “And you had
better not scare me like that again either,” he chided with a fond
Legolas smiled back weakly from his father’s arms. “I’ll try not to.”
A peaceful expression settled on Elrond’s face as he listened to the
slow return of normal joviality between the four younger beings he
loved. He had been ready to leave it all behind, weary of life
and missing the dear ones who had gone on before... but he could not
forget how much life and light there was left for him here.
“Let’s go home,” he murmured.
Everyone agreed. Prudence however, suggested that they stay the
night in the secluded glen and begin their journey in the morning, once
they had all had a chance to rest.
The next day everyone was stiff and sore. Aragorn had begun to
keenly feel the knocks he had taken when Daradwayn collapsed, and rubbed
his aching head and eyes as he looked out towards the rising
dawn. His arm hurt terribly where he had smashed it against the
tree when Daradwayn imploded. He had been ignoring it but was
beginning to think he had fractured it and perhaps his collarbone as
well. Hugging his arm tightly against his midsection he slowly
sat up and watched as the Mirkwood elves quietly disassembled their
“Well, you look horrible,” Legolas’ soft voice nearby made the ranger
turn and smile at his friend. The prince was sitting on the
ground, wrapped up in a blanket and carefully surrounded by Thranduil,
Raniean and Trelan. The prince was obviously trying to ignore his
Thranduil had finally allowed the ranger to tend his arm late last
night after he was sure that Legolas really was out of danger, and it
now rested comfortably in a sling, while his other protectively lay
gently across his son’s blanket-clad shoulder.
Aragorn rolled his eyes and then grimaced because that motion gave him
a headache. “You should talk, I’m not the one who almost died
yesterday. How are you feeling, my friend?”
Legolas cast a wry, meaningful glance at his father, friends and
guards. “Smothered,” he said frankly, causing all of them to
Raniean glared balefully at the prince as he rose. “All right,
Legolas, point taken. I have to see to the troops anyway.
Strider, watch him. If he starts pulling his ‘everything-is-fine’
act on you, don’t believe him.”
Aragorn chuckled. “Don’t worry,” he winked at Legolas. “I know all his tricks.”
The prince pretended to pout. In truth, Legolas was still weak,
but he was able to walk well enough as long as he had someone to lean
upon. Given the current company, Legolas had no shortage of
Elrond however, was in no condition to be going anywhere under his own
power. The elf lord was still too drained and even if he had had
the strength, they had his broken ribs to worry about. The less
he moved until they could get him back to Rivendell and better set
those broken bones, the better it was. Accordingly, Elladan and
Elrohir fashioned a liter for him with the help of the wood-elf
Morifwen and Brenyf offered to help carry him, but it was a precious
burden that the twins took upon themselves alone, although they thanked
the other elves for the offer.
And so they started for Imladris as the morning sun rose slowly above them.
Legolas leaned on Aragorn’s arm, having finally managed to convince his
father to give his own injuries a little rest and allow the ranger to
help him instead.
“I would be fine on my own you know,” the prince confided in his friend. “But I have to let all of you feel useful.”
Aragorn chuckled. “Well thank you so much, Your Highness, I think
my life would be painfully unfulfilled if I could not drag your sorry
carcass around like a-”
The ranger ducked the elf’s retaliatory swing only just in time,
proving that neither his reflexes, nor Legolas’ aim had suffered
much. Legolas winced at the abrupt removal of Aragorn’s support
and reached out lightly with his other hand to catch the wall that ran
the length of the glen near the pond.
Aragorn quickly caught his friend’s arm once more, steadying him. “Hey, are you all right?”
Legolas looked over with a tired, rueful grin. “Will you never outgrow useless questions?”
The ranger smiled. “Probably not, indulge me.”
“Here now, if you can’t do a proper job let someone else more competent
take over,” Trelan chided Aragorn for letting the prince stumble like
that, but he winked as he said it to let the ranger know he was jesting
“Well that certainly wouldn’t be you, Trey,” Raniean called over his shoulder from a little way ahead.
Aragorn chuckled. He remembered how frightened and uneasy he had
been around these strange elves once, long ago. How formally they
had treated him, watching his every move carefully lest he hurt their
friend and royal charge. He was glad that the long years that
flowed behind them all now had changed so much. Now they often
reminded him more of the twins than anything else.
Thinking of his brothers made Aragorn’s roving gaze search them
out. They carried Elrond on the makeshift bed between them.
Elrohir caught his little brother watching them and smiled, turning to
smile gently down at his father’s pale face.
A mischievous grin twinkled in the younger twin’s eye and a moment
later his words made everyone laugh. “You know, Ada, this will be
a first. This time Aragorn and Legolas are walking into Imladris,
and you are the one being carried.”
First > Previous > Next