Dark Visions

Chapter 11

by Cassia and Siobhan

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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 ruthless plunge.  

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 real. 

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 flying everywhere.  

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 heart... 

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 latest cut.  

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 friend.” 

“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 again.” 

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 that 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 willingly granted.  

“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... 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 imagine.” 

Aragorn laughed and shook his head.  “I fear you overestimate me, my friend!” 

“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 greeting. 

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 friend’s 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 Lórien!” 

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 together.” 

“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 as well. 

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 what. 

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 together. 

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 day before. 

“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 protested.  “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 pricker bush...” 

“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.

The End
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