Of Darkness Born - Chapter 3

Of Darkness Born
Chapter 3

A dagger materialized in the tree stump with a loud thunk, and was still quivering when another joined it, mere hairs away. A dozen of arrows appeared in quick succession, turning the thick stump into a feathery pincushion. None of this, however, satisfied Legolas' frustration.

He wanted to scream with aggravation, and weep with disappointment. Legolas through himself down on the tree stump, the same thoughts playing themselves over and over again in his head. Why? What did I do wrong? Legolas had not slept for two days now, since Ianithiel lost her temper with him. For something he didn't understand, and couldn't get himself to say. He had stayed away, out in the woods since, but not because he didn't want to see her. Rather because he wanted to but dared not for fear he'd lose control. If I haven't already lost it, he thought glumly.

A twig cracked, a barely audible sound, but it shook Legolas into alertness. He did not snap his head up, but his eyes were searching busily underneath the cover of his long blond hair, and his fist tightened around his dagger. Another twig snapped, behind him and slightly to his left. The back of his neck prickled, there was something not quite right about this stalker, but Legolas paid it no heed. Almost, he thought, come a little closer, my friend . . . Now!

At once Legolas lunged up and spun around, dagger raised high to block his opponent's thrust and other hand reaching for the stalkers throat. Steel clashed as his dagger met the strange half-sword blade of his opponent, and Legolas felt a cold hand grab his. Before the elf knew what was happening, he was flying rapidly over his opponent's hooded head.

He rolled as he hit the ground and came up in a crouch, a dagger now in both hands. His opponent turned unhurriedly to face him. The creature wore a long black hooded cloak that seemed to go out too far, as if the creature had something on its back. All Legolas could see of it were impossibly thin, pale arms and hands and pale golden eyes in the shadow of the hood. In its left hand the thing held a strange weapon the length of half a sword- a dirk, Legolas thought. But it was unlike any dirk he had ever seen before, with long barbs protruding from the blade by the hilt and shorter ones near the tip. He had no more time to observe the creature, though, for it one moment it was standing there, and in the next it was hurtling rapidly towards him.

Legolas brought one dagger up to block the other's blade, and brought his second dagger up in a sideways arc. It sliced only a shallow gash in the other's side, tearing through the thick cloak to just scrape the skin. But the creature recoiled, making a hissing noise from the depths of its hood. A trickle of dark liquid leaked out, and Legolas realized that in actuality, the thing's cloak was a dark, blood red, and its blood black. He advanced his attack, angling his daggers out and in, hoping for the advantage of catching the creature off guard.

Legolas did not expect the creature to drop its weapon. Nor did he think that it would grab hold of his daggers with its hands.

His blades stopped in midair. It was all Legolas could do to keep them from slipping backwards to him. The creature's hands were bleeding that same strange blood, trickling down its hands, yet still it held on. Legolas began to slowly slide backwards, then faster as the cloaked creature pushed harder. His knives inched closer to the elven lord's strained face. Just as the creature gave a final shove that would have skewered his head on his own weapons, Legolas dropped down onto the ground. His knives slid out of the creature's grasp, and it went flying over his head.

Legolas rolled back up just in time to see the creature writhe in midair, twisting around. Its heavy cloak caught on a branch and tore free. Leathery black shapes extended from the creature's back with an audible snap. With a massive beat of its wings, the creature landed lightly on its feet and straitened to its full length, and Legolas got his first real look at his opponent.

Pale gold eyes fixed in an impossibly attractive face framed with long midnight black hair stared back at him. A body that appeared to be made of only ivory skin stretched over bone was clad in neck to ankle in black material. The creature looked too thin to have forced Legolas back; how had its wrists not snapped?

The creature stared at him a moment, then looked at its torn hands. They were still bleeding freely, as was the scratch in the black material on its side. Then it looked up again at Legolas with red flickering in its eyes, making a barely audible noise in its throat. His lips parted to reveal inch long fangs and the noise became a hissing growl. "I will have your blood elf. Oneday I will have your blood. But first you shall suffer..." Its eyes unfocused for a moment, and Legolas stood paralyzed as he felt the creature in his mind. Then its eyes focused again, and it laughed, a horrible, mesmerizing sound. "Guard closely those you love, elf. Accidents are so easy to come by." He paused again, fixing Legolas with his gaze as a cat does with a mouse right before it eats. "Ianithiel is mine."

Suddenly the creature flung itself upwards, wings thrashing the air as it rose through the trees. It laughed again, full of victory. Its voice echoed in Legolas' head, taunting him. Ianithiel is mine, is mine, mine, mine.... Broken from his paralysis, Legolas stumbled, his thoughts running in circles. Ianithiel? What does he mean? Ianithiel is safe inside Mirkwo-

A scream rent the air, a chilling scream of pure terror. Legolas' head snapped up, his pupils dilated with fear. He stumbled into a run, grabbed his knives, and ran faster towards were he thought it had come from. Another scream tore through the air. Ianithiel.
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