Struggle To Live - Chapter 12: Rohan
Overall Summary: An ancient evil rises two years after War of the Ring. Legolas is cursed and is dying. The fellowship is regrouped to search for the cure before Legolas needs to choose between death and becoming the next Dark Lord.
Author's notes: This chapter contains some horrible misspelled and grammar errors, because I attempted (remember, I `attempted') to write in baby language, but I think I FAILED miserably. So the language may sound VERY AWKWARD and not like baby language at all, but hey, I don't have much experience with children, please BEAR WITH ME!
Date: 11 May, 2003
Last Chapter's Summary: The fellowship learned something about the stone from Galadriel.
Chapter 12: Rohan
The fellowship continued a few miles more through the woods. The further they walked, the more the hobbits whined. Legolas' heart ached when he saw the little ones suffer, and thus he offered in a kind heart, "Do you wish me to carry you?"
The hobbits accepted the offer a little too eagerly, however, Aragorn frowned and his suggestion, "I will help. Surely you can't carry all four of them at the same time." He looked at the hobbits. He didn't know if he should praise their innocence or despise their ignorance: surely Legolas was also tired and he didn't need to put some more weight on himself when it was not necessary.
"I am alright. It was my fault that you had to run for days because you were chasing me. You are tired. Let me do this," Legolas smiled at his friend, trying to ensure that he could take care of the little ones. Aragorn was about to add to his argument, but Legolas dismissed him and turned to the hobbits, "My dear hobbits, I can only carry two of you at one time. So would you mind to take turns?" Aragorn hissed slightly, trying to force an expression of unconcern on his face. If that's what the elf wants, let him do it! But deep down the ranger worried his friend's health. Although Gandalf's magic could hold down the spreading of the curse, Legolas' health clearly had declined. The others, except the little ones perhaps, had surely noticed this change. Gimli, the one who formed a strangely strong bond with the elf, had stole glances from Legolas from time to time, and concerns were written all over his face. Faramir and Gandalf hid their worries better, for they understood Legolas had too much pride to be viewed as a helpless being. His mind shifted as he heard Frodo's voice, "We don't mind at all." And the three other hobbits agreed. Legolas carried Merry and Pippin first for another few miles, until they had to get down and walk, while Legolas carried Frodo and Sam.
After a few hours, Frodo started to notice they were behind from the others. He turned to Legolas and saw sweat formed on the elf's unnaturally pale feature. His breathings were quick and shallow, and he seemed to be using great effort to focus his eyes. Frodo started to worry, "Legolas?" Sam heard Frodo's call and looked at Legolas also, he was aware of the state and asked softly, "Are you tired? You don't need to carry us. If you are, I and Frodo can walk."
Legolas' left side of his chest was throbbing dangerously. He bit his lips to stop crying. Something just snapped momentarily ago and then he felt the anguish suddenly shooting through this body. It was a terrible pain, spreading across his arm that bore the dark marks and along his shoulders, ripping his tissues apart. His vision would not clear up. Everything seemed foggy all at a sudden. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trying to steady his voice as he spoke, "Don't worry yourself over my welfare. I am well." The hobbits weren't very convinced, but they knew Legolas wouldn't lie to them. They didn't say anything as they silently let Legolas held them through the woods.
The light around Legolas suddenly disappeared, and before they knew what was going on, Legolas collapsed, making them all land onto the soil. Frodo and Sam struggled to get up. They saw Legolas lied still on the group and the panicked feeling welled up. The others heard the noise and turned around, only found the hobbits shaking Legolas, trying to rouse the unmoving form.
Pain was the only feeling he could register. Its magnitude was so great that he couldn't think coherently. He heard voices. . . someone was calling him, but he couldn't hear what they said; he could only hear the sound of his heart beat. It was beating violently against his chest. The ache was too great that he bit his lips hard, drawing a copper taste out. He breathed deeply, trying to stay as calm as possible. He couldn't lose his poise.
They rushed to the elf's side, but before they could stop him Legolas forced himself to stand up with his shaky legs. He was breathing hard. Although the hair was hiding his fair face, the others could easily guess he was in pain. The elf was definitely not well.
Legolas avoided everyone's glances while he pushed his way past them, but was blocked by the stout body of the dwarf. Gimli demanded, "What happened, you crazy elf? And don't answer me that you are fine, because you are not!"
The pain was slowly fading. After making sure his voice was steady, he retorted, "I am fine." He tried to walk past Gimli, but the dwarf didn't let him off easily. He cursed under his breath about dwarves' stupidity. He didn't need this now; he didn't need put another burden onto the others' weary shoulders. He should deal with it himself.
It was Aragorn's turn to question him, "You are pale, Legolas! Tell me what is wrong!"
Legolas shrugged, "I am fine. I am just tired and I was not paying much attention of the road, so I tripped." The former ranger frowned. He knew his friend was lying, but Legolas smiled and tried to reassure, "I am truly fine, Aragorn. I just need to rest a while."
"You are not going anywhere until you tell me what's ailing you!" Legolas winced at the harsh tone that Aragorn used on him. It angered him. He was a prince after all, and certainly nobody should raise their voice at him!
"Fine! If you wish to question me like a criminal and want to keep me here, why don't you just tie up me on a tree?!" Pain suddenly flared up again from the abyss like an untamed beast. He tried to control it, tried to make his facial expression stay as neutral as possible; he couldn't give anything away.
In the moment of rage Aragorn was about to follow the prince's wish, but Faramir placed a hand on Aragorn' shoulder, knowing his king was losing his patience at Legolas' arrogance, "Why don't we set a camp here? It is getting dark already. We are all weary."
"Yes. We should rest for tonight. It will take few more days until we reach Rohan," Gandalf agreed on the suggestion. Deep down the wizard suspected the magic he placed on Legolas was wearing off, although he expected it to last longer. He would perform it again if necessary. However, he was afraid Legolas body might build up immunity against the magic if he used it too much. If it happened, nothing would safe the prince from his dark blood.
The hobbits looked at Aragorn expectedly. Aragorn sighed, "We will set the camp here." The little ones immediately put down their belongings and dived inside to look for dinner and their after-noon tea, since they heroically skipped that meal because they didn't want to slow down their journey for food. Aragorn said immediately afterward, "I will take the watch." The camping idea might not be a bad one; he could knock some truths from Legolas in the night while everyone was sleeping.
It was as if the elf knew what his human friend had installed for him. He objected his decision, "No, I will take watch tonight, Aragorn. You all are quite tired yourself, you should take some rest. Elves can endure much more than human can."
Aragorn couldn't deny the truth; he was exhausted, although he didn't show it outside. But he was not going to let Legolas to escape; besides, the elf was in worse shape than he was.
"Yes, Strider. I think you all should take some rest. Us hobbits can help Legolas to take the watch tonight. We are not as tired as you are."
Aragorn couldn't believe his ears. He must be too tired that he fell asleep somewhere while he was walking through the wood. It had to be a dream. The little ones couldn't possibly suggest taking the watch.
Gandalf sat down, leaned against a big stone and smiled, "Let them be, Aragorn. It is not everyday that hobbits volunteer to stay up late."
Slowly, the pain disappeared noticeably again. Legolas was relief. Aragorn had a way to make him spill out his problems. He knew this well and had experienced the human's capability through the years of their friendship. Aragorn glanced at his elven friend for a moment, then finally gave in and let the stubborn elf to do whatever he wanted.
Legolas was waked up by some high pitch sounds. He had a difficult night to sleep after his watch. Icy chill and flaring pain constantly woke him from the dreams. Something was wrong with him.
He sat up and used his keen sight to look around for the origin of the noises. The one who took the last watch was Merry. Where was Merry anyway? Could Merry be in some kind of trouble? He then noticed Pippin's blanket was empty. It shouldn't be orcs, because the trees didn't show any sign of their present. He took his bow and walked quietly to where he heard the noises were from, not wishing to wake the others before finding out rather or not the hobbits were in trouble.
He found Merry under a tree, holding many apples. Surprisingly, the hobbit was looked troubled. He didn't hear Legolas approached, and he was certainly shocked when he heard the elf's soft voice.
"What troubles you, Master Hobbit?"
Merry turned around, "Pippin climbed up to the tree to get our breakfast, but he can't get down because some of the branches fell off and so he can't reach the next step."
Legolas smiled at the situation; it reminded him the time when he was an elfling. He put down his bow and said, "Don't worry, I will get him down."
Merry was happy to hear this. He shouted at the hobbit on the tree, "Pip! Legolas is going to help you!"
Pippin shouted back, "Please do! I don't want to stay up here any longer!"
The elf started to climb. As a wood-elf, he had been with trees for a long time, and surely he didn't have any trouble with the trees. However, it was not the case when he first started climbing.
(Flashback, Legolas was almost two years old in human age)
The little prince of Mirkwood was playing with himself as usual. His father was too busy with his works and his treasures to care about him again. He waited in the throne room for the entire morning already. When he heard the happy chirpings of the birds and the songs of the trees, he wanted to go outside. So he quietly left his father, not sure if his father heard him say goodbye, because Thranduil didn't say anything or even look up. Then again, he would never acknowledge his presence except during bedtime or on some weird occasions.
He always wondered why his father hated him so much, or at least that was what he thought. He believed in this because his father treated him differently than how other fathers treated their children, although Arail and Tekrir tried to assure him that their father loved him. He had seen the eyes of other fathers twinkled when they looked at their elflings. His father's eyes had never twinkled; they darkened. He couldn't remember the last time his father embraced him, or even smiled at him. He didn't know why it made his heart hurt when he watched other elflings playing with their father, but he knew it hurt.
Legolas came to the waterfall. He loved the music of the water. Tekrir once told him that the sea, a place that full of water, was a gift from Eru that sang the most beautiful music. He wanted to know what the sea looked and sounded like. Suddenly, he heard some chirping sounds on the grass. He saw something moving under a huge tree behind the waterfall; it was a little bird.
He gently picked up the bird and examined it. It was too small to know how to know how to fly.
"Why ar you here, wittle birr? Art you suppod to be on d' est wif yar ada, nana, bwodars, and sitars? Di you fall foom your chee? (Why are you here, little bird? Aren't you supposed to be on the nest with your ada, nana, brothers, and sisters? Did you fall from your tree?)" Legolas asked. The bird made some helpless squeaking sound to reply.
"Yar ada mut worri bou you. . . not'a my ada. . . (Your ada must worry about you. . . not like my ada. . .)"
Legolas looked at the tree. He had never climbed a tree before. He asked Arail and Tekrir to teach him before, but they both said an almost eight-year-old elf was too small to climb. He looked at the bird again. He knew that he needed bring the little bird back to his home.
"No worri I wu help ou go bak to your' oom. (No worry I will help you go back to your home.)"
The little elf smiled. He knew the bird was glad and was trying to thank him. He told the bird, "You haf to tay inia my pocat wue I kamb wup de chee. (You have to stay inside my pocket while I climb up the tree.)"
Legolas took that as a yes. He put the bird slowly into the left pocket on his shirt and looked up at the big tree for a moment. He had to do this for the bird to get home. He nodded to himself, then jumped up to reach the first branches. He had very hard time to climb, because he was too short to reach the next branches. He told himself to try hard for the poor little bird.
With a false step, Legolas' heart jumped as he slipped and fell, falling through the sharp branches and onto the grassy ground. He felt his heart beat so fast that he was afraid it might jumped out from his body! He struggled to sit up when he heard some soft squeak in his pocket. He quickly opened the pocket and peaked inside, a smile spread on his cheek as he found the bird was unharmed. He petted the bird a little, and determined to try again. He nodded to himself and tried again. After that first fall, he reminded himself to be more careful. He needed to bring the little bird back to its parents safely.
The elf continued to climb. He could feel the wind blowing around him, small droplets from the waterfall hitting his skin. They were all refreshing and soothing. He could hear the faint chirping sounds above. They must come from the little bird's brothers and sisters! He concentrated to locate the nest from the branches.
While he was searching, the little bird suddenly peaked out from the pocket. The elf immediately alarmed and caught the bird before it could jump off.
Legolas scolded with his best voice, trying to imitate his father's tone, "Dinn't I tell you notto get o foom de pocat? You cood get hurr! (Didn't I tell you not to get off from the pocket? You could get hurt!)"
The little bird must be very exciting at seeing his family, but Legolas needed to make sure the bird wouldn't fall off before he could reach the nest. "You undatanow? Stay'nd not mof! (You understand now? Stay and not move!)"
The elf smiled and took that as a yes, so he put the bird back inside the pocket. He closed his eyes and listened at the chirping sounds. Once he was certain at the position of the origin, he resumed his movement.
The higher he climbed, the louder the sounds became. He could see the nest. He quickly reached the branch where the nest was, excited to bring the bird home. There were three small birds in the nest, but they all looked a little bigger than the little bird. Their parents were nowhere in sight. They were probably looking for the little bird, Legolas thought. The birds were not distress at seeing Legolas. They knew of the first born and they knew this little elf meant them no harm.
Opening the pocket and holding the bird in his small hands with great care, he set it down in the nest with its siblings. Legolas watched as the birds wrestled playfully with one another, happy at the return of the little bird. Their parents returned shortly; they probably heard the voices of their children and came back to see what happened. They were delighted to see the safe return of their child and nuzzled it with affection. Something about this scene made the child's heart ached. Somehow, he wished it would be him who was the little bird.
Legolas forced himself to dismiss this idea while he heard the little bird sang its thanks to him. He smiled at it and said, "Bye bye, wittle birr."
He wanted to get away from the birds as fast as possible. It was not that he wasn't glad to see the little bird happy, but the feeling of void was getting greater and greater as he watched it with its family. He tried to stop thinking about everything as he climbed down the tree. The sun had retired to its chamber below the horizon already, everything was very dark and Legolas couldn't see clearly.
Tears started to fall down uncontrollably. He didn't know why he shed the tears. The sound of waterfall that was previously soothing became the sound of distress. He didn't look carefully at his steps and the branch that his foot landed on broke, causing him to loose his balance and fell down. He broke many branches as he fell from the high height. He was sure that if he would die, but he landed on a stronger branch, with his right arm landed first. He cried out from the pain as his arm snapped, and unconsciously curled up in a tight ball. Tears streamed down his fair face as the pain consumed all his thought. He waited for the initial shock to lessen a little, then he moved slowly and managed to sit up against the trunk.
His arm hurt. He was still in the half way of the tree. Now he was unable to get onto the ground. He cried, and buried his face in his knee. No. He couldn't let his father saw him like this, crying. His father's words rang through his head like the endless rain, "No son of mine will shed a single drop of tear." He couldn't let his father hate him more. . . but he thought to himself, *Will ada even bother to look for me?*
Thranduil was informed by his servants at the middle of his meeting with the ambassadors from Lothlorien that Legolas was not found the entire afternoon. At first he was in rage and scolded at his servants for their stupidity for interrupting his foreign affairs for nothing. He thought Legolas was probably ran off somewhere and play, and so he dismissed his servants and went back to his meeting.
However, as darkness claimed Mirkwood and there was no word of Legolas, he started to become worry. There was no news of orcs' traces within the kingdom, nor the giant spiders were active during these days. However, Thranduil's heart couldn't settle down, so he ended the meeting and excused himself when he went off to call for his older sons and some elves to form search parties.
"We will cover the area from here to the waterfall area." Tekrir informed Thranduil, while holding his older brother's sleeve, trying to keep him in place, "Where will you and the others be?"
Arail didn't wait for his father's reply, "Stop the talking already, will you? Legolas is in danger and I need to go save him!"
"I will lead a party to the north east, near the mountain side. Rean and Roltelo will divide the rest of the elves into groups to search the rest of the kingdom."
The crown prince's face twisted in disbelieved. Even In the dark, everyone could guess his expression, for they were all surprised to hear this, "What makes Rean agree to do this? I am sure he doesn't want to waste his precious time to look for Legolas!"
Thranduil sighed in weariness, "Never mind about the detail." He had had a private talk with Rean's resistance in joining the search parties. The talk went badly to a point that he raised his hand to strike his son, trying to make the arrogant prince take back his words. How could it possible for a brother be so cold-hearted toward his younger sibling that he wished for his doom? In the end Rean submitted, not because of his heart for Legolas but because of Thranduil's command.
Tekrir sensed his father's distress and said to Arail, "Let's not let more time passes." The older brother nodded and they both disappeared into the darkness.
Legolas' name was on their lips as they ran. They listened carefully to any sound, but found none. The moon was already high above on the sky, spreading light for them too see the path ahead. They soon came to the waterfall and there was still no sign of their youngest brother.
"Legolas, where are you?" Arail shouted Legolas' name in desperation as he ran. What could happen to the little elf? He shuddered at the thought that his youngest brother was taken captive by the orcs or was eaten by the giant spiders. He mentally slapped himself for thinking such horrors ending for Legolas. He felt Tekrir grabbed his arm to halt him.
"Did you hear that?"
Arail listened closely, and heard the faint sobbing sound on the tree that was masked by the thunder noise of waterfall. It would go unnoticed by anyone without the keen hearing of the elves. "LEGOLAS?" He cried loudly as he approached the tree.
"Legolas? Are you up there?" Tekrir shouted, looking up the tree to see any sign. But it was too dark, and the branches and leaves were too many that they blocked the view of the higher portion.
The little elf trembled while he tasted his salty tears. He was hurt and hungry, and most of all, he was afraid. It had been a long time since he was on the tree. A faint sound of his name passed through his ears and he couldn't believe what he heard. It sounded like Arail's voice, but he shook his head and thought it was only his imagination. However, he heard another sound again and held his breath. Someone was calling him! He called out, "Ral?" he looked around and started to cry harder, "I'm scare, Ral! Where are you?"
The two brothers were delighted to hear the responses. Arail shouted back, "Don't worry, Legolas. I am here. I will come get you. Just stay at where you are." He nodded to Tekrir and went up to the tree. He kept talking to Legolas as he climbed, which made it easier to find where the little elf was. When he found him, a sense of protectiveness overwhelmed him. The child's face was full of tears. Scratches on his face and hands through the dim elven light, and he was holding his right arm tightly.
"Are you hurt?" Arail asked tenderly, examining the right arm in great care. It seemed like the arm was dislocated. Legolas nodded in silent, tears still flooding down on his cheek. "Shh! Don't be afraid. I am here now," he soothed as he gathered the child into his arms, careful at not causing further damage.
He elegantly got down onto the ground. He didn't exchange words with Tekrir as they hurried back to the palace, where Legolas' wound could be treated. Legolas rested his head on Arail's shoulder and soon let the tiredness claimed him.
The little elf woke up on his bed when the healers checked his body. They asked him so many questions and poked at many places at his body that he wished he could just get away, but Arail gave him a stern look that made him stay still and quiet during the whole process. Tekrir sent words to other search parties that they found Legolas already.
"What were you doing up there?" Arail asked while he was watching the healers finished bandaging the child's arm. The healers were dismissed afterward.
"Wittle birr fell lan foom da chee."
Arail tried very hard to understand the language, but he couldn't digest anything except he heard the word `fell' and maybe something about cheese. `What did the cheese have to do with the whole thing?' he thought. He was about to ask Legolas to repeat again, although he knew he wouldn't understand it anyway even if Legolas repeated them many times, but Tekrir translated the words for him, "He said, `Little bird fell down from the tree'."
The oldest prince was relief to have the translation, but he couldn't staring at Tekrir and wondering how Tekrir knew what Legolas said but he, as the oldest who supposed to have more experience with younger siblings, couldn't. He shook his head and turned back to the little elf and raised his voice, "You could have come to ask me for help! You are too little to climb! "
Arail regretted his tone when he saw tears started to form in the shinny grey eyes. He became nervous when the little elf tried to muffle the sob. The wide innocent eyes looked at him with fear. Then the child couldn't hold anymore and started to cry.
The crown prince wanted to kick himself for this. `Why did I have to make him cry in the first place? How am I supposed to stop this?' he asked himself mentally. He didn't what to do with a crying Legolas. Was he supposed to hold the child? Should he sing some old stories now? Or should he bring Legolas some toys that the child loved? Or maybe he could make some funny faces to stop the elfling from crying. . . His chains of thought were destroyed completely when Legolas cried louder and backed up a little toward his other brother.
When Arail saw the child cried harder, he said desperately, unaware of his loud voice which scared the child away, "Please don't cry!" However, Legolas crawled to Tekrir and sobbed in his shirt. Tekrir shook his head, knowing Arail's attempt was fertile. The calmer prince placed Legolas onto his lap and held out something on his palm.
"Shhh. Do you want a lemon drop? It tastes really good," He asked gently, while rocking the child back and forth.
Legolas stopped sobbing and sucked his thumb while looking at the yellow crystal with great amount of curiosity and wonder. Tekrir wiped off the tears on the elfling's face with his sleeve. He held the candy close to his mouth, then opened his mouth in a circle and said, "Ahh. . . Open you mouth, Little Greenleaf."
The child opened his mouth like his brother did, then the drop was put in his mouth. The lemon and honey tastes dissolved on his tongue and a smile appeared on his face.
"Do you like it?" The elfling nodded as he relaxed against his brother.
Tekrir said in a warm tone and smiled, "Remember, don't swallow it, alright?" And Legolas nodded enthusiastically.
Arail watched the whole exchange, couldn't help but feeling a little jealous. He was supposed to be the one who comforted Legolas! Not that he particularly loved children, nor could he tolerate them, but Legolas was different. He was a sweet child, not like other troublesome brats. All he desired was to be his little brother's hero, but somehow he just didn't know how to succeed. He then remembered Legolas didn't eat for the entire day except for breakfast, so he suggested, "I am going to fetch you some food. What do you like to eat?"
Legolas heard his tummy made some funny noises, thus forgot all the angry and mean voices his oldest brother used, as well as the fact that he just cried. He said without a second thought, bright smile on his fair feature, "Pori wif huni. Wot' af huni!"
Arail repeated the phrase several times inside his head. He saw Tekrir shot him a sympathetic look and he knew his younger brother offered to help, but he determined to solve the language on his own. He thought vigorously, `What does Legolas usually like to eat? Sweet things. . . and certainly not solid food, since his teeth are strong enough. So it is something soft, easily to swallow, and sweet'. His brain suddenly clicked and he understood it. He repeated it to Legolas to make sure he got it correctly, "Porridge with honey? You want a lot of honey in it? I will go make some for you really quick."
Legolas smiled brightly at him and said, "Yess! Pori wif huni!"
A feeling of success rushed through Arail's vein. He was so glad he understood what the little elf said that he practically danced outside to the kitchen. He would make the porridge. In his opinion, the cooks were terrible at guessing Legolas' taste in food.
Tekrir smiled at the way his older brother acted, and then he turned to Legolas to ask about his `adventure' today. The child was full of enthusiasm when he told the story; it seemed like he had forgotten the bad parts already and concentrated on talking about the birds. Tekrir praised Legolas' bravery, making the little blushed and hid his face under the blanket. The older brother then tickled him, causing the little elf giggled and begged for him to stop the ticklish attack. They stopped playing when Thranduil opened the door and rushed to bed. A sigh of relief escaped his lips when he saw Legolas was alive, although he had an injured arm. He quickly held his youngest son in tight embrace.
"Don't do this to me again, Legolas!" He choked out his voice. He had gave up his hope when he couldn't find him anywhere, but now it was like an miracle by the Valar that his son was well. Legolas sobbed in his father's shoulder. This was the first time that he knew his father cared about him.
Thranduil heard the footsteps approached and saw Arail returned with Legolas' food. He took the bowl from the tray and feed the hungry little elf.
Legolas swallowed and shook his head when his father held out a spoon. He wanted to save some for his father and brothers. He asked, "Ada and Ral and Teki no wa pori?"
"No. Don't worry about us. We are not hungry. Why don't you finish all of it?" Thranduil smiled at the child's innocence.
Legolas opened his mouth and soon ate all the porridge. He started to feel very sleepy. He didn't even feel it when his father wiped his mouth.
Thranduil lowered him onto the bed and whispered, "Sleep, little one." He heard the child murmured something before he felt asleep, "Can I haf da lemon dop morow? (Can I have the lemon drop tomorrow?)"
He kissed Legolas' forehead, "Yes, whatever you want."
Thranduil and the two princes left the room quietly. Arail couldn't help but laughed at his father's promise, "You are going to rotten his teeth by those candies."
(End of Flashback)
Legolas smiled at the memory. That was when he started to steal all the candies away from the kitchen.
A grin appeared on his face when he finally came to where the hobbit was. He teased, "A nice view up here, isn't it Master Pippin? Perhaps we should stay here for a while!"
"Please don't joke about this, Legolas!" Pippin cried out nervously.
The elf extended his hand toward the hobbit, who gladly accepted it and held onto the elf like his life was depended on it while Legolas was climbing down. They reached the ground in a shift of moment. Pippin was more than happy that his hairy feet were finally able to feel the soil. He gave his thanks to the elf, who smiled gently, "Let us go back to the camp and rest a while longer. We will have to move on after the meal."
[Thranduil's palace, Mirkwood]
Everyone elf in the palace heard a bloody scream that emitted from the youngest prince's bedroom. Tekrir, whose room was right next to Legolas', was woken by this scream in this beautiful morning. Since Legolas is on a journey, so the scream couldn't belong to him. It sounded very familiar, it was probably belonged to. . .
Another scream was shouted out. This confirmed Tekrir's suspicion. He ran to the source of the scream swiftly, and found Arail was trying to get himself out of the mountain of packs.
"Arial! What happened!?" Tekrir stared with his wide azure eyes. Then it hit him that those were the things that Arail asked, or rather demanded, Legolas to bring on the journey. The crown prince must have opened the closet and completely unaware of what were inside.
Arail was mad. He was beyond angry that smoke seemed to come out from his red face. He managed to pull himself out of all the things and yelled, "I AM GOING AFTER HIM!"
"Calm down, Arail. How can you go after him when you don't know where they are now?" Tekrir tried to reason with him, but failed as the older brother was ready to stomp outside. He didn't have much choice, so he raised his arms above his head and aimed at Arail. He swung his arms, and knocked down the irrational prince. He apologized to the fainted from, "I am so sorry." He didn't think he could have beat Arail if he wasn't so off-guarded. He wetted his lips and called the guards, who were standing outside and listened to the whole thing. They were all bright enough to know it was not a good thing to make go against the crown prince's wish, but there was no alternative choice. They helped Tekrir to tie the unconscious form on the bed, making sure that the restraints were tight enough.
"Don't worry. We will just keep him here until he cools down a bit," Tekrir said, leaving his brother in his `peaceful sleep.' He would just have his father to deal with the frustrated prince.
After a few more days, the fellowship finally arrived Rohan. They had no time to admire the kingdom now. They quickly went to the castle to meet Rohan's king Eomer. The guards recognized the group, who heroically helped Rohan against the enemies during the War of the Ring.
Aragorn stepped forward and said to one of the guards, "Please send words to your king, saying that King Elessar of Gondor wish to speak with him for an urgent business." The guard bowed and followed the command. Soon later the guard led the fellowship to the main hall. Eomer's face brightened when he saw them, but he was afraid of the news that they had. It must be something bad that caused the companions to regroup again to travel all the way to Rohan. In these two years they had remained in close contact. They often visited Rohan and he had gone to Gondor a few times also when he could spare time to do so, but this visit didn't look like a light- heartened one.
"Nice to see you again, my friends!" He welcomed them and gestured them to follow him, "You must be weary. I have told the cooks to prepare some food already. This way, please."
Once they arrived to the dining room, the hobbits threw down their belongings and launched for the food, eating like there was no tomorrow. Eomer smiled in understanding and invited the others to sit down. The fellowship started to explain their intention in this visit to the king.
Eomer thought deeply for a moment and sighed, "This is indeed a great burden for all of you, especially Legolas." He looked at the elf, reminding himself that he shouldn't use sympathy toward him, "I am sure you can find the cure and defeat the evil. However, I know of many rare stones within Rohan but I am not aware of a magical one."
Legolas' heart couldn't settle down after he stepped in the territory of Rohan. He felt a strange coldness piercing through his soul. His left arm and chest were aching too much that he couldn't concentrate on the conversation. He remained silent, not trusting his voice if he talked. He gripped on the side of the chair, tried to ignore the black spots dancing on the back of his eyes as he pretended listen to the discussion.
"Do you notice any strangeness in certain area? The stone is foul and I would not be surprised if the living beings would be affected by its presence," the wise asked.
Eomer's face grew dark, "There is such place in Rohan; it has been untouched by anyone for many years already. I know of its location but I have no knowledge on what danger would be in it."
The fellowship looked at each other. They had to take the risk. Aragorn said, "Lead the way."
Legolas was worried and didn't want the hobbits to come along, but he was glad when Eomer voiced this opinion for him. However, the spiritual hobbits insisted on going to this `adventure.' The young king sighed in defeat and led the fellowship to the Misty Forest, with them were some loyal and able guards of Rohan. The horses were frightened before they reached this place. They were very disturbed by something in the forest that even Legolas couldn't calm them down. Thus, they were forced tie the horses on a tree outside the forest and walked on foot. The sight sent chills down to everyone's spine. Nobody had walked upon the abandoned trail for years already. Mist of foul air covered the surrounding. Trees of strange shapes were standing limply in the dark, lifeless and still. The remains of dead animals were everywhere. Tried blood was still visible on the ground.
Frodo asked quietly, "What happened in here? We haven't seen a living thing since we entered the forest." He was clearly troubled by this environment as the rest of the hobbits.
"I know not. The actual reason was unknown, but rumors had said there were ghosts around. No one had seen those ghosts, or no one had lived to see them." Eomer answered truthfully. It was not the answer that the hobbits would love to hear, but he knew he shouldn't lie about the fact that lied in front of their eyes.
Legolas' tightened the cloak around his body as he walked. He was shivering. The further he walked, the colder he felt. He had never felt this way before. The coldness wasn't from the surrounding; it was coming from his heart. He rubbed his arms with his hands unconsciously. He looked at the others. It seemed like they didn't feel anything unusual. He wondered why he would feel this way. A thought occurred to him that they might be getting closer to the stone.
Eomer suddenly fell backward, as if he was knocked down by something in front of him. The guards were alarmed and went to their king, but Eomer gestured a sign, telling them that he didn't need help.
"Are you alright?" Sam asked heartedly.
Eomer nodded, his eyes stared ahead credulously, "Yes, Master Samwise." He stood up and extended his hands, trying to touch something that his eyes couldn't see.
Gandalf walked closer to where Eomer was standing. He narrowed his keen eyes and swung his staff in the air, however, it was not air that he hit. . . it was something solid. It emitted a huge light when the stuff made contact with whatever it hit, causing the wizard stepped backward.
Frodo widened his eyes, "What was it, Gandalf?"
"It is like there is an invisible wall." Eomer said, almost talking to himself. He drew his sword and hit it against the wall, testing some areas above that his arms couldn't reach. The wall didn't seem like have an end. He turned to his guards and ordered, "Check to see if there is a path that we can continue forward." They obeyed immediately and ran off.
The wizard's expression grew solemn, "It is a magical barrier." Merry and Pippin was excited hearing it, for they had never seen a barrier before. They touched it with their small hands.
Aragorn frowned as he inspected the barrier, "Do you supposed we can break through it, Gandalf?"
Gandalf thought of the possibility, but then he shook his head, "I don't know of a way to break it. This barrier is unnatural. It can resist my magic by absorbing it. Whatever it is, something must be very important on the other side of the barrier."
"We can try underground," Gimli tested the soil with his axe, "It is very soft and I am sure it won't be hard to dig."
"It won't work. Barrier is limitless. The only one who can get through this is the creator of the barrier; only the creator had the power to break it."
Legolas was standing away from the others, staring ahead without the control of his thought. Something was calling him, making his blood sang in his vein. His left hand moved slowly to the barrier. Fingertips traced the smooth surface, lazily making some strange character on the wall. Glimmers appeared and became brightened as the time passed. The light started to extend to the entire wall and the sound of cracking echoed in the darkness.
Everyone but one noticed the change in the barrier and became alert. They backed away from the barrier, watching closely at what was progressing. Aragorn saw Legolas made no move to get away, thus he ran forward to grab the elf. It was not what he expected to find. Legolas' eyes were staring blankly at the barrier, like his soul was not in his body.
"Legolas! Snap out of it!" He yelled at Legolas while shaking the limp form. The wall looked as if it would break soon. Seeing no sign of recognition and acknowledgment, Aragorn carried the elf in his arms and ran toward a huge trunk, blocking their bodies from the explosion of the wall. He forgot to breathe when a great force blew against his way. Instinctively, he closed his eyes and tightened his grip onto his friend. He could tell Legolas was breathing fast and shallow from the movement of his chest, his body was unusually icy and shaky. It was not known that elves were prone to coldness, but he knew he needed to do something about Legolas' lack of body warmth.
The force started to lessen. Aragorn opened his eyes slowly and found Legolas staring at him, grey eyes widened in confusion. "Are you alright, Legolas?"
"Can't breath," it was what the elf said. His voice was so light that it sounded as if he didn't get enough air. Then Aragorn suddenly understood why and released the elf from his tight grip. He mumbled words of apology while watching Legolas exhaled a deep breath into his lung. Legolas clasped firmly at his cloak and asked, "What just happened?"
The human raised his eyebrows, observing his friend closely, "You do not remember?" A shake of head from the golden prince was his answer. He was about to ask more, but the noises from the hobbits interrupted him.
From the high pitch voice, he guessed it was Pippin who said, "Look! The barrier is gone!" He frowned at what he heard and stepped out from behind the trunk. He watched as the hobbit walked pass where the barrier once was. It was indeed broken.
They were about to move forward, but the monsters they encountered in Mirkwood appeared, circling around them and trapping them inside. Everyone drew out their weapons.
The hobbits cried out, "We are trapped!"
"We can't get out!"
"What should we do?"
Gimli grumbled loudly, holding his axe in his hands to get ready, "We kill them, of course!"
They all let out a battle cry as they charged toward the monsters. Aragorn warned Eomer and his guards as he swung his sword to cut down a monster, "Do not have and physical contact with them!"
"Be careful, Mister Frodo!" Sam yelled out as he killed a monster that was approaching with his small sword. Frodo thanked his friend and continued to fight.
While the others were fighting for their life, Legolas was walking toward a voice. He didn't know why, but he felt he needed to follow. The voice seemed to echo with his heart. He unconsciously walked away from the battle field and toward a wide opening. A dark symbol like the one on the barrier suddenly appeared on the ground. He suddenly regained his conscious when he saw something dark appeared in front of him. He looked around, worrying at where the others at when he found himself all alone. Out of curiosity, he walked up and took the object in his left hand. It was small, about the size of thumb. It looked like a broken piece of a bigger stone.
Legolas realized that this was a piece of Stone of Palayne. He needed to find the others now about his discovery. Then, he heard the sound of battle behind him. Hissing in elven curses, he quickly ran back. Once the scene was in front of his eyes, his body stopped moving. Somehow he couldn't control it and he just stood still to watch his friends fighting in horror, wishing they would be fine, while he struggled to move. He stopped abruptly when he felt somebody was behind him. "We meet again so soon, Legolas." From his melodic voice, Legolas knew it belonged to the Dark Wizard.
Lotatio stepped in front of him and let out a smirk, "You guess correctly." His mouth wasn't moving, but Legolas heard his voice inside his head, "It is fun to watch them playing with my pets, isn't it?"
He gestured the dark slimy monsters on the battlefield, "Morth," the flying dragons, "Rhibmin," the shape shifter, "Pein," he smiled at the huge eyes of Legolas, "and of course I can't forget about the yrkh!"
Legolas became nervous when he saw a band of orcs suddenly swarmed down to the battlefield. He wanted to help his friends badly. He could see tiredness started to form in their eyes and their movements were slowing down.
"Of course you can go help them, but under one condition." The Dark Wizard offered.
The Mirkwood prince could do nothing but to listen to what Lotatio had in mind, "Join me. We can bring Melkor and his servants back to this world and become the rulers of the world. If we combine our forces, we can even surpass the power of Eru. Why endure so much suffers, when I can take away your pain and give you the power that you can not imagine? Will you agree to join me?"
*No!* was Legolas' answer. This was the only answer he knew and he didn't have a second thought about it.
Lotatio smiled at the prince's resistance. "Fine, I shall let you keep the piece for now."
Legolas couldn't understand his intention. The Dark Wizard desired the power of the stone, but yet he let him to have one of its pieces? And why would he keep him alive when he refused to join his side?
The son of Melkor laughed, "Don't worry about me. Besides, you will betray your family and friends and bring me the stone willingly in the end. You are the next Dark Lord, after all. You will become one of us in time."
*I will never commit such treason act!* Legolas clenched his fist. His voice was loud and confident, he was standing tall and strong, but he had doubt within his heart. He asked himself, I will never do it, will I?
Lotatio said slowly, "Why don't we wait and see?" and vanished into the darkness.
Once the Dark Wizard disappeared, Legolas reclaimed the control of his body. However, pain engulfed his consciousness and he felt into the embrace of darkness again.
The battle was hard to fight, but an army of Rohan came to aid them. Eomer had ordered them to come to the forest when he had not returned by sun down. If it were not for the extra help, the fellowship would surely be killed.
Nobody had seen a certain elf the entire time. They started to worry when they still couldn't find him after the battle. They divided up into groups and searched him.
Aragorn was blaming himself. He didn't slow down to let the hobbits catch up with him. His mind was keep screaming, *I should have stay close to Legolas.* He would not forgive himself if something ill had happened to his friend.
Happiness and worries burst in his heart at the same time when he found Legolas lying on the ground. He ran to his friend's side and shook him gently, "Legolas?" He turned the elf around and pushed some hair away from the elf face. He saw sweat started to form on the forehead. The skin was cold and clammy. The elf gave out a small moan.
Aragorn could feel someone behind him. "Go find Gandalf now!" He barked. He didn't mean to use such a harsh voice, but he was very frustrated at himself now.
The hobbits obeyed immediately and ran off.
A moment after, Legolas started to wake up. Aragorn whispered words of encouragement in elvish. The elf held up something on his palm and murmured with all his strength, "We have one piece now."
"What shall we do next, master?" one of the orcs stepped up toward the throne. The golden hair wizard smirked at his subject, "Just follow the plan."
End of Chapter 12
Whoo! I am done with chapter 12 already! This chapter is very long, isn't it? ,_,
I believe there are at least ten more chapters to go for Struggle To Live, then I will write a sequel. I will possibly write a prequel also. I know I still have a half way to go before I finish this fic, but I am very excited about what ideas I have and I want to share them with you all!
The reason for the prequel is that I put way too many flashbacks in Struggle To Live. So I think it will be better if I cut them down a little and write a different story about the time period before Struggle To Live takes place. I will either only write the sequel, or write the prequel AND the sequel at the same time. The prequel will probably go from Legolas' youth to the time when he joined the fellowship, and at least half of the prequel will concentrate on Legolas and Aragorn's adventures (may include an elaboration on what Elladan, Elrohir, and Aragorn did to Legolas when Aragorn met Legolas the first time)! Please tell me what you think about the idea of sequel and prequel!
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