Struggle To Live - Chapter 9: The Council of Elrond

STRUGGLE TO LIVE


Summary for last chapter: Legolas confessed his identity to his father and friends.


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Chapter 9: The Council of Elrond


"I am the heir of Melkor."

Gimli tried to register what his best friend just said, but failed miserably. It wasn't possible for Legolas to relate to Melkor, let alone to be his heir. He didn't remember hearing Melkor courted with an elf. It struck him that, strangely enough, nobody had ever mentioned who Lotatio's mother was, and nobody had ever tried or even cared to seek for the answer.

Legolas didn't look up, but Gimli could see a flash of fear passing through the elf's bright eyes. It was the fear for rejection from his love ones.

Thranduil didn't say make a sound nor show a trance of feeling on his prideful feature as he stood up. "Ada. . ." Legolas whispered, not knowing if he should stop his father from leaving the room, leaving him all alone. *Will he abandoned me?* Nobody answered his question. He watched the King of Mirkwood walked out to the door.

Legolas wanted to go after his father, but Gandalf held the elf effortlessly down to the bed, "Give him some time." Tears started to stream down the confused face. He knew the wise wizard was right; anyone would need time to register the knowledge of their child being the successor of the dark lord, wouldn't they? It would take them even longer time to consider the acceptance. . . or rejection.

*Why did I tell them the truth? They don't have to know who I am. The truth could have buried with my death. . . But I don't want to lie anymore. I have to face the truth, even if it means being rejected.*

His thought was ended when the dwarf put a hand over his, and said enthusiastically, "If you think we will abandon you just because you are the heir of some dark lord, you are crazier than I thought you are. Your father just needs some time to think thoroughly." Gandalf nodded in agreement and smiled to the prince, who forced a weak smile on his tired and pale feature.

*How would his brothers take the news? Would they turn away from him also?* The wizard saw Legolas' mind was troubled greatly. That was understandable. "Rest now, child." Gandalf soothed the young elf, who wanted nothing more than the understanding from his father protested, but he also didn't want to think about anything; he just wanted to escape all the problems, so he let sleep claimed his consciousness. The wizard turned to Gimli, "I will take care of Legolas. There will be a lot to do tomorrow." The dwarf left reluctantly, not without casting one last look to the elf before closing the door.

The old wizard looked at the sleeping form. He knew that the prince didn't have much time to live, even though he performed a spell that would slow down the process. If what Legolas said was true, then the Middle Earth would be in great danger. They could barely defeat and banish Melkor with the help of the Valars in the War of Great; and they would have lost to Lotatio if he found the Stone of Palaye five thousand years ago. The One Ring caused enough troubles two years ago, now if the stone was to be recovered, then it would cause unthinkable damages. He heard that although the stone was a prototype of the ring, it didn't have lesser power. The stone would be more danger since the only controllers of the stone were the heirs of Melkor.

Why would Lotatio want to have Legolas on his side if he knew where the stone was already? He didn't need to use the curse to make Legolas surrendered. Even if the prince carried the blood of Melkor, his power shouldn't be awaken without some kind of trigger.

Besides, Lotatio's plan wouldn't slip to their ears if he would just find the stone and use it to open the gate to Illineal. It was almost as if the Dark Wizard wanted them to know. . .

But they needed to stop Lotatio from achieving his goal, and also they should try.
He would need to talk to Elrond about this.


~~~~~~~


Gimli's mind was deep in thought as he walked aimlessly down the hall. He didn't aware the fact that he passed his room a long time ago until he turned to the corner and ran into two hurrying figures. He was asked by a very solid and demanding voice, "Master Dwarf, how is Legolas?"

He looked up and found the crown prince and the third prince of Mirkwood. He answered Arail's question, "He is fine, but. . ."

"BUT WHAT?" Arail yelled in a loud voice that made Gimli winced. He couldn't contain himself and grabbed the dwarf by his shoulders. His eyes flashed dangerously.

Tekrir put a hand on his brother's shoulder, and asked in a much gentler tone than his brother's, "Is it about the markings he has? Do Mithrandir and Lord Elrond find out what they are?"

Gimli inhaled a breath. He knew it would be better if Legolas was the one who explained to his brothers about everything. . . but after seeing Thranduil's reaction to the revelation, Legolas might not have the strength to tell them, however, it wasn't right to tell everybody without the elf's consent, "I think it would be the best if you hear the explanation from Legolas himself. You better go tomorrow. . . because. . . he had a rough day."

"Alright, if you believe so, Master Dwarf," Tekrir smiled and tried to help Gimli to lessen his distress.

However, his oldest brother protested, "No! I need to know now! Either you tell me what is going on or I will find Legolas myself this instinct."

"No. You can't go to him now! Please understand."

The younger prince reasoned, "It's late already, Arail. We shouldn't disturb Legolas' rest. Gimli has his own reason to believe we should talk to Legolas ourselves, we should not force him to tell." He understood something bad must have happened, and Legolas was trying to deal with it, that's why Gimli didn't want them to see Legolas now.

"But what exactly is wrong with Legolas? Don't hide things from me! I need to know so I can save him. I can't bear to see him in pain again! Tell me now!" The crown prince demanded Gimli.

"But. . ." The dwarf stuttered.

Tekrir tried to calm Arail down, "Don't worry, Gimli said Legolas is fine."

Not listening a word his brother just said, Arail ran toward the direction to his youngest brother's room.

"Slow down. Don't ask Legolas now; give him some time to recover first." Gimli argued. Tekrir tried to stop him, but the muscular built Arail pushed them aside.

The crown prince hesitated a little when he reached the door. He quickly scan the room and looked at the sleeping figure on the bed. Gandalf looked up and knew he was going to demand the condition of his brother, "Calm down, Son of Thranduil. He is fine, at least for now."

"What do you mean by `for now,' Mithrandir? Is he alright or not?"

"We should discuss this matter outside; we should not disturb Legolas' rest."

"No. I am awake." Legolas smiled, but from his eyes everyone could see his distress.

Arail rushed to his brother's side and helped him to sit up, then he started to say many things and ask many questions that made Legolas' head spin, "Are you not well? I will go call Lord Elrond and Aragorn. Are you hungry or thirsty? I will go get you something to eat and drink. Why didn't the servants close the window?! It's too cold for you! Do you want more blankets? I should take you to my room, where it is much more comfortable, or . . ."

Legolas managed to cut in, "No needs for all those, Arail. I am alright."

"No! You are not alright! You lost too much blood! And you are much thinner than last time I saw you. Those insolent servants didn't feed you well, did they? I will have them all fired by the first ray of sun light tomorrow! You need some nutritive food; I should go hunt some fresh meat to make some of your favorite dishes right now. And I will go pick some flowers for you in the garden since you love flowers. It will make you feel better!" With that, Arail got up.

The young elf stopped the crown prince, "Just stay here, please. You don't need to do anything. I have something to tell you and Tekrir," he looked at his brothers nervously. "Although I know you will leave me all alone after I tell you what I have to say. . ." His voice became lower to whisper, "just like ada did."

"No! Of course I won't leave you! Tell me, I am your brother! And I will protect you from whatever dangers!" Arail embraced the trembling elf.

Legolas looked straight at him, passionate grey eyes met the proud blue ones, "Can you protect me from myself?"

"I don't understand. . ."

The young elf explained everything, while observing his brothers' reactions.

He was expecting them to have the same reaction their father had, but he found himself held tightly by his oldest brother, "Do you seriously think we will hate you just because you inherit the power of Melkor and Lotatio? I love you no matter what happens."

Tekrir gave him a warm smile, "Yes, Legolas. It doesn't matter that you are the potential dark lord. It is not your fault that you are the one. And I don't believe you will be the blood thirsty dark wizard like Melkor or Lotatio."

"Yes. We will find a way to cure you. You won't die or become a dark lord. I promise," the crown prince said.

"Thanks. . . But ada. . . he. . ."

The third prince comforted, "We will talk to father, he will understand."

Legolas nodded. He couldn't do much but hope. Then, it suddenly struck him that Rean still didn't know. He was too troubled with the new revelation and didn't realize he hadn't seen his brother since during the battle, "How is Rean? Is he hurt?"

Arail's anger rose. He couldn't understand why Legolas would still concern about Rean and was willing to take the blow for him while he fully knew that Rean didn't give a dame about him. "Don't mention that arrogant brat!"

"Rean is not hurt." Tekrir answered the question, "and he still holds his prejudice toward you."

"Don't bother with him, Legolas. His thick head can never understand you are not responsible for naneth's death!" Arail spat.

Legolas looked away sadly, "I am responsible. . . so he has every right to hate me, and I should hate myself also."

The crown prince shook his head, "How can you be responsible when you don't mean it to happen?"

"I think so. . . but it was because my birth that. . ."

Tekrir sat down on the bed. He put his brother on his lap and rocked him slightly, like he used to do when he was a child, "Legolas, what good can we do if we keep longing for the past and blaming ourselves for things that should be done but were not? Yes, you are the cause of naneth's death, but the most important thing to consider is that could anyone change what was meant to be? Besides, I am sure she doesn't want you to grief for her death. I know I and Arail don't, and your friends also don't want to see you sad. Now, the best thing you can do for the people you love is to struggle to live happily."

The younger elf nodded. He knew his brother was right. He couldn't change what already happened.

Arail said, "Why don't we spend some times together to talk? We haven't had much time together since you were little, Legolas. All the affairs concerns Mirkwood leave us no time at all."

Gandalf took the hint and prepared to leave. Gimli followed behind. He saw the smile on his friend's face and understood it would be the best to let the brothers be together.


~~~~~~~


Sunlight penetrated the window and woke the gold hair prince from his rest. He still felt a little weary, but decided it was about time to wake up. With a yawn, he pulled himself up slowly. He didn't remember falling asleep, but perhaps he was very tired last night and didn't realize it. He touched his left arm and left chest where the markings were; no pain. It was strange not to feel the pain he had been feeling the last few weeks.

"How do you feel?" Legolas' attention was swift to the man. He didn't sense Aragorn next to him. Aragorn was unsatisfied at his friend's reaction. He put a hand on the elf's forehead to feel his temperature.

"I am feeling fine. I was just shock because I didn't know you are here," Legolas looked around.

Aragorn smiled at the satisfaction that his friend's temperature was well. Knowing his friend was trying to find his brothers, he answered, " Arail and Tekrir went to have a talk with your father. The effect of the herb will make your senses slow for a while."

The elf nodded and smiled back at his friend. He blushed when his stomach suddenly made a sound telling him that he was hungry. Aragorn laughed, "Let's get some food. You haven't eaten for a while."

Legolas changed his attire quickly and went with Aragorn to the dining room. They could hear the laughter of the hobbits from the hallway already. The ranger informed, "Lord Elrond is going to have a council this afternoon. He wants to talk about the curse and about Lotatio's threat."

"Yes, it would be good. If Lotatio succeeded what he wanted to do, the Middle Earth would be in danger," Legolas was not startled at the fact that his friend knew already. He didn't feel burdened, in fact, he was glad he didn't have to explain to everyone.

"Let's worry about those things later; now we should follow the command of our stomach first," Aragon grinned widely when they finally came to the dining room.

"Legolas!" Frodo was happy to see his friend, "You look great!"

"We were so worry about you," Sam added.

Pippin cried out in between his bites, "We were very worry that we were not able to eat."

Sam raised his eyebrows, "But you were eating like a pig all yesterday night and this morning. I swear that you have eaten all the mushrooms there are in the whole country already."

"Well, that's because Mirkwood's dishes are wonderful!"

The elf smiled at the innocence of the hobbits. Merry called out, "Why are you standing there? Come and join us!" Aragorn and Legolas happily took the invitation and wolfed down whatever there were on the table. The cools and servants were busy at to satisfy their hungers.

After a while, Gimli and Faramir came in. "We are just about to find you two," Gimli said in a playful tone, "So you must be fine, elf! Just look at you, once you feel better you forget all the table manners!"

Legolas laughed and stated in a matter of fact, "That's because it has been a long time since I can eat without being fed by the others!"

Faramir smiled at the elf, "It's good to see you well, Legolas." Then he announced, "We try to find you because Lord Elrond wants us to meet at the library on the East Wing."

Aragorn and Legolas got up. The hobbits put down their food reluctantly and followed them. They came to the meeting room inside the library, where Elrond and Gandalf were waiting. Not long after they sat down, the other three princes of Mirkwood came.

Legolas stared at the vacant seat next to Elrond's. His father decided not to show up after all. *He doesn't care. . .*

Elrond started the discussion, "Friends, it is clear that we need to search for the Stone of Palayne and stop Lotatio from opening the gate to Illineal, but we need to decide who will go and what we will do after we retrieve the stone."

"I thought we already know how we will use the stone. We going to use it to break the curse on Legolas, aren't we?" Sam asked.

Merry added, "Yes, so what do we need to decide?"

The elf lord replied, "We need to consider the possible risk of using the power of it. I am not sure if it is the best way to treat the stone."

Arail punched his fist on the table and stood up, "But how else can we save Legolas? Lotatio is the only one who has the power to stop his own curse, and he is threatening Legolas' life to lure him to his side. So if we don't use the stone, the only way for Legolas to live is to have him become a dark wizard as Lotatio is intended. Are you implying that we should just let Legolas die, Lord Elrond?"

"No, the last thing I will do is to throw away the chance of saving Legolas. Although the stone can . . ."

"Ada." Legolas said faintly, which caused everyone turned to the door, where the king was standing.

Gandalf greeted, "You are just on time, King Thranduil."

Thranduil nodded calmly and sat on the vacant seat. The king didn't look like he slept any last night, but his expression was too neutral for Legolas to tell what he was thinking or feeling. Legolas tried not to make direct eye contract with his father, but he stole a few glances occasionally.

"As I was saying, although the stone can save Legolas' life, there is a chance that the stone will be misused," Elrond said.

Gimli wasn't too happy when he heard this statement, "Are you saying Legolas will use the stone to do bad deeds?"

Rean snarled, "Of course he will. He does have the blood of Melkor after all."

"Are you seeking for a fight?" Gimli held up his axe and was ready to strike. Rean had his bow on his hand. Legolas and Aragorn were about to restrain Gimli while Arail and Tekrir restrained Rean from attacking.

Elrond couldn't take this insolence anymore; he called out to stop them, "Peace, both of you." Gimli and Rean sat back down. He turned to the dwarf and explained, "Master Gimli, I am simply saying the stone is made out of the power of evil. I only fear anyone who uses stone might have the possibility to use it for evil, just as it was intended to do when it was made."

The dwarf was about to argue, but Gandalf cut in, "Lord Elrond's concern is right. However, there is only one way to destroy the stone: The power in the stone has to be all used. We can not protect the stone forever; it is too risky because there is no way to destroy Melkor; he will always be a threat and a possible user of the stone. I believe it is the best to use the power of the stone so it will be destroyed."

The dark hair elf nodded, "Alright, so we will retrieve the stone before Lotatio does and uses its power to help Legolas. However, Lotatio's threat cannot be underestimated and he is great to Middle Earth, so we need to find a way to destroy him."

"I don't understand why he didn't kill us when he has the chance or why he needs the stone if he is so powerful and can control so many monsters. I thought he almost succeed his goal five thousand years ago if it weren't for the alliance to stop him. Now most of the elves have sailed over the sea already and I don't think our forces can defeat him even if we want to. So can he just open the gate to Illineal on his own?" Frodo asked curiously.

"It seems like he needs a lot of time to recover his strength. His power isn't even close to what it was before he was defeated."

"That means he won't be a great threat unless he has the stone," Sam reasoned.

Aragorn agreed, "You are correct, Master Gamgee. Since we have the same goal, we can just concentrate our effort to get ahead in recovering the stone. Lotatio will definitely show himself to us."

Elrond said, "So we know what we need to do already, now we need to decide who will be on this journey. I will go myself, but I fear I am needed in Imladris."

Gimli stood up, "We know your duty, Lord Elrond. I know that I will go! I am counting you in already, Aragorn."

"Of course," Strider smiled.

Faramir, who stayed quiet during the discussion, said, "I will follow my king."

"We four will go also! It has been a long time since we are together on a journey! After this, we can tell Bilbo our adventure!" Frodo said excitedly. The other hobbits grinned in agreement.

The wizard rejected, "This is too danger for you."

Pippin protested, "It isn't at all! We can help during the journey."

The former ring bearer joined in, "Yes, we can really help. Please let us come too."

Elrond sighed; he knew there was no way out, just as when they were in Rivendell and they insisted on coming Mirkwood. He made a mental note to himself that he would never include hobbits in his council ever again, "It doesn't seem to do much harm, Mithrandir."

Gandalf surrendered, "Alright, you can go." The hobbits were overjoyed. The wizard continued, "I will certainly on this quest."

"I will join also." Everyone turned to the youngest prince.

Arail stopped his brother, "No. You need to stay here where it is safe. Lotatio will surely try more tricks, so it will be the best if you remain in Mirkwood. And your curse will leave you more venerable even though the process is slowed down already."

"This is about me, so I need to go. If I stay in Mirkwood, Lotatio may try again to attack us. I will endanger the life of our people."

"Then we will go with you," the crown prince said. Rean hissed at the word `we.'

Legolas shook his head, "You are needed to protect our people to sail to the haven. Besides, there are eight people with me on this journey."

Tekrir understood Legolas wanted to take care of the problem on his own. He said to his older bother, "I agree. We are needed here in Mirkwood, Arail. Let Legolas go." He looked at Thranduil, who looked distant and was silent, but he could see the sadness and concern written on his azure eyes when he looked at Legolas. He knew his father accepted the decision.

"Then it is decided," Lord Elrond concluded as he looked at the nine walkers, "the fellowship is regrouped."


End of Chapter 9

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