The Return of the Shadow - Prologue:The first battle


The elves in the first battle believed they had destroyed him. True they had destroyed the forces of darkness fighting for him, but they had not destroyed him. They believed they had, though. That was not true. They had merely destroyed his mortal shell. They were fools; he could not be killed. Still they had gone away in triumph. His armies were vanquished and he was without a body. Still his spirit could sustain itself until a host could be found.

He was one of the Maiar, descendants of the Valar; he could not be killed. When they had stabbed his body with their swords and arrows they believed they were defeating their enemy. In truth he had been gone from his body long before that. He had watched from above, feeling no remorse for his useless husk.

He wandered among the dead searching for a host. He did not hold out much hope, the only creatures left alive were men and elves neither, of which he could inhabit. Elves were too strong, they became too accustomed to their own will, too wise, to be able to control for long. Men were easily corrupted but their lives were too fleeting to be of any use to him.

He would have to find an elf child, and there was little hope to find one here, on this bloody battlefield. It could not be just any elf child either. They would have to have a strong will if they were to support his spirit. Provided he did find one, it would be a delicate task to shape their will to suit his own needs. He had to bend their will just enough to make them obey him. If he broke their will than any elf they met would be able to sense his evil. He needed them to have a will of their own so it would mask his darkness. If they were too independent then they would cast him out. He would have only one shot at it, assuming he had any.

As he was drifting over the gore, he heard a wail. A few yards away lay a female elf. She was dressed in a soldier's clothes but there was no mistaking her gender. She was lying dead on the ground. An Orc hatchet was buried in her back, a hair width away from a sling that rested there as well. The wailing had been coming from the sling. An elfling lay there. She could be no more than a few days old. It was too much to hope for. Could this be the child he needed? He certainly hoped so. He picked her up and walked back to his cave.


King Thranduil wept silently. He was remorseful. If only he had let her know it was all right. But it hadn't been all right. And he could not have lied to her. She had betrayed his love. He had given her his heart, and how did she repay him? She had an affair with the captain of his guard. He had trusted her, made her his Queen.

He felt terrible enough that she had gone but as if that wasn't enough, she had taken his daughter with her. But it hadn't been his daughter. It had been Capsem's. At the thought of that name fire raged in him. He had exiled him from Mirkwood, but that did nothing to quell his anger. After a while he lapsed into remorse again. He should have gone to her when Nenuesa and Legolas were born. But pride had kept him from going to her, comforting her. If only he had assured her it was all right. He should have told her that he would love her and her daughter just the same. He had tried to but as soon as he saw the twins his resolve crumbled. They had been conceived around the same time and so they were born at the same time.

He still had Legolas. His heart brightened a little at the thought of his son. He still had an heir to take over the kingdom when he departed for the undying lands. He would heal, If he loved Legolas he would heal. And already his heart began to mend.

That night his happiness seemed to disappear with the sun. He lay in bed weeping into his pillow. He did not go to her in the night the twins were born, but he could have gone to her in the morning. If only the call for war had not distracted him from searching for her. It had never even entered his wildest dreams that she would go fight in the war. And even if the thought had ever entered the outer fringes of his mind, he would never have thought she would take her daughter with her. It was so foolish! She had gotten them both killed! Two of the people he loved most had been killed beacause of her foolishness. Despite that Nenuesa was Capsem's daughter he had still found himself loving her. He would have accepted her as his own daughter. He could have told the court that both of the twins were his own.

He tried to get to sleep. Tomorrow Legolas was being crowned Prince of Mirkwood. And the King would announce that his wife had died in childbirth. It was merely for formality. Everyone at court already knew about Celestei's love affair. Finally he managed a fitful sleep.

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