Durndil was sitting in his throne room, sitting on what was known throughout the fortress as the Iron Chair.
Where is that blasted reptile? He thought irately, He should be back by now.
As if his master’s very words had summoned him, the great wyvern appeared, a huge black form blotting out the sky. It was evident from his fresh, strong strokes that the creature had spent the night somewhere, probably to recover from any injuries he might have attained.
As Durndil was watching the monster, the doors to his chamber burst open.
“You will pay for your insolence!” The dark prince cried as he turned, expecting a quivering orc in the doorway. What he got was a shock.
“Good evening my lovely ladies. I was just planning on fetching you,” he said, quickly recovering from his surprise. “I don’t know how your handsome blonde friend got in here, but he can be easily disposed at the same time I kill you,” he continued, eyeing Legolas.
“I though you needed us.” Layiwen said.
“Not anymore,” Durndil said, and then continued on in disgust, “Since my foolish army was stupid enough to kill the third maiden, I can no longer use the power of the stone.”
Deliphy and Layiwen had no idea what he was talking about, but his intent was clear enough. They pulled their knives in quick succession, and Legolas drew a wicked looking dagger out of his boot. Durndil laughed cruelly.
“Do you really think I’m afraid of the likes of you?” Red lightening suddenly shot out of his hands, scorching the three elves. Their cries of pain echoed off the walls.
“So you see,” Durndil said, sneer directed at the three forms lying crumpled on the floor. “I hold more power than you can even imagine.” Legolas slowly rose to his feet, wincing as he did so. Raising his dagger he spoke, “I have come to honor the wishes of one whom you so carelessly slaughtered. Though I failed her many times before, here at the end, I shall not. I will slay you Prince of Shadow!” Legolas lowered his dagger until it was pointing at Durndil’s heart.
For a moment, the Dark Prince’s countenance showed real fear, but then he drew his swords and leaped toward the elf. As Legolas braced himself for impact, Durndil surprised him by sidestepping around. When Legolas realized what he was up to, it was too late. Durndil had a blade pressed against each of the unconscious maidens’ necks.
“I want you to watch elf, and see what happens to those who defy me.” He brought back the sword he had trained on Deliphy.
“Wait! Stop!” Legolas cried, and then to his amazement, someone echoed him.
“Stop now, servant of evil,” a cool feminine voice ordered.
Legolas trembled and feared to turn toward that voice, for it sounded so familiar, and yet it could not be whom he thought it was. The owner of that voice could not possibly be…
“You!?” cried Durndil, “How can it be so?” He asked, slowly backing away.
Legolas slowly turned until he was facing the impossible. “Aldariel,” he whispered in awe.
“Legolas,” she smiled. In unspoken agreement, the two met, and as one, they attacked. Although Durndil was able to parry both of their blows, it wasn’t as easy as before. Again and again they attacked, forcing the prince back until he was standing right in front of the window. Durndil’s sword clattered to the floor and he held his hands up in a pleading gesture.
“Please don’t kill me, he begged. A shouting from behind interrupted the battle.
“Aldariel, we found the stone!” was followed by an ecstatic Haldir and Farand as they burst upon the scene.
Hearing this, Durndil sneered, “Too bad for you, Princess, that you hesitated in killing me. It will be your last mistake.”
Layiwen was coming to.
“Not again.” She vaguely heard Deliphy say beside her. Shaking her head to relieve it of the fuzzy feeling it had attained, Layiwen say what had transpired.
“Aldariel?” she asked weakly. She watched her supposedly dead friend and Legolas pin Durndil against the wall. Then her joy knew no bounds as she heard her beloved’s voice ringing through the room. Her joy quickly turned to horror as she looked back at Aldariel.
“Look out!” Layiwen shrieked in warning. A crash of stones followed by a deep roar signaled the turning of the tide. Rocks smashed through the room, crushing everything in their paths. The cause of the destruction soon followed, elongated body filling the spacious interior, heading for Haldir. By this time Deliphy was fully awake.
What in the… A lot had happened in the very short time she had been out. Her sister was alive, and the love of her life had shown up out of nowhere. She noticed Haldir holding a fairly good sized stone and surmised this was the cause of their troubles. “Haldir! The stone!” She coughed out as she watched the wyvern crash through the wall and descend upon him.
Farand immediately reacted. Swinging his sword in a broad arc, he held the creature at bay so Haldir could escape. Infuriated, the wyvern, eyes blazing red, lunged for the Captain; but a slim figure interposed itself and released an arrow, skimming the monster’s hide and driving him backward with a screech of pain.
“Thanks,” Farand smiled at his rescuer.
“No problem,” Layiwen answered.
Legolas grunted as the breath was knocked out of him. When his vision cleared, he saw Aldariel kneeling over him, desperately trying to move the rock that had his leg pinned to the floor.
As if in a dream, he saw Haldir running like fury towards Deliphy, carrying the small, grey, ordinary-looking object that was the cause of everything. He watched Durndil intercept the elf and send out a burst of energy, knocking Haldir over. He saw Deliphy attempting to defend the helpless elf, and then he saw her join her lover on the ground. He saw the Prince of Shadow recover the stone of power with a look of smug satisfaction on his handsome face. Legolas saw all, but could do nothing. Then, as suddenly as the battle had started, it stopped. Quiet settled upon the air that had before been filled with a cacophony of sound. As if on command, all eyes fell on the Prince.
“Now you have a choice,” he said breathlessly, “As of now, four thousand of my troops are marching on the elven kingdoms of Lorien and the Leafer Kingdom.” This elicited a gasp out of Layiwen. “Should you choose to heed me and do my bidding, I will order them not to strike; but should you refuse, your homes and kin would be destroyed.”
Aldariel knew, not just guessed, but knew he was telling the truth. She bowed her head. This was it then, the choice of all choices. She straightened, and holding her slim frame erect, Aldariel spoke. “What do you command of me.”
Durndil’s eyes gleamed with a feral light. “Good.” He placed the stone on a pedestal and bid the maidens to follow him. Feeling defeated, Deliphy and Layiwen followed Aldariel to stand around the innocent looking piece of earth. What had appeared even to Deliphy’s keen eyes to be flaws in the stone was revealed upon closer scrutiny to be engravings in a tongue she found unrecognizable.
“Now, replace the stones from your necklaces to their proper places of origin,” Durndil commanded.
Legolas, still trapped under the rock, watched all that transpired with fearful eyes. Farand, Haldir, and Legolas felt the odd sensation of being completely helpless. Though they could do nothing, ever with unmoving eyes, they watched.
With a heavy heart, Aldariel removed the glowing stone from its setting and placed it in the place from which it had been hewn. Deliphy and Layiwen followed suit, still at a loss as to what all this meant, but fearing the worst. The glow began to spread over the whole of the stone’s exterior, casting long shadows on the walls. The now-complete writing shone with the blue-grey hue of the ocean after a storm. Durndil crowed with delight.
“At last I shall rule this Earth with absolute power!”
Greedily, he began to read the ancient text. The speech was unlike anything the Children of Iluvatar had ever heard. Soft and melodic, with hinted at roughness in its patterns, the words stilled thought; and from the stone came a beautiful harmony, the sound of water in all its forms, from the crashing waves to the trickling streams. As the Prince of Shadow continued the incantation, the stone’s song gained an echo of darkness, and all who stood before it were amazed, for the stone seemed to sense the evil nature of the one summoning its power. In the end, the will of the stone was overthrown. Durndil, summoning its strength, was outlined in the same color and intensity of the stone. The energy coursed through his veins, so that it appeared he grew both in size and darkness. In this hour, Aldariel felt all hope perish, and despair darkened her thoughts.
Suddenly she remembered the words of the Valar, “When all seems hopeless, remember you have the blessings of Manwe and Varda.”
Deep inside her heart, Aldariel felt the beginnings of a wish. Once in full-bloom, the wish gave way to a request; and the Valar answered her call.