Elladan bent down and kissed his child on the forehead. He had already said goodbye to his wife. One of Alenor’s hands was curled into a tiny fist holding onto her light blanket. They had at least managed to win over that.
As Elladan straightened Alenor stirred her eyes showing they were coming back into the waking realm. Against himself Elladan held his breath.
“Father where are you going?” Alenor asked her voice thick with sleep.
“I have to go away,” Elladan whispered. Thankfully his child was still too sleepy to think up any questions.
“Okay,” she murmured and rolled over and was asleep once more. Elladan left the room closing the door quietly behind him. Outside the airy corridors of his father’s house let Elladan know that the heat would finally give away today. The smell of the rain was heavy in the air as he stole down the dark hallways heading for the stables. The torches set in bracket to aid Elves who stayed up late were out except for the few who sputtered weakly as if they tried to cling to life. The sun was slowly rising letting in enough light for the corridors so he could see where he was going. Elladan didn’t need much help though. He knew every twist and every turn of this house, he knew every nook and cranny and which of the cooks to go to get special treats. He knew every thing about this house and still he loved it and found new things nearly every day.
When he came to the stable he found Elrohir pacing restlessly stroking an imaginary beard.
“You’re going to get as bad as the mortal men with that,” Elladan called. Elrohir looked up and relief was so bright on his face you wouldn’t have needed a torch to navigate a pitch black tunnel. Behind him a two hundred or so Elves waited on horseback as their mounts frisked as if they guessed their masters tension. His own mount Midnight was waiting for him.
“I knew you’d come.” Elrohir cried hugging his brother. “Come we have not time to waste!” he swung elegantly up upon his own mount, Sunrise. Elrond had often teased his sons about their horses, for they were so different and the way their names had been given. Elladan walked up to Midnight and stroked the white crescent moon on his forehead, the rest of the horse was pitch black.
“Hey boy,” he whispered. The horse bucked Elladan with his head and neighed softly as if in delight. Just as elegantly Elladan swung up on Midnight’s back, his sword slapping gently on his legs. Once settled, Midnight like most of the horses began to frisk eagerly as if he sensed Elladan’s tension. Elrohir nodded and the group of elves left Rivendell.
The promised rain came neither that day nor the next, but it came in heavy sheets as the Rivendell elves came up to Thranduil’s castle. The King awaited him in the heavy rain, one arm bound in a sling from a wound he had received.
Elladan swung from his mount and brushed the wet hair that was sticking to his face.
“Lord Thranduil,” he said humbly. “We have answered your call. We are ready to ride under your command.”
“I cannot do much,” the king said sadly. “For I was wounded on the first day of the battle. My son fights in my stead and I am scared for his well being.” The king paused closing his eyes as if he was in pain. “You’ll ride out with the Lorien elves within the hour.” Elladan bowed his head and left the commands to Elrohir, he had to talk with Thranduil alone.
“My lord,” he said coming beside Thranduil as he entered the gates to his home. “How fares the battle?”
“We are at stalemate right now,” the king said heavily. “It will not last long, there has been a heavy loss on both sides of the field. Everyone is weary and without my son I believe we would have lost by now.”
“Do not feel so bad that you cannot be there,” encouraged Elladan. “Maybe it is for the best that you stay here.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Thranduil said. “But I have heard hardly any words from the field. I’ll go find the leader of Lorien group. You will ride soon. I am sorry if I am pushing this too heavily upon you, but our need it great.” The king moved away to find the leader and Elladan stopped in the hallway.
“Oh my beloved,” he whispered. “Oh Alenor. I hope you are safe.” He turned around and walked back out in the heavy falling rain to where Elrohir was waiting with the rest. None of Elves seemed to notice the rain even though they were thoroughly soaked.
“We ride soon,” Elladan announced getting back on his horse. Elrohir nodded swinging up on Sunrise.
Soon the group was assembled and after a heavy hello to Haldir they turned their mounts and rode to battle.
Elladan stopped upon a top rise, the clashing of blades and cries of wounded assaulted his ears. The water that had collected in the bottom of the hill on the battle plain ran red with blood. Bodies were crushed at times from fallen horses or when there own comrades had to retreat or get killed. Even living through so many battles Elladan felt like throwing up.
“It’s horrible,” Haldir said by his side wiping blond hair from his face. “I’ve never seen it this bad.”
“Then we have little time,” Elladan announced surveying the scene laid before his eyes. He turned around. “Archers stay upon the rise,” he shouted. “You’ll find your mark easier by being higher.” He saw Haldir nod approvingly. “The rest of you fan out and come in behind attack and retreat don’t let the orcs know what hit them.” The Rivendell army gave salute to Elladan and did as ordered.
“Lorien Elves,” Haldir said beside him. “Follow Elladan’s order. It will be best we’ve got.” The Lorien Elves saluted their captain and fanned out among the Rivendell Elves. Elladan wheeled his mount around.
“Command the Elves brother,” Elladan ordered. “I promised the king I would see his son.” Before Elrohir could give excuses that he himself would should shove himself in the thick of battle Elladan heeled Midnight down the rise.
The ground was more slick then Elladan realized and a few times Midnight slipped before they reached the ground. The sounds of battle here were nearly overwhelming. Elladan weaved through the battling Elves trying not to step on the fallen, he heard the horse’s hooves sometimes step on one even though how carefully Elladan maneuvered.
He found Thranduil’s son on the front lines fighting with his two blades, his quiver empty of arrows. There was a cut along the side of his face and he seemed to favor his right leg. He watched Legolas fell the Orc he was fighting with.
“Legolas!” he called. The Prince turned to him and weariness showed through though he tried to hide it. “The elves or Lorien and Rivendell are here!” Legolas smiled for a few seconds before turning his attention back to another Orc rushing at him and Elladan swung down from Midnight to aid the Mirkwood Elves. He drew his blade from its sheath and joined up in the fighting.
“The Elves of Lorien and Rivendell have come!” Legolas’s voice suddenly rose above the din. Elladan could feel the hope spread through the remaining Elves as he plunged his blade into an Orc heart. The beast snarled as Elladan yanked his blade out and the creature fell down dead.
Before long Elladan heard confused shouts and cries among the Orcs and he smiled, the plan was working. He turned to Legolas to find the son of Thrnaduil kneeling beside a wounded Elf, most likely a friend. He swung his eyes around and saw an Orc easing an arrow into a bow and aiming it at the Prince’s unprotected chest.
“Legolas!” Elladan screamed in warning and charged at the Prince his blade flashing at the enemy and feet slipping in the slick mud and rain pounding in his ears. As he heard the arrow fly from the bow with a twang Elladan shoved Legolas and the wounded Elf out of the way. Something struck him in the chest.
Elladan collapsed to his knees and felt his chest, there was blood. He heard Legolas shout and hew the Orc in two.
“Elladan,” he cried kneeling beside him. Elladan looked at him.
“You all right?” he asked weakly.
“I’m fine, but you’re not,” Legolas said feeling the arrow his eyes concerned.
“Leave it,” Elladan ordered him as best he could manage. “You’re leaving yourself unprotected, leave me.” Legolas gave a cry of rage and threw himself back into the battle with full fury leaving the son of Elrond kneeling on the mud slicked ground his own blood joining those of many other Elves in the tiny streams of water that ran about him.
The rain had finally stopped and so to had the battle. Elrohir ripped his blade from an orcs chest and surveyed the wet ground. He had expected his brother to come running towards him, but he saw no signs of him. Spotting Legolas kneeling in the mud Elrohir picked his way towards him to see what he was kneeling over.
“Elladan!” he screamed falling on his knees beside his brother as soon as he saw who it was. An arrow stuck from his chest and blood had collected around him. Legolas was holding the Elf lord in his arms and weeping openly. Elladan turned his head slowly to Elrohir when he heard his voice. With a trembling weak hand he took hold of Elrohir’s and he clasped it tightly in his own.
“Elrohir,” Elladan smiled weakly. “Tell my family I love them.”
“No,” Elrohir said fiercely tears running down his face now in torrents. “No, you’ll make it Elladan hold on.”
“I won’t,” Elladan said softly his fingers trembled in his brother’s grasp. “Do me this last favor Elrohir? Please.” Elrohir saw the light start fading from Elladan’s eyes.
“Elladan no,” he whispered. “Elladan come back.” The Elf lord made no response his eyes held no more light to them. He was gone. He wasn’t coming back. He had passed over into Mandos’s Halls. “NO!!” Elrohir screamed jumping up his brother’s hand falling from his own. He stormed in the mass of dead orcs and stabbed every single one that came within his path, his sight was blurred by his tears and he slipped and scraped himself in the mud.
He wasn’t sure how long he was on his rampage with no one daring to stop him, but finally unable to hold himself up Elrohir collapsed and began to cry harder. He rocked back and forth holding his blood soaked and muddy hands to his face. He felt a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“It is hard for all of us,” Legolas said above him. “But you have to pull together Elrohir. He has a family back home.” Elrohir lifted his face to the son of Thranduil. “That arrow was meant for me. He died for me.” Elrohir stood up and grabbed the Princes shirt and shook him violently.
“Why did you stop him?” he shouted in blind, rage hoping to ease the pain from it. “You should have died!” He barely saw the Prince raise a hand and footsteps stop behind him. Elrohir shook him harder, but Legolas stayed where he was and let Elrohir run violent curses off his tongue and shake him as hard as he could.
When Elrohir’s voice was hoarse and his arms hurt from shaking Legolas, did he stop. He felt Legolas’s hands gently pry off Elrohir’s fingers from his shirt.
“Come,” he said softly. “You’re hurt, you have to be tended to immediately. Then I’ll come with you home. They will not know.” Elrohir nodded and found that he couldn’t cry anymore the tears wouldn’t come.
“Little Alenor,” Elrohir whispered hoarsely. “She won’t understand. Annienna. . .” he trailed off his voice shaking and cracking.
“You need something to drink,” Legolas told Elrohir soothingly. “Come on.” Unresistingly Elrohir let himself be led away as Elf voices rose in lament upon the battle field that would be sung again when the Elves were laid to rest. Even with his hoarse voice Elrohir joined in. For though a battle had been won he paid a heavy price and inside he blamed himself for his brother’s death. He was the one who had pressured Elladan into coming. If he hadn’t Elladan would still be alive. There was little comfort in the rising and falling voices or in the calming way the Prince had his arm draped about the distraught Elrohir. He didn’t think he could ever be himself again.
* I really don’t know how long it takes to get to Mirkwood, I just guessed and put it down. Hope you enjoyed!