Of Darkness Born
Arwen woke up with a start. She hadn’t meant to fall asleep. She had meant to stay awake, waiting for her returning friend. It hadn’t worked, and she had fallen asleep to the gentle music of falling leaves and trickling fountains of her Rivendell home. Arwen stretched and yawned, as much as she wanted to stay awake for Tadryil’s return, she wished she hadn’t woken up. She had been having such a nice rest…
“Arwen, what has happened to your keen hearing? Has it failed you, are you ill? I made enough noise to waken a Balroug,” Tadryil’s voice, merry with laughter, intruded upon her thoughts. “You should get out more, it would do you good.”
“Tadryil, really, don’t say such things. There is no humor in waking a Balroug,” Arwen scolded, but her heart was not in it. Tadryil was a rebel among the serene, composed elves. An orphan, he had been wandering the forests, roaming with the wild birds, when he stumbled upon Rivendell. Elrond had tried his best to culture him, but to no avail. Tadryil was independent entity in his own right, and refused to give up his falcons or his hunting. “Where is `Dancer? Did you two have a good hunt?”
Tadryil’s eyes clouded for a moment. Arwen frowned. Something was wrong. There was a shadow…a dark winged shadow…
The creature swooped down, wings spread wide, and landed on a jagged outcropping of rock. It walked into a dark cave…a girl- Kalavai- was leaning over a cliff, calling after a white dragon…she fell…an elf rushed forward, shouting…there was a tree, tall and bare….lightening hit it…on its burning branches stood a pale girl…translucent wings spread from her back…her black hair shimmered and turned to gold for a second, then back…she was leaning against a wall, blood smeared on its surface…her face was cut and bruised….her gown was in shreds…she was crying…and a golden dragon was bleeding to death, the white one was eating it alive…Kalavai lay dead at the cliff, and the elf, tears streaming from his eyes, drew a dagger and stabbed himself…another elf lay pale in a puddle of blood, her throat torn out…and there was Legolas his own arrow in his gut…and over them all the winged creature hovered, laughing…
“Arwen? Arwen?! Are you okay? Arwen!”
The darkness cleared, and Arwen felt Tadryil’s hands on her shoulders, shaking her. She was trembling, and couldn’t stop. Kalavai. Dayarvon. Legolas. Ianithiel. Something was very, very wrong. Nothing like this should be happening, Mordraug had been killed. “Tadryil, you must get Elrond. I will be fine. Now, hurry, go!” She pushed him away and staggered to her feet.
“Wait, Arwen, please…” Something in his voice made Arwen turn. “Did you have a vision? I must know. What did you see?” Tadryil licked his lips nervously. “Was there…was there a girl? Thin, very pale skin and gold eyes, black hair…did you see her?”
Arwen froze. Tadryil had perfectly described the crying girl. But her hair had turned gold for a second…she was wrapped in chains…the winged creature stood nearby…he cut his palm, dripping blood into a caldron…he pressed a cup to her lips, hissing for her to drink… Arwen’s eyes were unfocused and glazed. She stared at Tadryil in fear.
“A blood bond. He is forcing a blood bond upon her…” she whispered. Her eyes focused on Tadryil and the present. “Tadryil, how do you know her? Who is she? What is going on?” The questions escaped in a stream flooded by fear.
“I…I don’t know. I don’t even know who she is…I- I saw her once, that’s all…somewhere…” Abruptly, Tadryil stopped. “Never mind. It is nothing. I must go find Elrond. I will send him to you. There is somewhere I must go.”
“Yes…thank you. Please tell him to hurry. Something is horribly wrong…” Arwen watched Tadryil stride away. Her mind felt numb. None of this should be happening…it was all over…we ended it…Mordraug died, I know he did. This cannot be happening…it can’t be…Valar, please keep them safe…Kalavai, Legolas, Dayarvon, Ianithiel…all of them…something is horribly wrong…
* * *
The world seemed frozen in time, a scene of horror covered in black translucent ice. Legolas stood, paralyzed with fear, horror, and shock. He couldn’t move, couldn’t feel any of his limbs. His knives would’ve fallen out of his hands but for his tense grip; he had lost his sense of touch. There was only his fear, and the scene before him, and this second that was lasting an eternity.
There was Ianithiel, sprawled against the ground. One hand was clutching her shoulder, and blood seeped out from under her fingers. Her other hand was weakly curled around a slim dagger. A jagged line across her throat was seeping dark blood. Her face was bruised and scratched, and fear and horror warred with desperation and anger in her eyes as she glared at her assailant. Her assailant- her assailant had wings, just like those of his attacker…
“Guard closely those you love, elf…Ianithiel is mine…” The words rang in his head, and with them came rage, a fierce, pure, blinding rage. Snarling, Legolas hurled himself at the creature, hardly recognizing it was not the one that had attacked him before, not seeing Ianithiel start at his savagery. Not seeing anything but the creature before him. The creature that had been attacking Ianithiel.
Legolas, fueled by his fury and at advantage from having surprised his foe away from its original target, flung himself at the creature, tackling it to the ground. It snarled in rage then pain as one of Legolas’ daggers tore down into the soft skin where the membranous wing joined the creature’s body. Its clawed hands came up, driving dirty nails into Legolas’ shoulders, and flinging the elf off itself. With a movement that should not have been bodily possible, the creature jumped up on its feet. One wing hung limply, bleeding at the joint, where the hole from Legolas’ dagger had widened as the weapon had been left embedded in the ground.
Snarling, black lips pulling back to reveal jagged fangs, the creature reached into its voluminous black tunic and pulled out a handful wicked looking pieces of metal that looked like arrowheads with three points. Its black eyes narrowed, gold flickering in them, as Legolas groggily got up, bracing himself against the tree he had been thrown into. The bark was cracked and dented from the impact. “Mith cerral nae, elf,” the creature hissed. “You attacked the Dark One. Now you must die.”
The hands met and parted, flinging out in opposite directions, one towards Ianithiel, who lay prone with fear on the ground, and one towards Legolas. Legolas never saw the metal shards coming, but he felt them embed themselves in his shoulder. The impact felt like being pierced by a thousand burning shards of ice, each and every blistering spear trying to dig in deeper than its fellows. Dropping his remaining knife, Legolas collapsed to his knees, arms reaching to his burning shoulder. Feeling the metal squirm under his touch, Legolas looked down to see the metal pieces disappear into his skin underneath his bloody hand. Horrified at what he might see, Legolas looked desperately over to Ianithiel. Her eyes were opened wide, and one hand was clutching her stomach. Mouth opened in a silent scream, her body convulsed violently, then was still.
Murderous rage filled Legolas’ mind, drowning out the pain. Lunging to his feet, Legolas drove his dagger into the chest of the creature that stood, mockingly, in front of him. Legolas had the satisfaction of hearing the creature hiss in surprised pain, and then it was his turn to gasp at the new pain in his gut. He had just enough time to look down to see one of his own arrows embedded in his stomach, then his eyes went dark and he gave in to the painless realm of unconsciousness.
With one hand, the creature Legolas had stabbed pushed away the elf, and with the other drew out the dagger, hissing in pain. The wound began to close, but to the creature’s evident surprise still bled. Likewise, the stab wound in its wing had partially healed. Snarling softly to itself, the creature cursed the blessed elven blades. Then, pulling a length of twisted black cord, the creature bound the two elves, and, ignoring its damaged wings, took to the air, pulling the elves after him. The Dark One would be pleased, the creature thought to itself. Narvglor now had not one but two of the elves who had nearly wrecked his plans so long ago. And perhaps he would be pleased enough with his faithful servant to let him enjoy the female for a while, it had been so long since the creature had last tasted elven blood…Then it grinned to itself, thinking of its Master’s plans. Soon, the elves would know fear like never before. And then, the vampires would feast as they never had before…
The creature’s harsh laughter rang out over Mirkwood forest as it flew the vampire stronghold in the mountains, already anticipating the feast to come.
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