STRUGGLE TO LIVE
Summary for last chapter: Legolas’ origin and the enemy’s intention were revealed. He saved Rean but seriously hurt in the process.
Chapter 8: Confession
Aragorn used some healing spells on Legolas, but it didn’t seem to help Legolas to stop the bleeding, nor did the pressure Gandalf applied on the wound help much. He became more despair when he felt the elf’s body started going cold. The wizard took off his cloak and handed it to Thranduil, who wrapped his son around it.
The new healing king watched the more experienced healer touched Legolas’ forehead and mumbled spells to sooth him from pain. Elrond turned to Thranduil, “We need to get him back to the palace where he can be treated properly.” Thranduil picked up his son carefully and held him tightly, as if he would disappear if he let go. He couldn’t take his eyes off his son. He tried to tell himself that Elrond could save him, but he knew deep in his heart that the chance was dim. It just wasn’t right, to watch his son died before him, while he couldn’t do anything to help.
While the others got up to their feet and started moving to the palace, Rean just stood in the same place and stared in the space. “Rean?” He turned remained still even he heard his brother called his name. “Are you alright, Rean? Are you hurt?” Tekrir shook his brother, but Rean didn’t acknowledge him. The older one’s eyes were blank, as if he was deep in thought. “Arail! Come here! Something is wrong with Rean!”
The oldest prince, who was already running a few feet away, turned back. He wanted to make sure Legolas was alright, but he couldn’t leave his other brother behind. He ran to where his brother stood, and asked, “What is it, Rean? Can you hear me?” He wasn’t expecting an answer from the look of his brother, but he heard him whispered, “Nothing. Yes, I can hear you.”
Rean continued, “That devil!” he clutched his fist tightly, “it has to be that devil! I have to own by life to him!”
Arail could no longer contain his anger. He punched his younger brother hard on his face, “WHAT? IS THAT WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY AFTER LEGOLAS SACRIFICED HIMSELF FOR YOU?”
Rean wiped the trail of blood came down from the corner of his mouth, “I didn’t ask for that lowly trash’s help!” and started to fight back.
“Stop this madness!” Tekrir broke them apart.
“Stay out of this, Tekrir!” Arail shouted as he pushed his younger brother away and drove into Rean, pushing him onto the ground.
While his two brothers were fighting, Tekrir raised his arrows at them and shouted, “Stop! Or I will shoot!”
Rean released Arail, turned around and prepared to leave. The smirk was still on his face. Arail was about to hit him again, but was held by Tekrir. “Come, Arail. We should go tend the people and see Legolas.”
The crowd prince held down his anger, and followed his younger brother to the underground fortress.
Gimli kept pacing back and forth outside the room, constantly cursed under his breath and let out a sigh. Frodo tried to calm the dwarf, “Don’t worry, Gimli. Legolas will be fine. He is strong.”
Sam agreed, “Yes. Aragorn, Lord Elrond, and Gandalf can help him.”
The dwarf sighed. He knew there was nothing he could do now. He stole a glance from the King, knowing he was worried deeply.
Aragorn, Elrond, and Gandalf emerged from the room after long hours. Everyone swarmed toward them.
“How is Legolas? Is he alright?” Thranduil asked, uncertain if he really wanted to know.
The half-elven lord smiled weakly, “Yes. He is fine now, although he is very frail. Gandalf managed to perform a counter spell to slow down the spreading of the poison.”
“Thank you.” Thranduil thanked the healers and the wizard. He walked to the sleeping form silently.
Although Aragorn and Gimli wanted to stay, they understood the king would like to be alone with his son. They left quietly.
Rean walked to the balcony outside his room, looking out to the horizon. He thought that it was his mother who saved him. Even after more than two millennia, he still couldn’t accept the fact that the Queen of Mirkwood was dead.
The three princes were asked to come to the throne room by their father, saying that they have a good new. “Adar? Naneth? What do you want to tell us?” Arail asked.
Joy twinkled across the King’s and the Queen’s faces. They looked each other happily that they couldn’t form any word. Their youngest son came up with a guess, “Are you going to have a baby, naneth?”
Thranduil finally calmed himself and replied, “Yes.”
Arail looked at his parents incredulously, and then to his younger brother, “How did you know, Tekrir?”
“Well, they got the looks that parents usually have when they are trying to tell their children that they have a new baby.”
“But I have two younger brothers already, and I couldn’t have guessed it!”
Rean smirked at his older brother, “Maybe you are just too slow, Arail.” Then he turned to his parents, “Do you know when the baby will be born?”
Lalierel smiled, “Probably during the winter time.”
Arail smirked back at Rean, “Now you won’t complain about having a younger brother who is too mature for your taste! You are going to have a baby brother!”
Rean smiled to himself. Yes, he was going to have a baby brother that he could love.
The queen of Mirkwood walked in the garden under the shining sun. Wind blew her golden long hair slightly, making her looked especially beautiful.
“Naneth, you shouldn’t move around too much,” Rean came out from the palace and walked to his mother’s side, extending a hand to help her.
The queen accepted it gladly and gave a warm smile to her son, “I stay inside too much. What are you doing here, Rean? Didn’t you go hunting with Arail and Tekrir?”
“I don’t want to leave you here all alone.”
“I am not alone; there are servants here all over the palace. You don’t need to worry.”
“Of course I need to worry about you. They are too careless,” he said, while leading his mother to sit under the shade of a tree.
She put a hand over Rean’s, and led his hand to touch her stomach. “Do you feel it?”
“Yes!” Rean answered excitedly. He listened closely to the movement of the baby. “Naneth, I bet the baby is going to be as pretty as you are. I am going to love the baby with all my heart!”
Lalierel laughed merrily, happiness twinkled in her crystal grey eyes.
(End of Flashback)
It hurt. The memory of her still hurt him. How he wished that child hadn’t born.
After the inspection over all areas in Mirkwood by the two princes and Roltelo and few other well-trained guards, all elves had gone back to their homes. Defenses were once put up and some were to stand watch outside the border. Just as the monsters last time, these were also some abused and deeply hurt animals. No one would ever suspect the peaceful animals could be those monsters.
Arail was relief when they finally finished all the businesses. He couldn’t wait to see if Legolas was fine. His argument with Rean was still in his mind. He couldn’t understand why all the unhappiness had to come to Legolas.
Because it was the second prince’s one thousand years old birthday, Mirkwood held a great feast to celebrate. Famous dishes and wines were served.
Rean turned around, and found the most disgusting person he didn’t wish to see. He said in a cold voice, “What do you want? You want to ruin my day with the sight of you?”
“No, I don’t want to,” Legolas said in a tiny voice, as he handed out the wooden bow he just finished. “I hope you will like this,” the crystal grey eyes were shining with anticipation, because he just learned how to make a bow from Arail, and he was sure Rean would love this.
“What is this junk?” Rean took the bow and shoved his brother onto the floor. “Ah! I get it. You want me to dispose this trash for you.”
Legolas didn’t have time to reply as Rean snapped the bow in half.
“No. . .”
“Rean . . .”
“Please . . .”
“Stop. . .”
Snap! Snap! Snap!
Rean smirked, “Here! That’s better!” and dropped the pieces on the floor.
Thranduil said angrily, “Rean! I will not tolerate your behavior! Legolas hadn’t slept last night just to make you this gift! Apologize to your brother now!”
“Adar, you have no right to tell me how I should treat him. You hate him also! Don’t deny this fact. I see the hatred in your eyes when you look at him. You hate him for taking naneth’s life, so you should understand how I feel.” Rean stomped off, leaving the feast unfinished.
Legolas picked up the pieces slowly, and didn’t say anything that night.
(End of Flashback)
“Do you think adar hates Legolas?” Arail didn’t know where this idea came from, but he wanted to know what his brother thought about it.
“I don’t know,” Tekrir answered honestly.
Gimli couldn’t sleep. He knew that his heart couldn’t rest until he saw his friend. He came to Legolas’ room, knocking slightly and entered.
Thranduil was sitting on a chair next to his son’s bed, like he did for the last few weeks. Gimli stood there, observing the condition of Legolas. He hadn’t wake up for hours already.
“I have never been a good father,” the Mirkwood King almost seemed like talking to himself instead to the dwarf. “It was because I didn’t want to see him so I sent him as my messenger to Elrond’s council and told him to join the fellowship to Mordor.”
Gimli sighed. He didn’t know how to comfort Thranduil. He knew the king was trying very hard to love his son completely, but the fact that he despised the young elf was known to many, even to the dwarfs of Lonely Mountain.
“Legolas understand. He loves you very much. He often speaks highly of you.” Gimli spoke the truth.
The king smiled, “Thanks.”
“No! Stop, ada! Please stop. . .ada. . .”
Both pairs of eyes fell on the young elf on the bed when they heard him moaned. He obviously was in a nightmare. Thranduil moved closer to his son and called lightly, “It’s alright, Legolas.”
(Inside Legolas’ Dream/ Memory)
Legolas walked lightly toward his father’s room, holding a ball in his tiny hands. He looked expectedly at the guards, who knew the prince was going to try again today. They pitied at their prince’s effort at trying to win his father’s attention, because he would end up hurting and crying at then end, just like always. But they allowed him to go in anyway, and prayed that one day their king might understand.
The child opened the door and peeked through the crack. He was satisfied when he saw his father was alone. He slipped in quietly and closed the door. Thranduil noticed his son’s presence, but didn’t look up as he examined the jewelries.
The little prince prepared to speak, and reminded himself that he needed to ask nicely and respectfully. “Ada? Could you pl. . .”
“Don’t you see I am busy?” Legolas’ plead was cut off by his father’s icy tone. He tried hard to hold his tears as he watched Thranduil took a sip of his wine, feeling distance and unwanted from his father.
“But you have never spent time with me! You are always busy with you treasuries!” The child immediately regretted his words. His fear increased when he saw Thranduil’s eyes flashed with anger.
The king got up from his chair and stormed in front of Legolas, causing the child stepped back unconsciously. “You insolent child! Is that the tone that you should use when you speak to your adar?!”
Legolas prepared the blow when Thranduil raised his arm.
The king of Mirkwood was blinded by rage when he kept hitting his son, completely unaware that his son’s flesh was bruised and was cut by the ring on his finger every time when his hand made contact with the child.
The prince told himself that he couldn’t cry, because he was a prince, and a prince could never cry – that was what his father told him. The pain was unbearable. . . it burned. Every hit seemed to devour his soul. Was he unwanted, like Rean said he was. . . because he did bad thing to make naneth died?
“Stop! Stop, ada! Please stop. . .ada!”
Thranduil suddenly realized what he was doing and stopped. He saw his son curled up in the corner, burying his face on his knees, crying.
“Leave, NOW!” His voice caused Legolas to turn around, stand up immediately on his feet, and ran away. Thranduil took a deep breath and sat back on his chair. He reached out for his wine, and then he noticed there were bloods all over his hands.
Legolas kept running, until he hit a figure and fell down to the cold marble floor and dropped the ball. He dared not to look up. He didn’t want anyone to look at him now. He tried to get up and leave, but was stopped by the figure. Then, he heard a laugh.
“Look at you, worthless trash. Hit by adar again, didn’t you?”
He knew it was Rean.
“It is a rightful punishment! No. . . you should have received more than this! This is nothing compared to what you did to naneth, Little Monster!”
The child was frightened, frightened because he knew that somehow everything his brother told him sounded right.
“Rean, he wasn’t responsible for Naneth’s death!” Legolas’ eyes were covered with tears, so he couldn’t see who it was, but he knew the voice.
Rean snorted, “If he wasn’t, then who? Tell me, Arail! It was because his birth that naneth died!”
“Legolas didn’t mean it to happen. It was the will of the Valar, and nobody could have changed the destiny,” a different and gentler voice spoke up.
“Tekrir! Don’t start your philosophy with me again! He was the cause of her death, rather he meant it or not!”
The youngest prince stood there to watch his brothers argued. They always did, and their subject was always about him. He knew his brothers wouldn’t pay attention to him now, and so ran away as fast as he could, still holding the ball with his hands. The tears made his wound more painful, but he couldn’t stop crying.
Legolas kept running until he was far away from the palace to the huge tree behind the waterfall. He climbed up to the top of the tree and sat on the branch. This was his secret hiding place.
Like many nights before, he watched the moon fell and the darkness covered the surrounding until he felt sleepy and would go back home. He held his breath when he heard some footsteps toward his way. “Ada . . .” He could tell his father was very tired under the moon light. He knew his father had been spending hours trying to find him.
Thranduil didn’t say anything, only held his son tightly as he brought him to his room. He felt Legolas put his arms around his neck and started to cry on his shoulder.
He put the child on the bed, and started treating the bruises and wounds gently.
The king let his son fell asleep on his bed. He kissed him lightly on his forehead, “I love you, Little Greenleaf.”
“I love you too, ada.” Legolas smiled. He closed his eyes and fell asleep, feeling safe with his father’s presence.
(End of the Dream/Memory)
The young elf stirred a little and opened his eyes slowly. He felt two figures watching him, but couldn’t see clearly who they were as his conscious still hadn’t returned completely.
“Ada.” He knew this familiar voice. His vision became clearer and clearer.
Thranduil was glad his son was alright, but what Legolas was going to say next tore his heart apart. “Ada. . . I killed naneth. . . I killed naneth,” Legolas kept murmuring.
The King of Mirkwood denied immediately, “No, of course not!”
“It’s true. Lotatio said I . . .” Legolas wasn’t sure if he should go on. Part of him was afraid, but another part told him that they needed to know.
Thranduil tensed at the name, but Gimli was totally confused, “Who is Lotatio?”
“He. . . I need to see Gandalf.” The young elf wanted to leave the bed, but he felt waves of nausea and would have fell off the ground if Thranduil didn’t catch him.
“Crazy elf! You need to rest! Stay here, I will go get Gandalf,” Gimli left the room.
Legolas felt a little better, and started to confess, “Ada, I know that I killed naneth.”
Thranduil brushed away some of the hair from his son’s face, “No, Legolas. Don’t blame yourself. No one could have avoided it.”
“I am responsible for her death. I will tell you the truth when Gandalf comes.”
The king didn’t know where Legolas was leading to, but he waited anyway.
A few minutes later, the wizard was walking briskly into the room behind the dwarf. “How are you, Legolas?” Gandalf asked softly.
The prince nodded, and asked straightly, “Have you heard of the Stone of Palayne?”
The wizard became uneasy when he heard the question, “Yes. Why? How do you know the existence of the stone?”
“Tell me about the stone first.”
Gandalf offered his knowledge, “It is almost like a prototype of Sauron’s One Ring. It was made by the first Dark Lord Melkor. The stone could only yield by Melkor himself or the ones with his blood. However, unlike the One Ring, the stone has limited power. It is said that it can only be used three times. And I believe it is lost already.”
Legolas spoke, “It is not lost; Lotatio has a way to find the stone.”
“Lotatio? The son of Melkor?” Gimli asked, and looked at Thranduil and Gandalf for confirmation.
“How could Lotatio be alive?” Thranduil asked.
“He is, and he asked for my help to open the gate to Illineal and to retrieve the stone,” Legolas closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He knew that it was now or never, “He said that. . . I am . . . I am his heir.”
“I am the heir of Melkor.”
End of Chapter 8
Melkor is the true name of Morgoth Bauglir, who is the first Dark Lord back in the First Age. Sauron was the lieutenant of Morgoth. Morgoth was said to have equal power as other fourteen Valars. The Valar defeated him and imprisoned him for three ages, but after he was released he fled to Angband, north of Beleriand. Then he stole the Silmarils, thus created the war with the Noldor in the First Age, which is called the War of Wrath. With the help of the Valar, Morgoth’s armies were destroyed and he was imprisoned and banished from the world.
Arail: Legolas’ oldest brother and the crown prince of Mirkwood. He was a millennia year older than Leoglas.
Tekrir: Legolas’ third brother and was about 800 years older than Legolas.
Rean: Legolas’ second oldest brother.
Roltelo: Guardian of Mirkwood.
Lotatio: Son of Melkor. The half-elf Dark Wizard who was defeated by the alliance five thousand years ago.
Things and Places
Illineal: A place where Melkor and his servants were exiled to.
Stone of Palayne: A magical stone created by Melkor what would grant three wishes for the heir of Melkor.