Greetings and Salutations! This is my first Lord of the Rings fic and I'm hope you like it. I have no knowledge of what comes after the "Two Towers" so my fic may be based somewhat on a different ending then how the trilogy actually ends. But, nevertheless, here it is. If I have any major major mistakes point them out to me! Go on I don't mind! So enjoy!
Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings and all affiliated characters are not mine.
After many centuries, the walls of black that stood like unwavering sentinels of desolation seemed to become at times unbearable. As though insanity was a mere heartbeat away if no light would at that moment pierced through the gloom. The only steadfast in that ocean of despair was the undying hate and boiling rage that still burned through blood and body towards the ones that had created this living hell of black. Revenge was what kept the brink of insanity away.
Through the inky darkness came a single, echoing voice, "Not much longer…It has been many ages, but my revenge is finally at hand. Revenge against all Elves and Dwarves…and then all of humanity."
An evil cackle rang out through the gloom at this, where it then faded into a sing-songy tinkle of mirthful laughter that sang out loudly though the blackness, "Enjoy your festivities, Elves and Dwarves! For I have chosen my pawns for this game that exact my revenge against those that have imprisoned me here in this dark hell! Enjoy your merriment whilst you can, ignorant players in my grand scheme!"
Fading back into the darkness, the laughter slowly subsided and returned back to careful waiting and brooding of evil plots and revenge where only the stinging silence of loneliness filled in the air.
A cool, damp breeze wafted though the many passages and paths of Rivendell. Nestled between the feet of the Misty Mountains, the city created a peaceful haven for weary travelers and elf-friends. Spring was upon the grand elfish city. The green shade of the trees cast a gentle hue of rebirth and renewal. And it was a perfect setting for the gathering that was to take place there.
Over the distant rush of the waterfall and river that ran through Rivendell, the low babble of voices could be heard in the courtyard of Lord Elrond's palace. Inside the walls of the elf-king's home, a great reunion was taking place.
It had been two years since the War of the Ring and the fall of Sauron with the destruction of the One. Peace had returned to Middle-Earth. The heroes and champions of the epic tale had reunited to recount their journeys and adventures with one another in the place where the story of it all had first begun.
In the Grand Hall of Elrond, voices rang out through the brisk spring air of the river valley. The hall was several hundred paces long, made of the finest crafted marble and stone. The high ceiling overhead was braced with carved wooden beams decorated with elfish designs and patterns. Large windows lined with gauzy white fabric stood open along the sides of the hall to allow the sweet spring breeze to blow inside. Just on the other side of the windows lining the right side of the hall were large balconies overlooking the waterfall that fell along the high slopes of the Misty Mountains. Long tables filled the hall but arranged in such a way to allow for a wide open space set aside for story telling and music at the foot of an elaborate dais at the end of the hall.
"Greetings, Aragorn, son of Arathorn. I was wondering when you were going to arrive," the great host called to the black haired Ranger as he noticed his arrival on the other side of the crowded dining hall. Smiling an acknowledgment, Aragorn hastened over to his foster-father and bowed low.
Standing straight again after his bow, Aragorn swept a stray strand of hair from his eyes and replied in the grey-elven tongue, "You humble me with your hospitality, Lord. It has been much time since I have had the pleasure of sharing your presence."
"Your formalities are appreciated, but it hardly seems accurate to say it has been a long time since you've been in my house. I believe the last time you returned to Rivendell from one of your Ranger escapades to visit the Lady Arwen was less than a week ago," Elrond smiled, forgoing an elfish reply. Although at times, the elf king rethought the situation of his daughter's love to a mortal man, he could not deny he could not have hoped for a better possible son-in-law -- elf or man.
"So it has!" the wandering Ranger laughed merrily with a broad smile, "It is only every time I leave Rivendell and return, it seems like ages since I have last been here. Before long, I may not be able to leave your house at all!"
"Let us hope such a thing does not come to pass!" Elrond returned with another jestful retort. Looking out over the assembled guests, he paused thoughtfully before he changed their talk, "It gives me much joy to see so many of the original Fellowship return here victorious and in a time of peace."
"Those were dark times," Aragorn agreed with a passing moment of dark memories, "But it does gladden my heart to reunite with old friends. I see the four Hobbits have joined us. I was almost certain I would never see the young Frodo anywhere outside the boundaries of the Shire again after the peril he faced only several years ago."
"Yes, but the small one shares his uncle's blood," Elrond said as he began to lead Aragorn towards a set of lavishly decorated chairs behind the head table at the end of the hall on the raised dais. Seating himself down in the center most chair of velvet, the elf-king motioned for Aragorn to take the seat beside him. Accepting this honor, the Ranger sat and listened as Elrond continued, "Only after two years of living quietly in his hole in the Shire, recovering from his adventures, Frodo returned here to Rivendell to visit his uncle Bilbo. It seems his misadventure has awaken in him a restless spirit."
Glancing out towards the Hobbit in question, both took a moment to analyze the five Hobbits gathered admits a group of elves from Elrond's house who were listening intently to one of Bilbo's many stories. Encircled by the elves, Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry laughed heartily as Bilbo came to one of the more comical parts of his tale.
On the outskirts of the group, the great wizard Gandalf stood, listening to his old friend's story with a small smile of nostalgia. In those stories, the sorcerer had been called Gandalf the Grey. But now he wore robes of pure white, and his beard and hair reflected this change in color to suit his new title and position. With the defeat of Sarumon, Gandalf had become the head of the wizard council. But for the present, he held no title. Amidst friends and old companions, he was merely Gandalf.
As if noticing something, Aragorn broke the moment and asked, "Where is Gimli? I see dwarves among those gathered here, but where is our battle axe wielding friend?"
"Talking and catching up on old friendships with Legolas on the other side of the hall," Elrond pointed out with a nod of his head in the indicated direction. Following his direction, Aragorn distinguished the short but solid form of the dwarf, Gimli, seated beside the lighthearted elf, Legolas, at one of the many tables set along the far side of the long hall.
Even from a distance of thirty feet or more, the Ranger could see smiles written across the pair's faces as they talked and laughed, although the dwarf's smile was harder to see from behind his thick reddish beard and the large mug of mead that seemed to constantly be at his mouth. But despite this, his guttural laugh rang out loud and strong over the background chatter that filled Lord Elrond's hall.
"Such an unlikely friendship," Aragorn murmured more to himself then anyone else as he watched the two from a distance.
"It's true that Dwarves and Elves have rarely made lasting friendships and alliances in the past. The last several centuries have been filled with suspicion and mistrust between the two races. But I have hope. It is becoming increasingly apparent that to survive, all races of Middle-Earth must live in harmony, and I can see right here in these two there is hope in that," Elrond commented thoughtfully.
"Who is the elf beside Legolas?" Aragorn then inquired as his dark eyebrows knotted together in the center of his head curiously.
Glancing over to the pair, Elrond saw the elf Aragorn asked about. The elf's hair was long and blond like Legolas' but his face was sterner and sharper in appearance. Under dark eyebrows, the elf's eyes were shrewd and gray, seeing and cataloging everything in but a quick glance. His tunic was a dark blue with black leggings and light boots. Around his waist was fastened a curved blade made in the craft of elven blacksmiths. He sat close beside Legolas along with a contingent of other fair skinned Mirkwood elves. Even from across the room, Aragorn could detect a certain aura of wariness radiating from the mysterious elf.
"He is Toreingal, son of Leliem, of Mirkwood," Elrond answered after a moment of contemplation, "He is of relation to Legolas- a cousin through blood by Lady Aelin, Legolas' mother."
But before the elf-king could add anything else on the matter, his thoughts were broken by a musical voice that suddenly caught his ears, "Father, are you boring Aragorn again with your meandering thoughts?"
Glancing to his side, Elrond saw his daughter, Arwen, mounting the dais and coming towards them, her long iridescent green and silver gown flowing gracefully around her feet. "I will have you know," he said in mock seriousness, "that Aragorn is one of the few that can fully appreciate my 'meandering thoughts,' as you put it."
"I'm sure…" she simpered, giving her father a small peck of a kiss on his cheek before taking a seat beside Aragorn, "Why haven't you started the feast yet, father? All those invited are present."
"I was merely waiting for you," Elrond answered tenderly as he stood and gracefully swept a fold of his red and gold embroidered robe behind him so as to address his many guest that numbered several hundred in elves, dwarves, followers of Aragorn, and five Hobbits. A hush fell over the people as they turned to listen to their host.
"I welcome all my guests to Rivendell," Elrond began in a loud booming voice, "It pleases me that so many friends gathered here. Besides renewing old friendships, I hope this gathering will result in the enduring peace of Middle-Earth between all its inhabitants. That being said, let the feast begin!"
At the Lord's words, a line of elf servants began to file into the room carrying trays laden with food and pitchers filled with rich drinks. A roar of approval rang out from the amassed guests as they sought to find seats to begin eating. Several musicians took their places near the dais and began to play soft elfish music on flutes as the guests ate.
"Such a spread!" exclaimed Gimli as a servant sat a large roast in the center of the table near where he sat. Setting his goblet of mead on the table for the first time since he had entered, the dwarf sliced a large hunk of steaming meat from the hock.
"I would pace myself if I were you, Master Dwarf," Gimli's elfish companion warned lightheartedly from beside him, "Lord Elrond's feast will last long into the night and into tomorrow, and then another eight days if my guesses are correct!" Catching the sideways glance from the dwarf, Legolas noted with a smirk, "It would almost seem you have not eaten for several days by the way you hoard that meat."
"The journey from the dwarf mines was very long and the rations taken with my company and I were mediocre at best," Gimli snorted in reply as he shoved a mouthful of red meat into his mouth. Mumbling around the food in his mouth as he simultaneously talked and chewed, he added, "Although this doesn't measure up to a true Dwarfish feast, Elrond's is something to behold."
"I would watch your tongue, dwarf, whist you are in the house of your host," snarled a cold voice from the other side of Legolas. Turning towards the origin of the voice, Gimli saw Legolas' elf companion, who had not spoken more then two words since arriving, leaning forward into the miner's field of vision from behind Legolas.
"What was that?" Gimli demanded gruffly, feeling a confrontation coming on by this mysterious fellow.
"You disrespect the hospitality shown to you by comparing this feast to a dwarf's!" Legolas' companion snarled with apparent dislike for Gimli. Turning to Legolas, he scoffed, "How can you stand to even share a table with this dwarf, cousin? I think you have fallen into bad company. No self-respecting elf would ever be caught dead with a dwarf."
"I beg your pardon?!" roared Gimli in outrage as he leapt from his place to confront his aggressor. Standing to meet him, the other elf towered over the stout miner. Gimli was dismayed to find he barely even reached the elf's narrow waist in height. Momentarily caught off guard by his vertical handicap, the dwarf nonetheless puffed out his chest and shifted his weight onto his toes to better utilize what few centimeters he could gain in doing so. Those in the general vicinity of the sudden outburst turned to watch.
There was a tense moment as the two faced off. The elf's hand strayed to his side to gently grip the handle of his curved knife as Gimli reached to where his axe lay propped against the table.
"Master Dwarf! Cousin Toreingal! Enough of this!" Legolas cried as he leapt between the two, trying to prevent a fight, "We are guests in this house and will not take to fighting while here!" He could see the other elves in his and his cousin's company tensing, waiting for the moment to jump to their lords' aid if need be.
Considering Legolas' words, Toreingal narrowed his eyes at Gimli before saying in a dangerous tone, "You are right, cousin. I will not lower myself to a dwarf's level--both literally and figuratively." Gimli's wrinkled expression twisted into rage at this, but said nothing out of respect to the archer that stood before him and his wicked-tongued cousin. Catching the dwarf's stormy gaze, Toreingal added, "I will not show such disrespect as this dwarf has to this house by fighting here. But be warned, cousin, be careful of those you keep company with. I would hate to see one of our linage to be tainted by dwarves."
With a final disdainful snort of disapproval towards Gimli, Toreingal turned and stormed from the room, leaving Legolas and the dwarf staring at his retreating back.
"Why I 'ought to…." Gimli muttered from beneath his furry beard with insulted eyes as Legolas' cousin disappeared into the passage beyond one of the Great Hall's many exits.
"I am deeply sorry for my cousin's actions and words, Gimli," Legolas bowed low in apology, "Please forgive me."
"Why should I forgive you for what he said?" Gimli questioned more calmly in tone as they both retook their seats and those around them that had been disturbed by the brief outburst returned to their merriment. Half the hall seemed to have not even noticed the minor brawl at all, such was the size of Elrond's Great Hall.
"He is related to me, thus making his words representative of me," the young looking elf replied shamefully with downcast eyes, "Can you ever find it possible to forgive those ill-spoken words?"
"That cousin of yours has a sharp tongue, but I don't blame you for anything he said. It just strikes me as hard to believe he could actually be related to you," the miner answered.
"It seems great hatred still exists between Elves and Dwarfs," Legolas murmured dispiritingly to himself, "Will nothing change?"
"Well, elf, I can't say I was very taken with you the first time I meet you at Elrond's Council all those years ago. And though you've proven yourself more trouble than you're worth, you've come to grow on me," Gimli said, trying to lift his Legolas' spirits.
"As have you, dwarf, only more like fungus on the side of a tree," the elf quipped with surprising glibness considering his melancholic mood only a moment before.
Taken aback at first, Gimli sat open mouthed, groping for a suitable comeback. Finding himself coming up empty-handed, the dwarf was reduced to having to admit defeat to their verbal sparring. "Well, I've always said no sane dwarf would associate with an elf… And though I loathe to admit it, I've never been classified as the most mentally stable!" Gimli laughed heartily, giving Legolas a friendly slap on the back.
"Why does that not surprise me…" the elf muttered, feeling his heart lighten as the two continued on in their well-practiced banter of half-hearted insults.
"Oh, before I forget…" Gimli suddenly startled as if he just remembered something very important, "-I've brought you a gift from my father's kingdom." Reaching down to the small bundle at his feet, Gimli pulled free from his pack a wrapped package. Pushing his plates away from him to clear a space, the dwarf laid the bundle on the table before him and slowly unwrapped it while saying, "This is an ancient dagger forged in the Mountain of Bazadur centuries ago. It has been in my family for ages. But I've no use for it, Legolas. I prefer an axe to any other weapon made in Middle-Earth. I should like to offer it to you in good faith and friendship."
Lifting the final fold of brown cloth from it, Gimli reverently pulled a sheathed dagger from the mass. It was light silver but with a bluish hue to its metal. Dwarfish runes ornamented the scabbard's sides and the dagger's handle. It was a beautiful piece of weaponry with deep blue gems that had been dug from the sides of mountains mounted along its sheath.
Offering it to Legolas, Gimli urged with a smile, "Go on. Take it."
"Oh, I am most humbled," Legolas stuttered gratefully as he gingerly took the knife from the dwarf's hands, "I am hardly worthy of such a gift."
"Don't be modest," Gimli smiled at the look of awe on the young elf's face as he studied the etches along the scabbard carefully, "This is a gift worthy of such an elf who tolerated me for as long as you did on that quest so many years ago."
"It hardly seems so long to me," Legolas chuckled under his breath, "The War seems like only last week in my reference of time."
Stifling a smile at the elf's immortality, he urged anxiously, "Go on now! Don't just sit there admiring the pretty designs! Pull it out and see the blade!"
Doing as he was directed, Legolas tugged the blade from its sheath with hardly any effort, as though the dagger had been well oiled and cared for over the years-- hardly showing the ages Gimli testified it had seen since its forging . Shining in the bright afternoon spring sunlight streaming into the hall from outside, the slightly curved blade shined like the moon; a pale bluish silver.
"It's beautiful," Legolas commented quietly as he laid the blade across his other hand to examine the edge. Pulling it straight up before his face, the elf fell into a trance as he gazed at the polished blade. It was so perfectly forged and sharpened.
Not thinking, Legolas gently slid his left pointer finger against the edge as if touch would better let him appreciate its artistry. But as his finger neared the tip of the dagger, the elf gave a tiny yelp of surprise and pain. Retching his finger back, he saw a small horizontal line of red beginning to form across the pad of his fingertip. Blood dotted along the thin and shallow cut.
"It seems I am not ready for such a blade," Legolas joked, sucking the blood from his finger and thinking no more of the injury as he slid the dagger back into its scabbard, "I need more practice with it, it appears. Many thanks nonetheless, Master Dwarf. I will treasure this gift forever."
"I'm sure you will. You have enough time to actually fulfill that promise," Gimli answered merrily as he waved down a passing servant and sent orders for more ale. Quickly downing his foaming mug, the incident between Toreingal and Gimli soon became forgotten as the feast continued on for many hours and into the night.
The feast had been going on for several hours now. The sun had already set and the stars were beginning to shine out brightly against the dark firmament. The pale spring moon was beginning to raise off on the horizon, casting a ghostly glow on Rivendell and the surrounding mountainsides. Candles had been lit in Elrond's Great Hall, giving the place a warm friendly glow. The musicians had long began to exhaust their repertoire of elven lore and songs, but the slack had been taken up by various guests who added had their own to the festivities.
Aragorn had already recited the legend of Turin and Beleg and their journeys together in the Northern Marches. Bilbo had also given a retelling of his encounter with a group of mountain trolls at the request of one of Elrond's household. And Frodo had left his own mark on the night with a merry drinking song from the Shire that seemed to have gone over quite well with some of the dwarves from Gimli's company. Others had also taken their turn at being momentary entertainment for the party.
After one of the dwarves of Gimli's clan retold some ancient story of mines and mountains, Elrond called out loudly over the polite applause of the other guests, "Will we not hear some Elven tales? Legolas! Would you not entertain us with some song of old? Perhaps some lore from Mirkwood!"
Off to the side where Gimli and Legolas sat in the darker shadows of the hall, the elf sat straighter in his chair with apparent strain but called out blithely, "It would be my pleasure, Lord Elrond! How does the tale of Nelomnial fancy you?"
"It would please me well, Legolas," the regal king of Rivendell answered. Some of the Mirkwood elves that had accompanied Legolas to Rivendell smiled to each other. The tale of Nelomnial was a local favorite and was always readily recited and listened to at any elven gathering.
Despite the cries of approval from the remaining elven guests that had not yet gone off to bed or had retreated for a few moments to go in search of quiet somewhere away from the feast, Legolas felt no joy in his heart at the thought of reciting the long and wordy tale of Nelomnial. He didn't know why he had offered to recite the longest story he knew, but it had been the first thing that came to mind. His head was spinning too much for him get his mind to think of anything else, and pride would not let him back down from Elrond's request. His body felt unnaturally heavy and weighted down to the floor. His head on the other hand felt light, and his eyes refused to fully focus on anything, leaving the world slightly blurred and fuzzy. A dull ache throbbed in his left hand but he thought nothing much of it.
Swallowing the discomfort on which he blamed too much ale pushed onto him by Gimli, the young elf hardened himself to the task at hand. Pulling himself to his feet, Legolas tried to push the edges of darkness that circled his vision away as he slowly trudged to the center of the area set aside for the storytellers and musicians.
As the elf took his place and looked out over the revelers, Aragorn and Arwen exchanged a worried glance as Legolas came more into the warm light of the many candles that filled the hall and saw how sickly and pale their friend's face was. A sheen of sweat glistened across his brow and his shoulders sagged as if he was too tired to stand straight.
Taking a deep breath to steady his unsteady breathing, the Sindarian elf began in his native tongue the epic poem of Nelomnial:
Far from the east came a fair light
Fair and brave was the elf that rode before the sun
In the west lay a shadow of great darkness
Riding forth to met this foe,…
All of a sudden, Legolas trailed off. Those gathered close to hear his recitation, waited anxiously, thinking he was merely using dramatic pause to heighten the suspense of his telling. But before anyone knew what was happening, the archer suddenly pitched forward and crashed to the floor.
Cries rang out as a mass of people swarmed around the motionless form. Even Lord Elrond leapt from his place on the dais and rushed to Legolas' side. From some far corner of the hall, Legolas' cousin, Toreingal, hurried forward, having returned to the feast after his minor huff with Gimli hours before, but having kept a distance from his cousin and the dwarf during that time. Already there at Legolas' side, Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, and Arwen gently rolled the young elf onto his back. Legolas' cheeks were sunken and unnaturally pale. His desperate breaths for air sounded loudly as his chest heaved up and down. A tense silence filled the hall as the other guests there stood to better see the sick elf.
"What happened to him?" demanded Toreingal as he knelt beside his cousin's head and brushed several strands of sweaty blond hair that had loosened themselves from Legolas' braids away from his face, "He has a terrible fever and can barely breath!" Sweeping his questioning gray eyes across the faces of those gathered closely around Legolas, Toreingal's eyes fell onto the dwarf Gimli. "You!" he accused with a pointed finger, "My cousin was well when I left him with you! What did you do to him?!"
"I did nothing! How dare you accuse me of any treachery!" the dwarf shouted from Legolas' side, anger brewing in his dark little eyes.
"Both of you, calm yourselves!" Gandalf cut in, "We must figure this out later, but first we must tend to Legolas. He is gravely ill."
"Will he be alright?" Frodo questioned softly from the wizard's side, looking down worriedly at his sick elf-friend.
"The festivities for the night are ended," Elrond announced, not answering the Hobbit's question, "Legolas is to be taken to my chambers in the palace immediately." Clapping his hands loudly, a small team of servants rushed forwards and lifted the fevered elf up and hurried him out one of the hall's many grand exits and into the main body of Elrond's palace. Low murmurs sounded in waves through the other guests gathered in the hall at the mention of the feast's end. Nothing like that had ever happened before. Never had one of Lord Elrond's feast ever been prematurely ended.
"Gandalf, come with me. We must tend to Legolas," ordered Elrond gravely. In both their eyes they shared the knowledge of something very ominous hanging in the air. Hastily retreating from the Great Hall in the way the servants bearing the stricken elf had gone, the wizard and elf-king disappeared from the sight of the others.
Not invited, but not caring if they were or not, Toreingal, Gimli, Aragorn, Arwen and the Hobbits quickly followed the two into the bowels of Rivendell's palace.
"He is fading from us," Gandalf muttered gravely to himself as his removed his hand from across the elf prince's burning hot forehead. Laying on the soft down pillows of Elrond's own bed, Legolas' labored breathing was the only thing that broke the tense silence that filled the room. The elf's eyes lay half open, but saw nothing from under the delirium of the fever that burned his body. In the dim candle light that shined from a nearby stand, the elf's skin glowed a deathly pale shade. Those that had followed Lord Elrond and Gandalf from the Great Hall stood silently along the far side of the room, out of the way of the two healers. Toreingal, however, paced nervously at the foot of Legolas' bed, heedless of the possibility he was in the way.
"I do not understand this," Elrond muttered under his breath, "I talked to Legolas myself earlier today and he was perfectly healthy. What could have stricken him so ill so fast? None of our medicine is reaching him through this fever."
"I am wondering things much along those same lines, my friend," the aging wizard answered, "I am beginning to wonder if this is more than a simple illness…" A deep frown was pulled across his bearded face as he looked down onto the panting boy before him. The elf had been stripped of his tunic and belt to better examine him. An unspoken fear crept along the half-elf's and the wizard's spines as they saw Legolas' chest drawn up beneath his ribs with every desperate, irregular gasp for air. They would need to hurry to heal the prince or he would slip beyond their aid.
"What's this…?" Gandalf suddenly murmured as he stooped to examine Legolas' left hand that lay down flat against the coverlet of the bed he lay on. The warrior's first finger was swollen and bluish in appearance. Gently turning Legolas' hand over in his own to see better, the wizard saw what had once probably been a small and shallow cut, was now almost half and inch long. The edges of the cut were purple and pulled taught from swelling. The bluish hue of the skin around the wound spread down towards the heel of Legolas' hand.
Coming around to the same side of the bed as Gandalf, Elrond stooped to examine the cut himself. A grim frown spread down across his ageless face as he gently probed the inflicted finger. Moaning weakly, Legolas writhed under the elf-king's gentle touch. Relinquishing his examination, the ancient healer closed his eyes and he held an outstretched hand out over Legolas' infected hand, using his magical insight to look beyond the superficial wound and to the true problem. Finally after a moment, Elrond stood straight beside the bed, ill tidings written across his face.
"What is it? Do you know?" Toreingal demanded from the foot of the bed urgently, worry creasing his face.
"Unfortunately, I do. But I do not know how," answered Elrond, "There is poison flowing in your cousin's veins."
"Poison?" Legolas' kin repeated in shock.
"But as I've said, I do not know how it could possibly be the poison I think of. I sense what feels like Ghostslip. But the plant that this poison is made of has long been extinct," Elrond said as if in a trance, his voice very distant, "It kills slowly and very painfully. Before death, the victim is delirious and mutters utter nonsense until they pass away. There is no known remedy."
Silence stung the ears of the room's occupants as they digested Elrond's words.
"How did this happen?" Frodo whispered, tears stinging the corners of his eyes at the thought of one of his friend's dying.
"It seems the poison was transferred into Legolas through a small cut on his finger. But I do not know how this could have been achieved," Elrond sighed in defeat, perplexed by these facts.
"Did you say a cut? On his finger?" Toreingal suddenly broke in and demanded. Turning on Gimli who stood not far away from him, Toreingal exploded, "Murderer! I should strike you dead right where you stand for what you've done!" Rage boiled in his pale gray eyes as he whipped his dagger from its sheath at his side.
Startled by this, the others gathered in the room jumped away from Legolas' enraged cousin. Gandalf and Elrond stood beside each other, watching as Toreingal gripped his knife tightly in his hand. Caught without his axe which he had left behind in the Great Hall in his hast to go to his sick elf-friend's side, Gimli watched with terror widened eyes as Toreingal stalked towards him.
"Stop this!" Aragorn ordered, stepping between the two and drawing his sword on the elf warningly, "What are you talking about, Toreingal?"
"This treacherous dwarf has just sentenced my cousin to death!" the elf roared, eyeing Gimli with hate filled eyes, "I saw him give my cousin, Legolas, a dagger earlier today. I saw him even from across the hall edging Legolas to draw the knife and examine it. My cousin followed his instructions but cut himself on its edge as he did so! He must have placed the poison on it before he arrived in Rivendell. This dwarf conspired to murder Legolas!"
"I did no such thing!" Gimli retorted defiantly, "I would never stoop to poisoning a blade in order to kill an enemy with such dishonorable treachery and deceit!"
Snorting at this, Toreingal snarled, "I would not put it past a dwarf to do such things." But before, the miner could return the insult, he was interrupted by a strong voice.
"These are grave crimes you a charge the dwarf Gimli with, Toreingal of Mirkwood," Elrond said sternly, breaking up another potential brawl between the two, "Before anyone is to be accused of murder, the blade in question must be examined."
"I will not wait for such diplomatic means of justice," Toreingal hissed with venom, "I will avenge my cousin."
"You will take no such course of action until all it taken into account," Elrond commanded, staring down the much younger elf.
Gritting his teeth in anger in knowledge he could not out rightly go against the king of the land he was in, Toreingal looked towards the only dwarf in the room and growled, "I am sending out a carrier pigeon to Legolas' father, my uncle, in Mirkwood at first light. If my cousin dies, open war with befall all dwarves. King Thranduil will not take lightly the poisoning of his youngest son. The elves will march in mass towards the mines of all mountain dwellers and seek justice for the king's son's death with the blood of ten thousand dwarves."
Turning on his heels quickly, Toreingal stormed from the room to ready his message to King Thranduil that would be sent out at the first rays of dawn.
"I did no such thing as that elf accuses me of," Gimli cried out in a tight voice, feeling himself being backed into a corner.
"I believe you, Master Dwarf," Elrond soothed, "But I fear, King Thranduil may be swayed by his nephews words and turn to war."
"Do you have the means of curing Legolas?" Aragorn asked softly, looking down onto the sickened elf's pain screwed face as he returned his sword to its scabbard.
Looking to the wooden floor, Lord Elrond shook his head sadly, "I cannot. There is no cure that I know of that can reverse the effects of the poison that flows through Legolas' veins. At best, I could only lengthen his life until he finally slips beyond my power."
"So war is upon our heads," Gandalf muttered as he gazed down onto the pale face of Legolas, whose failing life would ultimately decide the coming of a war that could ravage all of Middle-Earth until there was nothing left. Elves would fight Dwarves and then Men would fall in the wake of the consuming battles between the two races until all was but a desolate wasteland…
"Ha ha ha," sang the mirthful voice in the blanketing darkness of nothingness, "The elf has fallen and my revenge is at hand! With his death, I exact my revenge against those that imprisoned me in this tomb centuries ago. And better yet when the dwarf comes to me seeking salvation for the elf. Then I will be free once again! The second coming of the Dark Witch is close at hand!"
Again the woman's voice trailed away into the inky darkness as the wall of blackness darkened to an ever more despairing shade of nothingness…
Did you like it? Hate it? Either way, your comments, concerns, and suggestions are always accepted. Tell me if you think this has any potential or not. So depending on feedback received, I guess I'll see you in the next chapter!