Hullo all!…well, there seemed to be mixed feelings on whether or not you guys are gonna be nice and let me live till February 23rd 2004...ah well. I'll live. :P

Sorry this is late, but if you'll recall, I left time between chapter 11 and 12 (12 was the last) in Iston. So, I figured, why break tradition?…yeah, right, THAT, and I was just too darn busy yesterday to respond to all your reviews, and post the next chapter. :D Pretty good excuse, wouldn't you say? ;)

Well, a lot of you guys were right all along about Mornaeg, it appears. Congratulations, my brilliant readers. ;) And now, since I haven't much time to spare, I'll start the responses! And I am sorry that they're not as long as usual, but, well, are you aware that you people filled up 3 pages for review for chapter 12 alone? No, I'm not complaining, not at ALL, but it also makes for a LOT of responses. ;) I feel so loved!! Okay, okay, onto the responses:

Oh, I'm sorry Kayleigh-talitha! I missed your review! :( Yeah, I know what you mean about cliffies, though. I can't STAND them! They drive me mental!…but I love to read AND write them. Hm…but you know, I'm just strange that way. ;)

*giggles* Well, Cheysuli, I've got a bit before my 20th. ;) Hehe…and I'm afraid Thranduil and Lindo will not come clear until- eh -later. Like a LOT later…yeah. :D

Well, I'm glad you liked it, though you hated the ending, Throrfiwiel! ;) And sorry that you couldn't find chapter 13 at first, but I'm not surprised. I wasn't posted yet. ;) Yes, I think a lot of those things sound likely…especially the one about Lina. ;) But calm down, things'll get resovled!…eventually. And, yes, Legolas would seem an obvious option as far as "Mornaeg's undoing" goes. ;)

*grins* Do we like Estel, ThE iNsAnE oNe? ;) And I know you're older than seven, but I don't think that one feels old when they reach 10, but that's just MY opinion. ;) *inches away from TIO's Wargs* hehe- Whatever you say, TIO! I, frankly, should like to stick with Mirkwood squirrels or something. ;)

Hey, got a question for you, Soffaroffah. Does Count Offoloffof have like one eye or something? Just wondering. :P Hey, I fooled you? YOU? You of the Agetha Christy, Dorothy Sayers, Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown all the TIME all for FUN reader? YOU?! I tricked you with Mornaeg? WOW! *starts walking so high on air that she falls off and smacks her head on Grimi's helmet* OW! Since when did you start wearing ARMOR?! Oh. Since I made you my bodyguard. Yeah, that makes sense. ;) Glad the Bengwiil was a little cleared up for you! I'm afraid that *I* don't quite understand Bengwiil myself, yet. It's like I needed a poison for Iston, so I did. I thought up a plant, labeled it POISON: Bengwiil, and tossed it into my fic. What in the WORLD is it. I have no clue. :P lol! Morbid Mornaeg. I like that, it's got a good RING to it. Morbid Mornaeg. Must've been funny, else I wouldn't have DARED to use the annoying acronym; lol. *sigh* ah well. ;) Hehe, I WONDERED when you'd remember your poem! Yes, well…it works…REALLY well…yeah. :D

*laughs* No, you weren't the only one, SilvenLegolas! :D It's funny, because I didn't even THINK of how that would sound with Mornaeg calling Legolas last-minute, until ElvenFlower and Hiro-tyre brought it up. ;) *blushes* Wow, Cat, THANK you! I am so flattered that you thought me as old as Cassia. :) You're so SWEET! ;) And I'm really sorry you couldn't find the chapter. It wasn't up yet. :)

Mae govonnen, Cathy! :) Well, to your first question, Estel was there when Legolas was de-Bengwiiled (so-to-speak) but he doesn't have the healing powers of Elrond. You may recall, not on did Elrond use athelas, but he was murmuring elvish. I expect, as Cassia writes Elrond as well, that many of his healing skills are due to being bearer of a Ring of power. (i.e. Vilya) As to your second question- hehe- no, can't answer that. But you'll find out soon. VERY soon. And no, you're not being dim. ;) And thank you!…for not killing me yet. :D

Sorry that I didn't take you up on your 'posting early' idea, Karri. ;) But I DIDN'T mean for posting to take THIS long, but that's what happens when you've got 4 pages of feedback to respond to, and a busy weekend besides. *sigh* ah well. ;) And what makes you think I've got a twist up my sleeve? Would *I* do that? :P

*grins and shakes hands with a fellow 14-year-old* Hanta le, szhismine! And yes, you're right, it does raise your self-esteem somewhat to be told that, alright. :) Is he gonna do something to Legolas…well, I suppose it could be argued that he's already DONE plenty to Legolas. ;) But as for if you mean physically TO Legolas IN this scene RIGHT now? I don't want to say, but shall I just mention that this is kind of Aragorn's torture fic, Legolas' ANGST this time around. *shrugs* anyway…

*stares blankly at Gwyn* Pansy? I am NOT! Look, over there. *motions to on-coming mob* half of my readers are threatening my life, Grimi's life, and even my own sister's holding my cat hostage. 'they won't hurt you' Hya right. ;) J/K they don't have my address, right? :P And I wouldn't laugh in their faces…don't want to antagonize them. ;)

*grins* "You're a baby!" Hanta le, Callie! ;) I didn't know you were 19! Wow, girl, now I DO feel like a baby. :D And yes, you are among the ones correct about Mornaeg. Congrats! ;)

*giggle* Am I driving you nuts, IC? ;) Sorry! And I don't think my computer called me, nope!…well, you coulda SAID that it was actually you people who wanted the next chapter. :P J/K I know, I know, and I drove you nuts taking so long to post, but at least I still HAVE the chapter, right? ;)

*watches Siti chase Mornaeg out of Mirkwood* But- eh- SITI! I need that! *grins* ah well, I can always write-in another villain. ;) Yes, you're right, Aragorn sickness isn't like Legolas' was, but you'll realize why a bit later…but as everything on this cliffy-based-fic, you'll have to wait first. ;)

Is it you're birthday? Just curious. Are we getting violent again, Lynn? Yes? Okay, well maybe you should go and sleep it off- no? Well. Never mind then…yeah…so…do you mind? I can't THINK with you looking at me like- oh never mind. ;)

Yes, Julia, you were indeed close. Congrats! ;) And thank you for your compliment! I never realized you enjoyed my writing that much. :) And you're so faithful! Never giving up on Raustal, eh? ;) Thank you for the chocolate! LOVE chocolate! ;) And may God Bless you as well!

*grins* I can't tell WHAT you thought of the chapter, Carrie! ;) Yeah, I know, I'm a witness that you thought it was Mornaeg. Don't feel bad. :D And I'm not worried about being murdered in my bed…you don't have my address. ;) I'm glad you're liking the story, despite the- well -difficulties you clearly and understandably have been having with the angst and cliffies and such. ;)

OH my, Raven! Don't rip your hair out! You'll have to get a wig. ;) And yes, you knew about Mornaeg. ;) Good job! I've never heard 'Make it Through the Rain' who's it by? It sounds good! :)

*grins* Yup YOU KNEW IT, Saturn's Hikari! ;) Sorry, I can't answer any Thranduil questions at this point. BUT, I can tell you my reasoning for Elrond not getting sent for. As I explained to…someone, sorry can't remember who, Legolas clearly felt that he would make it to Rivendell with Aragorn, once the human had a chance to rest. I mean, really, they almost DID before Mornaeg shot at them on their way out. And I don't think they wanted Elrond on his way there, when they could make all-speed for Rivendell very soon…or so poor Legolas assumed. Anyways, that's they way I looked at it.

Hanta le, Trinity! You are all so sweet to me. :) *giggles* Yeah, don't bother spraying Mornaeg. Make him DRINK it! Everyone knows that Pepsi's a fancy word for 'flavored battery acid'! ;) And since you aren't the ONLY one who thought it was Mornaeg, I am more-than-willing to believe you had you suspicions. ;)

Mae govonnen, Aralondwen! Glad you're enjoying it! GAH! Not Pez! NO PEZ! ;) And sugar water is a simply disgusting thought. :P

Hey Liliana Greenleaf! OH I know how computers can be with ff.net. I haven't a clue WHY they do that, but I understand that they do. ;) As for another sequel………:D

Sorryaboutyourkeyboard, Kellen! I hope you get it fixed. Don't worry about reviews, I understand if you can't get your keyboard to work. :) Thanks for trying to anyway, though! :) and I'm GLAD you're loving the story! ;)

*grins* Ooh I'm glad that someone didn't see the Mornaeg-Minaeg thing coming, Angel of the Elves! ;) J/K I figured someone would catch on. And yes, Mornaeg is QUITE nasty. That's why he gets labeled badguy. ;)

Absolutely correct, Witchmaster! ;) BADGUY that Mornaeg…let's shoot 'im. :P

No, e , the 'hope to see 15' wasn't meant to be creepy, yes, I just turned 14, yes, I understand you were kidding with the 42 thing, and YES (WAY yes) Mornaeg is an evil nasty person. ;) As for why Aragorn didn't recognize him, the way I see it, all the human got to see of his attacker was the green eyes, and while green eyes are rare, they aren't impossible. Mornaeg, in other words, wasn't the only green-eyed elf. Also, Aragorn was really frightened and in pain during his encounter with Mornaeg (both times) so it would be a little hard for him to concentrate on what the attacker looked like. That's my excuse. ;) And I'm sorry that you couldn't find chapter 13! I hadn't posted it yet. ;)

*grins* bad cliffy day, Firsarnin? :P Glad the scream did you good. It penetrated my plugged ears but oh well… ;)

*laughs* Welcome back, Rivendell's Mistress! :) Yup, only just 14, and I was flattered that you were impressed by that. :D Yeah, that's the nice thing about ff.net acting up, is that you can just read, read, read, despite my numerous nasty clffies. ;)

Oh dear, get off of Ithildin, Grimi. Look, she saved Haldir's life, keeping him here! ;) *pulls bodyguard off* there we go. Uh…you can let him go, now, Ithildin. Aren't you- oh never mind. ;) And leave poor Melkor alone! :P

Hanata le, Auriena!!!!!! :)

No, I have NO intention to stop writing, Rosie! :) And yes, I do love to throw tons of twists in…though they get annoying. ;)

Sorry, chrisalin, but cliffies seems to be my specialty! ;) OH COOL! I didn't know that Throriwiel was your sister! :) Sarah K is my sister! :D It's fun having a fellow LOTR fan to talk to. Sarah knows practically EVERYTHING about LOTR! ;) I'm so glad you're liking the fic!!! :D

WOAH! *frantically refrains Golden Days* hehe- don't kill Mornaeg! Not yet, at least. You wouldn't deprive our poor tortured Elf Prince of that pleasure, would you? ;)

Hehe, can't give anything away YET, Trilku-sama! ;) But no, I don't blame you for- eh -not caring for Mornaeg. ;)

Mae govonnen, Ashley! It's great to see you again! :) That is SO funny about your half-birthday! What are the odds, eh? ;) *blushes* your favorite name in the world is Chloe? Aw how NEAT! That's so sweet of you, Ashley. :) And I'm so glad you're enjoying my writing. I must admit, out of all the many compliments I've received for being a 14-year-old author, yours made me feel the warmest. Thank you again, and again, Ashley! :)

I'm sorry, Hiro-tyre, that I update SO fast. I know how that can be frustrating, because sometimes Cassia updates extremely fast, and it drives me nuts! ;) lol, 'bout the perfect age. :D As for my French, I must confess that a great deal of it is due to an English-French French-English dictionary we have. Mais les morceaux de mes Français sont crédités à mon propre knowlage de cette langue. Mais les morceaux seulement. ;)

I'm glad you like the story, Lydia! And, yes, the names thing was a pretty good giveaway. ;)

Wow, thanks, Skye! :) I like being 14...it's kinda like- being 13, actually. :P I'm so glad you're enjoying the story!!!

*falls over in a series of irrepressible giggles* Myfanwy, you can't keep DOING this to me! ;) You make me laugh SO hard! :D Well, let's see if I can answer your questions. 1. No, I made it a point not to mention what color eyes Mornaeg had previously….and no, I don't think that the Mirkwood Elves were high on Bengwiil during the Hobbit. ;) 2. Yes, the whole thing with Raustal, I must admit, was rather unkind, despite the popular demand for angst. But, well, there may be more to that whole thing than meets the eye… :D 3. Hehe, Lindo isn't supposed to make sense till much, much later. So, don't feel bad that you don't get it! ;) 4. *grin* yes, I suppose they could have SENT someone to get Elrond, but the same reasons still stand. If Elrond were on his way to Mirkwood, Legolas and Aragorn couldn't very well go to Rivendell. I think by staying there, and waiting to GO to Rivendell themselves, Legolas felt more in-control than he would have otherwise. And yes, thanks for rambling. ;) *giggles* yeah, I've been up on Priceless Treasure alright…SEE?! My cliffies aren't SO bad, once compared to Cassia…feel better? *ducks vacuum cleaner* heh- guess not. ;)

Yeah, congratulations, greenleafgirl! You guessed 'er Chester (as my dad would put it ;) And yeah, I'm with Raven. It'd be helpful if you wouldn't slaughter my plot devices right now. Just FYI. ;)

You know, Lirenel, everyone seems intent on seeing Legolas attacked by Mornaeg…hm… ;)

*blinks* OOOKAY, hyper-shark! Sure, whatever. ;) Good luck with the- eh -orcs. Hm, yeah… :P

Mae govonnen, Snicks! :) Aw, I envy your friend! ;) My little sister Phoebe got a Lilo & Stitch cake from Wal*Mart for her 5th birthday, and she's so sweet, she let me keep the plastic stitch figure from the top. ;) HE'S SO ADORIBLE (for a little blue alien ;)

YES! *jumps up and down, throwing hobbit-shaped confetti) LARUS IS BACK!!!!!!!! Mae govonnen, mellon nin! *hugs for Larus, puts on an Aragorn-to-Haldir voice* You are MOST welcome. ;) It's wonderful to see you again! Hey, no problem with being back earlier and all that. Look at me, I was supposed to post YESTERDAY at the latest, and well- I didn't. ;) And I commend you for your self-control as well, my friend! Gracious, that sounds like nothing short of disaster to me. :P As for the horse scene- I have NO idea what made me think of that, in all honesty. I guess getting nearly run-over by horses was one of the few things that Cassia and Siobhan hadn't done to them yet! ;) Hm, never heard of "The Usual Suspect", but it sounds intriguing! And yes, that seems to be the approach that Mornaeg took, alright! ;) Happy (early) birthday, Larus! ;) How old do you turn, if you don't mind my asking? YOU PLAY THE RECORDER?!?! Oh that is SO cool. I never thought I'd meet another person, 'specially another person on ff.net, my READER no less, who played-and-loved the recorder as well! That is just the coolest, Larus! I'm afraid I'm not too great at classical, but I simply LOVE Celtic! I like playing hymns, Celtic melodies, and the themes from LOTR the best. :D I got a wooden Recorder just this Christmas. I'd been playing on a plastic Yamaha FOREVER! The new one sounds much MUCH prettier. :) And please, feel free to ramble to your heart's content! I love to hear it. :)

CASSIA, mellon nin! I'm so glad to see you here! I figured that you wouldn't bother trying to read Erfier until Priceless Treasure was finished. I'm so honored you came anyway! :) And I'm glad you're enjoying it! Ah yes, and hanta le, for taking the time to sign-in. ;)

Hehe, WOAH there, Lina! Let's not be killing my plot-devices!! ;) Oh, and Thranduil? Hehe, sorry, I'm not authorized- by, eh…myself -too divulge information on this matter. I.E. You'll find out soon! All grown up? Aww, how sweet…but I don't intend to try and drive any time soon. Do you know how HARD it is to get a license in NC before the age of 18? HARD lemme' tell you. Better yet, don't. Drink? HA! If you're referring to that Ale that Thranduil stores in his cellar…yuck. Those Sindarin Elves are NUTS drinking that battery acid. No offence, Legolas. :P *watches twins and Lina pass-out* - *Eomer rides up* I'LL say that was easier than usual, but what about when she comes-to? E: *shivers* let's not think about that right now… Me: Yeah, well, that's fine. It's your funeral…or it just may be your horse's, you never know. OH, and you may want to check her pockets. E: I do? Why? Me: Well, I saw her stuffing Bengwiil down her shirt, and in her jeans pockets. E: IKE! Me: Yeah, exactly. E: Why me? Me: How am *I* supposed to know? *Lina hiccups, and begins muttering in her sleep* L: Run Eztel…don't worry. I'll save you from the- Santa. E: *blinks* Oooh boy. Me: Yeah, well…hm…do you think you and your Rohirum could try getting as FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE from my fic until she's back to- herself? (refuses to say normal ;) E: Great idea. WE RIDE NORTH! Me: Better not, you've never managed to get there. E: WE RIDE S- Me: If you're about to say South, think again. You CERTAINLY have had no luck there. E: Fine. Fine. WE RIDE EAST! Me: GREAT idea. L: Roderic? Could you go kill Mornaeg for me? *hic* and get me some Bengwiil and Cheerwine? Me & Eomer: ACK!

;)

Well, everyone, here we are, the last chapter. I'm glad you've enjoyed the fic, and hope that you enjoy further writing as much!

I'd like to thank you ALL once more for reviewing this so faithfully! It's really been helpful and comforting to me.

Now, I won't be able to respond to feedback, though you are welcome to leave it anyway. But if you have questions, you'll need to e-mail me. Once again, that's:

Evenstar47@hotmail.com

Hanta le, mellhyn nin, once again! And now, I leave you to the last chapter of Erfier, Only Mortal!

Chapter 13

Erfier

Silence fell once again between the elves in the Great Hall. Legolas sat down hard on one of the many chairs filling the large hall.

"I can't believe it." Was all he could say after awhile.

"You may as well. There is nothing else to believe, that is reality. Yes, Lindo, I attacked Aragorn."

"But- you already cleared yourself of that. You were in my room when I heard Aragorn cry out!"

Mornaeg snorted softly. "I merely imitated him. I was surprised you so easily fell for it. After attacking him, I came down the stairs, mimicked his call for help, and snuck into your room. And you, of course, thought I'd been in there awhile. I changed into one of my spare tunics, already in my room, of course, and the spilt red ink-bottle I was 'writing your apology note with'. It was a perfect excuse for the red stains on my hands. Stains caused by your friend's blood rather than ink."

"But why?" Legolas' voice was quiet and hurt, barely above a whisper.

"Why." Mornaeg shook his head, and sank into a chair as well. "Many nights have I wondered how I would answer that very question, should it be asked of me. Very well, Lindo, I shall tell you why." Mornaeg took a deep breath, and looked across the hall, towards the east wall. But he wasn't looking at the wall, but somewhere else. A completely different place, situation, and moment. "Several years ago, my brother and I, as well as several other elves, went on a hunting trip into Mirkwood. By some misfortune that I still don't quite understand, we were tracked by a pack wolves. That night, at our encampment, the wolves attacked.

"We did our best to fight them off, but one, the one that must have been the leader of the pack, managed to lock his teeth around my brother, Minaeg's, shoulder, and began to drag him into the underbrush. I shot several arrows at the beast, but he was too fast, and disappeared into the woods. So I chased him.

"I ran through the forest for what seemed like hours, though it was but twenty minutes. I finally found where the animal had decided to lie down and enjoy his 'meal'. I shot an arrow directly into his chest, but in his stunned pain, he lurched forward, landing on top of Minaeg, and digging his teeth into my brother's leg. His bight sank deep, so deep into his knee, and Minaeg cried out with a scream unlike any I've heard. And I never care to hear anything like it again." Mornaeg paused a moment, shuddering at his vivid memory, and then continued. "I kept up the fight with the wolf, shooting arrow after arrow into his evil hide, and then finally attacking him with my dagger. But every time I tried to approach my brother, the horrid animal would lunge forward, slashing Minaeg's flesh with his claws again.

"At last, I managed to thrust my dagger into the wolf's throat, and he lay dead before me. Reaching my brother, I found him barely alive. He tried to speak, but the blood from the runs on his cheek chocked him. He *couldn't* speak- he cou…" Mornaeg swallowed hard, trying to keep his tale moving. "I trekked through the forest, dragging my wounded brother with me the whole way, and at long last, found our hunting party again. We all made our way back to these halls as quickly as possible.

"Upon reaching the Halls, we tried to burn Bengwiil for Minaeg to dull the pain, but it did not work. So we- we fed him a leaf of the plant instead. And he rested in peace that night.

"But as I'm sure you know from Bodruith, that dwarfen lord you met in Gabil Gû ndu, the peace did not last. But an hour later, he was not himself. After awhile, I couldn't stand being near him. I couldn't bare seeing my brother's vacant eyes staring at me whenever I tried to speak to him. He kept shouting that I looked upon him in anger, and he would hide his eyes from me. And many times, he could neither see nor hear me.

"And then, a fortnight after his Bengwiil dose, he died. Alone. Believing that all, even his own brother, had turned against him. He died so confused, so alone…" Mornaeg shook his head, and looked down at the floor.

Legolas didn't know what to say, and so for awhile he said nothing. Then, he rose from his seat, and walked towards Morneag. "Why Aragorn?" His voice was firm and wounded.

"Because I wanted to see it. After I gave up on my brother, I couldn't bare anything. So I began to burn Bengwiil constantly, trying to rid my heart and soul of this pain. I would remain in my tower-room for hours and hours, burning leaf after leaf. I remember nothing of those days. Once your father outlawed all Bengwiil, I had nothing to dull the pain in my heart, and I could think of nothing but my brother for years. Finally, I began to dwell on Minaeg on purpose. I didn't try to forget, but fought to remember, and it was the only thing that eased my pain. As long as I dwelt on it, I could bare it. So for years I have been desperate to find any information of what happened in the last days of my brother's life.

"I would stay up in my room, and write for hours on end about all I could think of regarding the Bengwiil. These writings were the ones your friend found. I would write for so long, I'd start to write unintentional rhymes, or I would write so fast, I'd miss words constantly until not even I could understand my writings.

"My most beloved of these pages, though, was the ink drawing of my brother. When I came to my room, or the room I had suggested Thranduil lend to Aragorn, I found the pages missing. I had intended for your friend to stay in my room, for I needed somewhere secluded to attack him when the time came. But I had not expected him to raid my writing desk. So when I attacked him, I tried desperately to discover what he'd done with it, but he would not tell me. Or perhaps in his panicked state, he didn't know what I meant."

Legolas shook his head. "I still don't understand. Why Aragorn? Even with his infection of Bengwiil, he doesn't understand it. Why would you choose a mortal boy for your filthy experiment? He knew nothing!"

"He didn't have to. My intent was not to understand Bengwiil better, oh no. I wanted to *see* my brother's last days, all the horrors intact. You, Lindo, are me, and your friend is Minaeg. Everything has gone according to plan. Down to every detail. Every slash on your human friend's body is identical to the ones caused by that foul wolf on my brother. The rip down his shoulder from getting dragged through the woods. The gash in his leg from the wolf's frantic attacks. Every scratch, cut and scar is exactly as they were on Minaeg."

Legolas' blood boiled at this. "You did all this just to *see* that misery all over? What madness is this! Why, Mornaeg? Why did you spring your disgusting experiment on my friend and I?!"

"My plot was nearly ruined, when you tried to make a break for Rivendell. But the Salab darts stopped you well enough, thank goodness. And then your friend became sicker, exactly as he should have. Though, he would not speak to me, and I had to hit over the head again." The elf made a glum sigh. "It made an extra bruise that wasn't upon Minaeg's head."

Legolas shot to his feet, furious. "Why? Why, Mornaeg, why?! Why have you done this to us? Why Aragorn? I will take no more of your filthy madness, so tell me why!"

"It is a pity he struggled so when I attacked him. The cut in his shoulder was not meant to run *that* deep. But oh well. He really screamed then. A scream that nearly surpassed my brother's. And that satisfied me at least. Your friend can really scream, when put through enough pain, Lindo."

In a lightning motion, Legolas' bow was strung, and the arrow pointed unmistakably at Mornaeg's heart. "If you dare make so light of Aragorn's agony again…"

"What will you do. Shoot me?" Morneag's laughter was neither humorous nor pleasant. "You will not kill me, Lindo. It doesn't run in your blood."

"Stop calling me Lindo! I don't know *why* you do it, but I cannot stand it!" Legolas stood, chest heaving for a few moments. "Why." He said finally, his voice dangerously quiet.

"Why what?" Mornaeg asked audaciously.

"Why Aragorn and I. You have a reason, Mornaeg, and shall go nowhere until I hear it."

Mornaeg did not hesitate, but for once he didn't looked pleased with his words. "Because it is *your* fault, Lindo, that I was not there when my brother died! By the time I heard of his death, his body was already cold. I never got to say goodbye, Lindo, and it is all because of you."

Legolas shook his head. "I don't know *what* you are talking about!"

"Well," Mornaeg's eyes were as cold as his tone. "Perhaps you should ask your father."

The two elves were once again silenced. Legolas walked forward a step, a new question in his head. He didn't know *what* Mornaeg was trying to say with that last comment, and didn't want to know right now. "Why are you telling me all this? You have basically revealed what a serpent and a coward you are. My father will have you exiled from these Halls, yea even Mirkwood , that is sure!"

"As if I care now. For everything is still going exactly as I planned."

"What do you mean?" Legolas asked quietly, uncertainty leaking into his words.

Mornaeg shook his head. "Lindo, Lindo, Lindo." Legolas gritted his teeth. "Have you heard *nothing* I have said? Distracted by hurt that had haunted me for days and nights, I was not there when my brother died."

Legolas felt suddenly ill inside, and a pure terror suddenly flooded his mind. "Mornaeg, umach-"

"Say what you like of me, Lindo, but you are wasting time as we speak."

At the moment, the pounding of footsteps echoed in the corridor outside. Legolas turned to see Tirniel's assistant healer running down the stone stairs towards him. "Your highness! Come quickly! Aragorn-"

Legolas whole body went numb, and a cold sweat overtook him. The healer didn't have the courage to finish his sentence, so he only added, "Noro!" and ran back up the stairs.

//hurry!//

Legolas shot a look of pure fury and anguish at Mornaeg before loosening his bow, and running after the healer. Legolas' naturally nimble feet went twice as fast, and he nearly passed Tirniel's assistant up. He reached the bedroom door, still shaking with fear, and entered swiftly.

Tirniel was standing beside the bed, bathing Aragorn's forehead with a wet cloth. Thranduil stood by, and when he saw Legolas come running into the room, he was forced to look away.

Legolas didn't know what the look was on his own face, but if it was anywhere near what he was feeling, it must have been heartbreaking to see. The prince rushed to the bedside, for what seemed like the umpteenth time this day. Sinking to his knees, and dropping his weapons beside him, he grabbed frantically for Aragorn's hand in the growing darkness.

"Aragorn?" He whispered shakily, trying to figure out whether he was still conscious or not.

"Legolas." Aragorn's voice was so low, and so weak, but Legolas was relieve to hear it none-the-less.

"I'm here, mellon nin. Teera sinome."

//right here.//

Legolas tried to clear his mind. Tried to believe that Mornaeg had been wrong about his predictions. Aragorn couldn't die. He *couldn't* die!

Tirniel leaned over towards Legolas. "Try to keep him awake. If he falls into unconsciousness, he will not stand a chance. We must keep his body awake…or it will fail."

Legolas swallowed hard and nodded.

"I can't see you." Aragorn told his friend softly. "I wish I could see you once more."

"Do not say these things, Aragorn. Please. I need you here with me, and I will not lose you. You can make it, you are strong."

Aragorn smiled sadly. "I can't Legolas. I can't be strong for you as you were for me. That night you nearly died of Bengwiil, you pulled through. But you are an elf, Legolas. We have been friends for so long, I guess we lost track of this fact, but it still remains. You are an elf, but I am only man, Legolas. Erwe, erfier." Aragorn shook his head, with a slight shrug, as if in apology. "Only man, only mortal."

"I don't care, Aragorn. You *know* I don't care. Would you be a dwarf, I would not care. You are my *friend*. You, in of yourself. I- it matters not *what* you are, I care only for *who* you are. You know this."

"I know, Legolas. But it does not alter the fact that I am mortal. I am not as strong as you. I cannot pull through for you as you did for me."

"You *are* as strong-"

"No, no I'm not. Legolas, listen. When you were infected with Bengwiil, you knew, somewhere in the back of your confused mind, you *knew* that what you saw wasn't real. You *knew* you had to know comfort. I didn't understand what was wrong until it was upon me. The Bengwiil completely tricked my mind to the point that I believed myself healed. Completely healed. But you were right, Legolas. And my deceived mind has carried me here. This I know at the least. You were right…I" Aragorn's body tensed, and his breath quickened with the Bengwiil-caused headache. He gritted his teeth as the spasm passed, and sighed in exhaustion. "You were right…and I am going to die."

"No, Aragorn, no. I was *not* right. I was wrong, so wrong. You will make it." Legolas whispered desperately, squeezing Aragorn's hand in the dark, and using the other hand to rub the suffering ranger's shoulder. "Take courage, and remember the hope you were named for, Estel."

Aragorn smiled again. "I cannot see you, Legolas. But I know what you look like. I can see your face in my mind's eye. That look of determination you often wear. Never give up on that, Legolas. Never."

Legolas shook his head. These sounded too much like last words to him. "Aragorn, don't go. I- I don't want to lose you." Legolas could remember a day not that long ago when Aragorn had said those same words to him. But Legolas had made it, though things had been so dark. Aragorn would make it. He *had* to. He had to…

Aragorn was obviously remembering the same thing, and stared in Legolas' direction with a look of deepest sympathy. He was about to speak again, when the door swung open, and Mornaeg stepped in.

Legolas rose slowly from the bedside, his eyes slits, and his lips tight across his teeth. "Leave here, wretched snake! You have *no* right to stand in this room after what you've done."

Mornaeg raised an impudent eyebrow. "But, Lindo, I wanted to write everything down." He raised an ink-quill and several pieces of parchment. "I want to remember exactly what my brother's cold, lifeless body felt like."

"Be gone, Mornaeg! Leave!" Legolas stood and watched as Mornaeg completely ignored his command, and instead took an extra step into the room, and began scratching down details on his parchment. In an instant, the arrow was notched and aimed. Legolas didn't have to think before letting it go.

Mornaeg screeched in pain, and fell to the floor, gripping his knee which had an arrow protruding just above it. "Remove him." Legolas said flatly to Tirniel's assistant. The elf nodded shortly, and hauled Mornaeg out of the room, closing the door swiftly behind him.

Legolas returned to Aragorn's side, and to his horror, found that the human's eyes were closed. "Aragorn!"

The young man's eyes fluttered open, and he looked around blankly. He still couldn't see anything. "Legolas, I am falling."

Legolas' throat closed up almost completely. "No." Was all he could say, through his tear-chocked voice.

"I have to go, Legolas. I want to stay, but I- I can feel it…I am falling, and I- am so sorry…"

"No, don't leave me, Aragorn, please. Don't leave me."

"I don't want to, my friend. I don't want to leave you. I don't." Aragorn clenched his eyes shut for a moment, swallowing hard. "Legolas?" He said finally. "Promise me this…this. Do not despair for me. I don't want you to die of a broken heart. You des- deserve better. Do not despair. Please."

"I shall try." Legolas whispered, feeling a salty tear slide down his face, and he grabbed both his friend's hands.

"But don't forget me, Legolas. Don't forget me. I am leaving, but estel remains. Hold onto hope, and do not forget me. Don't f- forget me…don't…Legolas…" Aragorn's eyes shut, and slid into unconsciousness.

"His pulse is fading…" Tirniel's eyes shut, and he shook his head. "He will not awake. Hiro îth ab 'wanath"

"No!" Legolas leaned over his friend, and unable to hold the tears back any longer, he collapsed on Aragorn's chest, and sobbed. "No, Aragorn, please! Come back! Come back. Friendship does not waver at a wind."

"Fion..." Thranduil walked towards him, laying a hand on his shoulder.

//son///

Legolas shook his head bitterly, and tried to keep whispering. "And a friendship like ours lasts forever."

"Legolas, stop."

"Forever, like an everlasting- everlasting candle. Aragorn, keep the candle burning. Please, Estel. Come back. Come back! C- come…"

"Legolas." Thranduil said not harshly, but firmly. Legolas looked up, his silver eyes flooded with unshed tears. "I am sorry, my son."

Legolas' heart fell. Everything around him went blank. All he could see, think or feel was Aragorn. Aragorn. "Aragorn." He whispered, and climbed up onto the bed beside his friend. He wrapped his arms around the human's shoulders, and cried softly. The most bitter tears he had ever cried.

Thranduil left his son's side, and walked up beside Tirniel. "Will you send a messenger to Rivendell?"

"Of course, your majesty. What shall I have him say?"

Thranduil cast one last look at his weeping son, and his still friend. "Inform Lord Elrond that his son, Aragorn…is dead."

And for the rest of that night, the only sound in the dark room was a brokenhearted prince weeping and gently singing a song between tears.

"The Road goes e-ever on…and on. Down f-from the- the door where it began…Now…Now far away the road is go-gone, and I must f-follow if I can…"

To Be Continued…

Black

::soft flute music::

(slow motion) Legolas holding Aragorn's hand

(voice-over) Legolas: "I see him."

(slow motion) Aragorn's hand slipping out of Legolas'

(voice-over) Legolas: "I hear him in my dreams."

(slow motion) Legolas climbing out of bed

(slow motion) Legolas standing in front of a window, watching the sun rise

(voice-over) Legolas: "I awake in the night, thinking- hoping he will be before my eyes."

Aragorn lieing in bed, his eyes closed, his face pale, his head sweaty

(voive-over) Legolas: "But I know better. He is gone. Dead."

Legolas looking up at someone, tears in his eyes

Legolas: "Oh, Edren. I miss him so."

Black

(voice-over) Legolas: "Will he *never* be back?"

::music gets louder::

Edren standing in front of someone

Edren: "Legolas, stop. You musn't *do* this to yourself!"

Legolas staggering into a dark room, walking towards Aragorn, who is lying on the bed

(voice-over) Edren: "Over and over you go into that dark room, sit for hours, and dwell on his death."

Legolas sinking to his knees next to Aragorn's bed, looking defeated

(voice-over) Edren: "There are other things,"

Thranduil collapsing onto his bed

(voice-over) Edren: "Other people who are alive, and need their prince."

Edren looking at Legolas, desperate

Edren: "Please, Legolas. Will you not help?"

::music stops::

Legolas staring at nothing, breathing hard

(voice-over, flash-back from Erfier) Aragorn: "Do not despair for me. Do not despair." (whispery echo)

(slow motion) Legolas looking up, tears running down his cheeks

::music breaks::

Legolas jumping onto Lint, and steering him around

Close-up on a pen writing on parchment, spelling out the word "Bengwiil"

Legolas shaking his head

Legolas: "Mornaeg..."

Tirniel looking up sharply

Firelight shining into a dark cave

Legolas stumbling back against a wall, and closing his eyes

Legolas: "Es- E- Estel!"

Black

::music stops::

Legolas standing, with his eyes closed, breathing heavily

(voice-over) a soft voice: "What do you fear, Legolas?"

Legolas opening his eyes, his heavy breathing is loud, and echoy

(voice-over) soft voice: "What do you fear..."

Legolas standing straight, tears in his eyes, nodding slowly

Legolas: "Ea nefredal im."

//I am unafraid.//

(stone letters with the shadow of trees reflected on them) Nefredal (letters crumble, and disappear)

(stone letters with the shadow of trees reflected on them) Unafraid (letters crumble, and disappear)

Black

(stone letters etc) Coming to Fanfiction.net 2003 (letters crumble and disappear)

Black

Namarie until then, mellhyn nin!

~Chloe :)