Title - The Greater Good
Author - Jules
Rating - pg 13
Summery - When Arwen deserts Aragorn for the Grey Havens, he takes his revenge out on the Elven Kingdom. Written for Minka's challenge... therefore DON'T PINCH!!!
Disclaimer - They do.. I don't
Authors Notes - This was a dare issued to me by Minka.. . I hope you like it girl! This is set AU.
Dedication - To dear Minka for giving the idea and the kick in the arse to write it.
Mirkwood burns, its people scattered and captured, and its treasures blundered. The children were captured if they were old enough and slaughtered if they were not, the older men were murdered where they stood, women were raped and sent into slavery, and the younger men caught, brutally treated, then also sold into slavery. The fair once-Prince of Mirkwood grimaced at the situation that had befallen his people. He'd left as an envoy for a gathering in Lothlorien not 2 moons ago, and had returned when the alarm was raised by a visiting messenger. Mirkwood had been ravaged, raped, plundered and murdered unlike none had ever seen. The Prince left with a legion of the Lothlorien warriors, anxious to see what evil had fallen upon his people, less than a week later his heart clenched with an anguish that many thought would take his life the instant his eyes sought out the smoldering remains of the city of Greenwood the Great.
Legolas felt a violent shudder force it's way through his slender frame, causing his knees to buckle and his weight plummet towards the earth. Strong hands grasped his arms and held him upright, before gently easing the anxious Prince to the forest floor. Silently the warriors of Lothlorien searched the smoking remains, calling out for survivors but knowing already within their hearts there would be none. Legolas sat as still as stone as his disbelieving eyes followed the warriors. His heart clenched further as he saw them decent the steps into the caverns of his home, the Royal Halls of Thranduil. Through the turmoil that coursed through his mind he somehow found his feet and trailed the warriors into the halls, his footsteps as silent as those before him. His feet found their way to the main chamber, where the King, his Princes and their advisors would normally sit upon a slightly raised dais. The problem was, they were still sitting on the dais, and all save for his own chair was filled with the rotting corpse of the Royal Family of Mirkwood. Bile rose in the throat, forcing a choking sound to be wrenched from his throat. The warriors before him turned sharply at the sound, concern then dismay crossing their faces as they rushed to conceal the horrible sight from the Prince's eyes.
" I am sorry my Lord, you should not have been allowed to see such death" one of them said, placing a comforting yet controlling arm around the Prince's shoulder and guiding him from the room. Legolas allowed himself to be led away, his grief having elevated to a point where rational thought was no longer an option.
A day later the dead were buried, the buildings searched and the weary and disheartened warriors from Lothlorien returned to the trees that were their home. The Prince of Mirkwood said little during the journey, barely eating and rarely sleeping. A meeting of all Elven leaders was convened with the utmost expediency and within several days, all the relevant leaders and their envoys had gathered within the Lady's realm. Heated discussions echoed through the solemn forest, and whisperings of actions to be taken were guarded much more closely. Most of the goings-on slipped past Legolas, his grief still all consuming, and he understood little of the course of action the Elven Lords had decided upon. Within hours a rider dressed entirely in black galloped through the glade, thundering hoofbeats marking the only sign of his passing.
Several days later Legolas' mind had briefly slipped from its suffering, enough for him to ask several pointed questions, all to which he pieced together within the foggy workings of his mind. The White Tree of Gondor had been splashed in the dark congealed blood of the Mirkwood Royal Family on the very halls of their Palace, leaving a grisly reminder to any that came across the place of who had been there and done such a thing. The personal mark of the King of Gondor was also found, carved into the very flesh of the deceased King of Mirkwood. Whether it was done while he still drew breath no one knew. Therefore whatever reason Mirkwood had for being destroyed in such a manor came directly from the King of Gondor himself.
The pieces of the puzzle slowly began to fit together for the grieving prince. Aragorn felt humiliated by the elves, ever since Arwen had sailed to the Undying Lands he had been sullen, often to the point of violence. Any elf within his sight would cause him much unrest and bitterness, as Legolas rapidly learnt in the weeks following Arwens' departure. None of the remaining Fellowship could pull Isildur's heir out of his suffering, least of all Legolas who wanted nothing more than to help his friend, but only ended up causing more pain. Eventually the elf left his companion of many years to be with his own people and prepare for his own journey to the West. He had known little of the broodings gathering strength in the neighboring lands, of how Aragorn's unrest had spread throughout his people to sow the seed for a deep hatred of elves, one that would grow and mature into the probability of war. The Elven lords knew this, and also knew that they had neither the warriors nor the sheer numbers to repel an invasion of men, let alone any hope of winning such a battle. Thus the Elven Lords decided on one course of action, yielding the maximum results from the least bloodshed. Elladan, the son of Elrond of Rivendell was dispatched to achieve this goal. Cut of the snake's head and the body withers and dies. Assassinate Aragorn, and the hatred within his people will eventually wither and die also. The decision was extremely hard to make, the Rivendell Elves being the most vocal in their objection to such a plan. Although the King of Gondor was not totally related to them by blood, he had been a foster child raised there since near his birth and was dearly loved by all elves within the realm. Yet how his hatred of elves grew to such a magnitude none knew, yet even the Rivendell elves knew what the consequences would be if such a breeding of hatred were allowed to continue. Having worked through what was about to happen to his once dear friend, Legolas stole silently into the night, revenge fueled by his all consuming grief convincing his mind and heart that he would make the King of Gondor pay for the crimes upon his people.
He kept off the marked road, urging his steed to go quietly yet swiftly towards the ever growing lands of Gondor. Hoofbeats were muffled by the spongy grass underfoot as the galloped through the dark night. Even the stars seemed to be diminished in grief and wisps of cloud shimmering across the crescent moon with alarming regularity. The two riders drew unwittingly close together, one nearly passing the other on the roads approaching the Gap of Rohan. The dark rider stifled a gasp of surprise as he caught sight of the other, shock writing itself plainly across the dark features of his face. With a slight change in his weight he guided his racing steed over to the other, making it known that he had been spotted. The pale rider didn't shift in his race towards the Gap, barely acknowledging the other galloping horse, let alone the purpose of its rider.
" Legolas, turn back NOW! You shouldn't be involved in this!" Elladan hissed as their two horses were just about brushing bellies.
" I was involved the moment my people were slayed, I WILL exact my revenge" Legolas spat back, shifting his own weight slightly to accommodate a fallen tree that blocked their path. Both horses took the obstruction within their stride, barely changing the rapid but comfortable gallop each had settled into.
" You are too emotionally involved, you will only get yourself killed!" Elladan shot back, his task was difficult enough as it was without having to baby-sit a grieving Elf. Elladan urged his mount on slightly, drawing level with Legolas' horses' ear. He leaned over and whispered into the animal's swiveling ear, urging it to take its ailing master back to Rivendell. Without changing its stride the pale animal turned a wide circle and headed back in the direction from whence it had come. No matter what Legolas did, he spoke, he kicked, he reefed the animals' mane, yet it would not stray from its new course. A creeping suspicion trickled into Legolas' mind. Elladan had convinced his steed that its master was not thinking straight and to take him home for aid. Realising that that would be the ONLY reason his horse would willingly disobey him, he allowed himself to slide from its back, landing neatly in a roll before ending up back on his feet. Elladan would not stop him now.
The King of Gondor sat dejectedly on this throne, dismissing his citizens with a wave of his hand as they squabbled about lands and crops. He was weary of the boring routine events that being a King required him to attend, bored of the small quarrels he was forced to mediate because protocol dictated that he should. His heart was still bitter, soured by the departure of the one that he would have gladly given his lives many times for. But no, she chose to go with her people, the elves. His mind recoiled at the sheer distaste of the word. Once he had considered the firstborn as brothers, kin and family. He had been raised by Elrond, lord of Rivendell after his mother feared for the safety of her son, yet now, even the love he had openly showed his foster father in the past was tainted with blood. The blood he had ordered shed in his rage after Arwen had left him, he knew she had considered it, and even made to go with her people as was shown to him in his dream, but to actually learn, years later that she had in fact sailed, was more than his war-torn heart could bear. Upon riding himself to Rivendell, and seeing only decay and deterioration in the once grandeur realm. Elrond and his sons were the only elves who had still dwelt in this gully after the leave-taking of the majority of its citizens, and had neither the power nor the time to maintain the structures of the many halls and houses. In the years it had taken Aragorn to lend his aid in the destruction of the One Ring, and then the many more he had sat on the throne of Gondor, unable to leave his duties, Rivendell had fallen into disrepair, and eventually moved away from the secluded glen to Lothlorien were many elves still dwelt.
On his returning journey from the halls of Rivendell they had passed over the Misty Mountains and passed under the towering canopy that was the forest of Mirkwood. As they neared the halls of Mirkwood the clear ringing of Elvish voices filled his ears, once more striking rage within his heart. How dare they be merry when all that he had held dear had been ripped away from him, torn like a baby from its mother's breast, leaving a great chasm filled with rage and hatred. His guard held his grudge with him, knowing something foul must have happened to turn their normally stoic and regal King into a man hell bent on revenge. They held no question when the order came and achieved their goal with military precision. None who were worth anything were killed, the women were raped then bound, the younglings and older folk murdered where they stood, and the younger elves who would be worth something on the slave market were beaten into submission then also bound. The village had no warning and the small number of elves that still resided there could raise no defense capable to withstanding the rage of the entire King's guard in time.
The village burnt, its smoldering remains all that was left of a once voluminous and wondrous city. The carcasses of the slain lay where their lives had been taken, and a slow procession of bound captive trailed the King of Gondor, his guard surrounding the broken group ensuring that none could contemplate escape. Several died on the journey back to Minas Tirith, their grief taking them from this earth by force before the brutal hands of men could prevent it. The procession moved slowly, those walking shuffling along as best they could to keep up with the horses, trying desperately to hope that the whips would not touch their flesh. It would take them nearly two weeks to return to the White City with the number of prisoners they had, and progress was painfully slow. As night fell the group pulled to a stop, the guards making a campfire and securing the acquired slaves to the tree's by way of chains so they would not escape.
A silent figure slipped silently through the darkened glade, his arrow nocked in anticipation as he heard the less than elegant voices of men. It had not taken long to find the group, having lost Elladan only a day ago and tracking south to the path the King's Guard would have taken. To his horror he also heard the whisperings of frightened elves desperately trying to keep each other from passing on in their grief and leaving the others even more alone. Anger surged through is heart as he caught several names of his close friends, their voices clearly terrified but not unmistakable.
He crept closer, lowering his arrow and slipping behind one of the trees were the captives were tethered. He pulled his knife from its sheath on his back and quickly began trying to pick the lock. The point of the blade was far too large for the padlock's keyhole and he swore sharply as the knife clinked against the metal padlock with his efforts. Several of the guards looked up at the noise, shifting quietly as to not disturb the slumbering King and edged towards where the captives were chained. Legolas was so intent on freeing his kinsmen he failed to notice the men approaching, realised only at the last instant that he was almost surrounded. Blades were raised against him and the Prince of Mirkwood quickly rose, stowed his knife and renocked his arrow, drawing the string back till the knuckle of his thumb rested lightly against the groove between his jaw and neck. He sighted along the long shaft, allowing the string to blur as he adjusted his aim. He managed to fell three of the guard before their first strikes came perilously close to his flesh, he tossed aside his bow, praying that it wouldn't break upon landing and grasped both the white handled knives, twirling them slightly to adjust his grip. The sound of metal clashing angrily against metal work those men who were slumbering and all bar the King rose to assist their companions. Legolas was quickly surrounded, unable to fight so many off at once. A blow from the side was parried, forcing him slightly onto the forehand, but another blow from the back caught him unprepared and he buckled beneath the lunge. His blades fell from his useless hands as the sword was withdrawn from his back. The dim surroundings tunneled and shrank from existence as the fair Prince of Mirkwood succumbed to the pain and darkness, all conscious thought leaving him as he lay limp upon the forest floor, his blood staining the undergrowth beneath him.
The King was awoken and bought over to the scene of the fight, his eyes still dark with the lust for spilt elvish blood. He caught sight of the fair being sprawled upon the grass, his bloodstained hair falling over his face and concealing his identity.
" Looks like we missed one, we found him trying to free the others." the lead guard announced as the King joined the small congregation.
" Bind him and string him up with the others" The King said harshly before retreating to his bedroll, his mind already scheming on how to punish the misdeeds of his latest prisoner.
Morning came with the first rays of sunlight kissing the bruised flesh of the latest captive. He groaned as consciousness returned to his body, each bruise and wound making itself painfully known as the first light touched his face. A boot was driven harshly into his midsection, causing the blonde to gasp weakly as a new pain made itself known. The command to get up found its way to his ears, and when he did not comply quickly enough, other bootmarks joined the original one. He staggered to his feet, clutching his stomach as best he could to dull the merciless throbbing and allowed himself to be tethered to the other captives. The captured elves knew him well, yet they said nothing, whether it was in blame that he had not been there to help them, nor in pity for what they had just seen happen to their Prince. Downcast eyes followed the shuffling feet in front as the company moved once again towards Minas Tirith, now only a day or two's march from their current position.
Meanwhile the dark rider approached the White City, its banner's proudly displaying the mark of their King as the breeze blew about them. The rider drew up his cloak as he neared the great gates, carefully concealing his distinct features from any whom may care to notice. He whispered quietly to his steed, instructing the animal to behave as any horse from Rohan or Gondor would, and to suffer the dark stables and stale grain for a short time until they returned to Lothlorien. Looking like any tired traveler the rider passed through the gates and into the city beyond, blending flawlessly with the throngs of men and women who crowded the streets carrying out their daily tasks. He caught snippets of conversation as he picked his way through the throngs of people, mostly idle conversation, but several comments were enough to make his blood boil. Elladan silently cursed his foster brother for the malice that touched his sensitive ears. The townsfolk opening spoke of their hatred of the elves, and how a She-Elf had caused such pain and torment to their King.
'If only they knew the truth about us' Elladan mused as he continued his way towards the palace. Most mortals knew little of elvish culture, of the sea-longing and of how their people passed peacefully into the west when the call entered their hearts. How little these people knew of his kind, yet how much these folk hated them. He drew his steed to a halt as he found an Inn close to the palace, he handed over the reins to the stable boy, and drifted towards the heavy wooden door before him. The stench of alcohol, stale water and smoke assaulted his sensitive nose, and he fought the urge to wrinkle it in disgust. He was here for a purpose and as much as he wished he missed his opportunity, he knew he would have to succeed if the remaining Elves in Middle Earth wished to live out their days in peace. The door was heavy to shift and the Elf grunted as it gave way under his weight. He stepped into the gloom of the Inn, asking for a room for several nights and a warm meal. He handed over the silver pieces given to him by his father to the barman, and followed the instructions to take the 4th room on the right at the top of the stairs. Elladan shifted his pack on his back, put on a tired expression and started towards the stairs. He kept his ears open for any conversations regarding his foster brother and his whereabouts. The elf knew Aragorn wouldn't be back in Minas Tirith yet, as he himself had ridden on the wind as only elvish horses can gallop, therefore Aragorn and his company would be several hours, if not days behind him. He found his room without trouble and pushed the door open to reveal a small room, furnished only with a basin, chair, and bed. He eased himself onto the bed, the hard ride taking its toll on his muscles as they bent to accommodate his new position. He allowed himself a short rest before stowing his pack under the bed and rinsing the grime of the journey off his face at the basin. He then headed back downstairs to partake in his dinner that would no doubt have been ready by then.
The day after Elladan had arrived in Minas Tirith, the tired company of captured elves were pushed through the grand gates of the city. Legolas shuddered at the thought that he was entering the city in chains, when he had last entered the gates heralded as a hero. The citizens of the city spat on them as they passed, throwing fruit and vegetables at them, marring their already dirty clothes and skin further. Heads bowed they trudged on, whip and hand flogging them in their pace became too slow. Closer towards the palace they came, enduring the floggings of their captors as well as the jeers from the townsfolk. Aragorn rode tall in front of them, regal in stature and earning bows of respect as he passed. Finally they halted, cowered and beaten before a large raised dais in the Town Square. One by one the slaves were forced the stand upon it, each now tethered to a raised poll, their hands bound helplessly high above their hands. The sun beat mercilessly upon them, tanning and burning their fair skin, as they were given no reprieve. No nourishment was given to them either, and all they had received during the journey was stale bread and dirty water. Night started to descend, plunging the white city in darkness. One by one the windows in the houses became illuminated, and later one by one the same windows winked out, and still the slaves stood, their limbs aching and skin burning from their bonds. None cared for them now, and tomorrow at first light, the auction would begin.
At first light Aragorn surveyed the bedraggled elves before him. Many had collapsed overnight, their bonds the only thing keeping them upright. The dead were cut down, those who were unconscious roused by icy water thrown over them. The King marched up the line, examining each as if they were a piece of meat and nothing more, until he came to Legolas. Though still in torment from the wound to his back and stomach, Legolas glared defiantly at the man he had once been proud to call 'Elf-Friend'. Whether the man recognized him or not was another matter, although the human pulled a guard close and asked a question of him, receiving only a nod in return.
"Cut this one down, he killed several of my guard, and I shall take great pleasure in punishing him myself" the King spoke with great authority, causing those near him to cower. Legolas' knee's buckled as the pressure on them increased tenfold, his wrists having supposed the majority of his weight overnight. The guard hauled him to his feet and pushed him roughly in the direction of the palace, whipping his already painful back if he stumbled.
Elladan watched as impartially as he could as Legolas was cut down and shoved cruelly away. His heart ached for the Elf, and he knew each of his kinsmen would soon suffer the same fate. He worked his way through the crowd, following the guard and his charge in their march towards the grand entrance of the palace. As they rounded a dark corner into a somewhat secluded alleyway Elladan decided it was his moment to act. He silently unsheathed his dagger, and hurried until he was within striking distance of the guard. When he was close enough he quickly reached around the guard's neck and slit his throat before he had a chance to react to the unnoticed presence. Legolas stumbled and fell as the dead guard crashed into him from behind, causing his chin to slam painfully into the roadwork and his teeth to pierce his lip. He felt the weight move and instantly recoiled into a curled position, nursing his tender stomach from the beating he knew would be coming. Instead gentle hands eased his arms away from his knees, drawing him out of his defensive position. The stranger said nothing, yet to Legolas it was clear that it was Elladan beneath the voluminous black robes and heavily hooded cape.
"Ella..." Legolas stammered, then prompted shut up as a slender finger was placed against his bloody lips. Quickly the dark Elf rid the guard of his tunic and armor, slipping into it himself and presenting the passable image of a guard of the Royal Palace.
Without hesitation the two were allowed entrance to the Palace, Elladan making a show of humiliating Legolas as they neared any who might judge them to be suspicious. Finally alone in the dimly lit corridors of the lower halls, Elladan stopped to untie Legolas' bonds. The exhausted elf rubbed his bleeding wrists, anxious to get blood flowing to his hands again should he forced to defend himself. Elladan had not wanted the other elf along on his mission, knowing the grief still flowed through his veins, yet his recent experience would hopefully let the elf function on automatic until they danger was over. The dark elf swiftly shed himself of the guard's armor and clothing, revealing a pair of black leggings and a black functional jerkin. He slipped a pair of black gloves on, leaving only his face exposed. He cared little about his ears at this point in time, wishing more to go unnoticed by sheer stealth rather than by disguise.
The two waiting silently in a dark passageway, alert for any sign that the King was coming to personally humiliate his newest prisoner. Many hours later they were rewarded, a single set of arrogant steps made their way down the stone walkway, the soft swishing of royal robes setting its own pace and the body beneath it shifted slightly to accommodate the downward slope of the hall. Without hesitation Elladan sprang from his hiding place, his dagger clutched within his hand as he tackled the man he had once been proud to call a brother. There was no family now, only a bloody struggle for survival as the two fought in the dim lighting. The sounds of a scuffle echoed along the stone passageway, and the dark elf knew the guards would soon be alerted. He spurred all his strength into the fight, finally knocking Aragorn off balance enough for Legolas to slip behind him, and using the knife he had taken from the guards' clothing, quickly slit his former friends' throat. The body sagged between the two elves, slumping first forward before crumbling to the ground. The guard's dagger was placed on the stone next to the body of the King, leaving the impression that a mortal had done this, not an elf. Silently the two stole away, using dark alleyways to conceal their presence. Under the cover of night they slipped unnoticed from the grand palace, merging with the shadows until they were once again at the Inn. With a low whistle Elladan's horse appeared before them, the broken ends of his tethering ropes trailing behind him. Effortlessly the dark elf mounted his horse, offering the Mirkwood elf a hand to aid in mounting. The entire city was gathered around the palace, news of the King's murder travelling fast around the large city. Even the gatekeepers left their posts to pay their respects to their departed King, leaving the gates closed but unguarded. The riders easily opened the gates a fraction and slipped into the inky blackness of the night beyond. Galloping hoofbeats were the only mark of their retreat as the two raced towards the Golden Wood.
Days later they arrived, both still bloody and battered from their hard ride and fight in Minas Tirith. Warm baths were drawn and healing herbs applied, yet none could cure the feeling of guilt, even after the destruction of Mirkwood, that still flowed through Elladan and Legolas' hearts. They had killed a brother and a friend, in defense of their people. That was it, that was why they had killed the man, if it were not them that killed him, he would have killed them. Even as grief assaulted their hearts they knew it was for the greater good. Yes, it was for the greater good.