~ To start anew ~

                                                                                                                        by Ola

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A/N~ Legolas Greenleaf is a messenger for the crown of Mirkwood. Long has he been away from his home on missives to Gondor, Ithilien, Lorien, and the Gray Havens, before a turn of events forces him to reach his home as quickly as he may. If he fails, Mirkwood will fall. But what if the young prince does not reach his destination? What if he falls to the darkness? And what if he survives, but his life is forever changed by an accident?

I actually got the idea for this story while in my neurobiology class (listening to lectures about spinal reflexes, and decerebrate…things)    mmm =)

I intend on this story to be quite long (at least ten chapters), and would greatly appreciate any comments. There are no warnings, except maybe for some rather angsty moments. No romance, love, slash, sex, torture… but lots of pain, frustration and…

For now, sit back and enjoy (hopefully) the story =)

(I have been reading some very, very good stories and am beginning to think that this will never compare to the wonders out there. But I do have to get those stories out of my system, and here is where they end up. I hope that they will make someone's day better. =)

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Part 1~ Fall into the shadows

His world was filled with the whistling of arrows. And the wind. The wind that stung his eyes and flayed his long hair about his fair face. The wind from the mad dash of his horse. And yet, that was not fast enough.

An arrow flew past his check, drawing a line of crimson. He only rode harder. For he had to deliver his message. Or Mirkwood would be lost. Mirkwood. His family. All he held dear. No, there was no question of failure.

The trees to his right were a green blur, even to his keen eyes. But he had eyes only for the dark line of pines on the horizon. Everything else was unimportant. He urged Laurenor on to his limit, and yet, the horse kept the speed imposed by his rider without a falter. It knew the danger. It knew the consequences of failure. Laurenor was the steed of a messenger; fast and lithe. Born for speed and endurance. And yet, he was not fast enough.

The growling and howling of the wargs pursued them mercilessly, the thunder of hundreds of deadly clawed paws on the ground, a roar to the elf's ears.

How could they be so fast? No warg should have been capable of sustaining this terrible run for such a long time. And yet, they still ran on, urged by their riders into a frenzy of hate and famished rage.

One against …how many?

No, he could not loose the time to turn around and fight, even had he a chance to delay the army of orcs to allow his fellow messengers a safer and quicker escape. For there were no more messengers to protect. No more friends to save.

He was alone.

As alone as any elf pursued by an army of orcs.

There had not even been time to grieve. Not with the bodies of his friends lost in the wave of black that were the orcs. Not with those orcs hell bent of bringing him down as well. Not with the importance of his message. And not with Laurenor swiftly bearing him away, despite his own pain for his lost friends.

Another volley of arrows reached the rider, and this time, one struck his shoulder, skidding off the shoulder blade, and tearing away at the muscle. He gritted his teeth in pain, and blinked the wind-tears out of his eyes. Tears of wind …and pain.

He knew he had no chance. And his heart hurt more than his body at the thought of what would happen if he failed.

NOOOO!!!

He let go of Laurenor's mane and one-handedly unbuckled his belt. Timing his balance with Laurenor's gait, he took out a short, thin cylinder out of his breast pocket and fastened it to the horse's neck with the belt, careful not to impede the steed's movements. He cursed himself at his movements, slowed by pain, when the message almost fell out of his hand.

"Noro lim Laurenor. Noro lim*. Carry this missive to my father. You know the way mellon nin*." The words flew away as soon as they were spoken.

The arrows shoot anew, concentrating on the rider rather than the horse, and he knew that it would end soon now. No one should be able to prevail against such odds.

No one ever did.

He knew of only one way for the message to reach Mirkwood. Laurenor. The orcs would leave the horse alone as soon as his rider would fall. And the quicker he would fall, the more chances Laur would have to escape. They were partners; messenger and steed. Long had they known each other, and long had they run for the crown of Mirkwood. Not without danger and pain. And yet, it had never come to this. He never thought it would come to this. But now he knew, and briefly send a prayer to Eru to keep his soul safe until he reached the Halls of Mandos.

The ground rushed in a deadly blur under the sun-colored limbs of the horse that pounded the grass into dust.

"Do not stop. Do not turn back Laur. Whatever happens. I believe in you mellon nin. Believe in me as well. Farewell. May E…"

A bolt smashed into the rider's upper back, slamming him against the horse's neck. Laurenor stumbled, momentarily loosing ground, before again finding his footing and dashing away into the West. The elf on its back fought against the darkness that threatened to pull him in its soothing arms. The pain in his back was a fiery agony. His eyes blurred, no longer solely from the wind.

No…so close…Laur…run…

 The shrieks barely reached his ears now, and the day darkened into grayness. Even the pain subdued somehow. His whole body hurt, now a throbbing like the breaking of a wave on a rock. A rock that became smaller and smaller as his consciousness slipped from his mind.

"Laur!" it came out as a strangled whisper, whipped away by the gale.

Had he been able to see, the rider would have noticed the individual trees of the fast approaching forest straight ahead. Had he been able to hear, he would have noticed the cry of anger as the orcs realized their prey would loose them in the woodland maze. Had he been able to feel, he would have noticed Laurenor's muscles bunching up for a jump.

But he did not see.

            He did not hear.

                        He did not feel.

Darkness had embraced his mind. Darkness; madly whirling shadows of dread and agony. Darkness, wrought by the hands of evil, in the form of an arrow…

            …that had severed his spine.

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A/N~ No this is not the end, although the upcoming chapters will be no less angsty. Please review to let me know whether you liked/disliked this beginning. Any comments/criticisms/helpful hints are much appreciated.

~Ola~

*oh, and here is my attempt at elvish (Sindarin I think =) that I picked up from the movie/book)

noro lim= hurry up, run quickly

mellon nin= my friend

(I am afraid that those are rather sketchy translations however…)