Disclaimer: If I owned Lord of the Rings, I wouldn't be writing a fanfic about it. Sorry to disappoint.
A/N: Hello, Mellonin. This is my first fanfic, so I hope you enjoy! I must admit, this is a movie-verse story…I have not yet completed The Two Towers (*hides face in shame*). But I hope you like this fanfic…..reviews are most welcome (of course), and constructive criticism is definitely requested! Enjoy!
The Shadow of Death
The wind was cold. Very cold. Yet being an elf, he had never taken heed of it for he could not feel it. His Elven traits had protected him from the chilling kiss of winter all of his life, but there was no avoiding it now. The air was so bitter with the bite of ice that it hurt his lungs when he inhaled. It made his eyes sting, his hands grow numb, and his body convulse in a fit of shivers. And as the arctic winds swirled around him, so did his emotions, those randomly placed sensations, that invaded his mind like an advancing army. They blinded him to reason, made his body weak, filled his heart with pain.
Legolas stood atop of the so-called Impenetrable Wall at Helm's Deep, looking up in to the overcast sky. The clouds were dark and flat, a sea of monochromatic solidness that gave him a feeling of complete and utter hopelessness. The clouds drifted slowly, carried on the back of the wind. There was neither a ray of sunshine nor a touch of warmth to be seen nor felt.
And this did not help lift his heavy heart.
Legolas was not used to failure. He was not used to death. He was not used to cold. Yet in the past forty-eight hours, he had witnessed and been effected by all.
He had always prided himself in his ability to be clear-minded. Throughout his childhood, his tutors had praised him for being so focused. When he joined the Mirkwood Guard, he had been promoted twice in his first month of service due to his outstanding alertness and avoidance of distraction. Since the forming of the Fellowship, had always been able to sort out his feelings, analyze them, and tuck them into the back of his mind in order to avoid anything that would divert his attention from the task at hand.
But to Legolas's dismay, a realization hit him, cutting through his mind like an icy spear: the focus was gone. His intricately entwined emotions forbade it from existing.
As he pulled his now tattered and ripped green cloak from Lothlorien around him in hopes of shielding himself from the frosty air that churned and engulfed his body, scenes from the battle began to flash before his eyes. He saw thousands upon thousands of their enemies, forming what looked like a sea of armor . . . he saw Haldir, his friend of old, hand him a shield to protect himself from a charging band of Uruk-Hai . . . he heard the screams of Elves and Men alike as they were slaughtered mercilessly by the Dark Warriors . . . he felt an enemy's blade strike hard against his chest, creating an oozing gash from his right waist to his left chest . . . he saw elf after elf fall in battle . . . he saw Aragorn holding Haldir in his arms . . .
He shook his head in hopes of eliminating those raw and throbbing memories from his mind. He closed his eyes, praying to the Valar to eradicate the pain swallowing his soul. He hoped that by shutting his eyes, he could shut out the unkind world. But to his consternation, all he saw was that lone Uruk-Hai warrior, running forth with a blazing torch in his hand . . . he heard Aragorn scream at him to take the warrior down. Legolas envisioned his soaring arrows, striking the beast, all of to no avail.
The Wall fell.
Yet the Wall fell not alone. Elven archers and courageous Men fell with it. They fell to the brown earth, still screaming, still fighting, still writhing in shock and pain, their bodies contorted in grotesque figurations as they hit the ground. It was estimated by Theoden that perhaps two hundred Elves and Men had perished when the Wall was defeated.
And it was all Legolas's fault.
Always aim for the neck when using the bow, Legolas, he could hear his father instruct him many years ago. That is where the armor of our enemies is weak and penetrable. However Legolas, in his haste, had not fired at the neck, but shot the warrior in the chest and shoulder. His recklessness, impatience, and unsteady hand had cost two hundred living beings their lives.
And he could never forgive himself for it.
A slight sound shook Legolas from his thoughts. He knew who the person was just by the pattern of their light footsteps. This was the man whom Legolas felt most at home with. He was his friend of old, a companion…a brother. He had been through good times and bad with him, had celebrated and mourned with him, had played and fought with him. He loved this man as a brother and would do anything for him. But as of right now Legolas would give anything so he could be alone with his shame and his remorse.
"Melonin," Aragorn spoke, stopping a meter away from Legolas. Still, Legolas did not turn. "You are troubled." This was not a question, but a statement. Aragorn need not ask him why he was standing in the cold, alone and guilt-ridden, for he was wise to Legolas's feelings. He had noticed an alarming change in his friend directly after the battle, when he had informed Legolas of Haldir's death. The elf's face had knotted with pain, fury, and sadness, his blue eyes small and mournful, his posture slightly abashed. But when he had heard that four hundred and fifty Elven lives had been taken from this earth, his handsome face lost all color, all emotion, all…life. He simply turned without a word and walked out to the top of the Wall and had been there ever since.
"Legolas," Aragorn stated, his eyes narrowed in confusion. Why was Legolas acting like this?
"I need to be alone." The reply was short, barely above a fading murmur.
"Mellonin, you are bleeding."
And to his surprise, Legolas looked down and saw that the gash he had received was still oozing crimson blood. There was dried redness surrounding the wound that had smeared all over his green cloak and his white sheath. It was odd that he had not noticed the pain. However, the pain of loss was far greater than that of a gash.
"Legolas, you need that to be Healed," Aragorn insisted, resting a hand on Legolas's shoulder. His hand was warm, but despite the comfort it radiated Legolas flinched at the friendly gesture. His body tensed and he recoiled ever so slightly. He did not want the ranger's comfort or his sympathy. He wanted to be alone.
"Nay, I need not be Healed." The answer was simple, emotionless, weary.
"Legolas, you're bleeding," Aragorn repeated, if not louder this time. Concern was evident in his voice, yet Legolas felt nothing but annoyance.
"Let it bleed." His voice was firm, his tone was flat, and his jaw was clenched. He shrugged off Aragorn's hand completely and continued to stand there, arms at his side, a stoic and unkind look on his once friendly and kind face.
Aragorn narrowed his eyes. With each passing statement, he felt his heart grow heavy with concern for his friend. He had known him for half of his life, but had never known him to act like this. It was upsettingly dangerous that an elf would refuse Healing; it was unnatural and undeniably unnerving. "Legolas, you must stop the blood—"
"Have you heard naught what I said? Let it bleed!" screamed Legolas, whirling around. His eyes were wide and bloodshot, narrowed and unblinking. His fists were clenched at his side, his breathing was labored. He looked possessed and full of a fury that was frightening. Aragorn stood in shock: he had never seen his friend like this. Ever.