Disclaimer: I am not Tolkien! GAH!
A few hours later, Legolas waited nervously for Maryn to fetch him, laying on his straw bed for what he hoped would be the last time. He was fully dressed in Malkor's guard uniform. Lord Curdolin's guards weren't nearly as richly dressed as the guards at Legolas's father's palace. But then again, this was a human empire.
His dress consisted of a green tunic with long sleeves. There were grey leggings that were a little to big for Legolas, but they functioned properly. Malkor had also brought him a pair of black leather boots. The metal chest plate fit over Legolas's chest snugly, and he fastened his shin and arm guards. He didn't put on the helmet, since he rarely saw any of Lord Curdolin's guards wearing them anyway. They usually just let them hang from their leather belts. Legolas did the same.
His thoughts ran amuck. What if something went wrong? What if someone saw them? What if they were captured? What would happen?
A hand went up to Legolas's brow. It took him a minute to open his eyes and realize it wasn't his.
"Maryn." He whispered, surprised. "I didn't hear you come in."
He got off the bed. Maryn looked over his body and then at her hand.
"You're sweating like a horse." She told him, wiping her hand on her dress.
Maryn smiled at him. "But you certainly do look like a mansion guard." She said proudly.
Legolas managed to smile back. "Or at least better than I usually look, I suppose." He agreed.
Maryn nodded. "Are you ready?" She asked.
"I've been ready for five months, Maryn." The elf answered honestly.
Maryn nodded again. "Come." She whispered, and lead him to the door. She opened it, and Legolas stepped out.
In a few minutes Eressa and I will be free…He thought. The thought was like a bright light, and he walked toward it as he walked down the corridors with Maryn.
"Put on your helmet." Maryn ordered him after a few minutes. "That way, if anyone does see us, they won't notice your ears."
Legolas obeyed and put on his helmet. He was blind now, and Maryn was his eyes. He had to do as he was told.
They reached a staircase and climbed up it. Maryn opened the door to reveal a small marbled hall.
"This is closest to where Eressa is." Maryn explained to him. "We had her taken out of her room for her roommate's safety."
Legolas fought back a smile when he thought of Aleka. Knowing her, she must have protested not being able to see him one last time. But than again, from what he had heard from Eressa, she didn't wish to escape with them. That was alright with Legolas. He already had one woman to worry about, and a pregnant one at that. He didn't need two.
"Has Eressa been looking forward to seeing me?" He whispered softly to Maryn. It was a stupid question of which he knew the answer to, but he felt like he had to say something.
The Lady smiled. "She seemed very excited when Malkor took her away. Come. She's just around here."
The couple was just about to turn a corner when Legolas heard footsteps descending down the hall towards them. He stopped. Maryn looked at him strangely.
"What is it?" She asked, but Legolas hushed her with the raising of a hand to his mouth. It wasn't long until Maryn heard the footfalls as well.
"Just act normal." Maryn offered helpfully.
"What is 'normal?'" Legolas whispered back at her just before the footsteps came around the corner to meet them.
Legolas tried not to fall into a dead faint. Lord Curdolin. It was Lord Curdolin. He knew it as soon as the man's round belly came around the bend. Immediately his movements froze, his spine became as stiff as a board, and his breathing all but stopped.
Maryn gasped when she saw her husband but was quick to gain back her composure. She smiled at him. The Lord of the House looked at her, ignoring Legolas (much to his relief) and spoke:
"Darling, what on earth are you doing wandering about in the middle of the night?" The Lord asked his wife, looking at the guard and then back at her. "And with a guard no less."
Maryn felt her fear well up in her throat. "I…I needed something from another room. But the darkness here frightened me. I didn't wish to venture alone."
Legolas breathed a tiny sign of relief. Thank the Valar Maryn is a better liar than Eressa is.
"Well I don't see why our friend can't fetch it by himself." Lord Curdolin said, taking his wife in one arm. "You can do that, can't you?"
Legolas looked at the man and realized that he was speaking directly to him. He hesitated.
"Well?" The Lord asked impatiently.
"Yes." Legolas finally pushed a sound out of his throat. His voice was more scratchy than usual. "Yes, my Lord I can."
Lord Curdolin smiled with his black rodent-like eyes. "Well, be quick about it." The rodent eyes turned on Maryn. "Come, my dear."
Maryn looked at Legolas with one last time as her husband began to lead her away. Legolas panicked. How could he figure out where Eressa was now, without Maryn to guide him?
"But milady!" He cried before they had gotten too far. "I do not know what room your…ah…your robes are in."
Stupid Legolas…robes? What is Lord Curdolin going to think about that? Legolas mentally bashed himself.
Maryn's mouth formed the perfect little 'o'. She gentle twisted herself out of her husband's arms and pointed down past the corner. "It's the fourth room on the right. And do hurry."
"Yes, milady." Legolas said. He nodded, and the noble pair turned their backs to him and walked away into the darkness.
Legolas thanked the Valar for his helmet and wasted no time in getting to the fourth room on the right. He knocked on the door twice. Waited. The door opened to reveal Malkor's face.
The man smiled madly once he saw Legolas. "There you are!" He said. "We were beginning to worry."
Legolas walked into the room. Eressa was sitting on a chair by a window, looking out at the moon and the stars.
"Eressa." Legolas spoke her name like he never had before, and she heard him and turned.
Eressa's eyes turned and looked at him. But they looked at him with confusion, not love. She didn't recognize the strange male dressed as a guard.
"Eressa, it's me, Legolas." Legolas repeated. He removed his helmet to show his face.
Eressa's mouth dropped open, and a tear slipped out from one eye, though she was not crying.
"I haven't seen you in so long…" She said without moving. "…I can hardly believe it's really you standing there."
"It's me, Eressa, it's me." Legolas ran forward.
Eressa stood up and buried herself into his chest best she could. The tears slipped from her eyes freely now and she didn't mind at all. "Oh, Legolas! I missed you so badly…I love you so much."
"I do too, Eressa…I do too." Legolas felt tears welling up in his eyes as well. "Valar, thank you." He said aloud to his gods.
Eressa looked up at him, smiling, the tears on her cheeks making her face gleam in the moonlight. Legolas let out a quiet laugh that was more like a sob, then kissed her. Neither of the two minded that Malkor was there to see them. In fact, they even seemed to forget the man was there until he raised a fist to his mouth and coughed loudly. The two lover's parted. Eressa blushed furiously.
Legolas smiled brightly, his mouth opening so wide it almost broke his face in half. "Sorry Malkor." He apologized.
"It's alright." The guard dismissed it with a wave of his hand. "But you two can save your reunion for later. We still have to get you out of here."
Eressa looked up at Legolas. "Legolas, I never want to leave you again." She didn't seem to heed Malkor's advice.
"Eressa, you won't." Legolas said, silencing her. "What must we do, Malkor?"
The guard lowered his voice. "I'm going to lead you to the back gate. That's not guarded at night, and it leads straight into a wood where you can hide. But come, we must get there first."
Legolas and Eressa looked at each other again, smiling, but then nodded. Malkor opened the door and motioned for them to come through it.
The two men walked with Eressa between them, one arm of theirs on each of her arms, as if they were leading her. Legolas had again put on his helmet. As they made their way, he would occasionally take glances down at Eressa. She was silent and pale, like a winter night.
"Don't be afraid, Eressa." He whispered to her very quietly.
Malkor shot him a glance and said: "Hush now. Guards usually don't socialize with slaves."
Legolas nodded as they strode down more endless halls of marble, stone and glass. Legolas didn't bother trying to memorize the route they were taking. It would be the last time he would ever see the inside of this place. For now he focused his thoughts on the outside—the woods, the plains, the streams…his home. Valar, how he wanted to be there.
He suddenly realized that he didn't have a clue where he was. Was he in Rohan? Gondor? Some other land of human establishment? Once he got outside, he had to find out. His best guess that he would have to find the Misty Mountains and get to those.
But…he thought as he glanced down at Eressa once more…I can't possibly force Eressa to climb up and down the Mountains in her condition. Where should we go then?
Suddenly he heard Malkor speaking to him.
"Here it is." The guard was saying. "The gate will open for you, there is no lock. Run straight into the woods. Mind you, there are animals in there, so I would take care."
They stood in front of a large black door, carved out of wood. There were carvings of pictures and words inscribed on metal plates that had been fastened to the door. Malkor opened it, and a breath of night hair blew into their faces. The moon was forgiving tonight, and it's light shone a path to a fence about thirty yards away. The woods lay beyond, the dark trunks of trees barely visible in the shadows.
"I understand." Legolas said. "Eressa, are you ready?"
The girl looked at him, her blond hair spilling gracefully out over her shoulders like liquid gold. "I'm ready, Legolas."
"Then what are you waiting for?" Malkor asked.
Legolas turned to him. He took off his helmet and handed it to the baffled guard. "Here. I won't be needing this any longer, and I don't intend on taking it from you." The elf also took off the metal chest plate and shin guards.
"We cannot thank you enough, Malkor." Eressa said gratefully. "I wish I could do something in return."
"Just knowing you're together and free is thanks enough for me." Malkor said, taking his armor from Legolas. "The best of luck to both of you. May the Gods watch over you."
"And you also." Legolas said. He grasped Eressa's hand. "Let us be quick, my love."
Eressa nodded, and then she felt a tug on her arm, and she was flying out into the night. Legolas pulled her to the gate and opened it for her, letting her out first, then closing it as he passed through. Her heart pounded as she turned and looked her last on the place that had been her home for most of her years. Then she glanced over her shoulder at the impending wood that Legolas now led her to. She didn't say a single word.
Legolas led Eressa slowly along a straight path, looking back occasionally to see if there was anyone following them. He couldn't believe it had been so easy. So easy. Valar…he was free again.
They didn't stop walking until the lights of the city had disappeared from between the trunks of the trees. It was very dark now, but Legolas had no trouble seeing. He held Eressa's hand tightly as he gathered pine needles and piled them into a bed. It was late March, and the ground was still cold.
Eressa clung to him willingly, flipping her head back and forth whenever she thought she heard the slightest noise. Finally she had the courage to speak.
"Should we make a fire?" She asked Legolas. It was so strange speaking to a person when she hadn't seen him for so long.
"No." Legolas said, standing up and facing her. "I would like to, but we are still not that far from the city. If someone saw it…"
"I know, Legolas." Eressa interrupted, looking up into the branches of an old oak tree.
Legolas watched her movements. He had forgotten how innocently she moved, how beautiful and graceful she seemed to him, if not to others. His grip on her hand tightened, and she noticed.
"Eressa." Legolas answered with only her name. "Melamin." My love.
Eressa bit her lower lip, and when it slipped out from under her teeth it was rosy red. Legolas raised his hand and touched her rosy red flesh with the tip of a finger. She drew in a breath, he felt it sucked between his fingers. Then his hand dropped away to her waist, the other followed, and his mouth covered hers.
Eressa let out a sigh. She kissed him back, circling her arms under and around his, her fingers on his shoulders. It was then when she noticed his hair.
"Your…you hair is shorter." She said when Legolas pulled away from her.
Legolas looked to his gold hair, made silver in the moonlight. "We cut it. To make me look more human."
"You could never look human. You're too beautiful." Eressa told him, smiling softly.
Legolas heard the leaves whisper. "You are beautiful, and you're human." He said, embracing Eressa tighter, holding her body to his.
Eressa's smile grew, and she tilted her head back, her lips parted, inviting Legolas to kiss her. Legolas did, but it was just a short, mild kiss. He tried to let her body go but she gripped him even tighter.
"I want you to make love you me." She said, her eyes reflecting the full moon, both bright and glimmering.
Legolas ran a finger over her cheek, through her long hair. "I want to as well, but you and I have a journey ahead of us. We have to get some sleep."
Eressa frowned. Legolas let her body away from his. Eressa looked down at the ground, at her small leather shoes, then back at the elf.
"Legolas?" She asked meekly.
"Where are we going?"
Legolas sighed. He didn't even know. "I don't want to force you to pass over the mountains." He said. "If we are where I think we are, then we'd have to cross them to get to my home. Perhaps we can head someplace else."
"Where?" Eressa persisted.
Legolas thought a bit. Then he finally answered. "Rivendell."
Eressa blinked. "What is that?"
Legolas grinned. "You don't know of Rivendell?" Eressa shook her head. Legolas laughed and took her in his arms again, pulling her down onto the pile of pine needles.
"You will be quite surprised when we get there, then." He told her. "It is a place of great beauty."
"Do elves live there?"
"Yes. Great ones. Lord Elrond himself founded Rivendell. You'll get to meet him." Legolas said, teasing Eressa with his words.
Eressa giggled. It was a wonderful sound. "I love you so much, Legolas."
"And I love you, Eressa." Legolas answered, kissing her on the neck. He laid down, Eressa laying down next to him.
"I don't think I'll be able to sleep here, Legolas." Eressa told him.
"Close your eyes and think of how the world will be a year from now." Came the reply. "We'll be living in Mirkwood, you'll be my wife, and our son or daughter will just be discovering the world."
Eressa closed her eyes and imagined the pleasant picture.
So this is what freedom is like…She thought pleasurably. I like the feeling.
"I love you, Legolas." She said again, sighing through her teeth, drowsy now.
"Amin meleth lle, Eressa." Legolas returned, breathing the words into her ear. "I love you."
His words echoed between the trees, in their leaves, singing a silent song.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.
That's the end! Yay! Ohmigod, I can't believe I actually finished! With this part anyway! Ohmigod, elves for everybody! flings elves left and right
"Cheating Darkness: Part II" will be up in some time. Give me two weeks. I should have it up by then, if not earlier. Thank you all again, so very much! You are the best people in the world, and don't let anybody else tell you otherwise! I love you!