Soooo…ah-ha…ha…sigh I know, I deserve to be tarred and feathered for not updating in so long, and I wish I had a better excuse than "I wasn't in the mood," but…Legolas glares indignantly as he has been left in limbo for the past six months Sorry guys! I know it's been bad, but I plan on making it up to you all with a good chapter! Mithfalas is still gone How I miss him…

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Problems Along The Way

Chapter 19

Dark Stars

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Aragorn tried desperately to rouse Legolas. His breathing was raspy and uneven, and his eyes were rolled back into his head.

"Legolas! Wake up Legolas!" He shook the elf's limp body slightly. "What's wrong with him Gandalf?"

Gandalf didn't answer, but knelt down beside Aragorn and took Legolas' face in his hands. He tried to avoid pressing too hard on the various bruises and scratches that covered the elf's no longer flawless skin as he turned Legolas eyes toward him.

"Is he sick?" asked Pippin quietly from the tight bunch the hobbits had formed off to the side.

"Elves don't get sick, Pippin," Frodo answered, equally quiet, while staring ahead at the scene before him. "Not the way you're thinking, Pip."

Gandalf began to chant under his breath in a language Boromir didn't understand. He had an odd sense of foreboding as he stared at the pale elf on the ground before him. His skin, which had always seemed to have an odd iridescence to it, no longer glowed in the moonlight, but seemed to blend in with the dim surroundings. It looked more grey than white, and the man from Gondor suddenly had the urge to turn away, to leave the place entirely. He looked around at his companions to gauge there reactions to the appearance of the elf.

The hobbits were still huddled in their tight bunch, but the dwarf seemed ready for battle. He had his axe in hand and stood a good distance from where Aragorn was holding Legolas on the ground. /I'm not the only one who feels it then/ thought Boromir as he too took a step back.

Legolas had showed no change even as Gandalf stopped his chanting and studied the elf's face.

"Will he be alright, Gandalf?" Aragorn asked, concern written on his face.

Gandalf seemed to be thinking hard as he considered the question and slowly shook his head. His heavy brows were furrowed and he placed a wizened hand on the elf's forehead.

Suddenly Legolas' eyes clenched shut and he began to convulse violently.

"Hold him!" Gandalf shouted, and Aragorn tightened his hold as much as he dared without hurting Legolas' injured ribs.

Legolas' eyes snapped open as he writhed, and Aragorn gasped at the sight. Instead of Legolas' regular piercing blue, his eyes were a eerie yellow in color, and the whites had turned to a sickly looking grey.

A feral cry ripped from Legolas' throat, and he struggled wildly to be free of the ranger's hold.

"Legolas, calm yourself mellonin--!" but before he could finish his sentence, Legolas raised an arm and took a swipe at the ranger's chest. Aragorn cried out in pain and released his hold on the elf. He clutched at his chest and was surprised to see blood spilling out of the gashes his friend had made there.

Legolas was crouched on the ground, round eyes staring at the bleeding ranger before him, teeth bared in an animal-like snarl, the claws that had elongated form his fingertips still dripping with blood as he dug them into the earth.

Boromir drew his sword, and Legolas' head snapped towards the broad shouldered man, catching a glimpse at the frightened bunch of hobbits gathered near him. He darted past Aragorn and Gandalf, kicking the legs out from beneath the ranger as he went, and lunged at the shaking little creatures.

The hobbits cried out in fright, and just as the elf was about to reach them, Boromir jumped in Legolas path and used the elf's own momentum to flip him over his head, rather than use the sword he had drawn in fright.

Legolas landed hard on his back and cried out in pain as his previous wounds re-opened and his ribs were cracked for a third time.

Gimli rushed the fallen elf with axe raised, but before he could reach him, he was tackled to the ground by Aragorn who cried out, "NO!" and attempted to wrestle the axe from the dwarf's grasp.

Seizing his chance, Legolas, one arm wrapped around his bleeding torso, leaped into the overhead trees and was gone.

"Are you mad!" Gimli cried, throwing the ranger off of his person, "I could have had him!"

"That's why I stopped you!" Aragorn cried as he got to his feet and dashed off in the direction Legolas had left in. "Legolas!"

"Aragorn, wait!" Gandalf cried, but the ranger didn't stop.

"What happened, Mithrandir?" asked Boromir, who did not yet sheath his sword. "why did he attack us?"

Gandalf turned to the man of Gondor slowly, and his expression was pained as he spoke. "It is the doom of elves," said Gandalf. "Legolas is turning in to an orc."

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Through the darkness, high in the Tower of Orthanc, Saruman sneered maliciously into the swirling black of the Palantir.

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Well, what do you think? Please R/R!