Summary: There are very few characters that manage to emerge from war unscathed. Too bad Legolas Greenleaf isn't one of them. A devastating encounter with one of the Nazgûl during the Battle of the Black Gate leaves him scarred on all levels, physical and otherwise. In the following years, will the Elf be able to pull himself out of this darkness?
Disclaimer: I, Raven Nightstrider, fanfiction author, am in no way affiliated with J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien Enterprises or any of the publishing companies for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I do not have their permission to write this fiction based on Professor Tolkien's work; nor do I claim ownership rights to any of his characters and creations. This fanfiction was written purely for creative expression and for others to enjoy.
::Predominantly Alternate Universe in later chapters
::Takes place during and post-Return of the King
::Contains very little romance, canon only; no slash
::Six chapters planned
::Chiefly bookverse; includes some movieverse
Redleaf by Raven Nightstrider
Part One: Black
The wind blew, and the trumpets sang, and arrows whined; but the sun now climbing towards the South was veiled in the reeks of Mordor, and through a threatening haze it gleamed, remote, a sullen red, as if it were the ending of the day, or the end maybe of all the world of light. And out of the gathering mirk the Nazgûl came with their cold voices crying out words of death; and then all hope was quenched.
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King: "The Black Gate Opens"
Crude orc arrows shrieked through the stifling air of the Morannon around him, the keening of their flight so dissimilar to the hiss of the true bolts crafted in his homeland. His every sense was assaulted with evil: the stench of the foul quagmires before him; the grating jeers and yells of the orcs; the unholy roars of great scaly trolls as they slogged their way up to meet the Host of the West, flinging and smashing away all unfortunates within their reach with huge warhammers.
Had it not been for the keen hearing gifted to all the Firstborn, the cacophony of Sauron's vassals would have drowned out the ringing, rousing din of his allies. He clung to them to maintain his sanity: the whinnies and screams of nearly six thousand horses as they reared in anticipation of war, his own not the least. The blare of many hundreds of trumpets. The hoarse bellow loosed by the sturdy, diminutive warrior at his back. The rousing ancient war cry of the Ranger turned King. The shout of the aged yet powerful Maia accompanied by a burst of blinding white light. He could even hear Pippin's shrill cry as the little Soldier of Gondor raised his short blade. The Númenórean inscriptions blazed like flame, ready to smite any foul servant or ally of Mordor that came too close.
The ringing of Andúril unsheathed was absorbed into the lethal chorus of hundreds of blades drawn into open air. As the lightburst slowly faded, the ornate swirls topping Gandalf's staff could just be outlined; Glamdring glittered white moments before its thirst for orc-blood would be satiated. Beneath the Istar rose Shadowfax on his hind legs, his great voice shrill in tensed air, poised to dash all threats to the ground. Behind him, Gimli hefted his broad axe and roared a war cry in his own tongue, eager for the last stand. Legolas knew it was his cue to join the fray.
Arod needed no command to start forward with his brethren—with the rest of the Host. Thousands of voices; hundreds of calls spiraled up from the circle to coalesce into one mighty cry: For justice. For light. For freedom.
Thus the Battle of the Black Gate was begun.
The flowing cry of the sons of Elrond was unfamiliar to him; but the Quenya syllables harmonized seamlessly with the ages-old Sindarin call that flew from the Wood-elf's lips. He hung on desperately to the pure Elvish when the words of hope and victory collided with the horrific screeches of the Faceless Nine as they descended from the Towers of the Teeth and straight into the brawl. A chill clattered down his spine at the fell screams, but he took some semblance of comfort in the clashing noise of his allies.
Three Elven bows snapped, the shrill of their arrows rising above the mashed roaring of war. Two orcs fell dead without a second's chance to react. A troll bellowed deafeningly, enraged by the barbed projectile now protruding from its shoulder, yet still it plowed on.
Legolas cursed mentally: the Messenger had vanished in the throng. Probably taken refuge among his cronies while they all rush forward to kill and be killed. He can duck behind their ranks and use them as his bodyguards while murdering hale warriors from the shadows. His honor counts for so little that he has to resort to assassination rather than face his doom.
Laughter rang in his mind's ears: the snide, mocking laughter of the putrid Mouth of Sauron. As he reached back for a second bolt, Legolas gripped the bow of Lórien so hard that he feared it would shatter despite the evident skill and cunning of its maker. The black captain had laughed; laughed at even the Heir of Isildur and the Grey Pilgrim in his ill-gotten pride. He had presumed to make claims on Frodo's life and those of all the Free Peoples on his master's behalf; he had sneered at the defenders of the West, few and valiant though they were. Legolas was considered fiery of mind among his own kin and well he knew it, but any could see the intents of the foul Mouth of Sauron.
He'll not get his wish, vowed the only son of the Elvenking. He won't sit at his ease in Isengard and drive any of us about as his thralls, not while the House of Oropher exists on this earth! If he survives, may he live to the end of his wretched days in shame of his presumption to belittle the Host of the West, no matter the victor!
With that he loosed a deadly arrow into the tide of Mordor sweeping up to meet them, sending all of his wrath forth to speed its flight, caring not who it hit, so long as it came close to smiting the Messenger. Instinctively he knew that his friends—Pippin, Gimli, the sons of Elrond—they all wanted to do just the same.
More of the warped creatures under the Dark Lord's banner rose up like a foul, howling wave upon mounds of sand. Legolas struggled to keep a running tally of the orcs he felled in time to Gimli roaring out numbers as he went, but these were far more than Helm's Deep, perhaps even the Pelennor, though the desperation was no less. This battle was much greater, and promised to be much bloodier. And not all of his opponents were the spawn of Mordor—there were also Sauron's human allies to consider; the Easterlings, the Haradrim, the Black Númenóreans. Minute after minute slogged on with no sign of the carnage letting up. He would try to best Gimli in this one, but his reasonable side knew it was madness. There wasn't enough time.
Time. The whole point of this bloody free-for-all was to buy Frodo more time… if indeed his and Sam's time had not already expired.
And it looks like our time has just about expired too, Legolas thought direly as yet another orc's dying howl gurgled away on the point of his arrow. Conscious thought was dissolving as he narrowed his whole mind to a single objective: Kill.
Legolas was unsure whether minutes or weeks had elapsed since the Black Gates had groaned open to spew forth enough fell beasts to populate the whole of Arda. Sweat and grime coated him, it covered them all; but it mattered not when weighed against the roiling waves of pure evil tumbling forth from Mordor's open jaws. The Elf was frankly astonished that he possessed enough mental capacity to spare in order to feel sickened or even think.
Mere minutes into the battle, most of the Host had been forced to unhorse as waves of enemies surged about them. Gimli had leapt off some time later to fully immerse himself in combat; fretting for him, Legolas had struggled to keep close to him on Arod. It had not been long ere they had been swept apart. His quiver now depleted, he had had no choice but to jump off and pull out his knives to be of any use. Now he had lost track of Arod, Gimli and nearly all familiar faces—except the unmistakable Elrondionnath on his left. But there was simply no time to worry for any of them, or even think.
Soundlessly he pushed off the dripping scimitar with his own blades, bringing one down and into the stumbling Southron's stomach with blinding speed; while the other was automatically thrust into the skull of a large orc attempting to rush him from behind. There was no room for emotion toward anyone or anything. Survival was all that mattered, and he was intent on surviving at least until he knew whether Frodo had succeeded, that Sauron had perished and that he had fulfilled his purpose in the Fellowship.
But Valar, he wished this would end soon. He had no idea just how long he had been hacking and slashing and drawing blood, ending lives to preserve lives. Sauron could not be permitted to emerge victorious, but even he, who had lived through many battles, was beginning to weary from all the slaying. And no matter who the victor, someone would pay. That is the only point of war, really, a mentor had told him as an Elfling long ago in Greenwood, when it was still known by that name. We fight for our own survival—so that we won't be the ones enslaved and slaughtered. The point of war is to prevent the other side from winning. There are many complicated reasons why they start. But once they do, stopping the enemy from having the victory is often all that matters.
A groaning roar alerted him to a slain troll not far off. Legolas hazarded a fleeting glance to his left. He and the Noldorin twins had long spent every last bolt in their quivers; now one—it was impossible to tell which in this melee—swung a long Elven sword in lethal arcs while his brother danced precariously around him, fending off the press of Easterlings with his own knives. But past them was where his momentary attention was drawn, to where a huge hulk of a troll was in the midst of falling forward, black blood gushing out of its scaly midsection. But just below that dripping wound, the Elf could just make out an esquire yanking a knife out of the beast. The weapon shone strangely through the coating of blood, as though it contained tongues of flame—
The troll crashed to the dust-choked ground of the Morannon just as Legolas's heart suddenly clenched in horror. There was no way the little warrior could have escaped getting pinned right under the troll. Only that had been no esquire…
Legolas's emotional barricade took a serious hit as the hulking beast collapsed, more likely than not suffocating the fiery hobbit beneath its dead bulk. His insides writhed with sudden anxiety for that scrappy, quick-mouthed, flight-brained being… as well as for Frodo, Sam, his comrades and all the free peoples of Middle-earth. He realized with a steely pang that his single-mindedness was failing… but seconds later he had no choice but to fortify it as he ducked down and sideways out of pure instinct. The Easterling scimitar went wide, swiping through air that his neck had occupied moments before.
Legolas felt a momentary burst of rage at the sword's owner, strengthened by grief for Pippin, and put aside his perturbation at its occurrence as he exploited it in full. "Pippin!" he screamed as he managed to grab the swarthy renegade and cut his throat wide open. Bright scarlet gore splattered onto the Elf's vambrace.
He threw the gargling, dying man away from him in general disgust—right when about three or four of the Easterling's comrades took notice and jumped him with a vicious vengeance. As Thranduil's heir apparent battled relentlessly for naught but self-preservation, doubt now began to gnaw at the back of his mind. Battles and wars never went according to plan; he'd kept that knowledge with him for over two thousand years. Yet still he was beginning to feel more than a little ambivalence seep through his mentality, and he could not help but disconnectedly wonder—even as the man he'd just gutted loosed a last inhuman yowl—whether Aragorn, Gimli and Mithrandir felt the same. What if the Quest was in vain? What would become of them all then?
A flickering vision of Sauron pillaging and defiling all things and places good and right helped seal up the crack in his emotionless mask. The idea of Imladris laid waste; of orcs torching and felling the stately mallorn-trees of Lórien; of the very real possibility of darkness overrunning the whole of his beloved home… it was enough to blank his mind of all but smiting the Dark One's vassals as far from the sacred places of the world as possible.
Somewhere not too far off, another troll bellowed. The Men of Rhûn now piled in heaps of gore and carcasses around him, a distinctly nauseated Legolas lowered his dripping knife as he turned toward the sound. Cold shock flashed somewhere in his face and chest as he beheld the confrontation before him.
The troll was enormous, even for one of its fell kind. Girt in crude black armor strapped across its chest, it galumphed its way through the brawling throng—swinging a huge spiked club and sword with lethal recklessness. But to the much greater alarm of the Wood-elf, he spotted a flash of scarlet just beneath the troll. A sword just managed to block a swing from the club before Legolas's eyes caught a dark-haired figure darting in front of the troll, retreating from its advance. A cape of bright red, tattered in several places, settled behind him.
Aragorn was battling the troll. And losing.
Even armed with Andúril, his lineage, his skills and his driving spirit, Legolas could tell the King was weary, too weary, to be able to best the troll alone. He rushed to back him up and was stopped by a sudden mad press of mixed Southrons and Uruks. The Elf's body fought for his life as his mind fretted about Aragorn, Sauron, the Ring, Frodo, the course of battle, his home, everything. Elbereth let this end!
By the time he was able to glance up and blink the sweat out of his eyes, Aragorn had been thrown to the ground. He wasn't moving.
Legolas's blood ran cold with terror. He gritted his teeth, hacking and beating his way through the crowd of Uruks. He could not let Aragorn die. Never. A drop of relief rippled through him as he spotted what looked like one of the Gondorrim making his way to the defense of the fallen King, but it wasn't enough. He had known—they had all known—that this great battle was merely a diversion, a last-ditch attempt to buy time for Frodo—if indeed he still lived. But the Heir of Isildur could not die this way. Not here, not now. The King was not fated to fall before he could claim his crown, that much Legolas was aware of. But Aragorn was more than a king—he was a member of the Fellowship. He was a Dúnadan. He was a friend.
He looked up and gasped. The troll was advancing on Aragorn.
Legolas began to kill like a mad thing, a fell spirit of undiluted desperation. Uruks rushed up against him and fell with cloven skulls. The Elf was getting reckless, sustaining several slashes on his arms, but—he let out a searing curse—there were just too many. Too many. He'd never get to Aragorn in time.
His cry was lost in the stinking heat of slaughter. The fallen Ranger turned and seemed to go rigid in panic at the sight of the creature stalking toward him. Legolas wanted to scream, but his heart was hammering too violently and painfully. Between the foul, reeking orcs, he could see that Aragorn was now pinned under the troll's foot.
His chest fit to burst, Legolas barely saw or knew what he was doing. He seized what looked like a Rohirric arrow from the throat of a keeling orc and got a hand on his longbow, raising it over the dark tide as the short arrowhead pointed itself at a spot just over the troll's eye.
The troll threw back its head and screamed. A rough body slammed into Legolas from the side, knocking him off balance. The arrow flew wide and vanished somewhere over the troll's head. Swearing furiously, Legolas struggled to shoulder his bow and grab his knives again, resuming his role in the genocide that filled the plains of the Morannon.
Only moments had passed, however, when he felt a lethal chill crawl all over his skin. The orc fell dead before him with a wicked, almost victorious gleam in its eyes.
Legolas had not needed the fell image reflected in its dulling eyes to know what was coming for him.
Even as he instinctively leapt to the side, the force of the winged beast swiping past him drove him to the dirt, where one of his knives clattered to the ground. He just registered what sounded like a vehement Sindarin oath loosed somewhere behind him as he immediately rolled over, prepared to spring to his feet and either face the threat, go down standing or escape, run to Aragorn's aid. If Éowyn and Merry brought down the Witch-king—
Abruptly the Wood-elf's train of thought was severed as a piercing shriek ripped through the air. Legolas could hardly stifle the outcry of sheer panic and fear that tore from his own throat. Many an occasion had he set his jaw against such a fell cry; he'd lost count of the times that the Úlairi rode from Dol Guldur to attack his father's realm, and he had battled them off at the front lines. He and all who served to defend the Woodland Realm from the encroaching darkness had learned to steel themselves against the terror of the Ringwraiths.
But never had he thought to prepare for this. The Nazgûl was swooping around with a thrumming of black wings. He had only gotten onto his back when it bore down on him.
He could feel the hot, foul breath of the Wraith's steed as it charged right at him. Silver-blue eyes, shot with terror, locked onto the faceless void beneath the Wraith's hood as he gazed sightlessly into the face of his victim.
One look at the glinting, bloodstained tip of the morgul blade sailing toward his heart told Legolas all he would ever need to know.
This is the end. I have failed. I'm really going to die.
He fought to keep from closing his eyes and shielding them from his doom, even as he brought up his left arm in vain hopes that his little knife might stand for a second against the sheer malice of Mordor's blade. At least his father would need not be ashamed of him in one respect: he would die fighting, with open eyes.
"The Eagles are coming!"
Gandalf's booming voice was carried to the fallen prince from what sounded like leagues upon leagues away. Of all the brutal racket surrounding him, it was the last to fade from his ears before his spirit fled.
Or perhaps not…
A macabre symphony arose from the plain as the Nine loosed horrific screams. At that very moment, the Nazgûl's poised longsword shot forward—and chanced to catch on the edge of Legolas's upraised knife.
Time stopped. The Valar held their breath as waves of cold shock and malice raced through the fine steel blade, down the bone handle into its wielder's arm. Legolas winced and hissed as his hand stiffened, clenching the knife even harder; spikes of ice threatened to shoot out of the skin on his hand. He wanted to recoil from the bolts of sheer hatred emanating from the fell swordsman above him, from the stench and malicious hunger of the beast hovering over him; but he could not. He was locked in the concealed, impaling gaze of the wraith, trapped, helpless.
Utter astonishment at his incredible luck flickered through the Elf, but he had no chance to shape it into coherent thought. He had no chance at all.
The unbreakable fusing between the two blades almost immediately slipped and was severed. The morgul sword screeched past the Elven knife to bury its point into its intended destination of immortal flesh.
Even as the Nazgûl wrenched it back out, the very tip now crimson; even as the Wraith yanked its steed around and joined his eight dark comrades in an abrupt mad rush south… his shriek of distress in response to the terrible call of his master, summoning him in desperation to Mount Doom, mingled jarringly with a shrill Elven scream.
A fell chill colder than the peak of Caradhras shot from his rib throughout his entire body, catching and threatening to shatter him like shards of ice. The grey and brown desolation he lay on, and the bloodied masses of the dead, dying and killing, suddenly flashed first white, then black. The panicked call of his name went unheeded as another piercing cry rent the air.
"A Elbereth! Gilthoniel!"
All shreds of coherence disintegrated then and there. Pain. His whole universe was blighted with pain, torment and a dreading despair. There would be few to greet him at the Halls of Mandos. His spirit was tearing in two, unable to decide whether to flee or remain.
Though his entire body began to flare with black agony and a hopeless groan was ripped from his voice, it was still imbued with the strength and resilience of the Elves. It would not succumb to any dark wound, not until his spirit had been subdued and conquered.
No! I have to know—I need to see—
Legolas tried to open his eyes against the pain and could not. Agony forced them shut again. All his eyes could see, regardless of will, was scarlet pain and unending darkness.
"The Eagles are coming!" he heard again, this time carried by many, many voices ringing as one: the voice of the Free Peoples. Mithrandirhe thought fleetingly. He has summoned help! He grasped the cry in desperation, but his hold slipped and he sank into blackness once more.
Icy fire crawled through every part of his body until it grasped at his mind, heart and every sense he still clung to. He almost didn't feel a pair of hands cradle his head and shoulders through the fire. He would have slowly given in were it not for a steady flow of Sindarin that struggled into his failing ears. He knew not who spoke them, who comforted him; but it mattered not. He hung on to the words that spoke of hope, light, warmth, love. The darkness festering in him howled in rage and tore at him, trying to bring him down into the realm of shadow.
"No!" he didn't hear himself scream in panic. "To-to the end! I can't—I must—"
Legolas was cut short as black fire blossomed from his side, skittering through his blood and into his spirit, and he was powerless to stop himself from yelling again. There was a hiss like a newly forged sword plunged into water, and he foundered in terror with nothing to cling to. Almost immediately the soft voice in his ear resumed whispering the Grey tongue, though it echoed and rung painfully throughout his skull. He had barely enough control left to bite his lower lip and keep from crying out again.
You can make it, Legolas. Hold on, the voice said in his native tongue, its note of urgency tempered by compassion, just audible over the roar of warriors surrounding them for leagues. The Enemy will fall, just hang on and you will see it. You are strong, son of Thranduil, I know you are. We will all see our homes again, and the shadow will fall from all of Arda. This war is almost won, almost. The Sun will shine in your home again, Legolas! Just stay with me and all will be made right again, I swear by Ilúvatar's name! Stay with me, Legolas…
"Stand, Men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom."
"Ai!" cried Legolas, squinting his eyes even harder shut and bringing up both hands to stop his ears. Gandalf's great voice rang in his head, threatening to shatter it from within. He resisted bitterly when a strong, gauntleted hand caught his left wrist, forcing it back.
"Dartho!" the being's voice admonished gently, the Sindarin command tinged with worry. No matter how hard Legolas fought the traitor, he was in no state to stop the fingers prying his knife from his death grip. He panicked—without weapons, he was altogether defenseless. His eyes snapped open.
A fair, grime-coated face swam in his pain-hazed vision. Legolas couldn't pick out any details beyond long dark hair, a grim mouth and worried eyes. Faint recognition arose, but he couldn't hold on long enough to sift through his deteriorating mind for memory.
"Shh… it's going to be all right," the stranger murmured. "Relax and just hold on, Legolas, it's almost over. Relax, meldirn."
I know that voice. Could it be a Man? An Elf? But what could one of the Firstborn be doing amongst the Men of the West? He couldn't think, no matter how much he wished to. Anything to distract him from this black torment.
"No," groaned Legolas. He had to squint hard to focus through ever-increasing darkness in his eyes. His hands shook uncontrollably as he fumbled with the warrior's surcoat and finally grasped it, his breath coming in shuddering gasps. "P-please—"
The prince's body jerked in the man's hold as another onslaught of dark fire and ice attacked him from within. "Please!" he begged once he'd managed to swallow the pain enough to speak. "Help me fight! I-I don't want to give in until—not till I've s-seen him fall—"
Just as Legolas hissed in pain and realized that he probably wouldn't be able to stay conscious long enough, he felt himself gathered up by the shoulders in someone's arms and carefully held close. The ripped, bloody tunic and hard chain mail beneath felt like the most comforting thing in the world against his cheek. He felt himself leave his pride on the ground. It no longer mattered that he felt like a young Elfling again, that he would be giving in to the evil spreading from his punctured chest, that he would be slipping away in the midst of brawling war. He could just close his eyes and sail to Mandos right here, right now. At least his sister, his dear little sister, would be there to greet him. How easy it would be to just…
"Almost over… it's almost over… just hold on…"
Legolas stiffened and turned his face up to the stranger's, gaining an uncanny understanding that the usual reservations and protocols were no longer of consequence. "Please… don't let me go. I want to see this end," he whispered, slowly becoming aware that the thunder of battle raging around them was petering out. Silence filled his heart. Silence and lethal chill.
He thought he could see something resembling great pain and sadness borne of deepest compassion flickering in those dark grey eyes as they watched him. But then he heard a hoarse voice shouting something to the man. Legolas thought it sounded very vaguely familiar, and could faintly detect a note of something like alarm as well.
"Ai Valar!" cried the warrior, one arm abruptly letting go of Legolas, who was shot through with a jolt of terror. The fearful, startled pitch of the words, coupled with the dull scrape of a metal blade dragged forth from the dirt, split Legolas's skull open. He wailed and clutched his ears in a futile attempt to hold the pieces together.
Something foul—several of them—he could feel them approaching. Their dark, bloodthirsty aura crippled him. They were coming for him. Legolas shuddered convulsively despite the numbness, marginally relieved when his mysterious friend's arms tightened protectively around him. Don't let them near me! he wanted to whimper, but his voice was gone.
Without warning, the Morannon rocked and swayed beneath them. Man and orc alike cried alarm and fear as they lost their footing. Stone grating upon stone echoed over the fields of slaughter, clashing with the triumphant caws and shrieks that now rang through the air. There was a loud rumbling and crashing as foundations and structures were shaken and hurled to pieces.
Legolas feebly pulled himself up to see over the man's mail-clad shoulder, his entire left side now numb with inexplicable cold, though icy fire still licked at his wounded rib. Every shift in the earth threw his senses into a nauseating, confused whirlwind. Everything in him was now failing. His body had been failing from the moment the morgul bile had entered his blood. He had maybe moments before he slipped and fell, probably straight to Mandos. But he had to know… before he died… if he'd really, truly failed…
Clouds of grey dust were all that his fading vision revealed. But clouds of dust… and above it, far away, rose a great plume of darkness, flashing with minute tongues of flame. Legolas shivered at the sight as an overwhelming sense of spent malice assailed him. He grabbed the warrior's shoulders all the harder, trying to convince himself that with the other man supporting him, he ran no risk of falling endlessly. He could no longer feel his fingers… or anything. A Valar… this is the end.
His hearing was the last to go. A deep rumble at first, which began to crescendo into a faraway roar coming from the South. Legolas sank back, his weary eyelids sliding shut as he heard. A strangled sob of relief escaped his throat, but he could no longer feel it. Ruin he could sense in that cry; the ruin of defeat. And he knew. Even as voices arose from the battlefield, orcs screeching, trolls bellowing, Men renewing their battle cries, he knew.
"It's done," he whispered, and let go.
Tinnuial: Yes, I think we all love to believe that Legolas doesn't get hurt because he's just incredibly skilled. But I admire characters with both strengths and weaknesses, and that's what I'm trying to do here. You be the judge as to how successful I am, but when I compared the original version of Black to the work of Ithilien, Thundera Tiger and Jocelyn, I couldn't help but cringe.
demonness: Yes, almost any Legolas moment or story works for me too. I'm glad you like it, and am highly flattered that you'd put me on your favourites list when it's just my first try. Hannon le! I couldn't find any profile for 'demonness' though. :(
Sennay: Honestly, this is my first LotR fic! You really think I'm that good? I tend to think of the original chapter as one of my more lackluster efforts, but thank you for your support!
Alexa: You may or may not like Gandalf's reaction; I'll only say that it'll be very typical of him. Yes, I think it's the nature of Elves—and ought to be the nature of Men, as I continually hear—to look out for each other. We'll explore that a little more in the next chapter. :o) (sad sigh) Well, Peter Jackson decided to spare him. But that troll-vs.-Aragorn scene and Legolas panicking for him was still satisfying.
In response to your second review: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your confidence in me and my abilities. However, I really do feel that a revision is now necessary for the second chapter to work. If you would rather keep the first version, please save it to your hard drive. Maybe you'll have some fun comparing both versions. ;-)
Hildestohl: You like my battle scene? Wow. That was my first battle scene (that I didn't consider painful to look over) and I really do suck at writing them. I hope the revision is better for you, whenever I finish it. And don't worry, more warmongering coming right up. ;)
e: Yes, this may be highly OOC (out-of-canon) later. For now, since Professor Tolkien never wrote about exactly what Legolas and the twins were doing in the battle, I think it's more or less in book canon, if not movie canon. Of course, the troll scene in here is movieverse. (sigh of relief) No slashiness! Whew! No offence to any slash fans here, but if I wrote something slashy, I think I'd be compelled to flame myself.
Jinx: You don't know how good it is to hear that you like the Elven interaction. Speeds up my inspiration and makes my world a little less dreary. Thank you!
girturtle: Unfortunately, Peter let us down quite a bit in that respect. :( But seeing as he didn't show the actual capture of Pelargir either, we can always hope for the DVD. If you want to read an excellent fic regarding this missing scene from both the book and movie, check out Ithilien's 'Cry of the Gull'. You can find it in my favourite stories list. It's well worth it! :)
Daylight: Wow, thanks! Ironically, I'd feared that everything you listed were things that Redleaf actually lacked. Don't worry, I'm still posting! There are now six chapters in all planned for this story.
Elberethia: (raises eyebrows) I did not know that! By original draft, do you mean the first published edition of FotR? (I have the second version.) If so, I'm definitely checking out both that and Treason of Isengard. Thanks for that heads-up and glad you like this fic!
Viresse: (reels in shock) People are STILL reviewing?! Wow! Anyhow, yes, you will see from plenty of different viewpoints next chapter. As for the actual fate of Legolas Greenleaf… you'll see later on.
elsbeth: Gee, well, thanks! Good to know you like the suspense (I'm still brushing up a bit). I hope you like this revision.
Akino Ame: (blinks rapidly) Sorry, this is just the first time I've ever gotten someone to cross over from another fandom. I must agree that Legolas is rather underdeveloped, particularly in the books. But then, so are Gimli, Merry and Boromir. (sigh) I've never liked it when vital characters end up being overlooked. Legolas gets plenty of attention here on ;) and Boromir and Merry have some too, but only recently did I notice that there are almost no fics out there on Gimli, poor Dwarf. Well, Dwarves are hard to write about. And—YES!! I also draw extreme perverse pleasure from terrorizing crazy fangirls, or at least seeing them terrorized. (demonic grin) Thanks for answering all those questions I had from Echoes. Can't wait for Thesis, although I have yet to read Doppel. I'm again flattered that you think so highly of my fics! Arigato! (munches happily on cookie)
P.S. Tell your Ringhead friend to check out HASA: Henneth Annûn Secret Archives. Unfortunately I can't post the URL here since FFN seems to have issues with that, but I can guarantee that virtually all the fics there are extremely high-caliber. A real treat.
Thundera Tiger: First of all, you're totally forgiven for the delay. For a while I thought you were demonness earlier, so no hard feelings. Anyhow, your response blew me out of the water. I'm truly flattered that you like this fic so much! :-)
It's funny you should focus on my descriptions of sound, because I never thought of it from that perspective; indeed, I thought I'd done too much description. I'm glad you like the sentence structure, which was something I wasn't really conscious of. Action… did you know, this chapter was my very first foray into writing action sequences, and though I'm still dissatisfied enough with it to moderately revise it as I just did, I'm flattered that you like it so much. Ditto with Legolas's perspective, but now that I reread it, I guess the viewpoint is just limited enough to make readers see things the way he sees (or feels) them. Ironically I wasn't really thinking about how the readers would be 'pulled in' by the descriptions of Legolas's descent into darkness, only about describing events. (sheepish grin)
Anyhow, thank you so much for your input and helping me see things in the prose I hadn't noticed before. That's sure to help with the following chapters. Yes, you read right, I'm still working on it! Since coming here I have vowed never to stop something I've started, even if I have to go on a really long hiatus, and Redleaf is no exception. No problem at all with the late review! All I can ask is that you find it in your heart to forgive me, you and these fifteen other wonderful individuals who took the time to read and review and might still be waiting.
Moe: (sheepish blush) Thanks! Sorry for the long wait… you can find at least bits and pieces of the story on my LiveJournal. Now that the revision is complete, I can get straight to work on Part Two. Hang in there!
Quiet Infinity: Thanks very much for the compliments and support, as always. Don't worry, I've vowed not to discontinue anything I write here if I can help it, and Redleaf is becoming one of my favourites, so you will definitely see this updated and finished. And cheers for cliffhangers! :P
Rhys: As always, thank you very much for the compliments and support. Hopefully you'll like the other characters' perspectives as much as you seem to enjoy that of Legolas. As always, keep checking my LiveJournal (URL on my bio) for updates.
Sunn-Kissed: Once again, thank you for the support. As you'll see on my LiveJournal, the due date for the next installment is 30 November 2004, which will be the first anniversary of Redleaf's posting. I know, long time in coming. And—ooh, one of your guesses was spot-on! (Sorry, I misread the first part of your guess and thought you were referring to something else last time I reviewed.) You'll find out exactly which one very soon. ;)
Templa Otmena: Thank you for the support. I'm glad to hear that the angst was well-handled; I had worried about that somewhat.
kiss316: Actually, this chapter was intended to be rather chaotic. However, it seems that it didn't get out of hand so that you could still keep track of events, which is something I'm very glad (and relieved) to hear. Thank you!
Coming up: Part Two will cover the immediately subsequent events of the battle—from the eyes of several others that were present. Look for Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli and ::contest!:: a mystery guest appearance or two. Any guesses? Tell me in your review!
Thank you all for your kindness and patience. Now that the revision is up, I can get straight to work on Part Two! Be on the lookout!