Scars- Prologue and Chapter One

Disclaimer: This story is being written for enjoyment only. I do not own any of Tolkien's characters.

Summary: A grisly discovery in the present serves to bring about painful memories from the past. Can someone truly be free of the scars of old or will they always resurface to haunt them?

Main Characters: Aragorn, Elladan, Elrohir, Elrond and Legolas.

Author's Notes:

This story will explore if it is truly possible for someone to triumph over the emotional repercussions of the past.

Scars- 1. A mark left on the skin or other tissue after a wound has been healed. 2. A marring or disfiguring mark on anything. 3. The lasting or emotional effects of suffering or anguish. 4. A projecting or isolated rock, as in the sea. - from Webster's New World Dictionary.

I am labeling this story AU, though it is my every intention to stay within the time frame and intentions Tolkien had for his characters. Inevitably, I feel that I may stray from the original sources the story is based upon. This story is also a WIP (Work in progress), and I will do my best to update as frequently as time, work, and family obligations allow me to.

I would like to thank SB, DQ, and CC for their kind, candid, and timely feedback when I asked them whether they felt if it were truly possible for someone to truly overcome the scars of their past. Also, I thank them for introducing me to the wonderful world of fan fiction and for the friendship they have each given to me through their writing and correspondences. As always it has been fun and you, guys are the best:) Also to my husband, who has helped me overcome a few scars of my own and kindly tolerates my adventures into the world of fan fiction. Yes, sweetheart, I'm gearing up for my Stephen King mode as you so affectionately put it. :)

WARNING I felt it best to warn the readers in advance that this story will contain a few 'dark' scenes. I do not wish to give the storyline away, however, but some may feel uncomfortable reading them. These scenes WILL NOT contain either slash or gratuitous violence or sexual situations. I have wavered back and forth on whether to rate this story R or PG 13. I would like to go with the latter, since I feel that most chapters will fall within that rating and it is my hope that what follows will prove to be an uplifting story of triumph over tragedy. I will provide additional chapter warnings for those chapters that may prove disturbing to some. Finally, this story is also not a sequel to my previous selection, Relesen, although it will contain some ties to that text. It will also take place in both the past (in flashback) and the present (story time that is).

With that said, now onto the story. It is my hope that you will enjoy what follows provided you haven't already fallen asleep during all these preliminary notes. :) Sue-aka Quickbeam.:)

Prologue: From Relesen Chapter 21

"I'm here." Had been Aragorn's gruff words of greeting as he had entered into the stable that early morn to join the elf. Having now just learned the true identity of the one Elrond had chosen to accompany him on this mission, Legolas was uncertain if he possessed the mastery to sufficiently school the deep misgivings that stirred within him upon this discovery. Turning to acknowledge Lord Elrond's youngest son, the Silvan elf was caught even more off guard, for there now before him stood a lanky figure resembling an adult Man in both height and stature. Though these most obvious physical changes had initially startled the elf, what had proven even more disconcerting was the intensity within the stare of the gray eyes that looked back toward him. They no longer held the youthful exuberance he so remembered from the boy's earlier childhood, but were now imbued with an astuteness well beyond the years possible of the one who bore them. Not only that, but they were possessed by a hint of grimness as well. Legolas had been hesitant to reconfirm this latter estimation as the void of silence that now stretched between them grew ever wider. The elf felt compelled to break his gaze first from the young man's as his line of vision dropped slightly lower to come in contact now with the remnants of a thin, but well healed scar just above the Human's upper lip marring a once smooth complexion. As if noting where the direction of the elf's thoughts now traveled, Aragorn unconsciously raised his hand toward his face as if to conceal the blemish, his curved index finger brushing lightly against its length. Though Legolas' blue eyes raised to meet with Aragorn's gray yet again, the Human did not feel inclined to speak either words of confirmation or explanation as to its origin. Feeling even greater unease, Legolas dropped his gaze toward the dirt floor of the stable. Though he found his traveling companion more than adequately fitting the description of adult than child, his reservations at embarking upon this journey with one, whom he deemed as inexperienced, burned fervently within his breast.


Chapter One-Reunion (approximately some 40 years later)

The first hues of day's breaking light crested upon the horizon to the right as the three riders quietly proceeded onward in their north-easterly travels. The ground below their mounts continued to slope downward as the hint of the distant Weather Hills faded from sight and they drew closer to the ever increasing thicket of the approaching Chetwood. The wandering trio had considered earlier the advisability of veering from their original course of travel and settled upon a more southerly path for a time to avoid the unpalatable traveling conditions offered up by the formidable Midgewater Marshes. In doing thus, they would trek uncomfortably close to one of the most populous hubs of Breeland, but the furtive wayfarers only perceived this engaging proximity as a suitable challenge to their covert capabilities. Commencing onward through the still slumbering terrain without so much as a notice, the ever broadening tree cloaked landscape dipped even lower before them as it led toward an upcoming glen.

The transforming autumnal foliage of the thickening canopy above them effectively acted toward masking the dawn's waking brilliance and cast further shadow upon the region now surrounding them. Its blanketing coverage acted toward cocooning the briskness left over by the night's lingering touch and served to rouse a cloaking mist upon the hinterland before them. Though the mounts beneath them snorted or brayed in occasional worry, the riders upon them took no heed of their fretful warnings nor curbed the speed of their steady advance. The slick, descending tier of newly fallen, yet decaying leaves did little to hinder their progress until at last as if in unspoken agreement the three pulled to a final halt and waited in silence.

Though a clinging dampness permeated the air surrounding them, the waiting trio took no note of its crispness nor sought to relinquish the slackened reins now within their grip to draw their moss green cloaks more tightly about them to ward against its confronting chill. Each, however, waited in noiseless anticipation making little movement except to quiet an ever occasional twitch of the anxious mount beneath him. But even with such minimal and random movements as these, the three solemn outlanders, if located within some rousing courtyard, could quite possibly be mistaken at first glance as carved statuaries commemorating a bygone sentinel, and the lingering haze now enveloping them only added a growing mystique to these now motionless wanderers and the agenda they sought to carry out.

Time seemed to stand still and harried not the three as if it carried little import until at last in the distance a lone outline surfaced into the mist before them. The lingering haze sought to keep concealed the identity of the shadowed form now advancing upon them, but the approaching rider's proximity made no indent into the calmness they strove to maintain. If any felt threatened by this impending covert presence converging upon their location, they gave no hint until at last the advancing figure stopped but a short distance away. The three remained upon horseback as the sole figure before them dismounted and now walked on foot even closer toward them. The remaining fog was inconsequential toward keeping their visitor's identity concealed from them any further, but it was now the outsider's hooded cloak that acted toward their disadvantage. Still the long traveled wanderers did not appear alarmed, but sought to dismount their steeds as well before moving forward until at last just a short stretch of ground remained between them. It was only then that the figure, now approaching, felt the comfort to remove the last remaining barrier of concealment between them as he pushed back his hood.

Though none seemed to move at first, it was not out of wariness toward the identity of the other, but perhaps was caused by the long span of time and distance that had separated them until this very moment. It was as if each figure were satisfied for the present to soak in the refreshing image of the other, truly not believing that destiny had finally acted toward reuniting them once again and lingering apprehension stalling each one of them from making any further advance lest indeed initial contact might prove that this was only a much sought after apparition instead of the actuality that now loomed presently in front of them. To the one, the trio before him had not changed one shred in shape or form, but maintained the ever present luminescent gracefulness that marked their race. The same could not be said for the others, though one in particular felt more keenly the sting that the hand of time had placed upon the one now beside him. Outwardly to most, he appeared much younger than the years his age sought to betray. But these inherent virtues bestowed upon him, could not hide the intrinsic consequences of living many years among the Wilds of Middle-earth from the insightful blue eyes that now gazed upon him nor keep from him the haggardness that lay claim to his features nor the grimness his grey eyes held though he could tell his long time friend was doing his utmost to mask its intensity. And as if unable to stop himself, like a magnet drawn to metal, the bearer of these thoughts was the first to break his stead as he advanced forward to clasp the shoulder of the one now before him then leaving decorum behind moving even closer to draw his companion into a welcoming embrace. He was not to be disappointed as he felt the arms of his friend encircle him as well until at last, the pair drew back and the silence surrounding them was finally broken.

"Welcome, Legolas."

"It has been too long, my friend." The Silvan elf answered in greeting.

As if not to be forgotten by this brief but intimate reunion, one of the Elf's fellow companions spoke out. "Will you not step aside, Legolas, and let us greet our brother as well?" Elladan inserted wryly, though he did not begrudge his fair-haired brethren in the slightest this apparent wait to be reunited with his Human brother.

Though hesitant to break this renewed bond, the archer drew aside to allow first one and then the other twin the chance to become reacquainted with their long absent sibling. Once again decorum was thrown to the wayside as each Elven brother heartily pulled Aragorn into a close and lingering embrace as affectionate words of welcome were exchanged.

Finally as this initial time for greeting began to wane, Aragorn, at last spoke out to address the group now beside him, "Come, let us go now. You have traveled long and are most likely in need of sustenance." Gesturing toward their horses he continued, "Follow me back toward our encampment. We will break our fast there."

"But we have news from Father," Elrohir spoke out.

Aragorn hesitated but a moment before answering the younger twin squarely. "Do not allow doubt or concern to make you wary, Elrohir. It has been many years now that I have lived among the Rangers. I trust each and every one of them with my life and they, me with theirs. You will find no rival ears among them, but still if you prefer to address Father's dispatches in private, they will allow us such council, though ultimately whatever tidings you bring that concern me will involve them as well. So come, brother. Do not tarry, nor allow my haste to hinder you. All is well, Elrohir, and whatever news you carry will be safeguarded."

Elrohir only nodded, his immediate concerns momentarily placated, but it was Elladan, who now spoke up. "We will go with you to your camp, Estel, but it is still your intention to return to Imaldris with us, is it not, brother? For though Father has sent forth his messages and tidings, I know it has been his most implicit wish to have you among his household again. Indeed, it was such a promise of your attendance that spurred our friend, Legolas, to join us on this sojourn even when pressing matters sought to call him homeward. You shall not disappoint our friend, Estel, nor Father will you?"

"Nay, brother," Aragorn answered succinctly doing his best to contain the rising amusement within him over the older twin's obvious ploy at using guilt to obtain the result he now sought from him before he went on in further explanation. "It is only there are some matters that require my immediate attention before I can feel comfortable enough to leave. You will grant me that much, will you not, Elladan?" Aragorn queried.

"Aye, little brother," The elder twin answered, "So long as the time spent does not prove to be too lengthy." He finished with a smirk while tucking away a final tidbit of undisclosed information concerning the presence of yet another back at home, which he intended to save for a future time if the cause should present itself to expedite his brother's impending departure from the wilderness.

"Come then, let us go," Aragorn finished, completely unaware of any convert intentions on his eldest brother's part as he quickly mounted up.

Immediately following suit, the Elven trio started off after him as he led them further into the increasingly hazy thicket now before them. A nagging wariness lay claim to the heart of at least one in the succeeding group as anxious thoughts played within his head. Legolas quietly contemplated in troubled meditation with the accompanying cacophony of steady hoof beats beneath him. 'There is something he holds back from us.'

Author's notes: Well if you reached here, then thank you for reading chapter one. I know it's a little slow starting. Trust me, I know. :) I 've had the first few paragraphs written for a few months now, but with Spring break here, I wanted to get this story rolling. :) I anticipate quite a few chapters, so it might be a long haul before I finish this story especially since I have steady work for the next few months.

I'd like to take this time to thank so many of you who have commented on Relesen and my other stories since they've been completed.

Well until next time, Sue a.k.a. Quickbeam. :)