This story takes place after `the return of the king´, though it may contain some flashbacks. I will sometimes use my own form of elvish, meaning a mixture of Quenya and Sindar, simply for the reason, that for this story I need something, that is even older than Quenya, a language the elves used, before they left for Valinor with the Valar. Those who refused this journey, the Avari, continued to speack this language, while those who broke later with the main group, the Sindar, formed their language, the Sindarin. Those who followed the Valar to Valinor, the Vanyar and Noldor, changed their language and it became Quenya. Later on, as the Noldor were banned from Valinor, they came back and started to use Sindarin, like the other elves they met. The Avari had stayed east and had little to none contact with the Sindar or Noldor and died slowly out. The last group of Avari united with those elves, that lived farest in the east, the elves of Greenwood the Great, later called Mirkwood.

Cále au Aratar – Light of the Valar

„Then we will die as one of them, elf!"

The words had been uttered weeks ago, but he still heard them, heard them as if Aragorn had just spoken them. He doubted that Aragorn even knew how much this words, spoken in anger and despair had hurt him – even more, as he had seen, that part of his friend hoped to die in that battle.

But none of them had died that night, Aragorn and Gimli hadn't even received more that a few harmless scratches – and for than he was thankful: Arwen he knew, would not survive the death of her beloved Estel, and he had grown fond of the loud, charming dwarf.

Yes, they would both live, and even if he was not sure, if he himself would survive the next days, it gave him satisfaction, that at least his mortal friends had survived this war. Everyday since the battle of Helms Clam he awoke with the wish, to see his family for one last time, before he entered Namos' halls, the poison, that flowed in his veins had already weakened him to the point, that his eyes closed while sleeping, showing, that his death was only a matter of time.

Gimli was watching his Elven friend over his pipe, complentating the change of behaviour he had noticed since the argument he had had with Aragorn. Not only his behaviour had changed, but the whole way he held himself! While he had seemed before like his bow, tense but at the same time relaxed, at any time ready to be fired, to become a weapon, he now seemed to be somehow broken, as if the string was to long for the wood. Of course he still was as elegant and graceful as all the other elves Gimli had met in this last year, but something seemed to be missing.

As he looked around he found, that Aragorn was also watching their Elven friend, a frown on his face. It was only three days till his coronation, and he still had not received news of his beloved Arwen -–and to add to his troubles, Legolas had started to act funny. As Gimli he was not able to tell, what exactly was different in Legolas' behaviour, he didn't even know, when Legolas had started to act so strange, for he first noticed it, when they were already for more than one week in Minas Thirth, but by the way Gimli watched their friend, it had to be longer.

"Prince Legolas..."Eomers voice interrupted their thoughts and both were shocked to notice, that it took Legolas a moment to answer – an other thing that had changed, normally he would have reacted even before the last part was spoken – "I was wondering, why you refer to some of your rulers as kings, to others only as Lord and Lady"

Legolas smiled slightly, as he noticed, that king Eomers question had captured the attention of all who were present: the remaining members of the fellowship – minus Gandalf, who had left for Lothlorien but would return in time for the coronation – Eowyn and Eomer, Faramir as well ass some nobles of Gondor, namely prince Imrahil, his youngest son and his daughter.

"Because, even though they are the rulers of their lands, they are not their kings. Only Thranduil of Eryn Lasgalen is king over his people, the Sindar. Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel are just the rulers of the Golden wood in the absence of their king, as he will only be crowned in a few weeks.

Lord Elrond of Imladris – or Rivendell – however, is entitled to call himself at least a Prince of the Noldor, for he would have been the heir of Gil-Galad, had he not forsaken his rights as his heir and left the crown to the descendants of Ereinions older sister Celebitiel as the Aratar had asked of him..."

As he paused, lost in thoughts, Frodo questioned:

"But why would the Valar ask him to leave the crown to another – he seemed to be a good Lord to Rivendell..."

"Yes, that he is – and he would have also been a good High King... But the Aratar wanted not only a King of the Noldor, but of all Elves. One elf in whose veins flows the blood of all Elven races, the Noldor, the Vanyar, the Sindar and even the Avari... He was foretold to unite all elves and give them once again the choice between Valinor and Arda. Everyone who has his blessings will be able to enter the Elven home, no matter if elf, men, hobbit or dwarf. No one who was send by him could be turned away – not even Morgoth himself."

Once again Legolas voice drifted away, leaving those around him to wonder what was happening with him, but suddenly a smile flickered over his face:

"The `ilsa tirnoë´ have arrived..."

"The Silver Guard?" Aragorn interrupted his friend "I believed them to be a myth..."

"A myth? No, they are no more a myth then Hobbits or Ents!"

he glanced over to Eomer, his eyes dancing with laughter,

"But they are hiding something, I can not quite make out what, they are shielding themselves from me.."

No sooner than his voice had faded, the doors opened, making way for a group of fifty hooded elves clad in shimmering dark silver cloaks. One by one they lined up along the walls of the room, till only two of them were left. As soon as Legolas' eyes fell on the smaller one he tried to stand up, only to grab hold of the arms of his chair, his eyes clouded over in pain before he regained control over his actions. The only sound in the room, was that of the splintering wood of the armrests of his chair.

Aragorn, who had had once again taken watching his friend grew alarmed at the sight of the obvious pain he was in. Why had Legolas not told him, that he was in pain? Had he been wounded in one of the battles? He was sure, that Legolas had not been wounded on the fields of Pellenore, they had fought side by side – but the only other possibilities were Helms' Clam and during the siege of Minas Tirith, and both battles were weeks ago!

Before the sound of breaking wood had vanished completely, the two elves that had stayed behind had crossed the room and knelt in front of Legolas, who had once again sunken on his chair. While the taller of the two reached inside his cloak, the smaller withdrew her hood, eliciting startled gasps from almost all present. Silver hair spilled around her face, falling back as one of Legolas' pale hands caressed her face shakingly.

"Meldanya" he murmured, looking up from the kneeling elf before him, as he heard Aragorn gasp in shock at hearing this endearment. Seeing the astonishment on his friends face Legolas started to laugh.

"Why so shocked, melon, didn't you expect to find someone more beautiful than Arwen, or is it the fact that I never told you."

Controlling his irritation, Aragorn was relieved to hear his friend laugh:

"More the fact, that I have known you almost my whole life – and yet you did not tell me, that you were married!"

Aragorns relieve vanished within seconds, as he saw, that the hooded elf in front of his friend had handed him a vial with a clear red liquid, which Legolas drank without hesitation, the frown on the females face did nothing to ease his worry.

Once again he saw pain flicker through the see blue eyes of his friend as he answered him, smiling, his voice filled with mirth, though underlining it was clearly to hear pain:

"That might be, because we are not married yet – in eight weeks I might be able to tell you that the most beautiful of Erus creations has married me..."

the gruff voice of Gimli interrupted him:

"No offence my Lady, but lad, you must agree with me, that no one can surpass the beauty of Lady Galadriel, no matter how beautiful your lass is! I mean..."

he stopped abruptly, as dark blue eyes turned to him, watching him smiling.

"You must be Master Gimli... Naneth has spoken often of the dwarf who has become an Elven-friend.

I am glad to see, that Legolas has finally made peace with a dwarf."

"Had Aule not seen it fit to take that oath of me, I would have never had any problems with dwarfs, Althilwen. It is my father who..."

a violent cough interrupted his words, his face contoured into a mask of pain, as he frantically tried to draw breath. While easing the still coughing prince out of the chair, the hood slipped from the elf, kneeling beside him, and Aragorn recognised the older of his twin-foster-brothers.

"Elladan? What is happening to Legolas" he asked, while he hurried over to his friends side, followed closely by Gimli.

"Not now, Aragorn!" came the terse reply, "All will be explained later!" with a wave of his hand, an other elf was by his side and together they helped the trembling prince to his feet and guided him out of the room, followed by all but three of the Silver guard.

As Aragorn made to follow his foster brother and his friend, one of the elves hold him back:

"You can do nothing for him at the moment – Elladan and Luimîr will do all that is possible" he spoke while he drew back his hood.

"Haldir? Rumil, Orophin? What is the meaning of this? Explain!"

Tension filled the room, as all its inhabitants waited for one of the elves to answer. After minutes of silence, the elf, whom Aragorn had identified as Orophin, answered:

"Years ago Morgoth created a poison, more terrible than the Black-poison, for the sole purpose of torturing elves. While it would have brought instant death to mortals, it brought endless, unimaginable pain to immortals, leaving them on the brink of conscious before slowly killing them.

It was this poison that he used to turn elves into the sires of Orcs. Under his or his Heralds, Saurons, influence their spirits would break after months, years of torture – if they survived the poison long enough.

We believed, the recipe for this poison forgotten, as Sauron did not use it during his reign of terror and darkness – what we did not know, was that someone else knew how to brew it and would dare to betray us in this way."

The shaky voice of Frodo voiced their collective fear:

"Saruman..."

"Yes, it was Saruman, the white Istari," continued Haldir, as his brothers stayed silent, "he brewed this most terrible poison and sent his minions to poison Legolas, hoping to gain him as an ally and destroying thereby arda.