Thanks for the reviews! I do so love them. Thanks to those who have reviewed and e-mailed to further correct my Elvish. I'm leaving the title as it stands for now, mostly because with my dial-up connection, trying to re-upload it all would take a while. I promise I will make the corrections when my speed is faster! I believe I have everything right in this last chapter...if not..well, I hope you can forgive me!
Now, on to the ending...
I Sigil Dagnir
The Slayer Blade
Chapter Seven: Denouement
Aragorn told her some of what had transpired over the past year as she listened, her eyes filling with tears as Aragorn recounted the strong and brave men that he had seen fall and the loss of Boromir, which was still near to his heart.
"Such grief. " She whispered now, "So much blood upon my hands."
Aragorn shook his head sadly, "Not on yours. Sauron's. His was the true evil. You were unable to resist it's sway."
Just then, the doors swung open. Legolas entered with Faramir, and between them they carried a heavy chest. They laid it upon the table, and Aragorn stood. "Perhaps this is best done elsewhere."
The Steward Faramir nodded in understanding. "Let us go to my father's private courtyard. It has been locked since his death, and none should disturb us there."
Once within the small stone courtyard, they placed the chest upon the pavestones, and Legolas went to the high, thick gates and locked them. Amali lowered herself to a small stone bench, and watched as the men opened the chest.
Faramir was the first to reach out, cautiously. He lifted out first items that Aragorn recognized instantly, although a patina of rust lay over the muzzles and collars, and the leather bindings were stiff and mildewed with age. Amali sunk to her knees and lifted the muzzle in her withered hands, turning it as she eyed it in wonder. Then with sudden violence, she flung it away from her. It hit the stone walls with a clanking noise and fell to the paving.
Legolas whirled toward her, but she had stilled, staring down at the bindings with a look of revulsion on her face. Aragorn reached into the chest and withdrew a sheathed dagger. It was not the one he had held so long ago, though the markings were similar. Slowly, he slid it from its covering, it's pale glow emanating in his hand.
Aragorn stood, the dagger warm in his fingers. Slowly, he turned to Amali. She did not move, her face impassive in the darkness.
"Dago han, Estel." Legolas spoke, his words a deep intonation that reached into Aragorn's soul. When he did not move, Legolas spoke louder, his voice a command. "Dago han si!"
Kill it.Kill it now!
Aragorn looked to Legolas, determination hardening his features. Faramir backed away, another blade in his hand. He had doubted, when Legolas came to him and asked for the Slayers Blades, but now, the golden glow of the Elven blade convinced him of what they faced. Still, it was a horror to him to watch his king advance on the old woman, bowed on the bench.
"Dago nin, Captain, Sir." Her soft voice rang out the Elvish syllables, and Aragorn hesitated, his hand freezing. Kill me,
"By the Valar!" Legolas leaped forward, taking the knife from Aragorn's still hand. With a single swift movement he flashed his hand downward, aiming for the center of Amali's back.
The blade flashed golden, and Amali was gone. A snarling black wolf, it's white teeth reflecting the glare of the blade, leaped clear of the menace and landed, snarling, between Legolas and Faramir. Legolas braced himself, his glance towards Faramir assuring him that the Steward had overcome his initial shock and was prepared to fight.
The wolf turned, appraising her opponents, the green eyes narrowed and glaring. With a sharp bark she drew back a pace, trying to circle the bench to put it between herself and the men. Legolas moved faster, leaping the bench and blocking her path.
Aragorn stood still, watching her. Part of him knew that Amali did not live in this beast, that this animal would kill him if it could, and yet he was fascinated. The black fur was perhaps a tinge greyer, but the body was stronger, sturdier than the weary wolf he had met in the woods of Ithilien. Fascinated with the animal, he did not move, his gaze locking with the eyes of the beast.
Grey met green in the pale torchlight and for a moment there was a dance. She knew him and he her. Suddenly Aragorn understood.There was no going back. There would be neither healing nor salvation. The hand of Sauron had taking the girl he had known and loved and the animal was all that remained. The intelligence in the creature's eyes spoke to him of hope, of a new future, and Aragorn tried to reject it, reminding them both that future it offered was not one for them to live.
It seemed to Legolas that the animal nodded, cocking its head at Aragorn. For a moment there was silence, and Legolas almost missed the warning tension as the wolf gathered itself.
She leaped for Aragorn, teeth flashing, a deadly snarl echoing in the stone courtyard. Legolas flung himself forward, the blade flickering with golden light as it fulfilled its purpose. The jaws were inches from Aragorn's throat when Legolas' knife slammed between the beast's ribs. With his left hand he shoved Aragorn away, and yanked the blade free, preparing for the next assault of the beast.
There was a single yelp, and the animal fell to the flagstones. Faramir stood on the other side, his hand, arms and blade dripping with blood. He had thrust his blade upward into the wolf's throat, slicing cleanly through the thick fur. Now he leaned back against the wall as Legolas darted to Aragorn, who had fallen back at his violent shove. Faramir alone watched as the beast heaved a last breath and was still, the green eyes darkening to lifelessness.
"Are you well, mellon?" Legolas' eyes narrowed in concern. The tiniest scratch from the sharp teeth and Legolas knew that Gondor would lose the king it had finally received.
Aragorn met his gaze sadly, but nodded in reassurance. "Yes, Legolas. I am unharmed."
He moved forward to the still wolf, lying beside the bench. He reached down and touched the fur gently then drew back in distaste.
"She would have killed you, Elessar." Faramir spoke now, coming to his king's side.
"No." Aragorn sad softly, for he had seen the intent in her eyes, and the cognizance of what it was she wanted. "She would have transformed me."
"Well, then it is well that we were here. Gondor cannot afford to lose its hope now!" Legolas said lightly. "Come, friends. Lets call someone to clear this away, and return these fine weapons to their storage."
Although his words were light, his hand fell heavily on Aragorn's arm to lead him from the courtyard, but Aragorn paused, looking down at the still form, a shadow against the grey stones. There was no trace of Amali left in this shell of an animal. When he spoke, his words were laden with remorse.
"She was good once." Aragorn raised his weary gaze to Legolas.
"And now she is cleansed." He replied firmly, steering Aragorn through the gateway and waiting as Faramir locked the gate. "May the Valar give her peace."