Title: Valley of Death 1/?

Author: Sivan Shemesh

Beta: Manon

Rate: PG-13

Warning: Violence, angst, guilt. Characters death?

Disclaimer: Gandalf put a spell on me… Now I'm Tolkien, pleased? The spell had gone, vanished as I saw Tolkien staring at me… Ok, ok… I admit all of these characters belong to him… please don't kill me… please?

Spoiler: AU. Only a plot bunny, this never happened, I think…

Summary: What lies on the Misty Mountains? What make the elves easy prey when they go there? Is there anyone who can face it, and stay alive?

Note: Estel and Legolas are children in this story.

Elvish Translation at the bottom.

1. Bad Feelings

What was left of the patrol party rode across Mirkwood's borders; some of them were badly hurt, while others were carrying their friends who had died.

The patrol had come from Imladris. They could barely stand, and one of them handed to the guards what was left of their flag.

"What happened to you?" the guards asked them.

The only words that the elves could say, said with fear, and death in their eyes: "Attack… evil… death…"

"Take them to the healers and inform our king soon as possible; we may be soon under attack," Galdor said.

Mirkwood's guardians were shocked by the number of dead and wounded, and how the strength of the survivors seemed almost gone.

Thranduil, the King of the Golden Palace, followed his guard to the houses of healing and stared in shock at the wounded. He could see the pain in their eyes, and realised that whatever they had faced had scared them badly.

He saw very clearly one of the tunics; he recognized it – it was very familiar to the king. He tore a piece from it and decided to send it with the message that he would write to his old friend.

Thranduil could not do anything, only to let their lord know what had happened.

"Saelbeth!" Thranduil called. "Send a messenger to my room at once!"

"Yes, my lord," Saelbeth said, and tried to find the messenger within Mirkwood. It did not take long as the messenger was found with his horse.

"What is wrong?" the messenger asked. He could see something had happened.

"Duty calls!" Saelbeth said, and then added: "The king has asked for you to come immediately to his room."

The messenger nodded, and went quickly to the palace, and made his way inside.

"My lord?" the messenger called.

"Come in!" King Thranduil said, and the messenger entered the room.

The messenger looked at the way that his king walked towards him, ordering him: "Take it as fast as you can to Imladris. Do not stop to rest. It is a matter of life and death!"

The king handed him the massage and the piece from the tunic.

"Yes, my lord." The messenger bowed and left the room, mounted his horse and quickly rode away.

After the messenger had left, King Thranduil walked around the room, over and over again. He was anxious; those elves who had been hurt looked very familiar to him, so he wanted to be sure and sent the massage.

3 Months earlier… in Imladris…

Estel watched as his father, Elrond, helped his sons prepare for their first patrol, as it would be a test of their skills.

Estel tried to tell his father what he felt, but he couldn't. He felt a pain in his belly, and he thought that something bad would happen to them.

He loved the twins, they were his brothers, and he did not want to lose them.

"Ada? Please do not let them go…" Estel begged, but nothing helped.

"They have to go, ionen," Elrond stated.

"But why, ada?" Estel asked. He still could not accept their leaving.

"They have become warriors. Well… this is like a proof of their skills and what they have learnt in their training to become warriors. Do you understand my son?" Elrond asked.

Estel nodded. He was not completely happy with the answer he was given, and begged again with his father to let them stay.

But Elrond's answer was tough. "I will not let them stay just because you have a bad feeling!"

Estel did not accept his words, and in his eyes there was anger. "Don't you trust my words, ada?" he asked.

"I do, ionen, but you have to understand; they have reached their time when they have to prove themselves, just like you will when the time comes."

Estel nodded, and lowered his head, tears falling down his face. He cried quietly.

The twins heard the conversation and looked at Estel, who was clutching his belly tighter. There was pain and tears showing on his face.

Elladan and Elrohir walked over to their brother and knelt next to him, asking: "What is wrong?"

"I do not want you to go…" Estel said, continuing to cry, and then added, mumbling: "I have a feeling that something bad will happen… please stay…"

"We cannot stay, little brother," Elladan said, hugging Estel.

"We have to go," Elrohir said, and took his little brother and hugged him as well.

Then Estel looked up after his brothers walked away from him and watched them mount their horses.

They left with the other elves.

'No…' Estel thought and ran to his room.

Elrond was about to go after his son, but Glorfindel told him that he might be able to help.

Glorfindel opened the door to Estel's room, and watched the human with sad eyes. He went closer and sat down next to him. Estel moved onto the warrior's lap and curled up against Glorfindel's chest. "Why does ada not believe me?" he asked.

Glorfindel answered with a deep sigh. "Perhaps, he did not want to see his sons hurt."

Estel continued to cry, not believing they could leave him like this.

Glorfindel felt the emotion rising inside the human. "Shall I send a message to Gandalf?" he asked, trying to cheer the boy up.

Estel nodded, wiping the tears away. Magic and power always made him feel happy.

Estel loved the company of the Maia; Gandalf was like a grandfather to him, and a good friend.

Mirkwood… Present time…

Prince Legolas of Mirkwood, opened the door of his father's room, and watched his father pacing the floor. Thranduil seemed unaware of his son's presence.

"Ada?" Legolas asked.

There was no answer from his ada, so he went closer to him.

King Thranduil was busy thinking of what had happened, and of the message he had just sent to Imladris. He was beginning to think that he might ride to Imladris himself and speak with Lord Elrond about the situation, to do something about it, but before he could think any further on it, he heard a soft whimper. Turning around, he saw his son.

"What is it, ionen?" Thranduil asked, kneeling down next to his son.

"You were supposed to be with me, in my study class an hour ago, to see me shooting," Legolas complained to his father sadly.

"I am sorry, ionen, but…" Thranduil started to reply but was cut off by his son.

"It is always 'but'," Legolas attacked him. He was tired of his father's excuses. "I…" he tried to say, but felt the tears in his eyes and began to cry.

Thranduil came closer to his son and hugged him, letting him cry on his shoulder. Then the king released him from the hug, and tried to explain to his son why he did not show up to his class.

"A patrol from Imladris arrived…" he began, but was again cut off.

"The twins are here?" Legolas asked impatiently.

"I am not so sure, ionen." Thranduil stared at his son, who was frowning at him.

"What do you mean, adar?" Legolas asked.

"Their faces were mutilated very badly, and their wounds…" Thranduil stopped at that point. He did not want to say more; it still made him sick thinking about it.

"All the members of the patrol were hurt? How?" Legolas questioned his father.

"Yes, all of them. How? I wish I had the answers," Thranduil replied.

"Can the healer cure them?" Legolas asked.

Thranduil try to say something, but nothing came out.

Legolas watched his father, and noticed the silence. He feared that they were all going to die.

"I do not know," Thranduil finally said, and lowered his head. He could not look in his son's eyes.

Ionen – My son

End of Chapter 1.