In the Blink of an Eye
A LOTR story by Deana Lisi
Disclaimer: I do not own Legolas, (sniff) Aragorn, the twins, Elrond,
or Thranduil, but I do own Heredil. A very special hannon le to Karri, who
provided me with this idea, and to Lorrie for the title!
Hey everyone! Here's my new story; it takes place a year after 'Race Against Time'! Enjoy!
"Stop sighing, Legolas! You lead me to believe that you do not enjoy my company!"
Legolas smiled, glancing over at his companion. The two elves were on their way to Rivendell; Legolas for the first time in nearly a year. His father had become extremely overprotective of him after the vanwacoi incident—understandably—as Legolas had come so very close to death.+ It had taken both Legolas and Thranduil some time to heal emotionally from the frightening ordeal, and Legolas had enjoyed the nightly talks that he and his father had started. The two of them would sit on Legolas' bed and talk of whatever fancied them, as if Legolas was an elfling once again. It had helped greatly, and the bond that they already shared had strengthened even more, if possible.
When Legolas received a message from Aragorn and the twins begging him to visit, Thranduil had reluctantly agreed, but only if the Captain of the Guard accompanied him on the journey. Legolas had nearly scoffed at the idea, citing that he was no elfling, but the worried expression on his father's face had stopped him.
"I do not loathe your company, Heredil," Legolas said. "I simply wonder what my friends will say when they find out that my father had me escorted."
Heredil smiled. "Ah, I see! They will taunt you, I assume."
Legolas nodded. "Most likely."
Heredil chuckled, as they approached the border of Imladris.
A sudden voice filled the air, startling the two. "Go back from whence you came! Mirkwood elves are no longer welcome in Rivendell!"
Heredil immediately drew his bow.
Legolas laughed, putting a hand on his arm. "Peace, mellon-nin, it is one of my jesting friends."
Heredil didn't relax the grip on his weapon. "How can you be sure?"
"Did you not notice the oddness to the voice?" said Legolas. "One of the twins or Aragorn are merely trying to alarm us."
Heredil lowered his bow, still looking wary.
Legolas trotted his horse forward. "Nay!" he shouted. "If you want us to leave, then you shall need to force us!"
Neither of the two expected what happened next.
A shoof! filled the air, and an arrow suddenly embedded itself in Legolas' left shoulder. He gave a shocked cry, toppling from his mount.
"Legolas!" Heredil shouted, drawing his bow and leaping off his horse.
Legolas forced himself to stand, painfully drawing his own bow as Heredil wildly pointed his own, searching for a target.
Another arrow suddenly flew towards them, this time hitting Heredil in nearly the same place as Legolas, making him stumble back a step.
Legolas had an idea of where the arrow had come from, but pain was dulling his senses and before he had a chance to fire, the sound of two arrows being loosed filled the air, one striking his right arm and the other hitting his left leg, buckling it beneath him.
Heredil fired his own arrows, ignoring his pain, but it was already too late, for a final arrow flew towards Legolas with fatal intent, slamming into his chest.
Heredil hadn't quite seen where the last arrow had struck as he leaped in front of his prince, pointing his bow as steady as he was able to with an arrow in his shoulder. "Who dares attack us!" he shouted. "Show yourselves!"
No arrow greeted his words, and suddenly a group of hooded figures came out of the woods.
"Leave!" one of them shouted. "Bring word back to your King that you are not welcome here!"
"Go," Legolas weakly said, pain filling his voice.
Heredil spared a glance at Legolas, horrified to see the new arrow protruding from his chest. "No!" he said, voice unsteady with grief. "I will protect you even if it means my death!"
"If you die…" said Legolas, eyes tightly clenched shut. "Then so does…my father…"
Heredil realized the truth to his words. If no one warned Thranduil of Rivendell's treachery, the King might come in search of his son and likewise be murdered…as could any Mirkwood elf that came this way…
"Go…" Legolas whispered. He was shaking in utter agony, blood already covering nearly every inch of his clothes.
Heredil looked up as the group of Rivendell dwellers came closer. Quickly slinging his bow over his shoulder, he reached down to lift Legolas, only to have an arrow fly between his hand and the Prince's arm.
"He stays!" exclaimed the group leader. "You return alone, or you do not return at all!"
Heredil had fought wars and slew more orcs than he was ever able to count, but this moment was the first time that he literally did not know what to do.
"Go," Legolas whispered again. "Warn…my…"
Heredil's eyes widened when Legolas stopped talking, his tensed-up body suddenly relaxing, his bleeding chest not moving.
That was the last thing that Heredil saw.
The marauder who'd crept up behind Heredil tossed the rock that he'd hit him with, as the Mirkwood warrior fell to the ground unconscious.
"Take him out a few miles," said the leader. "And leave him."
The other being nodded, slinging Heredil over his shoulder and draping him over his horse.
The group of murderers reached Legolas and stared at him, occasionally poking him with a foot.
"Is he dead?" said one.
"No," said another. "But he will be, soon."
"Shall I finish him off?"
Before anyone could answer, sudden hoof beats were heard.
"Let's go!" the leader whispered, and everyone scattered, leaving Legolas Greenleaf, Prince of Mirkwood, bleeding to death in the grass.
"I'm surprised that Thranduil allowed him to come."
"As am I."
"Why? Legolas is an adult. He is free to do as he wishes."
The twins gave Aragorn an incredulous look as they rode through the woods, making the human chuckle.
"You think that we are protective of you, brother?" said Elladan. "It is nothing compared to Thranduil regarding Legolas. Aye, our friend has freedom, but he lost some of it after the vanwacoi."
Everyone was silent for a minute, Aragorn remembering the horror that Legolas had endured, and the twins wishing that they'd been there to offer their friend the help and support that he'd needed during such a traumatic time.
"I am willing to wager that Thranduil had him escorted."
Elladan and Aragorn looked at Elrohir, weighing his words.
"I believe that you may be right," said Elladan, smiling. "If so, he will be very embarrassed to be lead as an elfling!"
"That he will!" Elrohir laughed.
Aragorn said nothing, having ridden slightly ahead of his brothers, seeing something strange lying on the ground in the distance. "What is that?"
Elladan and Elrohir followed his gaze, before giving exclamations of shock and kicking their horses into a run.
Aragorn followed, wondering what it could possibly be. How I wish that I had the eyes of elves! As they drew closer, he was finally able to make out what was lying in the grass, and his heart nearly stopped.
The shout roused the half-conscious elf, who laid immobile with his eyes closed, suffering more pain than he'd ever felt in his life.
Aragorn and the twins leaped from their horses, rushing to their friend with their mouths agape at the sight of four arrows protruding from his body.
"Legolas!" Aragorn cried, throwing himself to his knees and checking for a pulse. He found one, but it was very, very weak, beating much too fast as the elf's heart tried to keep blood circulating through his body.
"Look at him!" Elladan cried, panicking at the amount of blood that covered their friend and the ground around him. The original color of Legolas' clothes was literally indiscernible. "Elrohir! Go fetch ada! Legolas will not survive the trip home!"
Elrohir found himself trembling, not wanting to leave his dying friend.
"He'll make it!" Aragorn said, his voice shaking. "It is only two miles!"
"But he cannot be moved!" Elrohir exclaimed, seeing the arrow in their friend's chest.
Legolas suddenly made a soft sound.
"Make a litter!" said Aragorn. "Legolas? Are you awake? Open your eyes!"
The injured elf did, slightly, looking up blearily. His mouth formed Aragorn's name, but nothing came out.
"Hush," Aragorn said, glancing at his brothers as they constructed the litter with their cloaks and tree branches. "You'll be fine, mellon-nin, just hold on!"
Legolas said nothing, his body shivering as he slipped into shock.
"Do not remove the arrows!" Elladan suddenly exclaimed. "He has lost too much blood already!"
Aragorn knew that but said nothing, removing his own cloak and draping it over his friend. The arrows in Legolas' body served as a cruel barrier between the elf and the warmth that he desperately needed, so Aragorn took his knife and cut holes in the material, allowing the cloak to properly cover his friend.
The twins finished the litter quickly and laid it beside Legolas, who was slipping in and out of consciousness, his breathing very labored.
Carefully, the three brothers managed to lift their injured friend and place him on the litter. Each one's heart chilled at Legolas' pained cry.
"We are taking you home, Legolas," said Elrohir. "Our father will heal you and you will be fine!"
Legolas made no reply, unconscious once more.
Grabbing their horses, Elladan pulled them over and made his and Aragorn's kneel on either side of the litter.
Elrohir watched worriedly as his brothers mounted their steeds and grasped an end of the litter, holding it tightly as the horses stood.
"Mayhap you should go ahead," Elladan told him. "Tell father to be ready!"
Elrohir nodded, seeing wisdom in his brother's words. Riding forward, he gently touched their wounded friend's face, whispering a prayer before riding off.
Aragorn and Elladan followed at a slower pace, not wanting to jolt Legolas and make his bleeding worse.
"What in Middle Earth could have befallen him!" Elladan exclaimed, anxiously.
"I do not know," said Aragorn. "But, Elladan, those are elvish arrows…Rivendell arrows…"
Elladan looked at Legolas, seeing with shock that his brother was right. "Someone from within Imladris has done this!" he roared.
Aragorn sighed loudly, watching his friend's deathly pale face. He gave his brother no answer.
(+) My story; 'Race Against Time' : 1979095/1/
Shocking way to begin a story, I know! (runs)