Author's Note: To save you, my dear readers, from extra marking, lets make this simple: in the first part of the chapter, all speaking is Sindarin, expect the marked parts. In the second part of the chapter, spoken language is Westron (you will understand why when you get that far). In those parts, I mark the other languages, blah blah blah.

Simple and a waste of time, but I am a perfectionist. So the languages which the different races use must be the real ones (for example, I have never heard an Orc use Elvish. Have you?). Guess you could figure this out by yourselves, but I was a beginner in Tolkien once, too… and back then, all wasn't so simple, obvious, and clear.

Thank you of your time and enjoy this final chapter!

And there is also a lot of references into "Prince of Dol Guldur", so if you feel a little out of it, check that story!

")…( " Sindarin

"¤…¤" Westron


Chapter 10: Mutual Understanding


Some days later,
Woodland Realm

Legolas blinked, his eyes unfocused as if after a very long sleep. Soft morning light was brightening his room, warming up the air nicely. Birds sang outside, fresh wind moving the curtains. Turning his head, Legolas spotted Rafél sitting next to him, the other's distant expression telling him that his guardian was deep in thought.

A strange feeling was beginning to fill Legolas as he fought to remember why Rafél was in his rooms at this hour. He couldn't remember, nothing at all. He frowned, worry entering his mind. Why couldn't he remember? When he tried to look back, all turned hazy and dark. The last visible memory he had was days ago. Or so he thought, not actually knowing if it had been just yesterday.

Uncertainty filling him, Legolas reached out with his hand, touching Rafél's hand carefully. The other blinked, turning to look at him with a surprised expression. It changed into a one of relief, but Legolas was now even more confused than before. What had Rafél expected? Him to sleep all day?

"How do you feel?" Rafél asked softly, his voice carefully calm.

"Fine, I guess," Legolas answered. He wasn't so sure about his condition now, as he thought about it.

Rafél nodded, a smile passing his features, though it did not reach his eyes. "You have been ill some days."

Legolas nodded. That might explain it. Elves weren't usually sick, but when they were, by reason of another, it was a serious thing. His loss of memory could be caused by that…

"Legolas?" Rafél called out, his voice hesitant.

The Prince glanced up, something in his guardian's entire posture speaking of… worry? Danger? "Is everything alright? I cannot remember much of the past few days…"

"You cannot remember?" Rafél practically jumped, his eyes immediately full of alert.

"Yes. It is a bit hazy, the last couple of days… Maybe its because I was sick?"

"Maybe…" Rafél said thoughtfully, pondering over the possibilities. Could it be… "You remember nothing? Nothing at all?"

Legolas shook his head, not understanding. "The last thing I remember was that I practised archery with you, Ada, and Thalión. Was it yesterday? Or the day before?" he asked, wishing to put his mind in order.

That is the day before Thrénandu told me Legolas was acting strange on the patrol. Weeks ago. He has lost over two weeks! "It doesn't matter. You are healing now, and soon you will be up again," Rafél forced a smile. If he does not remember, it means it is all over. He does not know anything of the accident between us. The only proof of it is the wound, and it has almost completely healed by now. He will never know of his err… "Everything is fine," Rafél said finally, this time smiling for real. He smoothed Legolas' hair, seeing trust in the blue eyes. Not a shade of darkness there…

"Rafél?" Legolas asked with a small voice.

"What?" Rafél replied.

"Hannon le." He did not know what he was thanking his guardian for, but he somehow knew there was something to thank the other for. Maybe it was something he couldn't remember.

"You're welcome," Rafél whispered, kissing Legolas' forehead.

A soft knock sounded from the door, and Thranduil stepped in, a smile appearing to his face as he saw his youngest was awake.

"Le Haran, if we could speak for a moment?" Rafél requested, and then got up as Thranduil nodded.

"I will be just back, Little Leaf," the King promised, laughing at the face that Legolas made for him. "He seems to take tender attention much better from you than me," the King chuckled, stepping out of the room with Rafél. "But I am his father, after all," he mused, closing the door. "What is the matter?"

"He does not remember a thing, my Lord," Rafél said slowly.

"Doesn't remember?" Thranduil asked, taken aback.

"Not since the day when we practised archery together."

"That was over two weeks ago," the King said, his eyes narrowing.

"I think it is better this way: there is no reason for him to know what happened," Rafél continued. "I told him he got ill, and he thinks it as a reason for his sudden loss of memory. Maybe it is."

"But you say it would be better for him to not remember he ran away – twice?" Thranduil questioned thoughtfully.

"There is nothing worth remembering in his journey, of that I am sure: he got shot by an Orc as he ran away after a fight with me. He caught ill, and ran away again," Rafél explained slowly.

"But he acted strangely even before he ran off," Thranduil pressed, still uncertain.

"And he remembers nothing of it, either. We do, on the other hand, and are able to watch him if something turns wrong."

"I guess you are right," Thranduil said finally, clasping Rafél's hand. "There is nothing for him to remember. I will spread a word around."

Rafél nodded, and then watched as his Lord turned and returned to his son's room. From the open door he saw son and father embrace, Thranduil's face speaking of utter relief. With a still face on his own, Rafél closed the door, turning to leave.

"¤Rafél, is everything alright?¤" a voice called out.

Rafél turned to face Thalión, the other standing on the corridor, looking at him with a thoughtful look. "¤Everything is… just fine,¤" Rafél replied, and then walked away.


A Few weeks later

Legolas walked in the silent forest surrounding Thranduil's stronghold, faint evening breeze swaying his free hair. The last few weeks had been all but normal, despite that Shannai acted somewhat strangely. Sometimes, it seemed to him as if the other would have liked to say something to him, but then always changed his mind. Ah well, it might be nothing. Just some silly idea he has come up with, but is afraid to speak me about.

The trees were quiet, slumbering peacefully. It also comforted the young Prince to walk among them, sometimes climbing up to the foliage and sleeping there. But he was not tired tonight, merely wishing to have a fresh breathe of air. He halted, raising his head to look up at the seemingly endless greenery above him. From some places, he saw a piece of the dark sky, stars shining down at him. Some said that they were cold, and distant, but Legolas thought them as calming. They were a light shining down at him every night when darkness overcame all else, even if the clouds would veil them.

Snapping out of his thoughts, Legolas lowered his gaze, listening. Something was coming closer. He had expected Rafél to show up, but he would have come from the direction of the caves, and this one came from the forest. And the feel of this creature did not speak of an Elf, anyway.

Moments passed by, Legolas waiting unmoving. His senses followed every movement of this possible intruder, making sure it would not slip past him. But it seemed to be directing straight at him, so he needed only to wait. A feel of evil assaulted Legolas' senses, but he stood his ground. The feeling was somehow familiar, though not that of an Orc, or a Giant Spider.

"I am surprise to see you this well, Prince Legolas. Last time we met, you were in a bit worse condition."

Legolas raised his head to meet the creature in the trees, its low, raspy voice sounding almost comforting in his ears. His eyes narrowed, swift mind working on the puzzle of his mind. Where had he –

The creature dropped to the ground, walking closer to Legolas. Only then did the Elf catch a faint memory. "Thaíly," he said somewhat uncertainly, but as the other nodded, he dared to go on. "I remember you… We met…"

"On your way to somewhere," Thaíly answered cryptically, noticing the other's lack of memory. "But I am glad to be remembered."

"I cannot fully recall the reason why I travelled with you," Legolas continued, wishing the other to light him up.

"It matters not, a harmless little trip as it was," Thaíly shrugged. "You seem well," he noted. No evil feel at all. I wonder if your people healed it. Well, it matters not. You don't seem to remember a thing, except me. And there it yet another mystery, then. Why do you remember me if all else is forgotten?

"Why did you come here?" the Prince asked.

"To see that you are well," Thaíly replied. "One cannot be sure when you deal with the Elves…"

Legolas laughed, nodding. "I see your point, but I am well. Though I guess that is not the only reason why you came."

"Oh, and why else would I bother to come all this way?" the dark one inquired.

"Maybe you wished for company," Legolas guessed.

"Maybe," Thaíly replied. Not that I thought about that before. "Or maybe I merely came to see you, and to make sure you are well – in future, also."

"Does that mean you are staying around?" Legolas asked, surprised.

"Perhaps," Thaíly stepped forward, taking hold of Legolas' forearm. The Elf tensed as his hand was raised. Long, sharp eye-teeth flashed in the night, but the soft kiss that was placed upon the underside of the pale wrist soothed some of the youth's fear. The hand was slowly lowered, Thaíly taking a step back. "Your blood is holy to me, from this on. Sacred and not to be touched. No harm will come to it, and only to it my allegiance is vowed."

Taken aback, Legolas nodded numbly. "Why to swear allegiance to me?"

"Because someone has to take care of you," Thaíly smiled. "Do not try to understand: I do not, myself, but it is a right thing to do."

Legolas nodded again. "Then your loyalty is accepted." Thaíly bowed slightly, and then retreated to the shadows. In a distance, a patrol of Elves walked, and when Legolas turned his head back from them, Thaíly was gone. Not that it surprised him. The other would be in danger around him, anyway. "Until we meet again," he whispered with a smile.

Some distance away from the young Prince, Thaíly halted, a sneer making its way to his face. "I thought you would appear, but I was surprised you did not arrive when I spoke with your Prince," he said slowly, dark eyes scanning the darkness. "You are his Guardian, are you not?"

Rafél walked out of the shadows, his eyes dark and unforgiving. "I do not know what poison you filled his mind with, but I will see it finished." A soft sound of a sword being drawn filled the silence.

"Why such suspicion?" Thaíly asked. "I am merely doing your job as you don't seem able to fulfil it," he taunted, drawing his own blade.

"¤Dirty-blooded villain,¤" Rafél spat, raising his blade to an attack-position.

"I wonder if that was a compliment," Thaíly muttered. "I do not wish to fight with you, for I have no reason to. And the Prince seems to be quite attached to you, anyway. I wish no harm to him – or to those he holds important."

He seems to think me as Legolas' possession. The thought was almost humouring, but Rafél did not bother to smile. "Is that what you tell him?" he asked.

"You live only because he sees you important enough to live," Thaíly hissed, revealing his fangs. "Believe me, I would be more than happy to kill you. Slowly. Painfully." With every word, he moved closer to his opponent.

Rafél kept his ground, a dangerous smile crossing his features. "Oh, and how do you think to accomplish that? Legolas is merely a youth, but I am a grown-up warrior."

"You think I was the one who placed that shadow in him?" Thaíly asked, finally guessing the reason behind the other's actions.

"Isn't that obvious?" Rafél ground out. "And as long as I live, you shall not touch him again, nor your filthy lies. Your death should take care of that."

"You will not believe me, but I am not the one you are searching for," Thaíly said quietly, his expression enough to make Rafél lower his sword. "But there will be a day when you might be forced to keep that promise – at the one who truly harmed Legolas."

"I do not believe you," Rafél said, but little less convinced than before.

"I do not ask you to, as long as you do your job as you should. But if you fail to protect our Prince, then you will deal with me," Thaíly said with a menacing voice. "I do not suffer failure," he said slowly, pressing each syllable. Then he strode past Rafél, disappearing to the dark forest.

Rafél stood still for a long moment, his mind numb. If it was not him, then who… With a sigh, he sheathed his sword, walking back towards the caves. He would have to speak with Legolas about this new arrangement…

The End


)Sindarin(: - English:

Ada – Affectionate form of father
Hannon le – Thank you
Le Haran - Your Highness