This story is dedicated to Cassia and Sio for their wonderful 'Mellon Chronicles' series that has taught us so much about friendship and dedication! Thank you Cassia and Sio!
Celebdil-Galad and Tinlaure
PG-13 or T
When an evil revenge drives one to paranoia who knows where it will stop? How many times can you deny a sinister danger and expect to be safe? How many times can you challenge fate and expect to win? Returning to Mirkwood, Legolas and Aragorn find they are not the only ones to have come back. Now a groundless grudge threatens to slay not only them, but also those they hold dearest to their hearts…their fathers.
Ay! We have to go through this again! Here goes…Well, we do not own anything from the "Lord of the Rings" or any other work done by J.R.R. Tolkien. However, we have created numerous O.C.'s that we would like to keep as strictly ours. If you want to use then in a fic and ask (as well as receive) permission that's fine but other than that, don't kidnap them, they don't appreciate it and neither do we! LOL We also would like to point out that we are not getting paid to write this piece of work and wouldn't accept any money anyway. It is strictly for the enjoyment of the readers and of course, ourselves. As you read through "Ripples" please try not to be overly critical. If you have something constructive to criticize be our guests but flames are really not worth your time or ours.
Additional Authors' Notes
You can find the picture for this particular tale on our site, which the URL is on our bio page. This is one in our ever-growing 'Faith, Hope and Love' series.
All That's Left of Yesterday,
The Folly of Men
That list has really grown since 2004! Okay, maybe not really, but it has no intention of ceasing its expansion! Which is shocking, honestly. As long as you people will read and enjoy we will do our best to provide you with stories.
This takes place after 'The Folly of Men' and is a sequel in most senses of the word. Therefore, you may want to read TFoM if you have not. This will be posted every other day but we still would appreciate reviews! We want to know what you guys think.
So happy reading and please review! Thanks!
Oh! And we nearly forgot! Saerwen advised us that we should put a Surgeon General's Warning on this so, here goes.
Warning If you have heart difficulties, particularly involving strokes or heart attacks, you may want to wait until the end of this fic to read as it will have a consistency of evil cliffies that are potentially lethal. There also will be intense violence that might very well result in your going into a state of shock. If you have a weak stomach or constitution you may want to mind your P's and Q's. In short this story is altogether unhealthy. However, with this warning emplaced authors cannot be held liable for any harmful result of its publication.
A Stone Cast in the Water
There were things that people regretted for a short time, Legolas decided as he gazed at the sunlight filtering through the trees, and things that people regretted forever because they were forced to, whether by themselves or others.
In a place that could easily be called distant from his home in his father's grand halls, and could also easily be called perilous much in thanks to the fact that it was edging a little too close to the dense fir trees bordering upon the edges of the Mountains of Mirkwood, or the Emyn Duir, Legolas walked among the trees, quietly meditating as he had gotten into the habit of doing since he returned home and the entire healing process started.
If he were an Elfling he might be frightened or at least a little more cautious and less reckless about his surroundings and his vulnerability but he wasn't, wasn't cautious that was. He was old enough and knew his home well enough, he felt, to know where it was better not to tread, where it was taking a risk, and where it was perfectly safe. Two thousand eight hundred and eighty-two years of living in one place often did that to you. Right now this place could be classified as 'taking a risk', but that was if you wanted to ignore the fact that you were edging near the darkest part of the forest disregarding Dol Guldur.
This wasn't to say he wasn't careful, but he was less anxious about the possibilities that could happen, particularly the bad ones. His mind was elsewhere and really, it was such a nice day he didn't seem think any attempt on his life was plausible.
'Of course,' he told himself as he began to feel slightly disgruntled for no apparent reason, 'the Valar seem to enjoy seeing how many times they can nearly get me killed, so this must be too good to be true.'
Pausing hesitantly as he felt the presence of eyes on his back, a feeling he had decided that based on the past he didn't like very much and rather got on his nerves, the prince hoped that he was wrong about his mounting suspicions. These sorts of feelings never boded well, he reminded himself pointedly and without trying to be subtle. The cold and prickling sensation started at the base of his spine and seemed to tread slowly up, causing him to shiver involuntarily, chilling his bones considerably and raising the hair on the back of his head. His sharp eyes couldn't see anything and his ears didn't hear a single sound, not even a bird.
But his alarm and the creepy sensation did not subside, rather (to his dismay) notably increased.
Yes, he had been right. Everything had been too good to be true. Then again, he could be jumping to conclusions.
Crinkling his nose in thought and discontent, the prince realized it was what he didn't hear that had raised his alarm and alertness. The birds were completely quiet and the leaves on the trees no long ruffled and spoke to each other. Usually around this time, midday, the woods echoed with the calls of birds and beasts and now that it was this quiet it was more than unsettling he scanned the brush and trees uneasily, as if they might sprout arms and legs and vault out to grab him. He came to the conclusion that the woods, as of right now and compared to a burial ground for greater amounts of noise, would be put to horrible shame.
'Well,' he advised to himself in his head since there was no one else around since he had dared to go this far alone. 'Lets look at the good things. I am not being attacked at the moment and am still in one piece. I am home after a rather bad escapade in some spooky caves. I can see the sun through the leaves and orcs despise the sun.'
None of this rationalizing did anything for his nerves and for the wreath of fear that was wrapping itself about his heart and working on squeezing it with what seemed to be all it had. It definitely was not one of his happier feelings to be watched by an unseen foe. Well, he didn't know for certain it was a foe, but generally when he got the feeling like gravity was trying to pull his stomach to the core of the earth it meant that the one secretly observing him was not a friend.
'Or we can look at things this way,' he amended quickly. 'I am stupid. I should have known better. I did know better and the fact I did this anyway proves I am an idiot. This 'was-perfect' day, as usual, appears to have turned completely against me.' The prince sighed, not all surprised by his own cynicism and trying to ignore the fact that it could be a whole lot worse and he could be thinking about all ways possible of dying that sounded completely unbelievable. But were, in fact, possible if you considered his amount of luck or more accurately, the lack thereof.
Hands clenching simultaneously at his sides in inward anger and anxiety as he reminded himself yet again that he had been not only reckless but also stupid for daring to venture near the Mountains that were known to be full of sinister creatures without taking a few extra precautions. Like riding a horse for instance. That might have been helpful, as well as bringing a friend. His father was most definitely a most wise Elf when he had called him an idiot a few hours back when he had made this incredibly maniacal decision.
Whirling around whilst flipping his bow from his back along with stringing an arrow he prepared to fire on an adversary expected to make itself present any moment. Well, Legolas amended when no one came suddenly forth threatening him with a flamboyantly brandished sword, knife, club, scathe, spear, javelin, or bow, he had never truly expected them to show themselves if he was on guard. That would be too difficult and no one ever had any fun if someone wasn't surprised, he mused with a small smile.
Anyone who would have been watching him would have seen the smile disappear and a small frown turn the corners of his mouth down; a sign of his obvious distress and mild confusion. His eyes narrowed as he realized his heart was doing a very good job of trying to beat itself clean of his chest and that his lungs were certainly not oxygen deprived. As a matter of fact his breathing was accelerated to a humiliating and nearly unsafe celerity.
'Ah Elbereth, I am a fool,' he chided to himself while he shook his head and began to lower his bow cautiously, trying to will himself to relax and shove aside the horrible feeling he had building in his stomach. A twig snapped behind him and his muscles immediately went taught as he whirled around on his right heel, readying his bow once more. His Elven reflexes were quicker than the sight of men and most of his own kind so that within a few brief seconds he had a target in his bow's sights.
Then a curious thing happened.
The Elf's jaw dropped and his blue eyes went wide in surprise and he quickly abandoned his bow from its target, nearly dropping it completely but somehow managing to hold it in his hands, which were nearly shaking with relief coupled with outright irritation. His face was a near perfect rendition of a fish that realized it had just been hooked by a fisherman's pole.
"Strider!" his exclamation rang through the woods so that anyone could have heard the exchange. "I am beginning to think you rather enjoy getting shot at! Elbereth I could have killed you! You know that, right?" he asked, finally taking a breath and realizing wantonly that he had held it in without thinking about it.
"Of course I know that! What do you take me for?" Aragorn answered, grinning as he watched his friend begin to relax, though you couldn't really tell at first. "Did I frighten you, mellon nin?" His silver eyes sparkled with a devious, troublesome little glimmer that made Legolas' lips purse into a thin line of anger. A warning that might as well have never been given because it was completely lost on the ranger.
Aragorn had frightened him, but he was never going to admit that even if he were tortured by Morgorth himself. There were some secrets meant to be taken to the grave, he decided quickly and continued with his masquerade of anger that, unfortunately, was quickly giving way to mirth.
"No! But you have succeeded in giving me a good reason to be furious with you! -Wait! Allow me to amend that statement -a very good reason to maul you!" the prince stated rather threateningly as he strode towards his friend slowly, eyeing him as though he was the cruelest being that existed on the face of Middle Earth. Which right now, that was about Legolas' opinion of the human. But he couldn't, to his shame, stop a small grin from tenaciously pulling his lips back in a friendly but tense smile. Revealing things. Smiles.
"You know I am so torn between relief and wrath that I could hug and choke you all at once!" Legolas' reaction was to be expected and Aragorn found it to be more than slightly humorous, as the broadening grin and the glittering eyes would lead anyone to believe. They definitely belied any attempt to seem serious and pretend everything was an accident.
It was obvious it couldn't be anyway, even if he were one of the best actors in Arda. Humans did not accidentally sneak up on an Elf. If they were trying to be quiet it was a task, but accidentally? That would never happen and both friends knew it well. This made this situation all the more mortifying on the Elf's part.
Legolas gave Aragorn a hard stare before he smiled and asked softly, letting his sudden anger leave him in one large sigh, "so, my friend, how long have you been watching my footsteps?" They grabbed forearms in greeting and camaraderie as they began to walk towards Thranduil's halls, some hours distant and away from the Emyn Duir.
Their movement was stilled as Aragorn came to a slow stop to give a thoughtful reply to his grinning friend whom he hadn't seen in quite a few months.
"Well, since you pulled your bow out, actually, so counting from then until now, I would say about three minutes, give or take a few." The ranger suddenly felt his smile slide reluctantly into a frown and he stared at Legolas curiously as the Elf's eyes widened and his muscles tensed once more. He saw his friend swallow a little harder than was normal and he realized that Legolas was alarmed –very alarmed. And as he looked closer he saw a nervous sweat had even begun on the prince's brow.
Unless he had an acute sense of telepathy Legolas knew he shouldn't have felt eyes on him for as long as he had, fifteen minutes at least. He shouldn't have been the least bit alarmed if it was Estel, anyway, and the odd thing was, the feeling was returning. The cold sense of dread was manifesting itself in his stomach again and causing his body to feel cold and his muscles to go tight and convulse minutely. A small wind blew and then everything went silent, eerily silent.
But that only lasted for a few seconds, though they seemed to haunt the companions like an eternity or maybe even two, the Elf supposed, looking at Aragorn, conveying much consternation and dismay at his friend's words. His blue eyes bored into Aragorn's silver ones as he asked slowly and all too calmly, "three minutes? Are you certain?" he finished, a look of dread now actually finding its way into his eyes in a way that made Aragorn uneasy.
The one thought going through both their minds was simple: orcs.
"Well, it seems that to our misfortune I am entirely sure," he answered as seeing Legolas' distress made his own insides tighten and his spine grow chill as a small shudder tried to get around all his best attempts to suppress it. Luckily, saving his dignity, so far, it was without success. "Legolas," he demanded bluntly, causing the Elf to narrow his eyes and knit his brows in response. "Is there something I should be aware of?"
Legolas tried his best to look completely innocent but ended up looking about as guilty as a man with an ensanguined knife raised over a mutilated body.
"Okay, it might be a good idea," the Elf allowed as Aragorn's scowl deepened menacingly.
"What might be a good idea, mellon nin?" he fairly growled at the obviously fidgety Elf who had actually taken a step or two back. Well that was a little satisfying. Maybe he was finally making a good impression on the spoiled prince, Aragorn's slightly contemptible and more insane side told him as he continued to press the fair-haired being further.
Legolas could not easily mistake the frustration, urgency and pure concern lacing his friend's voice. All the same he didn't want Aragorn to think he was paranoid or completely insane. 'Although,' an irritating and completely stubborn inner voice pointed out without hesitation. 'It is probably a bit too late for that.' And Legolas was forced to agree.
He was jerked out of his thoughts when Aragorn tenaciously asked again, "what might be a 'good idea'?"
Legolas laughed hesitantly and shook his head before he opened his mouth to speak. But, as fate would have it, he never got a chance.
A loud trampling could be heard, the sound of a troupe of creatures that were cascading down from the direction of the mountains. Only a few beasts made such loud, obnoxious, nerve grating and grotesque sounds and wreaked so much havoc in their wake. Legolas sighed inwardly. 'This is just like your luck, isn't it?' that annoying voice asked him persistently and nearly inappropriately as he felt this hands tighten voluntarily on his bow in total instinct and he whipped it up, pointing it towards the bushes in the direction the sound was coming from, waiting for his first assailant.
But then everything became a blur it all happened so incredibly fast.
A being crashed through the bushes, running like Morgoth was on his heals with a whip of fire. When suddenly things seemed to go in complete reverse as the surprised creature was launched backwards with a green and yellow feathered projectile protruding from his chest while blood began to run down it in little scarlet rivulets, saturating the green fabric of the other's tunic. All Legolas and Aragorn had heard was a muffled sound like a quick slap and then they both dropped their jaws in surprise and the color visibly drained from Legolas' face, leaving it colorless and nearly translucent as realization sank in, painfully deep. He was left looking as though he had seen the ghost of Isildur come to slay him by digging his heart out with a spoon.
The struck dark-haired Elf stumbled backwards as his knees quickly began to lose their former strength; looking at the arrow that was in his chest, just above the heart, luckily, if luck you could call it. 'How did that get there?' a detached voice inquired dreamily as he sank back against the bow of a tree without even realizing it, feeling everything swirling and his body quickly going into a state of shock. His jaw was dropped in dumbfounded way and his eyes were transfixed on the arrow, as were Legolas' and Aragorn's.
Legolas would never forget the look that this Elf gave him. It was haunting, confused and hurt and there was something else, something he couldn't put a name to. But it was of no matter now and he took a few faltering steps forward before he felt his knees shaking like saplings in a gale and his body felt limp like water. If he didn't collapse as his victim had, then he would be amazed beyond measure.
He hadn't meant to shoot him, really that had been the last of his intentions. In fact it had never been an intention at all. Aragorn just stood, rooted where he was like a tree in the ground, unable to move as he watched everything that transpired about them. He felt himself shaking and he saw the orcs coming, lumbering through the foliage in numbers that were surprising and more than slightly alarming. His instincts screamed, 'and you are waiting for what? Stupid! Draw your sword and try to lodge it in them before they lodge theirs in you!" But he could do anything; his body refused to move!
With his mouth still hanging open, resembling a perfect 'O', the man saw Legolas stumble to the wounded Elf's side and placed his hand on the dark-haired being's chest, just below the wound, suggesting through his movements that he was about to try and dislodge the bolt from the immortal.
"Rána, I never…you have to believe me," he beseeched Celebalda's lieutenant with pure and unaltered remorse drenching his voice that quivered as he understood what he had done. "I never, ever… wanted to hurt you…I…I am sorry, mellon nin, so sorry."
Sorry didn't begin to do justice to how he felt. It was the tip of a mountain of hurt, pain, and a mixture of other horrible feelings he couldn't identify.
Rána nodded as best as he could, though it was barely seen it was so slight and Legolas noticed that a thin bit of red outlined the other's mouth in a way that he knew to be unhealthy. The dark-haired Elf's face was white with pain and blood loss and his silver eyes were wide in shock as he tried haplessly to comprehend all that was happening to him…as he tried to understand the cold feeling in his blood. A sheen of sweat glistened on his face as he began to go clammy.
Legolas suddenly felt his stomach growing mercilessly ill as he looked and saw, rather felt first, the hot blood of his accidental victim rushing over his hands and staining them red. He was now literally red-handed and as he watched the fluid for a brief moment, dripping and making his hand slippery, the prince felt more guilt engulfed him. He had never, ever, meant to do this. The hot blood burned his hand more emotionally than literally, but burning and branding him with a heavy burden of guilt all the same. It seemed to sear his heart and even send its horrible and relentless tendrils to touch his soul.
Rána began to shiver violently and Legolas managed through great struggle of will to regain control of his composure and raw emotions. His bitter and intense sorrow was suddenly exchanged for a bitter and intense rage towards only himself. The dark-haired Elf shuddered helplessly as Legolas curled the long fingers of his other hand around the arrow's shaft and gripped it tightly. "The orcs are coming…s-stupid," hissed Rána around a set of clenched teeth, trying to tell his prince that this was not the time or place for extracting arrows. If circumstances weren't what they were he might have tried being a bit more subtle about it.
Aragorn suddenly came to the discouraging understanding that this day, bad as it was, could get a whole lot worse and really fast. The orcs crashed through the brush in great leaps and from the satisfied and very entertained grins on their sadistic faces he knew they were taking pleasure from the scene of an Elven arrow protruding from another Elf's chest. Aragorn knew this was the worst irony and most humiliating thing for Legolas to go through after the accident and he could only feel his own heart stinging in sympathy with Legolas' as he saw the burn in his friend's blue eyes. He also knew these orcs were dreaming, in their twisted and vulgar thoughts, of killing, slowly and painfully, all three of them.
He could not know the half of what Legolas was experiencing right now, and he had to admit that his logical side didn't entirely want to, though his heart wanted to share in his friend's anguish. But he could guess from the lost expression on the Elf's face that Legolas was having a hard time coping with the 'what-ifs'. What if Rothinzil and Helluin were not in Lake Town at this point in time and had been wounded or even killed? What if he had shot Estel? What if it had been his father or one of the twins with an arrow in their chest or lying stiff and cold on the ground, his arrow stopping their heart? The many possibilities were nearly worse than the actuality, nearly.
Trying his best to understand his friend then being slapped by reality, Aragorn quickly came to the conclusion that sympathy never slew an orc and neither did standing there like a dead man walking watching the beastly creatures rushing closer with scimitars drawn prepared to have an appetizer of diced human followed with two helpings of sautéed Elf. Shaking his head to dispel these…discouraging reflections and the unnecessary foreboding that he was sure must be a direct result of being around the overly cynical Wood-Elf, Aragorn drew his sword and made the decision to rush into the mêlée and give Legolas enough time to move the wounded Elf so he wasn't a sitting duck.
The faint ring of metal made the orcs pause as the bright blade was drawn from its sheath and a convenient and befitting ray of sunshine, as though on cue, caught it, seeming to set it with a white fire. 'Wonderful,' Aragorn thought, as he became aware of himself running forward, sword swung back in a readied position. 'At least I know the sun is on my side at the moment. Too bad it's inanimate,' he added briefly before his thoughts were absorbed in one thing that quickly diverged into two things: survival of himself and keeping Legolas' back so his friend could do what he had to do.
"Legolas!" he called out as a warning as the first orc lowered its blade to make a sweep at the golden-haired Elf who was kneeling over the wounded one, attempted to relieve him of the bolt interlocked with his chest. "Duck! You idiot or are you blind?"
Not at all enjoying the insult but taking the point rather well and sprawling himself half against Rána and half against the ground, Legolas barely missed a blow that would have taken his head off if he hadn't followed Aragorn's advice. Fortunately the beast didn't try to change plans to make up for the prince's quick reaction and just bounded over the inert being, deciding the human looked like a potentially easier target.
'The warning was touching, really,' Legolas mused as he stood up once more and yanked his twin knives from their sheathes on his back as best as he was able while dodging more of the Mordor-spawn that rushed past him towards the human. Much of Legolas' safety came from speed and accuracy and a good understanding of common sense provided a decent portion of it as well. 'But it could have done without the insult. I could have done without the insult!'
Legolas felt his cheeks flush hot with anger because apparently the orcs didn't see him as being worth their time, which was a complete insult. "Elbereth, they will pay," he muttered with a weary sigh and twirled the two identical weapons in his long and bloodied fingers before driving them simultaneously into an orc who was about to run him through with a javelin. Luck appeared to be with him for the moment but how long could that last? Not long, he decided, feeling his hands slicked with blood and his weapons trying to slide free of his grip on them.
The sadist beast he had just killed still had a surprised expression on his face before he looked remarkably like a puppet whose strings had been severed and then collapsed to the ground. Well, if he had been a puppet, he would have been a hideous puppet, the prince decided nearly instantaneously as he stepped over the newly lain corpse to encounter another of his adversaries. He put himself boldly between the prone Rána with Estel and the orcs with their primitive but still effective weapons.
Aragorn watched as more of the creatures began to come out of seemingly nowhere and sighed when he realized with vivid clarity that there was a chance, a far too great a chance, they would all A: be captured or B: be slain. Neither sounded appealing and a firm resolve was in his mind to prevent any of them at all costs. The resolve had been quicker than immediate and made at the same time he drove his blade through the neck of a giant Uruk who had managed to get past Legolas' valiant vigil of battle. Despite his strength of mind, the situation was only succeeding in getting more and more…uncomfortable.
Swinging his sword heavily Aragorn lobbed the head off another beast before he managed to get by his fair-haired friend's side. Legolas had about the fiercest face he believed he had seen the Elf wear in a long time and if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes he wouldn't have believed it were possible. He couldn't believe his friend could look so vehement and angered. The prince's expressive blue eyes reminded him sharply of deep pools of ice lit from beneath with an Inner Light that was all together mysterious and lethal.
Glancing at Rána, he saw the wounded Elf was trying to rise and had reached for his long knife at his side, preparing to join his prince in the battle. Aragorn had to admire the dark-haired immortal as he saw his chin quivering in pain as his tenacity continued to get the better of his body's limits and he was slowly raising himself from the ground.
Diverting his attention back to the orcs just in the nick of time to avoid a blow to his skull that he was sure would be painful and very easily lethal, and Aragorn watched while faithful Legolas stabbed the hideous creature in the back with both of his twin knives, penetrating side by side, as it stumbled forward after missing its target. But Legolas' attention had been diverted from himself long enough for a particularly large and brutish looking Uruk to take possible advantage of his vulnerability, Aragorn noted before he could shout a warning or go to Legolas' aid himself. The orc just looked like the type of scavenger who would do such a thing.
The prince was bodily slammed to the ground where he rolled down a small incline (naturally hitting every stone imaginable on the way down) after receiving a sharp kick from the same brute that had fairly body slammed him, sending his knives flipping and spinning from his blood-slicked grasp. Legolas moaned inwardly when he heard them fall and bury themselves in the leaves of the forest floor. Was it that the Valar absolutely hated him or that he was this luckless with their help?
Feeling dazed by the stunning blow, the Elf took a few cloudy moments to study the dead leaves by his face. A hand, or rather clawed paw, grasped him by the back of his olive-green cloak just behind his neck before it picked him up unceremoniously and slammed him against a tree so hard the wind was knocked from the prince. Legolas blinked rapidly and fell forward to the ground, or would have if the brute hadn't caught him and slammed him against it again, sending stars to dance before his eyes. He roughly flipped the Elf around so his back was up against the bow and then he placed a hand just below his victim's neck and applied an appreciable amount of pressure that was surprising. Legolas struggled weakly (for an Elf), giving a strong kick to the orc's abdomen, hitting slightly high of where he meant to hit. The creature was far too happy to have cornered the Elf and pushed its pain aside as it pulled a wicked and rather large looking blade from a sheath at its left. The orc was right handed, Legolas noted absentmindedly.
Licking the dagger, running his disgusting black tongue from one end to the other it was more than obvious what he had in store for the winded Elf who was still a bit dazed. As far as this slave of Sauron was concerned this knife had 'Elven heart' written all over it. Legolas watched with large eyes as it proceeded to draw it back as though to plunge it into the immortal heart, stilling it forever. But reality came back just in time for the Elf and though still slightly bewildered, Legolas snaked one of his arms away, for the moment unnoticed. A long and bloodied hand gripped the orc's helmet and Legolas pulled clear of the tree before bringing the orc's skull to crack against its trunk and staggering back from the sheer amount of force he had to expel.
He watched, as the brute that had once been his attacker stood there for a moment, expressionless, before collapsing limply to the forest floor with a dull thud, black blood coursing from his mouth in a way that left no doubts about his death. Legolas had broken his neck. 'Another thing trees are useful for,' he noted without any real emotion. Feeling satisfied but having no time to gloat, the prince quickly dipped down low to avoid having his own neck smashed as another of the foul things tried to get a grip on his long hair to do the same thing he had done to the larger of the Uruks.
Looking to Aragorn he saw that the ranger was holding his own and a small smile crept over Legolas' face. The man fought like an Elf. It was plain Elladan and Elrohir had been excellent teachers, especially Elrohir. Elrohir had more patience than his twin brother did, Legolas had always thought.
Frowning in dismay and perturbation as he realized his knives were buried in the leaves and at least a good sized few yards from where he stood, flashing things over in his mind. Rushing towards where he was certain that they had been flipped, the prince felt defenseless in a way he hadn't in a long time. It was a feeling he was hoping he wouldn't have to get used to. He certainly didn't enjoy it. It was like he was naked without his weapons.
As he scrambled up the incline, graceful as possible, he heard someone give a small cry as he felt something connect with the small of his back, shoving him to the ground. With a groan he knew that small cry had belonged to him. If he had his weapons he wouldn't have felt so exposed and so…un-Elf like. He felt like a disgrace as he rolled over onto his back to face his sudden adversary that was leering down at him, causing Legolas to experience a wave of fury that blurred his vision to a red haze for about three seconds.
Bringing up his legs he kicked it soundly in the chest and sent it hurling back, with it returning a perfect rendition of the glare Legolas had been shooting it except that it was considerably more ugly and sinister. Legolas remembered his bow, feeling suddenly very stupid and once more, unworthy of being an Elf. What his father would have to say of him now he shuddered to think. However when he reached back for it he found plenty of arrows, more than he thought he had, but then was reminded by clutching thin air that he had dropped the bow by Rána's side. It was probably broken by now thanks to the tramping of the iron shod orcs if they hadn't deliberately snapped it. Oh well, arrows would have to suffice; though he didn't feel entirely comfortable with the idea.
Taking two arrows, he tightened his grip around their shafts and used them to stab when he needed protection from his enemies as he fought his way closer to his knives and Aragorn's side where the ranger had effectively eliminated a good deal of his adversaries. In effect, between all three of them (for even Rána had managed to stay on his feet for a time) they had decimated the creature's ranks. It was truly amazing what determination; camaraderie and hard work could do for you.
Calling out to his friend for aid, Legolas got the expected riposte as Aragorn trusted to Rána's meager abilities to defend himself and staggered to the fair-haired Elf's aid, sword being soundly wielded. Another orc or two fell before the man, as he was desperate to get to Legolas' side and guard the prince's back. It was a trust between the friends that they would use each other to make up for their weaknesses. Where one lacked the other would provide their unconditional support if it were at all possible.
All and all, though the battle seemed to last for a grueling decade, it was really only a half hour at most and soon all three friends were panting, sweat covering them mingling with the reeking black blood as the hideous bodies of their enemies lay piled and sprawled about them unceremoniously. Legolas crinkled his nose and made a mental note that orcs looked even uglier in death than in life, with their large black tongues lolling out and their eyes all twisted along with their faces. He had never thought that was possible.
Thankfully his bow had survived the onslaught and he ran his fingers along it carefully before he slung it over his shoulder, having more important things to tend to. Aragorn was hunched over Rána, who looked pale but flushed due to the battle he had been forced to part take in. His breathing was shallow and his eyes were shut tightly as he felt pain rushing to fill his mind. Arrow wounds hurt a whole lot more than he had ever thought they could and what hurt worst was where the simple wound had come from. There were some things that you wanted to deny so badly your heart stung but you simply couldn't do it and so it stung even more knowing it was the truth.
Legolas narrowed his eyes and knitted his brows as he walked over to Aragorn slowly, as though he were wading through a puddle of thick molasses that was pooled in mid winter. His face looked hurt and sorrowful as he took in the scene and assessed their deplorable situation. Aragorn was working to remove the arrow with as little pain and damage as possible but it was a task because it appeared to be interlocked with his collarbone.
This Elf was lucky, Aragorn decided, all things considered. Legolas' shot had been slightly off, most likely due to the fact that he had been on the verge of complete paranoia. Lucky or not though, the ranger was entirely sure that the wound throbbed with a vengeance nonetheless. Shaking his head he said wearily to Legolas, "I am afraid to remove it here. If he starts to bleed profusely we have nothing to stop it and to make things more complicated it is interlocked with the collarbone I believe," he added with a sigh.
Legolas nodded and stooped at Rána's side before he whispered soothingly, "let me carry you back." He wiped some of the cold sweat from the warrior's forehead with his hand and then wiped it on his leggings, which were already covered in black orc blood.
"But its hours away," Rána turned down the offer selflessly. He opened a set of glazed silver eyes before he said, "just give me a moment to rest and then I can walk."
Legolas resisted the urge to bust into rather uproarious laughter at the thought and from the look Aragorn was giving he could tell his human friend was thinking along the same indecorous lines. 'Those words sound familiar, wouldn't' you agree?' a small voice in Legolas' head said that he hastily silenced as his frown intensified. All the same he had to concede that they, unfortunately, did sound very familiar.
Aragorn gave Legolas a look that plainly stated he was agreeing with the Elf, knowing his thoughts. Legolas shot him a swift and withering glare. "Not a word, Strider, not a single word, or I will kill you right here, right now."
Aragorn smiled openly but innerly he was frowning, scowling in deep thought. He couldn't believe that all this had happened because of orcs. Legolas would get alarmed because of orcs, of course, but not to the point of paranoia and jumpiness…not to the verge of shooting another Elf because he was mistaken for a foe. A sinking feeling told him there was a worse evil that the prince was oblivious to. Shuddering, he watched as Legolas offered Rána a hand up, obviously denying argument to the other Elf's refusal to be a burden to his prince.
He watched impassively as Rána stood on a pair of shaking legs that looked like they might buckle beneath him at any given moment. Then a thought struck his mind. Why was this Elf was out here alone? Were his companions killed? Had he had companions to begin with? It was possible he could have been sent to find Legolas but somehow Aragorn couldn't believe it. Too many things weren't adding up and the fact that Legolas claimed to have been being watched for at least fifteen minutes didn't help ease his suspicions.
TBC……Well there was the first installment of 'Ripples' and we hope we hold you enthralled. Please review and tell us what you think! It means a lot, truly it does. You guys are always good at making posting such a fun thing to do!
We know, we know, bad us, not much Prince-Ranger angst, but it's only the first chappie and we thought we would let them get a bit terrorized by the implication of angst! Te-he. -Elf and ranger run for cover beneath their beds -.
And we want to say thank you to all the reviews and support through out the entire story we previously wrote, entitled "Masquerade". :o) Thanks a million guys!
One quick note:
Rána means The Wanderer; this was originally the Quenya name for the moon, due to how it moved as months went by.
Emyn Duir is described in the Unfinished Tales as being the mountains in Mirkwood dangerously close to the palace also known as the Mountains of Mirkwood. It is supposedly a very evil place, where Sauron's minions frequently dwell. Legolas was very foolish to go there. :o)