Warning: Boo! (it might be better to turn the lights on while reading, just a suggestion)
Disclaimer: Mine, all mine! turns around slowly Ahhhh! No, Mr. Tolkien, they are yours and yours alone! Ahhhh runs away screaming .
A/N: Written for the Teitho Challenge "Boo!" (3rd place winner story). Legolas is six in human years. Are you scared yet? No? Read, and you will be…
Summary: While playing with his friend, a young Legolas gets himself into a very frightening situation, one that will cost him more than he might be able to give.
"No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of
acting and reasoning as fear"
Part 1/2: Let the games begin...
Winter had come to the forest of Greenwood the Great, or Mirkwood, as it was now called by most races of Middle Earth. It had snowed since days and the surrounding lands and plains were covered in whiteness, the ice on the rivers thick, the sky of a cloudy grey that made the world look misty and strange.
Shining snowflakes were dancing in the wind, powdering the treetops and the making the leafless branches creak under the heavy load. It was quiet outside, the animals of the forest either hibernating or too cold to leave their warm nests, no birds were singing, no insects buzzing through the air.
The only sound that filtered through the cold air was the eventual drop of snow from branches or the whining of a horse. The elven sentries that patrolled this part of the forest made no sounds, their footsteps barely touching the snow, their cloaks not moving in the slight wind. Neither were they heard nor seen. It was the gift of the eldar to be invisible when wished to be. A gift, that all the elder elves had mastered, but that the younger ones had still to learn.
As another gust of wind blew the crystal flakes of white around the corners of the palace of the royal family of Mirkwood, soft footsteps could be heard rushing over the cold stone floor. It was shortly past noon and the young elf who walked through the hallways, constantly looking over his shoulder, then to his left, that to his right, his long blond hair trailing behind him, bright blue eyes scanning his surroundings eagerly, had just finished his last lesson for the day.
Legolas Thrandulion, Prince of Mirkwood, was a good and talented pupil, but as all young elflings he was glad that his lessons were over for the day and that he could now play with his friend. When he had been released by his teacher half and hour ago, his friend had already waited for him outside his study room, eager to play during the afternoon.
As it was still snowing outside, they were not allowed to venture to the gardens or into the vast courtyard, and so they had decided to play their favourite game. A game the palace seemed to be made for, with his many rooms and stairs, chambers and halls. This afternoon they would play.
They would play hide and seek.
It had been young Legolas´ first turn to seek his friend, but he had found him rather easily, as he had been hiding behind a huge stone pillar that stood in one of the halls. The prince had not seen his friend at first and just as he had been to turn around and leave the room again, a gust of wind had made the candles flicker. Intrigued, Legolas had come closer and then found his friend behind the statue.
Now it was Legolas´ turn to hide. After making sure that his friend had closed his eyes, his back turned to him and counting loudly, the young elfling had sneaked out of the room as quietly as he had been able to, only to break into a run the moment he had left the room.
For minutes he had searched for a hiding place, but nothing had seemed good enough. The cabinet on the first floor? No, too easy. The great hall with the many curtains? No, too far away. Where should he go, where could he hide?
Hide and seek was Legolas´ favourite game, as he was very good at it. Sometimes it took hours for his friend to find him, but never ever had the young prince found a hiding place that his friend had not found. But this day, this day would be different. Today Legolas would find the perfect place, a place which his friend would not find.
Walking swiftly round another corner, the prince felt his stomach flip a little. The time must have run out by now. His friend would begin his search and if he did not find a place to hide soon, this game would be over before it had really started and Legolas had no intention to losing. Not this time.
Reaching a flight of stairs, the elfling looked over his shoulder and, seeing no one, rushed up the stone steps and into another long corridor. Scanning the paintings on the walls and the doors that he passed as he went, Legolas came to the conclusion that he had never been in this corridor before. The palace of his father was great and being a young elf, he had not yet seen all the rooms or ventured through all the corridors.
Frowning, the prince turned to his right and tried to open a huge wooden door. Perhaps he could hide in the room, maybe under a bed or behind a desk? But no, the handle would not turn, the door stayed closed. Sighing under his breath, the elfling turned and headed down the hall and, reaching the end, climbed up another flight of stairs that lead him further up.
It was colder here, the stone floor under his feet rebounding the coldness of the winter season. No tapestries decorated the walls, only a few candles burned, some torches send their light flickering over the walls. It was darker, too.
For a short moment Legolas wondered why it was so cold and dark here, so high up in the building, but with a shrug he abandoned the thought. He had a hiding place to find, and soon.
He met no other elves on his way down the hallway, no sound floated to his fine ears. Maybe he could find a place here. When he rounded a corner, he entered an even darker corridor, a little dust covered the ground, small spider webs decorated the corners. Spiders? It was an eerie thought that spiders dwelled in the palace.
From the servants and warriors the prince had heard stories about the huge eight eyed monsters that lived in the forest, animals that ate elflings and hunted them at night. He had heard of dungeons and prisoners, cellars full of monsters and attics that housed spiders as big as ponies. Shuddering a little, Legolas walked on, leaving almost no footprints in the dust as he passed.
His heart beating a little faster, the prince already felt his friend behind him, although the elf was still far away from his position. A hiding place. He needed to find one, the sooner the better. Glancing around him, his keen eyes suddenly lit and he rushed forwards.
There! At the other side of the corridor, a wooden door stood ajar, the old wood grey , the handle rusty. Looking inside, the elfling felt his stomach flip again. This was perfect! Glancing over his shoulder and back at the deserted hallway that lay behind him, Legolas grinned sheepishly and walked through the door. This was so good! His friend would never find him here.
Behind the door lay no room, as the prince had anticipated, but a low and narrow corridor, the walls dark and cold, only one single torch illuminating the way. To his left, two doors seemed to lead to other rooms, but as Legolas tried to enter them, he discovered that they were locked. To his right, another door lead to a room or corridor, but it was locked as well. Turning around in the gloomy hall and biting his lower lip, his blue eyes flew over the walls. There just had to be a place…
Suddenly, he saw it. Within only a few moments the young elf had reached the alcove and, after making sure that it was big enough, he reached up and pulled his slim body into the stone alcove. It was not very big, but wide enough for him to sit up and rest against the wall with his back without his legs dangling out. Making sure that his tunic was inside the hole, Legolas reached out and pulled the heavy curtain closed. He did not know what the curtain was for, but it was a perfect hiding place.
Resting his head at the cold stone wall behind him and pulling his knees up to his chest, he strained his ears and listened. A small smile spread over his face. His friend would never find him here. Never. This time he would win and tonight, he would tell his ada. How proud the King would be!
Hours passed. No sound reached his ears, no one entered the corridor, no one came even near to his hiding place. With the stillness came tiredness and before the young elf realized what happened, his bright eyes glazed over in sleep, his head lolled to the side, his blond hair resting on his slim shoulders. Sleep claimed the elfling, a sleep so deep that he never heard the soft elven footsteps that neared the old grey door or the sound as it was closed, the rusty hinges creaking slightly, shutting out the light from the main corridor and plunging the narrow corridor in almost complete darkness. Neither did he hear the rattling of the metal keys or the soft click that the lock made as the key was turned.
When the afternoon turned into evening, the snow still falling outside and the coldness creeping over the lands, Legolas woke with a huge yawn. Had he been asleep? He had not even realized that he had been tired…
Looking around, a strange feeling entered his stomach. Something was different, something had changed. The light seemed darker and it was so silent. Frowning slightly and rubbing the last traces of sleep out of his eyes, the prince reached out and drew the curtain away.
Darkness surrounded him, only lifted by the single torch that hung on the wall opposite the alcove. Why was it so dark? Stretching his numb legs Legolas crawled out of his hiding place. Landing on his feet steadily, he grinned slightly. It must be evening already. His friend had not found him. He was won! His ada would be very proud of him.
Turning to the old door and the hall he had come from, his smile faded from his face. The door. It was closed. Why was the door closed? Had he shut it as he had entered the corridor? Not sure whether he had done so or not, Legolas neared the door and gripped the handle. Turning it he pushed at the old wood.
He tried it again, pulling this time, but the old door did not move and inch. With a jolt in his stomach, the prince took the handle in both hands and pushed and pulled with all his might, but try as he might, the wood did not move, the door not budge. It was locked. And he was trapped.
Fear settled in his stomach. He was trapped.
He was all...alone.
To be continued...on thursday this week!
So, tell me, what do you think of it? Good? Bad? Anything in between?