Hi everyone…. Yeah… it's been forever... I know! I'm so sorry about that! All I can say is that life has been hectic! But I'm glad this craziness is almost over! Just 2 more weeks and I'll have my long waited vacation! YAY!
Well… for those who stillhaven't given up one me, I better let you get to the story now… hope you enjoy it! And don't forget to let me know what you think! And since we're almost there anyways,Happy Easter :)
A BROTHER'S LOVE – Chapter 5
He didn't really know how long he had been ridding, but the Hithaeglir was already showing its shape in the distance. He knew he would have to stop soon, for Thalion would be in need of the rest, and so would he. But if his heart was to take control at that moment, rest would probably be skipped, and they would stop only upon reaching the Dark Mountains… but he knew such a thing to be folly. Strength and sharpness of senses were needed in this quest, and now more than ever since he was alone, having none but himself to rely on.
Looking up at the Misty Mountains, growing ever closer, he prayed that this journey would be an uneventful one. He already had too much on his mind, and he felt as if time was not on his side... and the last thing he needed right now was wasting his time or having his progress hindered by having to deal with orcs, spiders, or any of those foul creatures of the Dark Lord.
Reaching the shores of the last brace of the Bruinen, Legolas pulled Thalion to a stop, swiftly dismounting the horse.
"Thank you, my friend" he whispered at the stallion's ear, wanting the animal to know how much he appreciated his efforts to keep the pace that he was setting.
Taking some steps back, and letting him free to drink and graze at his own will, Legolas walked to a nearby tree to try and get some rest of his own. With all that had happened during the previous day, from early morning when he found that cursed piece of paper until now, he hadn't really had any time to rest... even the supposedly leisure afternoon and the delightful dinner were all but that, for his mind was frantic with worry for Gloreloth's fate.
He sat down, letting his head rest on the strong trunk, focusing on the tree's song, which gave him some small measure of comfort. But his mind kept going back to that dreadful note... and further back to the first note that he had gotten all those years ago... so much like that one. It was like he was reliving that same nightmare all over again… but this was not nightmare… it was real… painfully real.
Grief threatened to grip at his heart, but he pushed it back, turning his thoughts back to those filthy wargs that held one so dear to him.
"They will pay for it." Legolas hissed, anger taking over him. "They will pay for it dearly".
He looked around, searching for Thalion, and saw him not ten feet away.
He sighed… feeling desperately the need to move on. More than anything he wanted to keep going… to cover at full speed the remaining miles that separated him from his goal... but he was a warrior, and as such he wasn't about to give in to his feelings and endanger his friend's life by exhausting him to death.
Closing his eyes, he again tried to get some rest himself, knowing all too well that rest was the last thing he would find.
A few moments passed with him in this same, when Legolas felt a soft push on his shoulder, and upon opening his eyes, he found Thalion nudging him to get up.
He smiled at his four-legged friend, knowing that the horse was well aware of his distress.
"I will never be able to thank you enough for this, mellon nîn", he said, feeling incredibly touched by his horse's actions.
And that was how, not even an hour after they had stopped, elf and horse found themselves closing the still remaining distance to the mountains.
The elves from Rivendell and the human that were riding together were a quiet lot. Not a word was uttered or any comments made.
Elrond was riding up front, leading the way, followed closely by his three sons. He had hoped that maybe, they would find Legolas before he made it to the Misty Mountains, but that was his hope talking. He knew for a fact that they would never be able to reach him... at least not until the younger elf got to Mirkwood. The prince was a fast rider, and his horse, strong… and it was clear that the pair would be pushing themselves to the limit.
But he also knew how Legolas thought. The young archer would never try crossing the Hithaeglir without any kind of rest. And he prayed with all his heart that their stop would give them enough time to reach the duo, even though his mind told him otherwise.
Looking up, he realized how close they were to the mountains, and decided this was a good moment and place to stop and give the group a chance to rest.
Pulling his horse to a halt, Elrond called out loud enough to be heard by every member of the group.
"This is where we'll rest. The horses need water and food... just as all of us."
As Elrond tended to his horse, Elladan approached him quietly, eager to learn the truth behind the events of the past day, and the identity of this one that wanted their friend, for reasons he did not dare to imagine, even though he could very well guess.
"Ada?" he said in a low voice... "I cannot find peace until I know who is this one we seek... and what does he have to do with Legolas..."
Elrond looked at his son understanding the feelings that troubled the young elf's heart. He had known, since Rivendell, that these questions would come as soon as his sons had the chance to ask them.
"I wish I could give you peace, ion nîn. But I fear this is something we'll only find once this is over".
Looking past Elladan, he saw that Elrohir and Aragorn were watching them, and so he waved for the other two to come closer... he didn't want to have to retell the story. One time would be hard enough.
Elrond made for them to sit down, doing the same as soon as his three sons' attention was focused solely on him.
The elf lord sighed sadly... those were memories he would've gladly left buried. But that was not his choice to make anymore... the situation was real... and his sons wanted to know what was happening with their best friend. They had the right to know.
"The one we look for is an elf" he started slowly "a Mirkwood Elf to be precise. His name is Meneroth, and he was one of Legolas' closest friends, as was his brother, Naeroth… He was a good elf. Strong, brave... a great asset to Mirkwood's protection against the growing shadow... but that was before his brother's death…"
The older elf looked weary, as if a great burden was upon his shoulders, but kept talking nonetheless.
"They were all in the same patrol, guarding the southern borders, near the mountains, when they were ambushed by orcs. The battle was gruesome and many elves were badly injured... but Naeroth was the worst…. he died protecting the prince from one of the beast's scimitar."
"And now Meneroth blames Legolas for it" Elrohir said more as an affirmation, than a question.
Elrond just nodded.
They were all silent, as if trying to process the information which they had just been given, when Elladan raised another question.
"But why kill Lady Minuial? She was their queen. She had nothing to do with the attack… It doesn't make any sense..."
Already expecting these questionings, Elrond patiently answered.
"Soon after his brother's death, Meneroth became quiet, drew himself away from everyone in his grief. Until one day he accused Legolas for his misery, saying that if it wasn't for him Naeroth would still be alive. The discussion was heated and Meneroth tried to take Legolas' life in blind vengeance. Legolas fought him back, all the while trying to reason with him but to no avail. It was almost like Meneroth was possessed by some evil force."
Elrond shuddered at that memory… he would never forget the look on those cold eyes.
"Before the guards got to him, he managed to flee, disappearing into the forest and no one heard of him again… not until the day Legolas received a note telling him to go alone to the mountains… or the queen would pay with her life."
"In his best judgment" he continued "he took the note to Thranduil, and they prepared a rescue mission. Legolas would appear alone, as Meneroth had asked, and would secure Menuial's safety, so the army could attack. And that's how they proceeded. Upon reaching the clearing, the warriors keeping a safe distance… far enough so they wouldn't be noticed, but close enough to burst into action the moment they were needed. Legolas entered the clearing and saw his mother tied to a tree on the other end."
Elrond sighed deeply. Remembering those happenings made him feel physically sick, but still he managed to keep going. "What happened next is something that I will never forget"
The Mirkwood army approached with such stealth that one would never imagine that there were over fifty elves walking through those woods.
They soon sighted the small clearing... the cursed place where Legolas was supposed to meet with Meneroth, but he was nowhere to be found. They saw however the slumped form of their queen, tied to a tree on the opposite end of the clearing.
Legolas and Thranduil had both to fight their first urge to race to her side... but even with their hearts torn apart, they valiantly stood their ground.
By means of silent language, Maegdîn, the King's captain, made for the warriors to surround the place, ever mindful to keep a safe distance... after all, the one they sought was an elf, and one who had an inside knowledge of their ways of action, which made each warrior extra careful with their every move.
Legolas took a deep breath, reading himself to carry out his part of the plan.
As he stepped into the clearing, he was finally able to have a better look at his mother, and the sight before him was more than he could take, and he felt the sting of tears reaching his eyes.
"Naneth..." he called with a shaky breath, almost afraid of what he would hear... or rather, wouldn't. Her head was lolling to the side with her eyes closed. Many dark bruises marred her fair features, and dried trickles of blood could be seen in her neck and forehead... cruel evidences of the mistreatment she had obviously been submitted to.
"Legolas?" she asked, weakly, visibly struggling to raise her head to look into her child's eyes.
When he heard her voice and realized that she was in fact still alive, relief washed over him, making him feel lightheaded, and for that one moment he forgot about the imminent threat, focusing solely in getting Menuial out of there, and into safety.
Legolas broke into a run, wanting more than anything to hold her, and assure her that everything was going to be fine, but when she was almost at an arm's reach, he felt a tingling sensation in the back of his mind that he knew all too well and his senses peaked. Danger was near.
He quickly turned around to face whatever foe was about to appear. But as he turned, his eyes caught the glimpse of an arrow flying pass him, way out of his reach and then… a cry of pain. His mother's cry of pain.
Legolas turned around to see the damned arrow embedded in Minuial's chest. Her eyes were wide in shock, and her beautiful face contorted as pain emanated from the deep wound to the rest of her body.
"That's so you learn that when I tell you to do something, you do it… or you will face the consequences... now her blood is in your hands" Meneroth's cold and stony voice echoed from somewhere up in the trees' canopies.
But Legolas couldn't heed his words… not at that moment. With one swift strike, he cut the bonds that were keeping her, and she fell forward into his arms. Her breaths came in short gasps as he laid her carefully on the ground.
"No… stay with me… it's going to be fine… you're going to be fine" he said gently to his mom as he stroke her hair, his voice already cracking as the tears flowed down his face.
"I'm... sorry… ion-nîn… I love… you" she said between pained gasps, reaching her hand to weakly squeeze the one of her beloved son.
"No… Naneth… don't do this… please… don't leave me" he begged her, and knowing there was one out there that could still give her a chance to live, he screamed as loud as he could.
But the older elf had seen what had transpired and was already rushing towards them... and as the words left the younger elf's lips, Elrond was kneeling down next to them, Thranduil close behind.
As he spoke of this, Elrond had to fight to keep his voice from faltering… those were moments that would stay carved in his memory for eternity… "I can still hear Legolas' and Thranduil's desperate pleas as I tried to save her…. begging me to help her… not to let her go. But there was nothing I could do… and she died in my arms."
Elrond closed his eyes, resting his head in his hands… even after all those years it was still too hard to talk about that horrid day.
Elladan rose from his seat, placing a hand in his father's shoulder, trying to give him some comfort, but Aragorn couldn't help but stare at the older elf in disbelief. He could hardly believe what he had just heard… so this was happening to Legolas again? That explained his friend's desperate behavior earlier and his need to keep him out of this whole matter… to watch your mom die like that… no one should have to go through that… no one! And now to have the same happening to his sister? He wished even harder that he had been able to do something... anything to ease the hurt that was certainly engulfing his friend's heart.
Elrohir broke the silence a bit reluctantly, but feeling the need to ask his father one more question.
"And what was made of Meneroth? The warriors shouldn't have killed or arrested him?"
"Yes" Elrond answered without looking up "they followed him, but he was hit by arrows, and fell down the cliffs into the Enchanted River... his body was never found, and he was presumed dead".
Seeing how hard this was on Elrond, Elladan kneeled in front of his father, bidding him to look at him.
"We will get them back Ada… both of them. No one will die but the one who was supposed to have remained that way".
Elrond eyed his son with love, extending his gaze to the other two.
"We will ion-nîn... we will... but now we should eat something." With that he got up, going over to their packs, his sons right behind him. "I don't want to stay here more than what's absolutely needed… and our time is running out".
So… Is it bad? Is it good? Let me know your thoughts on this chapter! Leave me a review:D