Chapter Six - Awakening from the Darkness
The healers were distraught. As the minutes and hours rolled by,more elflings passed away. The wood workers were being to become tired of the orders of coffins, not because they were angry at the elflings or the grieving parents. Coffin building was not a mainstay in the elven world for them, as rarely did any of their kin die. No, they were tiered of the fact that each one represented the death of another young one. And to top it all off, the elven prince was ill also. This brought shivers for all of the elves of the wooden realm. For, if the prince passed, who was to say what would happen to the king. And ... there would never be any of the line of Oropher again, for Legolas would be the last born if he passed.
It finally came down to only five elflings left in the healing ward. Hope was low, as only two elflings had recovered. How they had, no one knew, just as no one knew where the sickness came from. Except the King. The King claimed it to be the fault of some great evil. He said it lay somewhere to the south. He pointed out to the elves around him that, it wasn't just the elflings suffering, it was the forest as well. To the south, the trees were becoming dark, as if they were poisoned with something dark. Everything seemed to be going further down hill.
Then their was the rumors of the spiders. The had attacked an outing settlement of elves apparently. Because the elves had lost all of their elflings there, they were not as aware of what was going on until the danger was upon them. A few adult elves had been taken into the forest and were not seen again. Currently Thranduil had his guards looking for them. Nothing helped the moral of the kingdom at all.
Tlatgorn's parents sat with him next to his bed. He was the last of their elflings still alive. They had long given up their hope that he would live. They were now waiting patiently for him to go to Mandos. Then, they planned on departing for the Grey Havens. That way, the pain might be lessened. However, they didn't know if they could make it that far.
"Curses to whatever brought this strife upon us. For, if it had not come, our people would not be dwindling as they are." One healer spoke to a younger healer.
"I do not quite understand,"
"Well, when we joined the last alliance, two thirds of the soldiers sent died. After that, widows and widowers faded and sailed. Now, the elflings are dying. The same thing is happening."
"Isn't our kings elfing afflicted?"
"Unfortunately, yes. This is the doom of Mirkwood. Just look at that elfing and his family over there. As soon as he passes, they plan on sailing." As he said this. Tlatgorn stopped breathing. However, his parents did not cry, for they had already cried as much as they could in the past few days. More tears would come later. Tlatgorn's father stood up and went to the door. "Where are you going?"
"To speak with Thranduil. Funeral arrangements were already made. We are burring him now, then we leave. I am going to say good bye to our Elven Lord."
Thranduil sat with Legolas, the elfing being extremely pale. All Thranduil could do was hold his hand. Thranduil knew another elfing had left when Legolas cried out. It was then that Thranduil learned exactly which elfing had died. It was then that Tlatgorn's father came in.
"I came to tell you, we are burring Tlatgorn. Then, my wife and I set out for the Grey Havens. Hopefully we can make it there without fading."
"Good luck and journey to you both. I am also sorry for your loss,"
"And, I ... your's my lord,"
"Mine? If you mean the fact my peoples elflings are dying by the minute, then yes, pity me. But don't pity me for my son. He is not gone yet. I have not given up yet." Legolas let out another yell. Thranduil closed his eyes. And now there are only three left in the healing wing."
"My elven Lord, you are scaring me."
"What do you mean by that,"
"How can you know that another is gone."
"I don't, but Legolas does. It is why the healers moved him here. He is strong, he'll live,"
"Thranduil, he gets paler by the day. He can't last another day. Nor can the other elflings."
"I have not given up hope. Yes, this evil is quick in taking them, but my son hasn't been taken yet. Leave. Your wife needs you as a husband more then I need you for a friend and advisor."
"As you wish your highness." Tlatgorn's father watched Thranduil brush Legolas's hair out of the elflings face, then turned and left.
A full day passed. Tlatgorn's father was almost right in his assumption. The other elflings didn't even last into the night. But Legolas was still alive. It was then that Elrond arrived with the messenger sent to him. Elrond was not happy with what he saw of the once great forest. He had a feeling it had nothing to do with the rumors that were always heard about Thranduil.. No, this was some darkness. Something familiar.
The first thing he noticed was the trees. No elven Lord would purposely let them get this way, for the land and earth were a part of the elves daily life. Then, when he got into the halls, where there was supposed to be elven laughter, there was none. No elfing came running across the path to be scolded by his or her parent. Lastly, there was the solemn look of all the elven faces. Darkness had fallen. Elrond quickly knew, he could not help.
An elf led him to the prince's chambers. This servant told Elrond that Legolas was the last left, discluding the only two who some how healed from all of this. Elrond went into the room and found Thranduil sitting next to his elflings bed. The other elf didn't notice him.
"They say for once you've been neglecting your duties, but none of your people find any fault with it. They worry for you and their prince. I too worry for both of you."
"Can you do anything Elrond?"
"No. I wish I could. This sickness ... it's over the entirety of the Greatwood,"
"My Adar would be displeased with me, would he not, for this outcome."
"Thranduil, none of this is your fault,"
"Yet I could do nothing,"
"Sometimes one can do nothing. How long has it been since he's stirred?"
"He has not opened his eyes since the day his friend Tlatgorn first got the sickness. There has been a few murmurs from him, but the last ... well, I would rather not go into it,"
"Do you think he'll live,"
"I think he will. I am not giving up hope on him. One thing I do know. If he does go, he'll be with my Adar, Naneth and his Naneth. I am at peace with that. I could wait to see him, knowing he is safe with them,"
"That would be a long time,"
"Yet I do not think his time is up,"
"Nor does Lady Galadriel,"
"How do you know this?"
"I received word from her via a little bird,"
"Then I trust her that much. She may be kin through her husband, but I find something ... odd about her," Thranduil was looking straight at Elrond.
"She warned that by gaining his life, he would be losing something,"
"That makes no sense, but they never do until her visions come into full play. Like the one she gave me for before the war."
"Then we shall see. Go get some rest in that chair old friend. You can trust me to wake you if there is a change for the better or for the worse,"
"But you have traveled far,"
"In a way, so have you. Sometimes the soul and spirit take priority over the body,"
Thranduil just shook his head and leaned back. "Sound advice."
It had been obvious the elven king needed his rest. Thranduil's eyes had closed, a thing not usual among elves. Only the most extreme circumstances would cause this. Illness was one. The other was fatigue. Elrond watched both elf and elfing, making sure that they did not need the ability of his healing. He then noticed that Legolas's eyes opened. He shook Thranduil awake.
The elven king was over joyed to see his little one awake.
"So, little one, how are you,"
Legolas's words brought confusion to his face. "Who are you?"
"I am your Adar, Legolas."
"If you are my Adar, then where is my Nanneth?" Thranduil looked at Elrond with a frantic look on his face. He drew Elrond to the side and out of the room.
"Elrond, I don't understand. His Naneth is dead. Can't he remember,"
"He doesn't. Thranduil, this is the darkness. Look at what happened to the other children. They were either healed or died. In fact, most died,"
"I don't understand."
"Sometimes the valor sees fit to rid one of memories. Memories that would otherwise be hurtful. He may eventually remember, but there is a chance ..."
"He may not. This was so he'd forget the other elflings, but his Naneth? How can I tell her what she's like? He barely could hang on to the memories of her before, as he was so young."
Legolas had stepped up to the door way. He had fully dressed himself in tunic and leggings. "May I go outside?"
"You've been ill Legolas,"
"I don't feel like I have. Please, may I go out?" Thranduil looked at Elrond. "I want to go see the trees."
Thranduil turned to a solider walking by.
"Prince Legolas is better my Lord?" Legolas winced at these words. Obviously he hadn't remembered that either.
"Yes, in a way." He then whispered something into the elves ear. "He wishes to see the trees. I want you to take him and keep an eye on him."
"My Lord, are you sure that is a good idea? The trees are ..."
"He would find out some way or another. He needs to know," The solider nodded and took Legolas by the hand. When they were some what down the way, Thranduil motioned for Elrond to follow.
The solider stood by while Legolas looked around. The elfing was quite confused. Trees were supposed to be green. But, green these trees were not. He placed a hand on one, but there was no answer.
"Hello Prince Legolas," The elfing turned around to see two more elflings.
"Hi. Who are you?"
The elfing looked at each other, both with an angry looks their faces. It was the female who responded this time. "You are always playing tricks on us with Tlatgorn. You should know our names."
"Who's Tlatgorn?" This caused both elflings to become confused.
"Do you wish to play a game?" The female said, with a tone that said she would rather not play games.
"No. I want to try to hear the trees. I remember they used to talk. That's one thing I remember."
"Trees can't talk to you," The male spoke up. The female elbowed him in the ribs. The look on Legolas's face was distraught.
"Perhaps they are not talking anymore because they are sick?"
Legolas frowned. "Why are they sick?"
"Don't you remember being sick?" The male elfing spoke up.
"No, though my Adar said I was."
"Lord Thranduil?" This comment from the girl only got a confused look from Legolas's face.
"Lord Thranduil is your Ada, silly,"
"Do you know where my Naneth is? He wouldn't tell me,"
"Your really silly. What kind of ..." The female elfing elbowed the male again.
"He couldn't tell you because it hurts to talk about the fact she's dead,"
"Oh," Legolas turned away from them and went and sat down.
Meanwhile, Thranduil and Elrond were watching from the trees. "What am I to do Elrond?"
"Nothing we can do. But I will tell you this. Anything troubles you, send for me. I think it may be best I leave. I do not wish for the Prince trying to remember me when he's never seen me before. So much for meeting again under better circumstances. I think we'd best keep in touch,"
"I agree about you leaving, though I could use a friend. Your reasons and others. My people seem to think your aligned with a witch."
"Galadriel? She isn't a witch. You know that as well as I. Now, her daughter on the other hand ..."
"Speak ill of her kin and she'll get you Elrond, wether she be witch or not,"
"You misunderstood my comment. I'll have to explain next time. I wish you luck with Legolas. Perhaps when my elflings are old enough, I will bring them to visit,"
"Here, where darkness is? On a side note, who is the lucky female, or should I say unlucky?" Thranduil teased.
"Anther time," Elrond watched Legolas carefully. I hope that my elflings don't go through what these have."
"At least before you go, tell me how old they are," Thranduil laughed.
"And we torr you away from them?" Thranduil chided. "It is best you get back home then. That is the time when they can't argue with you."
Elrond laughed. "No, they spit up on you and cry all night instead. Still, little ones bring some joy. I'll rest the night and leave in the morning."
"So be it."
Author's note - So concludes the story. I apologize for not having the last chapter posted sooner. First, It was a slight writers block. Then, someone I knew died. One would think that would help one write better about death. It doesn't. Then, when I started this chapter finally, I ended up with the flu and had to quit part way through.
Thanks to Lyn for all the nice critiques. It is hard to pick elven names. I've been going Tolkien's language to create their names. Each has a special meaning, though at this point I've forgotten. I know that some may be incorrect gramatically at the endings to. Next time I try harder on that regard. As for using sites, well I can only find the elven name generator. I also don't want to use a name that someone might use, or that is one of Tolkien's names. I would have loved the site though, but unfortunately, they don't allow you to post them in your reviews.