"I'm hungry", Whined Pippin. They'd started just a few hours prior and the young Hobbits stomach was already grumbling and rumbling. His mouth turned to whining words, that which his digestive tract could only convey as gurgles. "When are we going to stop again?"
"Pippin!" Exclaimed Merry.
"We've just started Pippin. We've got some distanced to travel yet before we stop again. There's a schedule I'd like to keep." Aragorn smiled to himself as he heart the Hobbit whine and mumble behind him. A small grin broke on his lips till he turned to the back of the group, glancing over his shoulder to Legolas. He could see how he kept his eyes open, his ears perked, waiting for any sign of trouble for the small group of travelers. Legolas' uneasiness made him uncomfortable. He'd lost his attention on leading the group by watching his long time companion until Pippin and Merry demanded his attention to a scene ahead of them.
There, at the ending of the forest, leading into a small clearing of the trees in the woods, bodies littered the area. From first glance Aragorn could see that there'd been women involved in what could only be called a slaughter. A few, but not many were in armor, meaning this was an ambush on a band of travelers, not a military advantage at all. Making it just all that much worse that they'd attacked unarmed men and women.
The Hobbits, who had stopped in their tracks after stumbling on the gory mess stay to the back as Aragorn moved forward. The body count grew as they headed towards the clearing. They'd tried to run. It was when he stepped to the side of a fallen woman, her hair tussled and long gown torn and bloody from the arrow poking from her body, that he noticed her ears, pointed. She was an Elf
They were Elves. Legolas! He turned quickly to see the blonde Elf standing silently in the clearing among the bodies of kin kin. His eyes searched and traveled the floor of the forest now stained a silvery crimson. His fist clenched to the point of shaking.
"Legolas…" Aragorn rose from the ground, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Legolas….?"
"It was humans, Aragorn. These arrows, these sword wounds. They're man made weapons. Men did this." His shaking hand reached for an arrow that had landed in the ground pinning a womans dress to the forest floor. His hand clenched so hard the arrow snapped and splintered in his hand. "They mowed them down, even as they ran!"
Aragorn searched the clearing with his own eyes. Not a single man was laid among the bodies of the Elves. They'd gathered the bodies of their own men and the men alone and buried them. The first thing he would have to do is burry the dead in proper graves.
There were far more than a handful of victims. Aragorn and Legolas had begun the preparations and digging for the burials. Seeing the look on their faces, neither of the two experienced men could bring themselves to ask Merry or Pippin for help. Neither Hobbit talked; instead they watched and listened as Legolas offered each fallen Elf a prayer.
Legolas was often stopping and walking among the bodies of the Elves. Aragorn said nothing to him. He knew he must have been just a bit upset. He took in each death. Woman and men the same age as him as it seemed. He watched in the line of bodies with sorrowful eyes. It was as he was turning away that a twitch caught his eye from the row. His head snapped back. He wouldn't let himself believe it. He was sure it had to be just a twitch from twitch from and Elf unfortunate enough to have an arrow placed in his nerves. Until his ears twitched with a groan, a short, barely audible, whimpering gasp. Legolas fell to his knees at the row of bodies, searching for one that had to have a pulse, the one that had to be alive. He felt his way through many of the bodies, searching for the breath of warmth that would signal life in just once of the Elves and often met with the cold harshness of pale stony skin.
Then his hand brushed something and came away wet. He looked to his hand to find it painted crimson in fresh blood. Most of the blood had already congealed, meaning this blood was had freshly seeped out of a still bleeding wound. He looked down to the face of a young Elven face, quite a bit younger than himself, her hair was matted with mud and straw like grass, stained an orangey red from the blood her head had been lying in. Her eyes were closed, her face filthy, scraped and cut by arrows. Her skin was pale, almost to the point of death. He examined more, following down to her lower abdomen, where her dress was slashed open wide and bloody with a slicing blow. Her blood was quickly flowing out, killing her.
Coming to his senses Legolas placed his hand over the wound best he could, putting pressure as to try to stop the bleeding. "Aragorn!" One's alive!" Legolas turned, shouting for the man. His heart was pounding in his ears, his blood rushing and overheating his body. "Aragorn!" The Elf called franticly.
Aragorn was quickly at his side, checking the young Elven woman. He pulled open her eyes and checked her pulse. Legolas' breath was as heavy and labored as the breath of the Elf now under Aragorn's care. He was numb when Aragorn pulled his hand from her and lifted her body, carrying it to the clear space. "Legolas! Legolas bring me my bag! Legolas!"
The Elf woke from his numb trance, bringing the ranger his bag. The man made short work of finding the things he would need like a needle, athelas and a knife to make short work of the torn and tattered dress she had remaining on her. Her dress was torn wide open and pilled from most of her body to allow Aragorn the room he would need to treat and stitch the wound. Unconsciously, Legolas blushed, a very light pink when he realized just how much was cut from her. It was then that he realized how Merry and Pippin had come to poke their noses in, a bright red painted on their faces and mouths agape as they stared. If it wasn't the they'd seen a woman in such a state of undress, or perhaps it was just that it was now an Elf maiden. He shooed them away.
The wound was treated and stitched but a fever had already begun in her before they'd even begun. Aragorn had given more herbs for her ailments, but there was only so much he could do, now it was up to her to fight whatever infection or poisons that might have been put into her. Her eyes hadn't opened and Legolas watched intently for just that. For her eyes to remain closed, even in sleep, meant that she was badly injured.
"she needs clothes. This does nothing to help her." He lifted a blood soaked scrap of the females Elf's former dress. He looked to Legolas, waiting for him to respond. The Elf dug through his pack, producing a silken white shirt, the one he would usually wear under his traveling tunic that he wore even now. He also pulled a pair of leggings. The leggings were large though and wasn't so sure they would fit her at all. Then, the thought that he would actually have to change her...
It was a bit of a challenge to change her. They'd bandaged the wound, but trying to dress her without reopening the wound was still so difficult. She was so tiny in his shirt, the sleeves over hanging on her hands and nearly long enough and loose enough to become a short night shit on its own. The leggings that they'd just managed to get to stay tied to her waist were baggy and far too long for her short legs. He could hear the Hobbits snickering and conversing among themselves about the flattering outfit he'd chosen for her, but it got the job done.
"She'd fair much better to be in a shelter than under the harsh care of the natural." Aragorn began. "We'll have to cut our trip a bit short and make our path to the nearest town with an inn. She's lost a lit of blood and it's going to take a while for her recovery." He took a looked around at the bodies stacked around the clearing. "First, let's check for more. If there was one survivor, there could be more. Lets make the search quick though efficient. I don't like leaving her out like this.
Legolas nodded, taking his own traveling cape, the same one that had been with him since Lorien, from his shoulders and wrapping the young she-elf in it. He was then quick to search for a survivor among the line of bodies that had been her former companions in traveling. The absence of Aragorn and Legolas allowed the two Hobbits to finally get a close look at the Elf maiden.
Now in a better state of dress their minds worked a bit better about the whole situation. She was still breath taking, even with her hair matted and face stained and dirty she was clearly younger than Legolas, but Elves years were different than Humans, or Hobbits. They kept their youth well into the hundreds of years they lived. However, where Legolas could easily pass for an adult in a human world, easily in his twenties, this Elf maiden was just barely able to pass for a woman just out of her teens. That must have been some year's difference between her and Legolas then if 50 years to and Elf was like a month to a Human.
"Touch her." Pippin instructed Merry.
"No! Why don't you do it?" Exclaimed Merry in a whispered voice.
"I'm not going to do it!" The two Hobbits argued in whispered voices for a while longer, even taking slaps at each other over the argument of who was going to touch the fair Elf maiden first. Finally, both growing tired of the argument; Pippin gave the last slap and gave Merry his sternest face. "Do it, Merry!"
Merry hesitantly reached out his hand. There was always the one place he'd longed to touch and feel on the legendary Elves, but had never had the nerve to ask Legolas. His hand brushed away the fine hairs of her golden locks to reveal a delicately pointed ear. His brushed his fingertips alone on the outside shell of the ear. He felt a shudder from the maiden under his touch but he was so fascinated by the shape, the softness of the Elven ear that he could not be bothered to pull back.
"What's it like?" Asked pippin excitedly. Merry hadn't answered him after a few calls of his name; Pippin had given up on trying to get his friends attention and dove in for a feel of his own. He, too, was soon lost in the fascinating world that they'd made from the Elf's ears. It was said sometimes, that an Elfs ear was like the most intimate place for an Elf that wasn't covered by clothes. The clearing of a throat brought them from their reverie. They turned to look over their shoulder to find Aragorn and Legolas, fully ready to head out and staring at the two Hobbits with cold eyes. Both Hobbits fell back quickly, pushing from the maiden and falling on their bottoms.
Legolas and Aragorn shook their heads at the Hobbits as they chuckled, stuttering excuses. Legolas bent down, lifting the Elf maiden into his arms the best he could without jarring or worsening her wounds. They'd not brought horses, expecting to be able to walk as they had no hurry. Aragorn got the Hobbits up and ready as he took care of their only survivor. He couldn't be sure but he could have sworn, that when he had picker her up, she had curled into him, almost as if to sling to him. He brushed some hair from her face and wrapped his cape around her. By this time Aragorn and the Hobbits were ready and he was ready to go as well. They set out and Legolas took great care in each step, trying not to jar her though the road was very rocky.
The Hobbits kept close to Legolas staring up at the maiden in his arms. He watched their eyes sparkle with the fascination. The last time they'd seen an Elf maiden was Galadriel. Galadriel was not nearly as young as this maiden. Legolas himself had not expected her to be so young. He'd not heard of any children being born to the Elves in a long while. With the sea calling so many Elves to the shore, many had stopped to allow the young Elves to grow. If all the Elves were to leave Middle Earth, they saw no reason to take children that could still have a connection with a world they'd not yet explored to their liking. She could very well have been the last Elf born to Middle Earth.
The fascination over the Elf Maiden didn't last long when the Hobbits stomachs rumbled. They were quickly whining and complaining as they usually were. It was then that Legolas felt most at risk. The forest about them blackened the sun, making it darker. Even he could just barely hear over the Hobbits bickering, but he didn't feel like they were alone. It was among the confusion and commotion from the Hobbits that he felt the motion in his arms, the body shifted slight. The captivating blue-green of her eyes as they peeked between half lidded eyes at him distracted him from voicing his concerns to Aragorn who was busying himself with arguing with the Hobbits.
She was completely silent, her eyelids too heavy to be lifted much higher than what was needed for her to get a glimpse of him. Her hands clenched at the front of his tunic, fisting the fabric in her fingers. He's not seen fear in the eyes of any being, let alone a fellow Elf, since the time of Sauron.
"Legolas!" Aragorn panicked voice broke through all his thoughts. His head came up to be met by a gathering group of unruly looking men. Their clothes were rough, dirty and torn. They were clearly not anyone of great importance, probably just a group of highway men, but they didn't have time for them now.
"Look what we have here. A Human associating himself with two Halflings and an Elf. Well if that isn't a shame." Some of the men pulled their swords and weapons of choice. The supposed leader of the group came forward, looking to the maiden in Legolas arms. "And this. What a pretty, young thing…"
Legolas glared coldly at the man, same as the others. He pushed the Hobbits to the back and shifted the Elf in his arms to move her away from the man as well as he could. This man, these men, they hated Elves. He could hear it in their voices, their laughter and their murmurs of lust over the maiden in his arms. Her ears were covered by his hooded cape he's put on her. They though she was Human.
"I think we should save her." The man began to reach for her when Legolas twisted, catching the man straight on in the midsection with vicious kick. The man flew backwards and some of the men began to rush for the small group. Legolas could hear Aragorn pull his sword, Merry and Pip doing the same with their small daggers. The leader put his hand out, stopping his men from his place on the ground. His hand came up with his head to wipe away the saliva that had started to drip from the corner of his mouth after flying from his open mouth during Legolas' kick. "Lucky for you Elf, to have caught me off guard. I assure you it won't happen again."
"Yes, surely you can not be expected to reach for a maiden when you're dead," retorted Legolas. He reached back, leaning down just a bit to grab one of the Hobbits, never once taking his eyes off the men. "Stay close to her; don't let them through to her." He whispered harshly. He heard a small rather frightened sound of agreement from the Hobbit before he released him. He leaned down, placing the semi-conscious maiden next to the two Hobbits. Her fingers still clenched and fisted his tunic in her hands, not wanting to let go. He hesitated, to see the fear in her eyes. A cry from a man charging at him. He had to rip himself free of her grasp, spinning from where she was leaning over her, struggling to sit, reaching for a single Elvish knife from his back and swiftly taking the head of the man charging him with sword raised. The crowd of men stood silent for a long moment. Legolas stoof not effected by his own actions. He glared at the group of men.
"Legolas! Try not to kill them!"
"They did it Aragorn." Legolas walked up to be next to Aragorn. He pulled the other knife from his back. He wanted the pleasure of killing these men at close range, to feel his blades slicing through their skin, muscle and bone. "They killed the Elves. I'm not holding back this time."
"The Elves? Retched thing all of them. Don't cry for them though, you'll be joining them soon enough!" The men charged them. The battle was fierce. Though the Humans were not well skilled the numbers made it difficult on them. For each head Legolas would take from his enemies, another two would replace it. The numbers of men that would have had to ambush the Elves to slaughter them the way they had must've been beyond compare. For though this was not an easy battle, they were still winning.
His heart was pounding, his hands twitching between enemies. His body yearned to kill all of them. He took pride in the blood to spurt on his face and hands from his enemies' heart as he ripped open their chests and severed their heads from their bodies. The clanging of swords and the rush of the blood surging to his head filled his mind and ears, blocking the sounds of all else until there came a high pitched scream from behind him, cutting through his body, stabbing straight to his heart. He swiveled.
A handful of men had broken past he and Aragorn. While two detained the Hobbits, another has the young Elf they'd rescued wrapped into his arms. The shirt Legolas had given her was eagerly being lifted up as the man groped and felt to his hearts content. Her head fell back in a scream at the discomfort, her wound likely opening under her bandages. The hood that had hidden her face slipped from her head. Licking his way up her neck the man stopped at her ear, shouting out his anger.
"She's an Elf. The bloody bitch is an Elf" the mans shouted to his comrades. HE slapped her face sending her flying from his arms. She hit the ground limply with a soft cry. "Deceiving little witch! What's more to be expected from an Elf!" He pulled a knife from his boot. Struggling came from the Hobbits behind him as he pulled her up from her hair, placing the blade flat on her cheek.
Legolas blood ran hot. He's never before felt such rage as he did when he watched the Human strike the only surviving Elf they'd left from the ambush. His legs carried him faster than they ever had before, his eyes clouded over with red as he charged the man with his back turned. He tackled the man from behind, pushing him away from the Elf he held in his grasps. The two struggled fiercely for long moments until Legolas finally got his knives on the mans throat, cutting two parallel slices deep into his arteries. Blood dripped from his face as he watched the man slowly bleed out his life under him. He turned to the men that had released the Hobbits now, finding Legolas a greater threat. H made just as quick a death to them.
By this time the crowd of men had begun to dwindle. Their lines broke and many of them chose to retreat to the forest from whence they came. As Aragorn took the liberties to finish the strays that still longed to fight, Legolas took his time to check on the Hobbits and their damsel in distress. The Hobbits were unharmed, crawling their own way to the maiden they were meant to protect. The Elf, herself, was frightened, shaking and clinging to Legolas chest when he's offered his arms. He'd never before seen and Elf this scared. They were first born, usually trained to have more pride, more courage than what she showed. Whatever horrors she must have witnessed during the ambush on her travel, unnerved and frightened her to the point of loosing reasonable sense.
"Shh…" He soothed. He looked to his hands, wiping them on the foliage of the forest before he smoother her hair to her head, trying to clean them of blood. "They're gone." He felt a warmth on his stomach Looking down he could see the thick blood oozing through the shirt she now wore and onto himself. She'd reopened the wound. Her face was red and hot, following all the way to the tips of her ears with fever. But still she reached her pale hands up for his face. "Stop, rest. Please rest" Legolas tried to get her to rest but she insisted, feeling into his hair until she met his pointed ears, feeling and stroking them gently in her fingers. Legolas could not help himself but to shutter and let a contented sigh pass his lips.
"You're an Elf. They've not got to us yet." There was relief of heart in her pain of body that broke through her voice. "You're still here…"
Of all the stupidness he's done since he was an Elfling, his dumbest was now. Of all the things to say, to ask, he asks. "What is your name?" He felt guilty, dumb as he watched her eyes dull and lids falling. But regardless, she smiled and let out, what only comes as a breath to men but words to swift Elven ears.
"You sure are." Was all that Legolas could whisper out as her hands fell from his ears. Her body lax in his arms, he held her trying to stop her bleeding. He began to sing gently, softly and low into her ears as he watched her eyes close. He was not willing to let her go, but if she had to leave, she would leave hearing songs and tales of her people and not the dieing screams of the men that had killed her. And so her vision faded with the last recognizable thoughts being the Elf songs, his gentle voice calling through danger and darkness. His arms wrapped around her cradling her like a body lay on top of the ocean to drift with the waves. So her world turned to black, his gently voiced prayers the last thing she heard.
This whole story is rather AU, so the whole thing with Aragorn and the whole king thing... may not happen, but it may... and maybe he's just "taking a vacation" after the whole thing... haven't decided yet.. it just came to me in school... so yeah.. lets just put it as of right now that his "king" duties are being post-poned.