Title: Isté n (I Knew)
By: Chloe the elvish, angst-loving, enthusiast, also being the 3rd of the "Write Sisters" ;)
Feedback: Yes please! My email is on my profile, and FanFiction feedback is always welcome.
Rated: PG-13 violence, character-torture, angst and strong drama
Summery: Mornaeg is alive. He is arming the orcs with a deadly weapon. Thranduil's kingdom is crumbling. Mirkwood is burning. Legolas and Aragorn have only each other to depend on. The battle against the Bengwiil will at last fought.
Spoilers: For my other stories in the "Bengwiil Saga", yes, but not really any others.
Disclaimers: Aragorn, Legolas, Thranduil, Mirkwood, Rivendelll and any other recognizable people or places are the sole property of JRR Tolkein, and I do NOT have permission to use them. BUT- you ready for this? No one is PAYING me to write! Surprised? No? Didn't think so. ;)
NOTE: You will NOT get this story a BIT unless you've read the other stories in this series:
Istón, I know
Erfiér, Only Mortal
Ranîmär, Within Truth
Marks: / marks are elvish translations. Example:
To my readers: every single one of them.
You guys are the only reason this story exists, and you have been more than gracious and patient with me.
Please go to my profile to read my "Posting Isten Notes"! Thanks. :)
"Because I love you."
"…you're dead." Stupid reply, really, but his mind wasn't functioning well enough yet to state anything but the obvious.
A breathy laugh. "No, I am not."
"Walk, Lindo, unless you wish to trip up and kill your human friend as well."
"You threw yourself out your window!" Legolas protested, ignoring the jibe.
"Wrong again. The body found outside my window in that tree was the body of Rhinthûr. An elf, if you recall, who was killed on your father's foolishly commissioned search for Bengwiil. Tirniel was a coward, and had not told Rhinthûr's family of his death of wounds, sure that it was his fault for the lack of cure, rather than the extremity of injury.
"So, I arranged for Rhinthûr's parents to be the ones to find him, and believing it to be a suicide, they tried to cover it up, and bore his body away in secret, for the shame of it. Of course, your friend Daurrè also happened upon them that day, and offered assistance in laying the body in the river, but he apparently didn't convey as much to you, as I figured he would not. He's a simpleton if ever you knew one, Lindo."
Legolas ground his teeth in silent frustration. He was having a hard enough time calming his whirling head, without Mornaeg shoving in extra insults about his friends and loved ones.
It was simply impossible to get his thoughts around. Mornaeg? Alive? Tiro-Lim alive? How was he supposed to grasp it?
Distantly, he could feel Aragorn's eyes on the back of his neck. Though he couldn't see him, he sensed his friend was trying to reassure him. Calm him down.
"You needn't look so bewildered, Lindo. I told you I would see you again. Did you not get my note?"
Legolas did remember the note, the one pinned to the wall of Mornaeg's room…
And so I wonder: when are you coming? Oh, not yet. Soon. Let yourself be 'changed' for awhile. That will make you feel good, won't it, Lindo? Deceive yourself awhile. And when you realize that you can't change, that you are lost to despair, that you have nothing to live for, come. Join me. I miss you, mellon-nin.
Uuva-le iest le tyar-al sina naeg im.
(you will wish you caused me not this pain.)
Uuvam rim ad, Lindo, ea datha mi Mandossea im.
(we will meet again, Lindo, I wait for you in Mandossea.)
"It-it was just symbolic, I thought," Legolas excused, and then felt childish and ignorant for the words.
To add insult to injury, Moraneg laughed. "Yes, well, that's just exactly what I expected of you, Lindo."
"But what is Mandossea?"
"Sorry, enough questions for now."
"Oh, Lindo, DO call me Tiro-Lim."
Legolas locked his jaw. "I don't remember you enough."
"Don't give me that. Arasen-"
His features froze coldly. "To me he is only Arasen. Arasen told you the whole thing just today. You know all about your past. You know me as Tiro-Lim now."
"Only vaguely," he responded flatly.
"Well, we'll have to refresh your memory then. Do you remember…what you did?" Mornaeg's voice turned abruptly bitter. "Do you remember what you did to Minaeg?"
"I…" Legolas' throat went dry, and it seemed as though Mornaeg were still the bigger, tougher elf, and Legolas still a child. He was scared. "Mornaeg…I did not kill him-"
Mornaeg's fist came in a blur, his hunting knife clutched in hand, and just as the pommel impacted the back of Legolas' neck, the prince slumped to the ground, heard Aragorn shout something at Mornaeg, and saw only darkness.
"Come on, Legolas…wake up. Legolas?"
Something about hearing his name sparked Legolas into awareness, and his eyes leapt open. "Aragorn?" His gaze roved over the sight before him. It was pitch black, except for the dying embers of campfire about twelve feet away. Legolas appeared to be tied with his back against a fairly sizable oak tree, his wrists bound to something about halfway around the trunk, and his ankles tied together with cord.
"Estel?" He could have sworn he'd heard the human's voice…
There was a sigh of relief from somewhere beyond Legolas. "Thank the Valar, you're awake. I was beginning to worry, after two hours-"
"Mellon-nin, where are you?"
Legolas' numb hands vaguely felt the tingle of fingernails. "Can you feel that?"
The prince's head snapped around to the side, and he saw what his wrists were tied to; Aragorn's wrists. "Not exactly," he answered dryly.
Aragorn made a sort of light snort. "Good to see your humor's still there."
Legolas surprised himself with a smile. His thoughts were trying to wrap around the face of Mornaeg again. A face that now went with memories Leoglas never remembered having before. Even now, visions were flooding through his spinning head. They almost seemed familiar like a recurring dream he'd forgotten about, but now they were real. They happened, once.
"Are you all right, mellon-nin?"
"Mae ea im, Estel," Legolas assured.
/I am well/
"Are you hurt at all?"
"My head hurts, but I'll be fine. You?"
Legolas felt the human's left wrist shake violently. It occurred to him that Aragorn may have been doing that awhile, but he hadn't noticed before. "Same," came Aragorn's overly reassuring voice.
"Aragorn, what's wrong?" Legolas demanded.
"What? Oh, well I- I got into a scuffle with one of the orcs who thought I was trying to free you. I was just trying to keep you from falling off the cart, but well…anyway, I think that cut in my shoulder has opened again."
"That gash, you mean," Legolas corrected in a parental tone. "How bad is it?"
"I'll be fine, Legolas, I said that all ready. How're your wrists?"
Legolas twisted his hands around for a moment. "Tight," he answered.
"Mornaeg did it himself," Aragorn muttered, and Legolas felt him trying to loosen his bonds as well. "I've been working with them for almost an hour. No luck."
"Should we give up all ready?"
"Even if we did get free, there's no way we'd make it past the orcs or Mornaeg. They're patrolling the perimeters of this clearing."
"What should we do, then?" Legolas' voice was somewhat impatient. He hated the idea of just staying here, but it didn't appear there was a safe way out…perhaps it would be better to make an escape while traveling instead. That way the orcs would be tired anyway.
"We won't be getting much sleep tonight, so you should rest while you can," Aragorn's tone was gentle, and Legolas could tell he was still trying to take care of the prince, if only from a distance.
"As should you," he said, his thoughts whirring. My dear Estel…who looks out for you, when you are the one looking out for everyone else? But Legolas knew. It was his job to watch Aragorn…and he would do it to the best of his ability until they got away. He's still sick, he reminded himself, and an unpleasant sinking feeling filled his chest. He still has Bengwiil in him…
"I'll try," Aragorn promised, breaking into his thoughts.
"Maer fuin," he murmured, as though this were just another night in the Halls of Thranduil or the House of Elrond. Just another goodnight.
Legolas almost laughed, but smiled instead, so he would have to explain why the laughter. He was too tired for it. "Maer fuin, Estel."
"What I wouldn't give," Aragorn said suddenly, his voice straining as he tried to get comfortable, "for that stack of pillows you hoard in your bedroom right about now."
Legolas found his excuse to laugh, and answered, "No matter, Strider. I wouldn't share them with you anyway."
"Yes, I bet you wouldn't." It was the last thing said that night.
"Lindo, the great Sparrow, flies towards his- oof! His next perch!"
"Legolas, wait for me!"
"C'mon, Edren! Give me your hand."
"Just a little- a little further- got it!"
"Lindo assists Arasen into his tree, and the both of them begin their dangerous hunt for Tiro-Lim. The Guardian has been lost, and only the Sparrow and the Fawn can find him."
"Lindo and Arasen are Tiro-Lim's last hope!"
"Right you are, my friend!"
There was a quiet pause, while two small chests caught their breath, and the real woodland creatures made their usual noises.
"Oh, hang it, Legolas! I think maybe we should give up. He's just too good at hiding!"
"Nonsense, Edren, where is your courage?"
"Courage I have, but it's hot out here."
"True…I suppose- I suppose we could run into the halls, and get some pressed cinnamon wine from Edärsta."
"I bet he would let us."
"Yes, I think…why don't we do that, and then come back and look for Tiro-Lim?"
"Arasen and Lindo tear down from the- ow!"
"You all right?"
"I'm fine," Edren grumbled, and jumped down from the tree, sucking his bleeding finger. "Just a twig."
"Lindo leaps from his perch!"
"Oh, it's all right, Edren. You're not the flyer anyway, you're the runner!"
"I know, I know…in fact, let's race to the Halls!"
"Very well! Ready?"
"AAAH!" Two pairs of small feet tore off into the woods to the sound of laughter.
Legolas stopped in his tracks, whirling around. "Aw, Tiro-Lim!"
"Don't 'aw, Tiro-Lim' me, Lindo, you were going to give up and leave me in this murderous heat!"
Legolas was giggling uncontrollably. "Aras-Ar-Edren!" he laughed. "Get back here, it's just- It's Tiro-Lim!"
"What do you say we beg and plead with Edärsta for that cinnamon wine you were going to have without me?"
"We would've brought some back for you, Tiro-Lim, we promise!"
"Oh, I know, Lindo. I was only teasing you."
"Yeah," Legolas grinned, poking the much taller elf in the shoulder. "You do that a lot."
Mornaeg laughed. "It's only because I love you."
Legolas' eyes snapped open. He was lying on the ground, his wrists tied in front of him once more, and three faces looked down on him. The closest was Aragorn's; the human was kneeling beside him, both bound hands on the prince's shoulder.
The other two faces were orcs, and the moment Legolas took in his surroundings, they hauled him and Aragorn both to their feet, and instantly started dragging them off into the forest by rope again.
"Ea-le mae?" Aragorn asked quietly.
/are you all right/
Legolas blinked violently, trying to focus on the woods around him. "It's still dark…and misty."
"It is very early," Aragorn answered, and then without hesitation, "Was it a dream?"
"All that about 'Lindo the Sparrow' and 'Arasen the Fawn'…was it your dream?"
Leoglas was incredulous. "Was- was I talking in my sleep?"
Aragorn only nodded.
"I- yes," Legoals shook his head and blinked hard again. "Yes, I- it was a dream. A memory, I think, actually."
"About you and Mornaeg?"
Legolas nodded. No, about me and Edren and Mornaeg. But- Valar, don't let me think about Edren… "Why the concern, Estel? Why was I on the ground?"
"Well, they cut our ropes, but you were so fast asleep, you just fell over. They tied you up anyway, one of the orcs said to make sure you were alive." Aragorn smirked. "They really don't know a thing about elves, you know?"
Legolas returned the smile weakly. "But- elves don't usually talk in their sleep, do they?"
Aragorn shrugged. "Elladan does, sometimes."
"Ooh yes." A mischievous twinkle lit the Ranger's eyes for a moment, and Legolas sensed a good story.
But at that moment, Mornaeg rode up beside the two, and his eyes were triumphant. "So, Lindo, you do remember. Pity you never call me 'Tiro-Lim' when you are awake, isn't it? It would be just like old times, Lindo. And I still love teasing you, by the way. Not much has changed after all, mellon-nin!"
Legolas' mouth opened to respond, but Mornaeg rode ahead, calling, "Faster, all of you! We shall never reach Mandossea at this rate."
The orcs rushed forward at a quicker pace, and their captives were forced to follow suit.
"He heard me, didn't he, Estel?"
Aragorn nodded. "Don't let it trouble you, Legolas. He wants you to be angry and to hate him…the poor fool knows no other than hate anymore, I fear."
Legolas nodded. "It's strange…in my dream- my memory, we were friends. Such good friends. Aragorn, I think I loved him dearly once."
"I believe you did, Legolas."
"What makes you so sure?"
The human shrugged softly. "You are not the only one who talks in your deep sleep. The funny thing is, in his dreams? Mornaeg calls you 'Legolas'."
"How- how are you holding up, Estel?" Legolas' gasped, gaining his friend's side at long last. It was getting harder and harder to stay even with each other as Mornaeg kept quickening their pace.
Actually, Aragorn had fallen quite a ways behind, and Legolas had to trip himself to hold the orc dragging him back enough to get even with Aragorn. The human's strength was waning quickly, it was obvious. He tried to smile ruefully, however, even though Leoglas was nowhere near fooled.
"I-" he panted, "think I'll- I'll be fine if I just…if I…don't think about it."
Aragorn's eyes widened in exasperation. "Anything."
Legolas nodded, feeling a bit better at the human's comical response. "Good plan. We'll stop by nightfall, I am sure of it."
Aragorn just nodded, and focused on the dirt ahead of him. Keep moving, Estel. Then maybe you won't fall over, he told himself, and decided that conversation was taking away his strength. Even so, he contacted Legolas' eyes with his own for a brief moment, and managed to whisper, "It helps to know you're here too."
"Enough talking! Pick up the pace, both of you!" Mornaeg yelled from his comfortable position on his horse, and then added with a smile, "Don't die on me yet, Lindo," and took off at a gallop.