Hello, all! Before we get started, I must warn you that this fic was inspired by a dream. /watches as most of the audience runs away/ I figured as much. Now, for all of you brave people still here, it's going to be weird. VERY weird. And AU. On a different note, I wrote this story over a month ago and was unable to find a beta. That being said, if anyone finds a substantial grammatical error or feels that something wasn't explained adequately, feel free to point it out. Now, without further ado, my first LOTR oneshot!
The cry of a gull in the bright morning sunlight brought forth more cries that were soon drowned out by the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. The grass on the cliff sparkled as the light hit the salty spray that landed there as wave after wave soaked the healthy turf. The laughter of children rang through the air as a group of them ran along the cliffs, trying to avoid being soaked to the bone as the crashing waves came after them. It wasn't often that the children were allowed to abandon their duties in favor of play, but the Elvenking of Mirkwood was here visiting the kingdom of Aquarias(1) and had brought his mischievous son along. Thus, the general consensus was that if a few hours of play kept the Prince from bringing the castle down, it was well worth it.
"Come on, you slowpokes! Let's go!" Prince Legolas Thranduilion laughed as he watched the other children panting with their hands on their knees. While he technically wasn't a child anymore at fifty-five, he still felt like one and wouldn't pass up a day romping around outside with them if it meant he didn't have to sit through a boring diplomatic meeting.
"Don't you ever get TIRED?" One of the children, an older girl, whined. "We've been running for hours and we're soaked!" Not one of them was dry in the least, not even the girls.
Frowning, Legolas crossed his arms over his chest and replied, "You're no fun."
"Maybe you need to get tired when everyone else does!" One of the boys called back which promptly started a playful wrestling match between them all. Had any of their parents been there, their mouths would have opened in horror. This was no way to treat ROYALTY. However, the children had learned very quickly not to be shy around THIS Prince or you would risk being pushed into the ocean.
The air was permeated by delighted squeals, screams and cries of surrender as the children pulled at each other, climbed on top of each other,ripped at each other's clothes and tickled each other. They couldn't remember the last time they had this much fun and were going to enjoy it as much as they could, even if they would get yelled at for coming inside muddy and wet.
The wrestling match was soon broken up by a maid who squealed in horror at the sight. Seventeen heads went up as they froze in place in many odd positions to look at her as though she was mad. They were only PLAYING after all…
"Your Highness, your father wishes to see you…" She nearly whispered, but the Elf picked it up. Being an Elf had it's perks sometimes.
"Alright…" Legolas replied reluctantly as he disentangled himself from the three boys who were holding him down to let the youngest girl tickle him to death. "Bye." He told his disappointed playmates as he headed back up to the castle with the maid, grinning ear to ear. If only he could have this much fun at home…
Wile Mirkwood's crown prince was having the time of his life, the Elvenking was ready to jump out a window and be done with it. The king and queen of Aquarias were nice enough as mortals went, but they had a bad habit of starting the most mundane conversations and actually being able to continue them for a good length of time. He really didn't care what color carpet they were getting in their bedroom or what time they should have dinner. They were supposed to be negotiating a trade treaty, but that seemed to be the last thing on their minds.
Thranduil audibly sighed in relief as the maid that had been sent out to find Legolas returned. At least with his son around, he wouldn't look like such a fool. Legolas was good at keeping a random conversation going and would be an asset here.
"Your Highnesses, I have returned with the prince."
"Good morning, King Titus and Queen Isabel." Legolas said politely, trying to diffuse the situation before his father blew up at him. He was definitely going to be yelled at for not going where he was supposed to (They had said they would be playing in the courtyard, not on the cliffs.) and for being wet and so casually dressed.
"May I have a moment?" Thranduil asked, his voice even as he looked to Titus and Isabel. They nodded, the Queen trying to hold back a laugh.
"Thank you." He replied curtly as he stood, dragging Legolas out of the room by his arm. When the door was closed and they were out in the hall, all hell broke loose. "By the Valar, what possessed you to go down by those cliffs?!"
Legolas winced as he tried to come up with a good excuse. His father wasn't stupid in the least, so saying it was an accident wouldn't work. 'My imaginary friend' hadn't worked since he was fifteen, so that was out, so the only answer left was the truth, which would, of course, bring additional yelling. "The courtyard was too boring so the other children suggested the cliffs and I agreed." He replied sourly. "It was fun, though…"
A frustrated sigh passed Thranduil's lips as he looked good and hard at his son. There couldn't have been a dry spot on him, except maybe for his sneakers. His jeans and tank top were soaked as was his hair, which shone a dark gold instead of the lighter gold it normally was. However, there was a spark in the young Elf's eye that made him relent. He only wanted to have a bit of fun and it was rare for an Elf to lose their footing, even on wet grass. Maybe he had been a bit too hard.
"I'm not going to sit here and waste my breath yelling at you, so just remember this: If you slipped and fell, you would have died. Just remember that the next time you go off somewhere without letting me know." Thranduil told his son, pleased when he saw the head fall in shame. Good, he was getting through to him a bit. "Well, go get cleaned up and put on something nice. Dinner is formal and there's a meeting afterward I want you to attend."
"Is it going to be boring?" Legolas asked as he watched Thranduil return to the room.
The dreaded answer: "You'll be asleep in moments."
In this day and age, traditional clothing was greatly frowned upon. However, it was still worn for formal occasions such as diplomatic dinners and meetings such as this. It was not only polite, but it gave royals a chance to prove which one of them was richer and had better tailors.
Waiting in the hall was Thranduil who adjusted his crown of flowers on his head. It was a nervous habit, as he had checked his appearance before leaving his guest room. He was worried about what Legolas would be wearing. His son had a bad habit of dressing inappropriately for formal occasions, which wasn't only bad manners, it was downright embarrassing. When he had passed Legolas's room to come down to the main dining room, he could only hear music of E²(Being Elladan and Elrohir.)(1) blasting from the speakers. His hair was going to turn grey if Legolas acted like this for much longer…
"There you are." Thranduil sighed as he saw Legolas pop his head into the room. He had braided his hair and was wearing his circlet, so maybe that was a good sign. The door then opened all the way to reveal a forest green button down shirt and… jeans. "Am I going to have to start dressing you like a little Elfling?" He hissed into the younger Elf's ear as he grabbed him by the collar.
"I didn't have anything else, I swear!" Legolas protested as he swatted his father's hand away. "I could have sworn I packed the outfit I wore on my birthday…"
"The one you wore to that nightclub?" Thranduil asked wryly with a smirk on his face.
"No! The one I wore to the dinner the night before!" The prince shouted as a blush crossed his cheeks. That night would live in infamy in his mind, especially since he had somehow ended up dancing on stage and sleeping with Elladan and Elrohir, unable to remember what had happened. Fortunately, it hadn't ended up in the paper for which he was grateful.
Thranduil snorted. "That is the last time you pack your own clothes for a trip, ion nin."
"At least I TRIED." Legolas protested as the dinner bell, signaling for everyone to sit down.
Dinner was full of more mundane conversation from the King and Queen which Legolas easily reciprocated, which gave them enough grounds to forgive him for his poor choice in clothing. Each course came and went and the conversation became more and more random to the point where even Legolas was having a hard time reciprocating. They were just getting to the topic of a small exotic lizard the Queen had owned in her childhood when a servant burst into the dining hall. Every head turned to look at the poor man as he leaned against the door panting for air.
King Titus stood in concern and asked, "What is the problem?" He seemed worried about the man's arrival, which put both Elves on alert.
"There is a ship... in the harbor... dispatching soldiers… and flying the flag of… Arcadia!"
Though the name meant nothing to Legolas and Thranduil, it meant something to the rest of the people gathered. Panic reigned as people jumped up and ran this way and that, seemingly for no other reason than to run, as escape wasn't an option. The palace was on an island. There was nowhere to run.
Taking charge, Thranduil approached Titus who was pale as a sheet at this point, followed closely by Legolas. "You need to assemble your army." He reminded the King pointedly. Everyone was running around and nothing was getting done.
"We have no army here." The King replied quietly. "It is impossible to get to the island any way other than crossing the bridge from the mainland because of the whirlpools that block all entrances into the cove. In any case, we'd never be able to overcome the undead the Emperor of Arcadia commands."
Thranduil drew back in shock. No soldiers on the island with an undead army to combat? Were they MAD? Turning to Legolas, a silent conversation passed between them for a moment before Legolas darted out of the hall as fast as he could. Sighing, Thranduil turned back to Titus and said, "Take me to the balcony over the courtyard." Wordlessly, the King complied.
It was a good thing Legolas had a knack for not listening to his father. Otherwise, he wouldn't have his knife with him at the moment, clenched tightly in his right hand as he ran. He would have felt better if he had his bow, but there wasn't enough time to go get it. Besides, he could dispatch just about anything with his knife, even if it wasn't a sword. It had been a gift from his mother before she passed and a mother's blessing was better than anything else the prince could imagine.
From the balcony above, Thranduil watched his son race through the courtyard with his knife drawn. He said a quick prayer to the Valar and raised his hands, muttering a few words in Quenya to activate the spell. A barrier began to form around the castle, closing just a moment after Legolas had passed out of the courtyard and onto the sloped and hilly lawn below. The Prince was now fighting whatever enemy had come from this Arcadia alone, armed only with his knife.
The sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs calmed Legolas a bit as he scanned the hill for any sign of movement. The full moon provided him with more than enough light to see by, but, oddly enough, there were no stars to be seen. It was as though someone had thrown a blanket over the sky with a hole in it for the moon…
The sound of crunching grass shook Legolas from his ponderings as a shape appeared on the horizon. It was moving slowly and it seemed to be alone which immediately set off warning bells in Legolas's mind. One? Maybe this was a trap of some kind… A few minuets later brought another slow moving creature, than another. They walked as a zombie in a horror movie might, slow and lumbering. They looked like they had come out of a horror movie, too. The one in front was a skeleton, the one behind it looked like an alien, the one behind that looked like a red-skinned goblin with wings… This was far from anything he had ever seen, after being so used to fighting goblins and spiders all his life. This was a nightmare…
Soon, Legolas became tired of waiting and charged, heading first for the skeleton. A pile of old bones would be no match for an Elf, he thought as he ran, slamming into the thing with his shoulder. The skeleton only stumbled slightly before continuing it's zombie like walk toward the castle without paying the Elf any mind, not that it had one…
"By the Valar…" Legolas breathed as he watched the Skeleton head toward the castle. He was just going to have to let his father deal with that one. There were still plenty of these creatures to fight.
Moving on, he attacked the alien, which, to his pleasure, reacted to being attacked. The creature's fist morphed into a hammer and it swung at the Elf only to have the prince dodge and dart back in, stabbing it in the gut. It didn't bleed, but it was obvious that the alien was dead when it fell backwards, unmoving. Maybe this wasn't going to be as difficult as he had originally thought…
When Legolas turned to face the third creature, he was surprised to find it was strange, half-dead fish creature. Risking a glance over his shoulder, he realized that the red-skinned goblin was halfway to the castle with a line of monsters behind it. He blinked, confused, and looked back at the fish. Had it really taken him that long to dispatch the alien? It had felt like mere moments, but…
He gasped as a sharp pain lanced up his right arm, nearly causing him to drop his knife. It was a horrible pain, but… there was no wound. He looked on his forearm multiple times but could find no reason for the pain. He simply shook it off and lunged at the nearest creature to him, a Minotaur like creature with a cow head instead of the head of a bull.
He continued in this fashion for some time, killing one creature after another without receiving one injury. However, it seemed as though his thrusts and jabs were slowing significantly as time passed, but he couldn't figure out why. It was so odd, yet there seemed to be no explanation for it.
Legolas soon found himself at the entrance to the castle once again, finally facing the red-skinned goblin. The barrier was holding and seemed to have disintegrated the Skeleton into a fine powder, but he had no intention of letting this creature pass.
The goblin grinned at him, wings folded around his body to conceal his limbs, and cackled. "The demon(2) thinks he is winning, yes?" He said, grin widening at Legolas's apparent confusion. "It is not, no." Without warning, the goblin spread his wings and extended his left arm at Legolas. The Elf only backed away out of the creature's reach, but the goblin had an ace up his sleeve. His arm extended as though it was made of rubber, hooked claws gleaming in the moonlight. Before Legolas could react, the arm had snaked around his body and sliced his right ankle straight to the bone.
The Elf collapsed with a cry, fighting back tears as blood spilled from the wound. It was then he realized that he couldn't feel his right arm any longer. His knife was slipping from his loosened grasp as he fought to get back to his feet. He grabbed his knife in his left hand, but the goblin pushed him back down.
"No, the demon goes nowhere. It is for sacrifice." The goblin hissed. Without thinking, Legolas brought his left arm up to slice the goblin's throat open, turning his head aside as blood spurted from the wound onto his face. He shoved the creature off him with his good arm and tried to stand, but fell back. A spider, neither as large or hideous as the variety in Mirkwood, had come upon him while he had been distracted by the goblin and was trying to wrap him in it's threads. Fortunately, this spider was stupid and Legolas killed it with ease before cutting the threads from his body.
He winced as pain shot up his leg, but his ankle was holding so he could still fight. Still, he was at a great disadvantage here with an injured leg and useless arm. The creature army was still coming at it's steady, zombie rate and didn't seem to be losing members at all.
Resolved, he stood in front of the barrier and attacked any creature that came near him. None of them retaliated with as much animation as the goblin, but in his weakened state, Legolas was having trouble keeping them at bay. He could fight easily with his left hand, but his leg was making fighting awkward. He kept losing his balance and near misses by the creatures were becoming less frequent as more became hits. He wasn't a quitter, but he knew when to cut his losses and run.
As a birdman fell dead, Legolas made his retreat, passing through an opening Thranduil made in the barrier for him. He was limping horribly, barely able to stay on his feet any longer. Once he was near the back of the courtyard, his ankle gave out and he collapsed on the ground, bleeding and exhausted.
When he saw Legolas fall the first time, Thranduil nearly dropped the barrier to run to his aid. The prince quickly recovered, however, so he continued to hold the barrier despite his urge to help his son. It was hard to watch, but he would only be a liability as much as he hated to admit it. Without a weapon, he was as good as useless.
As Legolas retreated to the interior of the castle, Thranduil opened a passage for him before turning away to run to his aid. The barrier would hold even if he was moving and the castle would still be safe.
"Are you alright?" Thranduil asked worriedly as he knelt at Legolas's side, watching as the younger Elf struggled to sit up. He was covered in blood, but most of it wasn't his, which was a relief for the Elvenking.
Legolas shook his head, wincing as he fought to position his right leg as to not aggravate his ankle. "I can't feel my right arm and my ankle won't support my weight." He told Thranduil before collapsing against his father. "There's no END to them. What are we going to do?"
Thranduil remained silent for a moment before reaching into his robe. "I didn't want to have to resort to this, but…" He pulled out a chain from which hung a gem that flashed the colors of falling leaves.
Legolas gasped, eyes moving between the gem and his father's face. "You're not…"
"I have to." Thranduil replied sadly as he moved to the nearest wall pulling his son with him. "It's the only way."
"But…" Legolas shook his head. The gem was one in a set of four representative of the seasons. All four had a different power, but the autumn gem could open portals. It drew it's energy from the success of the task the portal had been opened for.
"I'm going to open a portal to wherever the Arcadian Emperor is. If we can kill him, the army will leave."
If… That word made Legolas shudder in fear. If the Emperor was killed, the gem would suck the Emperor's energy as he died. If he didn't…"I can't believe you're going to do this."
"Is there any other way?" Thranduil asked sadly as he placed the gem against the wall and muttered the spell. A portal opened in the wall to show the Emperor's bedroom. The Emperor himself was in bed surrounded by people. He seemed fast asleep, but his fists were clenched and sweat dripped down his brow. "He's controlling these creatures himself." Thranduil breathed as he looked around for a weapon. All they had was Legolas's knife and there was no way the prince would part with it. He didn't have a clear enough shot to use a rock…
"Here." Legolas murmured as he pulled a rusty sword from a slot in the wall. "We found it out here earlier today and hid it."
"Sometimes I think it is a blessing that you don't listen to me." Thranduil sighed as he hugged his son. Lifting the sword, he took aim and threw it as best he could, straight at the Emperor's heart.
Legolas shrieked in horror as the blade missed and merely grazed the man's shoulder, failing to kill him. They only had one chance and it was gone. The Emperor's attendants looked about the room in shock as he searched for the origin of the weapon used to try and assassinate their leader. However, the portal had already closed and Thranduil sunk to the ground. Legolas grabbed his arm in an attempt to keep him conscious, but his vision was going black. The last thing he heard before losing consciousness was the cry of a gull and the crashing of the waves on the cliff.
"Am I dead?"
"No, you're very much alive."
Legolas bolted upright to find that he was in the guest room he had been using. His clothes were scattered on the floor as they had been, he could see one of the letters Elladan and Elrohir had written him peeking out from under a suitcase and his father was standing next to him. "What happened?"
"The Emperor was devoured by his own army. He bargained with the monsters, but the sword broke his concentration so they returned and devoured him alive."
"Exactly what I needed to hear right now." Legolas moaned as he laid back down. "I can feel my arm again. Any particular reason why?"
Thranduil groaned as he sat down on the bed, muscles protesting as he moved. What a night… "You were bitten by a spider with a particularly nasty venom that was brought with the monsters from hell. It essentially paralyzed your arm, but it's worn off now." He said as a comfortable silence fell in the room. Thranduil fought against the ache in his muscles while Legolas fought off sleep, wanting to get up and do something.
"I suppose they owe us, right?" The younger asked as he sat up again and pulled his knees to his chest.
"Quite a lot." Thranduil replied airily as he stretched again. "They're going to be owing us for centuries."
1. All of the names of the characters I own in this fic are just random spur of the moment names. If you can think of a better one, let me know.
2. Thank you to my friend Rin for coming up with that.
3. This came from having to listen to aliens scream that at my brother and I in Halo 3 as we died for an hour straight. It gets annoying after a while, especially since I suck at that game to begin with. So, in short, this has no significance whatsoever.
Kanpa: So? What did you think?
Riku: ... No comment...
Legolas: Can I kill you NOW? --' That was HUMILIATING.
Kanpa: Glad you liked it! Now, see that review button? Push it so you can tell me just how bad this thing is! XD