Chapter 4

Slain Estel

"You have slain him!" Legolas cried to the dwarf, his voice almost a scream of terror.

"I didn't!" Gimli answered, "What kind of idiotic people leave swords lying about a practice ring for people to fall on!"

"I don't think I'm slain," Estel thought to mention with a weak groan and both youths pounced upon him to inspect his wound. It wasn't as bad as it first looked. The sword wasn't piercing his heart; it wasn't even the tip of the blade he had fallen upon but its edge. It was still quite bad enough; it looked as though it had wedged a bit into his bone.

"I will go and get help," Legolas decided after the boys' quick examination, and he turned to leave at once. In fact, he moved so suddenly and quickly for the door that Estel's immediate call of 'No!' almost went unheard. But it was and the elf paused in the doorway, turning to see what the matter was.

"No," Estel insisted, "I'm alright, we can bandage it and I'll be fine." Both the elf and the dwarf stared at him in disbelief.

"He's in shock," Gimli declared at last, "Go on." Legolas went, despite Estel still trying to call him back. Finally, when it was obvious the elf was gone and wasn't going to heed his call, he let his head drop back with a groan.

"Foolish, flighty, man," the dwarf grumbled, using the nearest bit of cloth to try and stop some of the bleeding, as well as he was able without pulling the blade out. He had enough experience with such things to know better than to attempt that. Almost immediately after Legolas had left, he was returning with an adult elf in tow. In fact, the young elf had stumbled into the other almost as soon as he had run out the door. Explaining the situation had taken a bit longer, first because Legolas was too anxious to easily explain and second because he had somehow, without even realizing it, managed to get Estel's blood all over his own tunic.

The sight of an elfling covered in blood and babbling nearly incoherently in what sounded like at least three different languages was enough to send one of the sentinel elves running through the trees for Lord Elrond while Curanion frantically searched for the gaping wound. Finally, the elder elf was made to understand it wasn't Legolas's blood and allowed himself to be led to Estel.

No more than five minutes had passed before Lord Elrond dashed into the room, his eyes taking in everything from the strewn tunics to the blood to the guilty expressions before they settled upon his foster son. He was followed by what might have been taken to be an army in the form of concerned elves and dwarves, all wanting to know who was hurt and what had happened, all speaking at once with the fathers in the lead. For the first and probably last time in all their history together, Gloin and Thranduil rushed into the room in concert without even seeming to notice their company.

"Silence, please," Elrond called before they could begin to interrogate their sons. Another elf took it on himself to send the others out of the room, all except for the children and their guardians, just as the twins came running in carrying a satchel for their father. There was no hint of merriment in their eyes in that moment but a shadow of darkness so deep it was frightening to see.

"We didn't touch the swords," Estel said, his eyes bright with a mixture of pain and guilty worry as Elrond probed the wound, "I tripped into it."

"Later," Elrond answered, "Let's take care of this first. Drink this." As Elrond and one of the twins helped him to drink from the vial, the other twin checked on the remaining children.

"Why do I have to take my tunic off," Legolas asked, "I told you I wasn't hurt. I was winning because I was on top and then I jumped off and Estel was slain, but he says he wasn't."

"Sometimes when you are excited, you can get hurt and not feel it," the twin Elrohir said after he finished his inspection to his satisfaction before turning to the dwarf.

"Were you fighting, honeg?" Sidhodoron asked, his concern changing to incredulity of the entire situation as the bloody tunic was stripped away to reveal unblemished skin. Legolas didn't answer, his attention moving rapidly towards the healer and to the dwarf.

"I'm not removing my leggings," Gimli warned, his eyes glancing briefly towards Legolas before he looked away again.

"It's all right," Legolas told him, "It's not too cold. What is Lord Elrond doing to him? Is he going to sew his skin? Doesn't that hurt? Estel is very brave, isn't he?"

"I suppose he is," Gimli muttered, "For an elven brat." Elrohir finished his inspection of the dwarf quickly and without making him completely disrobe, but only because he hadn't gotten blood on his pants. He found him to be rather more battered than Legolas but nothing more than a few bruises and a bloody lip from the fight. As soon as his inspection was done, Elrohir returned quickly to his foster brother's side, where the twins and Elrond discussed the situation in softly spoken Elvish. A moment later he returned to the guests.

"Excuse me," he said, "But perhaps you would like to return to your rooms?"

"I wouldn't," Gimli said softly, "I probably won't be allowed out again for our entire stay." He probably meant to not be heard, but he was not yet used to the hearing ability of the elves.

"Why won't you be allowed?" Legolas asked with concern as he was wrapped with Thranduil's cloak and then lifted before he could protest, "Is it because you slew Estel?"

"I didn't slay him!" Gimli cried before remembering they were to be quiet.

"We will discuss this when we get to our rooms," Gloin said, his voice stern and foreboding.

"I don't want to leave," Legolas said even as he was carried out the door, "I want to see what happens to Estel. He isn't going to die, is he? You said a goblin hit Saewathol in the chest and you said he wasn't hurt bad but he died."

"Can you die from such a scratch?" Gimli asked, suddenly sounding worried himself, "There was a lot of blood."

"Saewathol died of poison on the blade," Thranduil was quick to answer, "Estel will be fine." Surprisingly, the elves and dwarves continued to walk more or less together until they reached the place where their paths diverged, and neither so much as exchanged glares. Of course, neither were they smiling or holding hands.

Author's note:.

Honeg, according to Hisweloke's Sindarin Dictionary, means 'little brother'.

Also, upon minor research (basically me trying to figure out which elven language Legolas and his immediate family is most likely to use amongst themselves (I am avoiding re-reading the books for a bit, but I can't resist languages)) I noticed that according to Wikipedia Thranduil supposedly has 'golden' hair (interestingly enough this isn't mentioned in his own entry but only in his son's under the speculation of Legolas's hair color. Which I did vaguely remember was mentioned to probably actually be dark but which I ignored and made blond anyway. At any rate, Tolkien never specified either, really.) The point of all of this is that despite the fact that this is AU and in the long run I doubt it really matters one way or the other (certainly I've gotten no emails or reviews attempting to correct me on the matter of hair color) and ignoring the fact that the brother isn't even mentioned in the books, I'll go along just this once and say Thranduil has 'golden' hair. Which means I had to rewrite a bit in the first chapter where I implied (but didn't outright say) that he had dark hair. Right.