Disclaimer, Summary and Warning could be found in 1st chapter.
Thranduil did not know what he should do next. On one hand, his son was the one comforting him at such a time, but on the other hand he knew that he should be the one to comfort and assure to his son.
"Honestly, ion, I do not know what I would do without you," Thranduil held his son, and continued, "You are the light in the deep places when the darkness falls; you are my sight, my hope."
Legolas smiled, clearly finding it hard to speak after what his father said. Instead, his fallen tear expressed all he thought and felt.
Thranduil walked behind his son, the concern and fatherly love evident in his eyes. This would be the day that both of them discovered what awaited in his adar's cave.
"I need you to hold me as tight as you can, as we are going to dive into the water and then climb to the cave, all right?" Thranduil asked his son.
"I will hold you as tight as I can, adar."
Legolas put his arms around his adar's waist, adjusting his balance to prepare for his father to dive in.
"Before I go in, you need to take a long, deep breath, and only when we pass through the water can you breathe normally," Thranduil instructed him.
"Will do so…" Legolas said as he tightened his hold around his father, and waited for his adar to step toward the river. He could see the waterfall splashing hard, sending ripples throughout the river.
Thranduil took a moment to enjoy the sight of the rainbow created where the sun met the water, shining colorfully in the waterfall. Then he walked toward the edge of the river, placing a leg into the cold water, and before he entered the water, he reminded his elfling, "Now, ion, hold your breath, and release it when I tell you."
Legolas did as his adar told him, and focused his gaze on the water. Looking at how the sun shone beautifully on it as though illuminating some treasure, he wanted to see what was hidden in the river. As they dived through the water, the elfling was surprised to see the many kinds of fishes that were coming closer to them, but when he wanted to ask his adar, he remembered that they had other things to do, and that question could wait till they were out of the water.
But before they could arrive at the cave, Thranduil's eyes widened in fear as he saw some projectiles enter the water. Arrows. Quickly, he put an arm around his son and swam strongly back to the edge where they had come from. Nudging his son to prompt him to catch his breath, he called to his guard. "Galdor!"
The guard hurried over, ducking the arrows that fell so close to him.
"What is happening? Why now?" the king asked in despair, seeing how he had failed to let his son enjoy the day out but though subdued, he gave the order, "Alert the guards and bring down those who shooting at us…"
When he saw how the guard still seemed dazed, he raised his voice, "NOW, GALDOR!"
The guard bowed and left hurriedly.
"Ada?" Legolas asked with fear in his voice, trying to figure what was happening.
"Just keep holding my hand, ion, and we will walk home without getting hurt. Then, we'll figure out what is happening and who is attacking our realm – and what happened to the guards," Thranduil replied softly, not wishing to hurt his son's feelings or frighten him.
Legolas did as he was told, but as he looked at the sky, he was saddened to see how the beautiful sun that he had witnessed a moment ago was overshadowed by darkness.
Another guard soon reached them, and Legolas was pleased to see that it was Gîl. Though he enjoyed the company of the other guards, Gîl and Galdor had a special place in his heart: Gîl was like a brother, Galdor like a second father.
The arrows had not been able to reach this corner and the elfling turned to ask Gîl what was happening while Thranduil took a moment to survey the area.
"Gîl?" Legolas asked, as he noticed the guard looking at him with a worried frown.
"What is it on your mind, my sweet elfling?" Gîl asked.
"Why did they decide to attack us when adar was spending time with me?" Legolas asked.
"I am not sure, Legolas, but I intend to find out after I get both of you to safety," Gîl replied.
Legolas turned toward his adar and mumbled to him, "But I do not want Gîl to get hurt. He's like my big brother."
Thranduil looked at his son. He did not recall his child ever saying something as intimate about any guard, and he knew how dearly Legolas treated Gîl.
"Gîl, I want you to stay close to us, and let the other guards check out the situation," Thranduil said, bringing Legolas around to join the guard.
"Hannon-le, adar." Legolas thanked him and, still not letting go of his adar's hand, he stretched his other hand to hold his Gîl's.
The king hoped that they would reach the palace soon and alive. He did not wish to see any harm befall his son. "We need to hurry Gîl," he said, "They have a large supply of arrows, and I do not wish our guards to waste all our ammunition."
But as they were in sight of the palace, they scaled the bridge, and right when they were in the middle of it, a large explosion shook them. They could feel the wood splinter beneath their feet as they fell down into the cold water beneath them.
"Ada…" Legolas called with fear in his voice, as he choked on the water. He had no idea what was going on except that the cold river had embraced him before his father had alerted him. Now submerged in the water, he moved his arms desperately, trying to stay afloat. He was unable to see his father amidst the many fragments from the bridge, and much as he tried to resist the river's current, he found himself drifting with the river toward the unknown.
Gîl searched in the water for the other two but he could only see the king reaching the edge of the river. The princeling was nowhere in sight.
"Where is my son?" Thranduil asked the guard as soon as he surfaced. The panic showed itself in his eyes, even as his strong façade broke.
Gîl put an arm on his king's shoulder and said quietly, "The River took him when everything turned bad. Let us hope it will bring him to a safe place."
"He is alone, cold… and I do not even know if he is hurt, Gîl… oh Valar, please help me… I do not wish to lose my son so soon, as he is the precious… and my only heir, I have no one but him…" the king was mumbling now as he left the river, and crumbled on the green grass, even as he heard the birds overhead crying for the elfling.
"We will try to find him, even if we do not see him, we will try harder… After all, Your Majesty, he is like the little brother I do not have, and even if I die finding him, I will bring him back to you," The guard gave his word to the king, hoping in his heart that he would find Legolas unhurt.
"I do not wish for you to get hurt either. After all, Legolas considers you almost like his big brother and I doubt he wishes to lose you too."
"Did he?" Gîl asked the king with a smile painted upon his face.
"Yes, only today, though all along, he has been telling me how he enjoys your company," Thranduil answered the guard, and despite his frame of mind, he ended with a tease, "But he never told me about addressing you as his big brother."
Gîl smiled at that and turned to look as Galdor swam over in his haste to reach them. The guard immediately turned to Gîl and asked, "Where is the princeling, Legolas?"
"The River took him before we could do anything," Gîl replied with a tinge of sadness.
"We will find him, hopefully soon, but now Your Majesty, you will need to change out of your wet clothes, and we need more weapons as we go to track your son," Galdor said.
"I think that I will do just that, and then…" the king stopped then, and staring at his loyal guards, he said, "I do not wish to leave him behind. No one should ever take my son away from me."
"Never give up hope, my king Thranduil." Galdor said, and the guards escorted him back to the palace.
"I do not intend to, not when I have a son to save from the River," Thranduil released a light chuckle. There would not be many opportunities to release his emotions for a good while now.
Legolas could not understand how his hands had slipped from his father as the raging river grabbed him, and at the moment, he was more concerned with trying to grab hold of something, without much success.
Now, he could sense the presence of many people along the river back but he could not tell what intentions those people had.
"Come to us, little pet… Your daddy cannot help you now…" he heard someone sneer and laugh, and he ducked under the water. Without his adar near him, he felt helpless.
Legolas wished that the river would take him back toward his father, as he did not like what he heard. For the first time in his life, he was acutely aware that there were no guards around, and neither was his adar there, and Legolas began to fear what awaited him.
"A little more, elfling, and you will be mine and no one can save you from my wrath…" A man was laughing at him but before he could do anything, strong hands were grabbing him from the river. His lips were mumbling pleas for his adar to come and help him but all his prayers fell on deaf ears.
"Now, if you wish to see daylight again, you will do as I say, do you understand?" Tתחתית הטThe leader looked at the elfling, and smiled when he saw the little head nodding at him.
"Good," the leader smiled, and he yanked Legolas over hard, making him cry from the pain, he turned toward his peoples and ordered, "Now we have what we have been looking for – or rather he came to us." He sneered at the elfling, then turned his attention back to his men. "Let us send the king our message, so he will know what will happen to his son if he does not do as we wish!"
Legolas was suddenly fearful for his adar. He could tell that the leader was a man but he did not understand how a man would know the elven tongue. The elfling stop struggling when the leader leant closer to him, whispering to him.
"Are you afraid of me?" he asked.
The elfling nodded timidly and his eyes moistened.
"Good," he smirked and added, "You should, and if you ever try to struggle, you will have bruises all over your body."
The elfling nodded again in fear.
The man grabbed his shoulder hard, knowing how that would bruise the elfling.
"You are hurting me..." Legolas cried from the pain.
"Am I?" Rolir asked, a smile on his face, and not letting go of him yet, he turned toward his men, "Are Omer and Volker back yet?"
The leader, still holding Legolas in a firm grip walked toward their secret cave where they had been making plans to overthrow Thranduil's kingdom. It would be a sweet bonus if the crown would be given to him as well.
Throwing Legolas against the wall, and hearing the moans of pain from him, Rohir smiled even more, and then, using his leg, he turned the elfling to face him.
"Since we're bored, I will tell you a tale of my childhood but you've been warned: it's not something so fun and loving like yours with your precious daddy," Rolir sneered at that.
"Why?" Legolas dared to ask him a question, and though the man immediately kicked him harshly, the elfling was still curious about what had happened.
"Why what? Why have I become… evil?" Rolir spat out the last word, his voice dripping with sarcasm even as he kicked the elfling.
Legolas curled up, trying to protect himself but it was useless. His whole body was aching, and especially his head, no matter how his tiny hands tried to protect it, and the pain kept roaring.
Catching his breath, and seeing his men still guarding them, Rolir faced the elfling.
"You see, it all started when I was younger than you. I found myself, abandoned by my parents, left in the company of some elves, who were not particularly thrilled to see a young boy like me in their homeland…"
Rolir rolled his eyes as he remembered the disdain shown by the elves, and he turned to see the elfling still listening.
"I was the only human that lived with them but they treated me as a slave, as though I was nothing compared to them. They ordered me to do things for them, things I didn't want to do and didn't do. But look at me now, what do you see? Are you feeling so powerful now?" Rolir asked the elfling and grabbed him to face him, eliciting yet another moan of pain from Legolas.
The elfling looked wildly at the man, afraid to say anything for fear that he would be kicked further.
"Well, look here… The princeling is afraid of me…" Rolir sneered, then turned to his men. "Tie him against a tree, somewhere close to the spiders. Maybe the feeling of being eaten will clear his mind a bit."