The Song of Iluvatar
A/N- Has anyone ever wondered why of all the great elf lords in Rivendell, Legolas was chosen to accompany the Nine Walkers? Why did Tolkien describe him as a "strange elf"? Why was a Mirkwood prince sent as a simple messenger to the Council of Rivendel? Basically, why is Legolas the way he is? This is my rather long explanation to these and a few other questions that caught my attention as I was thinking about the books. This is a pre-LOTR Legolas fic based on the books. I researched my information in the Appendixes, The Reader's Guide to Middle Earth, and my own imagination. I hope you enjoy. Please leave a review if you do. Constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. ^_^
Special thanks goes to my beta reader Larael who went above and beyond the call of duty to discover the proper capitalization for Orc. Bravo!
Summary: Legolas is about to come of age and the life of this spoiled prince is at its best. However, things are about to change when a shocking betrayal thrusts him into a foreign world where everything he ever loved is locked forever beyond his grasp.
The trees were weeping. The sound tore at Melian's heart as she stood gazing down across the shadow-cloaked forest from one of the many upper balconies protruding from the mountain palace. A gentle evening breeze played with the crown of spring flowers upon her honey-frosted hair in an attempt to cheer the sorrowing Elf. Greenwood's Queen, however, found no comfort tonight. Usually she would have danced with the wind, singing in harmony with the trees under the smiling light of the stars, but the trees had no song of joy this evening.
Being a Silvan Elf, Melian had always been in love with Arda, taking joy in nature more than anything else, especially the trees and flowers. So when a strange shadow suddenly appeared during an unusually harsh winter storm, Melian was the first to notice. Ever since, the Queen had steadily grown thin and pale, broken by the sorrow of the trees. Not even Thranduil could banish her distress. In great fear for his queen and kingdom, Thranduil ordered countless search parties to probe the vast expanse of Greenwood for the cause of this growing shadow. Spring had come, yet it brought no answers, while the Queen grew weaker and more despondent by the day.
Melian stood on the balcony, as she did every night, silver tears running down from her leaf green eyes. A small sniffle behind her drew her attention from the trees. Turning, she saw her baby son, barely able to walk, toddling toward her with tear stained cheeks.
"Oh, honey, what is the matter?" she asked tenderly, stooping to lift the distraught child up in her arms.
"The tees is sad, mama. And I can' sweep, 'cause they's cwyin'. Mama, you face is aw wet. Is you cwyin' too?" asked the baby, reaching with tiny fingers to touch his mother's cheek. Sky blue eyes looked up at her, wide and filled with worry. "Wha's wong, Mama? Why is evvybody cwyin'? I'm scayed."
"Oh, precious, you are too much like your mother for your own good," breathed the Queen, wishing with all her heart that her innocent young son had been spared from having to bear these troubled times.
"Sing a me, Mama. Sing an make da twees stop cwyin'. Jus' like you youse to, Mama," the babe pleaded, looking earnestly up at his mother.
Melian closed her eyes, unable to bear the expectant gaze of her son knowing his request was beyond her ability to give. Yet with a sigh and the barest hint of a smile, Melian gave in. Seating herself on the stone wall with her son in her lap, she began to sing. Sad was her song, filled with the sorrow invading her heart, yet a hint of hope slowly crept in - and determination. For as she held her infant son, the despondency that had held her captive so long lifted a bit, replaced by a determination to overcome this threat to her son and the woods they both loved.
Melian was still there, cradling the now slumbering babe and watching the sunrise when Thranduil found them. Melian relaxed into him as he wrapped his arms around her, leaning her head back against his chest. Finally, as the last vestiges of dawn faded into day, Thranduil leaned down, kissing his wife on the cheek and reaching to take the sleeping child.
"All will be well, my love. We will erase this menace. I swear it. I will not let our son grow up under this shadow," promised Thranduil, smiling down at the babe sleeping in his arms. However, his wife's reply arrested his attention.
"I swear it as well," replied Melian in a strange tone. The determined look in her eyes as she gazed up at him filled Thranduil with both joy and apprehension. "I want to go out with one of the scouting parties."
"What?!" breathed Thranduil, overjoyed to see life once again in his wife's eyes, yet filled with an unspeakable dread at her words. " Melian, we know not what causes this shadow, and..."
"And that is exactly why I should go. I feel the shadow's affect more clearly than anyone and could use that to track it to its source."
"Melian, no! You could be hurt or even killed. I cannot, I will not allow this! Think of our children."
"I am thinking of them, Thranduil," whispered Melian, turning to look back out at the forest, which now glimmered in the morning light. "I would die before I let them grow up this way. Please, let me help in the search, for this shadow is poisoning me. I know not how much longer I can bear it."
For a few moments Thranduil stood silent. When he finally spoke, it was with great reluctance. "Very well. Though I feel a strange foreboding at this plan I will permit it. But," he added with a smile at his wife's sparkling eyes, "I am coming with you. What kind of king would I be if I let my queen go off on a quest without me, hmm?"
Melian laughed, her first time to do so in weeks, and replied with one of her old mischievous grins. "You may come, oh King, but you will have to keep up!" With that, she ducked behind him and ran laughing toward the breakfast hall.
"Ai! Melian, that is not fair! I have Legolas. Come back!" called Thranduil, trying to sprint after his wife without waking his son, laughing the whole time.
Thranduil slashed at the Orc in front of him, pivoting even as it fell to block the blow of the Orc behind him. Spinning underneath its sword, Thranduil finished the Orc off and turned to see how the rest of his Elves were faring. The majority of the attacking Orcs had been slain, and even now Thranduil could hear the calls of his archers pursuing the survivors. However, as Thranduil gazed wearily about the glade at the carnage of the surprise attack, he grieved at the sight of fair faces amidst the foul. The price of this victory had not been cheap.
The slight rustle of Elven feet running toward him in the brush alerted Thranduil to the Elf's approach moments before he came panting into the glade.
"My king! You must come quickly. It is Queen Melian!"
Thranduil raced past the messenger as he caught sight of Melian lying on the ground Dropping to his knees by her side, he gazed with horror at the gushing sword wound across her stomach and side that two Elves were vainly trying to bandage.
"What happened?" he gasped reaching a shaking hand to brush his wife's matted hair away from her closed eyes. "I thought the Queen's party escaped as the battle was beginning?"
"We were pursued with a strange intensity, my Liege. They almost seemed to sense where we were headed. We were surrounded and a strange terror filled our minds. We fought as best we could, but they overran us until reinforcements arrived. My lady the Queen, and we two are all that remain," explained the distraught archer, taking a moment from tending the Queen's wound.
"Where is the healer?"
"The healer was slain, my Lord. We are doing what we can. A runner has been sent back to the palace to bring another healer and supplies."
Thranduil barely heard the Elf's reply, so intent was his examination of his wife's still features. The two archers finished doing what they could to aid the Queen - which was pitifully little due to the vast internal damage done - and stepped back to give the king a moment alone with his wife.
"Melian? Melian! Please answer me, Beloved. Melian!"
With a slight gasp, Melian opened her eyes, glassy with pain and loss of blood. "Thranduil?"
"Yes, my love. I am here. Do not try to move. Help is coming."
"No!" she whispered, gasping as she tried to sit up, "Thranduil, the shadow ..."
"Melian, peace!" soothed the King, pushing her gently back down. "The shadow is gone. The orcs were defeated."
But Melian would not be pacified, shaking her head in protest. "No, it is not as it seems. Beloved, you must listen to me. It is so much stronger than we thought. It must not be allowed to take hold or the chance to banish it will be lost!" She was gasping shallowly for breath from her pain and the urgency of her pleas. "Promise me; promise me, Thranduil, that you will withstand it."
"I promise you, Melian. I will do all within my power. Now, please! Be calm."
Having secured Thranduil's promise, Melian relaxed, allowing her head and arms to rest limply against his chest. Thranduil cradled her gently, resting his head against hers, squeezing his eyes tight against the flood of tears threatening to spill forth.
Melian's mind seemed to wander now, following paths that tore at Thranduil's heart. "The children . . . Aldarion, so strong and wise. So much like you, beloved. Elemmire, I wonder who she will finally choose. Her merry spirit will keep her husband busy! Cuthelion, so talented, though he is still so young. Legolas, my precious baby... I wish I could watch them grow up."
"You will, my love," replied Thranduil, kissing her forehead. However, she seemed to not even be aware of his presence.
"How I shall miss Greenwood's song, whispering gently on the evening winds! Yet ... I shall sing Iluvatar's song among the Valar." Melian smiled slightly, half seeing the splendor of the Undying Lands already.
Thranduil was becoming frantic at Melian's ramblings, yet could not fight past the ball of fear and grief in his throat to speak.
"Thranduil, beloved," whispered Melian, reaching to caress his cheek, both love and sorrow reflecting in her eyes. "I shall miss you most of all."
"No, Melian! You are not leaving yet; you must not! I will die without you" Thranduil held her even closer, as if he could somehow physically prevent her spirit from departing. His words seemed to penetrate the fog that clouded her mind.
"My love, you must not. The thought of being separated from you rends my heart, but you must not let your grief ruin you! Your song has not yet ended."
Melian was beginning to drift again, fading now, even as Thranduil watched with increasing horror.
"I love you with all I am, Beloved." she whispered, her eyes slowly drifting closed.
"I love you as well," choked Thranduil, no longer trying to check the stream of silver tears.
"I will be waiting for you," she breathed, then all fell still.
"Wait! Melian? Melian! No!!" Thranduil was bordering on hysterics, calling his wife's name over and over as he tried to get some reaction from her lifeless body. The guards rushed up at Thranduil's cries, but the sight of their queen revealed their worst fears. Wails of grief soon filled the forest. Yet Thranduil took no notice, continuing to weep over his wife's motionless form.
Thranduil sat staring blankly at the wall, too numb to take notice of anything but his all-consuming grief. He had not moved since his steward had led him here two days ago, not even bothering to change his blood stained clothes. The whole realm lay quiet in grief, many fearing for their King's life as well. A few of the servants had tried rousing the King, yet they might as well have been shadows for all the attention he paid them. Not even Aldarion, his oldest son could coax him from his stupor. All Thranduil could see was his beloved Melian lying forever silent amidst the weeping trees.
"Ada, where's mama?" asked a small voice at Thranduil's knee. Long moments passed before the king slowly turned to gaze at the crying child staring wide-eyed at him.
'Those eyes.' thought Thranduil absently, slowly reaching a hand to wipe away the babe's tears. 'So much like Melian's.' This thought made his breath catch as grief rolled through him anew, and he turned away from Legolas's gaze.
"Ada! Wha's wong? Why is evvybody cwyin'? I wan my Mama!" Legolas's fear was rising and the absence of his mother was a new terror wreaking havoc within his infant heart.
The infant's sobs for mother broke into Thranduil's grief. He scooped Legolas into his arms and held him as father and son mingled their tears. He would not fail Melian's last child.