Part of the Undying Friendship Series
Warning: some violence
Beta: Many thanks to Randy (Thranduil Oropherion Redux), Gwynnyd, Sulriel and eiranae.
Summary: "You are more worthy to wear the armour of elf-princes than many that have looked more comely in it." That was what his father told Mr. Bilbo Baggins. Legolas at the Battle of Five Armies.
Written for The Tolkien Tango Prompt #8 War.
Their spears and swords shone in the gloom with a gleam of chill flame, so deadly was the wrath of the hands that held them.
JRR Tolkien, The Clouds Burst, The Hobbit
Deadly Was the Wrath of the Hands That Held Them
By Nieriel Raina
2941, 3rd Age
How has it come to this? Legolas lay on his bedroll (placed as far from the king's tent as possible). He understood his father's wish to have part of the treasure – for they had given much to the Men of Laketown to succor them in the wake of the dragon's destruction. Bard's argument that much of the treasure belonged to the Men rang true. Still, it was only gold and jewels. Legolas had seen the king's treasury and knew more of the same would not replace the food and supplies given.
No, it was a matter of pride. He shook his head with a grimace. His father was a stubborn old goat sometimes! And that mulishness could keep them here for months. So the dwarves had escaped their rooms, was it so terrible? Legolas had been glad to find the demanding creatures gone. Gruff, noisy – the rumbling voices grated on his nerves. Their scent, like fire and deep stone, offended his sense of smell.
Better to be rid of them and the odd feeling of eyes watching him at inopportune moments. Legolas had a feeling the eyes belonged to the strange creature the Men of Laketown said was helping the dwarves. How the dwarves' hobbit had remained unseen in the Elvenking's halls, Legolas did not know.
He sighed. Thranduil cared – enough to see Thorin pay for his trespassing through elven lands, for stirring up the spiders that had attacked the people, for refusing to state why they traveled through the wood. Damn those dwarves! If they had left well enough alone, the dragon would not have attacked Laketown; they would not have needed to give aid to the Men; and they would not be out here in the open away from the woods that called to him.
Nor would the dragon be dead.
His heart spoke that fate had played a great hand in eliminating that dreaded beast. For reasons unseen, there was great purpose in the dragon's death. He sighed again. It probably had nothing to do with the fate of his people, and most especially not him personally. So, he was probably stuck out here between the king and the dwarves in their mountain for nothing more than some gold and jewels, when he should be on his leave from duty, feasting with his friends, dancing with pretty maidens and drinking some of his father's best wine (slipped out from under the king's nose of course). Dwarves were nothing but trouble!
The stars wheeled overhead, shining like diamonds in the velvet dark of the night. He softly sung a hymn to Elbereth praising her for making such beauty, hoping that losing himself in the wonder of nature would alleviate his irritation at the situation. He let his song mingle with the rushing of a nearby stream.
Another warrior bearing a lantern made his way to Legolas' side and sat beside him. "This is ridiculous," Tathar set his lantern to the side. "Why does any of this concern us? We should be home."
"I would love to be home, but deserting is not an option." He sat up and lit his own lantern. He might as well eat something if he could not sleep. He fished around in his pack for his travel rations. He had just pulled out a small sack of nuts and dried berries when a splash in the nearby stream startled him. He dropped the sack and stood, running towards the stream with his lantern, Tathar and several others on his heels.
"That was no fish!" Legolas said, searching along the streambed for the source of the splashing and scrambling he had heard. "There is a spy about. Hide your lights! They will help him more than us, if it is that queer little creature that is said to be their servant."
A sneeze broke the quiet of the night, and Legolas and his fellows moved quickly towards the sound.
"Let's have a light!" a voice cried. "I am here, if you want me!"
Legolas stared hard at the little creature that seemed to appear from nowhere. That troubled him for some reason he could not explain, but when he glimpsed the elvish armor under its open coat, his heart began to beat faster. The sight of the mithril coat both confused and angered Legolas. How had it gotten that?
The other warriors were on the small being quickly, asking questions one after the other about who he was, what he was doing and how he had gotten so far past the scouts.
"I am Mr. Bilbo Baggins," the creature answered, "companion of Thorin, if you want to know." Mr. Bilbo Baggins looked directly at Legolas as he spoke next. "I know your king well by sight, though perhaps he doesn't know me to look at. But Bard will remember me, and it is Bard I particularly want to see."
This Baggins person's stare felt familiar. Legolas knew this had been the cause of his feelings of being watched while the dwarves were in the Elvenking's care. And he had no doubt Mr. Bilbo Baggins also knew his relation to the king, among other things. The hobbit could get him answers.
"Indeed," Legolas answered, "and what may be your business?"
"Whatever it is, it's my own, my good elves. But if you wish ever to get back to your own woods from this cold cheerless place, you will take me along quick to a fire, where I can dry – and then you will let me speak to your chiefs as quick as may be. I have only an hour or two to spare."
Legolas narrowed his eyes at the shivering creature, but he could not deny he did wish to return home. Mr. Bilbo Baggins touched something deep in Legolas' mind, reminding him of something he could not quite remember. "He's harmless," Legolas decided. "But he may indeed have information vital to our purpose. Take him to the king."
: - :
Legolas stood among his company, waiting for the battle to come, and contemplating the confrontation between the small hobbit, Bard and Thranduil the day before last. Mr. Baggins' information had proved beneficial, yet it had not alleviated the need for battle. But it was not the words of Bilbo that troubled Legolas, but rather other words he had overheard that night.
"Strange how circumstances change so suddenly," Tathar commented while drawing his blade. "One minute we are being attacked by dwarves, and the next, Gandalf is holding council with Bard, Thranduil and Dain. The goblins from the North and the Wild Wolves descend on us, their army covered by a whirling blackness of bat wings…"
Legolas glanced at his friend, noting the hard eyes and ready position. "Are you afraid?"
Tathar returned his gaze. "Afraid? Never! But this will not be an easy day."
Legolas returned his eyes to the advancing horde. He could not agree more. The elves were assembled on the Mountain among the rocks and the foot of the mountain. They would charge first, and deadly would that charge be for their hatred for the abominations was cold and bitter. Legolas felt his own wrath rising, could feel the ire of his fellow warriors, and in his mind the words of his father to Bilbo echoed repeatedly.
You are more worthy to wear the armour of elf-princes than many that have looked more comely in it. That was what his father told Mr. Bilbo Baggins.
Worthy, he would be worthy in his father's eyes. It angered him that the hobbit was a thief, and Thranduil had said nothing to that effect. His armour had been kept in a chest to one day be given to his own son. Now it graced the back of a hobbit – a hobbit that Thranduil considered worthy because he had stolen a stone from Thorin.
The signal to charge came, and Legolas ran hard, spinning and parrying, slicing and dealing out death. With each goblin that fell, Legolas searched for another, his blades singing in a deadly dance.
Through their second charge and up the Southern arm of the mountain to Ravenhill where he and his brothers stood with the king, Legolas maintained that thought and anger. He might be the youngest of the House of Oropher, but today he would prove himself worthy, make his father proud, show he was a true prince of elves.
"AHHH!!" Legolas drove his blade deep into a goblin, twisting it as he grimaced in his wrath. His rage blinded him to another attack and an enemy blade made contact. Pain exploded along his back and side. His knees buckled and he sank down on them.
You are more worthy to wear the armour of elf-princes than many that have looked more comely in it.
How easily I have fallen, he thought, unable to rise. His father, if anyone, knew the true value of things; Legolas did not deserve his father's praise. Another blow fell on his head. His ears rang and his eyes darkened.
He heard the cry, but could not determine whose voice called him through his pain. Someone dropped beside him, but he could not see who it was.
"Legolas, be still."
It was Belthul, his eldest brother. He would be safe now. Belthul always took care of him. He felt a sharp pain as something pressed onto his wounds, and he groaned, then all went black.
: - :
The determined and familiar voice called him through his pain. He groaned, but did not open his eyes.
"Legolas, look at me!"
Now that was an order, a command that was simply not ignored. With difficulty, Legolas cracked open his eyes, only to close them again as blinding light caused them to water.
"That is it, son. Open your eyes and look at me."
His father was here; all would be well. Then he remembered the battle, remembered his fall, remembered the words that had pierced his heart.
"I said look at me."
Blinking against the light, Legolas opened his eyes. He was in a tent on a cot, and his father sat on a stool beside it holding his hand. A look of relief crossed Thranduil's face as Legolas focused on his father. "Ada?" Legolas whispered.
"Thank Elbereth!" Thranduil smiled and squeezed his hand. "The healers feared that blow to your head had done severe damage. It is a good thing you inherited my thick skull!"
But only one thought consumed Legolas' thoughts. "I am sorry, Ada."
Thranduil blinked at him, then frowned, looking puzzled. "Sorry? For what, Legolas?"
"For not being worthy of you; for making you ashamed of me."
Anger flashed in the king's eyes. "Who has told you such nonsense, my son? I will personally thrash them!" Thranduil's hand squeezed his tightly, so that Legolas winced. His father eased up his grip, then smiled at him, his anger fading. "I am most proud of you, son. You fought bravely!"
Legolas closed his eyes and turned his face from the king. "You cannot be proud of me. I did not see the enemy, and I fell. I am not worthy."
A firm hand grasped his chin and turned him back towards the one person he most wanted to please. "Look at me, Legolas." He opened his eyes to see pain filling those of the king. "Why do you say these things? Who has made you believe you are unworthy of my pride?"
Swallowing down the lump that had raised in his throat, Legolas whispered, "You did."
The shock on the king's face would have amused him, if his heart and body did not ache so.
"I know I have always been firm with you, but I have never said such things, Legolas."
"You did!" Legolas cried out, unable to keep the despair from his voice. He tried to sit, but pain exploded in his head and he fell back gasping for air.
"Shhh. Be still." His father gently stroked his face. "Calm yourself and we will discuss this, for you are mistaken."
Relief filled Legolas at those words. He was mistaken! His father did not think him unworthy… "B-but, you said – you told Bilbo he was more worthy to wear my armour than I! And he a thief who had stolen it."
Slowly, comprehension filled Thranduil's eyes. "Oh, my son, you misunderstood greatly. That armour Bilbo wears is not yours, though it greatly resembles it."
Now Legolas felt confused. "Not mine? But…"
His father's fingers on his lips silenced any further protest. "Hush." Thranduil smiled at him, releasing a heavy sigh. "That armour was once mine, and it was myself to whom I referred as unworthy. It was my own foolishness that I referred to, my own greed over treasure. Bilbo's courage and selflessness showed me just how foolish I was being."
Thranduil nodded and his smile turned to a grin. "Yes, mine, and my father's before me. Yours was styled after it. I had it commissioned when I learned I was to have another son. It still lies in your chest waiting for the day you have your own son." The king gave him a significant look, and Legolas felt his cheeks heat at the implication. "But that will wait until you are healed.
"I could not be more proud of you, Legolas. The way you threw yourself into the battle… I watched you long from my position, and my heart swelled with pride. I thought, here is a son worthy of the line of Oropher! Mighty in battle and skilled in war." Thranduil stood to his feet, and then, to Legolas' surprise, the king bowed to him.
"I am proud to call you my son."
Looking into his father's eyes, Legolas felt proud, too. Proud to be Thranduilion. And he fell asleep with a smile on his face.
: - :
A/N – Much of the encounter between Bilbo and Legolas, including all the dialogue, is taken directly from The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, as is the title. Much of the battle is based heavily on the book's description of events. Legolas, of course, is not mentioned in The Hobbit, yet this is what he tells me happened.
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