All That Glitters
by SkyFire

Disclaimer: Not mine. *sob* Wish they were. Plotbunnies are mine, though. Don't steal 'em; feed
'em! *g*

A/N:1)Title adapted from Bilbo's poem about Aragorn, recited in the book LotR:FotR, in the chapter
entitled "the Council of Elrond" and in the chapter "Strider" in the text of Gandalf's letter.
"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
There's one more verse, but this is the only one that applies (sort of) to this story.

2)Thoughts are in / /.

Please leave me a review!! My plotbunnies really, really appreciate it! Let me know what you
think of this, hmm? This is my first non-humor LotRFic.

*****
All That Glitters
by SkyFire

It was late afternoon. The warm sun cast its light down into the Mirkwood through the occasional
breaks in the forest canopy high above the ground. Down below, enough sun seeped in to give the
air almost a green glow, even though very little direct sunlight made it down that far.
Outsiders may have thought the forest gloomy, but its inhabitants thought it otherwise. The tops
of the great trees swayed in the strong wind, though below it came only as an occasional faint
breeze.

Legolas paid little attention to the beauty of the forest that was his home, for he was scared
and running. He had been running for most of the afternoon and his thin sides ached, and his
footing was no longer as sure as it had been. Sweat sheened his face and dampened his chin-length
blond hair.

Still, he ran.



His father, King Thranduil of the Mirkwood Elves, had had a meeting with his council that
afternoon and the young Prince had taken the opportunity to slip away from his guardian that
morning and sneak out into the forest to explore.



He cast a wide-eyed glance back over his shoulder, checking to see if his pursuer was still there.

He breathed in harsh gulps through his mouth, each surge of air greeted by a faint whistling
sound as it passed through the space left the week before when one of his front baby teeth had
fallen out.



Once out into the forest, he set about exploring, moving further and further out without even
noticing. It was so exciting to be out on his own for the first time, without his guard to tell
him what he could or could not do. No one to tell him not to get dirty, or not to touch that
toad, or to get up out of the dirt and act like a Prince!

At last, tired of exploring and starting to get a little hungry, the young Prince turned to go
back home, but then stopped cold. He turned another way, but that way didn't seem right, either.
He spun, staring wildly around at trees that were not in the least bit familiar to him. Which
way was home?

Tears begun to well up in his green eyes and he shivered despite the day's warmth. He wasn't
having fun anymore. He wanted to go home! He looked around at trees that no longer looked
interesting and inviting, but dark and cold and forbidding. And entirely unfamiliar.

A whimper rose in his throat, but he bit it back with all of the youthful pride he had left.

/Which way?/ he wondered. /Father always told me not to wander if I ever got lost. But then he
and my guards were always close. No one even knows I'm not hiding in the palace. They won't
even think to look for me out here!/

This time a whimper *did* escape. He sat down on the forest floor, hugged his knees to his chest.
He didn't cry. But he did whimper loudly for maybe half an hour.

Then he stood, determined to find his way home to his Father and the scolding he knew that he
deserved. He looked around and, since he didn't know how to tell cardinal directions, picked a
direction at random and started walking.

Unfortunately for him, he chose to head almost straight South, almost directly opposite from home.

He started to run, wanting to get home as soon as possible.

An hour later, still nothing looked familiar. If anything, it looked even scarier, darker, not
wholesome like the part of the forest that the Elves lived in. He slowed to a stop, looked
around, panting quietly. He knew now that he'd gone the wrong way, and that now he stood in the
dangerous woods of South Mirkwood. His skin crawled as he remembered the stories his nurse used
to tell him about this place. Stories about monsters that lived in these woods and ate little
Elves; the giant spiders, goblins, even wargs!

A branch snapped off to one side of him and he spun to face the noise, heart rising in his throat.
/Monsters!/ he thought. He stared hard in that direction, but saw nothing. Then a motion from
above caught his eye and he looked up.

A short cry of terror escaped him as a giant spider quickly dropped down at him, forelegs
reaching out to grab him, mandibles clicking hungrily. He barely managed to dodge the monster,
then he turned and ran away as fast as his legs would carry him.

West.

The spider clicked in disappointment at the escape of the tender, juicy young morsel, then set
off in bounding pursuit.

The rest of the afternoon was spent running, as the young Elf sought to escape the spider and the
spider tried to pounce on and sting the small one.

By late afternoon, Legolas and the spider were close to the western edge of Mirkwood, maybe two
hundred yards from open fields. If he had known, the Elf could have ran out of the forest there,
for the spider would not go out into the open. As it was, he zigzagged back deeper into the
trees and never knew how close he'd been.

It was on one of his frequent glances back over his shoulder that the ground betrayed him. His
foot caught on something, he didn't know what, and sent him tumbling head over heels down the
rocky side of a narrow ravine that had been hidden by ferns around its narrow opening. His head
hit a stone at the bottom and all of a sudden he felt strangely disconnected from all that was
happening. He lay limp there at the bottom of the ravine. He could feel the vague ache of small
cuts and bruises he'd taken in the tumble, the throbbing pain of the ankle of the foot that had
caught, the spiking pain from his head hitting the stone. He stared motionlessly upward, saw the
spider try repeatedly to reach him with a claw-ended foreleg, heard its shriek of anger as it
couldn't fit enough of its bulk into the narrow opening in the ground.

Then darkness closed in on his mind and he lost consciousness.


TBC...

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