Disclaimers: See the Author's Notes in the first chapter. R for violence and death!
Reason To Fight, Reason To Wed
Legolas tore through the kingdom, battling through the Orcs, Goblins, and other such creatures that got in his way. The blond Elf searched frantically for the King and Queen, as well as the Prince. He knew that he was not supposed to be here, but he had no choice. His soul cried out that he was needed here, right now.
Blood splattered across the masculine beauty of the Elven Prince, though it did nothing to mar his beautiful looks. Dirt and grim covered his blond hair and face, as well as his hands, which clenched his bow tightly. His clothes were torn and blood-stained, showing his small but firm muscles.
An Orc roared and lunged at him. Legolas swiftly notched an arrow, and shot it, instantly killing the creature. The lone Elf then slung his bow across his back and drew his Elven daggers.
Where were Aragorn, Queen Adrienne, and King Arathorn, Legolas wondered, continuing his frantic searching through the rooms and hallways. He encountered more foes and killed them instantly, though he feared for Aragorn. Where could he be?
The Elven Prince encountered yet another Orc and began parrying with it, easily deflecting its blows, before he slit the throat of the creature. Blood flowed in the wake of the dagger and sprayed across the beautiful face.
A groan caught Legolas' attention, and he raced over to find King Arathorn lying on the ground, blood spurting from a mortal wound given by an arrow. The grief-stricken Elf removed the arrow and pressed his hands against the wound.
"Wake, King Arathorn," Legolas said frantically. "You cannot die, not now! Your people need you! Aragorn needs you, as does Queen Adrienne!"
King Arathorn coughed up massive amounts of blood, before he opened his eyes weakly. A raspy sound came from his lungs, telling Legolas that he was too late… The king was going to die. Legolas persisted in his efforts, anyway.
Arathorn focused faintly on the Elf who was trying in vain to keep him alive. "L-Legolas," the king whispered hoarsely. "Forget m-me. S-save them."
"I will not leave you here to die," Legolas grimly said.
"Go! P-Please… As a favor to the one…" Arathorn coughed up more blood, before he continued. "The one who would have…p-proudly called you 'son'…"
Legolas whispered, "You honor me, King Arathorn. But I cannot leave you like this." Grief was apparent in the Elf's soft words.
Arathorn shook his head. "I-I am beyond help, L-Legolas. Save the part of m-me that you can… Aragorn… P-Promise me you…you will save him." The king began going limp.
"I promise you, King Arathorn. If I can protect him and keep him alive, I will," Legolas vowed, right before Arathorn died in his arms. Sorrow shone in the wise, blue eyes, as a slender hand slowly closed the eyes of the dead king.
'You were a noble king, Arathorn, and I would have proudly called you father,' Legolas murmured in Elvish, taking a few seconds to mourn the fallen King, before he stood once more and ran off, in search of Aragorn. The child needed protection, the grief-stricken Elf knew.
"Please, no! Spare him!" a female voice cried, followed by a blood-curdling scream. Silence fell then.
Not again, Legolas silently prayed, as he sprinted to where the sound had come from. Once again, he was too late. The queen lay dead before him, her eyes wide and vacant. A tiny wail came from the corner, drawing Legolas' attention.
Horror filled his brilliant blue eyes at the sight before him. A strange, unknown creature was slowly notching an arrow, aiming it directly at a tiny, helpless little boy, who was currently crying for his mommy.
The Elf did the only thing he could do, as the arrow released. He flung himself in front of the child, gasping in pain as the sharp arrow tore into his side, all the way through. The brown-eyed child gazed up at him, with tears streaming from his eyes. Little hands reached towards Legolas, who, without turning around, flung one of his daggers into the creature's throat, killing it instantly.
Legolas easily picked Aragorn up, and began murmuring soft, Elvish words of comfort, beads of sweat on his forehead and tension on his face. He looked around wildly, trying to figure out a way for them to escape.
When he heard the guttural sounds of the Orcs approaching, Legolas took a desperate gamble and ran towards the window in the room, before he dove through it, curling himself around the toddler, protecting him from the glass shards, which cut deeply into Legolas' skin.
The Elven Prince whistled sharply, drawing more tears from Aragorn, who sobbed because he didn't understand what was going on, he didn't know who was holding him, and he didn't know where his mommy or daddy were.
An Elvish horse appeared at the sound of the whistle, and Legolas painfully climbed onto his horse, ignoring the pain from his wound, and the fact that blood was beginning to trickle out of his mouth. The Elf dug his knees in, after making certain that Aragorn was clutched tightly to him, and they galloped off.
They hadn't even been gone for half an hour when Legolas heard the shrieks and screams of the Nazgul, who were, no doubt, after the last heir to Gondor. He held the child tighter, and urged his horse to gallop faster. If he could reach Imaldris before they were caught, Aragorn would be safe.
The chase continued for a night and a day, with Legolas' prized stallion barely keeping ahead of the Nazgul, who constantly attempted to cut the Elf off. Aragorn was sound asleep in Legolas' arms, not aware of what the Elf was going through to protect him.
Desperation was giving Legolas the strength to press on, despite his pain, and he shouted for his horse to run as fast as the stallion could. The arrow wound had begun to fester already, and the Elf still mourned the death of Aragorn's parents. They had always been kind to him.
Finally, Legolas was within sight of the borders of Imaldris, and hope sung in his heart. Here was the safest place of all for Aragorn now, with the Elves who lived here. His joy was short-lived however, as he saw with a sinking feeling that three of the Nazgul were blocking the way.
The beautiful Elf did not cower before them, as he was slowly surrounded by the Ringwraiths. He held Aragorn protectively, and was prepared to do anything to save the child.
The Nazgul hissed at Legolas to hand the child over, which Legolas vehemently refused to do. He drew his dagger and held it defensively, while beginning to chant an Elven spell to call up the wind to aid him. Whistling sounds suddenly caught Legolas' attention, and his heart sang to realize that they were Elven arrows. The guards of the border of Imaldris, Legolas realized, relief shining in his blue eyes.
Aragorn slept on innocently, as the Nazgul fled from the group of five Elves that left Imaldris, firing arrows at the black-garbed Ringwraiths.
The twin sons of Elrond Peredhil left the other Elves and galloped over to Legolas, whose strength was finally failing him. The blond Prince had just handed Aragorn into the open arms of Elladan, when he suddenly swooned and fell from his horse. Elrohir easily caught the slightly younger Elf and inspected him carefully, before he found the arrow wound, with the arrow still in it.
'Let's get them to Father,' Elladan murmured. Elrohir nodded and lifted Legolas in his arms. The twin Elves mounted their own horses, carrying the sleeping toddler and the unconscious Elven Prince.
They quickly entered Imaldris, for their steeds were not tired and worn out, as Legolas' stallion had been. It followed its limp and motionless rider, worried.
Servants tended to the horses, as Elrohir and Elladan carried the two into the castle and to an empty room.
Legolas was laid face-first on the soft bed, too exhausted to awaken at being moved. Elrohir removed his friend's tunic and shirt, surprised at the pitiful condition they were in. He had to cut part of the shirt, because of the arrow.
Elladan cradled Aragorn in his arms, murmuring softly to the sleeping child. He glanced over at his pale, unconscious friend, and wondered what was happening. Legolas looked like he had been in the middle of a war or something.
Elrond swiftly entered the room and instantly went to work on the limp, younger Elf. He carefully removed the arrow, steeling himself against the cry of pain that followed, before herbs and bandages were applied carefully.
Legolas groaned softly and blinked his eyes, as they shifted back to normal. He instinctively went for a dagger, but Elrond firmly held Legolas' hands down.
'Relax, for you are safe in Imaldris, Legolas,' Elrond told the younger Elf, before releasing his wrists.
Legolas looked at the three Elves in the room as best as he could. 'I owe you my life,' he said gratefully. 'And Aragorn's life.'
Elladan started slightly, as he took a closer look at the child in his arms. 'Aragorn? The son of Arathorn?' he asked, incredulous.
'Yes,' Legolas answered.
'What has happened?' Elrond questioned sharply.
Legolas took in a shuddering breath, for this grief was all too near for him. 'Gondor has fallen. The King and Queen are both dead; I saw it for myself. A sad fate for such noble and caring souls. Of the other citizens, I know not; I barely escaped with Aragorn, as Arathorn made me promise.'
Elrond, Elrohir, and Elladan bowed their heads in grief, for Arathorn had been a relative, however distant.
'Aragorn cannot return with me to Mirkwood,' Legolas said truthfully. 'We were not ever supposed to meet, until he was old enough to understand. But… his soul called to me and bid me to go against my father's wishes this time.'
Elrond said gently, 'Twas good that you did, Legolas, for you saved Aragorn's life. He will be reared here, by me.'
Legolas looked at the Elven lord somewhat sternly, which was surprising, given the vast difference in their ages. 'Treat him as one of your own, Lord Elrond, for he will remember the great and caring man who was his father. Aragorn is too young to understand what has happened.'
'I will,' Elrond answered, for he knew what spurred that statement. So he did not take an insult to the younger Elf's words.
Legolas carefully sat up, ignoring the slight pain, before he finally stood, a little shakily. 'I have to return to Mirkwood,' he said regretfully. 'Please keep him safe… until it is time. Mithrandir and I will come then.'
Elrond nodded silently. He protested at Legolas leaving so soon, especially when he was injured, but the Elven Prince knew that he had to return home. He was not supposed to have come, but had done so anyway.
Legolas bid his two friends farewell, thanking them for their assistance, before he left, without saying a word to the sleeping toddler.
To any other, it would have seemed a cold and callous act, considering what the child had just gone through. But the three dark-haired Elves knew why Legolas had acted so. They shared a look of pity and understanding, before turning back to Aragorn.
'What will you call him, Father?' Elladan asked curiously.
Elrond smiled. 'He shall be known as Estel, my son, for he is the hope of the future of Gondor.'
As Legolas mounted his stallion outside the Elven castle, which had gotten enough rested to regain its stamina, his thoughts shifted back to Aragorn. The Elf briefly wondered how much Aragorn would grow and change, before he returned. For it was far too soon for them to meet.
Legolas' betrothed was only two-years-old, after all.
To be continued