Author Notes: This is the very first Lord of the Rings fanfiction I've ever written, so I hope it works. It's honestly writing itself :) Blame any spelling or grammar errors on the fact that English is my second language, Spanish being my first. Also, the elvish in this story is put on the way I believe it to be. I'm sure it has a lot of mistakes on it, since I just searched for each word and placed it... So, just pretend it's spelled correctly ok? ;)
Master in Deceiving
By Yours Truly
The sun shone on the sky, and the beautiful scenery shone with it, giving nature an air of total perfection. Mountains rose towards the sun's rays, magnificent and ancient. Birds' songs could be heard faintly from the greenery and yet the melody they sang was a sad one. The song rang out like a lament, slower and sweeter than the creatures' normal notes.
Nobody in the company of eight travelers took notice of any of this. For them, this beautiful place could have been as dark as the caves of Moria, and they never would have noticed. Each of them walked on unrelentlessly while wrapped in their own thoughts; each of them were trapped in their own pain.
The steps of the fellowship were slow and heavy, as they moved farther and farther away from the place where they lost one of their companions. Gandalf the Grey, lost to the shadows of Moria. The last they had seen of him was an image of legends: a brave wizard sacrificing himself for them, facing unspeakable evil for their safe passage. Incongruently, the last they had heard of him was a cry for them to run, a reprimand and a warning of the danger.
"Fly, you fools."
The whisper of a voice made the whole group halt in surprise and even the sad melody of the birds seemed to pause around them. One by one, the company turned to look at the owner of the soft words, who stood frozen a few paces behind as if enchanted. Standing still as a statue, he remained oblivious to their stares as he looked straight ahead, seemingly seeing nothing. Aragorn was the first to react, frowning in puzzlement as he went to his friend's side.
"What was it you said?" The ranger inquired gently, placing his hand on the smaller shoulder.
Blue eyes, wide with something like fear, or maybe shock, turned slowly to study Aragorn's face. Seconds dragged by as those orbs gained their focus, seeing Aragorn's features twist with concern before them.
The usually warm and happy voice was nothing more than a whisper of cold wind as it made itself heard.
"Fly, you fools." Legolas repeated softly, his tone even weaker than before as if the words themselves hurt him. The Elf was then quick to avert his gaze from the gray eyes in front of him, choosing to stare into the distance over Aragorn's shoulder.
"Legolas?" Aragorn's voice seemed to ring too loud next to the soft voice of Legolas and the absolute silence of the rest of the fellowship. "What is the matter?"
"Guruthos gar Mithrandir," Legolas whispered, "Ir ha can an enni." ("The shadow of death has Gandalf, when it called for me").
The color drained from Aragorn's face as the others stared at them, confused. Boromir was the first to break the stillness, taking a step in the direction of where the Elf and the Ranger stood.
"What did he say, Aragorn?" The Steward of Gondor spoke, voice tinted with uncertainty.
"It had something to do with Gandalf; he said 'Mithrandir', the elvish name he held." Frodo added as Sam nodded behind him. The silence stretched on as an anwser was expected, but none seemed forthcoming.
Aragorn ignored their questions as he stood directly in front of Legolas, filling his line of vision to force him to look him in the eyes. "What does that mean?"
"It did." Legolas said finally, in the Common Tongue, before slipping back into Elvish, seemingly without noticing. "I annon an Moria ped: 'Anno i cunn.' " (The great gate of Moria spoke: "Give the prince.")
"Why didn't you say something about this?" Aragorn bit out lowly, anger taking the place of his previous confusion. He didn't even notice he spoke in the Common Tongue, nor did he notice the fellowship's rapt attention. "Why not warn us?"
"Neth cunn raeg." Legolas laughed bitterly, the sound harsh and at odds with his ethereal features,"Nauth im maethadan ha." (The prince was wrong. I thought I would fight against it)
After a small pause, Legolas sorrowfully added. "She maetha ha an enni." (He fought it for me.)
Aragorn took a breath and looked away, trying to put order to his thoughts. He did not know what to think about what he had just heard from his oldest friend. Could it be? Was Legolas' silence to blame for Gandalf's demise?
It couldn't be true. Of course it was not.
Looking once more to the troubled face of his elven friend, the man shook his head and finally turned back to the rest of the fellowship. "We must keep going if we hope to reach Lothlorien before long. Boromir, lead the way."
There was a long pause, as each looked between Ranger and Elf, trying to understand the situation. In the end, they nodded and started walking once more, throwing worried glances back to Legolas' pale face.
The Elf, unperturbed by the looks, looked up towards Aragorn, openly studying his face. Guilt, pain and grief shone plainly in his eyes, and the fear of his friend's opinion was not difficult to read. Faced with such a look, Aragorn did not know how to react. Still uncertain as to what he should feel, Aragorn grabbed Legolas' arm and walked on with him, not saying a word. His eyes, hard and unreadable, remained steadily on the path and did not stray towards the visage of his grief-stricken friend. It was so that the man did not see the flash of agony that crossed it like lightening in a storm.
"Estel?" The Elf's voice rang, almost childish in its need, and so quiet that- had there been wind- it would never have been heard.
In lieu of a response, Aragorn gripped the thin arm he held a little tighter and his steps hastened their pace. "Let us hurry Legolas. We cannot linger in these parts and we must catch up with the rest of the fellowship."
It was la feeble excuse, and the man knew it well, but Aragorn honestly did not know what else to say.
Legolas, for his part, understood far too much his friend's reluctance to reassure him. Reeling still from the shock and the grief, the Elf followed numbly the lead of the Ranger, thinking about and yet unable to even attempt to form a suitable apology for the error of his ways. He could not forgive himself, and he certainly could not expect absolution from anyone else.
Because of him they had lost Gandalf.
His dear friend, Mithrandir, was dead.
Aragorn never noticed the silent twin tears that fell from stormy blue eyes. He did not see the sorrow cloud the eyes of his friend, and it was so that he did not realize the change in Legolas as he led the slender Elf by an iron grip on his arm. Crossing the path with the large strides that had earned him his nickname, Aragorn soon reached the rest of his companions, dragging Legolas along. The Elf did not look up into their concerned faces, lost in guilt-ridden thoughts of his own devise.
Frodo stole glances at the formely cheerful Elf a few times, then at Aragorn's serious visage, vainly trying to understand what had upset them so. It was Gandalf's...demise, most probably, for that affected them all. And yet, Frodo knew there was something else, hidden in Legolas' words in a language none but Aragorn understood fully. Curious and worried as he was, in the end, the ring bearer did not want to stick his nose where he knew it did not belong.
"Aragorn, what is wrong with Legolas? I don't understand elvish. What was it he said before?" Pippin, however…
The Ranger sighed at the hobbit's lack of tact, and turned to face him. Pippin did not seem troubled at the scrutiny, merely raising his eyebrows at the man. "I don't think it is my place to tell you, Master Pippin. You will have to ask Legolas if he wishes to tell you."
It was, of course, a way for the hobbit to drop the subject for the moment, but the little one didn't seem to get that. Merry sighed inwardly at what he knew was coming next. His cousin was still too young, it seemed, to understand the Ranger's blatant attempt to let the matter rest.
"Master Elf, what is troubling you?" Merry's eyebrows shot upwards when it wasn't Pippin's voice the one to voice the question, turning to glance at Sam. Sam shrugged off his incredulous look and turned his attention back to the silent Elf at his side. At first it seemed as if Legolas had not heard him- which, considering his superior hearing, was quite unlikely- but then the blond head turned towards the gentle hobbit with a troubled little smile.
"If you knew, Master Samwise, what it is that troubles me, you would loathe the very sight of me in future days." The melodic voice answered sadly, making most of the company look at him in bafflement. "Let me just tell you that only seven of you might be continuing on this quest after Lothlorien, for I have proven myself unworthy to belong to this fine group of brave young ones." The last part of this statement was meant for Sam's ears only, and the little hobbit nearly stopped dead in his tracks.
"What are you referring to, Master Legolas? Without you, we might have been easily defeated by the orcs in Moria!" Samwise frowned as the Elf turned away from his gaze, as if ashamed. That wasn't normal behavior for a member of such a proud race as the elves.
"Believe me, kind Sam. Moria was the place where I failed all of you. Later you will understand, and think that it best for me to leave you now, before I damage you all further." Legolas answered serenely, eyes distant.
Confused, Sam was about to say something else, when he saw that Aragorn had stopped his march.
"We should make camp." His voice was heard clearly in the silence, bringing all the travelers to a halt. "Night is falling over us too soon."
Merry and Pippin happily complied; quickly, they dumped all the packs they carried onto the floor, before settling down themselves. Frodo sat next to them, more slowly, less interested in resting as Gandalf's death still weighted heavily on his mind. With a last glance at the saddened Elf, Sam went to join the other hobbits. Aragorn started a fire and Boromir went to find water, as Gimli spread his blankets near the heat of the awakening flames. Legolas, unnoticed by all, climbed swiftly onto the highest branch of a tree a few feet away from the fellowship; there he sat, doing nothing, seeing nothing, thinking a thousand things at once.
Boromir soon returned with enough water to drown a hobbit, and then with Gimli went to hunt for anything that could pass for a healthy dinner for nine. Sam occupied himself by walking around the camp, looking for some herbs to build a salad, as Pippin was set to the task of looking for branches to keep the fire burning. Merry took out the last of the food he had stored in his pack- a red apple from Rivendell- and shared it with Frodo as both hobbits sat in silence, thinking of the last time they had been in the Shire.
Aragorn struggled to keep the fire burning and was about to call out for Pippin to hurry, when the young hobbit returned with so many branches in his arms, that he could not possibly see his own two feet. The youngest hobbit walked unsteadily forward with his precious burden and, without really noticing, finally dumped all the branches onto Aragorn's head. Happy laughter was heard through the clearing as the fellowship witnessed the scene while Pippin turned a lovely shade of white at the Ranger's expression. Aragorn stood up slowly, a small branch or five still stuck on his hair, glaring at the hobbit in front of him who smiled weakly back at his thunderous frown. Without previous notice, the ranger grabbed Pippin and turned him upside down. Merry was almost rolling on the floor laughing at his cousin expression, and the other hobbits were right there with him. Boromir and Gimli returned just in time to witness this, and chuckled at the scene, bringing with them two rabbits to feed them.
With the mood considerably lighter, they all set to make dinner.
All, that was, except for the quiet Elf in the tree whose blue eyes seemed black in the night. Silver tears slowly ran down the beautiful face, twisted in grief and guilt.
"Fly, you fools", he sobbed quietly to himself, not even hearing the joyous laughter ringing beneath him.