Disclaimer: Seriously...how many times am I going to have to say this? Lord of the Rings isn't mine :/ It never has been, never will be. Although one can always dream...right?
A/N: Woop woop! Chapter 5 already! This fic is quickly turning into one of my most-chaptered fics, although definitely not my longest XD I've had quite a bit of free time in school these past couple of days, so I've been working on this fic a lot. That being said, hopefully I'll be able to have another update either tomorrow or Thursday. And on a completely RANDOM side note, ONLY 9 MORE DAYS UNTIL THE HOBBIT! :D
Thank you to everyone who has reviewed, alerted, favorited, etc. I am terribly sorry to all of you reviewers who I did not reply to in person. I feel terrible...life just really got in the way. I'll try my hardest to make time to reply to all this chapter though!
Lastly, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy! If you feel so inclined, I would be very much appreciative if you would leave a few words on your way out.
Dedication: For my best friend, Mirnava. At the rate we (and this fic) are going, this is going to be your birthday present for next year too! XD Happy birthday.
Legolas's stallion stopped abruptly, bracing his forelegs as he slid to a halt, nostrils flared. Legolas lurched forward in the saddle, not having been expecting such an abrupt halt, having been so intently focused upon his conversation with Elladan. Instinctively his legs tightened around the stallion's sides, keeping him from falling against his mount's neck.
"What is it?" Legolas asked, leaning forward to speak in the stallion's ear, running one hand down the sleek neck. "Is something wrong my friend?"
The singing of a flying arrow pierced the sudden silence that had fallen over the company. Legolas ducked, covering his head with an arm. He felt the wind of the arrow as it tore through the air just above his head, and an instant later heard a thwup as the arrowhead impacted a tree behind him.
Legolas's adrenaline surged, the instinct to survive responding to the near-miss. He glanced at the arrow, still quivering in the bark, and felt his skin grow cold. Ratted black feathers fletched the thick arrow, and he knew of only one race that used fletching as atrocious as that. Even as the realization sunk in, Legolas was turning his gaze the other way, scanning the shadows between the trunks, searching for the enemy that had fired the arrow.
Something moved in the treetops overhead, causing the branches to rustle. Legolas's gaze snapped up to the canopy, and froze.
"Get down!" he bellowed, sliding from his mount's back and landing lightly on the soggy ground. He ducked down, putting his horse between himself and the treed enemy.
Arrows sang through the air and plummeted down among the elven party in a rain of dark death. A piercing, animalistic scream tore through the shriek, and Legolas's stallion reared, throwing his head and pounding the air with his hooves. For what felt like an eternity he teetered on his hind legs, and then he fell, two arrows in his side and another in his neck.
Legolas lunged to the side, rolling clear just as his horse crashed to the ground, lifeless. With a surge of energy the elf leapt to his feet and drew forth his sword, whirling toward the blanket of trees from whence the arrows flew.
"Legolas!" someone bellowed, and the prince glanced behind him toward the source of the voice. Someone tackled him, sending him sprawling to the leaf-strewn loam, the person landing heavily on top of him. As he landed, Legolas heard the hum of yet another volley.
The person on top of Legolas grunted with pain, and Legolas would have sworn that he could feel it through his own body as the arrowhead embedded itself into their flesh.
Another scream rent the air, and then the clang of metal against metal followed a second after. Howls reverberated between the tree trunks, as much at war with the elven battle cries as those to whom the yells belonged to.
Long raven hair obstructed Legolas's sight, keeping him from seeing what was happening. Raven hair…
No! Legolas thought, even as he realized that the person on top of him had not moved since being struck.
Legolas heaved, pushing the body off of him, and clambered to his knees, glancing around him as he did so.
The scene was a mass of chaos and confusion. Orcs swarmed between the trees, their weapons upraised as they charged, howling all the while. The three elves still standing were already locked in the deadly dance of combat, their swords flashing in the faint light that managed to pierce the murky shadows beneath the canopy. At least one of the peredhel fighting was already bleeding from a wound in their forearm, and when Legolas caught the briefest of glimpses of Adelforod, he thought he saw a broken shaft protruding from his side.
The situation did not look promising.
Right now, however, there were other matters to attend to, Legolas thought. The fighting had yet to break through the fragile wall that the peredhel and the Mirkwood guard had erected, which left Legolas in the clear for at least a moment. As much as he yearned to go aid his friends, he knew that there was someone who needed his attention more urgently.
Legolas inspected the elf beside him, searching for the arrow that he had felt strike him. He found it quickly. An ugly shaft was buried in their back, just below the right shoulder blade. Blood was already staining the green cloth of their tunic, and splatters of crimson adorned the wood of the bolt.
Legolas's heart sank. He knew that he did not have the skill to safely remove the arrow, nor even the knowledge to know if it should be done. If there was no other choice, he could pull it forth, but that would likely result in far greater damage than had already been done. This sort of wound needed a proper and experienced healer, not a warrior prince who had only the most basic knowledge of field medicine. The only comfort to Legolas was that the injured elf continued to breathe steadily, and there was no wheezing or rasping in their lungs – yet.
He could stand it no longer; Legolas needed to know who it had been that had saved him. As carefully as he could, so as not to cause any more harm to peredhil than had already been exacted, Legolas rolled the elf beside him up onto his side. Gently, Legolas brushed back the hair from the elf's face.
It was Elladan.
A sudden shout drew Legolas's attention back toward the battle. One of the peredhel was down, an orc standing over them and lifting a hooked sword, ready to bring it slicing down into the elf trapped beneath it.
Legolas lunged to his feet, reaching for his sword as he did so, but to his mind's shock, his hand only passed through empty air.
Reich! Legolas cursed to himself, suddenly realizing that he must have dropped his blade when Elladan tackled him. He glanced around at the ground frantically, and finally caught the gleam of metal amid the undergrowth. He reached down and grasped the hilt, pulling the blade free of the tangling weeds that held it.
But he had already lost three precious seconds, and in a battle like this, three seconds could make all of the difference between life and death. Legolas looked up, afraid of what he would see, even as his feet began to carry him toward the enemy.
And then he stopped abruptly as two things happened simultaneously.
The orc blade that was about to take the peredhil's life suddenly flew off to the side, the hand of the orc still clutching the crudely hewn hilt, the stump of the wrist spraying black blood. With a gurgling scream, the orc twisted and fell, the tip of a curved blade protruding from his back. And as he toppled to the ground, Legolas caught a glimpse of Lord Elrond as he wrenched his blade free of the corpse, and for just an instant, the prince did not recognize the Elf lord as he blazed with a light born of anger and battle furor.
At the same instant, Elladan coughed behind Legolas, diverting his attention. The Silvan elf glanced behind him for a split second, caught with indecision, the urge to go to his injured friend battling with the pressing need to aid the others in the skirmish.
"Ai," Elladan groaned, and Legolas made up his mind. Turning quickly, he knelt by Elladan's side.
"Do not move my friend," he told Elladan urgently. "You have been shot in the back."
"Thank you for the observation," Elladan quipped, "I hadn't noticed." Legolas grimaced.
"I am afraid that I cannot remove the shaft," Legolas informed the peredhil. "It is imbedded deeply, and I fear to cause more internal harm by removing it."
"Well I can't very well fight with an arrow in by back, can I?" Elladan said sardonically, hearing the din of battle and looking up from his position on the ground.
"I do not think that you should attempt to fight," Legolas cautioned, laying a hand on his friend's arm.
"We have to help," Elladan retorted, and attempted to push himself upright. He groaned and fell back to the earth, gritting his teeth.
"I tried to tell you," Legolas said testily. His nerves were thrumming, and as he knelt by Elladan's side for each passing second, he felt the overwhelming need to join the battle grow all the more intense.
"At least snap off the shaft of the arrow," Elladan begged, turning to Legolas. "Please."
Legolas moved swiftly, and before Elladan could even react, he had seized the arrow shaft and snapped it in half, casting the fletched portion away into the undergrowth.
Again, Elladan attempted to rise, and this time he was much more successful. He grimaced in agony as the arrowhead wreaked its havoc within him, but he uttered not a sound, stiffening his legs and forcing them to bear his weight through the sheer power of his will.
"Elladan," Legolas snapped, leaping to his feet and staying Elladan with a hand on his shoulder. "You will not aid us. You will only prove to be a liability if you attempt to fight. You may even succeed in getting one of us slain." It was a low blow, Legolas knew, yet that did not detract from its truthfulness, and he feared what would happen should Elladan succeed in engaging in combat.
"They need help," Elladan exclaimed vehemently, although he grit his teeth and clutched at his side an instant later, as if attempting to steady himself.
"You are right…" Legolas said, trailing off, and Elladan made to sidestep him. "No, wait Elladan. You are right, we need help, and badly. The main party is still on the path, awaiting our return," he said, now speaking rapidly. "Get to them, tell them of our predicament. Bring us aid."
Elladan hesitated for just an instant, his gaze fastened on the raging battle beyond Legolas. He finally tore his gaze away, and looked into Legolas's pale blue eyes. He nodded once, turned, and broke into a staggering lope, disappearing into shadow beneath the trees.
Elbereth, keep him safe, Legolas prayed silently, and then turned toward the battle.
Legolas attacked, raising his sword into the charge position. As if on cue, the boundary that Elrond, Elrohir, and Adelforod had kept between the orcs and the rest of the clearing dissolved, and the enemy swarmed forward.
They were holding them back, Legolas realized. They were giving Elladan a chance, me a chance.
A battle cry tore from Legolas's lips, the single clarion note of music building in the air before him as he ran. And then with a nearly audible crunch, he engaged the first orc.
To Be Continued...