Chapter 14 – Revelations
Legolas awoke from his slumber in early hours of the morning. The early morning sky glowed as the sun's first rays filtered through the heavy cover of the forest canopy. Carefully the elfling slid out of bed and slipped his bare feet into a soft pair of deer skin slippers, reaching for his stuffed rabbit.
With a heavy heart Legolas made his way towards Elladan and Elrohir's chambers. He knew this day was bound to happen but it did not mean he had to like it. No, today was the day he dreaded the most. Elladan and Elrohir were to leave once the sun had fully risen.
The brothers had spent the past couple of weeks in Mirkwood. A snowstorm had kept them from their travels, instead spending hours playing with Legolas in snow. Legolas secretly prayed to the Valar for another storm knowing it vain in would not happen, his intensions were purely selfish. He wished that Elladan and Elrohir would decide to stay in Mirkwood with him forever. Then he would not be lonely anymore.
Legolas' eyes began to water as he softly knocked on Elladan's chamber door. Legolas knew Elladan was more calm and patient. He thought that if he could plead his case to Elladan again, Elladan would choose to stay. After all, Legolas knew he only had to convince one of the brothers, for they would not be separated.
Legolas hugged his rabbit tightly as the chamber door opened before him. Elladan's expression was solemn as he gathered the tearful elfling in his arms, sitting with him on his bed.
"Do not be so upset. I know goodbyes are difficult but we will meet again," Elladan consoled.
"But I do not wish you to leave. Before you came here there was hardly anyone to play with," Legolas sniffled. "I do not want to be alone again."
"You are not alone," Elrohir said, as he silently entered the chamber. "You are our Gwador!"
Legolas' eyes brightened.
"And you can always come visit us," Elladan said. "If your Father allows it," he quickly amended, seeing the flicker of hopeful excitement in the elfling's eyes.
Legolas' mind was turning already thinking up ways to persuade his father to allow him to go to Imladris.
"So do not be too saddened," Elrohir said. "We shall come visit you again one day. There will be many chances to meet again. You have our loyalty and our friendship young one."
"And though we may be far away, you will never be far from our hearts," Elladan added.
Legolas shyly smiled.
"Now let us go break our fast, we have packed and should share in a final meal together," Elrohir said.
Together each brother took one of Legolas' hands. Elladan held Legolas stuffed rabbit for him as they made their way towards the dinning halls.
The Elvenking of Mirkwood clasped hands with Elrohir, touching his forehead to his, before repeating the action with Elladan.
"You are always welcome in my halls," he said. "I shall look forward to the hour in which we meet again!"
"You are kind and great, Thranduil. We owe much and have much to thank you for. We shall look forward to our next meeting!"
Thranduil nodded his head before raising his hand, beckoning two elves with a pair of horses forward.
"Please take these horses, they will lead you safely out from beneath the heavy barrows the forest."
Elladan looked surprised. "Greenwood's Greatest King indeed! Even upon our leaving you show us a great kindness."
"You have saved my son from the hands of orcs, no gift is too great. Within shadows and between trees are no places for creatures as spirited as horses."
Elladan and Elrohir both placed a hand across their chest and bowed before the Elvenking. Having no formal allegiance, their show was of one of deep respect.
The two Silvan elves quickly checked over the horses as the twins made their final farewells to Legolas. It nearly broke their hearts to see the elfling so upset. For a moment they were almost tempted to stay in Mirkwood.
Legolas had tried his best to hold back his tears and appear strong like his father. But he could not do it. The thought of Elladan and Elrohir leaving upset him too much. His heart ached. He had had so much fun with them and could not bare the thought of a day without them. He would be lonely again.
Each brother hugged Legolas goodbye, placing a kiss on his forehead before passing him off to Thranduil. With heavy hearts they mounted their horses, for they owed much to Thranduil and Legolas, more than they could ever give in return. They would forever be indebted to their distant kin of Mirkwood.
Legolas cried broken-heartedly into his father's shoulder as he watched the two sons of Elrond, his best friends, dressed in the garb of his people ride out into the forest.
A raging blizzard tore through Mirkwood, forcing Legolas to find what little enjoyment there be had within his father's caverns. As of late he had found sleep difficult, plagued by the memories of the orcs. The elfling would not admit it to anyone, but the dark creatures truly scared him. He would often seek comfort in the only form he could, his father.
"Ada what are you doing?" Legolas asked peering over his father's desk. The hour was late and it was long past the time the elfling should have been asleep.
"Hmm, oh I am just signing off on some of the official paper work from that night," Thranduil replied. "All thirty-five orcs had been destroyed," he muttered to himself.
"Thirty-five? But there were thirty-six orcs Ada," Legolas confidently said.
Thranduil paled. "What?" he exclaimed, then cleared his throat. "I mean are you sure of this? Are you absolutely sure Legolas?"
Legolas nodded. "Oh yes Ada," he said. "I could never forget," he whispered looking towards the floor. "You told me to always pay attention to my surroundings, so I remembered and did."
Thranduil's body shook with anger. Slowly he brought his hands up to his head, to message his temple. It would not do well to exert rage with Legolas in the room. In inhaled deeply in a feeble attempt to calm himself.
It was no use though. If Dol Guldur got word that he had a son, it was not only the Woodelves of Mirkwood who would be in danger, but also Legolas himself. It did not take one of great knowledge to know that golden blond hair was a rarity amongst elves; few were gifted with the lightness of such color. The majority of Silvan elves had dark hair, while a few others had silver, like the moon. But Legolas was in his likeness, making him an obvious target.
"Ada, are you alright?" Legolas asked worriedly.
Thranduil feebly smiled down at his son, reaching down to lift the elfling upon is lap. "Hmm I wonder," he spoke, lost in thought.
It was long and tedious journey back to Imladris. For even the most experienced riders and most seasoned travellers the journey would take over full cycle of the moon. The brothers were riding upon their twentieth sunrise when they finally reached the foothills east of the Misty Mountains, almost halfway there.
The late winter wind tore through their hair, blowing it wildly as they rode on. Though both brothers badly wished to return home, they both felt hesitant about doing so. It had been many years since they left, and not on good terms either. They could not help but to wonder if they would be wholly welcomed back.
Those thoughts troubled their minds as they rode on, long and hard through the Redhorn Gate, the treacherous Caradhras of the Misty Mountains.
It was on their twenty-second day when the weather became unusually calm in the normally notoriously brutal pass. Only a fresh blanket of snow laid hindrance to their destination, when Elladan suddenly stopped, troubled by his thoughts, realizing just where they were.
"Elladan we must not linger," Elrohir called out from ahead. "The wind has been most kind to us but it is unpredictable and could soon change."
Elladan reflected upon his surroundings. This was where it all happened. His heart felt heavy with sorrow. To think of the unimaginable pain and suffering his mother was subjected to in these lands was unbearable.
Lost in his dark thoughts, Elladan felt a warm hand brush against his cheek and looked up to meet his brother's eyes. "I am sorry, it pains me to think of her suffering," he whispered.
"I know," Elrohir replied. "It pains me too. It is best not to dwell on what cannot be undone. Let us take ease in knowing she now finds healing in Valinor."
Elladan nodded blinking away tears. Since he had reconnected his bond with Elrohir, Elladan had found his emotions difficult to control. He felt unstable like at any moment he could either burst into tears or burst into laughter. Right now he was experiencing one of those tearful moments.
"Mayhap we should take rest?" Elrohir suggested. "We have worked the horses hard today."
"I do not wish to enter a cave," Elladan blurted. "Please, not in Caradhras."
"There is no need," Elrohir said, lightly dismounting his horse. Elladan stayed seated upon his as Elrohir lead them to an overhanging cliff face. "Here the mountain will block any approaching wind."
Elladan nodded, dismounting his horse in silence. He sat against the rock race, his eyes staring off into the distance, unfocused. With Elrohir's help he was getting better, but sometimes, he still felt hollow, unable to yet wholly accept what had happened.
"Are you well?" Elrohir asked guiltily, taking a seat next to his brother.
Elladan sadly turned towards Elrohir, shaking his head as Elrohir smoothed the hair away from his cold face. Nowadays Elladan found it easier to allow Elrohir to care for him than to fight it. Feeling vulnerable, any comforting touch was welcomed.
"Elladan?" Elrohir suddenly asked. His voice was the only sound that could be heard, seemingly echoing off the tall mountains around them. "I have been wondering for a while now, what shall we do now? I mean we have not lived at home since Nanneth left. Life there will not be the same. I cannot bare it. Revenge has been found yet I still feel empty. For we have truly accomplished nothing."
"Aye," Elladan replied. "I do not think I could truly find happiness at home with things changed so much. I cannot explain it. I shall never forgive and can never forget what happened to Nanneth."
Elrohir nodded. "I feel the same. Things will be different," he softly said.
"I want them DEAD," Elladan nearly shouted, surprising Elrohir. "I cannot stand, how… how so many of those creatures walk free, doing as they will. I want them gone. I HATE THEM. I HATE ORCS. I HATE THEM ALL."
Elrohir stared at Elladan in shock; such behavior was so unlike his brother. "Elladan, be calm. We have learned revenge solves nothing."
"This is no longer about revenge. What of others? What of those that are unable to defend themselves against hoards of orcs? What of them? Nobody deserves such a fate. Orcs run freely. They have too much power. In Mirkwood, what if we were unable to reach you and Legolas in time. What would they have done to the elfling? Oh Valar, an elfling!"
"Elladan, no such was our fate. All is well. Do not despair over what has not occurred."
"But what of others? I understand now, I want to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. I think Nanneth would of wished that. If something good were to come of what happened to her, let it be that we shall fight for others. In her honour let us save those who cannot save themselves, so no orc shall ever harm them."
Elrohir stared at Elladan in a state of mixed awe and wonder. With all this heart he agreed to what his twin was saying.
With a burst of passion Elrohir stood from where he sat. "Then let us make an oath!" he declared, as a beam of sun shone through the clouds.
Elrohir reached down, pulling Elladan to his feet. They stood beneath the ray of sunlight, raising their swords high in the air towards Manwë. Both of their eyes flashed with purpose and a new light.
"Let us swear an Oath by witness of Manwë, Mandos and all the Valar that we shall not leave Arda nor be at peace until all orcs have been purged from this land!"
The wind stilled and all around them was silent. They stood there, with their swords raised high for what felt like an eternity before an eagle flew overhead, bringing with it a warm breeze. Their oath had been heard.
Elrond subconsciously shuttered, he could not explain why but he got this horrid sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, like something had gone wrong. Pushing his chair away from his desk he brought his hands up to his forehead, messaging his brow.
It had been a trying week for him. Arahad son of Araglas, Chieftain of the Dúnedain had been brought to Imladris for care, sick with old age. He had passed away three evenings ago. His son Aragost and grandson Aravorn lay troubled with grief chose to rest in Imladris needing time to heal their hearts. Soon though they would require an escort back to their lands, for their people had already left.
Mournfully Elrond looked out the window lost in the harmonious tumbling of the waterfalls surrounding him, softly echoing The Music of Ainur. Little peace was in his heart these days, for his wife was gone and he had not seen any of his beloved children in nearly a decade, short by the time of elves but long in his heart.
A quickened pace coming from down the hallway told him someone was approaching his office. He looked up from his thoughts just in time to see Lindir entering the room.
Lindir paused at the doorframe. Seeing his Lord's solemn expression he asked: "My Lord Elrond, are you alright?"
"I am well Lindir. You move quickly, what news do you carry with you?"
"My Lord, two cloaked messengers dressed in the garb of Mirkwood have arrived. They hide behind the hoods of their cloaks, refusing to speak to all others name for you," Lindir frantically said. "I fear something ill must have reached Mirkwood."
"I shall see them at once," Elrond said, quickly standing from his chair.
Elrond entered the chamber to find two identically cloaked figures standing with their backs towards him. He could not help but feel a sort of unexplained familiarity with them, but quickly brushed those thoughts away.
"Welcome to Imladris, Messengers of Thranduil, King of the Woodland Realm of Northern Mirkwood," he greeted in the Silvan dialect. "You need not to hide your faces in Imladris my forest kindred."
Both figures turned towards him at the exact same moment, mirroring each other's movement as they lowered their dark hoods, revealing their identical faces. Elrond stood before them in a state of disbelief.
"Hello Father," they spoke together, approaching him.
"My Sons!" Elrond said rushing forwards, enveloping them both in a large hug. "My Sons have returned home to me! I feared this day would not come," he whispered.
"Aye, we are here father," Elrohir replied. "We are sorry to have made you wait for so long."
For the first time since before Celebrían's torment, Elrond's heart was filled with pure joy. He noted the light in his son's eyes, and smiled. Their hearts were healing.
His ears did not miss a nearly silent sniffling sound, and found himself surprised to see tears flowing down Elladan's cheeks. Elrond wrapped both arms around his son smoothing his hair.
"Elladan you cry," he said in disbelief. This was unlike the closed off and emotionally devoid son whom had left him all those years ago.
Elrond felt Elladan tighten his hold around him as he smoothed back his son's hair. Elrond met eyes with Elrohir who only nodded towards his father.
"Come," Elrond said. "Let us find somewhere to sit. I must hear all about your travels. I am most curious as to why you are dressed in the garb of Thranduil's people."
Wrapping an arm around each of his sons, Elrond lead them out of the receiving chamber towards his favorite balcony, offering his favorite views of Imladris.
They sat in a comfortable silence for quite some time. Elladan's tears had dried and he now comfortably rested his head upon his father's sturdy shoulder. Elrohir told bits and pieces of their travels. Elladan and Elrohir had agreed not to mention their oath to their father, not yet anyways. They would tell him eventually, but did not wish to dampen their return with news they knew their father would not take well to.
"Adar," Elladan said suddenly, reaching into the pocket of his tunic. "It is time we return this to you," he said, pulling out his mother's star shaped pendant, passing it to his father.
"So you have found the ones responsible," Elrond said.
"Aye," Elladan replied, as he started to retell the events of how they reclaimed their lost prize.
Elrond held up the gem, he marveled at how it sparkled in the light, brighter than he remembered. Mayhap I'll give it to Arwen, he thought. For it shall one day return to Celebrían's sight. He smiled to himself. Yes, so it shall be.
Keep your eyes open for a sequel. I think Legolas is due to spend some time in Imladris. I purposely left some loose strings for the very idea. I just want to thank everyone who has reviewed, commented, favorited and sent me a pm in regards to this story! You guys are amazing. I wrote this for my own enjoyment, but it warms my heart to see that you all like it too! THANK YOU! Please review and let me know what you thought of this chapter, and in general the story as a whole! Read the Author's Notes for some additional background information on the story.
Author's Notes: Who or what was The Catalyst?
This chapter is pretty much the whole point of the story. In LOTR I always questioned why Elladan and Elrohir chose to stay in Rivendell instead of sailing to Valinor with their father and be reunited with their mother. Especially since Tolkien himself wrote, "Elladan and Elrohir were out upon errantry: for they rode often far afield with the Rangers of the North, forgetting never their mother's torment in the dens of the orcs." I mean they were clearly pretty upset over what happened to her. Then I got to thinking, well maybe something is keeping them from leaving Middle Earth, and then I thought, "What about an Oath?" Having read The Silmarillion, I know the Noldor are pretty hardcore when it comes to keeping oaths. So I thought, "What if Elladan and Elrohir made some sort of oath keeping then bound to Middle Earth, preventing them from sailing to Valinor to see their mother."
Which is why this chapter is the point of the story. Everything that occurred in Mirkwood was the catalyst for them making an oath, resulting in them staying in Middle Earth after the War of the Ring. And I bet you all thought The Catalyst was Legolas (which isn't entirely incorrect in some aspects of the story).
Author's Notes: Celebrían's Necklace
Just to clear things up, the star pendant is not the Evenstar, but in fact a different jewel. If you have read the books, in ROTK, it's the jewel Arwen gives Frodo.
" But Queen Arwen said: 'A gift I will give you. For I am the daughter of Elrond. I shall not go with him now when he departs to the Havens; for mine is the choice of Lúthien, and as she so have I chosen, both in the sweet and in the bitter. But in my stead you shall go, Ring-bearer, when the time comes, and if you then desire it. If your hurts grieve you still and the memory of your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the west, until all your wounds and weariness are healed. But wear this now in memory of Elfstone and Evenstar with whom your life has been woven!'
And she took a white gem like star that lay upon her breast hanging upon a silver chain, and she set the chain about Frodo's neck. 'When the memory of the fear and the darkness troubles you,' she said, 'this will bring you aid.' " – The Return of the King, Many Partings