Chapter 1

When even Elves fall

                  Lush green trees, rivers that sing; Imladris had always been that way.  No one person could remember a time when the valley was ever touched by blight.  Elrond oversaw it and many Edain heirlooms laid hidden in his care for both men and Elves held him in high regard.

                  Elrond strode out to the hunting party.  Glorfindel and Arwen stood a ways away.  A circlet of mithril, a gift from the nearby dwarves, sat proudly upon his strong forehead.  He looked tall and fierce, like an Elvin king.  His 2 sons sat proudly upon their dark charges.

                  " Arathorn will be waiting for you outside Mirkwood.  There Thranduil's forces will join yours.  Be careful," Elrond said to the group as a whole.

                  He approached his sons.

                  " Watch Glórhen well.  I do not think he should go, but it is up to you," Elrond said softly.

                  " He is well trained, Ada," Elrohir glanced back, his brown eyes glinting mischievously, " Arwen already threatened us with bodily harm if he does not return safe."

Elrond shook his head with a barely perceivable smile.

                  " We will be fine, Ada," Elladan said in a low voice.

Elrond nodded slightly.  They knew he hated to send them off, especially on orc hunts.

                  " Maybe this band will be the one so you can settle down," Elrond replied hopefully.

                  Too long had his sons been fighting orcs.  Now even more since they had attacked Celebrian.

                  " Not until they all lie dead will we rest," Elrohir's voice was as deadly as Sauron's breath.

Elrond nodded.  The whole group caught his final goodbye to them.

                  " I hope I see you again on this side of the Sea so your mother does not lecture me when I arrive there myself later."

                  Both twins nodded, grinning before kicking their steeds into a canter.  The others flew by with one streak of gold hair at the end.  Glorfindel and Arwen joined Elrond.  Arwen's arms wrapped around her father's waist and she looked up at him as a child does when clinging to its parent's leg.

                  " They will come back safe, Ada.  They always do."

Elrond laid a kiss amidst her hair.

                  " I know, Evenstar, I know."

~*~

                  Elrohir and Elladan pulled their horses up to the large gathering one-week after their departure from Rivendell.

                  " Gwanûn," a voice called.

The twins glanced back at the dark haired Elf swiftly approaching.  The circlet he wore deemed him as Thranduil, king of Mirkwood.

                  " Thranduil, it is good to see you," both dismounted.

                  They motioned for the other lords to make camp.  Glórhen was left alone as the others mingled.

                  " Who is the blonde?" Thranduil asked.

                  " Glórhen, son of Glorfindel.  This is his first hunting trip.  If he passes, he will receive his lord title," Elladan answered.

Thranduil nodded.

                  " Le-go-las," the 3 distinct syllables made the blonde haired Elf a few meters away cringe and excuse himself quickly.

The prince made his way towards them, his slight and silent figure hiding the fact that he was an excellent warrior.

                  " Yes, Adar?"

                  Thranduil motioned to the young Elf.

                  " He is Glorfindel's son.  I do not want his blood on this field.  He is too young.  Watch him."

Legolas' face faintly screwed up with disgust, but he did not protest.  He knew better for Thranduil had an ugly temper not accustom to Elves.

                  " Glórhen," Elrohir called.

The blonde Elf's quick smile reminded the twins of their grandfather.

                  " Glórhen, this is Thranduil and his son, Legolas.  Legolas will join our scouting team along with a few of the Edain," Elladan finished.

Glórhen sent Legolas a respectful nod.

                  " They tell me you are the best."

Legolas shrugged.

                  " They tell me that too."

Glórhen quickly had Legolas in a conversation of different sword fighting techniques.  Legolas motioned for the young Elf to follow him.

                  " Watch Legolas for me," Thranduil said in a low whisper once they were many meters away, " He is all I have now."

~*~

                  Elladan grinned as Arathorn strode towards them.

                  " Gwanûn, we are well met again," Arathorn caught arms with Elladan, then Elrohir.  "Your father did not come?"

                  " No, he has Imladris to run," Elrohir answered.

                  " Daddy," a little boy threw his pudgy arms around Arathorn's leg.

                  The twins smiled at the 2 year old, golden eyed, dark haired toddler.  Arathorn swung him up, his face glowing in pride at the boy.  The toddler was Arathorn's pride and joy.

                  " Aragorn, this is Elrohir and Elladan, they are your…" Arathorn's brow furrowed, " I guess, they are your uncles."

                  " The men of your troops brought their families?" Elladan's voice was dead serious.

                  " We are a wandering people.  We cannot just leave them someplace," Arathorn answered.

                  " We will need to set up a safe place for them if the orcs attack tonight before the parties set out," Elladan turned his eyes to the trees, " And they watch us now."

Arathorn pulled Aragorn close to him, glancing at the trees.

                  " I will tell my group to be on the highest alert."

                  " And keep Aragorn out of sight," Elrohir cautioned, " They know you are the heir, and Aragorn can be used against you."

~*~

                  Elladan found Glórhen sitting beside Legolas as the prince talked on to another Elf about who had the better shot.

                  " Enjoying this?" Elladan sat beside him.

                  " Aye," Glórhen chuckled, " They have been arguing for the last hour."

                  " Do you want to take first watch?" Elladan asked.

                  " You would let me?" Glórhen replied.

Elladan nodded.  Glórhen scrambled up.  Elladan pointed towards the Edain camp.

                  " Keep an eye on their camp mostly.  I fear for them more than us."

~*~

                  Glórhen laid his bow on his knees, his keen gold eyes scanning the borders.  They had been camped her an extra day because the weather had been nasty.  Torrents of rain had just about flooded everything.  Glórhen pushed back the gold strands that clung to his face as he glanced at the Edain guard nearby.  It had been a quiet 2 days, but the orcs were there.  The hate filled glares had ever hair on the back of Glórhen's neck on edge.  Something moved and he stood quickly, stringing his bow.

                  Elladan and Elrohir caught movement from one end of the camp.  It was Glórhen.

                  " What does he see?" Elrohir muttered.

Figures cleared the trees.  The twins jumped up, sounding the warnings.  Soon the camps were at least somewhat warned.  Elladan held his bow steady.  Glórhen was on the front line. 

                  The orcs came so suddenly and so furiously, none of the men had time to react.  One by one, the Edain camp was being slaughtered.  Not one orc had penetrated the elf camp.

                  " Get over to the Edain camp," Elladan yelled at Glórhen.

The men were falling fast even though their archers were only slightly better than the Elves.  Elrohir took off after Glórhen to keep an eye on the Elf.  Neither one of the twins needed him killed.

~*~

                  Arathorn tried to look over the heads of the fleeing women and children for any sign of his wife.  His sword jabbed into an orc trying to follow them.  He would not let these vile creatures touch one of his people.

                  " Daddy," the voice came.

Arathorn spun around, seeing his son standing in plain view.  Arathorn burst into a sprint.  An orc challenged him, running towards the boy also.

                  " Run, Aragorn," Arathorn bellowed.

The little boy just stared, frozen in his place.  A flash of blonde snatched up the boy.  Arathorn tripped the orc beside him, diving his sword into the creature.

                  " Gilraen, get out of here," Arathorn muttered as his wife took the child.

                  Her sword was out as she tilted her head defiantly.

                  " Please.  We have Aragorn to think of now," Arathorn was glad when Elrohir joined the blonde Elf to help fend off the coming orcs.

Gilraen sheathed her sword, pulling up Aragorn. 

                  " You, watch them until they reach safety," Arathorn ordered the blonde Elf.

                  " Do as he says, Glórhen," Elrohir said softly, before following the man.

Glórhen nodded.

~*~

                  Legolas surveyed the field with a grim look.

                  " Did you father not teach you that if you keep that look for a long time, your face will stay like that?" Elrohir joined him, his eyes clouded, " This is the worst set of causalities we have ever seen."

                  " They slaughtered so many," Legolas turned his head down, " So many women and children did not escape."

Elrohir touched Legolas' shoulder.

                  " Arathorn has agreed to let your father take back the remaining women and children to northern Mirkwood where they can stay until this is over."

                  " Will Gilraen and the child?" Legolas asked.

Elrohir shook his head.

                  " You should know Gilraen by now.  She believes her place is by his side, even when it may endanger her…or Aragorn."

~*~

                  " They have turned that way, towards the Misty Mountains.  They have done their slaughtering so now they are turning away.  We must catch them before them reach the mountains or they will have the advantage.  There are numerous caves and who knows what fouler things hide in them," Elladan laid out a soggy map.

                  " You have done your homework, eh, Elladan?" Arathorn chuckled.

                  " No band of orcs should live, Arathorn.  They all deserve to die," Elladan replied sharply.

Arathorn nodded slightly.  He knew Elladan had been Celebrian's boy, though he resembled Elrond.  Elrohir exchanged a knowing glance with Arathorn.  Elladan never spoke of his mother anymore.

~*~

                  Legolas sat higher on his horse as his father approached the small party.  Only him, the twins, Glórhen, Arathorn, Gilraen and Aragorn were going.  Glorfindel and one of the Istar were supposedly meeting them on the way.

                  " Be you safe," Thranduil said softly.

                  " Do you doubt my skills, Adar?" Legolas challenged slightly.

Thranduil sighed heavily.

                  " You know I do not."

                  " Then I will return safe," Legolas replied.

                  " Do not be so cocky.  It will kill you," Thranduil said sharply.

Legolas shrugged.  Elladan motioned for them to set off.  The group galloped away.  Thranduil watched them until they were out of sight.

~*~

                  " Are we subject to our mother's fate?" Elrohir muttered.

Elladan sent him a hard look, continuing to shoot all the while.  They were trapped in Redhorn pass on both sides.  Dawn was coming, but it could not come fast enough.  Glórhen was holding his own, the twins both noted with relief.  They were busy enough as it was.  Where were Glorfindel and the Istar?  They needed the help badly.

                  " Dawn," Legolas yelled, catching sight of the first rays.

                  The orcs began to slink back into their caves, growling.  They had not gotten a decent meal from this band.  Arathorn slumped on a rock.

                  " Where is the help?" he pushed his hair back.

Feet came suddenly and two orcs appeared.  One strung his bow and shot.  Elladan did not have time to react.

                  " No," the yell came too late.

The arrow protruded from Arathorn's bleeding eye, as he lay lax against the stone, the other eye open in death.  Elladan was so busy staring at Arathorn; he did not hear the second arrow shot.  Elladan whipped around, ducking in time. 

                  Glórhen caught sight of the little boy running towards his father.  One orc still stood.  Glórhen leapt towards the boy, covering the child with his body.  Elrohir turned in time as the arrow struck its mark. 

                  " Glórhen," he whispered.

Angrily, Elrohir pulled an arrow from the ground.  He took aim.

                  " Go to the void, you son of Morgorth."

~*~

                  Elladan assessed the damage.  2 dead, and the rest were covered with scratches and bruises.  Hooves came and all were ready this time.  The golden haired warrior rode in on the white stallion with another man, on a gray horse.

                  " Elladan, I find you well," Glorfindel dismounted.

                  " You are too late," Elladan said dully, " If you had of been here minutes ago, 2 people would have lived."

Glorfindel just licked his lips. 

                  " Where is Glórhen?"

                  " If you have of been-"

                  " Blessed Eru, Elladan, where is my son?" Glorfindel snapped.

                  " He is in Mirkwood," Elrohir piped up.

Glorfindel's shoulder's sagged in relief.

                  " We will speak of your disrespect later, young Elladan."

Elladan broke the arrow he held in half.

                  " I believe I will start back."

                  " Elladan."

Elrohir followed his brother.  Another hand stopped Elladan.

                  " Your father would be disgusted by this behavior, young master Elladan," the kind old man said.

Elladan mounted, pulling up the cloth-covered body behind him.

                  " Wait.  Take Gilraen and the child to Imladris, Elrohir," Legolas suddenly piped up, " I will go with Elladan to Imladris."

Glorfindel and the Istar were soon left alone.

                  " That was a fine welcome if I do say so myself," the Istar's gray eyes twinkled.

Glorfindel merely mounted again.  They needed to get out of this pass.

                  " Let us head to Dol Guldur."

~*~

                  Elladan bent beside the river, splashing the water over his face.

                  " How are you?"

He glanced up sharply at Legolas sitting nearby.

                  " I will be fine.  I am alive," Elladan replied.

                  " Glórhen was a close friend as was Arathorn if I deduct this anger right," Legolas continued.

                  " Let me be."

Legolas watched him go.

                  " Old friend, you cannot keep your grief to yourself.  One day it must come out," Legolas said softly.

                  " It is my business how I grieve," Elladan snapped.

Legolas was silent the rest of the trip.