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A Taint of Wicked

By MzzMarie

Chapter 1

This is my first FFic :S Sorry – no Beta yet, and I have no idea what I am doing *lol* So reviews are welcomed please!

Rating may go up in future chapters – you can expect lots of hurt/comfort, violence, and some gory torture.

Since I first read the Hobbit in grade 5 (age 10), I fell in love with Tolkien's world and I have remained a loyal fan ever since. I own NONE of the characters – praise be to Tolkien ;) . I am simply an adoring fan.

No mary-sues here. I try to stick to canon, although I have obviously changed the order of events a bit :P

A Taint of Wicked

Chapter One

Something had seeped into the ground like an oil, tainting everything it touched with a slick coating of something vile and infectious. Legolas crouched low to the ground, examining the putrid remains of what at one time, had been a beautiful little grey rabbit. Now its' eyes were black and lifeless, and the "oil" that seemed to fester in Mirkwood, now oozed from its gaping little mouth. Legolas frowned, and found a patch of unspoilt grass for which to lay the poor creature down. The forest was sad, the animals very frightened, and Legolas was anxious. What evil had seeped into Mirkwood, and where had it come from? Legolas cast his eyes west, his vision skipping through the dense thicket to see the path that led back to the halls. He had suspected something foul was amiss for weeks, and had often spoke of it to Thranduil although the King spoke less and less as the days passed into darkness.

"Adar, something foul haunts the woods. Surely you must feel it."

"Hmpf" his father sorted in disgust. "If something evil had dared set foot on our land, I surely would feel it. This "oil" you speak of is folly. It is none of your *achk ahhhhck!" Thranduil broke into a coughing fit, and immediately spun away from his son so that his keen eyes could not see the dark phlegm that had spewed forth during his fit, and was now splattered on the milky-white of his palm.

"Adar, are you ill?!"

"No," Thranduil snapped. "Return to your duties. Scout the Northern border." And with a wave of his other hand, he dismissed his son as one would a troublesome horsefly.

Legolas cast his eyes downwards, issuing his father's back a short bow as he left to do his bidding. But heavy were his steps, leaden with the weight of his worried heart for what was happening to Mirkwood – for he feared that the shadow had not only befallen the forest, but his perhaps even his father.

And so now he stood alone on the Northern border of the kingdom, watching as the moss seemed to rot before his very eyes. And then he heard it. Far off in the distance, and yet it was akin to mighty waves crashing upon the rocks. In one fell motion, he slipped a bow from his quiver and had it nocked, pointing in the direction on of all the commotion. The young prince's heart, albeit heavy with the sorrow laid upon his home, now beat rapidly as he tried to anticipate just what on earth could be causing such a racket. A cave troll? No, that was silly. But then again, strange days were now afoot.

His eyes pieced through the veils of dense foliage and spotted a mass of bouncing…..fur? Hair? Hair and fur! And then he saw eyes, gaping wide in fear. Dwarves! Oh good grief, of all the days to scout alone. Adar shall have my head! Legolas cursed himself in silence as he kept his bow trained on the incoming stampede of dwarves. Something had to have been chasing them to have lit such a fire beneath their heels. And then, amidst the yelling and the trampling of all the poor underbrush, Legolas spotted their foe, and nor was it a friend of Mirkwood. A giant spider, speckled in black blood from an earlier encounter, was crashing after them – a mass of limbs flailing wildly as it tried to pierce its fleeing prey. The forest shrank away from its path, recognizing that this thing was a foreign and evil presence in the realm. Legolas took aim at the dwarves' company, and fired.

They had managed to escape the foul spiders, and yet a handful of the filth were still hot on their trails. Only two left thanks to Dwalin. But two nonetheless. And where the dense underbrush caught the feet of the dwarves, the spindly spiders sailed over the ground with ease – eight limbs obviously better than two in this scenario.

"West! West!" barked Thorin, issuing his company onwards. He had to find a clearing in this godforsaken place before they could stand and fight their enemy without a disadvantage. A clearing was ahead, he could sense the foliage easing back, and there it was….with an elf standing in its center, an arrow pointed directly at them. Before he could even yell a warning, the elf let loose his arrow, and it sailed within centimeters of his the Dwarf king's face, perhaps even taking some of his beard with it. Thorin gasped as he heard the arrow hit its mark, only to then cringe as a shrill, ear-piercing cry filled the air. He spun round to see the massive spider now dead at Dwalin's heels. His friends' face was in shock, as it scanned for the source, but there was no time to investigate, as a second spider sped after their path. Dwalin and Nori both loosed their weapons, and prepared to swing at the beast, but it too was felled by a carefully aimed arrow.

Thorin's breath hitched in his throat as he turned to see the elf in the clearing. He stood in silence, scanning the rest of the forest. Their eyes met, and Thorin momentarily was at a loss for words. Was he to thank his enemy for this gesture? Or were the threat from the spiders the least of their worries?

Thorin's eyes narrowed as he stared down the elf. A small breeze moved through his flaxen hair, and yet his face remained set in stone. Then, in the blink of an eye, the elf drew forth a horn and blew into it, no doubt calling forth reinforcements, and then redrew his bow to aim it at Thorin's head. Thorin cursed their awful luck, and his heart ached as he found himself wishing that Kili could have given them cover with his arrows. But his youngest nephew lay on his other nephews' back, unable to walk due to the two orc arrows piercing his thigh. Fili was panting with the effort of having to run with his brother on his back, and yet his faced remained stoic, looking to Thorin and curtly nodding to let him know that he was fine. Thorin's chest bloomed with pride as he nodded in return, and yet was unable to hide the worry on his face be it for the monsters behind them, or the threat of his old enemies before them.

What a tattered company he led. They were exhausted, wounded, and barely standing. Kili remained unconscious and Bofur was wincing in pain as he leaned heavily into Bifur's shoulder, an orc arrow through the meat of his upper arm. By Durin what will become of us? Thorin allowed himself thirty seconds of panic, before he stamped the feeling to ash, and returned to stare at the elf in the clearing.

The flaxen-haired one was no longer aiming his arrow at the company. He did not have too for it seems that his call had been answered. They were surrounded by the elves of Mirkwood.

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