Chapter 20 – Secrets Revealed
My eyes fluttered open, and my arms automatically reached out for Legolas. My heart lurched as they fell on an empty space. I sat up quickly, and scanned the room. The drapes were still drawn across the window, and the candles had burnt down. I slid out of bed, not minding that I was still naked. I walked to the window, and pulled back one of the drapes.Stars littered the night sky, and a full moon glowed softly. I blinked in surprise. Several hours has passed by.
Sighing, I drew back the drapes and turned back to the bed. My dress was still in a heap on the floor. I picked it up, and held it at arm's length. I would not be able to lace it up myself, and since Legolas had disappeared, I could not wear it. My eyes fell on a bundle of clothing by the door. I made my way over to them, flinging the dress on to the bed. As I got closer, I realised they were my clothes; Legolas must have put them here. Smiling, I quickly got dressed. My blades were hidden under the clothes; they had been polished, and the leather on the handles had been tightened. I slid them on to my back, and shifted until they were comfortable. Legolas really did think of everything. I opened the door, and started to walk down the empty corridor, my footsteps the only sound as I went in search of him.
I stepped in to the deserted hall. Sleeping men were littered around the place, and the stench of sweat and ale was heavy in the air. I delicately skirted my way round the edge towards the door, and burst out in to the fresh air. The night air burned my throat as I drew in a lungful, but I didn't mind. I walked down the path, heading for the battlements, when I heard a woman's laugh. Intrigued, I slowed, and cast my hearing out. She laughed again and I pinpointed where it was coming from. I slowly edged towards the nearest house, and flattened myself against the wall. I peered round the corner, and immediately drew back again. Éomer and a young woman were locked in a passionate embrace.
I considered Éomer as sort of a younger brother, and to see him in such a position was embarrassing for me, to say the least. I briefly thought about breaking them apart, but realised that it was none of my business. I quietly began to walk away, but turned as my name was called.
"Seraphina! What are you doing out so late?"
Éomer walked forward, holding the young woman's hand. I noted that their steps were in time, and they stayed close. The woman's cheeks were flushed, and her eyes were bright; with lust or love I could not tell.
"I am merely out in search of Legolas."
I smiled kindly at the woman. She smiled back and something in her face reminded me of someone.
"I saw Legolas head for the wall. In fact, I can see him now."
I followed Éomer's pointed finger and could make out a figure standing watch on the battlements. He was unmoving, and a hooded cloak was drawn round him. Knowing him as I did, I could see the tenseness of his stance. Something was troubling him. I turned back to the couple to find the woman had stepped forward.
"My name is Halina, my Lady. My son managed to find his way to the caves during the battle at Helms Deep. He talked of a Elf who rescued him. Was it you?"
I nodded, managing to match her face to that of the boy's. She gathered me in to a tight hug. Surprised, I embraced her too. She pulled back and her eyes shone with tears.
"Thank you. I am forever in your debt."
She bowed her head, but I touched her shoulder, making her look up.
"No. You owe me no debt. I had a daughter once. I know the bond that runs between mother and child."
She stared at me, gratitude clear on her face. Éomer stepped forward to join her and she looked up at him, smiling. He pulled her close; I recognised the look he gave her. It was how Legolas and I looked at each other.
"I take my leave of you. I must speak with Legolas. Good night."
I inclined my head, before turning and striding off. I could feel their eyes watching me, and I walked faster, almost breaking in to a run. I finally reached the stairs that led up to the battlements, and I took them two at a time. I scanned down the wall until I spotted Legolas. I walked towards him, and noted another figure beside him. I stopped just short of them and leant against the wall.
"The stars are veiled."
Legolas' voice was strained and I instinctively moved closer. They didn't seem to notice me as they both stared out in the direction of Mordor.
"Something stirs in the East. A sleepless malice. The Eye of the enemy is moving."
I closed my eyes as a sting flashed through my palm. I let my thoughts drift through my head as I centered myself. My eyes snapped open as one particular thought uncurled in my mind. I wanted to be back in Mordor, by Sauron's side. I drew in a sharp breath and Legolas turned to me. As he looked at me, his eyes widened in horror. Aragorn peered round him, his face mirroring Legolas'.
Aragorn's voice was nothing more than a whisper as he stared at me. I turned away, knowing exactly what my eyes looked like. What I did not understand was how they had turned that way. Why? What had happened?
"Seraphina. Look at me."
I spun round to face Legolas. His eyes bored in to mine, and, gradually, I could feel myself relax. I heard him breathe a sigh of relief. I leant my forehead against his. I was shaking. What was happening to me?
"Would you care to tell me what that was about?"
I looked at Aragorn, who had fished his pipe out. My jaw clenched, and I looked towards Mount Doom, which was visible in the moonlight.
"I have never told you the full story of my time serving under Sauron, have I?"
Aragorn shook his head, slowly pulling his pipe from his mouth.
"Well, I think it high time I told you. All I ask of you is to listen."
"When Elves come of age, they are sent on a Pilgrimage. They must travel the lands, seeking knowledge, and helping where they can. They can go anywhere they wish, and they must stay away from their homes for a full year before they can return.
As a child, I was always attracted to fire. I would sit and watch the flames dancing in the fireplaces in Imladris for hours on end. I loved to see them flicker and waver as they burnt the wood, and I loved to hear the crackle and pop as the wood turned to ash. When I came of age, I knew where I wanted to go: Mordor. Elrond and Galadriel warned me of the place, but I did not heed them. How I wish I had.
I travelled there, full of hopes and excitement. I just wanted to see the flames, feel the heat. It was like my heaven. I heard rumours of a malice that inhabited those lands, but I paid no heed to them. I thought them just that: rumours. I entered Mordor, and there were flames everywhere. I ran around like a giddy child, delighted and fascinated.
Then, he appeared. Initially, I feared him. I went on the defensive. I was not too foolish to recognise him: Sauron. He was an evil spirit, I knew that much. I thought myself able to be unaffected by his words. I fell just like everybody else.
He promised me such great things. His words were seductive, and I quickly succumbed to his persuasion. I was his slave as soon as I set foot in Mordor. He treated me better than his other minions. He gave me power over many of them. At first, I treated them kindly, and tried to be a just and fair leader. However, the more time I spent in Barad-dûr, the darker I became. My mind became twisted, and I no longer showed kindness. I was ruthless, bloodthirsty. I killed any who disobeyed me; I commanded absolute loyalty. My appearance changed as well. My eyes the most noticeable, as you have seen. I looked dark, as if being seen through murky windows. I loved the shadows, preferring to walk in unlit corridors, and I refused to look at the stars.
Sauron and I forged a companionship. We were not lovers – he is not capable of love, and I felt nothing but an unwavering loyalty to him, but we spent a great deal of time together. He knew who I was, even when I did not know myself. He knew who my father was, and my true heritage, which was why he wanted me on his side. I only wished I had seen through his ruse sooner.
I personally prepared his army that marched against the ranks of Men and Elves. I was there when the One Ring was forged. I thought that we were cleansing Middle-Earth of evil, when in truth, we were the evil. I was so blinded I could not see the truth. Maybe it was better I did not – had I known, I would have drowned in shame and guilt.
I fought in the great battle, against my own kin. I stayed back, sending out my minions, watching as they slaughtered and were slaughtered. I fight because I must, but back then, I fought because I wanted to. I headed in to battle against an Elf that was mighty, and fierce. He was getting close to Barad-dûr, and that I could not allow. I engaged him in battle. It was long and bloody, but finally, I bested him and drove my blade through his heart. As he fell, he looked straight at me, his eyes boring in to mine. He whispered my name on his dying breath.
I had killed my own father.
I did not realise it at the time. I only felt a strange sense of unease and a curious ache in my chest, as if his blade had gone through my chest. If not for Legolas, I would have gone on killing. He appeared after seeing me slay my father. He still remembered from our childhood, and I had all but forgotten him. Yet as soon as I saw him, a bond was created, and my alliance with Sauron was shattered.
I merely watched as Isildur destroyed Sauron, and took the One Ring. I could not show myself; the shame was too great, and who was to say that the remaining Elves would not kill me on sight? I ran, after the battle. I ran all the way to Lothlórien, only stopping to sleep and find sustenance. I knelt before Galadriel, to await her judgement. She knew of my betrayal. I only hoped that she would grant me mercy, and kill me, sparing me of the guilt that racked my soul. She did not. She told me of my heritage, and demanded I take on the responsibility. Only then could I find peace of mind, and right my wrong doings. So I did. I became the High Queen of the Noldor, and slowly, light returned to me. I was myself again, but changed forever.
I am not affected by the Ring as others are; it stems from my close alliance with Sauron. The Ring does not warp my mind as such. It makes me remember my past, and it urges me to find Sauron and join with him once again.
I do not understand why my eyes changed like that. I feel it has something to do with Saruman's orb. Whatever it is, I will not let it consume me. I promise you that.
I fight against Sauron now. Not only for myself, but for the people I have wronged, but for our children, and our children's children, so they may have a world free from evil, and darkness, such as we have suffered, and so that my grave betrayal may never be repeated again – by anyone."
Well, well, well. I decided it was time Seraphina spilled about her past. And I made up the bit about the Pilgrimage – please don't crucify me! Thank you for your reviews, follows and favourites! You guys are the best!