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The Loss

By CassieHughes

Fantasy

Chapter 1

Darkness beckons with cold fingers, making my heart feel sore, yet strangely good. I try to remember something, anything, but there is nothing there. Only the darkness. Has it always been this way? Somehow I seem to feel there was more, but I cannot say how. I am not even sure that I do know anymore.

Darkness. All my world is darkness. I seem to think I should feel fear but cannot fathom why this should be so. In fact, I am becoming unsure what I mean by the term “fear”, the more I  try to dwell on it the further out of reach the feeling gets, until I can no longer remember what I was trying so hard for.

Darkness. Suffocating darkness, I struggle to breathe. Panic wells up inside me, where am I? What is happening to me? I remember nothing, just darkness. I force myself to breathe slowly, in, out, in, out. The rhythm calms me, slows my rapidly beating heart, relaxes me.

Darkness. This is me, I exist for this, nothing else is real. I reach out and try to touch it, feel it envelop me, hold me and finally realise what I have known all along. The darkness is me and I am it.

Sunlight streams through the open window and falls across the figure lying motionless under the crisp sheets, illuminating the beautiful face, so pale and fair, which rests there almost blending into the white pillow. Expressionless, unmoving, as it has been for the best part of four days now

At the side of the bed a young man sits, grey eyes full of longing and sorrow fixed on the still form before him. His shoulders slump dejectedly, pain and grief are etched on his handsome face. He also has been here for four days. Hardly eating or sleeping, as if in limbo. Waiting for the slender being in the bed to move even the tiniest muscle to hint at a return to wakefulness. Yet the only sign that even a small spark of life exists there is in the shallow rise and fall of the sheet pulled over the slender shape, an indication of the small, irregular breaths tenuously keeping the figure in the land of the living.

A slight draft runs round the room as the door opens and a tall dark figure enters silently. The young man never turns his head or shows any sign of acknowledgement as the figure slowly walks over to the bed, and places a slender hand on his shoulder.

“Still no change?” the same question as had been asked so many times before. The only answer, a barely imperceptible shake of the young man’s head. “You really should get some food and rest you know, you can do nothing for him like this Estel”.

“I can be here” comes the soft reply and the man finally raises his head to look into the troubled eyes of his father. “If I am here he will know where to come back to”.

 A soft sound drifts through the darkness. I try to listen but cannot make it out. I feel as if I should know this sound but it is so difficult, I find it hard to concentrate on anything other than the darkness that surrounds me. The sound comes again, soft as a thought, maybe it is in my thoughts. Maybe I am wishing for sound in this silent world that envelops me. I wait but hear nothing more. There is nothing to hear. The darkness closes back in again and I float in its silence.

“Legolas, mellon nin, my friend,” the soft sound escapes from trembling lips, “saes, please, come back, wake up”. It is almost a prayer, whispered softly, a plea from the heart. The young man shakes his head and places a trembling hand upon the chest of the fair elven figure lying so still in front of him, feeling the faint beating of the heart of the one he has come to love so dearly. How had this happened?  Exactly what had happened? Why was he not able to protect his friend? Too many questions were unanswered. Guilt threatened to overwhelm him and tears ran down his pale cheeks. “Saes, Leogolas, wake up, I need you to wake up” but there was no response.

It had all seemed so simple when they started out from Mirkwood what now felt like a lifetime ago. A simple trip to check on the wine delivery for King Thranduil from Esgaroth then on to Rivendell for a well earned rest for Legolas from battling with the dark encroaching into his father’s realm. There was nothing to go wrong, but then there never was. Trouble just seemed to follow them wherever they went.

The trip into Esgaroth was easy, for once Mirkwood was quiet and they met with nothing more scary then a stray rabbit on the way through the forest. It was on the way to Rivendell that their problems had begun. First they had run into a pack of orcs, all be it a small pack, which were quickly dealt with without major injury to either of the two travellers, then there had been the thunderstorm, which normally wouldn’t have been a problem, except for the torrential rain, which had soaked them both to the skin as there was no shelter to be had anywhere around them. Unable to get warm or dry Estel had developed a fever and for two days and nights Legolas had held him, wrapped in his arms under a sodden blanket, as he alternately shivered or sweated his way out of it.

After this things seemed to pick up again and they were making good progress back to Estel’s home, laughing and plotting what mischief they could get up to when they finally met up there with his adoptive brothers once more. They were travelling through a wood on the edge of Rivendell when disaster struck. They had decided to make camp for the night in a small clearing by a bubbling stream so as to arrive in daylight hours, rather than disturbing the inhabitants of the last homely house during the night. He had been foraging for wood to make a fire whilst Legolas had unpacked blankets and their remaining items of food before stepping lightly to the stream and bending gracefully to fill their water containers.

The sudden twanging of a bow string followed by the loud gasp which had split the air made the man stand bolt upright, dropping the armful of dead branches he had thus far collected.

“Legolas!” he had shouted, as he turned to look in the elf’s direction. His blood had run cold and his heart felt like ice as he beheld the sight of the lithe figure he knew so well lying prone on the ground, his head in the icy stream, with one long, thin, green fletched arrow protruding from his stomach and another from the left side of his chest, looking dangerously close to the position of his heart.


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