Behind the light awaits the shadows
There is no light without darkness
There is no darkness without light
But between them rests the shadows
Through them evil may conquer the light
She was running but there was nowhere to be running to, the magic surrounding her was too strong, it showed only what he allowed her to see. She was doomed and knew it, but she had to try, had to warn her love of the terrible danger, warn him of the monster they had kept among themselves, of the wolf that had been hiding among the sheep. She heard his voice, its cold malice made her every limb turn to water, made her heart shiver within her chest. It was impossible and yet it was happening and suddenly there were no places left to run. She turned towards the hunter and gasped, his eyes were burning with an evil she never had even imagined. She screamed and a hand was stretched towards her throat. "Yes, scream for me you little wench, nobody will hear you and nobody will save you, you are mine now, all mine!"
The palace was quiet, the atmosphere tense and filled with both anticipation and fear. The queen was in labor, giving birth to her second child and there was so many things which could go wrong. The king was walking around in the chamber, back and forth. His face did not reveal much but he was obviously nervous and the sounds coming from the birthing room made him wince more than once. His first son was sitting in a chair, he was just fifteen and not very mature yet. If he had been a human he would have been at the level of a seven year old. He was looking at the door and he was dangling his legs. He bit his lower lip and looked a bit scared. "Ada? Why is naneth screaming? Is she going to die?"
Thranduil turned around, he was trying to hide his worries. It had lasted for so long, when Legolas was born the birth had not taken more than a few hours. "Of course not penneth, it is going to be alright."
Legolas was still afraid and he knelt in front of his son and embraced him tightly. "I promise you, soon you will have a new brother or sister."
Legolas tried to look brave, Thranduil felt how the love he felt for his son made his heart swell, and soon he would have one more to care for and love. It was a blessing and he had thanked the Valar more than once. They had not thought that they would get any more children, the queen had been ill after Legolas birth and the healers had told them that she probably never would conceive again. But she had and they had been beside themselves with joy.
He winced as another scream could be heard from the room behind the door, he wished there was something he could do to help her but all he could do was to look after Legolas until it was over. He should not have been there, he was not old enough for something like this but he had managed to get his father's permission after all. It was really hard to deny that lad anything. Thranduil did not want his son to become spoiled but it was hard to avoid.
There was a silence from the room, and then he heard a faint cry and his heart just skipped a few beats, he prayed that everything was well. Legolas got on his feet, he was very eager. The door was opened and the midwife peered out, she smiled. "Your majesty, you have a son"
Thranduil closed his eyes for a second, he was so relieved and Legolas smiled from one ear to the other. "Can I see him ada? Can I?"
Thranduil smiled. "Of course you can. "
He took his son by the hand and they went into the room. The queen was laying on the bed and she was obviously very tired and her smile pale. She raised a hand and let it glide across Thranduils cheek. "Finally it is done, I felt like an elephant."
He smiled at her and kissed her hand lovingly. He loved her sense of humor and never ending optimism. The midwife had washed and wrapped the newborn in a blanket and now she gently laid the child in his mother's arms. Thranduil stared at the child, he had never seen a more beautiful baby and he felt how tears of joy fell from his eyes. The queen smiled and her eyes were shining. "Look meleth nin, he has your eyes."
Thranduil had problems speaking, he was so relieved that everything had gone well. "He has your beauty my light, I pray the Valar will grant him only joy and peace."
Thranduil clenched his wife's hand and kissed her. "I am sure they will, how can they not love someone this beautiful and innocent?"
She smiled. "Have you thought of a name for him?"
Thranduil nodded. "Larcarion, if that is ok with you?"
She just smiled and they sat there and admired their newest family member. Thranduil felt blessed more than ever before in his life. Indeed the Valar were smiling at them all.
Larcarion was a very silent child and he grew slowly, his parents were a little worried but the healers were not, he just took his time. Legolas was overjoyed and the family thrived. Both boys grew but it was soon apparent that Larcarion was very different from Legolas. He was not as boisterous, he was often just sitting there listening to the trees and the birds and the teachers praised his fondness of everything which included books. It was very clear that Larcarion never would be a warrior, he showed no interest in archery or fencing, he was afraid of horses and he was just not a very energetic person. Thranduil was a bit relieved, Legolas was everywhere and keeping an eye on him was more than hard. He had hired some other elves just to prevent the ellon from getting into trouble. Larcarion grew to become an incredibly pretty young ellon, he was so good looking everybody just shook their heads in disbelief. It was easy to see that he was getting a bit spoiled but he kept that humble and almost introverted personality. Thranduil was glad that he did, the attention he got could have turned the lad into a less than likeable person but he did not seem to be affected by it. His mother loved him dearly and he had a very close and warm relationship with her. Thranduil tried to show both his sons affection and care and they appreciated it, although in very different ways.
Legolas was the one Thranduil often worried about, Larcarion was going to be a scholar, a wise man and he spent more and more time in the royal library. Thranduil arranged for scrolls and books to be sent to him from both Imladris and Lothlorien and the young ellon was plowing through it all with an incredible speed. The king often wondered where that thirst for knowledge came from, he had never been too fond of reading and neither had the queen. The boys were rather close in spite of their differences but slowly they drifted apart. It was just natural, they were friends but too different to communicate at the same level. Thranduil discovered that he often saw Legolas at least three times as often as he saw Larcarion, and it was just because Legolas was much more demanding. He had to be scolded rather often and he had far too much self-confidence and energy. He was just so eager at proving himself things often went wrong and even though Thranduil tried to speak with his youngest son as often as he could it could be many days between each time they met. It made the king feel bad and he tried to make up for it but he slowly sensed a change within the young ellon. He did not really seem to care that much, he was too occupied with his studies to bother with his family anymore and Thranduil felt worried. It was probably just his feelings as a father that was reacting but he nevertheless felt that it had to be addressed. But there never was time for that, he had too many things to take care of and it was so easy to be calmed down by the reports Larcarions teachers delivered. The ellon was soon smarter than them and they had no more to teach him. He was very happy whenever his father praised his progress and Thranduil tried to appreciate also these skills. He had always been a warrior, he had been more fond of the sword and the bow than the pen but such skills were of course also needed.
Legolas tried to make his brother interested in other activities than reading, Larcarion would follow him hunting but it was very reluctantly and the young ellon tried to avoid it by making up all sorts of excuses. Thranduil feared that Larcarion was too soft, too weak to protect himself at all. He tried to hide his thoughts but the beautiful young ellon seemed to be able to read the very thoughts of others, or at least their emotions. Thranduil tried to show his son that it was love and not despise that lead to him thinking this way but it did not seem as though Larcarion cared. He spent more time with his mother than with his father and even she started to get worried. He had gotten so distant, so very different than before. It was as if his knowledge had created a sort of pride within him, a sense of superiority and he could be almost patronizing towards others. It was of course no sin to be proud of one owns achievements but Larcarion had started to act in a way that was unfitting for a prince.
And then one day he ventured into the woods to find some herbs and was attacked by spiders. He actually managed to kill most of them and that was because of a use of magic he was far too young to have learned of. But he was severely wounded and if it had not been for Legolas he would have been killed. Nevertheless he was injured for life, he developed a limp and it was soon obvious that he turned away from everything except his studies. He no longer wanted to touch a bow or sword and the once close relationship between the two princes became cold and distant. Thranduil was in despair, he tried everything he could to patch things back together again but to no prevail. Larcarion was not interested in anything except knowledge, he treated everybody else with a sort of cold and indifferent politeness that made the others shun him. Even the elleths stopped showing their interest and Thranduil feared that his son would become a very lonely and sad ellon.
His wife tried to ease his worries, Larcarion was still so young, he would change for sure. Thranduil wanted to believe her, she was closer to the prince than he was and the growing darkness kept him busy most of the time. Legolas was happy to help the guards protecting the forest against the spiders and orcs and Thranduil did no longer worry that much for his oldest son. Legolas was perhaps a bit reckless and too brave for his own good but Thranduil remembered his own youth and knew that his son would mature.
The queen and her entourage was on their way back from a visit to Imladris when they were attacked by orcs. The warriors fought hard and well but they were too few, everybody was killed and the queen too. Thranduil almost died, the shock and sorrow of losing his beloved wife was too much for him and for more than a year his advisors were running the realm. He was so caught by grief he failed to notice how the loss affected his sons. Legolas developed a hatred towards orcs and other dark beings so adamant and strong it almost made him go berserk. Thranduil wanted him to stay within the palace, in safety but the young ellons anger just had to be vented. At least he reacted and did something.
Larcarion on the other hand reacted in a far different way, he just spoke to his father once, accused him of having failed in protecting her, then he completely turned his back to his brother and father. He spent his time within the library and he never let anyone see what he was doing, It was of course obvious that he had started to meddle with magic but nobody knew just how far he had gone. Thranduil was shocked to see hatred within his son's eyes whenever he managed to come face to face with him and he had a terrible feeling that something was very wrong. He just could not fathom the idea of his own son hating him, why? What had he done to deserve that?
Years came and went and the forest was becoming dark and dying, they were fighting an eternal battle against the powers of evil and Thranduil was trying to coax his son into becoming more involved in things but it failed miserably every time. Legolas was his pride and joy now and even though they had their small arguments and differences they were both very dedicated to the safety of the forest and their people.
Thranduil was going through some papers when he heard a racket from the great hall, some people were screaming and shouting and he frowned and got up, he could see some of his guards and some elves he did not recognize right away. He went to them and saw that they were commoners, elves who lived within the forest itself in small settlements. They bowed before him and he felt a strange chill run down his spine. "Why are you here?2
He tried to appear as friendly as possible and one of the Ellyn swallowed and looked down. "My king, there have been some strange cases of children disappearing from the villages."
Thranduil took a deep breath. "Children? How many?"
The ellon continued to look down. "At least six, just one have been found, and she was dead. We do not know if she was killed by the spiders or any other animal, the body…the body was too mutilated!"
Thranduil did not show his emotions but he cringed on the inside, a child. An innocent child had died and he clenched his teeth together. "I see, I will send guards to your villages and from now on, keep an eye on everybody. If there is orcs or something worse prowling the forest nobody is safe"
The ellon nodded and looked a bit relieved, the king just turned around and went back to his office. He felt sad, almost old. So the darkness was this close to them? They would have to keep an open eye on things from now on and never let their guard down. He felt afraid for the first time in a long time and he told Legolas of the incident. The prince was more than capable of leading the warriors now and he soon made a plan for the protection of the settlements. Thranduil was very glad his son could help him with these things, they had some good and close moments and he tried to show Legolas how he respected him as an ellon and not just as a son. But Larcarion was another story altogether. He could be gone for days and lock himself into the vaults in the deep basements of the palace, nobody managed to get a single word out of him and he obviously didn't give a damn about what the others thought of him. Thranduil was deeply worried that his youngest son was going mad and he was wondering if he should send a letter to Elrond and tell of his fears.
The disappearances continued, and they were getting closer to the palace too. Children would disappear and never be found, and not just children. Even a few young ellon and some elleths suddenly were nowhere to be found and a sense of dread seemed to engulf the palace. What could have caused this? Orcs? Spiders? Something worse? Thranduil was getting very nervous, he multiplied the number of guards and made sure that nothing could enter the palace without being seen first. A short distance from the palace there was a small lake, it was very deep and cold and the elves who were responsible for the kitchens sometimes sent some others to fish there. They did not serve fish that often but as autumn came they often smoked some fish and stored it for the winter.
The fishers suddenly returned one evening with a dead body, it was one of the missing elleths and now it was very clear that something was terribly wrong within the realm. The healers looked at the bloated corpse and they could see that the poor thing had been tortured before she died. Thranduil felt sick when they told of the damages they had found and he realized that something truly evil had come way to close for comfort. He sent a letter to Elrond and before long a group of soldiers arrived to enhance the protection of the palace. Elrond had also sent a group of mages and scholars who were trying to determine what kind of enemy this was. Thranduil noticed that Larcarion in fact seemed thrilled by the visitors, he was obviously very eager to help them and possibly learn more and Thranduil was so relieved by this. He had not seen his son smile for years and he made promise to himself that he would allow Larcarion to go to Imladris as soon as possible. It was obvious that a change of surroundings would benefit the young prince. Elronds emissaries were praising his son's attitude and helpfulness and Thranduil had a feeling that things would get better from now on.
But the problem remained, there were still some disappearing elves and he was looking at the list of names and he felt terrible. They were all young, that told him something. Whatever it was that did this killings it went for the weak and inexperienced ones. The mages had no idea of what it was, there were no tracks or clues of any kind, the creature had to be incredibly stealthy and sly and vicious too. Some bodies were found and they were so mutilated it was almost impossible to identify them. The elves were frightened, the rumors spread of ghouls and monsters and Thranduil felt helpless. No matter what he was doing, it did not seem to help a bit. One evening when the emissaries and some soldiers were searching through a bog not far from the river they found yet another body, it was actually Larcarion who found it and he was beaming with pride. It was a young elleth and she had been missing just a couple of days. The healers managed to get a better understanding of the injuries and they were horrifying. She had been raped and strangled and the healers believed that the culprit had strangled her until she almost died but then he had let go and allowed her to recover and then repeated it again and again. It was so terrible Thranduil told the soldiers and emissaries to keep their mouths shut and tell no one of their findings. He noticed one weird thing, Larcarion was proud to be the one who had found the body but he did not seem all that shocked by the injuries, he seemed almost indifferent and Thranduil did not know if he liked this lack of emotion. Did his son have a hard heart? Did he not care for the sufferings of others? Did he lack empathy? He did not know but he appreciated how the presence of other scholars had made the ellon flourish.
At that time Legolas started to develop a new interest, one that did not have anything to do with archery or swordplay. Thranduil did notice that his son had a strange sheepish grin on his face and a strange light flickering within his eyes and he had a strong suspicion of why. He was right, one evening he almost caught his son red handed with a very pretty young elleth of one of the most prominent families within the court. Thranduil was in fact very glad that Legolas had started to take an interest in elleths, he was at the right age for marriage and the elleth was very beautiful and just perfect really. Thranduil had a small conversation with his son and when Legolas confirmed that yes, he was serious about the relationship and yes he wanted to marry her Thranduil did not hesitate. The people needed some happy news now and the engagement was announced at a very lavish feast. Thranduil knew this was good for the moral and the line of elves wanting to congratulate the happy couple was long. Even Larcarion shook his brothers hand and wished them the best of luck and Thranduil hoped so very much that this perhaps would heal the relationship between his sons. Larcarion had become more outgoing and he seemed to be in awe of the knowledge of Elrond's mages.
Legolas fiancée was called Altariel and she was a very pleasant and warm hearted person. She loved to sing and cared deeply about others. She was overjoyed by the fact that Legolas had taken an interest in her and she was convinced that he was the one for her. She had admired him from a distance for long and the very idea of being his wife made her almost swoon with delight. Altariel was a bit naïve perhaps, she was very young yet and her parents had been very protective of her, she had not learned that much about the world. But it did not mean that she was stupid in any way, as a matter of fact she was very clever and she had an ability to think very fast. She did not look all that intelligent with those huge blue eyes and her ingenuous expression, but her looks were deceiving.
Thranduil knew that she would be just the right wife for his son, she was a soft force to balance his sons rather hardened personality. He felt content and happy for the first time in a long time, the future for his beloved children looked better.
Altariel was preparing for her wedding, she was getting a bit nervous as the big day got closer, she knew that Legolas loved her deeply and she loved him too and they would be perfectly happy together, but she somehow feared that the recent incidents would throw a dark cloud over their marriage. There had been no more disappearances for a while and the elves were taking deep breaths of relief. Perhaps the dark clouds were disappearing from their forest. An engagement would always last for a year but a year to an elf is but a short moment and before long the final preparations were on their way. Altariel was looking forward to the wedding, she wanted so badly to be his wife and she was almost aglow with anticipation.
She was on her way to have a pair of new shoes fitted when she was approached by Legolas brother Larcarion. She did not really like Larcarion that much, yes he was polite and very smart but she always felt like he was hiding something. Legolas was handsome but Larcarion was just beautiful, too beautiful. It was almost as if he wasn't real, not even an elf should look that perfect. He bowed and smiled at her. "A good evening to you Altariel, how are you this lovely day?"
She smiled and tried to repress her sudden feeling of approaching danger. There was something within his eyes that made her cringe.
"I am on my way to have my shoes fitted, I have no time to stay and chat I am afraid."
He just bowed his head. "Of course my lady, I will not keep you away from your plans, but I have a present for you. "
Altariel frowned, a gift now? That was a bit too early was it not: "A gift? Cant it wait?"
Larcarion shook his head and reached out towards her, he had something in his hand and she looked at it. It was a brooch and it was very beautiful. It looked like a butterfly and it was made from silver and precious gems. "It was my mothers, I think it is most fitting that you should wear it now, one day you may become our new queen."
Altariel did not know what to say, it was such a beautiful thing and that it had been the queens made her a bit shocked but also humble. Was she really worthy of wearing this? He dropped it into her hand, it was very heavy and a bit warm and Altariel lifted her hand and looked at it closer. The gems were so sparkly and she suddenly felt very dizzy. The world started to spin in front of her eyes and then it went black. Her last thought was that something was very wrong.
When Altariel came to she was on the floor of a rather dark room. It was huge, she knew that this had to be the labyrinth of caves and rooms which lay underneath the palace. They were rarely ever visited and she knew that you had to know them to find your way out. She got to her feet, she was nauseous and her head hurt. She knew she was in danger, all of her instincts told her so and she turned around, tried to get a better understanding of her situation. Why had this happened? Where was Larcarion? The last question was answered rather fast, she heard him laugh, a cold almost hissing laughter which told her beyond any doubt that he was the one who had brought her down there. She gasped and then she ran, it was rather dark and she had no idea of where she should go or if she could hide. He laughed again. "Just run you little whore, do not think that you can escape me. That idiot of an ellon who is my so called brother will never enjoy your beauty again. "
Altariel just knew it, all her intuition told her that Larcarion was the one behind the disappearances. He was not normal, he was no elf! She screamed and tried to find a way out of there but all she could see was the same empty halls and corridors. He laughed again, it sounded very creepy. "You cannot find the way out of here you twat, I have put a spell on this place. There is no escape. Oh, yes, I have magic. Strong magic, stronger than that moron I have for a father. I have learned so much you see, there is so more power within the dark arts."
Altariel trembled, he had become a dark mage, it was so clear now. He had been befriending the emissaries just to keep an eye on them and confuse them. They had been blinded by him, they all had been blinded.
"You are mad!"
Her voice was but a whisper and she heard him move but she could not see him anywhere. He was cloaking himself and she shivered all over. He was hunting her, as a predator hunts its prey and she knew he would kill her. Her heart was racing, there had to be something she could do, something which could warn the others of this terrible danger to the realm. Larcarion had fully embraced the dark powers, soon he would probably do the biddings of the dark lord himself and she feared for both Legolas and his father. "Mad? No, not at all, I am the only sane being here, this useless fight against the inevitable is madness. It is better to rule in hell than to waste away in heaven."
She felt something fly by her, she spun around, nothing but panic and darkness and cold. It was so cold there. "They will find you and then they will kill you!"
He chuckled and she felt something stroke against her back, perhaps a hand, she winced and spun around once more, her heartbeat like thunder in her ears. "Kill me? Absolutely not, nothing can kill me, I will watch them mourn and yearn and become more and more confused and when the right moment is there I will reveal my true allegiance and then I will kill them, do you hear me? I will slay that silly princeling of yours and do it very slowly so I can enjoy hearing him beg for his life"
Altariel gasped and then she ran again, there had to be something she could do? "The children, and the others, you murdered them!"
He sniggered and she heard him, his limp gave him away, his footsteps were not quite as silent as they would be if he had been an ordinary healthy elf. "Of course, I have had my fun, too bad my toys break so fast. But it matters not, there are plenty more to play with. "
Altariel leaned against a pillar, she was panting, she could barely see anything and she was so terrified she could barely stand up. "Why? By the Valar, why?"
Something slid through her hair, she winced and screamed. He laughed out loud. "Oh, it is so beautiful to see your fear, it smells so wonderful. Why? I'll tell you why!"
He was close, she gasped and tried to turn around again, just to be caught in front of the pillar by his arms. He was standing there in front of her and he was grinning, his eyes shining with malicious joy. "It should have been me! I should have been the first to be born, the one to be the heir to the throne. But no, that stupid fuck has always gotten everything he wanted, horses, weapons and elleths!"
Altariel did not want to meet the eyes of this beast with the body of an elf and the soul of a wraith but she had to. They were burning and she screamed once more. "Oh, father tried to pretend as if he cared about me but know what? It was all a game, I have never been good enough for him, never brave and strong like his precious Legolas. But watch me now, I am more powerful than any of them, I have the true power now, and I will destroy them both. I thought that father would succumb to his grief when mother died but I was wrong, he was too strong. He could not even protect his own wife and yet he calls himself a king."
Altariel felt how the world was spinning before her eyes again. "You, you were behind the attack?"
He smiled, a terrible mad grin. "Of course I was you nitwit. She was too smart, she was almost revealing my secrets so I had to get rid of her and the orcs were really happy to learn where she was and how many guards she had. I really enjoyed telling my fool of a father what a failure he is, he almost wept "
Altariel could barely speak. "You had your own mother killed!"
Larcarion nodded. "Very cleverly yes, I tried to get rid of that oh so brave warrior of yours too but he was a bit too strong and those spiders are a bit hard to control. They often bite the hand that feeds them but the price I had to pay was well worth it. They think I am nothing but a poor cripple, nobody would expect me to be this powerful"
She closed her eyes, could not look at his face again. "How?"
He grasped her chin and she felt him licking her face, he let his tongue slide across her face and she sobbed with disgust and fear. "How I got so powerful? It was easy, there is so many scrolls hidden down here, even some written by the first dark lords servants. It was easy really, the darkness is very generous towards its servants. I will deliver Mirkwood on a silver platter and with it my father's head!"
Altariel was brave, she was just a maiden with little knowledge of how to fight but she had instincts. She thrust her knee upward and into his groin, he doubled over and groaned and she ran. She heard him roar in anger and knew she had to get away somehow. He grabbed her by her long hair and yanked her back, she screamed and fell onto the hard ground. He growled at her, the dark flames of pure malice shining in his eyes. "You little bitch, you think you are smart ha? But I'll make you pay!"
He pressed her down and ripped her dress off her, Altariel was fighting with all of her might but it was useless. He whispered something and suddenly she could not move at all. He nodded his head and bared his teeth. "See? There is no escape!"
He made a gesture and his clothes disappeared, he was naked but his body was covered with strange patterns which seemed to be tattooed on. She felt how hot tears ran down her cheeks and she knew she would face death, if she only could save her love. Larcarion was panting and staring at her. He was grasping her by the hips and pushed her legs aside. "I bet that sissy of a brother I have has waited or what? I do not think he is man enough to forget the traditions and fuck you before you are married. "
He pushed a finger into her, violently and with force and she whimpered with pain. "That's just perfect my pretty one, now I can claim your virtue, and when I am done with you I will leave you so he can find your ravished body. Perhaps I will make him fuck your dead body before I kill him!"
Altariel just closed her eyes, she felt him push his way into her, claiming what should have been her gift to her beloved and she knew she had lost. Why should she even try to continue breathing now that she no longer was pure? The pain was horrible and he was panting and grunting, it made her feel sick. She thought about him, about how beautiful his smile was and how his eyes were shining when he looked at her. She sobbed. My love, please forgive me. She was suddenly staring at the whole scene from above, she saw him on top of her limp body, saw how he enjoyed to stain and ravish her body. Something rose from the depths of her soul, a rage, a despair and it awakened something which had been asleep for her entire life. She was not some weak human, she was an elf and she had her own powers. She looked down at the terrible scene, then she turned her head up. Her soul could leave her body behind, she just had to find someone who could see her.
The others had realized that Altariel was missing, they were looking everywhere and panic was spreading through the palace. Legolas was beside himself with fear and Thranduil had a terrible feeling that something horrible had happened to her. He tried to remain calm but to no prevail, he was shivering and knew that his son would be completely crushed if she was dead.
Altariel was flowing through the air, she was invisible and nobody saw her, not even the mages. She wanted to scream at them and tell them she was there but they could not see her. Desperation took her, she saw that Legolas was sitting on a chair and his father was trying to comfort him, both Ellyn were crying and she felt so sorry for Legolas. She was no magician, not trained in the hidden arts but she had to warn him, tell him of her fate. There was a piece of parchment on the desk in front of the two of them and it was also a piece of charcoal there. It took all of her will, all of her power but she managed to lift the piece of coal with her own energy and she wrote a few words on it before she had to let go. She was drained and was pulled back into her body.
The piece of parchment fell onto the floor and Thranduil frowned and picked it up, there had been no draft there so why had it moved. He stared at the words, written with coal and he went white as a ghost. Then he yelled an order and ran, Legolas was hot on his heels.
Altariel just hoped that they had seen her message, she had no energy left, she was helpless now. Larcarion had grasped her by the throat, he loved to watch his victims squirm and fight for air and life. Their final dying gasps were what usually made him come undone and he had already enjoyed himself a lot. He had bitten her until she was bleeding several places and he had taken her in every way he possibly could. He knew she was dying, and he was eagerly awaiting the moment when the light within her eyes died out. He grinned with delight and roared as his release rushed through him, her final breath was so sweet. He would place her dead body in his brothers bed, that would be just perfect. He was sure the expression on Legolas face would be fantastic to watch.
Larcarion was about to get redressed when he suddenly felt a strange disturbance in the force field he had created, it seemed to shiver and he frowned and turned around. He was hit from all directions by the force of all of the mages Elrond had sent, they were five and very strong and he knew he was revealed, his secret was out. He swore and threw a spell at them but it had no effect, they had prepared themselves very well. There was light there now, he had to shield his eyes from it and he heard someone scream in sorrow and despair. He could see his brother running towards her body, Larcarion grinned and the grin was terrible. He raised his arm to throw a final spell that would turn his brother to ash, the prince had no protection and it was just his fear and sorrow that made him run forth like this, without thinking of his own safety. The mages were screaming a warning and Larcarion hissed, this would be very sweet. He suddenly sensed movement to his left and started to turn around but his bad leg hindered him. He had forgotten all about his father, and he suddenly realized that he had underestimated his sire and his will and strength. It was the last mistake he did, he saw something shiny flow through the air and then the world toppled over in a most peculiar way. He saw his own body fall onto the floor before everything went dark and Thranduil stared down at his sons head and body with dark eyes. He dropped the sword, it hit the floor with a metallic clang and then his knees hit the floor too while he screamed in grief and despair and horror.
Legolas was cradling Altariels body in his arms, he was making weird wailing sounds and rocking back and forth. Thranduil gasped, he could barely think, barely breathe. His own son had been a servant of the dark forces, how had he failed to notice this. His whole realm had been in mortal danger and it was his son the whole time, his own flesh and blood sired by his loins. He reached out, touched Larcarions long blond hair, the wicked glow within the eyes was gone. His son's soul was at least free and he sobbed and felt how his hands shivered. "Oh my dear child, when did I deceive you? When did I fail you? When did I make you turn away from the light?"
Legolas had dropped Altariels body, the mages were working hard to remove every piece of Larcarions magic and they would wrap her body as soon as they were finished. It was just an empty husk now, she was gone forever and he crawled over to his father on his hands and his knees, sobbing and gasping. The two embraced each other, crying and sharing the grief and pain. She had managed to warn them and paid the ultimate price. She would never be forgotten, they both swore to remember her.
The two were helped back to their chambers by the healers, both were so weakened by grief and guilt everybody feared for their sanity and lives. The healers had them sedated and ordered guards to watch them the whole time. This could make any elf start to fade but strangely enough they did not. The love they held for each other helped them heal in time. The dead were burned and Larcarions name erased everywhere. His name was cursed and was not to be spoken of again. Altariel got a statue in her likeness erected in the garden. Words of memory was written on it and in the years to follow the elves of the court sometimes saw the prince kneel by the statue, crying. What they did not see was the king himself kneeling by a small hidden rock out in the forest, on it was just a name hastily carved in runes, the name of utter sorrow, the name of a hope that was lost.