Chapter 11: Something Got Your Tongue?
My apologies dear readers! With the holiday swing in full force my time for updates went down the drain. I also wasn't particularly happy with the last chapter. I mean I was intending it to be more of a transition/filler chapter, but after reading through it, I really wasn't that proud of what I put out there. To make up for it, I promise that this chapter shall be rather entertaining! I hope you all had a great time with Christmas, Chinese food and a movie (the best Jewish tradition in my mind), or whatever other holiday traditions you partake in! P.S. there is one section in this chapter where Legolas has a brief conversation with the trees, and their speech is in italics. I will make it clear who is speaking, but I just wanted to say something in case you guys get confused, seeing as italics normally apply to Legolas. And can I just say that I just checked my traffic stats and found that I have had 13,455 views to my stories! OH MY FLIPPING GOD YOU GUYS! You have no idea how huge this is for me!
HelloDenmark: I am the one who is flattered! I mean you like my story! *jumps up and down in joy before spinning in circles* I don't just like Coldness and Aid from a friend, I love them! They are probably my most favorite stories I have read (besides the actual books) concerning Middle Earth. I do plan on continuing this story. I am actually getting more and more into it as the plot progresses. *fan girl squeal* my role model thinks my story is interesting! Sorry, this is exceedingly exciting for me, in case you couldn't tell already!
Cottoncandybeefalo: Yep, I decided the chapter eight was enough torture for you guys. And again I am really sorry for the wait, sometimes typing has got to just take a sideline to other things. Yeah I share your feelings about the chapter, but thank you about the compliment with the ending. I really tried to make the speeches as cheese-less as possible, but apparently it didn't quite work out. Yeah, it was really cool, because in the past I had just been calling them brothers, but now I have something else to use, very exciting! Of course I reply, I didn't used to, and I am finding that I am actually really enjoying the whole correspondence thing back and forth. It also helps with improving my story, because I can get more in-depth criticism!
Emzieluvsbooks: I feel really stupid, because I just figured out what your pen-name actually means…wow I really need to be more observant sometimes. Anyways, back to your review. I know right! I saw the movie again and when that scene came on, I was trying so hard not to laugh, especially since the theater was like dead silent. I basically had my face buried in my hands and the people behind me thought that I was like suffocating or something, because my breathing was coming out in like short little gasps. Afterwards they were looking at me very worriedly…so I know how you feel. Yes it is always good when people survive, although sometimes character deaths do make interesting stories. I am glad that Aragorn's human side showed through without making him seem annoying. I really wanted to show that side where Legolas isn't just the damsel in distress so to speak, especially since this story often revolves around that. Now that you say something, I did feel like maybe I moved through the mines a little too quickly, but now this just means that I can continue the plot and stretch it over more of the fellowship's journey. Now I don't want to give too much away, but I will just say that you are in the range of being warm with your predictions….
Pie in the Face: I am glad that you enjoyed the present I could give you. Actually I am pretty sure that it was Dominic who had the splinter, because the injury I was thinking about was when Sean went running after Elijah at the end of The Fellowship, and ended up getting a huge piece of glass through his foot, but I could be wrong, and that is not important right now. I am glad that my choices as an author meet your criteria! Also being compared to Peter Jackson, that makes me so happy! Please enjoy!
LotR-HP-PJ: I know, I needed to throw in some good old fluffiness for the sake of lightening up the story a little. Things were getting kinda heavy with no relief so this was more of a pallet refresher. No cliffhanger is right! I still felt bad for what I did with chapter 9 so I decided you guys needed a break from stressing over cliffhangers. I hope you had a merry Christmas as well!
The Oz Meister and Jen Baas: Well it couldn't be Legolas pain all the time, I mean sharing is caring right? I agree, sometimes even the toughest guys need to let out their feelings, and who is better qualified to offer some comfort than our dear archer? Please enjoy this update!
Masked Man 2: Thanks! Being described as awesome is definitely very nice! I am glad that you like my writing!
DragonElf: Oh I am so happy you are enjoying yourself! Bringing happiness is my main goal, so it is good to know that I can accomplish that!
Please enjoy guys!
The calloused fingers of the elven archer ran absent-mindedly through the dark curls of the ranger as the man slept on. Aragorn had shifted during his sleep and now rested more within the elf's lap than not. His head was pillowed in the crook of the prince's neck, and while the position was rather uncomfortable for Legolas, he was loath to wake the man when his face looked so peaceful. These moments—when Aragorn's worry and age fled from his face, making him look like the care-free child Legolas met so many years ago—were rare nowadays, so the prince let them last for as long as possible.
Small movement at the prince's left alerted him to the mound of hobbits curled around each other. He smiled as he saw that subconsciously the hobbits had wrapped their arms around Frodo in a protective and comforting manner. However, Legolas' joy fled when he remembered why the young hobbit was in need of such comfort.
Gandalf was dead.
The elf slowly closed his eyes in sadness, for he felt that if he didn't, he wouldn't be able to hide the tears forming along the rims of his eyes. It took several moments, but once again the elf regained control over his emotions and returned his full attention to the duty at hand: guarding the fellowship from any possible threat.
His icy blue-grey eyes scanned the surrounding forest with scrutiny. He knew that these woods were reasonably safe, but if the past few years of his life had taught him anything, it would be that the unexpected can occur even in seemingly safe situations.
Legolas' thoughts were interrupted by the mumbles of the ranger. He looked down and a frown made its way onto the elf's face when he saw that the man had furrowed his brow and looked rather unhappy. The prince continued to listen and watch as the man's seeming nightmare became clearer.
"Leave them….don't hurt my friends you beast…..we already lost Gandalf, I won't lose the others too…..not him…please not him…..he has already suffered at your hands…."
The prince became plagued by a grim curiosity at who Aragorn was talking about. His eyes widened as the man continued.
"You took his voice…..don't take more…..don't hurt him anymore…..stop…..can't you see you're hurting him….you monster….it will be alright mellon-nin….I will heal you….don't leave me Legolas…you can't leave me…." (my friend)
Legolas felt the man's words tug upon his heart-strings. As Aragorn became more agitated, the elf wished that he could call out to his friend, give him some comfort that it was only a nightmare, but he couldn't. All he could do was place his hands along the side of Aragorn's face and press his forehead to the ranger's. As the elf waited, he felt the man's mutterings quiet, and his face even out.
Once the man was silent again, the elf carefully moved him out of his lap and lay Aragorn down next to him, pillowing the man's head with his cloak. Legolas then stood and stretched lazily and his shoulders and back popped quietly. Feeling restless the elf gave the tree—the group was crowded around—a quick look over, before taking a bounding leap and grabbing the closest branch with little difficulty. He then proceeded to climb farther up the tree until he was perched upon a branch mere feet from the top. From his place within the tree, Legolas was still very much aware of what was going on in the immediate area, but he could also see farther into the vast forest before him.
Being around the ancient trees brought the silent elf some peace as he listened to their whispers, which only he could hear.
You are in pain, my dear prince. What troubles you so?
The elf turned to face the trunk and placed a hand against the wood. Through the temporary link, he was able to communicate with ease.
I have lost much in recent years. First many of my kin and three years of my life, then my pride and my voice, and now I have lost a companion who I considered a parental figure and a close friend. I also have no idea whether I am going to survive this quest, or if it will fail before we even reach our destination. Yet it is not death I fear, it is never being able to see the ones I love, leaving them without being able to say goodbye, or watching my friends die around me as well. I do not know if I will be able to handle that much more grief, my heart is already filled with far too much.
Legolas could feel the tree buzzing with life beneath his fingertips as it contemplated his answer.
Young one, you have suffered more than most your age, and while it has given you a burden to carry and scars to bear on your skin and heart, it has also made you much stronger, I can sense it within you. As for your worries, I would consider you arrogant and a fool not to feel uncertainty about your journey at hand, and the selfless nature of them shows that you are wise beyond your years, and that your heart is undeniably kind. As for your grief, it clouds the mind and the soul with sadness, which prohibits us from seeing the good things in life. I can see that what you speak is true, your heart is indeed riddled with pain, but that does not have to be permanent. Use this time to quell your sadness, allow yourself to heal.
The elf opened his eyes—which he hadn't noticed he had closed—and moved so his back was once again resting against the tree, breaking the connection. However, the elf responded anyway.
I wish that it was as easy as you say, wise one, but it seems like every time I try to follow your advice and heal, I am stopped by memories plaguing me. Yet I thank you my friend. You have allowed me to find peace in a turbulent time.
Legolas continued to sit and watch the world before him, mulling over the conversation with the ancient spirit. The wise words he had been confronted with brought forth a memory from many years ago. It was after he had been in bondage for close to two and a half years, and his hope was leaving him. Yet it was not himself he was thinking of, it was the elves he had left behind in Mirkwood.
The smell of burned flesh, spilt blood, and rotten rations filled the stone cell. It was a putrid aroma, yet it had become normal for the lone elf—who was strung up by his wrists from shackles attached to the ceiling—and it rarely bothered him anymore. It was an insignificant displeasure considering the living hell his life had become.
The prince of Mirkwood hadn't seen natural light since the first day he had been brought here, and it had turned his skin completely colorless. He looked more like a corpse than an elf with his anorexic body added into the mix. Legolas Thranduilion doubted that he would survive much longer, yet his body had surprised him so far by lasting two years in such a hell hole.
With nothing better to do, the elf began making guesses as to what his cause of death would be (natural or orc related?) and when it would arrive. This morbid game was really one of the only things he could do to keep himself sane and entertained, because besides the beatings, his captors left him alone. His current atmosphere didn't help improve his thoughts either.
As the elf continued to ponder his ultimate end, his thoughts moved to the people he would leaving behind. He would have sighed, but his throat still felt as if it were on fire from the most recent concoction the orcs had forced down his throat. It had felt as if it was burning straight through his skin and muscle as it trickled down into his stomach.*
His worries settled mostly upon his father. The Elven-king had already lost his wife, and Legolas' mother, to the orcs of Dol Guldur during a surprise attack on the royal family during a picnic. Of course the royal guard had been there should something of that sort happen, but the group of nine soldiers were no match for the orcs' number of forty-five.
The prince had been reasonably young at the time, merely three-hundred years old, and his mother gave up her life protecting the child, for Thranduil had been off fighting. Thankfully the queen's death had been quick, for the knife imbedded in her chest didn't allow her heart much argument on whether or not it would continue pumping blood. However, no matter how merciful her death was, it didn't make her loss any less devastating for her son and husband.
Legolas felt tears prick his eyes as he remembered his father's broken pleas for his beloved to return as he clutched at her bloodied body. Thranduil had lost a piece of himself that day and he never was the same. A permanent shine of sadness took up residence in the deep blue eyes of the king, forever mourning his lost love.
Now of course he still ruled his kingdom exceptionally well, and cared for his son like any loving father should, but despite his best effort, little Legolas began spending more and more time on his own as he grew. There simply isn't enough time to dedicate oneself to being a father and a king. In the long run it made the elfling more independent and ingenious, but it also hurt the young one greatly.
The prince didn't know if his father could handle another death within the family. For all he knew, his father could have already faded from grief if he believed that his son was dead. That thought was too much for the son of Thranduil, for the tears, which had been barely suppressed, now flowed freely down the cheeks of the elf.
He knew that he was going to die, there was no other option for the prince of Mirkwood. He had been here for multiple years, his people probably believed him dead, and even if not, they wouldn't be able to get into Dol Guldur in any circumstance. But his father? Legolas couldn't imagine his father leaving this earth, it wasn't his time.
Legolas' thoughts were interrupted as the door to his cells swung open. The elf dropped his chin to rest upon his chest in defeat. He knew what that sound meant: the orcs were coming for his daily beating. Long ago they had broken him. He no longer resisted screaming in pain, or releasing tears in their presence, but he would never beg them, and he would never betray any information about Mirkwood.
"Have we woken you elf?"
The prince rose his head to look at the group of six orcs standing in the doorway. He watched as the one who had spoken walked into the small chamber. The beast stood before him and harshly reached out to grab the elf's chin. The orc chuckled before delivering a harsh punch to Legolas' left cheek, causing the elf's blood to pour down the corner of his mouth.
"Oh yeah, I forgot, you can't answer me can you?"
The orc roughly pushed the prince's bared chest, which made the elf swing back and forth, for his toes were held just high enough off the ground that all his weight on his shoulders. The joints had already separated many days before, so the pain the movement caused was excruciating. The prince's jaw dropped as he prepared to scream, yet he became confused when he found that he couldn't make a sound. Legolas' eyes widened as he looked to the orc, who merely smirked.
"What's wrong elf? Something got your tongue?"
The group laughed cruelly at the first-born's suffering, before the leader provided some explanation to the prince's stricken expression.
"Here, I am giving you freedom to say whatever you want to me, anything you want."
Once again the elf opened his mouth to speak, but nothing would come forth. The orcs watched him struggle for about a minute before they gave up.
"I am disappointed in you elf, oh well. Now you see, we figured you weren't going to tell us anything, so we decided that if you wouldn't speak to us, you weren't going to speak at all. Also, now we don't have to worry about keeping you alive, so we get to use you as are new pet."
Legolas felt more tears leak from beneath his ivory eyelids as his captors advanced on him.
The elf jerked forward as his reverie ended. He found that his breathing was heavy, a thin sheen of sweat covered his brow, and tears lay on his cheeks. Legolas placed one hand over his rapidly beating heart, while he brought the other up to run over his face. Afterwards he swallowed thickly and stood, deciding that he should probably return to his perch on the ground. However, Legolas' legs were shaky, much like his hands, so during the elf's decent, he suffered a misplacement of his hand, and before he knew it, Legolas was plummeting towards the ground.
Desperation took over the elf's mind as he tried to reach out for anything to stop his momentum. He knew that a fall from this height would mean death, even for an elf. As his body continued downwards, he slammed into several branches, causing them to snap, as well as when he reached out to grab some of the thinner branches. Finally Legolas managed to get a good grip on a sturdy branch and his body jerked as the elf stopped his fall.
The prince winced as pain flared up in his shoulders—eerily reminiscent of what he suffered in the memory he just relived—but he soon realized that it wasn't anything major like a dislocation, but merely his joints reacting to the strain. In fact, the pain was already beginning to dull as the elf tried to collect himself. Legolas' entire body was shaking by now, and his breathing was dangerously erratic.
Ever so slowly, the panic dissipated, and the elf found himself able to move once again. He took a cautious step forward to test his balance, and when he found himself reasonably steady, Legolas continued forward to the tree's trunk in order to apologize. He placed his palm flat against the bark and sought out the tree's spirit.
Please accept my apology, my friend. I truly meant no harm to you. My fall was my own fault, and I am so sorry that the result was many of your branches being broken.
The tree hummed in response to the elf's apology.
I forgive you, young one. I know that you meant no harm. It is strange however, for I have never had one of the Ilúvatar's children lose their balance within my branches before. My worry for you has grown since I last talked to you.
The elf pulled away with a frown before very carefully climbing the rest of the way down. It took him longer than normal due to his cautious nature, and by the time he reached the soft and grassy earth, the pale light of dawn was stretching over the hills.
Please review guys! I really hope that this one made up for my chapter last week! I know that it wasn't super action packed, but hopefully it was still enjoyable!
*yes, the concoction I mentioned is what eventually stole Legolas' voice. I just wanted to clarify a little, but more detail on this matter won't be revealed until later chapters….