Chapter 12: Old Friends
Alright, so for the New Year I have decided that I am going to try and make my updates more frequent and on a more normal schedule. New Year's resolutions right? Anyway, I am really happy that this story has been getting such great buzz. I officially broke my record for most reviews to a story (because LotR-JP-PJ submitted the 90th review for this story) and it is extremely exciting. I have also hit an all-time record for views for my stories! I really want to thank you all, because it is your continued support and kind reviews that have brought me to this point, so thank you all for such a fantastic year, and I hope that 2014 will be just as fantastic! Oh and again I apologize, because for some reason only about half of the guest reviews I get are showing up under my story….so if I don't respond, I am sorry, but thank you for your support!
Bold italics are Legolas' thoughts!
Cotoncandybeefalo: The suffering of elves is always saddening because they are so perfect, but as I have said before, it must be done and it certainly gets our heart-rates up! Yeah, I have always thought that Aragorn would have the "mother hen" streak in him after going through so many losses in his life. I thought that since this did actually start as a slash fic (which I don't particularly fancy myself, but the friend who had the idea was really upset that she wasn't getting another dose of Aragorn/Legolas) I might as well appease everyone by keeping them brotherly, but cuddly-brotherly. Yes the mystery is coming up to the surface! Excitement is on the way my friend!
Pie in the Face: Trust me, I have had some strange mix-ups in my own time as a fan. It happens to even the greatest of super-fans every once and a while. As for sleep deprivation and the wacky things it does to the mind….two words: finals week. I know, the internet does have a certain lure that sleep hasn't quite picked up on yet…and I am sorry to disappoint, but glimpses are all y'all gonna get until the end…sorry, but I can't give it all away!
Dmetri Brandais: Hello to you as well, and thank you! As for the apology, I have always been told that I am my own worst critic, and I probably forever will be. I tend to set standards, and sometimes I don't quite reach them which is rather upsetting to me personally…but thank you, your words are always reassuring, even if sometimes they don't quite make it through the my over-critical brain. I am glad that you are enjoying yourself though!
Allie Danger: I am glad that you are intrigued! Sometimes it can be so hard to get people interested to the point where they continue to read. I shall continue to write and hopefully you continue to follow.
Teapot of transformation: Yay! Love is always a word I like to hear when it comes to my writing! That actually was the original idea, but eventually it developed into the psychological part being why he wouldn't speak about it, while a physical agent was the reason as to why he couldn't speak. So yes it is the fault of the orcs concoction, which will be shown in more detail later on.
CrazyPandaHobbit: They are coming, I promise you won't be disappointed my friend! Thank you so much! It was an iffy idea at first but now I am so glad that I decided to take a risk with it, because the reaction to it has been overwhelmingly positive! I take that compliment very personally, because I have never been very confident in my writing skills, you know in school and stuff, but I think that writing here and getting your feedback has really helped me, because I have noticed that my grades on essays have risen significantly!
The Oz Meister and Jen Baas: Fortunately, we will never know whether or not his body would have given out on him, or whether the orc would've become too careless, because thankfully our favorite archer was rescued! Yeah, I know what you mean….sometimes I feel bad for the stuff I put him through, but what you gonna do?
LotR-HP-PJ: Good! I am glad that you enjoyed it! And yes, no cliffhanger. I couldn't torture you guys again….yes the suspense is building…
DragonElf: Well, from what I gather about elves, their balance and skills can be affected when an elf is severely injured, possibly sick from said injury, or extremely shaken. I was kind of playing of the idea that Legolas was unexpectedly pushed into trauma after his flashback, and was therefore not completely sturdy on his feet, or in his mind. Hence the hint in which I said that his hands and legs were quaking dangerously, to the point where he couldn't focus on the task at hand. I didn't really intend for him to fall when he was just standing on a branch, but more along the lines of when he was actually climbing down. Hope that answers your question.
Damian: Of course there will be more! I plan on continuing this one for a while, so hang in there. Yeah, I wanted to try and do something different, because I noticed that my "hurt Legolas" fics have started to fall into the cliché group of fanfiction, not that those are all bad. There are some absolutely fantastic pieces out there that follow a somewhat cliché mold. Well, if you are on the edge of your seat now, just you wait, it is going to get even more exciting as the story progresses.
Please enjoy guys!
The pale fingers of dawn rose up over the horizon and pulled the surrounding area into their grasp. The rose-tinted morning chased away shadows and sprinkled dots of light onto the peaceful faces of the sleeping fellowship. When none of the beings responded to the gentle wakeup call—with the exception of the elven prince, who hadn't been able to fall asleep after his dip into old memories—mother nature decided to wake the birds as well to call out and disturb their slumber. However, despite their best efforts, the woodland creatures could barely rouse the sleep deprived travelers. The past day and a half had been so strenuous and rest had been limited, so the group was positively exhausted, despite the fact that they had just slept for over twelve hours straight.
Seeing the predicament of the nature around him, Legolas smiled softly and rose from his seat beside Aragorn, which he had once again taken up after his disaster in the tree. He placed a gentle hand upon the ranger's shoulder and shook him lightly. Once he was sure that the man was awake, which was signified by a rather unhappy grumble, the elf rolled his eyes and moved over to wake the others as well. After several other not so pleasant responses, namely from the dwarf within the group, the rest of the fellowship was awake and packing for their continuing journey.
The elf and the ranger were the first to be ready to leave, for the elf hadn't unpacked anything, and neither had the man. So Aragorn used that moment to approach Legolas, who was standing off to the side watching the others finish with their own things. The ranger greeted his friend with a smile, but the elf saw through it and down to the man's true intentions almost immediately. With a roll of his eyes, Legolas tried to walk past the man. Not now Estel. I am not particularly in the mood to spill my soul to you right now. Besides we don't really have time, for we need to reach the safety of the Golden Wood as soon as possible.
Aragorn nodded in agreement, but before the elf could slip away, he grabbed the prince by the arm and pulled him back to the original position Legolas was in. The man spoke lowly in elvish in order to hide from the prying ears of their traveling companions.
"Amin weera yassen lle, Lothlórien thang na-minna sui hortha-sui anira. Taus pent lye ú auta tenna i îdh naa desiel, mani ona ammen anann a ped. Amin aú thang lle anta ulua lle faer, sut lle ume vesta a kwentra enni mani marte e-i sabar. (I agree with you, Lothlorien needs to be reached as quickly as possible. That said we cannot leave until the others are ready, which gives us time to speak. I don't need you to spill your soul, but you did promise to tell me what happened in the mines.)
The man moved so that he was standing before the elf, moving his hands to firmly grasp Legolas' shoulders. He waited until the prince was looking at him directly in the eye before continuing.
"Amin dela ten lle mellon-nin." (I worry about you my friend)
After several seconds of contemplative silence, the elf nodded and gestured for the ranger to sit beside him on the grass. The two settled in and Legolas began to sign while he watched the others get closer and closer to finishing. At one point when we were fighting in the mines, I found myself pinned to the ground by one of the orcs. It took me a moment, but I recognized him as one of my captors, and he recognized me as well. He was one of the worst. He and his leader rejoiced in hearing me scream, and it was they who took my speech from me in the end. The prince paused to glance at the ranger's reaction. Aragorn had a small frown plastered on his face, and his eyes were searching those of the archer intensely. He began taunting me, and I was already in a state due to the fact that we were in the mines, so I lost myself for a moment or two and ended up killing the beast. However, I couldn't tear myself away from the body, even after you called. That was what made me freeze up Estel.
Aragorn nodded slowly as his face evened out.
"I am sorry Legolas, but I am glad that you were able to jostle yourself out of your thoughts long enough to slay the troll and keep yourself alive. I would also like to add that your mischief with the troll was pretty fantastic, even though I was watching with bated breath, for I thought that you were going to kill yourself then and there."
The archer smirked and raised an eyebrow. Have you so little faith in me ranger? I am hurt Estel. Legolas accentuated the remark by crossing his arms over his chest, shutting his eyes, and turning his nose up in disgust, which the man promptly responded to with a roll of his eyes and a cuff to his friend's shoulder.
"Will you ever forgive me, my dearest and most flawless friend?"
Legolas popped open one eye and studied the ranger before, in one quick motion, pinned the ranger to the ground by straddling Aragorn's hips, and pinned down the man's wrists with one of his hands. The elf flashed the surprised, and now peeved, man a dashing smile and used his free hand to sign. I think that I may be able to overlook this lack of judgment on your part. What say you, do you yield?
The man narrowed his eyes and grumbled lowly in embarrassment.
"Amin lava." (I yield)
"Hey you two, are you planning on joining us?"
Both parties turned to find the rest of the fellowship watching them with quirked eyebrows.
Aragorn flushed a little before jumping up, after the elf climbed off of him. The man dusted off his clothes and cleared his throat as he walked to the front of the group.
"Yes, sorry about that…we continue on until we reach Lothlorien, which should be soon."
The other nodded and followed after the man, as he made his way deeper into the forest.
"Stay close, young hobbits…they say a Sorceress lives in these woods."
Gimli whispered back to the four hobbits walking behind him in line. The halflings all had looks of utter horror pass over their faces as the dwarf continued.
"An elf-witch of terrible power. All who look upon her fall under her spell..."
Legolas felt his anger begin to bubble as Gimli blatantly insulted the Lady Galadriel directly in front of him. The elf tightened his fists at his sides, but quelled his anger after coming to the conclusion that while he desperately wanted to, beating the dwarf into the ground wouldn't aid in the fellowship's objective.
To distract himself from the rambling dwarf, the elf cast his gaze upon the stunning trees around him. They seemed to stretch into the skies for an infinite length, their leafy tops barely visible against the bright blue sky. As he continued to sight-see, Legolas felt memories wash over him, but for once they were of the happy and joyful kind.
He began to think about the last time he was within Lorien's borders. It had been a great deal of time ago—close to a century in fact—but he could still remember the utter euphoria he had experienced within these woods. The highlights being the endless conversations with the wise trees, going swimming and goofing around with Haldir the marchwarden and his brothers, Rumli and Orophin, the celebrations where he had danced until he literally collapsed, and the beautiful music which he eagerly engaged in. This was when the elf felt a pang or regret hit him. Never would he be able to sing in the Golden Wood again, never would he laugh with his friends….Legolas' eyes widened as a thought came to him.
The elves within Lothlorien had no idea that he had been held captive in Dol Guldur, and therefore they were oblivious to the fact that he could no longer speak. The elf felt a part of him "die" as he realized that this meant he was going to have to explain it all over again. This is just wonderful.
Legolas had been so distracted by his reverie that he had missed the presence of someone approaching, until the group was almost upon them.
Out of instinct he drew his bow, only to find an arrow pointed at his nose by another fair-haired elf. Legolas offered a barely conceivable and polite smile to the being, who he had his own arrow pointed at, which grew slightly as the elf from Lothlorien returned the gesture.
"A dwarf breathes so loud, we could have shot him in the dark."
The familiar voice caught the elven prince's attention. He turned his gaze to find Haldir, marchwarden of Lothlorien, standing before him talking with Aragorn.
Mirkwood's prince briefly caught Haldir's eye as the marchwarden finished up his conversation with the ranger. He then gave a short command to his soldiers to lead the fellowship towards the heart of the Golden Wood. The group started forward and Legolas' heart began to race when he noticed that Haldir was purposely lagging behind to speak with him. Soon the marchwarden was beside him, and flashing him a large smile.
"Mae Govannan mellon-nin. It has been so long since you last came to visit. I have missed your company, as have Rumli and Orophin." (well met my friend)
Legolas forced a smile and nodded before turning his gaze forward. Out of the corner of his eye, the archer could see the look of hurt and confusion pass over Haldir's face. Great, now he thinks that I am ignoring him. Ai what am I supposed to do? Now really isn't a good time to say "Hey so, I can't talk anymore, and I communicate with this complicated new language that I made up a few years ago. Why can't I speak? Well I was kind of tortured for three years by a bunch of orcs in the dungeons of Dol Guldur, you know same old same old." Thought Legolas dryly.
The prince stopped walking, and pulled the marchwarden aside for a moment. The other Lorien soldiers looked at them with confusion, but Haldir merely waved them off and turned to look at Legolas.
"What is it mellon-nin?" (my friend)
The elf glanced pleadingly at the sky above him as he tapped his foot nervously on the ground. The marchwarden watched the behavior with curiosity, for last time he saw the prince it was almost impossible to stop him from talking, joking, and laughing, not that he minded. Finally Legolas settled on the best option available. He pointed to himself, then his mouth, and finally shook his head. He repeated the gesture when Haldir shot him a look which said "has the prince lost his mind?" After several more repetitions, the marchwarden decided that it would probably be best if he worked through it out loud.
"You don't want to speak with me?"
The prince shook his head furiously, and gestured for the elf to continue thinking.
"You…you can't speak with me?"
Legolas smiled sadly and nodded. The marchwarden looked incredulously at the prince and sputtered a little.
"W-Why not? Have I done something wrong? Have I upset you?"
Once again the elf shook his head and this time mouthed out what he needed to say.
Later, I will tell you everything later.
The marchwarden looked at him for him for a moment, before responding.
"You promise that it isn't that you are upset, I don't want to lose you as a friend."
Legolas shook his head, mouthed "later" again, shot Haldir an apologetic smile, and ran to catch up with the fellowship, who were a good distance away by now.
The prince could feel Haldir's eyes on his back for the rest of the walk, and it unsettled him deeply. In the past hour since their brief "chat", Legolas had been racking his brain over the best way to explain his predicament. The elf felt like the direct approach would end with pity, but at the same time, if he was vague, then the result would be more questions. Either end was less than desirable, but there wasn't much else he could do.
Finally the journey came to an end, and after a brief argument between the marchwarden and the ranger, the fellowship was brought to stand before the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien. However, before the group was brought to the high elves for judgment, they were allowed a brief respite. The group was left to lounge among the various benches and chairs in the area, and Haldir took the opportunity to once again corner the prince. He stood before Legolas and spoke.
"Nae naa ab-mellon-nin." (It is later my friend)
The prince nodded and rose from his perch, dragging the ranger with him as he moved into a more secluded area. Haldir followed and watched with confusion as the ranger protested, and Legolas seemed to quiet him with gestures. Soon Legolas deemed they were far enough away, and he pointed to a bench in front of him for the marchwarden to sit upon. Haldir silently obeyed, and waited patiently for the other elf to explain himself.
Legolas smiled reassuringly at him, before tapping the man on the shoulder. When the ranger got the message, his eyes widened and he looked to Legolas in shock.
"He doesn't know, does he?"
The prince shook his head. None of the Lorien elves know anything. The last time I was here was over a century ago, and they weren't involved in the "search and rescue". Aragorn nodded in response and turned to a very confused looking Haldir.
"Alright then. Now what happens next is going to be confusing at first, but simply think of my words as Legolas'."
The marchwarden looked skeptical but nodded none the less.
Legolas looked to the man, and once they made eye contact, Aragorn began to speak through the elf's gestures.
"You see my friend, much has happened since the last time I visited your home. It is somewhat hard to say, but you need to know, so I shall tell you. However, I ask of you one thing. Please sit and listen until I am finished. It will be easier to answer questions afterwards. Now where to begin."
The archer paused and took a breath before continuing.
"About eight decades ago, I found myself in a bit of trouble when I was captured by a group of orcs from Dol Guldur while I was out on patrol. I was knocked unconscious, and when I awoke, I was chained in their dungeons. Long story short, I was held there for three-almost four years, and during that time they tried to use me for information. They knew I was the prince, and therefore held valuable information concerning the Woodland Realm, and its weaknesses. When they realized I wasn't going to give them anything, they gave me something, I still don't know what it was, no one does, but they forced it down my throat. The consequences being the loss of my speech. I tried, I tried for years to find my voice, but no matter what I did, I found that I was unable to speak. I quickly fell into a depression because of all that had been stolen from me, but once I hit my worst, I was able to work my way back up. I created the language you see me using now. Each gesture is either a word in itself, or a letter to spell something out. As you see, Estel has become fluent in it along with my father and soldiers, while many others are learning. So you see, I truly meant you no harm when I did not speak to you earlier, I merely can't. I hope that you don't see this as a reason to end the comradery we had, but I would understand if you do. Many have seen this new element to my life as too much of a challenge."
The ranger finished with the elf, and gave him a sad smile. He knew that many of the elves Legolas considered friends before his captivity abandoned him when they decided dedicating time to learning his new ways wasn't worth it. The extra loss had hurt the elf deeply in a time when he was already extremely fragile.
When the marchwarden stood, after many moments of silence, Aragorn stepped back and allowed him to approach Legolas. Haldir continued forward until he was mere inches away from the other blonde. He intently studied Legolas' face, and it only took seconds for the blonde to move his gaze to the ground, already preparing for rejection. However, that is not quite what happened.
After another minute, the marchwarden lunged forward and wrapped his arms around the younger elf. Legolas' eyes widened in shock as he processed how Haldir had reacted. He slowly returned the hug and pulled the elder closer to him.
"My dear Legolas, never would I dessert a friend over something such as this. I am so sorry that this came upon you. Why did you not contact us earlier, we are your friends?"
The prince simply shook his head, which was now resting upon the marchwarden's shoulder, in response. Slowly, the two elves separated and Haldir sent Legolas a warm smile.
"It is alright mellon-nin. Forever will you hold my friendship, and I feel that the others within Lothlorien will feel similarly. Now I know that this is much to ask of you, but I would be honored if you taught me some of your new language. It would be nice to be able to communicate directly with you, and not through someone else, no offence Estel." (my friend)
The marchwarden shot a brief look over at the ranger and dipped his head. The man responded by holding his hands up in a mock defensive gesture.
"Do not worry over it, Haldir."
The two smiled at each other before Haldir turned back to the other elf, who was nodding in response. However, the reunion was cut short when one of Haldir's soldiers came up to the three and bowed.
"Haldir, the Lord and Lady are ready to meet with our guests."
Please review guys! Happy New Year!