Chapter 23: Ada
Alright, apology time…I am so sorry that it has been so long! I had a school retreat Monday-Wednesday, therefore I was exhausted on Thursday, and I was pretty busy on Friday and Saturday. Anyway, this is the first time I have had a moment to type, and since I made you all wait for so long, I decided to indulge in the one request I have been continually receiving: Thranduil reaction flashback. I wasn't originally planning on doing an entire chapter/scene just of Thranduil, but as I said, I received an overwhelming amount of requests, so here it goes. Just for a little clarification, this flashback takes place right when Legolas is returned home. I didn't want to confuse y'all, seeing as I have done other flashbacks that take place later on in Legolas home-coming. Please enjoy guys!
Side note, in this chapter, whenever Legolas is speaking with Haldir, he is writing his thoughts down on a piece of paper. I tried to be very explanatory during the chapter, but I just wanted to make sure that you guys didn't get confused on whether or not Legolas was signing or not.
Cottoncandybeefalo: Um…no thanks…trust me, those few were enough to haunt my nightmares for a while…anyway, I know it was indeed short, but I totally agree with that fact that having little Estel present kind of makes it okay! You have no idea! It was actually really weird because I got used to have to writing with the use of context for Legolas' gestures, so having him speak normally was really weird and it took some getting used to. That was kind of exactly what I was going for. I wanted to show that this whole ordeal had a pretty big effect on Legolas' life and attitude as a whole, not just his speech. Anyway, yes this story should continue on until then, but if not, then I will start with another one immediately to take its place.
Nardhwentheelf: Me too, I mean it is impossible not to right? Thank you so much! It took a while for me to get to this point, and I am still not very confident in my writing skills, but I am getting there…All I can say is keep doing what you're doing and practice. It really helped me get comfortable with my writing style, along with realize where I was repeatedly making mistakes.
CrazyPandaHobbit: Right? He is so adorable and cute, trust me I could go on forever about how much I love the whole little Estel and Legolas relationship, but I won't because if I start then I will never stop. Thanks, I agree that things were getting too gloomy and there needed to some happiness in there. Yeah, the death of Boromir should come in true dramatic style, as per my usual style…
MuggleCreator: Definitely, he is the cutest of them all, and he renders me helpless every time.
Booksnake3: Great! I am glad that you liked it and I agree, it is by far the best thing.
UnfathomableEnigma: Yay! I really do feel awful about the fact that I haven't posted for so long, life has just been really crazy recently. However, now I got some time, because I am currently on spring break, and school ends June 2nd, so my school work is already beginning to wind down a little. Thank you!
x Say x May x I x: Thanks!
Guest: I am glad that my intentions were understood. I agree with the idea that there was truly too much angst going on, and in such a high concentration as well. Thank you so much! That means a lot! Oh yeah, more stuff is coming. I am planning on making the fellowship depart in the next chapter, because I wanted to throw in this little Thranduil treat beforehand.
Elf With Redbull: Agreed my friend!
LotR-HP-PJ: Trust me I know *cough Grey's anatomy cough cough* Now I won't say that he isn't going to get hurt anymore, but more that he is on a respite. It is totally one of mine too. They really are pretty great.
Schattenjagd (x2): Haha, hopefully I didn't keep you up too late! It intrigued me as well. When I was first presented with the idea, I have to admit that I was a little scared with taking such an extreme change to Tolkien's work, but after I started working with it, I kind of fell in love with the plot line. It has proven to be a truly exciting, yet sometimes challenging, experience so far. I didn't think that I was making them too clingy and what not, but I guess that the eye of the beholder comes into play here? Anyway, thanks, and I hope that you enjoy the rest of my work as well.
Emzieluvsbooks (x12): So I just wanted to say thank you for your extreme dedication to everything that I have written. You have really been with me since day one, and you have left some of the kindest words I have ever received. It was honestly your helpful hints and thoughtful reviews that helped me continue on even when I was having some trouble or I wasn't sure that I was going to continue on. I am being completely truthful when I say that every time I check my email and I see that there is a review from you, a smile comes to my face because I know that what I am about to read is going to so very kind. So thank you, for everything! Please enjoy this chapter, and know that some of your help was what has kept me going to the point where I could post this story. You are a fantastically amazing person!
When Aragorn and Legolas finally entered through the airy curtains severing as walls for the fellowship's pavilion, the marchwarden was waiting for them. Haldir was sitting off to the side as the other members crowded around a small table spread with various food items and drink. The elf was being blatantly ignored by the others, but he didn't really seem to mind. His watchful eyes were scanning over them with a curiosity he had been born with, but they immediately switched over to the two newcomers and the curiosity turned to a gentle kindness. A smile stretched over rosy lips, and Haldir gracefully rose from his spot on the ground.
"Mae Govannan caun-neth, taur'ohtar. Amin irma sui quen ah lle Legolas, manka lle uuma malia?" (Well met young prince, ranger. I would like to speak with you Legolas, if you do not mind?)
Legolas returned the smile and nodded. He turned to Aragorn for a final time and bid him farewell, before following Haldir out of the pavilion. However, before he left the clearing, Legolas paused and raced back inside towards his pack. The other elf waited patiently outside, confusion painting his features, which made Legolas smile as he returned. The prince produced the quill, ink, and piece of parchment—which already had some various phrases scrawled across it—and Haldir immediately understood. He chuckled gently and shook his head at the prince.
"Quick thinking mellon-nin. That is probably a good idea seeing as I still need some work with your language. Now then, shall we continue?" (my friend)
Legolas gave a sharp nod and followed as the marchwarden led him up the winding outdoor stairways of Lothlorien, not a word leaving his lips. Eventually Legolas became confused, seeing as Haldir had dragged him away to talk, so he sped up his pace a little until he was standing beside the other elf. He tapped Haldir on the shoulder and raised an eyebrow in a silent question. The Lorien elf smiled at his friend and pulled him down a side pathway with a large platform at the end. As they continued walking, Haldir started to speak.
"I apologize for appearing so cryptic my friend, I merely wanted to have some time alone with you. It has been a long time since we have been able to be alone with each other."
The prince nodded and pulled out the piece of parchment. He slowed his gait a little so he could write, using his upturned palm as a hard surface. His penmanship was somewhat shaky due to the fact that the archer was moving, but the marchwarden could read it none the less.
Indeed, I must make sure that my visits to the Golden Wood become more frequent if we return.
A brief flash of sadness sparkled across Haldir's eyes as Legolas looked at him with a slightly self-deprecating grin. He placed a hand on his friend's shoulder, therefore halting their movement, and stared straight into the archer's troubled blue eyes.
"When you return Legolas, when….you should not give up hope so easily."
The prince sighed, turning away from the marchwarden to stare out over the glowing buildings of Lothlorien. The light boots covering his feet made no noise as the prince padded over to the edge of the platform in order to expand his view. Once Legolas could go no further forward, he pivoted around on his heel to face the Lorien elf as he started scribbling something down rapidly. When he was done, Legolas held the paper up for Haldir to see.
What hope is there to be had Haldir? Your lady said herself that this quest is barely being held together. Gandalf is gone, and the fellowship is being pulled apart by the evil of the ring and despair. We travel along a road that is defined as death itself, so why fool ourselves with false hope when it only leads to despair and heartbreak?
Haldir shook his head, moving to stand beside Legolas so he could gaze out at his city as well.
"Nay mellon-nin, you misunderstand. The Lady did indeed say that the quest is in a fragile state, but that does not mean that there is no hope for its success. She said such words to prompt you to fight even harder for your journey's destination. Yes, you are going to face much more trouble along the way, but giving yourself hope that this fellowship will prevail is not setting yourself up for destruction. Instead, it fuels your will to move forward even when the fire within you is dwindling." (my friend)
The marchwarden swiftly walked over so he was standing directly in front of Mirkwood's prince. He cupped Legolas' face in his archery-calloused hands when he saw the lost look in Legolas' eyes. Haldir offered a gentle smile, but the woodland archer wasn't able to return it. Instead, he closed his eyes is grief, leaning into Haldir's touch. He then opened his eyes and once again pulled out his means of communication.
I feel lost Haldir, and so very alone…My grief is crushing me as it continues to pile up on my shoulders.
As the elf moved to write something more, Haldir could visibly see that he was becoming more and more upset. Eventually his writing slowed to a stand-still as Legolas' hands began to shake, which left only the glassy blue eyes to communicate the wood elf's feelings. However, those two orbs were enough. The marchwarden brushed his thumbs gently over Legolas' cheekbones before he pulled his friend into an embrace. He felt Legolas' arms wrapped around his back in return, as the prince pillowed his head against the Galadhrim's shoulder.
"You are not alone Legolas. Your friends will stand by your side whenever you have need of them, myself included. As for your grief, I would be surprised if you were not feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the death of Gandalf. He was close with many of the Eldar, including yourself if I am not mistaken. His loss has hit us hard, but knowing Mithrandir, he would not want us to torture ourselves by dwelling on what could have been, or what we could have done to bring about a different outcome. The event that have happened we cannot change, even though to do so might be our heart's true desire. Lingering on the sadness that comes along with the death of a loved one is no way to live. Instead, we must look to the memories of said person that made us smile and laugh."
When Haldir finished, he pulled away from Legolas and brought his hands back up to cup Legolas' face.
"Giving up hope is not the way to survive this Legolas."
The prince nodded with a teary expression as he moved out of the embrace he shared with the Galadhrim. He offered a gentle smile, while his eyes searched for somewhere to sit on the open platform. Almost immediately his blue eyes spied an intricately sculpted bench a few feet away. He waved Haldir over as he started walking towards the bench.
Thank you my friend, I needed that. Now will you come and sit with me?
Haldir smiled and followed after the prince.
"Of course Legolas."
The two settled down next to each other on the bench, Legolas with his elbows resting on his knees, and his chin on his upturned palms, while Haldir leaned back and stretched leisurely. Silence enveloped them for a few moments as they watched the comings and goings of the elves around them, until Legolas' eyes narrowed in confusion. He turned to the marchwarden and tapped his shoulder gently in question.
Haldir turned to look at the prince with his eyebrow raised in a silent question to continue. Getting the message, Legolas turned back towards his original view and point to the left. As Haldir cast his gaze to where the prince was pointing, Legolas started writing quickly. Once he was finished, he then tapped Haldir on the shoulder once more, and handed him the paper so the Galadhrim could read what he had written.
Why are all of those elves rushing about so? Who are they? Has something happened?
The marchwarden sighed heavily and turned sad eyes to Legolas.
"Well unfortunately, yes. The buildings down below are those of the healing halls, and as for who they are, those are the family members of the returning border-guards. Many were killed in a recent ambush on the border, and therefore, many elves shall be grieving tonight. I do not think that I will ever be able to forget the expression of disbelief and horror come upon a parents' face when they are told that their child has been killed."
Legolas—understanding exactly what the marchwarden meant—nodded with a far-off and numb expression floating in his eyes. Far too many times he had been the one to bear the responsibility of informing families that their brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, or sons and daughters had been killed while out on patrol or an ambush. Never would he be able to forget the sinking feeling of dread, knotting up his stomach as he watched the morbid realization that their loved ones were dead, spread over the families' faces.
"However, there are the good moments when you get to deliver good news."
Haldir's statement drew Legolas back to awareness, and he turned to look at the marchwarden. The Galadhrim was still watching the bustling healing hall, but as he continued speaking, a gentle smile crossed his rosy lips.
"The pain, and horror, that comes with delivering the message of death to a family, in constant succession, is lessened—albeit only a little—by the opportunities in which good news is given. Seeing the smiles of joy and relief on a mother's face when she hears that her son has returned unharmed, or listening to a relived laugh, as it bubbles from a father's throat, when he hears that the mother of his grandchildren will survive her injuries, can make me smile even on one of my darkest days."
The prince smiled in agreement, but it faltered when his thoughts started to swirl. He knew that Haldir was continuing to talk, but nothing more than white noise reached Legolas' ears as he sat silently. He was much too caught up in his own memories and thoughts. Images from his immediate return home began flashing before his mind's eye in a rapid succession, drawing his attention farther and farther away from his current surroundings. It was then as if a sound canceling curtain crashed down around him, for the archer could hear nothing of the world around him, only the voices of his past.
Shouting voices echoed throughout the cavernous halls of Thranduil's palace. Hurried footsteps followed, and eventually the origin point of the noise was exposed. A horde of soldiers and healers were sprinting down the hallway towards the healing halls, panic painting their faces. However, there was also an undeniable amount of joy and relief staining all of their cheeks, in the form of several salty tears. All eyes were glued to the battered form, laying barely conscious—and also barely breathing—within the protective grasp of Elerossë.
Hands were everywhere, each person trying to either solidify the fact that prince Legolas was finally here, or they were healers desperately trying find something to fix among the prince's numerous injuries. Everyone was trying to help, but in all honesty, the main thing they were creating was a deafening din of noise, and a hindrance to Elerossë as he tried to reach the healing ward. The soldier was well aware of the fact as well, so finally getting fed up with the crowd, Elerossë stopped and yelled.
The grouping of elves all jumped in surprise and glared at the soldier. All of their expressions held a current contempt for Elerossë, believing that the soldier was holding them back, because they couldn't see that it was truly them who were causing the problem. Several of the healers opened their mouths to protest, but Elerossë cut them off before they could make a sound.
"No! All of you move out of the way right now! I know you want to help, but standing in front of me, while I am trying to get Legolas to the rest of the healers, is doing the opposite of that! I cannot move with you all in the way, and needing to stop and say all of this is delaying everything even further! So I will say it again, move out of the way right now!"
Horror filled the eyes of the Mirkwood elves as they realized the truth to what Elerossë was saying, and they quickly parted, creating a path for the soldier. Immediately, the elf bolted through the opening and dashed around the next left. He could hear the hordes of elves running behind him as he ran towards the closest healing room, which was located five doors down.
Each footstep seemed to pass painfully slowly as Elerossë moved through the hall. He couldn't seem to cover the insubstantial amount of remaining ground fast enough for Legolas' sake. The prince was fading fast, and he could practically feel Legolas' life force draining away as he held the battered form in his arms.
Finally the soldier reached his intended destination, and he kicked the door open with so much force, that it was surprising that the door remained on its hinges. The clang of the wood smashing against the stone wall echoed throughout the room, but Elerossë paid it no mind as he rushed Legolas over to the bed. He laid the prince gently down on the soft covers and cringed when he heard Legolas whimper in agony. The soldier gently shushed his friend with empty promises that everything was going to be okay, for just one look at the elf's appearance showed that the road to recovery was going to be a long one, if Legolas could survive long enough to even begin traveling along said road.
A sigh left the soldier's lips as he continued to try and soothe the agitated prince, but he was soon pushed out of the way as the crowds of healers entered the room. Amroth was at the head of the group, and he was the one giving out orders to others, while the soldiers within the group moved towards the corner where Elerossë was standing, Tathar included.
Everyone within the room was either watching or working with baited breath as the healers desperately worked to save the prince. In fact all of them were so engrossed in watching, that no one realized another being was standing in the doorway.
The broken endearment caused all heads to whip towards the door—with the exception of Amroth, and several other healers, who were somewhat busy with keeping Legolas alive—and their eyes widened significantly when they saw the bedraggled king standing there, tears streaming down his face. The room fell into silence as Thranduil cautiously approached the bed, his feet moving carefully as though he feared that should he misstep, the entire room would collapse, revealing that his son's return was nothing but a dream. All eyes remained glued on his haggard form before a particularly pained wail from Legolas drew their attention.
The prince had woken up for a brief moment, due to the pain of his shoulder being reset, and his blue eyes were now darting around the room in a panic. As another spasm of pain racked his broken body, the prince arched off the bed before collapsing into a sobbing fit. The sight of tears staining his son's already battered face seemed to snap Thranduil out of his cautious nature, and he closed the remaining distance between himself and the bed his son lay on with lighting speed.
The king collapsed to his knees beside Legolas' head and grasped for the prince's hand. All the while, the king was whispering endearments and thoughts of love to his panicked son.
"Hush Greenleaf, I am here, your ada is here…You are safe. You are among those who love you, those who would never harm you…I am here ion-nin, I am here…" (father; my son)
At the touch and the gentle murmur, Legolas calmed down somewhat and turned his glassy eyes to weathered face of his father. Instantly, tears started to drip, with renewed vigor, down the prince's face, and his bloodied lips began desperately mouthing one word over and over again, 'ada, ada, ada, ada' (father).
The king nodded as tears of his own formed, and he reached out a hand to tenderly brush his son's cheek. Legolas leaned into the touch of kindness with a near desperation, for it had been a long time indeed since he had been gifted with such tenderness. The younger elf continued his frantic mouthing of the word father, so Thranduil simply responded by nodding once again, and continually repeating, "I am here ion-nin, right here…I am here…I am here…I am right here Legolas, right here…" (my son).
Thranduil continued to stroke his son's cheek with one hand, while the other came down and wrapped firmly about Legolas' hand. The prince's skin felt like ice to the king's much warm counterparts, and the gentle action of love that the king was bestowing upon Legolas caused spots of warmth to blossom across Legolas' skin. It was a truly odd feeling for the prince, considering that he had been locked in nothing but cold darkness for three years, but he couldn't deny the fact that the warmth was a welcome change. It also served to calm the prince down further, and noticing the change, Amroth paused in his work to turn to the king.
"My king, continue to speak to him. It is calming him down, and having him still will aid us tremendously."
Thranduil nodded numbly and continued to murmur to his son.
"I have missed you very much Greenleaf…my sweet little Greenleaf…"
The elven-king had to pause as his seemingly unstoppable tears caught in his throat. He closed his eyes to quickly gather himself, and when he turned his gaze back to his rapidly fading son, his voice was much more strained than usual.
"I am so sorry ion-nin. I should have found you sooner, and saved you from such torment. I love you so dearly my little Greenleaf, and each day you have been gone has sent daggers through my heart. But now you are here, and you are alive…you have to fight for me ion-nin. Please do not leave me here, I could not bear walking upon this earth with you no longer walking alongside me. I cannot bear to lose you as I lost your mother Greenleaf…saes ion-nin…do not leave me!" (my son; please)
Thranduil dropped his head so that it rested atop his and Legolas' clasped hands, while sobs racked his frame harshly. He continued to sob until he felt a light twitch against his cheek. The king raised his head to see Legolas regarding him with teary eyes, and surprisingly a small smile.
It was then that Legolas' eyelids began drooping dangerously as the brief bout of consciousness, stemmed from the violent shocks of pain, began to fizzle out. He mouthed the word ada once more before pale ivory concealed his brilliant blue eyes.
Immediately Thranduil began to panic.
His eyes went wide with horror and his voice shook as he sobbed for Legolas to come back. In fact his sobbing wouldn't cease, not even after Amroth informed him that his son was still alive, and that he had simply passed out from exhaustion and pain. The king was essentially inconsolable as the maelstrom of emotions concerning his son's return finally hit him full force.
Of course he was feeling an overwhelming amount of joy and relief that he had never before felt the likes of, but at the same time he had a non-ignorable knot of despair, grief, and guilt curling up into a tight ball within the pit of his stomach. He knew that Legolas had been put through years of suffering because he couldn't find him fast enough, and now his son was going to have to spend another several years of his life healing and learning how to live again. It broke his heart to know that in some ways he had failed his son. It was his job as a father to keep Legolas from harm, and make him feel safe, but instead he had been so caught up in political issues that he had been sending Legolas out on patrol for weeks on end without rest, and he had remained completely oblivious to it. He had been the one driving his son into the ground, and being the loyal son and prince he was, Legolas hadn't said a word. Therefore, it had been the king's fault that Legolas had been so run down that he couldn't defend himself properly.
Another harsh sob shook the king's form as more and more guilt crashed down upon him. If Legolas were to die, it would be his fault, and he would have had to live with it for the rest of his immortal life.
These thoughts continued to fester within the elven-king's mind for the next twelve hours as the healers worked tirelessly to bring Legolas back from the brink of death.
After the healers had managed to bring Legolas to as stable of a state as possible, Amroth had sent them off to bed. All of them were reluctant to leave their prince after they had spent so much time worrying about whether or not he was alive, but seeing as most of them were about to collapse from the exhaustion of their adrenaline wearing off, they hadn't given too much of a fight towards Amroth's wishes.
The head healer himself was about to settle down for the night in order to keep watch on Legolas, when he realized Thranduil was still kneeling beside Legolas' bed, his head bowed. No longer was the king sobbing, his tears had long ago dried up, so now he was just shivering gently. Knowing that his monarch was currently in a fragile state, the healer approached cautiously and with a lowered voice.
"My king, I am going to stay with the prince tonight to monitor him, you can go and get some sleep. I will call you if anything changes with Legolas' condition."
Thranduil raised his head, revealing red, irritated eyes, and flushed cheeks. He regarded the healer for a moment before turning his gaze back to his nearly comatose son.
"No, I would like to stay. He is my son, and I will not be abandoning him again. He needs me, and I am going to stay here for as long as said need is present. If anyone should be getting sleep it is you. I thank you Amroth, you have brought my son home and kept him alive. I will stay by his side tonight, you go and get some sleep."
The healer raised an eyebrow, but sensing that arguing was not the best strategy at the moment, he nodded and placed a comforting hand upon Thranduil's shoulder.
"Very well my king. All I ask is that you do not hesitate to call for me at any point should you feel concern for Legolas' health."
The king nodded, but he didn't actually turn to acknowledge the healer as Amroth left the room. Instead, he kept his gaze locked on Legolas' face as his son made a small twitch from pain. Immediately he shushed his son.
"I am never going to leave you Legolas. I am here with you, and I am going to protect you no matter what it might take. I love you ion-nin." (my son)
The king pressed a gentle kiss to his son's forehead before placing a comforting hand against his cheek as he watched over his son with a protective eye.
The touch of someone's hand against his cheek drew Legolas out of his day-dream instantly. He blinked several times to clear his eyesight, only to find Haldir kneeling before him, a concerned look in his eye. The woodland elf offered a smile to placate the marchwarden's worries, but Haldir still appeared skeptical as he rose.
"Are you alright Legolas? I have been trying to bring you out of your daze for almost ten minutes."
The prince felt a blush color his cheeks as he ducked his head sheepishly. He then grabbed for the piece of parchment and scribbled down a quick message.
My apologies, our subject of conversation merely reminded me of something from my past. Pay it no mind my friend, I am fine.
The marchwarden raised an eyebrow in question, but having known Legolas for much too long, he knew that he wasn't going to get anything else from the prince at the moment. So, he sighed and rolled his eyes in exasperation. Haldir then extended a hand and pulled Legolas to his feet.
"Very well, should we head back? I believe that we have spent much more time in our wanderings than we intended to."
Legolas smiled and chuckled silently. He then nodded and began retracing his steps down the staircase. Haldir followed behind him, yet he didn't say anything to the golden-headed prince, he could by that way that Legolas carried himself, that the prince was much too caught up in his own thoughts to follow anyone else's.
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