Chapter Seven: Knowledge is Key
Hermione felt her breath catch in her throat when he pulled her up to an upright position, and she smiled at him. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered, a blush appearing on her cheeks.
Legolas looked at her for a moment. ‘You are welcome,’ he said, tilting his head at her and walking towards the front of the class.
Hermione sighed and watched him go, wondering why he was in her Ancient Runes class. She moved towards the front, sitting down in her usual seat, and took out her book, quills, ink, and parchment, waiting for the rest of the class to arrive. While she waited, she pulled out a book on the History of the Elves, wanting to research more about them since Snape mentioned the Moriquendi Elves joined with Voldemort.
She opened the book, running a finger down the contents page until she found what she was looking for, and opened it to the page. While she read about the Moriquendi Elves and the Calaquendi Elves, her eyes widened.
“There exists two old Elvish compounds in the Quenderin language or Primitive Quendian with “kwendī Elves”: Kala-kwendī and mori-kwendī, meaning the “Light-folk” and the “Dark-folk”. These two words go back to the time before the Sundering of the Elves, or instead to the time of the debate among them over the invitation by the Valar to migrate to Valinor. Both words were made by the party favourable to the Vala Oromë and referred originally to Elves who desired the Light of Valinor versus Elves who did not wish to leave Middle-Earth. Mori-kwendī had, from the beginning, a negative sense, implying these Elves willingly tolerated the shadows Melkor put upon Middle-Earth.
“The Quenya forms became Calaquendi and Moriquendi (a rare singular once recorded as Moriquen). In Quenya, the term Calaquendi applied only to the Elves who lived (or had lived) in Eldamar. The Moriquendi included all other Elves, whether they participated in the March to Valinor or not. The Moriquendi were regarded as inferior by the Calaquendi, who lived in the Light of the Two Trees and received great knowledge and powers by living with the Valar and Maiar.
“In Exilic Quenya the Noldor did not make much use of the terms Calaquendi or Moriquendi, which were somewhat offensive to the Sindar of Beleriand. A new politically correct name was coined to replace the obsolescent term Moriquendi: Úmanyar, “those not of Aman”.
“The feud between them started when the Calaquendi migrated to Valinor. The Moriquendi resented them for this because the Valar rejected them due to their negative sense and the rivalry between them. The Moriquendi sought revenge, built boats, and sailed to Valinor to destroy the Undying Lands and all Elves who dwelled there. The Calaquendi, who had become far more superior to them due to the power and knowledge bestowed upon them, thwarted them and the Moriquendi Elves had no choice but to surrender and leave the shores of Valinor. They returned to Middle-Earth where they disappeared from history. They have not been heard of since.”
Hermione looked up from the book with a thoughtful expression on her brow. The chatter of her classmates entering the classroom reached her ears, interrupting her musings, and she placed the book underneath her Ancient Runes book, so she could carry on reading it in class if she had a chance. The next two chapters explained why the Moriquendi and Calaquendi differed so much. She looked up, noticing Legolas was watching her interestedly, and when her eyes locked on his, he looked away, continuing to look at the scroll he was reading in the corner of the room. Her thoughts turned back to why he was in her Ancient Runes class.
She didn’t have long to wait for this answer when Professor Babbling entered the room, making her way to the front of the class where she turned on her heel, facing them. ‘Good afternoon class!’ she chirped, getting a similar greeting of sorts back from the students, and she smiled before looking at the corner, seeing Legolas. ‘Oh, hello! You must be Legolas, so nice of you to join our class,’ she welcomed, beckoning the Elf over to her. He walked out to the front, standing next to her while the class looked back in interest or, in the case of the females, fluttering eyes, gasps, and sighs. Hermione rolled her eyes at them before concentrating on the Professor. ‘Legolas is joining us to help me with a unique lesson today. He will be telling us about Elvish Runes which are rare in this day and age,’ she told them, and the class looked back excitedly. She turned to Legolas. ‘Legolas, if you will?’ she asked.
He nodded when she sat down behind her desk, and he looked around at the class. ‘Good afternoon,’ he said softly.
‘Good afternoon, Legolas!’ they said back, and his lips twitched.
Legolas gazed at the class, his eyes lingering on Hermione for a little longer than the others. He picked up a stack of papers on Professor Babbling’s desk, and slowly walked out towards them, stopping in front of Hermione. She looked up at him, his eyes locking with hers while he placed them down in front of her. She frowned before looking down at what was in the papers and gasped, taking in the beautiful script showing some Runes he drew up.
Hermione looked up at him questioningly, and he looked back unwaveringly. ‘Would you hand these out, Hermione?’ he asked her, and she nodded, finding it hard to pull her eyes from his. She was saved when he turned, walking back to the front of the room.
Hermione got up, handing the papers out to everyone in the class, receiving glares from the Slytherins’, and envious glares from the girls. Hermione shook her head, heading back to the front of the class to her seat, pulling her paper towards her.
She looked up when Legolas turned to speak, ‘Elvish Runes are not like the Runes you usually learn about in this class; they are more complicated. Some have the same or similar meanings, but may lead to different results,’ he began, pacing the front of the class. ‘Elvish Runes are mainly used in rituals of magic where the Rune depicted appears in the air when the spell is cast, and they can also heighten the power put into the spell. Unlike the Istari, Magical Folk, we do not need the use of a staff or a wand to conjure magic, but we do need Runes,’ he told them, and they nodded in awe, especially the girls who were almost drooling.
Hermione shook her head in disgust, looking down at the Runes. She noticed something strange when she looked at them and glanced to her side to see her neighbours, noticing it was different from her one. She saw some of the Runes were standing out on the page and looked up at Legolas questioningly to find him already watching her. He looked down at her sheet, indicating she should translate them and she looked back down at them.
She stared at them, wishing the answer would jump up and smack her in the face, but she could not translate them. She had never seen Elvish Runes before, though she read about them, and knew they were the hardest Runes to decipher because of their rarity. How in the world did Legolas expect her to translate them?
She shrugged, and took out her wand, placing it on the page, and attempted to try revealing the answer with no success. She used a different spell, watching in surprise when the Runes shifted on the page, some disappearing and others appearing in their stead. Her eyes found Legolas again, but he wasn’t looking at her. He was busy showing the others what each of them meant, and he didn’t look over at her at all, not even once.
She sighed, realising she was on her own with this impossible task and looked back down at the Runes again. The Runes still on the page looked like a sentence, and she looked at them, again and again, trying to figure out what it said if it even said anything. She opened her book on Runes knowing the Elvish Runes were in there as well and looked them over, reading the explanations beneath them. They referred to elements and other magic, and she managed to decipher some of the message. She guessed the first set of Runes somehow managed to spell out “Library”, but the other two words were still nagging at her. What was he trying to tell her? She continued looking until the second one came to her 5 minutes later, spelling out the word “at”. So, he meant for her to be in the Library at a specific time maybe?
She continued working out the last Runes, taking her almost another 20 minutes, and she read through the descriptions below the Runes in her book before looking at the ones on the sheet. The last one was muddled up which was why it was difficult for her to decipher. She wrote the first letter of the different meanings to the Runes, frowning when she stared at the word. It suddenly hit her what it said and wrote it down: “Midnight”, and her eyes widened, staring at the small sentence: “Library at Midnight”. She looked up at Legolas, but he didn’t look at her.
Why did she need to be in the Library at midnight?
Hermione walked along the silent corridor towards the Library. She wasn’t even sure if the door would be open at this time. It was only eleven, but way past curfew, but she knew Madame Pince sometimes stayed there to go through her ledgers making sure all her precious books were accounted for and in their right places.
Her mind turned to Legolas and why he thought she needed to be in the Library at midnight. What was so important she should go? Was he going to meet her there for some reason? Nerves danced within her like butterflies when she reached the door. She stopped walking, staring at it for a full 5 minutes before she decided to see if the door was open. It pushed open, and she let herself in, looking immediately over to the main desk which was vacant of Madame Pince. Everything was off and dark within the Library, and she walked through, finding a comfy seat near the back next to the Potions section.
Her nerves heightened upon hearing the unmistakable sound of the library doors closing on their squeaky hinges, and she sat up awaiting whoever was meeting her there. She held her breath when Legolas appeared before her, walking over to her chair, and Hermione looked up at him questioningly while he stared back without showing an ounce of emotion.
‘Good evening, Hermione,’ he whispered, clasping his hands behind his back, and regarding her with intrigued pale blue eyes.
‘Good evening,’ Hermione answered unsurely.
‘I have to commend you on being able to decipher my message in those Runes. Few could have translated it as quickly as yourself,’ he told her quietly.
Hermione blushed. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered, her breath catching.
Legolas tilted his head, picking up on her nerves, and his lips twitched. ‘I imagine you are wondering why it is I gave you the message in the Runes,’ he stated rather than asked.
‘Yes,’ came the answer.
‘I noticed the book you were reading in your class on the Elves. I am curious about what you want to know about our kind. You seemed awed when you were reading,’ he informed her.
Hermione felt herself relax. ‘Um… yes, I was reading a little about the Moriquendi and Calaquendi Elves, but there are still a lot of things I am confused about,’ she answered.
‘What do you wish to know?’ he asked her.
Hermione sat forward, thinking for a moment, before looking back at him. ‘Were the Moriquendi Elves born evil, or was it a gradual evolution?’ she asked.
‘The process was gradual. All Elves lived in peace before the Valar picked those worthy of returning to the Undying Lands. They left the Moriquendi out of the equation, and their feelings of being pushed out and regarded as inferior to those of our ilk welcomed in Aman darkened their hearts. They became cruel, envious, and vindictive. They built ships, sailing to Aman where they attacked those they once regarded as brethren and killed many. They were banished back to Middle-Earth, but they disappeared. There are rumours amongst our ilk they all faded, but it seems this is not the case,’ Legolas explained.
‘So they were good before? Why were they not considered worthy?’ Hermione asked, her thirst for knowledge overwhelming her.
‘They were never good, nor could they be considered evil. They were mischievous, and the Valar thought them too spontaneous and troublesome to live in the peaceful Aman. They ruled them out, electing for the more serious of our kind.’
‘So they were just forgotten?’
‘Not forgotten,’ Legolas answered thoughtfully, ‘but they ended up allying themselves to Sauron who was the Dark Lord of our time. This all happened before I came into being. My Father fought in the war, along with Lord Elrond, which was a good three hundred years before I was born,’ he explained.
Hermione was in shock. ‘Elves live for a long time, huh?’ she stated rather than asked.
Legolas nodded, leaning against the wall. ‘Yes, we do,’ he answered with a small twitch of his lips.
Silence fell over them for a moment while they stared at each other, and Hermione found herself standing and walking over to him. He watched her with wary eyes when she came to stand in front of him, and she looked at him with a frown. ‘What was it like?’ she asked.
‘What was what like, Hermione?’ he whispered.
‘Being banished, and never told why?’ she asked warily, not sure how he would take her asking him such a personal question.
Legolas was a bit taken aback by the question. ‘It was hell,’ he answered quietly.
Hermione frowned at him sadly when he looked down, and she took his hand. His eyes shot up to hers in slight shock when she entwined their hands, giving him a look which spoke volumes. Hermione leaned forward, kissing his cheek, which surprised him further and he looked at her in wonder. She smiled, before turning serious again. ‘I can’t imagine what you and Haldir must have gone through,’ she whispered.
Legolas’ mouth twitched. ‘I am glad you never need to know,’ he answered, giving her hand a light squeeze. He smiled at her, letting her hand go, and then he left the library and Hermione to her thoughts.
‘Was that wise?’ Haldir asked his companion when the students walked out of their class.
Legolas sighed, but never looked up at Haldir. He didn’t need to because he already knew what his companion was thinking. Maybe it was too soon to be letting the students start on the practical aspects of the class, but three months had passed since they began their demonstrations. With the war growing ever closer and them having no knowledge of what Voldemort’s next move was to be, he decided it was time to step the lesson up a bit.
Voldemort was currently on standby since the break out at Azkaban, and many were on edge about what he was doing and planning. On top of this, Haldir and Legolas, though they hadn’t been showing it, were anxious about whether any of their kin would join their cause. They were just waiting for word about it, but Dumbledore, Snape, and Remus were hesitant on their forthcoming answers for the two Elves. This led them to believe the information they were not disclosing was bad or they would have said something.
Legolas had not spoken to Hermione on her own since the night in the library. He was somewhat shocked at how forward she was, and his thoughts had strayed to less than innocent since. Dreams were plaguing him, and he woke up more than once after seeing Arwen die in a nightmare. When he looked at her, he would see Hermione instead, and this disturbed him. Haldir warned him, and he felt he had become too close to the girl. She looked at him with a confused and disheartened expression a few times, probably wondering why he distanced himself, but he knew she could never understand why he could not become attached to anyone.
Legolas glanced at Haldir who was still looking at him with a questioning gaze, and he sighed. ‘I sense a darkness lurking, Haldir. I feel it is safer to begin teaching them practical before the war is upon us,’ he answered.
Haldir nodded. ‘I understand.’
Without looking at him, Legolas sheathed his daggers. ‘You are ill at ease, Haldir. What is troubling you?’
Haldir shook his head. ‘I wish to fade, Legolas,’ he answered, shouldering his bow.
Legolas’ head shot up to look at him. ‘So soon, Haldir?’ he asked his friend.
‘Yes,’ Haldir nodded, looking at him. ‘As I have yet to find a reason for continuing this torture,’ he answered bitterly.
Legolas nodded. ‘I am curious about this new world. I wish to find out more, learn the ways of the world as it is now,’ he revealed.
Haldir nodded in understanding. ‘You have found a reason you are yet not aware of.’
Legolas looked at him in confusion. ‘What do you mean?’ he asked.
Haldir smiled at him. ‘It will reveal itself to you in time, old friend,’ he said, clasping his friend on the shoulder, and he made his way out of the classroom, leaving Legolas to think about what he meant.
Haldir walked through the corridor, the loneliness he was feeling was becoming too much for him to handle. All he wanted was to fade because he couldn’t see a reason to go on. He thought about speaking to Dumbledore, determined to tell him he was leaving. Then Haldir noticed a girl staring out a window ahead of him and he stopped in wonder. The girl was beautiful, with long blonde hair, and she was smiling while she watched the approaching thunderstorm, which had been threatening to appear all day.
His heart sped up, staring at her in shock, and she looked at him, giving him a beaming smile which melted the determination he had to fade away…