Shadow: 1. I

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1. I

Author's Note: PG-13 rating is for light to moderate angst and adult relationships.

Eryn Galen (Greenwood the Great) was the former name of the realm of Mirkwood ruled over by Thranduil. It was due to the emergence of dark creatures that is recounted in this tale that men started to call it Mirkwood. The events chronicled in this story take place at around 1050 of the 3rd Age, some 1900 years before the events that culminated in the destruction of the One Ring.

While I have tried my best to keep this story as close to JRR Tolkien's universe as much as possible, be warned that there might be outstanding points that do not fit his writings.

There is dispute about the age of the Elven prince, but in my version of events, he has yet to reach 200 years of age (b. TA866) at this point in time.

*****

I

The dark forest waited in trepidation. Silence. The dark boughs of the trees were still; Not a leaf rustled; No creature moved. Everything was expectant.

There was a sudden movement, barely perceptible to the untrained eye. Soft rustling of leaves, barely audible. The lean figure checked himself. He had allowed his mind to wander. Continuing his journey, he seemed to blend in with the trees, as he slipped soundlessly through the beeches. Sharp eyes scanned the ground, ears on the alert for any sound. The trail was only an hour old, but the signs were already fading. The creature he tracked was stealthy - the prints on the forest ground were so light that less trained eyes would have missed it.

A cry burst through the stillness of the forest, like a hot knife through butter. He paused in mid-step. Silent, wary. One hand slipped over his shoulder. Waiting. Blue eyes swept about, and his ears strained to pinpoint the source. Nothing. Body still on guard, he pressed ahead.

Abruptly, he came upon an unknown clearing. The trees had been brutally cut down, their lives hacked away by the hated axes of the evil that now preyed his kingdom. He stopped for a moment and grief filled his heart. His entire body pursed with loathing for the cursed souls. Dark things had been gaining power steadily, but this was the first attack on the forest itself.

Momentarily overcome by emotion, he did not notice the bow being drawn until it was too late. There was a sharp twang and hiss. The arrow came right at him, and it was due to his quick reflexes that the arrow barely grazed his ear.

Anger flooded his fair features as he rolled away. One hand flew up to grab the arrow as it whizzed past. Gay laughter rang out through the forest, shattering the tense atmosphere.

"Lithroleah!" He leapt back onto his feet but did not bother to reach for the weapon strapped onto his back.

A figure emerged from behind the vegetation. Guilt and uneasiness mirrored on his face, as the newcomer took a tentative step forward. Yet another appeared behind him, a fair maiden. Her long silvery hair tied back loosely, and the sun danced across her beaming face.

She laughed again. The sound pierced through the ominous silence of the woods, bringing warmth and happiness back to the forest.

Resigned, the Hunter threw down the arrow. It was useless to continue. The creature he was stalking would have heard the commotion a mile off. He threw a last angry glance at the pair and stalked away from the clearing.

In an instant, the girl moved ahead of him, blocking his retreat.

"Upset that Lithroleah almost got you?" she said. "He gets better everyday! Perhaps the day will soon come when he will be able to beat the prince!"

Refusing to meet her eyes, he sidestepped her and continued walking, body still on the alert. "There is danger within these very trees. You should return to the dwellings of our people," he said to the girl, face turned aside still.

Lithroleah stepped forward, hesitant. Doubt clouded his face as he regarded the tall figure moving silently away. His lips quivered, but kept his peace. Eventually, he looked askance at Caeriel. She shrugged, and the pair watched their friend slip slowly from sight.

There was something bothering their friend, that much was certain, and Caeriel swore to herself that she would find out what that was.

***

The Prince of Eryn Galen sighed as he continued his journey. His mind was buzzing. He fought to keep his emotions down. A Sindarin prince would never let emotions get in the way of matters - it was too risky. Especially with his home invaded by the dark things. He had promised to rid his home of the evil that preyed upon his beloved trees, and it would do no good to let his feelings prevail.

Gathering his thoughts, the fair prince strode purposefully down the path to where his father held court.

***

The dark creature breathed a sigh of relief. If not for the foolishness of the girl and her companion, the Hunter would have caught up with him. Elves did not tire as mortal folk do, and the prince was exceptionally skilled. He would have to be watched carefully. His eyes gleamed red as he thought of the Elf. Hatred coursed through his veins, pulsating along the tunnels that carried his blood.

*****

A/N: While Legolas refers to himself as one of the Silvan folk, his family is descended from a royal Sindar lineage.


This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: fael bain

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Kings

Genre: Action

Rating: General

Last Updated: 08/10/05

Original Post: 09/21/03

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