Everyone in the room had their own opinion as to what the parchment meant, and what should be done about it, and everyone wanted to be heard. Calwick and most of the others in the room were in favor of taking out a force of elves to hunt down whatever creatures had murdered their fellow elves and dared threaten their prince. That was one thing everyone seemed to agree upon. The message of blood was definitely a threat or warning aimed at the remaining members of the fellowship.
A couple of elves were in favor of finding the meaning of the entire message before any action was taken.
Thranduil seemed not to take sides with any of the arguments. He only kept repeating that they were dealing with something they knew nothing about, and should proceed with caution.
As for Legolas, he had known from the start what he must do, and all this argument was just delaying the inevitable. He planned to travel to Minas Tirith and tell Aragorn of this new threat. Aragorn would be able to send messengers to the other members of the fellowship, warning them of the possible danger. Legolas had not mentioned his plan to the rest of the council. That discussion was for his father and him alone, and he only hoped he could manage to convince his father that this was the only course of action he could take.
The council went on for some time more, and the sun shone brightly in the mid-morning sky, before Thranduil finally rose and called a close to the meeting. "There is still much to discuss, but I am weary, and feel that we will make more progress after we rest and eat."
With these words, the council broke up, its members rising and filing out of the room. Legolas rose also, and as each of his brothers passed him they gripped his shoulder lightly, or offered words of support.
Legolas was the last to leave, and was slightly surprised when his father joined him and began walking with him towards his quarters. Neither one of them said anything as they walked through the vast halls of the house. Both recognized the others' need for silence in order to organize their thoughts. When they finally reached the doors to his room, Legolas turned to his father, trying to think of the best way to tell him of his plans to travel to Minas Tirith.
"Father..."Legolas began, and then faltered.
Thranduil, who had been looking gravely at his son, suddenly laughed. "I can see you struggle for words, Legolas, but there is no need. I suppose you will wish to leave as soon as possible, and I have already ordered Terandu to prepare a pack for you. The journey is long, and I guess that many days will pass before you arrive at Minas Tirith."
Legolas was so startled; he could only stare, speechless, at his father.
"Come now Legolas, do you think you could keep your thoughts hidden from me? I know you better than you think, my son." Thranduil's voice held compassion, and he placed his hand on his son's shoulder as he spoke. "From the moment I set eyes on those foul words, I knew the path you would take."
"Then you agree with my decision?" Legolas asked.
"I agree that you should do what your heart tells you. I agree, but that does not mean that I like it." Thranduil squeezed his son's shoulder gently, before dropping his hand back down to his side. Then he added with a laugh, "Of course, whether I agreed or not would have made little difference to you. You would have done what you wanted anyway. Of all my sons, you are the most stubborn. You should have been born a dwarf, with all your rock-headedness!"
It was Legolas' turn to laugh. "My dear friend Gimli, would be very delighted to hear you say that."
Thranduil suddenly became serious. "I will say my farewell now, for I fear that Calwick will keep me busy until well after you have gone. I have agreed to allow him to put together a searching party to go after these evil creatures, whatever they are, but I fear it will do little good. Even Calwick admitted that his men searched the clearing and could find no trace or track to lead to the guilty party." Thranduil sighed heavily. "Whatever breed of creature that can slay ten elves without a fight, and then disappear without a trace, will not be easy to find, even if they still lurk within Mirkwood. Be cautious, for even now they could be waiting for you to venture from the protection of this city."
"I will keep my guard up," Legolas promised quickly. He was afraid that his father would change his mind about letting him go so easily, or insist that he take a party of elf guards with him. Legolas knew that he would travel faster and quieter on his own.
"Then it is with a heavy heart that I bid you farewell, so soon after you have returned home." Thranduil embraced his son warmly, and then turned and walked away. Legolas watched him for a moment, and then turned and entered his room. He hoped to get a few hours rest before beginning his journey.
Legolas tossed and turned on his bed, his troubled thoughts making it hard to find sleep. His mind kept going through the things he would need for his journey, as well as the fastest route he should take to Minas Tirith. But that was not all that kept him awake. Something had been bugging him all through the council meeting, and was now growing and tugging at the back of his mind, refusing to be ignored.
All the elves present at the council seemed to think that it was a group of evil creatures; followers of Sauron that had not been destroyed in the war, that was responsible for the murder of the elf hunters and the grotesque message. But for some reason, Legolas did not agree. He could not help but think that this threat came from not many, but one creature of evil. There was no way that he could explain why he felt this way, and so he had mentioned nothing to the others, not even to his father. However, the more he thought about it, the more certain he became that he and his friends were dealing with only one evil and malevolent mind bent on their destruction. But if this were true, how powerful must their enemy be, to attack and kill ten armed and trained elves without a fight.
Legolas realized that he was getting nowhere with this train of thought, and so put it from his mind. When he reached Minas Tirith, he would explain his suspicions to Aragorn, but until then, there was nothing to be gained by worrying about it. He turned over in his bed and relaxed his mind, and sleep soon followed.
~Legolas knew immediately that he was dreaming. He was standing on the rim of a bowl shaped hollow, watching a wind that he could not feel shake the leaves of a group of trees clustered at one end of the hollow. It was night, and the stars were hidden by high clouds, and yet the elf could see everything in acute detail, even beyond the abilities of his elf sight.
As he stood watching, a group of horsemen entered the hollow and dismounted, preparing to set camp. In his dream, Legolas stood up taller in excitement, for he recognized the riders. They were an odd assortment. The leader was a tall man with a regal bearing, and surrounded by a guard of ten men. Legolas smiled, for it was Aragorn, and next to him, slipping off of a horse he had been sharing with one of the guards, was Gimli. Behind them both, dismounting from four short ponies, were the hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, all laughing gaily. The only ones missing from the scene were himself and Gandalf.
Legolas tried to run down into the valley and join his friends, but his feet would not move, and he could only stand and watch as the company started setting up camp. Suddenly, darkness seemed to sweep over the hollow, and a coldness Legolas could not feel, settled in his bones. Down in the hollow, a gust of wind swept through the makeshift camp, and Aragorn straightened from his task and looked off toward the cluster of trees. Legolas followed his gaze, and shivered as he saw a form standing tall, just at the edge of the trees. He squinted, trying to make out the form better, but it was as if a shadow lay over the figure, blocking it from the elf's view. A cold fear and dread fell over him, and he tried to call out a warning to his friends below, but he could not get his voice to work. Once more he tried to move, to run to his friends, but it was as if his feet had a will of their own, and he could not move.
In the hollow, Aragorn called something out towards the shadow, and then suddenly stepped back, his face registering fear and shock. The other members of the company cried out in alarm, and reached for weapons with fumbling hands.
At last, Legolas could move, and he raced down the rim of the bowl, already knowing he was too late. Even as he ran, calling out his warning, he saw a black blur shoot from the shadow and head straight toward his friend's chest. Even without seeing it, Legolas knew it to be a black arrow. A black arrow that would pierce Aragorn's lungs, and end that heroic life. "No!!!!!!" he screamed, but it was too late.~
Legolas jerked upright in his bed, his last cry echoing through the room. Yet even as he came fully awake, he became aware of another presence in the room with him!
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.