Disclaimer: Nope, not mine. Wish they were though. Cuz then I could make Aragorn and Legolas get nekkid on screen...
Main Characters: Most of the surviving original characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy make some sort of appearance. Of great importance and note are Aragorn (King Elessar), Arwen, Legolas, Boromir (yes, I said Boromir), Faramir, and Eowyn. Also starring are original characters, such as Farawyn and Dathomir, or original takes on mentioned or named characters, like Prince Eldarion.
Warning: This story contains slash (male homosexual relationships), mild homoeroticism, profanity, mature themes, sexual situations, nudity, gore (the bloody kind, not the presidential kind), and violence. You know, the good stuff.
Archive: Please ask first.
Summary: This is the tale of Prince Eldarion, son of Aragorn and Arwen, his Elven lover, Dathomir, and his best friend Farawyn, daughter of Faramir and Eowyn. Eldarion wishes to escape his father's shadow, but when he runs away from Gondor, Eldarion uncovers a plot to destroy his kingdom. Legolas is taken by a mysterious villain, and during an attempt to save him, Aragorn is taken as well. Nothing can be taken for granted, and it is up to Eldarion, Dathomir, and Farawyn to set Gandalf free and save Gondor. Contains slash.
Notes: Mennai i Metta means "Until the End" in Elvish (Quenya dialect). This story will contain some Elvish language words, but footnotes marked with a (*) shall contain the translation. Since this is in written form, and I found Quenya to be more extensive (and it *is* the "Book Elvish"), all Elvish will be used with Quenya dialect. It will help to avoid dialectal confusion, though if I lack a word in Quenya, I will refer to Sindarin. Any grammatical or dialectal inconsistencies with my Elvish are on the part of ignorance, and feedback on Elvish grammar is appreciated, so it can be edited and fixed. Elvish grammar errors will no doubt be abundant, as I'm still learning the languages. This is mostly movie canon, with book canon used to fill in the details. The few inconsistencies with book canon are intentional, as movie canon takes precedence to book canon. There will be slash themes contained within. Deal with it. This, however, is a romantic adventure, not a mere slash story.
With Thanks To: Both Kayshinae and crickets for their awesome beta. *gives big hugs to them* Does having two betas make me paranoid about my writing or what? *grin*
Mennai i Metta
Arwen was sitting in the garden pergola, calmly embroidering an intricate flower design on their youngest daughter's newest dress when Elessar reluctantly sat beside his beloved wife. It was late afternoon, the quiet part of the day where only a few insects buzzed about. A warm spring breeze rustled the leaves of the nearby willow trees that shaded the pergola, bringing the scent of blossoms and Arwen's lily-scented perfume to Elessar's nose. His wife wore a simple white dress with green trim, her hair bound up in an elegant twist. Despite having become mortal, she still seemed ageless and only the tiniest of lines were etched into her features. Even now, Elessar felt unworthy of something so lovely and perfect. Even dressed in fine black attire with purple and gold accents, his hair neatly combed, and his face freshly shaved, Elessar still felt unkempt and too rough for something as smooth as Arwen. She spoke after a long while, her voice carrying over the sound of the soft breeze.
"Something troubles you, my love. Tell me of it."
Elessar rubbed his face, for he could not confess every woe he suffered. He had to tell her the truth, but not all of it. His hand shook for a moment as he felt the strand of Legolas' silky golden hair trapped within it. He could not, should not, even think of it. He was a happily married man; he loved his wife, he loved his children. And yet...
"Eldarion has run away, Arwen. He is very upset with me."
"You know?" Elessar asked, turning to her in surprise.
"You found him with Dathomir."
Elessar blinked and stared at his wife as though she had grown three heads and her skin had turned green. Arwen had yet to look up from her embroidery.
"I know far more about our son than you do. I knew he had fallen in love with Dathomir, and verily, it was I who encouraged him to pursue his desires. I knew Dathomir would respond."
Elessar turned his face. He felt like he was choking. He felt betrayed, though he did not know why. "Is he coming back?" he asked.
"Perhaps. Give him time to cool his emotions, Elessar. He is furious with you."
"I only did I thought what was best! Arwen, he is our only son, and-"
"-and we have eight daughters who could easily supply him with an heir. I know that having the line of male heirs broken pains you, but our son is in love with Dathomir, Estel. His feelings for Dathomir are not the product of a boy discovering his sexuality, nor are they the temporary lust for something beautiful. He would not lay with a woman, even if it is his 'duty', as you so call it," Arwen said, her voice remaining as gentle and melodious as it always did. Yet, she still had not looked up to face her husband.
"Dathomir was his guardian, his-"
"Eldarion has no need of a guardian any longer. What formed between them is not a result of a any sick and twisted desires on Dathomir's part. Verily, it was he who resisted Eldarion at first for the very same reasons you are trying to present to me."
Elessar hung his head, feeling wounded. "Did everyone know but me, then?"
"Nearly everyone. Eldarion bade me farewell before he left, since you decided to sulk in your study for the rest of the night. He told me of his plans, and I gave him my best wishes. For above all, I wish my son to find happiness."
"As do I, Arwen, but I-"
"If you truly wished him to find happiness, you would not stand in his way."
"I seem to recall having a similar conversation with another Elf this afternoon," Elessar sighed, and then instantly regretted having mentioned it.
Arwen finally looked up, her face as smooth and ethereal as any of her race. She betrayed no emotion as she studied her husband. Arwen gently reached out to touch the hand that clutched Legolas' hair, drawing the fingers apart. She glanced down at the blond hair, touching it for a moment before pulling away. She smiled at her husband sadly.
"I think you hinder your son, Estel, because you are jealous of his freedoms. He does not have the duties and responsibilities that were placed on you as a youth. I know you love me more than life. I have never doubted that. But as a youth, I know your heart was torn in two, though you never voiced it. Tell me, Estel, had you been free of the need to produce heirs, would your choice have been so clear-cut?" she asked him suddenly.
Elessar's hand closed over Legolas' hair again. He was loathe to give it up, despite himself. He closed his eyes as he spoke to his wife.
"I did not wish to anger Eldarion. I see now that I, perhaps, have made a mistake. But if he is gone, how am I to rectify the rift that has grown between us? How am I to tell him he does not have to live in my shadow, and I never meant for him to suffer in any way? How am I to tell him that I love him more than all else in the world?" Elessar asked.
"You avoid my question skillfully, but not skillfully enough."
"That is what Legolas told me, to the very word," he said carefully.
"Tell me then, my husband, did you perhaps fall in love with me because I reminded you of your first love?"
Elessar's mouth opened, but no words escaped. He looked both shocked and scandalized.
"I wonder, though I know you love me with all your heart, if you still feel anything for the youngest Prince of Mirkwood. There is no shame in it, Estel. You are not the first, nor shall you be the last to fall for the fairest of the Silvan Elves."
"I do not," Elessar said, his voice trailing off. He did not. He couldn't. He wouldn't allow himself.
"I do not mind so much that you would lie to me, Estel. But that you should lie to yourself about your own emotions saddens me greatly. You must resolve this, my husband, or there will be no peace in our family. You will continue to doubt our love, and most of all, it shall continue to cause a rift between you and your son," Arwen said sadly.
"I did not mean-"
"I know you did not mean to. I know that your intentions are pure. But even the best of intentions can pave a path to Mordor; you know that. Unresolved emotions have a way of coloring even the purest of our motives. You must stop lying to yourself, and reach a decision on how best to handle this. You cannot run away from this. As you did with the One Ring, your destiny, and even your kingship, you must face this," Arwen said gently and then leaned over to kiss her husband softly on the lips before gliding away.
As his wife walked away, Elessar came to the conclusion that even facing the One Ring had not been as trying as facing himself. He decided he and his son had another thing in common.
They both grew weary of his shadow.
The witchlights made the hair rise on the back of Dathomir's neck.
The Elf was not sure whether he was dreaming. He rose with grace his body remembered even if he did not. Beside him, Eldarion stirred, putting a gentle hand on his back and murmuring for him to lie down and rest.
"But the lights, Eldarion! Witchlights!"
Eldarion opened sleepy dark blue eyes, studying the surrounding encampment. "There is nothing, Dathomir. Your imagination is running away with you. Lie down; I'll help take your mind off of your witchlights," Eldarion said softly, pulling Dathomir into his embrace.
Dathomir shivered as the prince caressed his skin, nibbling gently on the back of his neck. His eyes remained wide, focused on the blue witchlights that burned around him. Was he going mad? Why was he the only one who saw them? Farawyn was snoring loudly in her bedroll, oblivious to it all.
"No, not right now," Dathomir sighed, shrugging off Eldarion's touch and rising from their shared bedroll. The unceasing desires of Eldarion's youth were tiring him now.
Eldarion's face registered hurt. "Dathomir, what is wrong?" he asked, trying to keep the hurt out of his voice.
"There are blue witchlights around us. I know not what it means, but it is a shadow that grows in my mind. How can you not see it?" Dathomir asked crossly.
"Dathomir, there is nothing here. I would see it. Your memories are impairing your perceptions," Eldarion said.
Dathomir swiftly dressed, feeling agitated and frustrated. "We should leave," he told Eldarion.
"Dathomir, it is the middle of the night, and we're all tired. Your witchlights will fade off. There is nothing around here. I would sense it. You are still upset from your vision. You were hysterical. Your witchlights will amount to nothing if you lie down again and calm yourself," Eldarion sighed.
Dathomir frowned and stalked away from Eldarion, fighting off the desire to strike his lover. Never before, even during the occasional argument, had Dathomir ever wanted to hit the prince. But tonight, Eldarion's casual dismissal of what he saw only served to irritate him. The tender comfort, the stroking of hair, and the caressing of flesh only angered Dathomir. He did not want to be coddled like some child.
Dathomir sat by the stream, glaring angrily at the water that gleamed silver in the moonlight. Off in the distance, the blue witchlights still burned, though they seemed to be fading.
"He can't see them, you know."
Dathomir jumped, gasping in surprise. Beside him was Kuruvar, who was calmly smoking his pipe and started to skip stones across the stream. Few Men had the ability to sneak up on Dathomir.
Dathomir narrowed his eyes. "See what, old man?" he hissed.
"Ah, the Dathomir I know returns. Resentful of everything, spiteful, and forever angry. I refer to the witchlights, of course."
"You know me, then? And you see the witchlights?"
"Yes and yes."
"How? Who are you? What is going on? What do the witchlights mean?"
Kuruvar chuckled. "One question at a time, fiercest Prince of Mirkwood. Let us stick to the witchlights. 'Tis a far easier subject to broach. They are Issoryss' spies, of course. He knows you are here," Kuruvar shrugged.
Dathomir paled. "Issoryss...the pale wizard from my vision. He was trying to kill my brother!"
"Nay, you remember incorrectly. He was trying to use your brother, not kill him."
"We must leave, if Issoryss is to return! We cannot stay here!"
"It would make not the slightest bit of difference. I cannot mask your presence. He would find you anywhere you flee. At least, when he comes here, no one else shall be caught in the crossfire. My powers are weak, Dathomir, and used up. I should not have even returned to Middle Earth, but I could not let you and the two young ones try to fight him off yourselves."
Dathomir stood up, terror flowing through his veins as surely as his blood. "What does he want from me? Why is he coming here, now? I must send Eldarion and Farawyn away!"
"The prince and the shield-maiden are perhaps your only chance to escape this alive, Dathomir. If you wish for your brother and your beloved Gondor to survive, then you must keep pure-hearted Eldarion and brave Farawyn at your side."
Tears filled Dathomir's night blue eyes. "I do not understand. Please, tell me what is going on," Dathomir begged.
As Kuruvar turned to Dathomir, his eyes seemed to take on an odd glow. "It would be best to show you, Dathomir. Take my hand and we will walk a time long past," Kuruvar said gravely, extending his hand.
Dathomir hesitated a moment, but he inexplicably trusted Kuruvar. He took the aged hand, and lost himself in his own memories...
"Legolas! Drego, Legolas, drego!"* Dathomir screamed.
Legolas shakily pushed himself from the mud with his arms. He turned his terror-stricken face to his brother. Weak and useless, he slumped back to the ground. Dathomir ran as fast he could, the hairs on the back of his neck rising as the presence of raw magic grew.
Pure white energy crackled around Gandalf, the glow of it radiating outwards from his great staff. Across the battlefield, the foul wizard known as Issoryss held up his bare hand, from which poured black energy. Between them lay Legolas, his own body wracked with green lightning that poured from his flesh and into the ground. Small saplings grew wherever the green light touched the mud, and the youngest Prince of Mirkwood was screaming.
"Give him to me, Gandalf! Do not resist me, or you will perish!" Issoryss cried, his voice deep and seductive, yet crackling as surely did his magic.
"His fate is his own to command, Issoryss, as is mine! You shall not claim Legolas Greenleaf!" Gandalf boomed. White energy rushed to meet black.
But Legolas was caught between them, wracked with the strange green glow, and he could not escape. Dathomir screamed in frustration. He could not let Issoryss harm his brother!
Dathomir reached his brother mere seconds before the magical forces collided over him. He gave not a thought to himself as he picked up his younger brother and tossed him to the side. As the wizards' magics met above him, his last thought was a wish that he could have lived long enough to be a little nicer, a little gentler, and even a little kinder. Everything turned white, and Dathomir wished he could have learned to fall in love.
Legolas' sobs of grief were the last thing Dathomir heard while he was still called the fiercest Prince of Mirkwood.
Elessar wandered the entire castle brooding over his situation. He wound up in his kitchen, finding comfort in the earthy smell of food and seasonings.
His wife suspected he still cared for Legolas as he had whilst he was a youth, which was utterly preposterous. It had been decades ago. Why, he nearly had forgotten about it, until-
He was lying to himself.
The King of Gondor paused by a window, staring down at the fine, golden hair he still clutched in his hand. He could not let it go. For it bespoke a promise of times long past. A promise of youth and golden days spent swimming and tangling golden hair. A promise of laughter and joy, of pleasure and comfort.
Was he mad? He had joy and laughter with Arwen. He loved her. He had loved her ever since he had seen her standing in the moonlight as he sang of Lúthien. And he loved her all the more when, in all innocence, he discovered he had not conjured Luthien with his song, but an Elven woman full of quiet amusement and gracious charm.
Arwen was of silver nights and soft kisses; she was the present, Legolas his past. She was of passions more complex than those he formed for the golden-haired beauty who taught him bow and arrow and grew to be his dearest friend.
But the curiosity, the wonder of what the golden days could have been like if Elessar had remained Aragorn possessed Elessar's mind like a fever. If duty, responsibility, and even an ebon-haired Elven temptress had not come along, what would have happened? What would Legolas have said, if Elessar had been brave enough to ask what he could possibly want of a shabby Ranger?
He could not dismiss his feelings for Legolas anymore than he could those for Arwen. He could not deny it any longer. The desire, the love for both, resided still in his heart, no matter how much he might have tried to quash one or even both at one time or another in his life. Love is not a thing so easily forgotten, even simple love trapped in one's youth.
Elessar sighed in frustration. He had to deal with this. He could not deny it, nor ignore it as he had before. He needed, perhaps, to speak to Legolas. Perhaps the confession of his feelings could ease the heartache he now suffered.
But then, perhaps that could lead to even more complications.
Elessar finally headed towards his chambers to sleep, still pondering his dilemma. Ironically, had he tarried just a moment longer he would have spotted a sly servant girl slinking into the food pantry.
Not that it would have made much difference.
To be continued...
* "Legolas! Flee, Legolas, flee!"
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