Disclaimer: Nope, not mine. Wish they were though. Cuz then I could make Aragorn and Legolas get nekkid on screen...
Website: http://www.loverboys-blue.com/eruntalince/index.html
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

Part 6

By Eruntalince


Dathomir cried out as his mind returned to the present, but Eldarion was not there to calm and comfort him. He chastised himself for pushing away Eldarion's love and comfort, for now he sorely missed the prince's arms around him.

Kuruvar was staring at Dathomir oddly as he released the Elf's hand.

"I tried my best to protect you when Issoryss attacked, but you were beyond my power. I could not spare even an iota of that power to restore your mind if I wished to succeed against Issoryss and his evil plans. I thought you dead, and the need to heal Legolas was so pressing that I was forced to leave you behind." Kuruvar laid a gentle hand on Dathomir's arm. "Your brother was hanging on to life by a mere thread, and the shock of watching what he thought was your murder, had traumatized him beyond the physical. When I returned later to collect your body, I found that you were missing. I wondered then if my judgment was wrong, and you were indeed alive," he said gently.

Dathomir covered his face with his hands, trying to regain his wits. He suddenly felt as though his life had become a wild ride on the back of a mad horse galloping straight for the cracks of Mount Doom.

"I found you a few years later, in a small village called Sorren. You were married to a lovely mortal girl, and had a lovely child with her. I had never seen you so happy. So I let you be. I thought it best."

Dathomir was silent for a several moments. "Who are you?" he whispered.

"An old friend. You called me Mithrandir in those days. Most call me Gandalf now."

Dathomir tried to digest this information. Few lived in Middle-earth that did not know the name of Gandalf the Grey. But he had other, more pressing questions. "Who is Issoryss?"

"An evil creature who commands the Blackflame, a form of dark magic peculiar to him and him alone. Issoryss is the name he calls himself, a name formed from the language of demons, unknown to any that live on Middle Earth. He was named Buurzghaash at birth, which means 'Dark Fire' in the Black Speech. The Elves called him Imorielda, which means 'The Black Elf'. Men called him 'The Black Pyromancer' because of the magic he wields." Kuruvar paused to take another puff from his pipe. "But he is not a true wizard. Truly, he commands magic like a wizard, for he is distantly related to the Maiar, but his powers differ greatly. He also commands the minds of lesser demons, and can bend the minds of Elves to his will if their own will is weak enough. Like himself, his powers are an abomination."

Dathomir cast a puzzled look at Kuruvar. "What is he then, if not a wizard?"

"Issoryss is the misbegotten product of an unholy union between the blood of a Balrog and an Elf. He is in league with the foul race of Daemon, for his nature is similar to his demonic kin."

"What, pray tell, is a Balrog or a Daemon?" Dathomir asked.

"Balrogs are distorted Maiar, originally of my own order, seduced and corrupted by Morgoth, then called Melkor, before the First Age," Kuruvar explained. "They were spirits of fire, but they came to be called demons for their nature had become foul and evil. They were the greatest of all demons, and the first to be created. I destroyed the last Balrog during the War of the Ring. A Daemon is the next most powerful form of demon. Demons were almost destroyed during the War of the Wrath, but some managed to escape to a dark place outside of Arda's boundaries, that they soon called Hell. Demons are now a race unto themselves, and answer to no one but Issoryss."

Dathomir shifted uneasily. "But...if Balrogs are demons, distorted Maiar, or whatever, then how did one produce offspring with an Elf?"

"Issoryss was not born or bred but created by foul magics," Kuruvar sighed. "He is a creation of Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. He was formed from the mingled blood of Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs, and Ecthelion of the Fountain, who slew each other during the Fall of Gondolin in the First Age. Issoryss was something of an experiment, and the first Dark Lord seemed to have been fond of him, as though Issoryss were his pet. His duties were few, but occasionally he was sent with the armies to help destroy Morgoth's enemies."

"But why has no one ever heard of him?"

"He never did anything terribly important. If you looked long and hard enough, you might find reference to him as Imorielda or The Black Pyromancer in a few documents of battles. But Morgoth did not trust his pet with important missions. I daresay Issoryss was coddled and sheltered." Kuruvar paused again, looking sad for just a moment before continuing. "When Morgoth was banished, Issoryss went insane without his master's guidance and protection. He was intent on destroying the race of Men, for he thought of them as the reason that Morgoth was defeated. It was on his journey to destroy the race of Men that a mysterious Man-child came upon him, bearing an equally mysterious talisman, and imprisoned Issoryss in Hell for countless eons. While in Hell, he befriended its forces, and now commands a legion of demons. Some say, though I do not know for sure, that he even has a Daemon Master in his service."

"A mortal child defeated him? How?"

"I know not. The child disappeared from all knowledge after imprisoning Issoryss. The talisman he used went with him, though some say it was recovered by Lord Elrond of Rivendell. Elrond never said a word about it, and I thought it best not to ask him. He enjoys his secrets as much as I do, I suspect," Kuruvar chuckled.

Dathomir chewed his bottom lip. "But how did he escape hell?"

"Like all demons, Issoryss may leave Hell when summoned. I heard tale that after the Last Alliance, he was summoned by one of Sauron's servants, and instantly destroyed the summoner. What he did after that, I cannot tell you, for that is not my tale to share. But I know he was forced to return after three days, for no demon can remain on Middle-earth longer than that," Kuruvar explained.

Frustrated, and certain that the most important elements of Kuruvar's narrative had eluded him, Dathomir asked, "Fine, then why is he here now?"

"Sauron, seeking help to return to power, set Issoryss free from his bonds a hundred years ago. But Sauron didn't realize Issoryss would see him as a usurper, and abandon him to go his own way until he came upon Mirkwood. He came upon your brother and became enamored of his beauty. I have no doubt Issoryss had some foul use for Legolas in his devilry." Kuruvar paused for a moment, lost in thought. Idly tossing a pebble into the stream, he continued. "I imprisoned Issoryss again after his first attempt to take Legolas and sent him to the ruins of Angband. I thought it fitting for him to rot in his master's old home. Unbeknownst to me, Angband had become more a realm of Shadow after its second destruction, a place caught between Middle Earth and Hell."

Dathomir felt Kuruvar's gaze turn to him and saw the wizard's eyes flash in the dim starlight. "Issoryss escaped my bonds and returned to the confines of Hell to recover and nurse his wounds. He has been regaining his power these past years, sending his demon servants and his witchlight spies to do his bidding."

"What does he want now?"

"I can say that he wants your brother, Legolas. He is obsessed with him. He has been since the moment the seventh son of Thranduil was born," Kuruvar explained.

"But why then does he seek me?" Dathomir asked fearfully.

"Because you were the one his magic touched when you rushed to save your brother," said Kuruvar. "Through you, Issoryss can gain control over Legolas, for he loves you best of all his brothers."

"Why then does he want my brother?"

"I'm not entirely sure, young Dathomir. Legolas is a seventh son and has Elven powers he never wished to develop, for he loved archery before he did magic. This is powerful magic, but not so powerful that it is something one would seek so relentlessly." Kuruvar took another thoughtful puff from his pipe. "I often suspected that he lusted after your brother, for he at first tried to tempt Legolas to side with him. Now, I think his reasons are different."

Dathomir felt sick to his stomach. "What do you think he seeks now?"

"Revenge," Kuruvar said with a bitter smile. "Issoryss has always hated the race of Men for he believes Men to be the cause of his master's downfall. Issoryss will be seeking to destroy the kingdom of Gondor, for it is the greatest of all realms ruled by Men. And he will be seeking Aragorn, or rather King Elessar's, downfall. Aragorn is the greatest of all Men to walk Middle Earth, and as such, he will be Issoryss' first target."

Dathomir rubbed his temples, trembling in fear. "I still do not understand what he wishes from Legolas."

"I cannot tell you everything, for it is not all my secret to tell," said Kuruvar. "I can tell you that the power of first love is something that can bring even the strongest of Men to his knees. Issoryss is clever and manipulative. And Issoryss seeks revenge above all else. Revenge on Gondor. Revenge on Legolas. Revenge on the race of Men. Revenge on everything and everybody. He cares not, for the madness that fevers his twisted mind has only grown over the millennia.

Dathomir was quiet for a moment, then suddenly stood up. "We have to leave! We cannot stay here, Kuruvar! We cannot let Issoryss catch us!"

Kuruvar looked mournful as he put away his pipe. "He will find you by twilight no matter where you are. It matters not where you go, Dathomir. He has been biding his time. He could not easily touch you whilst you dwelt in Minas Tirith, but he had no such qualms about Sorren. It was he who sent the demons there as a warning to you, of that I have no doubt. Now that he comes for you in earnest, do you truly wish for a replay of that event?" the old wizard asked softly.

A muffled sob escaped Dathomir's lips as he sank back to the ground.

"You will have to face him. It is inevitable. It is why I have returned. The darkness descends upon us, but we cannot flee. Only by confronting him can you ever hope to destroy him. At least here, in the forest, no others will be hurt. For Issoryss knows nothing of mercy or compassion. Life was breathed into him by the first Dark Lord, and his madness was tempered by the fires of Hell itself. He is cruel, cunning, and most evil. His power may not match Sauron's, but his depravity surpasses even the Lord of the Rings."

Dathomir sat in stunned silence, wishing he could awake from the nightmare his life had become.

"Return to your lover. Make love to him. Comfort yourself in his arms. Rest yourselves. Then prepare him and the woman both for battle by tomorrow eve. The Demon Elf cometh, and much as I wish otherwise, I lack the power to prevent it," Kuruvar said softly.

Dathomir nodded, trembling in fear, and crept back to their camp. As much as Kuruvar had told him, he suspected there was still more to this story. Much more.

And that was a truly frightening thought.


Next day found Elessar ill at ease, particularly at the dinner table. His eyes strayed time and again to Legolas despite his best efforts. Legolas seemed calm and imperturbable under his gaze. He barely glanced in Elessar's direction, his attentions more focused on exchanging friendly insults with Gimli.

Tell me then, my husband, did you perhaps fall in love with me because I reminded you of your first love?

Arwen's question rolled through his mind. Elessar's gaze flicked from Legolas to Arwen, their calm demeanor as similar as their personalities. Did he truly love Arwen for herself or because she reminded him of Legolas? Why could he not answer this question, a question only he could answer? Arwen excused herself before dessert to check on Telella, their youngest daughter, who had taken ill the night before. It was almost as if she wished to leave Elessar to ponder his thoughts without her interference.

A servant girl came out and poured the dessert wine, smiling graciously at all the guests. She was a lovely wench, with pale skin and white-blonde hair. She caught Elessar's eye as she poured his wine, but not because of her loveliness. Something of her smile did not sit well with him. Every danger sense he had formed over his long, hard life tingled and prickled at her nearness. Elessar frowned and brought the wine to his lips, sniffing it warily. Paranoia had kept him alive thus far.

There was no odor of poison, but Elessar could name dozens of poisons that had none. He snaked out a tongue and tasted the tiniest bit of his wine, testing it for poison. There was no taste, but Elessar had tested many poisons in his youth at Elrond's command, and while he could not recognize the variety, he knew there to be some sort of drug in his wine.

"Stop! Do not drink the wine!" Elessar cried, flinging his wine away and standing up.

Most of the table's occupants stared at their wine warily, having waited for the king to drink first, as was the custom of Men. But two among them were not Men. Gimli spit out his wine in surprise. Legolas came to his feet, his wine goblet slipping from his fingers half-drunk.

Elessar scanned the room for the servant girl as the table sat in stunned bewilderment. She had disappeared. Bellowing for his guards to search the castle for her, Elessar rushed towards Legolas as all color drained from the Elf's face.

Legolas wobbled on his feet, his eyes glazed over. Gaping at Aragorn, Gimli caught the Elf a moment before he collapsed, holding the Elf in his arms, despite Legolas being nearly twice his height. The King checked for Legolas' pulse, finding a slow, but steady rhythm. The Elf was alive but unconscious.

"Hammers and tongs, what happened to Legolas?" Gimli cried, his nostrils flaring in fear for his friend.

Gimli reluctantly allowed Elessar to take Legolas into his arms. The healer and a host of guards rushed to Elessar's side. "He has been drugged with a poison unknown to me. The fact that he still lives indicates the dosage may not be fatal. I shall have to attend him. Captain Nesba, place a guard around my children's quarters! And find that servant girl with the white hair!" Elessar directed his last command to the tall, craggy Man who was the Captain of his House Guard.

Nesba nodded, his cloak swishing as he quickly disappeared to fulfill his orders. Gimli, for once, was speechless. Legolas whimpered softly in Elessar's arms, sweating profusely. Elessar knew this was a bad sign, for Elves did not sweat, nor did they take ill as Men did.

"Myanne, I shall need you to assist me. Go fetch everything we shall need," Elessar said to his healer, a plump young woman with brown hair.

"Yes, your majesty!" Myanne responded as Elessar cradled Legolas gently in his arms and brusquely walked from his dining hall to Legolas' guest chambers. Myanne herself set off at a run on her own task.

"Is he going to live?" Gimli cried, running to keep up with Elessar.

Elessar worked his jaw. "I hope it is merely a sleeping draught and naught else. Once I can identify the poison, I can find an antidote," Elessar answered as he rushed into Legolas' room, laying the Elf's limp form on the bed. Gimli growled in frustration.

"You didn't tell me if he will live!" Gimli cried.

Elessar merely glanced at Gimli before pulling off Legolas' clothes and wrapping the sweating Elf in his sheets. Myanne quickly returned, her cheeks pink from the effort of her run. Gimli bowed his head sadly as Elessar took a damp cloth and bathed the sweat from Legolas' face.

"What are his chances?" Gimli asked after a moment.

"Gimli, be silent and let me do my job. I was taught how to heal by Lord Elrond himself. I know what I'm doing," Elessar hissed in exasperation.

"What can I do then?" Gimli asked in earnest. Despite their combative chemistry, there was great love between Elf and Dwarf. Their friendship was strong, and Elessar felt a twinge of jealousy for that fact.

"Find me that servant girl. Even if she is not the one who poisoned him, she might know who did," Elessar snapped.

Gimli nodded and disappeared. Myanne glanced at her king, noting the worry lines that appeared around his eyes for the Elf he tended.

Elessar tended Legolas the entire night, trying to find a way to stop the poison. Both he and Myanne took turns bathing the sweat from Legolas, and giving him water. Myanne was a brilliant healer, but her potions and herbs were as ineffective as Elessar's. But despite their best ministrations, neither Elessar or Myanne were able to heal Legolas.

Elessar spent half the night wiping Legolas' brow and stroking the Elf's hair. Memories of watching Boromir die in his arms haunted him. As morning approached, Myanne left to find rest, but Elessar stayed, and fell asleep well after breakfast sitting in a chair by Legolas' bedside.

It was in this fashion that Arwen found her husband. No expression crossed her face as she regarded him silently from the doorway. After a time she entered the room and gently touched the side of her husband's face, awaking him from his slumber.

Elessar jolted upwards, blinking in surprise. He stared at his wife for a moment. "Did they find her?" he asked.

"Nay. Gimli has been hunting for her all night. He was so worried I had to put a sleeping draught in his wine this morning. The guards are now sending out edicts for the maid's capture," Arwen replied.

Elessar frowned. "I should not have allowed myself to sleep. Are the children all right?" he asked.

"You would have known if they weren't. Eldalindele and Vanesse are also quite concerned for Legolas. I believe they both fancy him," Arwen said gently.

Elessar smiled sadly, staring down at his dearest friend. "And he flirts with them both shamelessly. I think he enjoys their attentions. And they both love him," Elessar said fondly.

"In this, it seems our daughters have taken after you, Estel. Of course, their love is a passing adolescent infatuation. Yours is not, despite what you may think."

Elessar looked up, swallowing nervously. Arwen only smiled at him gently. "Rest now. I will watch over Legolas. You are no good to him like this," she said, stroking Elessar's long, black hair. The gray was becoming more prominent in his black mane.

"Arwen...I love you," Elessar said quietly, his expression one of guilt.

"I know this. Now rest. Must I drug you as well?"

Elessar sighed and stood up, looking at his wife sadly. "Watch him well," he said and then left the room.

Arwen sat beside Legolas, taking the Elf's hand in hers. It felt cold and clammy, strange for any Elf, much less one as vibrant as Legolas. The blond beauty stirred slightly, whispering Aragorn's name before slipping back into his poisoned sleep.

A tear slipped down Arwen's cheek. "What grace has given me...Ilúvatar, please, do not take it from me in this way," she whispered after a long time of watching Legolas moan feverishly. Too many feelings were still unresolved and too much had been left unsaid.

For in her wisdom, Arwen knew an ending like this was no ending at all.

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