The hand rose high into the atmosphere of the cold night. There was no moon to uplift the spirits of any night-lover. The elf’s power was the only radiance illuminating the heavens. The hand tried to hold this power, but then something happened the spell did not foresee. Strength of an unusual nature was within this hand’s grasp. A light shone through its thick, cold fingers. From the earth below it seemed a star had ventured a little closer, giving a ray of hope.
“Legolas?” Aragorn shook his friend, but there was no response from the fair being. However, his lack of response was not the thing most concerning the outcast king.
The elf was as dark this night as any mortal. The usual glow accompanying him was gone, replaced by a shadow over his form. If all those who stood there didn’t know any better, they would have thought him a man at first glimpse.
“What dark power had done this, Gandalf?” Boromir stood in fear. What could they possibly be facing to have this kind of power?
“An ancient spell. Something that should have been destroyed and instead was long forgotten, even by myth and lore.” The wizard knelt down to touch Legolas. He felt his pulse in his neck, weak, but there.
“The Kasssno. The force of power created against the elves. However, I’ve never heard of an elf even surviving its onslaught. I don’t know why he would use it now.” There must be something unusual happening here, something concerning this prince.
“What can we do?” Gimli was very concerned for this elf. He may have been quite trying at times, but the more he traveled with him the more he became fond of him.
Gandalf signed and closed his eyes. “I’m not sure.”
“What?” Pippin strode up to him. “There’s got to be something we can do, Gandalf.”
“There might be, but I would have to go to ancient room of spells to find out, but Saruman would not welcome us as guests.”
Just then Legolas began to stir, his eyes slowly opening. Aragorn looked down at him and couldn’t help but notice even after all the elf went through, his eyes still held the beautiful emerald color which no one could overlook.
“Legolas, speak to me.”
“Aragorn. What has happened to me?” He felt groggy, weak and cold. Three things he had never felt before to this degree.
“Saruman attacked you from afar. Are you alright?”
“I feel very odd.” Legolas began to stand up, uneasy on his feat. He stumbled to the river they were camping near to get some water. When he leaned down to take some he recoiled in fear.
Frodo rushed to his side “What is it, Legolas?”
A whisper was all he could hear and he had to lean down to fully make out what the prince of Mirkwood was saying. “What had he done to me?” He shielded his eyes from his reflection in the cool stream.
Gandalf strode forward. “It’s going to be fine, Legolas.”
The voice was more pressed this time, “What has he done to me? I’m an elf, but what I saw in the water was nothing but an empty shell. No magic, no light, nothing. I’m an elf! I should not look like that!”
Gandalf knelt down and placed his hand on Legolas’ back. “But you are! You survived the attack of Kassno. You are an elf, and a very powerful one at that. I swear by all my might that I will try to bring back what has been taken from you.”
Legolas looked up, tears flowing from his eyes. “I trust you, my old friend.”
“After knowing each other for over two thousands years, I should hope so, young prince.”
The rest of the night passed quietly. Legolas was able to catch some sleep, still sleeping with his eyes open. A fact which comforted the ensemble. Gimli never quite got used to that, always thinking the elf wasn’t really sleeping, but spying on him.
The next morning didn’t come fast enough for most of the being’s taste. When it did it snuck from behind the trees, chasing back all the mysterious noisemakers of the night.
Everyone gathered together all their belongings preparing for another day of long traveling, this time towards Saruman and the force that had ripped Legolas into his two identities: physical and magical. They may have taken the magical, but they didn’t stop the physical and that held some comfort.
The hobbits were still able to keep their light spirits about them. Frodo investigated all the mysteries this wood had to offer. Merry had found some new kind of mushrooms yet to be sampled by his wide pallet.
“These look like interesting specimens, Pippin.”
“Merry, didn’t your mother ever tell you not to eat strange mushrooms?”
“Aye, she did, but if none ever ate strange mushrooms, we were never even know about the ones which are edible now.” Unfortunately for everyone, his logic made sense. The only revenge that would be found now is if he came down with some very unpleasant stomach condition. Until then, they would all shut up and let him try every fungus between here and their destinations. Gandalf busied his mind with spells of remedy for poison foods.
Legolas kept pace with the group, staying quiet most of the day. Others tried to get him to talk more. Gimli’s suggestions took more the form of “You know you’re with a dumb elf when…” Legolas appreciated what his comrades were trying to do, but nothing, not even the beautiful woods of his home, could cheer him up. He felt empty, incomplete and he didn’t know what to do. Aragorn walked beside the elf most of the day, noting how even without his power, he still moved with his grace and silence, though it wasn’t quite what it was before.
They traveled all day, emerging from the woods and back out onto outstretched plains that seemed to reach out over the horizon. Grey clouds made the fields seem lifeless and foreboding. Not even the hobbits could keep their cheery faced throughout this land. The only thing which seemed to benefit them was the fact that there was little to slow them down. The clear terrain made their travels quite easy and before they knew it they had traveled a great deal without too much toil.
“We should arrive shortly, the tower a just over the horizon there. Then we shall have the answers we are looking for.” Gandalf summoned a fire to emerge from the pile of dead brush they had collected. It burned fast and hot and took much effort of keep it lit.
As the night wore on the clouds departed and for the first time in a great while they were able to see the stars shine down upon them. Legolas gazed upon them and felt secure. He knew as long as they shone upon him there was hope for him and his people. A fear began to creek up upon him, dark thoughts which plagued his mind. What if Saruman used this spell against all of his kind? What if when the spell was cast last night every elf succumbed to its power? They had not seen another elf since this evil was cast out and there was no way to be sure that every elf was stripped in the same fashion as he. Gandalf didn’t give any sign that this might be the case, so the only hope he had was that the Elves of Mirkwood were unchanged and would be there to comfort him when all this had passed.
Gandalf stared into the fire. The wizard knew he had to find a way to reunite the light with the elf. Elves were quickly becoming an endangered species during this rough age, and he would not allow even one of the precious beings to be destroyed. Their time may be coming to an end as more and more go over the sea, but as long as even one walked middle earth he would protect it. They were the last of the immortals and once they were gone there would never be anything to compare with them for all eternity.
Just then a foul, black bird passed over the Fellowship. Disguised by the night, it peered on the group and spied the elf stargazing in the fields nearby. The evil winged sky returned to its master on the strong winds that blew through the fields.
“How can this be? How could the elf survive my power? Maybe there’s more going on here than meets the eye.” Saruman walks down his halls, down to the depths of his fortress, to the lower halls where the dark things lie.
“Hello my beautiful army.” A collection of disgusting evils sprang up, awaiting orders from their master and creator.
“Tonight you shall have a great night. I send you out against one of the most hated in your dark eyes.”
In one sour and raspy voice they replied, “An elf! An elf!”
“Yes, my minions, a beautiful” they howled “immortal” screams joined in “magical” they shook their crude weapons “elf! Now go, and destroy the elf in the fields just over the hills, swiftly now. Let him never see another sunrise! After the elf is no more, kill the rest of the them and bring the one ring to me!” He couldn’t believe he ordered death to the elf before capture of the one ring, but Sauron had made plans to get the ring by other means.
They departed in a loud roar, blindly running, paying no mind to whatever might be in their way they forged to wide path of destruction towards the company of nine.
Gandalf snapped out of his thoughts, “Something’s coming.” Before they could take in the full ramifications of Gandalf’s words, they heard the faint beating of drums getting ever closer.