Fading Legends: Part II
by Camilla Sandman
-----

I do not sleep as humans do. There is no need for sleep in my body, but sometimes I sleep nevertheless, pretending I am fully human. It is an illusion, but an illusion I must live with.

I did not sleep this night. My heart was pounding strangely, and I felt tense.

Legolas. Last of the elves to remain in Middle-earth. Just the mere sight of him had sent strange impulses through my body. He wasÖ Starlight and song and echoes of the past.

Echoes of a past I so desperately wished I was a part of.

I saw him and Gimli leave in the middle of the night, and I knew where they were going.

The whispers of Mordor had reached my ears also, and so I followed them, into the night and the darkness.

Humans are impulsive, fool-hearted and rush into situations without thinking.

It is good to know I have some inherited humanity in me after all.

~~~~~~

Dawn broke, pushing away the darkness and filling it with every shade of yellow, red and orange. The wind died away, as if sunlight was a wall it could not penetrate. The stars faded from view, and the moon gave way to the sun.

Gimli seemed to rink in the morning sun, smiling as he always did, his thoughts far away and lost in the past. But Legolas felt a small worry beginning to build as daylight took hold.

"It is quiet," he said aloud, listening intently to their surroundings. No birds, no animals, no wind. Just silence.

The dwarf regarded him, but said nothing.

Something was wrong with the land, Legolas realised. It was afraid. The birds, the animals, the very earth was afraid. The happy murmur of the trees since the defeat of Sauron had died down.

Something was moving towards them. The footsteps were light, but it did not elude his sharp ears. He turned around, looking towards the faint outline of Minas Tirith in the distance. He thought he saw a glimmer of light some hundred feet away, but it was just for a brief moment.

Silence fell again.

Then a scream echoed through the land, a scream of terror and pain unimaginable.

******

The man known as Thronson screamed as the shadows came at him. He screamed and screamed until there was no breath left in him, frozen to the spot, unable to even move.

"Thronson.." the shadow whispered, reaching into the manís mind and devouring all that was there. "You are mine now."

The man tried to move, but his body no longer listened to him. To his horror, he felt another presence in his mind, a shadow of himself, now in charge. He was trapped in his own mind, no control over his actions anymore.

And he screamed and he screamed and he screamed, but no sound escaped his lips.

******

Following the sounds, Gimli and Legolas ran, until they came upon the field of battle.

A battle lost.

Dead humans were scattered around, their bodies penetrated by arrows.

"Orcs," Gimli said grimly, clutching his axe.

A single human stood alone among the bodies, his back turned to them. As Legolas looked at him, the elf felt his heart go cold. There was something odd about the man, the way he stood erect and not even looking at them. And where had the orcs gone? Why were there no bodies?

Gimli had already begun to approach, when the man turned.

He had no wounds, and his sword was still sheathed. His eyes were oddly calm and dark.

"An elf," the man said, ad there was a hint of contentment in his voice. "What fortune. An Eldar."

Legolas almost reached for his bow, but the man made no hostile moves. He was simply standing there.

"Orcs fell upon us," the man continued. "I thank you for your timely interference."

"This was not orcs," came the clear voice that Legolas had no trouble recognising. Aneana, daughter of Awen and Aragorn, stepped out of the shadow where she had been standing.

"My brother and I have hunted orcs often enough. They would never come this close to Minas Tirith, not since the fall of Sauron."

The man whipped around, staring at her. A sickly look came over his face, one of desire and anger at once.

"Arwen.." As the man said it, he seemed to change. Shadow fell over him, even though he was standing in broad sunlight.

Legolas reached for his bow, but Gimli was already moving, charging the man in a heartbeat. Aneana had reached for the sword she wore, her whole stance so reminiscent of Aragorn it stung Legolasís heart.

The man was screaming as Gimliís axe made contact with flesh and Legolasís first arrow hit.

"Mine!" the man screamed, but his voice was no longer human. "Mine!"

Even as another arrow flung into him, the man didnít slow down, leaping over Gimli and straight at Aneana. She didnít even blink, bringing her sword up.

It cut into his abdomen, blood pouring out as yet another arrow hit him. A cry of rage came from the being, the shadows still growing around it. It was no longer human.

"Mine!" it hissed again, going for her throat.

With her sword still sticking into the flesh, Aneana had a valiant attempt to free it, but the being was too fast. She gulped as hands came around her throat. She lost her grip on the sword, tumbling backwards with the shadow over her.

But Gimli had reached the two, and brought his axe down. Legolas fired again and again, and the being screamed.

"No! Mine!"

Even as it spoke, the shadow seemed to rise from it, high above the ground and with a final shriek it was picked up by the wind, carrying it eastwards.

Leaving the dead body of a man on the ground.

Gimli was already pushing away the body, helping Aneana to her feet. She looked pale and had several bruises on her neck, but she seemed to have no other injuries that Legolas could see.

"What was that?" she gulped, leaning slightly n the stout dwarf by her side.

"That was no orc," Gimli muttered, looking down at the dead body.

"It went to Mordor," Legolas replied, turning east and staring at the towering mountains. But there was no sign of the shadow, and the land was quiet again.

Too quiet.

| Part III | Index