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Murder The Dawn, Part V



Author's Note: This story is a Spin-off of my Mael-Gûl universe. It is set before the background of that universe, and it explores one single idea: What if Legolas indeed were to take the ring? Like a lot of the things I write lately, this one has been inspired by a discussion with my reviewer Randy, who has also volunteered to beta for this one. This starts out in the night after 'Respite'.

Warning: Implied slash, m/m, BDSM, torture, non-con and debatable consent. Also, for this story: Gore, horror, and character death. I mean it!

Rated: NC (M) –strictly adults only.
Pairings: Aragorn/Legolas (mainly), Boromir/Legolas (implied).
Beta: The relentless and ever gracious randy_o. Thank you! All remaining errors are my own.
Disclaimer: The universe I play in is not mine, nor are the characters; I just borrow without permission. I make no money out of this. Lord of the Rings and the world of Middle Earth was created by J.R.R. Tolkien and is owned by the Tolkien Estate, and the movies were made by Peter Jackson. My story universe of Mael-Gûl was inspired by Bluegold's story "Bound", which can be found here: http://daemel.freespaces.com/authors.html#blue
I use similar plot ideas with her permission. The idea of the Mael-Gûl, or Rhach e-Maelangwedh (Lust-Spell, Curse of Lustchain) however is entirely mine.

However, this particular story is a very grim AU to my main story universe. You have been warned!

Summary: What if Legolas indeed took the Ring?



Occasionally I work with flashback scenes. Here is a Guide:
// /flashback/ //; ************Time change within a flashback***********; "speech"; 'thoughts'


____________________



Dark Mael-Gûl-AU: Murder The Dawn
by Aislynn Crowdaughter



Pain inside is rising
I am the fallen one
A figure in an old game
No jokers on my side
I plunged into misery
I'll turn off the light
And murder the dawn.


Blind Guardian, Mordred's Song.




Part V


My child is dying.

I sit at his bedside, holding his hand. I am not sure he even knows that I am there.

He is raving in fever now, deep in delirium, his body ravaged and slowly killed by the poison that is eating at his insides. His skin is grey, his eyes dim. He no longer recognizes me, or anyone else who is near.

My healers have tried their best to ease his pain with herbs and draughts, but nothing will stop the deterioration of his body. Nothing will ease the cramps that seize his dying form. And nothing they can do can stop the workings of the spell. The foul curse that kills him defies their skill.

We never had a cure against it.

He is writhing in pain beside me, long driven past his ability to endure. He is crying for Estel, asking, begging to be taken. That ranger who has been his master, who has stolen his heart and then abused his trust, is haunting his dreams even now. I know that he has killed him – I saw the Ring of Barahir, that cursed heirloom of the Dúnedain, on the chain around my son's neck. I know what he has done, for he told me, in that few precious moments when he was awake and still somewhat lucid, hours ago. I know he thought he had no other choice. And yet he still cries out for that Adan, and for the release his master can give.

For a moment, I wonder. When my time comes, as it surely must happen, now, and the spell runs its course unfed towards the end, will I then, too, scream out for my abuser to come and renew that foul curse he once has laid on me? Will I, too, be as mad in need and rambling in my pain as to call out for that bastard Elrond?

I shudder at the thought. It is revolting. If it should truly come to that, I hope one of my warriors or healers will show me mercy enough to end my misery before I reach that point.

And yet I cannot do that to my son. All I can do is sit beside his bed and see him suffer.

It is excruciating to watch.

I cannot help him.

Even if I took on the Ring, I am not sure that it will give me the power to stay that foul spell. And yet I need to try.

But still I hesitate.

My advisors have urged me to make use of it; all but two, one of them my oldest general, and the other my closest friend among them. They fear what the thing will do to me. But we are running out of time.

Legolas' decision has left us no choice. There will be war. And only with the gift he brought we have a chance to win it.

And yet, so far, I have been loath to put it on. I do not fear the fight of wills that surely awaits me.

I have long left the planes of hope or fear, as far as my own person is concerned.

But I know that once I should succeed to claim the Ring, and bend its power to my will, the Ring will also claim me. And then I might not wish to sit here anymore, and keep watch on him who has been my youngest son. I do not know if I will even continue to care.

The foul lure of that thing and the palpable evil it emanates has been in my thoughts ever since Legolas placed it in my hand and I first touched it.

I do not know what it will do to me.

And yet I have no other choice. There is no choice. Wasting the sacrifice my son has made is not an option. He has broken his own oath and risked damnation, condemned himself to death, and with him all the other hostages – all to bring us the means to break the yoke and regain freedom.

Our people's freedom, not his own; for himself, he knew there was no hope. He willingly chose his own damnation.

How can I do less?

A few hours ago, when he had that last moment of clarity, I offered to him to give him his release, if there should be no cure. Quick. Painless. Merciful.

I knew that I would rather tear out my own heart, and yet it seemed the only thing that I could offer.

My son denied me. He begged me not to darken my hands with the blood of my own child.

"Do not give Elrond that last triumph, Adar," were his words to me, faint, choked in pain, but still clear as an unstained light, a testament to his unbroken strength.

"I knew what waited for me when I took the Ring to bring it here – I am ready to face it. Do not let yourself be forced to murder..." - he ceased to speak then, and I knew he doubted that he had still the right to claim he was my son.

I could do nothing than give him my blessing, assure him that he had not lost my love.

Since then, he has lost all lucidity, and he has not woken up again.

For a moment the images of that last exchange of words are vivid in my mind. The pain they evoke is overwhelming.

Then I shake them off.

I cannot wait much longer.

I give the slack hand of my son a last, strong squeeze, stroke over the sweat-drenched features, the matted, golden hair, for one last time.

Then I ease off my grip and rise.

There is no further time to lose. My warriors are gathering. Soon our troops will be ready to depart.

I must not waste the gift Legolas has brought.

Besides, this might be the last hope for my son.

I take the Ring and put it on my finger.


_______________ o _______________



The power that surrounds me all at once is staggering. A thousand voices seem to scream at me, but none louder than three – the shriek and howl of the Ring's master, attacking me, trying to overtake my mind; and, not unlike that first howl, but much, much sweeter, the echoing shriek of fear and hiss of disbelief of the two bearers of the lesser Rings: the Noldo bitch of the Golden Wood, and – Elrond.

For one, treacherous moment I am tempted to bathe in his shock and fear, in his denial; but then I brace myself instead and open my mind to the power of the Ring.

It is like mastering a storm. I feel them all gather their strength to strike, to assault me. But none of them is stronger than the Dark One, he whom I have battled for so long: Sauron, Gothaur, the Abhorrent, the Necromancer. I take him on headlong, will to will. For the moment I ignore the others.

The battle is joined.

I know I cannot win this and survive as I have been. I cannot overcome his power; I can only claim it, take it within myself, together with whatever malice may be bound to it. His evil sears me. The power is like a tempest, like a scorching flame; it threatens to burn me, to consume me, like a wall of fire. I feel it eating through my mind like molten lava.

Yet I do not give in. There is no going back. My mind is like steel against his assault.

Fury empowers me to prevail, fury gives me the strength to conquer him. I have lost two sons to Elrond's foul schemes, and a third lies dying, having sacrificed himself and all hope for his own salvation. I have seen the suffering and agony of too many of my people under the thralldom of this evil. I have lost over two hundred of my people to the foul slavery Elrond and Galadriel have wrought, under the influence of Sauron's malevolence; for it is clear to me now that it must have been the malignity of their Rings that wrought all this. Yet I do not forgive them. I do not forget.

And I will not allow myself to be distracted. I concentrate on Sauron. I have lost my father and countless warriors in the war against this very foe.

I will not allow myself to be conquered.

I hear the scream of the Dark One, and my fury burns him. His hate is endless, and his power great, yet he is hollow, nothing but will, and malice, and a lust for power.

But I have a heart yet, and a goal, and I prevail.

His impotent scream as the power is sucked out of him and finds new home in me is dreadful, but it does not faze me. His power threatens to overwhelm me, and it takes much from me to take it in – but fury steels my will, and so I manage.

I will not give in now.

Finally it is over; he collapses, and I can feel him weaken, lose his grip on my mind and dissolve. I have done it! I have conquered his power, and the Ring, for good.

But now I am assaulted by the minds of those who hold the lesser Rings. Galadriel, the pale queen of the Golden Wood, terrible in her icy power; and Elrond, the dark master of Imladris, he whom I hate and have desired to bring down for far too long. I hear their screams of fear and impotence, and their assault is hard to withstand, especially now, so soon after that other battle.

But they have nothing to set against my power, now, and in the confrontation of our minds, my hate sears them, burn their defenses away. Their fear and shock are clouding their minds, and I can strike them down. They have nothing to prevail against my cold determination.

The cruel, icy Noldor-queen finally escapes my grasp, collapsing for a moment under my assault; then she is gone, her white presence vanished from this otherworldly plane; perhaps she managed to shut me out, or maybe she just took off her Ring. I know not.

I concentrate on Elrond. He writhes under the assault; I can feel his fear and hatred. For all his cruelty, the Peredhel was not expecting his former victims to fight back on him. I feel him cringe under the knowledge that his foster-son is dead, yet his pain does not move me. His shock and fear is sweet, yet I do not let it sway me to revel in triumph; as of yet, the beast is still unconquered. His threats leave me cold, his rage is impotent. My wrath sears him, burns his shields away; his strength falters under my determination. His thoughts are no longer a secret to me. He threatens to kill the hostages, but to no avail. I have known that they were dead from the very hour Legolas arrived. I have known for centuries that they would die when we finally rebelled. And they knew this, too; that one day they would have to pay the price for their people's freedom.

As I am dead, have been dead, for all that counts, from the day the Peredhel put that foul curse on me.

But before I leave for the final darkness that awaits me now, I have an errand to fulfill. I have to free my people. And I will succeed in that task, whatever be the price.

Our struggle lasts but briefly, then Elrond's mind is gone. If he managed to shut me out for now, or if he managed to take off that Ring of his, I do not know.

It does not matter. I have prevailed, and I have conquered the One and claimed its power. The power of the enemy is mine, and I am the new master of the Ring. Sauron is no more.

All of the Dark One's secrets are at my disposal, all his plans before he lost his strength are known to me. I know the Nine are on their way to me, but they will fight me not; they are bound to the power to the One, and they will obey me. I will send them and the troops at their disposal against Lothlorien, and so make sure that the Golden Wood cannot help its long-time ally Elrond Peredhel when my army comes to call for him. I have no mind yet what to do about the other realms, about the wars of Gondor. I do not know yet what the former allies of Sauron, or his lieutenants and warlords, are about to do; if they decide to continue the wars of their former master on their own, or if they finally decide to pay homage to me. It feels natural that they should, for a part of my mind, but for the moment, what they do concerns me not.

I have another war to fight, and that war has been long in coming.

And there is one last thing I have to do.

I cast a look at the one lying prostrate and unconscious on the bed in this small chamber. My son.

There must be a way to stay the workings of the spell, to save his life. There has to be a way to give him strength, to overcome the poison.

A part of me tells me I need not care. That this one is of no purpose any longer; he has fulfilled his usefulness, and all that remains now is not to waste the power of the gift he brought, but use it wisely.

The inner voice insists that I cannot afford to waste my strength on feelings, or on the weakness of compassion, on caring for those who fall victim by the wayside, or to distract myself with useless mourning. That I should cast aside such weakness and shed all emotion, save that which alone can heighten my strength and power: hatred and the cold determination to avenge. That I should concentrate from now only on the power I need to gain to reach my goals...

The prospect is tempting. Cold, unfeeling power, no more pain, no agonizing helplessness, no crippling heed for the suffering of others...

For moments, I feel myself contemplating the idea, and I recoil in horror at the thought. No! I shall not follow that path. That way lies corruption, and madness.

Ignoring the treacherous voice that tells me not to care, I reach into the power of the Ring, then for my son's distorted mind. I try to grasp the working of the spell, try to send some of my power into him. It is no use. The blue light of the spell refuses me. The One Ring has the power to bend others to my will, to force them to obey me; yet it has not the power to give strength, or heal. I cannot even transfer some of its raw power into the one who needs it most.

Rage. Rage and pain engulf me. I reach out again, for the treacherous mind of Elrond – but I can find him not. He must have taken off his Ring, or maybe I am too exhausted yet and have not yet mastered the One as completely as I thought. But he eludes my grip. I regret now that I could not hold him long enough to wrestle the answers I need about the workings of that curse from his treacherous mind. But I recall his hateful spite, his claim that nothing, nothing could break the spell, that I have condemned myself to death, as well as my last remaining son.

My last remaining son. The other two are dead then.

The realization hits me like a cold, freezing blade. Somehow, I have already known. But still, a part of me is in denial.

Then, rage runs out and is replaced by cold determination.

I may not have the power to save my son. But I have still a duty to my people. I will not waste the sacrifice that Legolas has made.

And now, I also have nothing more to lose.

Elrond will pay for this. My sons will be avenged.

There is one final thing that I must attempt. I step close to the bed again and take the chain off from my last son's neck. The wizard's ring, the one he took from Mithrandir, responded to my power; the power of the One Ring I wear now. It has a red stone: from what I learned of the tales of the Three, it must be Narya, the Ring of Fire. I take it and place it carefully on Legolas' hand.

I do not know if it has any strength to stay the poison, or if it even can give him some strength to stay alive a little longer. But it is the only thing I can do, and I have to try.

Legolas stirs and moans, and fumbles for the chain. He does not wake; he does not recognize me. He just whimpers a little and seems to search for something. Again, he murmurs something of Estel.

I press the Ring of Barahir into his searching hand and he calms down again.

I straighten up again and turn. There is nothing more I can do for him. But I must think now of our people.

And I am running out of time.

It does not matter. Legolas knew what fate awaited him. Yet he did not shrink from fulfilling his duty. He made his choice and so sealed his own fate.

As I have now sealed mine.

Casting a last look at my dying child, I turn to the door.

My generals are awaiting my command. My troops are ready.

This time, we fight.


______________ o ______________



-- TBC --



Author's note:

My thanks go to randy_o, who suggested both Thranduil's brief wondering about his own awaiting fate, as well as an expansion of the temptation theme regarding the shedding of all feelings of caring and compassion in this chapter. Thank you! Your great edition work on this story has greatly improved its intensity!

About the effects of Thranduil claiming the Ring:

The question what would happen if one of the Wise and powerful indeed took the Ring and became its new master was never brought up in the final work of LOTR. There is a draft though in the eight tome of HoME, "The War of the Ring" ( London 1990, HarperCollinsPublishers Paperback edition, 2002, P. 401), in an unused draft of the chapter "The Last Debate":

(Quote)"‘But if we should find the Ring and wield it, how would it give us victory?’, asked Imrahil.
‘It would not do so all in a day’, answered Gandalf. ‘But were it to come to the hand of some one of power or royalty, as say the Lord Aragorn, or the Steward of this City, or Elrond of Imladrist, or even to me, then he being the Ringlord would wax ever in power and the desire of power; and all minds he would cow or dominate so that they would blindly do his will. And he could not be slain. More: the deepest secrets of the mind and heart of Sauron would become plain to him, so that the Dark Lord could do nothing unforeseen. The Ringlord would suck the very power and thought from him, so that all would forsake his allegiance and follow the Ringlord, and they would serve him and worship him as a God. And so Sauron would be overthrown utterly and fade into oblivion; but behold, there would be Sauron still....but upon the other side, a tyrant brooking no freedom, shrinking from no deed of evil to hold his sway and to widen it.
‘And worse’, said Aragorn. ‘For all that is left of the ancient power and wisdom of the West he would also have broken and corrupted’." (End Quote)

So, while Tolkien supposed that Sauron would lose his power to the new master of the Ring and 'being sucked dry', he obviously envisioned that process gradually; on the other hand, he stated that the new Ring-Lord 'could not be slain', (conveniently forgetting that Sauron himself had been slain while wearing the Ring by Gil-galad and Elendil in the Last Alliance), so the new Ring-Lord, beside being able to read the thoughts of Sauron and of the holders of the other Rings, must also have gained some kind of supernatural power.

However, to meet my purposes, I have decided to follow this quote only in part here, and decided on a somewhat different effect of the claiming of the Ring by someone powerful enough to master it and become the new Ring-Lord: the 'sucking-dry' process is taken literally, here, and and happens fast, so Sauron is indeed reduced to a powerless specter.

But make no mistake: the one who takes over the former Dark Lord's power (and with it his malice) does so at a terrible price...



Previous chapters can be found here: Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV.
The next chapter can be found here: Part VI

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
crowdaughter
Mar. 9th, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC)
Hi, Calenharn!

Thank you for reading and for your insightful comment - it means much to me! I was already fearing that nobody was reading this chapter at all, or that it did not work the way I had intended...

Anyway, thank you for your lovely comment, and for the praise! I am glad the chapter worked for you!

"It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful, to see things from Thranduil's point of view. Dare I hope we see more as this tale continues? Here we truly see his kingly qualities - his admirable strength, determination and self-sacrifice (not at all diminished or sullied, IMO, by his understandable rage and desire for vengance)."

It was of great importance to me in this tale, as well as in my main story, to show that neither Legolas nor Thranduil are weak, or cowed in easily. Personally, I have a great problem with any story that has an inexplicable evil Thranduil, but stories that show him - or his son - as weak are even harder for me to relate to. My vision of Thranduil in the Mael-Gul universe has always been as someone who is very strong, despite the cruel and humiliating bargain that was forced on him. I am glad it worked.

Of course, my main story has less of Thranduil's direct POV, albeit we have met him there, too, so far (if only in flashbacks so far), and might do so again. This spin-off, though, allowed me to go in the Elvenking's mind in this universe, and I am glad you think I met the challenge!

"Thranduil's placing Narya on Legolas' hand was unexpected... and leaves me wondering if his pity/concern for his son was perhaps somehow subtly manipulated by the One, because of course Narya is corrupted too."

We'll see... but I do think it was more an act of desperation, like grasping at straws. However, should it truly work, it would be interesting - and very chilling - to see what that would do to Legolas, here..

"Thranduil, wielder of the One. Legolas, wielder of Narya. King and Prince, both corrupted. *shivers*"

Believe me, you do *not* want to see this!

Thank you for your wonderful comment, again, it truly made my day!

-- Aislynn
oceansecrets2
Mar. 10th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC)
I know the Nine are on their way to me, but they will fight me not; they are bound to the power to the One, and they will obey me. I will send them and the troops at their disposal against Lothlorien, and so make sure that the Golden Wood cannot help its long-time ally Elrond Peredhel when my army comes to call for him.

Even though this is written from Thranduil's POV, I can image the rage and frustration and fear that this world's Galadriel and Elrond must feel at knowing the Ring is in the hands of the one they have so desperately wronged for so long. That Thranduil took the ring for the welfare of his people rather than his own personal power may delay its effects for a little while, which only makes the inevitable corruption (to which you already give such delicious hints) all the more terrifying. And with all its power he still cannot stop the hostages from being killed, or free his son from the deadly curse that is claiming him. There is truly no action that does not lead to tragedy at this point.
crowdaughter
Mar. 10th, 2007 10:39 am (UTC)
Hi, Namarie! Thank you for your comment!

Even though this is written from Thranduil's POV, I can image the rage and frustration and fear that this world's Galadriel and Elrond must feel at knowing the Ring is in the hands of the one they have so desperately wronged for so long.

...especially, since now, once Thranduil manages to master the Ring and figures out how to wield it a little better, they can do nothing unforeseen and cannot hide their thoughts from him any longer - except, perhaps, if they took off their Rings for good. Perhaps. But can they live without wielding their Rings for long, at this point? I imagine they must be pretty addicted...

Truly, for Galadriel and Elrond in this tale, Sauromn himself regaining the Ring could not have been more terrifying than Thranduil's claiming of it!

And with all its power he still cannot stop the hostages from being killed, or free his son from the deadly curse that is claiming him. There is truly no action that does not lead to tragedy at this point.

I agree - this is a very dark tale. I cannot promise any hope, although at least there might be some hope for Thranduil's people... even if there is very little hope left here for *Thranduil*. But then, he would not have expected some.

Still, there is a reason why I am glad that Legolas decided not to follow the lure of the Ring in my main tale!
(Deleted comment)
crowdaughter
Mar. 10th, 2007 10:22 am (UTC)
Estel/Aragorn may be dead....but he was not Legolas' sole "master".

You are right, there are others: namely Glorfindel and the twins, and two of the Rangers. I am pretty sure that Thranduil knows (now) at least about Glorfindel and the Twins. I am not sure if anybody ever told him about the Rangers, because Aragorn would have been beyond stupid had he let Thranduil know that he could extend the spell to others; had he done so, on one of his visuits in Mirkwood, I am sure the whole story had taken another turn. So, Thranduil must know that Elrond can extend the spell. He does probably not know that indeed Aragorn knew how to do it, too (good for Aragorn).

The problem is: these other spellholders who can fed Legolas' spell are all in Rivendell, at least a fortnight away, maybe more, especially if you travel with an army. And if Legolas can indeed survive another fortnight, even with the help of Narya, remains to be seen...

On another note: do we really wish to see a corrupted Legolas? And would Legolas really wish to survive after all he has done at this point? Could he even deal with it?

At least of the latter, I am not so sure...
(Deleted comment)
crowdaughter
Mar. 13th, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
If I were Elrond, I would be fleeing for the Havens - or at the very least, hustling Arwen off there.

He would do well to send off Arwen to the Havens. As for himself.... um, I am not really sure that Valinor would be such a welcoming place for him, especially after the death of the other hostages, and the tale they might tell in Mandos about the happenings in Middle Earth and who has been responsible for those...

There are still some Valar to consider, there, and those might not exactly be happy with him right now. Probably, at least...
randy_o
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
that still leaves his sons, and Glorfindel

In a word -- no time. A fortnight to Rivendell, a battle, and a fortnight back. Even then, the cooperation of the spell-feeder is not ensured. Legolas does not have that long. It was a miracle he made it home.

(Damn... I must be as corrupt as Elrond to be thinking of these things....)

You don't want to know what *I* suggested. Thranduil has lost three of his children -- the last before his very eyes. I imagine that when Thranduil senses the passing of Legolas, Elrond will do well to get all of his children to The Havens.

(Anonymous)
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC)
Lamiel
Now how on earth did I miss this? Thranduil's contemplation of his son and the choice before him is just heartbreaking -- he knows what he must do, and he will do it, but he also knows what it will cost him. I hadn't considered that the other hostages are now dead, or very soon to be dead, but of course it is true. Oh, Elrond is going to pay for that.

Knowing what happened to Lothlorien in the canon version of the War of the Ring, it is somehow even worse thinking of the Wraiths and the Orcs being sent against it by Thranduil -- an Elf. But I suspect that I won't feel so sympathetic for Haldir et al after we see the Mael-Gul version of Lothlorien. I love Thranduil's characterization of Galadriel, by the way -- "the cruel, icy Noldor-queen." I can completely see her that way -- heck, she was a little scary even when she was good! H'm. Given her ambitions (unchecked in this universe, one presumes) toward the Ring, I wouldn't be surprised if she were mustering a pre-emptive strike on Thranduil now. He'd best make sure those Wraiths have their marching orders and his people are safe in the caves before he heads for Imladris.

Speaking of Elrond, Thranduil might well keep him alive, at least for awhile. The better for revenge, of course, but also he needs Elrond to tell him how to break the spell -- or at the very least to feed it until Thranduil has finished his work. And the Ring is bound to tell him that he can't stop, that there is more to be done, and he has to have power . . . that off-hand thought about the Men of Gondor is somewhat chilling, in that light.

What I love most about this chapter is that we see Thranduil in all his roles -- king, slave, warrior, healer -- but most of all as a father. Despite the Ring's seduction his love for his son is very clear, as is Legolas' love for him. What agony he must suffer to see his son in such torment -- and how brave and also cruel Legolas was, to ask him not to release them both from the pain, because he did not want his blood on his father's hands.

Ah, this is such a compelling world you have created. I shall eagerly await the next update, whether here or in Mael-Gul.

Lamiel
crowdaughter
Mar. 13th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Lamiel
Hi, Lamiel!

Thank you for your wonderful comment! As always, finding a comment from you is a reason for a happy dance to me!

Now how on earth did I miss this? Thranduil's contemplation of his son and the choice before him is just heartbreaking -- he knows what he must do, and he will do it, but he also knows what it will cost him. I hadn't considered that the other hostages are now dead, or very soon to be dead, but of course it is true. Oh, Elrond is going to pay for that.

The other hostages were dead the moment Legolas cut Aragorn's throat. Or maybe, as we learn here that rebellion had been planned before, for a long time, they were dead the moment they were given into thraldom - except that there had been a way to end all this without a fight... But of course, that was always rather unlikely. :(

s for Thranduil - he knew what choice he had to make. As Legolas thought in an earlier chapter of this tale: it was *him* who taught his son that for them, the needs of their people always had to come first...

Speaking of Elrond, Thranduil might well keep him alive, at least for awhile. The better for revenge, of course, but also he needs Elrond to tell him how to break the spell -- or at the very least to feed it until Thranduil has finished his work. And the Ring is bound to tell him that he can't stop, that there is more to be done, and he has to have power . . . that off-hand thought about the Men of Gondor is somewhat chilling, in that light.

One of the things we know canonically about the One Ring is that the Ring-Lord wearing it will gain access to the minds and knowledge of those who wear the lesser Rings, including the Three. We do not know if that is also the case as long as the Three are not actually worn; the Elven smiths who made the Three escaped that very fate of being dominated by pulling their Rings off the very moment they felt Sauron/ Annatar putting on his master Ring. But then, Elrond and Galadriel have been wearing their Rings here for three thousand years, and have been corrupted by them for as long. I think there is reason to doubt that they could hide their minds completely even if they do not wear their rings... and also, I doubt that they can even *bear* to put their jewelry off for very long, at this point. So, all Thranduil need to do is master the One better, and he can read all secrets he needs directly from Elrond's mind.

On the other hand, I doubt that this will make Elrond's demise in this universe any faster, or easier...

As for Gondor... there is that. The One Ring will not be satisfied with his new master conquering Rivendell.It will want more - and push its new owner into that very direction.

What I love most about this chapter is that we see Thranduil in all his roles -- king, slave, warrior, healer -- but most of all as a father. Despite the Ring's seduction his love for his son is very clear, as is Legolas' love for him. What agony he must suffer to see his son in such torment -- and how brave and also cruel Legolas was, to ask him not to release them both from the pain, because he did not want his blood on his father's hands.

Thank you! Showing Thranduil in this universe in a way that does him justice was very important to me. I have always considered him as one of those who are still among the strongest and most sane characters in this whole, sad tale, although severely desperate. And now, also, very, very angry...

Thank you again for your wonderful comment! It made my day!

Now, where is that next chapter of "This Present Darkness"? :P

randy_o
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:20 am (UTC)
I have been holding back until all the comments were in. As agonizing as it is to read, I think this is my favorite chapter so far. You show Thranduil's inevitable slip into corruption, but you have the kindness to make it a slow one.

Thank you for addressing the issue of mercy killing. As both beta reader and parent, it would have crossed my mind, and again, Legolas had the generosity and nobility to take the choice from his father's hands.

Well done, yet again!
crowdaughter
Mar. 13th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
I have been holding back until all the comments were in. As agonizing as it is to read, I think this is my favorite chapter so far. You show Thranduil's inevitable slip into corruption, but you have the kindness to make it a slow one.

*bows* Thank you! I was on tenterhooks to know how you would like it! And may I say that, together with the first chapter of this tale, this one has been one of the earliest drafts of this whole tale that I had written? The final version has been changed, of course, but the essence remained the same. Mostly.


As for Thranduil's inevitable slip into corruption- we have discussed this, but I do think that as predestined he might seem in this universe to fall (quickly) for corruption in the shape of the need to avenge, as much and even more he also would be alert to that very possibility, and to the trappings and seduction the One Ring can use. He has witnessed and suffered the consequences of others falling into corruption for three thousand years; despite his amount of anger, despite the need and wish for revenge, he comes over for me as very clear-sighted and hard to deceive. I think he would be rather unlikely to fall that easily, at least as long as it comes to giving up to care.

On the other hand, I still would not want to be in the skin of Elrond, now. Or anybody closely associated with him (as, for example, Glorfindel...)

Thank you for addressing the issue of mercy killing. As both beta reader and parent, it would have crossed my mind, and again, Legolas had the generosity and nobility to take the choice from his father's hands.

The thought that Thranduil would offer this- would need to offer this - was very clear to me, for a long time. That Legolas would deny him to spare him becoming the murderer of his own child was equally clear. The very essence of Legolas' actions in this whole story universe is sacrifice for others. He would not wish to go to Mandos with this blight on his father's soul, caused by him. It is bad enough, in this dark spin-off universe, that he had to dump the One Ring on him, already...

Of course, *Thranduil* might see it entirely the other way round.

Thank you again for your comment, and the great beta work. It means much to me! :)
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