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-17 (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
And from the flames,
As chance would have it,
The Soulforged will
Come into light;
And from the flames,
As chance would have it,
The stainless will rise...
Blind Guardian: The Soulforged
Will you still wait for me,
Will you still cry for me,
Come and take my hand!
Blind Guardian: The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight
I wake from a dream of flames.
Blue, freezing light has haunted me within my dreams, kept me trapped in my burning body, writhing in pain; red fire ran through me, consuming my body from within, fighting the freezing light. And always, always voices, whispering, calling for my attention, telling me to fight, to withstand, and to claim; telling me to give in and to let go. A crescendo of different sounds and different voices, battling and raging in my mind, never calming, never ceasing; never leaving me alone.
But now, finally, the fire and the blue light are gone, and there is silence.
I rise, carefully, unsure what awaits me or surrounds me. I have no true recollection where I am or how long I have been here. For hours or days – I do not know – I have been haunted by visions, by fleeting images, nothing solid, and all I could perceive was a blur.
But now, the visions are gone, and finally, blissfully, my perception works again.
For the first time in what felt as far too long, again I can see.
I am alone. I am still in that chamber I recall from one of my feverish dreams; it is my former room in my father's halls, nearly unchanged, from the time of my last visit here, some months ago, although it looks somewhat neglected. I have not been here in awhile, and during these last days – or were it hours? - since my last arrival, I do not suppose that I had much use for anything but for the bed.
My form feels light. There is no pain; finally, the cramps have left me, and I can move again.
Yet there is something lying on the bed, and I turn back to see it.
There is a crumbled, greyish form back on that bed; a body, curled in on himself, distorted by what must have been agonizing cramps. But now, the form lies still, and it is hollow. Empty.
I understand. So this must be my hroa then, and that I am here means that it cannot hold me, anymore. It is over.
For a moment, I study the fallen form in odd fascination. The skin is grey, the eyes are empty and filmed over. Angry dark welts run from the torso up to the neck and face. The hair is matted. There is no breath, no remaining pulse or spark of life. The poison has finally overwhelmed that hull.
So this is how I looked when agony set in, to those who cared about me? I pity my poor father, who was forced to see me in that way, and will now be forced to bury what remains of me.
I can hear muffled noises - something like sobs - coming from beyond the door, but I feel oddly detached, as if they do concern me not. Did whoever has been sent to keep me company leave me to find relief just for a moment? Do they already know? Whoever it was sitting here, I pity them. Watching me struggle with death these last few hours - or days - before I met my end cannot have been easy.
But I am free. The pain that has haunted me for so long is gone. So is the burning need. The freezing light. The flames.
It is truly over. The curse cannot hold me anymore. For the first time in years, I am free, and the spell has no longer hold on me.
I feel a presence beside me and turn. A mental voice, brushing my mind like a caress. Legolas...
Estel! He is here, or what remains of him; his spirit has not left. He is besides me!
I am stunned, glad, shocked, overjoyed to see him, and at the same time frightened, all at once. How is this possible?
He must have heard my thoughts, because I feel his answer in my mind. It is funny, this disembodied state, because I have no more eyes to see, or ears to hear, and no more limbs to touch; and yet I feel him, see him, and his voice is as a familiar caress to me.
He answers me directly in my mind.
'I do not know. I do not know if I have been allowed to stay with you at least a little while, or if it was the curse that still has kept me here; but I was able to delay my departing and wait for you. All I knew was that I could not go on before you had fulfilled your goal, or met your end. I could not let you do this alone!'
I still can hardly grasp it.
'You were with me all the time?'
He gives me what would account as a nod, if we still had bodies.
'From the moment you started this mad quest. I could not leave you.'
For a moment, I am frozen, but then, renewed pain runs through me, gutting, fresh and sharp as a reopened wound.
Estel! I am so sorry, Estel!
'But why?' I ask him, 'I – I killed you! I betrayed you! How-'
His answer is wry, although fraught with sadness, and regret.
'I know. I was there, remember? And at first I was furious! I admit that for a time, I hoped the Wargs or Orcs would get you, and we could meet sooner.'
He feels both troubled and irritated at the thought, but at the same time, his voice still is nearly a caress. How can he be not angry?
His answer is full of regret.
'I had some time to think.'
He must have felt my lack of comprehension, because he adds:
'You did what you thought best for your people. And I have only to blame myself. After all I did to you, I probably should be grateful that you did not do it sooner. Besides, I hardly left you any other choice. I should have told you that I would do everything in my power to help you free your people. I should never have put you through that renewed spell. I should never have let it come so far. It was my fault.'
I stare at him, bereft of words. How can he still be blaming just himself?
'Estel!' I finally reply, 'You did not command me to cut your throat, nor did you force my hand. It was my decision! And I am ready to face up to whatever trial may await me for my deeds. But what I did was my choice!'
'I know,' he replies, 'still I wished I had offered you another way. I would have done it, Legolas. I would have fought beside you, once I had fulfilled my destiny. I should have told you that. I failed you in that, as well...'
Exasperating man! Will he never cease to take responsibility for both of us, and for all I do as if I were not capable of my own decisions? And yet I feel deep sorrow at the choice I made, at the destroyed possibilities and chances. I have brought doom down on my father and robbed Estel of his destiny, all for the goal of freeing my people. I threw all of Ennor into a possible second darkness. To think there could have been another way defies my thinking. If I had just shown him a little more trust... I am glad that he is wiling to forgive me, although I hardly deserve it.
And yet. His claim that he is to blame for my choice is nothing but presumptuous.
'I am not your slave anymore, Estel! I am under your command no longer. My deeds are my responsibility, not yours.'
He turns away, and for a moment I am bereft of warmth and light. New pain engulfs me. For moments I regret my words. So this will be my fate, for eternity – longing for him and bereft of his presence, all alone with both my anger and regret. It is a fate I brought upon me, myself, and yet it is a prospect that has me recoiling.
Too late, though, to shrink away from that, now. It is time to pay up.
I steel myself for his derision, his scorn. But he surprises me.
'I know,' he replies, turning back to me, and I am caressed again by his regret, 'I am sorry. Old habits die hard. And I have been a fool to see you as such for so long.'
His next thought is earnest, and from the very depth of his soul. 'Still, I am not without fault at this. Whatever awaits you, I will ask to be allowed to share your fate. Whatever sunders us, I will plead the powers themselves to breach the gap.'
I am completely stunned at his offer.
'Estel!' I gasp, then add: 'What awaits me is most likely eternal damnation. You do not deserve...'
He is determined. 'Still, I would ask to share your fate. I am as much to blame as you, in this. And I would rather be with you, than face eternity alone.' He pauses and stills for a moment, then he adds, hesitant and shy: 'That is, if you would have me.'
I cannot believe his words. He would ask me if I would still accept him?
During my run, that mad quest, haunted by pain and visions, I have imagined again and again what I would say to him, how I would justify myself, and how I would confront him, should we be allowed to meet again: his broken promises – that I would be his slave only in name, that we would be equals. That he'd protect me. All the pain he made me suffer for his needs. The games he played to feed his lust. That last extension of the cursed spell he forced on me.
And yet. The memory of former pain he put me through is fading now, after I am no longer bound within the fetters of my body. And there he stands before me, the stubborn, noble, stupid, exasperating, sad and determined fëa of the man I loved in life and still love now in death, and will love whatever be my fate, until the world is ended; and all the words I had rehearsed and would have said defy me.
Would he really wish to share my fate? Would I wish him to share it? And yet, the prospect to spent eternity with him, not mourning and alone, fills me with longing. Estel...
At a loss of another thought, I lamely reply: 'You are mortal. I am one of the Firstborn. I will be held in Mandos, if I am not cast out into the darkness for my deeds; your are fated to pass beyond the circles of the world. What makes you think that we will be allowed to stay together?'
He does not back down. 'If we must be sundered, then I will wait for you, until the breaking of the world. And then, I will ask again to be allowed to share your fate, whatever that might be. I love you, Legolas. I always loved you. Never doubt that.'
I feel overwhelmed at his confession, at the hope and warmth he gives me. Even if we should be sundered unto the breaking of the world, and maybe even beyond, I will carry these words with me, this knowledge: that he still loves me, that he has forgiven me – that he loves me as much as I still love him. It is a soothing balm on the wounds I feel, and it restores my strength.
Still, there is one more question I have to ask. 'Estel – what of Arwen?'
He turns away again then, for a moment, and I feel the regret in his fëa as a sudden shadow, darkening his soul.
'I thought I loved her,' he finally replies. 'and maybe, with a part of me, I did. But it was just the shadow of a thought I loved in her. My heart was taken long before I ever met her.'
He turns back to me. 'Taken by you, Legolas. It is you whom I love. It has always been you.'
My heart goes out to him. For one, glorious moment, we are joined again, one, as we were back in those first days of our love, before the curse stood between us.
'As I love you!' I assure him, 'I always will, Estel.'
Then the moment is over. He withdraws from me, with some regret.
'Legolas, I cannot delay much longer. We must leave now.'
And I, too, become aware of the summoning, from the west, which pulls at me. At both of us.
Still I hesitate.
'My father – what I have brought down on him...'
Estel's mind touches mine again. His thoughts hold both compassion and reassurance.
'His fate is no longer in your hands. You must trust him to make his own choices, and that they will be the right ones. You cannot help him if you stay here as a houseless fëa.'
My reply is bitter, full of pain. 'I did not leave him any choice!'
Estel's presence is like a soothing caress. 'Yes, you did. The choice to take and claim the Ring, which he did; and the choice to trade his love and heart for power, which he refused to do. There will be many choices before him, yet, and they are his to make. As you made yours. You must trust him, Legolas; you can no longer help him. Come along.'
Still, I hesitate, but just a moment. Then another vision strikes me, and it makes me tremble. My father has the One Ring, now, and Sauron's power. If I stay, as a houseless spirit, will I tempt him to offer me another body? It would be in his power, I assume, if together with Sauron's power he has indeed inherited all the arts and skills of the former Ring-Lord. Not for nothing did we call Sauron the Necromancer. And could I then resist that offer? Would I succumb, bringing even deeper damnation down on him?
The mere thought makes me recoil in horror, and strengthens my determination. No! I will not do this to him!
Whatever he will have to do, in the upcoming war, at least this abomination shall not be among his deeds.
I turn to Estel, and together we head west. It it time to face up to my judgment.
But at least, for a last, precious time, the one I love is beside me, and we are joined again.
______________ o ______________
-- TBC –
Previous chapters can be found here: Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V.
The next chapter can be found here: Part VII