Disclaimer: Only borrowing Tolkienís characters for my fantasy.


Inside the Darkness

Part 7 - Inside the Darkness

By Morgana

       

Glorfindel groaned; his head felt heavy and a roaring drum sounded close to his ears. His memories were hazy, but he remembered sneaking up on an Uruk-Hai, sending his horse ahead of him to distract the foe. But the move had backfired. The Uruk-Hai had detected him and had thrown him to the ground with all his might. He felt embarrassed for losing consciousness like that, but the blow to his head had been shattering.

Waking up, he heard two strange voices to his right. One was firm and melodic, the other raw.

"You are safe here, Glorfindel. Lurtz regrets his actions, but he did not know it was you," said Legolas.

The empty look of sleep faded from Glorfindel's eyes, but the darkness around him remained. Where was he and why couldn't he see in the dark? His Elven sight should allow him to pierce the darkness and to make out his attacker's form. He cocked his head, rubbed his eyes, but nothing helped. The darkness remained. /I can't let my enemy know that I am at a disadvantage. I must act like nothing is wrong./

"Glorfindel? Do you not remember me? I am Legolas of Mirkwood. We met at Elrond's Council."

Aye, the name sounded familiar and he even recognized the voice. But why did the darkness remain? What was wrong with his vision? Had the fall caused this condition?  "Aye, I remember you..." He heard Legolas' relieved sigh; realizing the other Elf wasn't a threat he focused on his attacker. Legolas had mentioned a name, Lurtz. He was just about to ask Legolas some questions when another voice joined the conversation.

"I truly regret throwing you to the ground. I did not know you were an Elf... and a friend. Legolas only just told me who you are," said Lurtz softly.

Glorfindel finally managed to put the pieces of the puzzle together. /What an inconvenient time to lose my vision.../ But his other senses would grow more alert and compensate for the loss of sight. /And maybe Elrond can help./

"Elf...?" Lurtz cocked his head, trying to determine what was wrong. Glorfindel's face was hidden behind long blond hair and he was unable to read the Elf's expression, but he was fairly sure that something was amiss. He exchanged a glance with Legolas, who now removed the improvised bandage to check on Glorfindel's head wound.

"It is still bleeding," said Legolas concerned. "Lurtz, I need more fabric to bandage his head."

Lurtz grabbed what remained of Legolas' cloak, ripped off some fabric and handed it to Legolas. He frowned when Legolas tried to hide the pain that emanated from his injured wrist. "Maybe I should tend to him."

"I can manage." Legolas bandaged Glorfindel's head once more and pushed back some locks. However, he froze in his movement when Glorfindel pulled away from his touch. The other Elf's midnight blue eyes stared hard at the ground and an unsettling thought crept in to Legolas' mind. "Glorfindel?"

Glorfindel reacted instinctively, looked up and tried to stare at Legolas' face, hoping he wasn't looking in the wrong direction. He had to keep his blindness a secret until they reached Rivendell. "Why are you traveling with an Uruk-Hai for a companion?" Why hadn't the foul creature killed them yet and why had Lurtz apologized for his actions?

Legolas nodded slowly while passing his left hand in front of Glorfindel's face. The other Elf didn't react, confirming his suspicious. Looking at Lurtz, Legolas knew the Uruk-Hai had reached the same conclusion. Glorfindel was blind. "Lurtz lost his memory and while he was wandering about he found me. I was wounded in battle and I cannot walk. He is escorting me to Rivendell where I hope Master Elrond can heal my injury."

Glorfindel knew Legolas had seen through his pretence. Legolas' injury was clearly visible, but due to his lost vision he hadn't seen it. "Elrond is a gifted healer. I am certain he can tend to your injury."

"And what about your injury?" Patience wasn't one of Lurtz's virtues. "You can't see."

Glorfindel stared in the direction Lurtz's voice came from. "My injury is not your concern."

Suddenly Legolas' soft laughter echoed through the cave. "You do not know Lurtz very well and you cannot see his face. If you could, you would find guilt written all over his face."

"An Uruk-Hai who feels guilty?" Glorfindel had trouble believing that.

"It is true. I should have been more careful, but I was eager to hunt. You took me by surprise." Lurtz actually managed a smile. "You did sneak up on me successfully... and that is a first."

Glorfindel actually felt at a loss, another first in thousands of years. He had never expected to encounter a protective Uruk-Hai with a sense of humor. He truly didn't know how to react. Things would be different if he'd still had his vision. Now he felt handicapped. "Maybe we can call for some sort of truce between us?"

Lurtz nodded pleased. "A truce then..."

Legolas felt relieved now that they had come to an agreement. "Lurtz, we cannot wait until the morning. We need to leave now."

"I regained some of my strength," replied Lurtz. "I can carry you the rest of the way."

Glorfindel finally realized the nature of Legolas' injury and Legolas nodded. "Aye, it is my right leg. I cannot walk. Lurtz has been carrying me for days."

"Where is Asfaloth? My horse can carry us both," suggested Glorfindel. He wasn't looking forward to riding back to Rivendell blind. Elrond counted on him to supervise Rivendell's defenses and while being blind he would have a hard time carrying out his duties.

Lurtz approved of the idea and gently gathered Legolas in his arms. "Put your hand on my shoulder," said Lurtz, addressing Glorfindel.

"I can find my own way," said Glorfindel stubbornly. He had lived through worse.

Lurtz raised an eyebrow, but remained quiet as he carried Legolas outside where Asfaloth was waiting for them. Glorfindel followed, walking slowly to make sure he wouldn't bump in to something.

"Asfaloth," said the Elven lord. "I need your strength..." The horse whined softly and bowed his head in acknowledgement. Glorfindel awkwardly climbed on to the horse's back and then extended his hand to help Legolas, but Lurtz had other ideas. Suddenly the other Elf was placed behind him and Lurtz actually steadied Legolas until the Elf's left arm encircled Glorfindel's waist.

"Make haste," said Lurtz. "I will catch up with you later."

"Nay..." Legolas looked in to Lurtz's eyes. "We will travel together."

"Give me one good reason why you would let me slow you down." Lurtz took a step away from Asfaloth.

"What if we are attacked by Orcs? Glorfindel is blind and..." Legolas ignored Glorfindel's disapproving groan, and continued, "And I cannot defend the two of us. We need you!"

Lurtz realized he was being manipulated, but allowed it, mainly because he wanted to stay with Legolas to make sure the Elves reached Rivendell safely. "Then I will accompany you."

       

"Glorfindel, are you still awake?" Legolas whispered in to Glorfindel's ear. "I do think it would be unwise to sleep with such a head injury."

"I am awake..." Glorfindel massaged his brow. "I just wish the roar in my ears would stop and that the darkness finally retreated. Being blind is most unsettling." A guilty growl from Lurtz reminded him that the Uruk-Hai was still close. "Legolas, there is something I do not understand."

"Aye?"

"Why did you allow Lurtz to stay with you?" Glorfindel distrusted the Uruk-Hai. The foul creatures would never betray their real nature. "He will turn against you."

"'He' can hear you," said Lurtz annoyed. "Don't you think this occurred to me as well? I don't wish to harm him and yet I already did..."

"Legolas? How did he harm you?" Glorfindel looked over his shoulder, cursing privately when the darkness didn't lift. He had never realized how much he depended on his eye sight. How could he serve Elrond like this?

Legolas and Lurtz exchanged a look before the Elf answered. "His memory was triggered when I spoke Saruman's name. It was never his intention to hurt me."

"You have chosen a dangerous path," remarked Glorfindel. He wasn't sure why Legolas trusted the Uruk-Hai. When he had met Legolas at the Council he had admired the other Elf's dedication and fighting skills. He couldn't believe that Lurtz would manage to fool an Elf like Legolas. Something had happened between these two men and it had formed some sort of bond between them. "I am not sure Lord Elrond will allow him into Rivendell."

"I do not plan to stay. I merely intend to see you safely within the walls of Rivendell and then I will leave." Lurtz didn't want to admit it, but hearing that he wouldn't be allowed inside Rivendell made his heart heavy. He didn't know why but he had hoped the Elves would accept him. What a fool he was! From what he had gathered Uruk-Hai and Elves fought each other ruthlessly. Of course the Lord of Imladris wouldn't allow him entry!

"Then I will change his mind," said Legolas determinedly. "I won't allow injustice to be done to... one of my friends."

Lurtz averted his eyes. /A friend; he thinks of me as a friend.../ "I am honored."

Glorfindel sighed. "Maybe he will make an exception." But he doubted Elrond would allow a possible threat into Imladris.

"How much longer before we reach Rivendell?" Lurtz didn't like the paleness to Legolas' face and blood showed once more on the legging. "You're bleeding again."

Glorfindel grabbed Legolas' left wrist. "Tell me, how badly injured are you?" /Why must I be blind now when my guidance is needed?/

"A blade nearly severed his knee from his leg," explained Lurtz. "What really worries me is the infection."

Glorfindel encouraged Asfaloth to speed up. Lurtz reacted by breaking in to a run as well.

"Why did you not tell me your injury is this serious? We can't waste any more time." Glorfindel leaned in closer and whispered in to Asfaloth's ear, telling the horse to return to Rivendell as quickly as possible.

Lurtz managed to keep up with Asfaloth, but his thoughts strayed to falling behind on purpose. Maybe the two Elves wouldn't notice his absence until Rivendell. He didn't want to go through the humiliation that awaited him at Imladris; he would be denied entry and he couldn't bear seeing the disappointment in Legolas' eyes. They needed to separate before reaching Imladris.

"Glorfindel, stop. Lurtz is falling behind!"

Lurtz cursed privately; it looked like Legolas wouldn't make things easy on him. Why was the Elf so stubborn? Why not allow him to leave?

Glorfindel couldn't help but look over his shoulder, but the darkness wouldn't turn to light. "I would rather not rest. Imladris is only one hour away."

"Ride on," said Lurtz, easily catching up with them. He had fallen behind on purpose, but Legolas had thwarted his plans.

Asfaloth reared and this time Lurtz remained close, feeling Legolas inquisitive stare at him. /He knows I plan to leave him. Why doesn't he want me to leave?/

During the next hour Lurtz tried to slow down his raging thoughts and the fact that they were running in circles wasn't helping either. He needed to be calm and controlled when they reached Rivendell... when he left Legolas.

       

Elrond looked out over Rivendell, and even after all this time he still felt enchanted. He had created a home here, the real first home he had known. He had spent his life as a warrior and only during the last millennia he had settled down, enjoying seeing his children grow up. When Celebrian had left him, his world had fallen apart, but he had refused to give in to his melancholy. In the end, the dark moods had lifted and he had started to enjoy life again.

Much of his happiness had to do with having Glorfindel close. Glorfindel had become his rock, the one person he could always depend on. Even Celebrian had been unable to give him such unconditional support. He sighed deeply, greatly missing his friend. /But he should return any moment now. He should be done with inspecting the borders today./

His heart felt strangely heavy, craving Glorfindel's presence. The ancient Elf usually made very pleasant company. /Company... You want more than just a companion. You need a mate... But Glorfindel never showed any signs that he is interested. Do not pursue this./

"Milord! Your presence is required at the gate! Lord Glorfindel has returned, but he is not alone!"

Elrond nodded at the guard and hurried to the gate. Two guards were aiming their arrows at Glorfindel... Why? Suddenly Elrond stopped in his tracks. He immediately recognized the Elf sitting behind Glorfindel; Prince Legolas of Mirkwood. But why were the guards not allowing them entry? Because they were not alone... What was that foul creature doing close to them? Gandalf had told him about the Uruk-Hai and he recognized the creature from the Istar's description. "Step away from them or my archers will end your life," Elrond ordered, glaring at the Uruk-Hai.

"Nay, master Elrond. Lurtz is not the enemy! He saved my life!" Legolas said defensively.

Elrond noticed the bloody bandage around Legolas' knee and realized the Wood Elf was injured. "You are bleeding. Let me tend to your injury."

"I will only enter if you allow Lurtz to enter as well!" Legolas placed his right hand on Lurtz's shoulder, keeping the Uruk-Hai in place.

Legolas' eyes revealed his pain and Elrond wondered what other injuries Legolas was hiding. "I cannot allow evil to enter Imladris." He was its guardian and he had to ensure his people's safety.

"He is not evil..." Legolas said stubbornly.

"Legolas, we knew this would happen." Lurtz studied Elrond closely.

Elrond didn't like feeling the Uruk-Hai's stare on him. "Legolas, you must understand... My people's safety comes first."

"A very wise decision. I will be leaving now." Lurtz started to turn around, but halted hearing Legolas' pain filled groan. /His injured wrist!/

"Milord?" Glorfindel had had enough. "Prince Legolas is injured and needs your attention. I doubt very much he will let you tend to him should the Uruk-Hai be send away. Maybe you should let them enter? My men will guard him closely."

Elrond frowned. Something didn't seem right, something was off. Glorfindel wasn't looking at him, but behind him. "Meldir?" Elrond kept a close eye on the Uruk-Hai when he ventured on to the bridge. "Glorfindel?" The ancient Elf actually seemed startled to hear his voice coming from this close. "Your eyes..." Elrond placed a hand on Glorfindel's knee, needing the contact. "I will tend to you as well." His gaze shifted to the Uruk-Hai. His instincts told him to be careful, but he couldn't see any evil in the creature's eyes.

"I will allow you to enter Imladris, but two guards will accompany you wherever you go," decreed Elrond. The surprise that showed on the Uruk-Hai's face told him that the creature never expected to be admitted to Imladris. He signaled the two guards to lower their bows and to help the wounded. "Take Prince Legolas to my study..."

Elrond watched as the Uruk-Hai gently lifted Legolas from the horse, carrying the Elf himself. /I seldom saw such raw protectiveness in someone's eyes. What happened between them that Legolas is willing to trust one of Saruman's creatures?/

Lurtz followed the guards, who showed him to Elrond's study.

"I told you I would change his mind," whispered Legolas exhausted. He was severely tempted to drift off in to sleep, but he had to stay awake. "Welcome to Imladris, my friend."

Lurtz's expression was unreadable, and Legolas wondered about the Uruk-Hai. /What exactly are your feelings for me? And how do I feel about you?/ Those questions would demand answers in time.

       

"Glorfindel, what happened to you?" Elrond's heart contracted painfully seeing Glorfindel trying to find his way. "Let me guide you."

"Nay, I can find the way."

Elrond's face betrayed his emotional pain, but Glorfindel couldn't see it. "There is no weakness in accepting the help of someone who cares about you."

Glorfindel shook his head and immediately regretted doing so. His headache increased tenfold and he collapsed against the wall.

Elrond hurried to his friend's side and supported him. "Let me look after you, meldir. You need to lie down and rest. I will examine your head injury after I tended to the Prince's leg." Elrond guided Glorfindel to his chambers, and forced his friend to lie down. "I will be with you in a moment." Looking over his shoulder, he saw Elladan come down the corridor. "Elladan, my son, I need your assistance."

Elladan, curious and worried, stepped in to the room. "What happened to Glorfindel?"

"He will tell you," said Elrond. "Ask him questions, Elladan, and make sure he doesn't go to sleep. He has suffered an injury to his head and is blind."

"Blind?" echoed Elladan. "Do not fear, Ada, I will take good care of him."

Satisfied that Glorfindel was in good hands, he hurried to his study to tend to Legolas' leg injury. And then there was the Uruk-Hai. By the Valar, what had possessed him to allow the creature inside Imladris' walls ? He would never forgive himself if he had let evil in to his home.


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