Another Life

Corinder

Chapter 033

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Chapter Thirty-Two: Strain and Break

Pebblebrook was a little town in western Gondor. With only two hundred people settled within the wood-and-stone built homes, its residents lived a simple life. They farmed out in the fields, growing crops and grain, trading their goods with that of the neighboring village, who sold pelts and meat.

The town was close enough to Minas Tirith to say that they were— just head east, you will find the city there— but far enough away to not care about the larger scale of things or be of any use in war. The people of Pebblebrook were just fine with that. They were happy that no enemies had reason to attack their home, which held no strategic value.

However, like with all small villages, Pebblebrook loved its stories. Every night the village elder would sit before a bonfire, telling tales of battles and glory, of joy and despair, of dwarves and elves. Wide-eyed children would gather around him, their wide-eyed parents staying just close enough to hear, as the old man told them of great wars far past, of the magic of elves, and other things that could not all be true.

Like all sentient people, the mortals of Pebblebrook longed for a bit of chaos amidst their order, for diversity and unexpected happenings. Although they would not go out and seek adventure, stories of great deeds filled their hearts with excitement. They were so small and insignificant, that sometimes, they just wanted to be important and grand. They wanted something new to happen.

So when nine elves came riding into the little town, the people of Pebblebrook were filled with joy and awe. They spotted the immortals riding in upon their steeds, creatures only heard of in distant stories coming right to their doorstep.

Elves! They thought, amazed and wondrous as the fair beings approached. Elves are here, of all places!

The people gathered in the street, watching in fascination as the sunlight glinted off of shimmering golden, silver, and dark hair. The elves were beautiful, immortal, and untouchable, yet here they were, before the stunned villagers.

The elves entered the small space that served as the main square, their horses halting as if obeying an unheard command. They sat, regal and distant, as the village Elder approached, a wondrous expression on his face.

"My Lords," he murmured, stumbling slightly over his words as he bowed. "Welcome to Pebblebrook. May I ask what brings you to our humble village?"

The lead elf— one with dark hair and glittering armor— smiled.

Metal flashed.

The Elder continued to stare up at the elf, awed face transforming into one of confusion. Then he fell forward, blood spraying from the wound on his chest, his body hitting the dirt with a thud that seemed to echo through the silence.

The townspeople froze, staring at their storyteller in disbelief. Their eyes snapped back up to the elf, who still sat atop his horse, his crimson-stained sword gripped in his hand.

The immortal looked back with eyes black as pitch.

And then the air was filled with screams.

LOTRLOTRLOTR

Legolas sat upon the forest floor, legs crossed and hands resting limply on his knees. Eyes closed, head tilted back, he let the sunlight filtering through the trees warm his skin. He breathed, softly and evenly, quietly observing the energies of the forest around him.

The presences of the shadowed trees were not Dark anymore, merely muted when compared to the auras of their Light kin. Although they were prone to pulse and surge whenever the trees grew agitated or emotional, currently they were calm and peaceful, almost soothing. And that was exactly what the assassin and his twitchy student needed.

Elrohir sat across from the violet-eyed elf, acting like an elfling who was being forced to do his studies when he wanted to run outside. Actually, he was more like an elfling faced with a terrible test forced upon him by his instructor. The younger twin's aura flared and dimmed chaotically along with his roiling emotions, but Legolas did not need his sixth sense to see that Elrohir was terrified.

They had not even officially begun, and the other elf was already moving and fidgeting, twitching and shifting, both from nerves and an inability to remain still. When Elrohir shifted and sighed for the tenth time since they had begun meditation, the pale blonde-haired elf finally acknowledged the disruption.

"I thought that elves your age were supposed to be patient." he said benignly.

"I am patient." Elrohir protested. "I am just not used to sitting still. And what do you mean elves my age? Are you calling me old?"

"We have barely been sitting for five minutes and you are already as twitchy as a nervous squirrel." Legolas told him, opening his eyes. "We have not even begun your lesson in control over your powers, and we cannot begin until you manage to calm yourself and meditate properly. And I was not saying that you were old. You are over a thousand years old, the age where elves are supposed to be fully matured mentally, yet you are huffing and sighing like a bored elfling."

"Was not." Elrohir muttered mulishly.

The assassin did not smile. "You were. I know you have more control and patience than this, so exactly why are you purposely stunting your own learning efforts?"

"I was not." the younger twin said. "I am just distracted today. You are right, I was acting like an elfling. Perhaps we should delay this lesson until a later time—"

He made as if to rise but Legolas's hand on his shoulder stopped him from standing. The pale blonde-haired elf's violet eyes looked steadily at Elrohir, filled with a mix of annoyance and compassion.

"Delaying and stalling will not help you, Elrohir. You need to learn how to control your sixth sense. The shield you put up to dull the auras around you is well done and strong, but you need to reign in the sense itself. You have shielded your mind, not dimmed your sixth sense. If you do not learn how to control your new power it will one day shatter that shield and your mind with shatter with it. That is why few dare to use the ability to sense auras to the extent that we do. If one does not have the mental control over that ability, it will overwhelm them."

The assassin patted the dark-haired elf's arm once. "I know that you are afraid to open yourself and touch that power again, but you do not need to worry. Once you sink into a meditative state and can organize your mind, I will help you grasp your power as you slowly lower that shield you built, bit by bit. Letting the shield down completely would only bring you back to the state you were in before, so we need to do this carefully."

Elrohir bit his lip, silver eyes dark with nervousness and fear. "I know, I know. But I am... afraid, Esgal. You do not know what it was like, to be so overwhelmed by that power. There was nothing but darkness and pain, and I am afraid that if I make a mistake that I will be sucked back into that mindless agony." His voice cracked.

"I will be here." Legolas reassured him. "If you are going to fall, I will catch you, and pull you back. I promise that I will not let you be lost."

Silver eyes looked deep into violet, and Elrohir nodded hesitantly. Then he looked away, still shifty and on edge. The pale blonde-haired elf translated the body language easily: Elrohir trusted his friend, he just did not trust himself. Elrohir was too tense, too terrified of even touching his power to get anywhere close to doing so. How could the assassin make the silver-eyed elf take that first step forward? He needed a push to get him past his fear, but what could Legolas do to motivate him?

The assassin sighed and crouched directly in front of the other elf, forcing the younger twin to keep eye contact. He kept his voice gentle. "Trust me and yourself, Elrohir. We need to begin now if we intend to make any progress today. If we stay out too long, your brother will come after us out of worry, and you will no longer be able to learn control. The auras of elves are too bright for you to focus around right now. You know how to meditate. You know how to clear your mind, and are perfectly capable of doing so. Calm yourself. Clear your head of troubling thoughts. Think of something that brings you peace. Breathe."

Elrohir tried. Legolas watched as the other elf sat there, muscles tense and face taut with worry. He did not relax and most definitely did not breathe, more like a terrified rabbit faced with a predator than a twitchy elfling now. The assassin shook his head. They were still getting nowhere. He could only think of one thing that may reassure the dark-haired elf enough for him to try.

"Elrohir." the violet-eyed elf said, drawing the other's attention to him once more. "How about this: I will release my aura enough for you to sense it as you are now. That way, the Eye of the Storm will already be in place, so you will not lose yourself to the pain and darkness."

The son of Elrond looked visibly startled by the assassin's offer. "You would release your inner light?"

Legolas shook his head. "You mistake my aura for my inner light. They can be connected, but a presence is not a soul. A soul is a person's spirit. An aura is that person's energies, which are a mix of physical, emotional, and spiritual. If a person's aura was connected to their soul, then spiritual healing would be impossible, because the healer would be giving up a piece of their soul every time they healed. Auras and energies can be replenished. A soul can rarely mend if it is torn or broken."

"But you would still be showing something that you normally hide." Elrohir said, still uncertain. "I know that you hide your presence completely. When I was... ill, I could see it clearly, but now that I am shielding myself, you are invisible. If I was just seeing with my sixth sense, I would see the energies around you rather than you."

"Yes, that is true." Legolas admitted. "It is another technique that Ciaran taught me. Most assassins learn to shield their presence, but few are able to blend themselves in with the auras around them. Most leave a gaping hole where their presence is, which only matters if a sensor is nearby. But we are getting off topic. I do not mind you using my aura as a focus point if it will help you feel more comfortable."

The twin rose his eyebrows at the violet-eyed elf, still stunned. The assassin did not understand why he was so surprised. Elrohir was his friend, he cared greatly for him and his well-being. And if the dark-haired elf did not learn to control his new-found powers as soon as possible, it would only end badly for him. Legolas needed to help him overcome his trepidation so they could move forward.

After a long beat of silence, Elrohir's expression shifted and his normal, easy smile formed on his face. "Le hannon." he murmured, a deep gratefulness in his voice.

The assassin merely nodded and closed his eyes once more, gently letting his aura become "visible" to the world. He knew Elrohir was able to sense him when the other elf breathed a sigh of relief, immediately relaxing.

"All right." he said, much calmer and more confident then he had been. "I am ready to begin now."

Legolas did not respond verbally, merely studying the son of Elrond. Elrohir's chaotic aura had stilled, stabilizing with his mood and becoming slightly dimmer as the elf calmed and went deep inside himself. The younger twin's breathing evened out and slowed, becoming a steady, soft rasp.

The assassin opened his eyes and waited patiently for a few moments before speaking softly. "Well done, Elrohir. Allow yourself to sink into your consciousness, feeling your mind and the shield you constructed..."

"I feel it." the son of Elrond murmured after a pause. "I see it... It's like a light..."

"Good." Legolas encouraged, memories from his own lessons with Ciaran rising to the forefront of his mind. "Can you feel the auras through the shield?"

Elrohir twitched slightly. "Yes. They're dulled and dim." Another twitch. "Don't make me let them in..."

"I will not." the assassin promised. "Now, do you feel your connection to the auras? Do you see a bond between you and them, like a river or path?"

"I..." the elf shifted his weight slightly, a frown crossing his features. "I... think that I do. There's... something that goes through the shield. It's like..." A violent flinch. "...It's a river. It's churning and pulsing and flowing too fast..."

His breathing began to quicken but Legolas let his presence expand, wrapping around the other like a protective warm cloak. "It is all right." he soothed. "Do not look where the goes outside of the shield. Only focus on what is inside. That river is your power. It is chaotic and out of control. You say that it is pulsing and churning? Can you try to calm the water?"

Elrohir's breathing was still a little too fast. "It's not working!" he mumbled. "It's too much!"

His aura flared with his rising emotions, but Legolas remained calm. "Do not try to calm all of it then. Focus on a small part of the river. Put your hand in the water, and focus only on the liquid flowing through your fingers. Instead of a raging river, imagine that water to be a calm stream. Imagine it breaking away from the river to form its own path..."

Again the elf's aura shifted, edging towards control and calm once more. His expression was slightly distraught and unnerved but some of the tense lines in his face faded away. Legolas sat and studied his student and his aura carefully while absently listening to the forest around them and checking to make sure no too-bright presences were headed their way.

Finally, Elrohir spoke again. "I did it... but the water I changed split into four streams. Did I do something wrong?"

Legolas had to refrain from grinning like a fool. "Not at all! That is wonderful, Elrohir!"

The river was Elrohir's power, his sixth sense reaching out to the auras around him in a raging surge of water. Turning the river into a single stream had been the first step in slowly learning control, but dividing that stream into smaller, easier controlled ones had been the next. Every time Elrohir took a piece of the raging river and turned it into calmly flowing waters, a piece of his power was reigned in under his control. However, simply calming the water was not enough, because as a whole it was still too overwhelming.

The next step had been to divide the stream into smaller, more docile and containable trickles of water. Small trickles of water were easier to block than one large body of it. Legolas knew that Elrohir had more control and awareness of his mind because of his heritage and the fact that he had a telepathic bond with his twin, but he never expected him to be able to divide his power into more easily-containable sections on his own, without even knowing that he was doing it!

"Keep going, Elrohir." the assassin told the other elf. "Take another piece of the river, and do what you did before."

The dark-haired elf gave a vague mumble of consent before doing as he asked.

By the time Legolas called for a halt, the son of Elrond had made great progress. About a quarter of the chaotic river had been calmed and divided into tiny flows of water, one-fourth of the power that sought to blast out and overwhelm the elf now under control.

Legolas could tell that Elrohir was exhausted, both physically and mentally. His silver eyes were half closed and he was slightly slumped where he sat.

"That took more out of me than I thought it would." he said.

The assassin rose to his feet, reigning in his aura as he offered his hand to the elf. "Indeed. Many do not realize that working with the mind and subconsciousness can be as tiring as running for days without stopping. You did well, Elrohir. Much better than you and I expected. And you did not fall once."

They slowly began to make their way back towards the Elvenking's Palace. Elrohir looked up at the shadowed trees they were walking under, quiet and quite solemn.

"The only reason I did not fall into that darkness again was because of you. I felt your aura... stabilizing me. I cannot thank you enough for letting me sense it. I know you like to keep things hidden." Bright silver eyes turned to look at the pale blonde-haired elf and the twin spoke almost wistfully. "I understand why you hide your presence, but a part of me wishes you would not. You are just so... controlled. So calm, even if you truly are not. It is soothing. How did you learn to control your aura to that extent?"

He held up a hand before the other could answer. "That was rhetorical. I know that Ciaran taught you. Still, you do not need to keep your aura so closed off all of the time. Like you said, there are few who can sense auras, and here in Mirkwood you and I are the only ones that can to the necessary extent. So... do not hide yourself, all right?"

Not quite sure what Elrohir was saying, the assassin only nodded hesitantly. Some of his confusion must have showed in his expression because the twin groaned.

"I sound like I am rambling, aren't I? What I am trying to say is that you can trust us, and be yourself here. I... I see so much 'color' in your presence. Colors that represent your emotions, history, personality, and who you are. You are so bright, Esgal. Do not forget that, and never let someone take that brightness from you."

More confused than he was before, Legolas only nodded again. Either Elrohir was slightly delirious from the training, or he had a little more of his grandmother in him than he let on. If the latter was true, then it seemed that the twin's sixth sense may not have been his only gift to be amplified...

"Gwador, Estel, and Elladan are coming." The words left his mouth before he fully registered that he had sensed their presences. Telling others of approaching auras was becoming instinctive, it seemed.

Elladan appeared first, looking agitated and concerned. Most of his worry trickled away when he saw his brother, but the irritation remained.

Elrohir quirked an eyebrow at the older twin, looking just like a less-worn version of their father. "Why do you look as if you found centipedes in your bed?" he asked, then paused. "If you do find any, I did not do it!"

Identical silver eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Noted." he growled, but some of his annoyance drained away.

"So why are you storming through the forest with that look on your face?" Elrohir eventually asked.

Elladan huffed, shrugging. "I just came to find you, and Estel and Glorfindel decided to come with me. Things are a little tense back at the Palace, and we just wanted to get away for a while."

Elrohir and Legolas were not surprised. It had only been a couple days since the hobbits and Rivendell elves had arrived in Mirkwood, and all parties involved were still struggling to adjust to the changes. Differences in culture and mindsets had caused many clashes between groups, all struggling to coexist when they had been separate for so long. The uniting of the people within Mirkwood was going to be easier said than done.

Also, for the three it was most likely go out here and wander or hover at Erestor's bedside, the scholar still showing no signs of waking. Even the combined force of Elrond, Mirkwood's healers, Celeborn, and Galadriel could discover nothing about what was wrong with the elf. Elrond and his family, plus Glorfindel had been taking turns sitting at Erestor's bedside, like an unofficial guard for their friend. Even though it was slightly uncaring for the scholar, Legolas was glad that four of the five people had decided to get away from the Palace and the burdens within it for a while.

"You are lucky that you were out here." Elladan grumbled. "Estel, Glorfindel, and I were forced into a meeting along with Adar, Daeradar, Daernaneth, the Elvenking, and those bunch of idiots that call themselves a Council."

Legolas suppressed a groan. "What have they done now?"

"Nothing, thanks to Thranduil." Aragorn said, though he was obviously annoyed. "The meeting was about the hierarchy in Mirkwood now that elves from Imladris and Lothlorien are here. It was decided that the respective leaders would lead their people as they did while they were in the palace, but in cases having to do with the entire realm they would have to refer to Thranduil or one of the Princes. The Council made a fuss. They wanted the warriors from the other realms to answer to them but Thranduil was having none of it."

"What I do not understand is why the Council is acting like this." Elladan said irritably. "They should be working with the Elvenking rather than dragging their heels and acting like snappish hounds."

"They are afraid." Glorfindel said quietly, Legolas nodding in agreement. "They fear the future and the sudden changes thrust upon them. Many elves do not like change, particularly those who are in positions like theirs, and to have such rapid changes in the realm and the world around them is making them unsettled."

"Unsettled or not, I think that Amon character needs to be locked in a closet until all of this is over. Or the dungeons. Preferably the dungeons." Elladan revealed, ignoring the Balrog Slayer's warning look.

"He was one of Oropher's advisers." Glorfindel halfheartedly defended the elf. "He likes change in the kingdom... less than many of the others. I remember him throwing a fit when Thranduil chose to marry Luineth, a Silvan elf. It was back when Oropher was King, but he allowed it. I still remember Amon's vocal opinions about the matter however."

"Does he... dislike Thranduil?" Legolas asked, eyes narrowed.

"He respects him and will follow him, but he does not approve of many of the Elvenking's beliefs and decisions." the Vanya revealed. "I only know of this because of letters between Elrond and Thranduil about the matter. I am afraid that Amon may continue to be a thorn in our sides in the future."

That was an unpleasant thought.

LOTRLOTRLOTR

They lingered out in the forest for as long as they could, unwilling to give up the freedom of the forest. The Elvenking's Palace was so tense and changed that it was hard to go back, and Legolas had a feeling his four comrades were all beginning to understand why he preferred solitude.

Eventually they returned and went their separate ways, Legolas wandering outside of the Elvenking's Halls and wondering why he lingered. He had promised Elrohir that they would continue his lessons tomorrow, but he had no reason to stay within the Palace until then. He liked the calm and nonjudgmental forest more than the chaotic caverns, yet he found himself drawn to the Elvenking's home more and more. While he would have walked away without a thought years ago, now he had less of a desire to immediately leave.

It must be because all of my friends are here, he mused as he sat in the limbs of a tree on the grounds. They are here and safe, and... I want to be here with them. I... I do not want to be alone anymore. Not as much as I did before. The realization was sudden and startling. Have I changed so much? He wondered, the faces of his closest friends— family?— flashing through his mind. Do I... crave companionship now rather than solitude? Do I love and trust these people that greatly?

Raised voices interrupted his thoughts, and he moved through the branches, peering down at the people below. Six elves were standing below his tree, three from Mirkwood, three from Lothlorien, their different realms made obvious by the armor and colors they wore. Legolas noted a couple hobbits hovering near the wall, most likely watching the exchange like him.

"How dare you speak of this realm with such scorn!" one of the Mirkwood warriors— Glamour— was shouting, the normally calm elf's expression twisted with rage.

The Galadrim he spoke to did not seem bothered by his fellow elf's anger, looking down at Glamour like he was a mangy stray dog that had followed him home. "I only speak the truth, Wood-elf. You and your King must have failed spectacularly in keeping the Shadow back if you needed Vala-magic to force the Darkness out."

"We did not fail." Glamour snarled. "We fought and kept the Shadow back with our own power for hundreds of years. Which is more than can be said of you! The Elvenking did not need to use a Ring of Power as a crutch to hold back the enemy, nor did his realm fall the moment that power failed!"

The Galadrim's face darkened, his cold composure shattering as he glared at the other elf. "Do not insult my Lady!"

"Then do not insult my King, Noldo-Kinslayer!" Glamour spat.

The Galadrim lunged for the Mirkwood warrior, tackling him to the ground. The other four elves quickly joined the fight, shouting and brawling without a care for dignity or camaraderie. The hidden assassin and visible hobbits could only stare in shock at the display of violence, not brought about by Darkness or evil, but the natural rage, fear, tension, and grief within the elves. Legolas could only stare at the fist-fight in bewilderment for a moment before his expression hardened. He leapt down from the tree, landing amidst the elves.

"Enough!"

Six hard strikes brought down the brawlers, all of them gasping or stilled by the pressure points he had used, mercilessly forced to release their opponent. Glamour was sporting a bloody nose, the lead Galadrim had a cut lip, another had what was definitely going to be a black eye and the other three just looked ruffled. The assassin glowered at them all, and a couple flinched.

"You are all fools." the violet-eyed elf snapped at them, not mincing his words. "You are allies and neighbors, comrades against the Darkness, yet you are throwing insults and treating each other like enemies! You—" he pointed at the three Galadrim, who quailed under his glare. "— I will inform Haldir of this, and let him deal with you accordingly. However, I will tell you that insulting the realm, the elf, and the people that have offered their home to you makes you worse than scum. Get rid of your superiority complexes, otherwise I will remove them for you."

The Lothlorien elves gulped.

"You—" The assassin's attention moved to the Mirkwood warriors, who twitched uncomfortably, never having seen the normally quiet elf so angry. "Calling him Kinslayer was cold and inappropriate. You know perfectly well about the Shadowed Elves, and saying that the Ring was all that defended their home when they tried so hard to save it was callous. It does not matter what they say and how much they insult the Elvenking. They are your guests, they have just lost their home, and you should be welcoming and bonding with them, not brawling like drunken men!"

The Mirkwood elves avoided his eyes, ashamed.

"You are all over a thousand years old." Legolas said coldly. "Be proud of yourselves that you received a lecture on compassion and proper behavior from someone who is barely half that age, young and naive compared to you wise warriors."

The assassin spun on his heel, leaving them laying there without really caring. Now he remembered why he hated society, and dealing with people. There were so many ignorant, stupid, blind fools. He understood that they were upset by the changes around them and the losses they had faced, but could they make more of an effort to unite and get along? During times of hardship, people were supposed to look out for each other and help one another, not push others away and antagonize them.

He did not realize that he had been looking for Glorfindel until he entered the Halls of Healing, where the Balrog Slayer was once more sitting at Erestor's bedside. The Vanya was slumped in the chair, chin resting in his hand, his elbow balancing on his knee. He looked tired and rather defeated sitting there, and Legolas felt a twinge just looking at him.

The assassin took a moment to study the Erestor's aura for what seemed like the hundredth time, puzzling over the strength and steadiness of it. If the elf was in a coma or deeply unconscious, his aura should have been dim and faded, not as bright and vibrant as it was when he was awake.

"Esgal." Glorfindel greeted the assassin without looking away from his close friend.

The violet-eyed elf walked silently into the room, settling into a chair next to his Gwador's. "Has there been any change?" he asked.

"None. He is still unconscious." the Vanya said, frustration evident in his tone. "It has been a week, and he has showed no signs of waking."

"His aura is strong." Legolas cautiously revealed to the Balrog Slayer. "If I did not know better, I would say he was aware and conscious."

Glorfindel finally looked at him, brow furrowed with concern. "That does not make sense! Nothing about his condition does. He did not receive a blow to the head, he is not comatose, his breathing and body are fine, he does not appear to be suffering from dehydration or a lack of food, but he just lays there, never waking..." The Balrog Slayer sounded miserable by the end.

Legolas sighed heavily, feeling only a portion of his Gwador's burdern. "So many things do not make sense lately." He scowled as he thought about the fight earlier. "The future is going to be difficult to face."

"Indeed." Glorfindel agreed, turning to the assassin. "So how was Elrohir's lesson? He did not speak about it on the way back here. Is he doing all right?"

"He is." the assassin said, lips inching upward. "Once I helped him get over his fear, he did quite well."

"Good." the golden-haired elf sighed. "That is one less thing to worry about then. There is one thing I do not understand, though. You go out into the forest so he is not near the auras of elves, but wouldn't the trees' auras hurt him as well?"

"Not the shadowed trees'." Legolas explained, glad to distract the Balrog Slayer from his worry for a moment. "Their auras a dim compared to their Light kin's, and since they are no longer infected with true Darkness, being exposed to their presences will not hurt Elrohir like the auras of Shadowed Elves did. Also... the trees purposely pulled in and contained their presences while he was training."

Glorfindel gave a short laugh, a smile crossing his tired face. "Let me guess, they did this without any prompting from you?" The assassin nodded, and the Balrog Slayer chuckled again, more lighthearted this time. "Those trees will do anything for their Daelas. They—"

"Daesīdh... Mornestel... Dūrcuil..."

The two elves froze, turning to stare at Erestor. The scholar shifted slightly, and Glorfindel practically leapt forward, kneeling beside the bed.

"Erestor." he called, voice filled with hope. "Can you hear me, mellon-nin?"

The dark-haired elf shifted once more, then went still. Glorfindel called his name a few more times, despair quick to return as he realized that the scholar was back to being unresponsive. Legolas watched as the Vanya slowly stood and walked outside of the Halls of Healing, the assassin hesitantly following the other elf. The violet-eyed elf flinched as Glorfindel punched the wall, giving a cry of pure anger as his fist met the stone, the rock cracking a little from the blow.

"Valar curse it!" he shouted.

Legolas unconsciously stepped back, away from the Balrog Slayer's rage. Glorfindel noticed, eyes flicking wide with shock before he mutely shook his head, sliding down the wall to the floor and placing his head in his hands. The younger elf observed him warily before sitting as well, directly beside the golden-haired elf.

He carefully placed a hand on the other's shoulder, not saying anything. Soothing words were meaningless when one did not know if everything was going to be all right. He did not speak, only sat there and gave physical comfort, even as Glorfindel began to cry.

LOTRLOTRLOTR

Translations:

Gwador: brother

Le hannon: Thank you

Daesīdh: Shadow Peace

Mornestel:Black Hope

Dūrcuil: Dark Life

A/N: Ugh. This so feels like a filler chapter to me! :( So I was going to have certain hobbits show up in this chapter, but instead I ended up having Elrohir freak out for a few pages, revealed a bad past between an annoying adviser and the Elvenking, had a confrontation between angry elves and an irritated assassin, and ended it all with Glorfindel sobbing in the hall. How did this happen?!

One thing though: While I was writing the scene with the Galadrim and Mirkwood warriors, I imagined them pulling each other's hair like schoolgirls. (snickers)

Thanks to everyone who reviewed! (Hugs) Sorry for not responding to guest reviews. Know that I thank and love you all. :D

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