Of the Ardarians - kapitola 1

Napsal Morell Sunweaver (») 18. 7. 2020 v kategorii Povídky v angličtině, přečteno: 259×

Wind was blowing the heavy clouds away. Sun was reaching the noon but the forest was remaining fresh and calming. The path was leading down to the valley and elf wandering on the path slowed down and let himself relax a bit. The path was still leading him down. He had no idea where he was going, but it didn’t matter. Finally he began to believe that the hunters lost his trail. For a moment he stood still, just looking around. The trees he couldn’t recongise… but neither the plants. Where was he?
There was nothing to do but to continue. So he walked further into the valley. If only he didn’t feel sick… Or was it really the smell of decay he smelled? Maybe there was a reason he wasn’t followed here. That thought was too disturbing. And yet he didn’t stop. There was peace here… wait, what did he stepped on? A bone… He jumped back, there was skeleton in the grass, still dressed in his clothes. An elf. Dead elf, lying against the tree. And he wasn’t alone. The bones were everywhere, mostly around the trees. How did this graveyard came to be?
After first shock an elf realized, that this place is somehow peaceful. None of the dead around him died in any horrible way, they all died here in peace. After few moments elf began to continue deeper into the valley. And then he saw skeleton sitting on what appeared as altar. This one was the strangest, the bones were made from crystal and yet so much like real. At some places the bones were covered with moss. So beautiful to look at. Elf sat on the grass in front of small altar, looking into skeleton’s eyes without lifting his head.
The skeleton might had been artificial, but looked so alive, like friendly asking; “What happened?”
Elf hid his face in his hands and sighted. Then he looked at the skeleton again. “Alright. Better to tell you, than anyone else. I don’t trust them. I don’t even trust myself. Who am I? Am I still Thranduil? What of that all is real?” He calmed himself down again. “Okay… I need to sort that all out. Mind if I tell you the story?”
Skleton seemed interested.
“So… let’s start at the beginning. It all began at the Summer feast. The fire festival was at the peak and I, as usual, was drunk… But not enough to not recognize that Legolas was trying to tell me that Garilien, my personal advisor, was missing. Next day I was going to sleep so late…


Thranduil shacked his head. He wasn’t sure if he overdid it with wine or if he ate something bad. Sitting at his bed he was wondering whether he should try to sleep or find a bucket, which was surely present somewhere in his room, no doubt placed there by Garilien. That elf was master in ensuring that Thranduil always had anything he might need. Brown haired elf appeared in the room with glass in his hands and Thranduil smiled at him despite problems in keeping himself sitting straight.
“My lord, I believe that this will help you feel better.” With that Garilien offered herbal potion to the king, who gladly accepted it.
“How did you know that I need it? This time?” the king asked.
“For the beginning, this is Legolas’ room.”
“If this was true, there would be toys here.”
Garilien rolled his eyes. “Another of these nights...” he sighted silently. He knew too well, that it will be to no use to argue with the king tonight. “Right, yes, you’re correct, my lord.”
“Of course I am.” King held his head high. “But where is my wine bottle then?”
“I’ll bring it.”
Thranduil nodded and elf left the room. The king smiled, somehow he already knew that Garilien will not bring him anything more to drink. He wasn’t that much drunk… but is this really his chamber or is it really Legolas’? And does that really matter? Not the first time he couldn’t find his own bed. Although some of the servants don’t take it well when drunk kind sleeps in their bed. Thranduil shacked his head and this time decided to try to find his true bed…

“Okay, okay, we’re here.”
Garilien helped even more drunk king to sit on his bed. King apparently went back to the main hall and found few more bottles of wine. Elf got quite tired. Why must elvenking have such big problem with controlling his alcohol level? Elf sighted and wanted to leave when iron-strong hand caught him.
“Where do you think, you’re going honey?”
“Oh no! No, I’m not...”
All protests were futile. Thranduil grabbed him and tossed him on the bed, where poor elf got hugged, while the king fell asleep. Garilien tried to get free, but hands were holding him too well. King’s personal adviser and the best friend right now got more angry than he did in last years.
“Not today...” Elf finaly gave up and hands holding him relaxed, but escape was impossible. “That’s it!” elf yelled. “Next month you’re giving me a raise!”
Laughing coming from the hall meant that some guardian heard desperate Garilien. Elf began to calm down and dig in his pockets. He found pencil and his small book. He’s going to stay here for few hours and because he never sleeps, it was time to train his drawing ability…

It took Thranduil several moments to sort himself back to working mind… even longer to realize his headache and bed he was sleeping at. Few more moments and the colors became sharper. He was in his own bed. King got himself to sit, while holding his head in hand. Then he saw small book lying right next to him. It was clearly the one belonging to Garilien. There was his pencil too. That was weird. Garilien never forgets his stuff, even less in king’s bed…

In the afternoon the king was in good shape again, found Legolas who apparently was sleeping in the armory. (and still had hilt of the sword printed on his face) When the afternoon came and the king was carrying to his room a bottle of wine, he was silently cursing that he will think twice about giving Garilien rise. But after party it was usual sometimes that half of his servants were not working promptly so he tasked someone else with Garilien’s work, at least publicly known part of it.
After the dinner, which seemed little in chaos, Thranduil caught Legolas, before he could disappear as he loved to.
“Is Garilien having a day off I forgot about?”
“Uhm...” Legolas thought for a moment. “No, definitely no.”
“Then where is he? Have you seen him today?”
“No… Wait… I wanted to tell you, We have six elves missing, one in royal guard, one cleaner and four are looked for by their families. But there is no clue, where they can be. Some are being missed for weeks.”
“It’s seven now.” the king noted… “If anything happens, keep me informed, these disappearings can be connected. We must find out what is going on and better fast...”
The prince nodded and left not to be seen till morning. It took several spies for Thranduil to find out where Legolas build his little secret hideout. It was in the natural part of the caves. But Thranduil decided to let Legolas have his little private space and none but him and two spies knew and never said a word about it. He smiled a little. After all only Garilien knew about hideout of his own. The king shook his head. His thought of Garilien were getting to ideas he did not want to think about… About time to go to sleep… hmmm, sleeping…
“That’s it.” The king stood up from diner and went to healer to get sleeping herbs.
He’ll be dreaming about his servant for sure tonight...

Thranduil could sense Garilien even when he woke up, although he was unable to move… or was it some strange dream? Hard to tell. Then there was someone else, white haired pale elf, who looked so unreal… as much as the stars on the sky… so beautiful…

...but waking up… What the hell was in that wine? Thranduil knew that he woke up, but found himself unable to move, not even open his eyes. And he was struggling to breathe as his own body was betraying him. Why it was so hard to get air in? Lack of oxygen was slowly winning over him, when he finally opened his mouth and made desperate sound. Did someone even hear him? He struggled for breath and somehow kept himself conscious, although his head was swirling. It felt as if life was slowly returning to him. Something was wrong with his left hand. Did he harmed himself?
Thranduil finally opened his eyes. The room was dark, but… definitely not the inside of his own palace. He knew every room of his caverns, at least ceiling of every cave he ever woke up in after drinking.
None of them had so weird looking ceiling. He wasn’t in the palace. Okay, time to calm down and get clear picture of situation. It was even hard to move his head to the side to see, where he was. He could see the table with a lamp and the door. Nothing else, not even a window. The door didn’t look familiar either. It wasn’t easy to think about what to do, when it was problem to keep breathing. Dim light from the lamp made Thranduil wonder if it is day or night, he saw no windows. The place was obviously elven, it was made with sense of art and soul, but also with interest in usefulness.
Ancaron. Who else would be so good to slip into the palace and surrounding villages unseen and kidnap elves? And he swore revenge to Oropher. The two were rivals to death. Breathing was slowly becoming easier to manage and Thranduil finally dared to really move. Why he cannot bend his left hand? Thranduil managed to sit himself up. His left hand was stiff, covered with bandages and…
He looked down exploring a tube that was leading under the bandages. It made him shiver with incredible disgust. He grabbed it and tried to remove it. In his fear he pulled hard and the tube got out like nothing. Then the bandage began to turn red. Instinctively he pressed the place and realized that there is something more under bandages. King put down the bandages faster than ever and with some hestitaion and a lot of shaking removed whatever was there making him bleed. The wound was actually very small and soon stopped bleeding.
There were some steps outside. The king hastily hid the needle under the bed and reconnected the tube with bandages and lied down, playing sleep. Good timing. Someone came in. Thranduil opened his eyes only so little that he could see. An elf here had black hair in ponytail and was carefully studying him. Thranduil felt really uneasy around this elf, power was shining from him as heat. After a moment elf stopped looking at Thranduil and turned his attention to the sack hanging on big pole. From it was leading the tube to Thranduil’s arm. Elf found something weird, the liquid was dropping down too fast. He grabbed Thranduil’s hand to examine it.
He never had a chance. Thranduil knocked him to face. Elf fell down unconscious. Thranduil’s head was swirling, but there simply won’t be second chance. Ignoring what he was wearing and that he was bare-feed, He carefully looked out of the room. No guards. The place was weird, but none was bothered with him, so he tried to act natural and after short look around he simply went to the exit of the strange building. Getting out was surprisingly easy. Two stairs down and then he saw the exit. Without problem he walked out, although he almost hit the glass door, before it moved out of his way. Outside was the park. There were few elves on the benches, wounded elves. So the building was home of healers? It made no sense.
Whatever call that was behind him, Thanduil turned and looked at black haired elf he hit. Apparently he didn’t knock him out as well as he thought. Still it must had hurt as he had hand on his head. Thranduil smiled at him and then turned to walk away. Good that he was listening, the elf was following him, but remained out of reach of his hands. This was strange even to Thranduil. Elf didn’t attack him and silently followed him. The king soon knew why. His head was swirling worse and worse. When he couldn’t stand up anymore, the hand got him and he remained standing. The elf was holding him and waved with his hand towards big building Thranduil came from.
Thranduil shook his head in disapproval. Elf said something brought his hand over his neck and was leading him back. Surprisingly Thranduil soon found himself sitting on the bench. Elf was muttering something. He stood in front of Thranduil and was watching him with care. After few moments he sat next to Thranduil. And then he began to sing.
After a While king tried to stand up, but he found out that it is harder than he thought. He fell back on the bench.
“What’s wrong with me?” He asked the elf angrily. “Hey! I’m talking to you, what have you done to me?!”
He answered in his language, angry as well. But then he calmed down, spoke and Thranduil had strange feeling that he’s telling him: “You’ll get well soon.”
In few moments elf stood up and offered Thranduil a hand. The king however wasn’t really trusting him, he knew that going with him would mean to go back. Thranduil refused a hand and stood up alone. He needed that to check if he is able to run away. And in next second he was running…

The elf had trouble to keep up with him. Thranduil always was keeping himself in fine condition, which was now helping him. However the elf was in good condition too. To king’s surprise he caught up with him and got ahead of him. When he stopped, Thranduil jumped with fist aiming at his head. This time elf expected that, caught his hand and turned him around. King fell on the grass. Then he jumped again, ready to fight…. Just like the elf standing in fighting pose.
“Alright, let’s do it the hard way.”
The king attacked and they fought with fists. After few moments it was obvious that Thranduil cannot win with this one and when he could, he used one of his very dirty tricks, caught elf’s hand and hit to break the bone.  The cracking was both felt and heard. And elf yelled in pain. King didn’t hesitate and ran away. This time he reached the forest and got away…

…That was two hours ago…


Whatever was wrong with Thranduil, it was getting worse again. Desperately he looked at the skeleton in front of him.
“Where am I? And how did I get here?”
“You look soar…”
Thranduil turned in shock. He could hear elves coming, but this one got behind him unnoticed completely.
“Don’t be afraid, I’m just a friend.”
The elf was pale, had straight white hair and even his eyes were grey, as if he was half undead. His look was so comforting that Thranduil calmed even against his own will and kindly accepted offered flask. The liquid was sweat and refreshing, but for some reason it made Thranduil nauseous. He returned flask feeling much worse than before.
“Don’t worry, it will pass.” Said the elf.
As he looked somewhere into the distance, Thranduil saw left side of his head. A lot of skin where hair supposed to grow, was gone and remaining hair didn’t help much to cover the skull.
“You… speak Sindarin.”
“Of course I do. I’m Ardarian, just like you…”
“Ardarian?” That surprised Thrandil a lot… “Like… coming from Arda or something like that?”
“Oh, yes, you understand right…” With that he walked among the trees and disappeared.
Thranduil smiled. This elf must know this place too well.
“Where am I?” He asked loud.
“In the Valley of the dead.” The black haired elf came from nowhere. “And I hope you’re not intending to stay here. This is place where elves of this realm are going to die, when the life becomes unbearable.”

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Maya z IP 2a00:1028:9194:*** | 19.7.2020 19:44
Seems interesting. I'm looking forward to reading more.

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