Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Masked Child

Signs and Bonds

by ShadeDancer 3 reviews

Chapters 11 & 12

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Crossover, Fantasy - Characters: Harry, Other - Warnings: [!!] [?] - Published: 2006-12-13 - Updated: 2006-12-14 - 4612 words

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, Man in the Iron Mask, LotR, or anything you might recognize from any of them in here.

"Auta!" Eldarion spurred Fëa on with a glad cry, enjoying the crisp fall air that filled his lungs, "come Faramir! Éomer! Your horses lag greatly!" (Go!)

"They would not lag," Éomer called back, responding as if he had been insulted because his horse wasn't as fast as Eldarion's, "if all of us were blessed enough to ride one of the Mearas."

"Jealous Éomer?" Faramir teased his brother-in-law, "it's not as if you haven't ridden that devil horse before."

Éomer made a rude gesture at Faramir as the two companions began to bicker good-naturedly. Eldarion smiled, but didn't slow down to join in the 'discussion' as he was eager to get home. For the past four months or so he had been in Rohan leading a group of Gondorian soldiers to the aid of the Rohirrim against the Wild Men who had beset the Plains of the Horse Lords. At first they had believed that it would be an easy rout, the Gondorian soldiers going more as a sign of allied friends than as an actual show of force, but the Wild Men had proven to have become smarter over the years and had taken to digging shallow ditches in the ground where they would hide and hamstring or strike the forelocks of passing horses to throw the rider and make them vulnerable.

Eldarion had quickly found himself as the head strategist in the following battles once it became apparent that mounted soldiers were a liability. It had been daunting to know that lives suddenly rested on his decisions, Éomer and Faramir content to provide advice but letting him lead. Eldarion soon learned to rely on his instincts, heed what advice was given to him even if he didn't act upon it, and to stop second guessing himself; he had led small skirmished against groups of Orcs and Uruk-hai before, but never anything of this magnitude. What could have broken him instead made him as strong leader that the people quickly grew to respect. Eldarion had once scowled at Éomer and asked him why he wasn't the one leading his people into his battles.

Éomer had merely looked him over and stated, "you are Eldarion Calarrna, son of Aragorn. By your lineage alone you have the trust of the Rohirrim. You also have inherited your father's diverse ability of nature, head for strategy, and luck in battle. Why shouldn't you lead?"

Eldarion had given Éomer a rude Dwarven gesture he had learned from Gimli, added an Uruk curse for good measure, and went back to planning the next rout. Éomer had merely laughed and told Eldarion that he had been spending too much time underground with the Dwarves and had better watch that he did not begin to find the bearded countenances of Dwarf women appealing. Eldarion had gotten the last laugh by telling Éomer that he was to ride Fëa into battle as a diversion; Fëa didn't like anyone to ride him but Eldarion and Éomer hadn't managed to remain mounted for more than a few seconds before being thrown. Eldarion had spent the rest of his time in Rohan fighting the Wild Men and enjoying the fruits of his labor as a spate of pranks worthy of Elladan and Elrohir beset those sheltering in the Golden Hall of Meduseld. It served to lighten the atmosphere considerably and annoy Éomer in the process.

The final skirmish against the Wild Men had been just about three weeks ago and while everything in Eldarion had yearned to ride home with all haste, he had stayed and attended to his duties and the wounded. The last of the wounded had been able to ride two weeks ago, thankfully no wounds had been serious after they had discovered the tactics being used by their adversaries, and Eldarion had sent the last group of his men back to Gondor. He would have ridden with them, but Éomer had wanted to ride to Gondor as well to visit with his sister, Eowyn, who was now getting heavy with Faramir's child and cursing the fact that she wasn't allowed to ride anymore until after the birth. Eldarion had offered to wait in Rohan for the few extra days it would take before Éomer could safely depart his people and Faramir had stayed behind as well, knowing that Eowyn would be greatly displeased if he did not personally ride with his brother-in-law. This was now their tenth day on the road and home was finally in sight, Eldarion estimating that they were probably only a day or so behind the last of his men given the slower pace the larger group would have traveled at. The moment the gates of Minas Tirith came into sight Eldarion fully gave Fëa his head, knowing that Éomer and Faramir would forgive him for leaving them behind.

Passing through the gates, Eldarion expertly navigated Fëa up through the tiers that made up Minas Tirith, waving to the people he passed though he didn't stop. His family was waiting for him, and hopefully Legolas would have returned from his visit to Mirkwood as well. It had been around four months since he had just had the chance to stay home and spend time with Adar, Calanon, and Vanya, and then that had just been the brief time he had after he had just gotten back from being away for a whole year.

Finally reaching the stable, Eldarion reluctantly dismissed the groom who had come to assist him and began to brush Fëa down himself. He probably could have let the groom care for Fëa since the spirited stallion had calmed after the long run, but Aragorn had always taught him to care for his own horse and gear whenever possible. Getting Fëa set to be stabled took a good fifteen to twenty minutes, but by the time Eldarion did turn Fëa over to the groom he was glad he had taken the time to brush Fëa down himself; the Mearas looked very content and happy. Grinning himself, Eldarion waved to Faramir and Éomer as he passed them, still bickering, on their way to the stable he had just vacated. Laughing at the two, Eldarion continued on into the courtyard, waving to the people he passed and resisting the urge to break into an undignified run. Then, halfway through the courtyard, Eldarion abruptly stopped and stared. The White Tree was drooping. It wasn't very noticeable yet, more of a dimming of the radiance and life force that surrounded the tree, but a flash of memory had briefly super-imposed itself over the tree in front of him. The image was that of a withered and seemingly dead tree, struggling for existence in a dark and barren courtyard surrounded by high walls. Right on the heels of this memory came a vision that nearly made Eldarion stagger. Fear chilled through to the pit of Eldarion's stomach and he felt sick from what he had just envisioned.

"No," the soft moan escaped his lips as he realized what this vision had to mean, "please, by the Valar, no!"

Almost desperately Eldarion started to reach for the tree only to snatch his hand back quickly; he didn't dare touch the slowly dying tree, afraid of what might happen. Slowly Eldarion took a step away from the tree before moving quickly around it towards the castle. He had to find his father quickly. Thankfully, Aragorn had been waiting for the return of his son since the last of the soldiers had come home and Eldarion didn't have far to look.

"Mani naa ta?" Aragorn clasped Eldarion's arm in his own to hold the boy to him, seeing how shaken he was, "mani naa raika iondamin?" (What is it? What is wrong my son?)

"Tel'orn, Adar," Eldarions' voice trembled, but only to those who knew him well, "ta naa quella." (The Tree, father, it is fading.)

"I have seen," Aragorn admitted in Westron, "but I am not quite sure what yet it means."

Eldarion's body shook slightly, "it means I have to go back. The Tree brought me here and now it's telling me I have to go back."

"N'uma!" Aragorn's voice was fiercely possessive and Eldarion found his face pressed into his father's chest, calming slightly as he inhaled his father's familiar scent, "no! You are amin utinu now, you belong here. They do not deserve you, not after what they did to you." (No! my son)

"I do not want to go either," Eldarion's voice was muffled, the shaking having returned at the mention of his past, "but-but I fear what will happen if I do not!"

Aragorn recognized some note in Eldarion's voice and pulled back slightly to see his son's face, "what have you seen?"

Eldarion took a deep breath and let it out. It wasn't often that he saw visions, but he had gained a touch of Arwen's slight ability when she had claimed him as her child. Although he often got precise hunches he could go for years without seeing anything, but when he did receive a vision it proved to be mostly accurate unless preventative measures were taken.

"Destruction." Eldarion's voice was soft, "not only of this world, but of my first one and the others beyond. The White Tree connects them all and my passage between the worlds has opened the way for the spread of this destruction. If Earth falls, Middle-Earth will slowly be pulled into the darkness after it along with all the worlds connected by the White Tree. Valinor is one of these worlds."

"But why you!" Aragorn demanded, "why you, after what you've already suffered?"

"Because of this," Eldarion traced the faded scar upon his forehead, sudden knowledge weighing heavily upon him, "because I was marked as chosen. Like you, like Frodo and the rest of the Fellowship when you fought Sauron's evil."

"It's not fair." Those were words Eldarion had never heard from his father's lips before, "for you to be given to me, for you to be given a life of happiness here, only for it to be taken away so you can save the world that once condemned you to suffer."

"But if I do not do this, I condemn our world as well," Eldarion forced the brave words from his mouth.

A sad smile quirked Aragorn's lips. "How can you so nobly accept this fate, tithen-min?"

"Because you taught me how."

For a moment Aragorn turned his head slightly away, a tear tracking down his cheek much to Eldarion's distress, "then I will go with you."

"You can't, Adar," both knew it to be true, "the people will have no one to turn to if you come. Calanon and Vanya are too young to be left in charge. And if the destruction does come, if I cannot stop it..."

"He is right, Aragorn," Legolas stepped from the shadows he had moved into to give the father and son some privacy when Eldarion had run in, "though it pains me to agree."

"I will not send Eldarion off alone," Aragorn's voice was firm, "not to that world."

"He will not go alone," Legolas kept his voice even, "for I will go with him. I swore years ago to follow Eldarion wherever his path would take him and I will keep that promise. Amin khiluva lle a' gurtha ar' thar. That is what I swore to Eldarion as he slept by my side in that forest glade on the day the last ship set sail." (I will follow you to death and beyond.)

"Diola lle, Legolas/," Aragorn and Eldarion spoke the words together despite the fact that those simple words were unable to convey the true depths of each of their feelings at this declaration, but Legolas understood all the same. /(Thank you)

"What's this quest I hear about," a gruff voice sounded from the open doorway where three figures now stood, "I do hope you aren't planning to set off without me!"

"I take it we will have to suffer the Dwarf to accompany us?" Legolas spoke to Eldarion, teasing Gimli and smirking as Gimli took the bait and began to get huffy.

Eldarion couldn't help but feel his spirits lift slightly at this teasing; it took a great weight off his shoulders to know that he would not be confronting his past on his own. With a slight smile upon his face, he continued to stand within the comfort of his father's arm, but reached out to slip a free hand into Legolas'. As long as Legolas was with him everything would be alright, he would be able to survive anything that the past threw at him.

Eldarion and Legolas had begun to slip away from the confining walls of Minas Tirith as dinner ended to sneak into the forest under the cover of the falling darkness. Most of dinner had been spent discussing Eldarion's journey to 'the Otherland', that was what everyone had taken to calling Earth after some wise-crack of the twins, and Eldarion needed space to breath and think. He also needed to talk with Legolas before they left for Earth, before they placed themselves into an unknown situation there might be no coming out of. And yet of all those gathered that evening in the main hall of Gondor's palace-family, friends, courtiers, dignitaries, advisors, and servants-only Aragorn had spotted the soft-footed couple as Eldarion had tugged on Legolas' hand and they began to steal away.

Eldarion had paused the moment he had felt Aragorn's eyes upon him, knowing his father dearly wanted to spend time with him away from the prying eyes of the Court before the morning came, but Aragorn had nodded at them in permission to leave so that he and Legolas could talk. Watching the two slip out had reminded Aragorn of how on a night very similar to this one, a night full of the uncertainty of the future, he had slipped from the halls of Rivendell with Arwen so that he could speak with her in private. Unfortunately that night he had been forced to deny Arwen his love in the hopes of giving her a better life away from war and grief despite the fact that he had wanted nothing more than to take her in his arms and keep her safe forever. Aragorn only hoped that such would not be the outcome of Eldarion and Legolas' talk, that his son would not make the same mistake he did and almost lose his love. He would have lost Arwen too, had she not been so stubborn and determined that she had defied Lord Elrond to remain in Middle-Earth.

~~ ~~ ~*~

No words were spoken as the couple stole like a gentle breeze through the slowly emptying streets of Gondor, their feet picking up a faster pace as cobbled stone gave away to open land and then forest as they headed towards a certain spot by unspoken agreement. Legolas and Eldarion still remained silent even when they finally arrived and stood side-by-side in their secret glade, the sheltering trees swaying softly over their heads as if sighing to see two children of the forest so solemn and melancholy. Only the stream trickling silver in the moonlight carried on in it's familiar tinkle of water over rock, moving on as if nothing was wrong, but then the water would not be in the presence of these two elves for long and so it's awareness of their mood was fleeting and nearly uncaring.

"Amin khiluva lle a' gurtha ar' thar." Eldarion softly repeated the words Legolas' had spoke earlier as if testing them out on his tongue, breaking the silence that had fallen between the two. "I will follow you to death and beyond. Did you truly pledge such a thing to me, Legolas?"

"I did, melamin," Legolas replied simply, not sure what else to say. (My love.)

"Mankoi?" (Why?)

"Because it is the truth, Eldarion," Legolas turned to face the younger man, "even then I knew that I would always be with you. That I would always be able to find you no matter where you would go. I knew it from the day I first saw you as the twins took you riding; my breath catching in my throat when I thought Fëa was going to throw you, and then my pride as you regain your seat and managed to control your horse. Our lives were entwined even then and it was torture to know such, yet be unable to say a thing because you were just a child."

"I was afraid when I first realized that you were my one," Eldarion admitted, "I had always felt close to you, but I did not know if you felt the same. You had always been so careful of your emotions around me until these past couple years."

"You possess the truth now," Legolas' eyes revealed nothing as he gazed upon Eldarion, "and you tell me that your feelings are the same. Why then do you give me your love and yet hesitate to allow the bond that stretches between us to grow? Do you not feel it? I do not wish to push the matter, but come tomorrow-"

"It is a soul-bond," Eldarion's words admitted that he felt the bond was there, "it is the same type of bond that naneth and adar had. It is a bond that is for life."

"A bond that I acknowledged and committed to as you slept beside me here in this very glade. A vow that I renew now."

"But I don't want you to!" The words burst from Eldarion in a fit of passionate emotion.

"Mani?" Shock and hurt laced Legolas' whispered voice as he lapsed into Elvish.

"You are Elf-kind," Eldarion was miserable for having upset Legolas, "and I-I don't know what I am. It is true that the blood of the Eldar runs strong in me, stronger than had been expected, yet there is also a good chance that I shall live no longer than the normal life-span of the Dúnedain if I am even lucky enough to have inherited any sort of longevity. I cannot ask you to face such a possibility that I might only live a mortal life-span."

"You are not asking, melamin/," Legolas' hands came up to grip Eldarion's shoulders to keep him from fleeing, "I am offering. I already know that such is a possibility and am prepared to follow you into rest should you be claimed from me. /Amin khiluva lle a' gurtha ar' thar. I did not say those words lightly."

"We don't know what will happen come the morning." Eldarion felt he owed it to the both of them not to give in easily, felt he had to give Legolas another chance to back away should his love so choose to when he realized all the uncertainty in the future.

"But we will be together to face it," Legolas knew what Eldarion was doing and wasn't about to let him get away with it, not when they were about to confront the past that had so effected Eldarion's young life, "we will triumph together, or we will fail together, but in the end you will always have me and I shall always have you. Amin mela lle, Eldarion." (I love you, Eldarion.)

A tender, but sad smile crossed Eldarion's face as he brought a sword-calloused hand up to caress lightly across Legolas' dear face, his wavering eyes searching for something. Then, Eldarion slowly rose up slightly onto his toes so that his lips could meet Legolas' in a short and tender kiss in which their lips only touched softly to linger together for a few precious seconds. It was not passion that either of them was seeking in that moment before Eldarion dropped his head away to rest it against Legolas' chest, their arms circling each other to create a dual haven for them both. The kiss was instead the acceptance of the fully acknowledged soul-bond that would link them together even into death.

"Amin mela lle, Legolas," Eldarion murmured softly, eyes closing in contentment as Legolas dropped a tender kiss against his dark head. (I love you, Legolas.)

~~ ~~ ~*~

The moon rode high overhead when Eldarion and Legolas finally made their reluctant way back into the city of Gondor and up the winding tiers to the palace, their hands clasped discretely together as they exchanged soft smiles with each other when there was no one to see. Both knew that no one would voice offence at their relationship despite the fact that both of them were male, that was not why they took such care, but their final commitment was still too new to both of them for either of them to want to share it with the gossip mongers just then. Besides, it was only right that their family and close friends hear the news first. Eldarion already knew that his father would be waiting up for them to make their reappearance and to discover what had transpired during their disappearance, and Eldarion was proved right as they slipped into the Hall, the low-flickering flames of a fire bathing over Aragorn's hunched silhouette as he puffed contemplatively away on a pipe that had survived with him all through the journey and hardships of the Fellowship.

For a long moment Eldarion stood poised with Legolas just inside the doorway they had entered through as he watched his father. Signs of age were becoming more and more apparent in Aragorn as the years went by, war and hardship having taken its toll, but Eldarion was still able to see the fire of life that burned within his father. Here in this moment he was not seeing Aragorn the King, but Aragorn the Man. This was the man who had taken in an unknown child and breathed new life into his beaten soul. This was the man who remembered the life of a Ranger, a man who loved and protected those around him, this was his father. His adar. This was the man who was being asked to do the impossible and allow his son to go to a world where he could not follow. Slumped before the fire was a father who was waiting to speak with a son he knew he might lose forever.

A hard, hot-lump lodged itself within Eldarion's throat as he realized the distress he was placing upon his father. Upon those strong and broad shoulders, shoulders that still remember the swing of a sword and the weight of hard work, rested the welfare of a Kingdom and here he was adding another burden upon his father. For just an instant Eldarion wished he could turn back time and take back that wish to go outside, to take away the burden he was placing upon those strong shoulders that had supported him whenever he had faltered. If he had never come to Middle-Earth perhaps-

Legolas' hand lightly squeezing his own turned Eldarion away from such thoughts and he gazed up into his love's perceptive eyes. Legolas had known the path that his thoughts had traversed and had given him a gentle reminder that he was also the reason for a lot of the happiness that had been in Aragorn's life, he had given Aragorn a purpose beyond that of being a King in a time when the mantle of leadership had been at its heaviest. He had given Aragorn the strength of a father and a need to protect a dependent that went beyond that which his duty called for. If he had not come to Middle-Earth than much that was would not be and the line of Númenor would most likely have been broken when it was now stronger by three. There were times when Eldarion forgot all this, forgot all that he had done and accomplished to the betterment of his people, and remembered that he had once been an unwanted problem sealed away behind a metal mask. These moments had been extremely rare after he had lived with Aragorn and Arwen for a bit, but now with his past rearing up to haunt him, Eldarion was glad he had people around him who cared enough to remind him that he was worth it. Filled with a sudden surge of love and determination, Eldarion started walking towards his father with Legolas at his side. He would face his past and destroy the taint that threatened Middle-Earth, his home, and he would battle through legions of Mordor is that was what it took to make it safely back to his family, especially his adar.

~~ ~~ ~*~

Aragorn sensed Eldarion's hesitation in the doorway but forced himself to remain sitting in front of the fire despite the fact that he could almost read his son's heavy thoughts and desired nothing more than to go to him and assure him that he was worthy; such moments where Eldarion doubted himself like this were so very rare anymore and hadn't actually occurred in many years. The slightest contraction of Legolas' hand around Eldarion's showed Aragorn the silent support his friend was offering his son, making him happy that the pair had found love in each other. Moments later Aragorn could see in Eldarion's face that his son had found in himself a sense of pride and worth as he started towards him with Legolas at his side, only stopping when they were close enough that they were within arms reach.

"Adar..." Eldarion began, but Aragorn held up a hand to halt his son's words as he laid his pipe down by his side.

"Amin aistallie," Aragorn spoke the words softly, reverently as he laid his sword hand over the clasped hands of his son and his friend, "Aa' menealle nauva calen ar' malta." (I bless you, may your ways be green and golden.)

"Lye harmuva onalle e' cormielye," Legolas placed his free hand over his heart and made a slight bow as he uttered the ritual response, a tension he hadn't know was there relaxing as Aragorn openly blessed his relationship with Eldarion. (We shall treasure your gift in our hearts.)

With a slight smile ghosting across his lips, Aragorn stood and embraced both Legolas and Eldarion as he would any revered companion-in-arms though he also took the chance press a kiss upon Eldarion's forehead in the process. Legolas took this as his sign to politely withdraw to give father and son some time alone before the morning came and took his leave after whispering an endearment into Eldarion's ear after pressing a chaste kiss to his love's lips; despite Aragorn's blessing he wasn't about to try his luck by kissing Eldarion fully in front of his long-time friend. At the same pair of doors Eldarion had hesitated in when entering the Hall, Legolas paused to glance back once before he retired for the night. The sight he saw was a comforting and yet strangely sad one as his eyes drank in the picture Eldarion made sitting in front of the fire with Aragorn, father and son bending their heads together over a pipe as their voices rose and fell just softly enough that not even he could make out the words. Legolas could only hope that he had the chance to see this sight many more times, and by the Grace of the Valar they would return from their quest triumphant so that he could.
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