Thanks to my beta reader BlueberryMuffins76! This fanfic is dedicated to all my Legolas loving friends!
"Go North. Find the Dunedain; there is a young ranger among them; you should meet him. His father, Arathorn, was a good man. His son may grow to be a great one."
"What is his name?"
"He is known in the Wild as Strider. His true name, you must discover for yourself."
Find the Dunedain. A simple matter really, there were several Dunedain villages scattered in the North. However, you only had to search the whole of Arnor and Eriador to find at least a trace of the Rangers in some burning village. Even then it might be a broken blade or a forgotten knife in an orc body. He had spent nine months searching the Wild lands and had had no luck finding this Strider person. There were some who knew the name yet didn't know where he was. He had also learned that Strider was not Arathorn's true son, but he was adopted after an orc attack. Strider's father had died protecting Arathorn, who in turn protected the family.
The stench of burning orc flesh filled Legolas' nostrils as he rummaged through the ashes. The villagers stared warily at the elf as he skipped lightly through the rubble. Bending down, the Elven Prince picked up a bloody piece of cloth. Unlike the villager's drab grey and white clothing, this rag was a dark green. The blood was fresh.
Excited, he approached a frightened young woman who clutched two children at her side.
"When did they leave?"
"Two hours ago," she said, her voice quaking. "They had wounded so they will move slower than usual. They went west."
"Hannon le," he thanked her.
He tucked the rag into a pouch that hung on his belt and ran off toward the setting sun. Night draped the land like a thick blanket and the stars were veiled by shadowy clouds, but this didn't hinder the elf, although the starless night was slightly depressing.
He entered a dense grove of brush that led into a small wood. The shadows danced in and around the trees as the moon appeared and disappeared amongst the clouds. Legolas cursed as his foot slipped into an unseen hole covered by a pile of dry leaves. The noise sounded harsh and loud in his ears though the noise was slight and faint. Treading lighter and more cautiously, the elven prince noticed more holes, masked by leaves and thin strips of turf. This was a series of traps. Even more alert now, he watched for low branches and sticks scattered around the ground. His heart rattled in his chest; perhaps he had found a Ranger camp! A crackle caught his attention and his head shot up to the canopy of leaves above. With a flapping and hooting an owl swooshed over his head and settled on a branch ahead of the Elf.
"Hello there, mellon," Legolas crooned softly. "You haven't seen any Rangers about have you?"
The owl cocked his head and hooted before flying off. Legolas sighed and took advantage of the moon, which had just reappeared, to scan his surroundings. It was then he caught a glimpse of metal flashing. Cautiously, he whipped his bow out and drew an arrow back skillfully. He started to back up but stopped as he felt something sharp press into his back.
"I would drop the bow if I were you," a low voice warned.
Three blades surrounded him, one pointing at his chest and the other two scratching against his neck. He heard bow strings strain as they were pulled back and the low breathing of several men. A fool! That is what he was; to let himself walk into a trap. The Mirkwood bow clattered to the ground.
"Bind him," came the sharp order.