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Evil Beauty
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Evil Beauty

On many occasions during their stay in Rivendell, the members of the Fellowship witnessed the incredible physical strength and endurance that Elves possessed. Of course Aragorn was already well aware of this fact, and the Hobbits were greatly impressed to find that Legolas was no different to the rest of his people.

By his own actions, even before they left for Mordor, the Elf quickly dispelled any doubts that remained in the more sceptical minds of Boromir and Gimli. Legolas rarely seemed to tire, nor was he adversely affected by the chill of winter.

Although he could not be blamed for his fortunate state of being, he nonetheless earned everone’s envy for being able to walk so lightly across all kinds of terrain and for seeming to be filled with boundless energy. It was also verty apparent that he required much less sleep than the rest of the Fellowship, and during their first days together, when the journeying the previous day had been particularly taxing, he often took more than one watch to allow the others to rest.

However noble the intent, this gesture was not always well received and he quickly learned that the easiest way to avoid ill feelings between Elf, and the prideful Men and even more prideful Dwarf was to ensure he roused whoever was to follow his watch if they requested him to do so. The only exception he insisted on making was to leave Gandalf to his slumber, and truth be told the wizard was more than willing to allow it.

Tonight was such a night and after spending several hours ensuring the fitfully sleeping members of the Fellowship were safely watched over, Legolas settled on the lower limb of one of the trees that overlooked the campsite and began to softly sing his favourite songs of life in the woodland realm he called home.

A glimmer of moonlight on a single strand of silvery spider web caught his eye and he watched in fascination as the creature, so much smaller that those infesting Mirkwood began to weave its delicate web. These small spiders were a rarity in his forest, as was the opportunity to watch nature at work. So, confident that his senses would alert him to any danger, he allowed himself the time to indulge in this simple pleasure.

The spider had chosen two small branches as the edges of it web and as it moved from one side to the other in a series of skilful jumps that seemed deliberately planned, the almost invisible thread that spun from the body slowly formed a pattern that reminded Legolas of a single snowflake. Its design was both unique and never to be repeated and he marvelled at the knowledge that the webs the spider would spin tomorrow and every day following would all be so. Reaching out carefully so as not to disturb the web spinner, Legolas touched one of the silver threads and was surprised to find the silken stickiness felt much the same as those he had often brushed against as he fought the little one’s darker relatives.

The Wood Elf marvelled at the beauty that was being created before his eyes, and decided that there could not possible be any evil in this small creature as there was in the dark, ugly ones he knew so well. Each new strand that was added reflected the pale glow of the moonlight in a different way and Legolas found he could barely keep the tears of joyful delight from falling when the task was complete.

It had taken several hours and in the pre dawn chill, he saw that droplets of dew now decorated the strands, weighing them down not at all, so strong were the threads. Strong and silver and exquisitely beautiful, like mithril, Legolas thought, his eyes wide with almost childlike wonder as the first rays of sunlight touched the droplets, making little rainbows dance across their surface.

“Nothing like the spider webs in Mirkwood, is it?” a voice gruff from sleep yet filled with amused affection and a great understanding of the ways of the Elves, asked from the ground below. Slightly startled by the voice, but once he recognised it belonged to, Legolas not surprised. The Istar could approach even an Elf unnoticed when he had a mind to, appearing as if from the mists of Mirkwood as he often did when visiting Thranduil.

“Nay, those are ugly and dangerous as are the creatures who spin them, this one is absolutely lovely,” he replied, standing to stretch gracefully before jumping lightly down to join his friend. “Did you sleep well, Gandalf?”

“Indeed I did, thanks to you, my considerate young friend,” the old man replied, hugging the Elf affectionately for a brief moment. “But please Legolas, do not make the mistake of believing all that is beautiful is good, and all that is evil is ugly. Remember, Sauron was once very fair to look upon,” the wizard observed wisely.

“As Adar has often told me in the past, usually when I was in trouble for one reason or another,” Legolas agreed with a smile. Gandalf laughed heartily at his own recollections, many centuries old, of hearing Thranduil wonder how such a beautiful child as Legolas could find it in himself to be so wicked at times.

“Well, let us hope that you can keep your darker side hidden, especially from that ring,” Gandalf said in all seriousness. “I fear others may not be able to, that like your little friend there, the temptation to turn to evil will become too great.”

Legolas’s eyes followed Gandalf’s gaze back up to the spider and a sigh of dismay passed his lips at the beautiful but deadly trap the web had become. Caught in the mithril like threads was a brilliantly coloured butterfly, its frantic struggle to free itself halted by the swift and potent poison of the spider’s venom.


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