Chapter 1: Murkwood
A/N: Welcome to the latest joing venture between bluehair and TheTVJunkie!:) If you happen to be a reader of either of us two authors you surely know that we're both writers that love creating explicit fanfiction in all of its glorious and shameless deviancy.;) Please heed the tags and warnings for this story as this smutty little tale will cater to some pretty rare and extraordinary kinks we came up with just for you.^^ Feedback is always welcome.
Bard blinked, shielding his eyes against the blinding autumn light. The sun stood very low at this time of the day, casting its last intense afternoon rays through the quickly gathering clouds that hang darkly, promising rain and probably brewing storm all too soon. Usually, Bard would not have worried about the whereabouts of any of his children, smart and well-taught as they were. The hardship of growing up without a mother and, most of the time, with only an absolute minimum of everyday life luxuries has made them tough and independent.
Thus, it was very much unlike his boy to be unreliable and not come home at the promised time, let alone skipping supper.
"Bain!" Bard shouted, hoping for a reply, but to no avail. "Bain, answer if you can hear me!" he tried again. Nothing.
The bowman sighed. There was only one place he hadn't been looking for Bain so far and he really, really dreaded going there. The area was shunned by the people from Lake Town ever since; oppressive urban legends and, doubtlessly exaggerated, half-truths and nautical yarn kept them away from the gloomy, miry bog the lake disembogued into on the far end where the surrounding woods were so thick it was hard to find a way in to access the swamp in the first place and, heaven forbade, find your way out again.
Tales of ignes fatui, will-o'-the-wisp in common parlance, were reported by both locals and travellers alike; their flickering, phosphorescent lights blamed for many a man going missing after following the traitorous, delusional blue flames that allegedly led the poor sods to find their untimely demise in the gurgling depth of the haunted swamp. Scary stories of people disappearing after compulsively following an enthralling, far-away song nobody but them could hear before the ground, quite literally, opened up before them and swallowed them.
Every couple of years a dead body was found, partially mummified due to the moore's preservative qualities. Oddly though, some of the bodies were disturbingly mutilated, bites taken out of their flesh in whole that no indigenous fish or mammal could have been held responsible for. Hence, more yarn was spun - of sea snakes and fish monsters, wood sprites and sirens, all conjecturally residing in that cursed swath of land called Murkwood.
Determined, Bard made his way through the thick rows of age-old conifers, whipping out his dagger just to ease his wary mind a bit. Ever so careful he watched his every step, trying to hop from one random rock to another rather than relying on the mossy ground to support his weight. It was just then that he became aware of the dead silence suddenly surrounding him, not a single chirping cricket or bird could be heard. He halted, intently listening. Even the wind seemed to have stopped his whisper. Bard looked up, but could spot neither the moon nor the stars for the canopies of the trees became even thicker the further he advanced. The fading evening light had long made for an all-surrounding darkness, now chilly ground mist wafted eerily towards the tense human. All that obscured the ominous silence was the occasional bursting of little gas bubbles that, indeed, resulted in small blue flames here and there yet Bard paid them no heed. Where there was mist, there usually was water as well and Bard knew that, given Bain had really lost his way in this dark forest, the boy would have searched for a clearing to let the stars help him find back his sense of direction.
The bowman's pathfinder knowledge didn't disappoint for soon he did reach a clearing that held a vast bog pond. Its pitch-black surface lay smooth and silent, almost as if waiting to pounce and drag stray wanderers down to their watery grave.
THE CREEPY BOG
Willing his vivid imagination to stop painting grotesque pictures in his mind, Bard exhaled audibly.
"Baaaaain!" he shouted loudly, desperation increasingly evident in his voice. "Bain, for the love of god, I"
Bard startled, turning towards the direction of the unexpected noise. He narrowed his eyes, trying to catch a glimpse of the source in the faint glow of the stars but in vain. Then, another splash, alarmingly close. Bard frowned, taking a step back. He felt like being watched, a sitting duck to fall prey to an invisible foe.
"Show yourself!" the Bowman demanded, dagger defensively raised before him.
Long seconds ticked away and Bard inhaled sharply, waiting, sure to be attacked any second. The corner of the nervous human's mouth twitched, irritated. "I said show yourself, craven monster! I dare face the ugly abomination you are!"
Again, Bard was shrouded in silence until suddenly there came a clipped, affronted reply that echoed oddly.
Bard spun around and tripped, shocked by the close proximity of the rich, orotund voice. Ungracefully, the bowman landed on his rear end, eyes growing wide at the sight before him. There, only a couple of metres away and where he had last expected the monster to be, a head protruded from the water. Mesmerised, Bard took in the mass of shiny white hair gently floating on the water around the creature, its chiselled features and ivory skin looking almost translucent while the firs behind its pointy ears reflected the cold starlight in iridescent, scaly splendour. Despite its superficial beauty Bard's monster seemed grumpy and hostile, though.
THINGS SPLASHING IN THE BOG
"Puny human," the creature snapped Bard out of his blatant gaping. "For this egregious impudence alone you have forfeited your life!"
That said, it shot forward, bearing two rows of razor-sharp, pointy teeth, its formerly celestial features twisting into a gruesome, amphibian-like grimace that held no resemblance with its former appearance. The Bowman quickly recoiled best he could, terrified at the transformation. But the ground beneath him was marshy and just like quicksand, Bard felt himself sinking deeper the more he struggled to get away. Due to the bowman's frantic movement the unstable ground beneath him broke away and he unwillingly sank into the water up to his chest.
"Please!" he pleaded in a desperate attempt to save his life, squeezing his eyes shut. "I'm just looking for my son! I never meant to disturb or insult you, oh water spirit!"
Much to his surprise though, the fatal ripping of his jugular never came. Still shaking, he reluctantly opened his eyes, holding his breath. The creature had come to a rapid halt and was now so close Bard strongly had to resist the urge to reach out his hand and touch its face as it slowly transformed back to its more human-esque form. Two blue eyes transfixed him.
"You've lost your son?" The creature enquired suspiciously, quirking a brow.
Bard nodded, letting out the breath he was holding. "Yes, he has gone astray and I went looking for him here." He then added a little sheepishly. "Please don't eat me."
"Eat you?" Bard's monster frowned in disgust, retreating a metre or two. Then it seemed lost in thought for a moment.
"Very well, shabby human, you may leave. This time." Bard could have sworn he saw sadness flickering in the creature's blue eyes. "Go find your son and never return to my lands. Ever."
Bard didn't need to be told twice. "Yes, yes, thank you so much!"
Fully aware that he just cheated death at hair's breathe he scrambled to his feet and instinctively just ran. He was sure that he wouldn't find Bain here, not in this inhospitable realm. Either the boy had been eaten alive already or fate had been merciful and hadn't led him here in the first place. Bard strongly hoped for the latter.
Thranduil submerged with a dramatic flip of his majestic tail fin, heading towards his underwater palace. It was rare for him to visit the outer rim of his kingdom, the swamp a rather useless region, long abandoned by his people with dangerous mortals living so close. No, despite common belief of the inhabitants of Lake Town, Murkwood stretched far further than just the bog. And deeper. Unbeknownst to other species, there was a vast, ancient tunnel system under the lake itself, so widely ramified it allowed his people to reach Belegaer, the Great Sea and the Bay of Belfalas in the West easily within a matter of hours. The fact that he had shown mercy for Bard was due to the mere fact that he was looking for his own son, Legolas. The ungrateful brat had had the nerve to run away from his regal home after…well, showing signs of intolerable disobedience and neglect of princely duties. No matter how questionable they were.
"Eat him, tsk." Thranduil muttered to himself, rolling his eyes as he tried to shoo away the grim thoughts of his unruly son and concentrate on the scaredy-cat bowman instead. Humans were so incredibly barbaric. Although, he had to admit, the appellation "water spirit", despite being clearly incorrect, had appeased his foul temper a little. Admittedly, Bard would have made a nice snack for his pet crab, but it made Thranduil shudder to merely think of actually devouring one of those germ-infested beings himself.
A/N: More coming soon. Please let us know if you like the idea of Merman!Thranduil. Thank you.
Chapter 2: OF SLOBBERY MOLLUSKS
Three days earlier
This was the last drop, no matter what anyone else thought. Could his Sire be more obvious than this? No, absolutely not, Legolas thought, very conveniently forgetting what he had done just a little earlier. And yes, those actions should be forgotten, because damn it, it was his right as a prince to have fun, wasn’t it? After all, he never commented his King’s totally unreasonable choice to keep that pretty piece all for himself, did he? And it’s not like he ever tried to stop Thranduil if he wanted to sample luscious little Meludir, as the king was so very annoyingly doing with the exotic Mairon.
It was one thing to claim someone for some fun and tire that someone so they didn’t do much else, and a completely different thing to flaunt that at the common dinner, while explicitly warning Legolas off him in no uncertain terms. And seriously, just opening the belly of the fat bass with his teeth and letting the wealth of eggs inside pour in the shamelessly open mouth of his toy, without offering Legolas a taste…
Of course the foreigner preens so much at this, his tail fin just swishes so bad! It’s true then, these Golodh have no idea of decorum, dancing like this from eating, seriously? You’d think Thranduil is clasping him already. Oh, obviously, he believes he can actually take Legolas’ place in the king’s affections. Like he would be the first who tried. Mmm, this walleye looks very yummy indeed, and yes, after all the earlier exertions, he should replenish his energy. Especially if he is planning to… Yes, he absolutely is planning that. If his father still mistakenly thinks he is the only one who can do certain things, and because of this Legolas must submit to all his whims, well, he’ll enlighten him alright.
And in the meanwhile, he will be as proper as possible, and totally unimpressed by the little trill the damn Golodh is making now, to show his appreciation. Because he already had fun today and he shouldn’t react that easily to mating play. No, his veil will stay very well in place, if he has to think of eating damn humans to make it so, and he will not look at the way the black hair moves in the light current - like thick kelp on a moonless night, so different from both their subjects and, especially, his Sire. Actually, you couldn’t find two more different beings, in that regard; the stranger is as long as the King, which is exceedingly rare. Legolas heard that there are others who were as long, but never saw any, and was most frustrated when he saw he will not reach that length himself. At least his hair is also so very light that everyone salivates when he plays a bit - yes, even his Sire, although he so tries to play it down.
Well, the walleye is indeed delicious, but that’s no reason to do anything more than let his teeth go as sharp as possible, which is very sharp indeed, and savor the way it squirms deliciously while he rips one piece at a time. Yes, he should keep to walleye tonight, no bass, because he will absolutely not be cowed into the mating thing, even if the wealth of eggs looks so very inviting. No, better he goes without than make Thranduil think he has a chance in hell to get him with child. Let him get that damn toy heavy if he can! Not that Legolas would actually accept a rival heir, but something tells him that, for all his mating display, the King will never pollute his line with Golodh blood, so he’s safe there. Not to mention Silvans, no, never that.
Ah, but what does Galion bring? Are those the giant mussels? Surely Meludir must have told him then, and the prince is so very amused to be offered half a dozen real big and juicy ones, which he can’t wait to devour. But first…
“I thought you’d be busy,” he smirks at the older Siren, and there’s a spark of fang, hastily covered, because for sure the King would never tolerate that much cheek from an underling, in his august presence.
“Never too busy to offer my thanks to my prince,” he answers, and yes, the damn Golodh is such an intriguer!
“What did the prince done to deserve such delicacies?” he dares ask, like he has any right whatsoever to question what Legolas does. Even shed a few scales from the tip of his tail or something.
Greedy, too, damn him! Isn’t it enough the king feeds him, he wants more, does he? Well, two can play that game. But first…
“I do hope my message was clearly sent,” Legolas drawls, leisurely finishing the second, slimmer walleye and making a show of deciding which of the mussels he will start with.
“Of course, my prince! And you know I would never cause a young one such distress, as… tempting as he is!”
Ah, ah, the shameless butler dares to make it so clear he would enjoy the sting, doesn’t he? Truth is, Legolas has heard whispers of the older man’s quite exotic tastes in play, but there was no reason to test that until now. But with such a shameless provocation, he might just… Well, he might just have to wait until he will be back, because he will no longer postpone it, nope.
“I’m sure he will be very grateful, wouldn’t he?” Legolas muses, while he throws away the spine of the fish and very languidly gathers one of the shells, then, very abrupt and predatory, just squashes the hard shell with his teeth and lets himself drift closer to the king, completely ignoring any reaction his toy might have to the display. All his attention is to make all the movements the epitome of grace, taking advantage of the moon rays to display how glossy and silver each of his well groomed scales are, how transparent his fins, how golden-white his hair. Yes, show everyone how special he is, while the rays also sparkle beautifully on the perfectly white and dagger-like teeth, on the perfectly pale and unblemished skin.
There’s no better contrast with the dark steel-gray scales of the stranger, which seem to absorb light and not reflect it, looking sometimes so dull; while the princes' are iridescent in the right light, or just so pale he seems a statue, one of those things submerged when the big ship sunk, a century ago. But don’t look at him, look at the King’s apparently so bored visage - for those who don’t really know him. Legolas does, so well, because yes, of course he studied him for such a long time, and did way more before his Sire got the strange idea of needing another offspring into his head.
His so beautiful, marble head, covered in the nimbus of white blond perfectly straight locks. He’s twined some red coral into it tonight, matching the red glints of the stones adorning his fingers, set in silver metal. Legolas hates those two rings, because they are a gift from the Golodh. No matter, he keeps being so very seductive, without looking like he’s trying, gracefully presenting the fresh mussel to his Sire, as an offering, directly from his mouth. He knows it’s irresistible, really, and unlike the stranger, he has the right to do this for his King, and he will make that crystal clear.
“Galion tells me that the early spring helped a lot with the mussels,” Legolas says very calmly – he will not trill just from sharing food, ever! “There is quite an imposing number of new ones, so it looks very promising for the next years.”
“Only Galion takes care of them?” his Sire asks, like Legolas would ever shirk his duties so.
“Of course not! But it seems my song makes them too eager to mate, and they already covered most of the available good places.” And he so shouldn't have said that.
“Maybe you should finally understand that certain energies should be used, and not only on your little garden,” his father tries, once again.
“Oh, I am, I am using them!” he smirks, letting his tail move very slowly now and the fins be moved by a very soft current. “But just as with the mussels, I think all good places for younglings are taken for a while.”
Of course this makes the king's face turn ice cold and sharp and so damn tempting Legolas has a very hard time controlling the thing tugging deep in his belly. This is what he hates most about this whole thing, how much his body actually wants to submit and be clasped and filled and damn no!
“You will do what I say, young one, you don't understand what...”
“The only thing I don't understand is why you keep pontificating about consequences while you don't explain anything! So keep your seed for your toy and let me be!”
Yes, not the smartest thing to say to your king, and he sees everyone around frozen in terror when Thranduil is completely still now, not even the tip of a fin moves, and yes, it feels like the water temperature dropped a few degrees. Still, the prince holds his ground, and almost explodes again when he sees the look in the foreigner's eyes. Yes, clearly he enjoys this, it's what he wanted, to drive a wedge between them. This will not happen.
He does a very, very daring thing – gets very close to his Sire, which is the least wise thing he ever did, and turns his voice as close to a trill as he can, without making it be one.
“I love you, my King, and would submit to you in any game you choose. I'll be honored if you give me your attention, even for a few minutes, but I swear I will bear no young ones, no matter what.”
Then he turns and leaves – wondering himself what he'll do if Thranduil calls him back. And annoyed beyond reason that he doesn't. And yes, he can't stay here anymore, he has to put his plan in action, right now. After all, everyone will think he's sulking, so they won't look for him tonight – which makes this the perfect moment to show his father he can learn forbidden things too.
Chapter 3: SIREN'S SONG
A/N: Welcome back! We wanted to let you know that we've linked some pics (Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. All rights belong to their respectful owners. If you want your work removed, please let us know.) for atmosphere in the previous chaps, so make sure to check them out. ;) And now, have fun with merman!Thranduil. :)) As always, feedback of any sort is much appreciated.
"Da'!" Bain called for his father weakly, lifting his hand to get the man's attention as he lay on the barren strawmat in his cramped bedroom. His calf was heavily bandaged and the boy looked frail and a bit feverish.
"Bain," Bard exclaimed, letting his gear drop to the floor without care and rush to his wounded son's side, hugging the boy lovingly. "Where the hell have you been? What happened?"
"Mister Ingram found him near the river's fork," Sigrid, Bain's sister, informed her father while she finished cleaning the surgical sulture needle she had just been using to stitch her sibling together. "Unconsciously floating in the icy water. Apparently dear little Bain he'd been foolish enough to venture into the area of the Enchanted River." she concluded in unmistakable disapproval, beginning to unwrap Bain's leg.
"The Enchanted River?" Bard repeated unbelievingly. That was completely the opposite direction of where he had been searching for his son. "Are you insane? That's far off limits! "
"I know, father," Bain replied, defeated. "But when I went fishing in the Forest River there were all those huge, fat crabs at the fork, all seemingly magically drawn to the Enchanted River and just about out of my reach. Catching only one or two of them would have fed us for days!"
Bard frowned. Noble as Bain's motive might have been, it had been utterly foolish to dare to advance; the Enchanted River was part of Murkwood and thereby equally avoided.
The boy let out a whine when Sigrid removed the last bit of herbal-based, antiseptic dressing which the blood had dried and crusted on. Bard paled at the sight of the wound, he wouldn't have thought it were so severe. Sigrid had done a fine job of tending to it but the damage was done nonetheless – the bite marks were deep and widespread, reaching over the whole of the child's calf almost down to his ankle.
"What on Arda?" Bard breathed, horrified at the sight. "What beast can do such damage?"
Groggily, Bain let his sweaty head fall on the cushion as Sigrid silently proceeded to apply iodine. "I'm not sure," he whispered meekly. "When I tried to cast my net I slipped and fell into the water and something took a snap at me straight away. It hurt so bad." Unbidden tears welled up in the young boy's eyes. "It dragged me under the surface and I feared I might drown. I screwed my eyes shut and blindly reached for something to hold on to but then I heard a haunting, enticing sing-song," Bain sobbed. "In shock I opened my eyes and despite the water's darkness I could see the masses of crabs wandering along the ground in the deep of the stream bed, following a couple of…"
"Of what, Bain? What did they follow?" Bard urged him to continue, listening spellbound.
"Glowing, shimmering…fish with long, white hair? I was suddenly all calm and content, their song so soothing I felt a strong urge to follow them just like the crabs did."
"He's hallucinating." Sigrid stated flatly, shoving her father away from Bain's bed and towards the door. "When Mister Ingram fished him out of the river he swore he saw neither crabs nor fishy creatures of any sort." Worry flickered in the girl's kind eyes. "Let's pray the infection will not get worse and spare him more of those nightmarish fever dreams."
"Yes," Bard slowly nodded, though he was far from convinced; his own recent encounter with the mermen, whom he falsely still deemed a water spirit, echoing in his mind with a vengeance.
Sleep evaded Bard that night. He liked to blame it on the worry for his son, but, much to his confusion, his tired yet overexcited mind haunted the bowman with images of the strange creature he had met at Murkwood. Never had Bard felt such an enigmatic pull to a specimen of the same sex and it troubled him greatly that his body was acting accordingly to the appeal, providing the bowman with an annoyingly persistent hard-on. Bard stubbornly refused to act on it though, parental worry outweighing carnal desires when long minutes stretched into hours without Bain recovering in the slightest. The boy had meanwhile lost consciousness, beads of perspiration repeatedly running down his temples as he was tossing and turning in his fitful slumber.
Dawn was imminent when as the doctor arrived, soon shocking the little family with the severity of the situation.
"I'm so sorry to tell you this, but the beast's bite must have been poisonous," he explained, sadly pointing at the dark lines that stretched around the highly infected wound. "And I'm running out of options for an effective antidote. I'm afraid I will have to amputate if he doesn't get proper help within the next 24 hours."
"Oh no!" Sigrid wailed, eyes wide in terror. "Is there nothing we can do? Can't you counsel with other doctors?"
The man nodded his head, clearly uncomfortable. "It would take a miracle to both save his life and his leg. I'm sorry."
"I'm not gonna let this happen," Bard announced after a moment of awkward silence. He spun on his heel, rushing out of the door with a confused Sigrid following him swiftly.
"Dad? Dad, where are you going? What are you up to?"
Bard stopped in his tracks, turning around to grab his eldest by the shoulders. "I'm trying to make a miracle happen." he informed her, looking torn. "Just buy Bain and me some time, luv. I'll be back as soon as I can."
That said, Bard headed straight for the swamp, leaving behind a very baffled Sigrid.
The bowman ran as fast as his feet would carry him, trying to block out the nagging feeling of his common sense screaming "STOOOPPPPP!" at him. The water spirit's threat to never set foot on his land again rang in Bard's ears quite vividly yet his protective instinct commanded him to throw all cautions to the wind for his little son's sake.
He found his way through the woods, now, at daylight not all that gloomy a place. When he eventually reached the bog pond he was completely out of breath. It took him a moment to collect himself, doubt inwardly gnawing at him. But it was no use. It had to be done, no matter how dangerous.
Bard inhaled sharply, closing his eyes and cupping his hands around his mouth, shouting from the top of his lungs. "Water spirit! Water spirit, I beg of thee, honour me with your presence!"
A little later, in Thranduil's underwater palace
"Your Majesty," A guard approached the king on his throne, bowing deeply.
Thranduil, who had been deep in thought, looked up, a frown on his face. Ever since Legolas had left head over heels the king had each and every of his underlings on patrol in search of his unruly son.
"Any word of the prince?" Thranduil inquired his voice full of both hope and resentment at the same time.
"No Sire," the guard replied meekly, trying to bow even deeper. "But one of my men reported something unusual which I felt obliged to bring to your attention."
Thranduil arched a brow. "And what might that be?"
"Well," the guard began. "There's been some commotion on the outskirts of the swamp, nearby the human colony. A man has been trying to conjure a water spirit for hours and refuses…to go away."
The king perked up at this.
"He's been…quite vocal, bringing unwanted attention to the secluded area. – Shall we remove him?" the guard concluded, feeling a little sheepish.
Thranduil tilted his head, considering the option as he absent-mindedly played with a strand of his flaxen hair.
"No," he decided after a moment of contemplation. The king was bored and frustrated; maybe that human might prove to be a source of diverting distraction. "I shall look into this myself."
Bard was on his knees in the dirt, hanging his head as he silently sobbed. Hours of screaming had left him hoarse and disillusioned yet he refused to give up just yet.
A resounding splash startled him, cutting him out of his grim reverie.
"You came!" Bard said, relief washing over his tear-stained face. Opposite from where he knelt on the muddy shore, partially sunken into the ground already, was indeed his 'water spirit'. On his belly, the creature rested languidly on one of the larger, protruding rocks nearby, head propped on one hand with its gigantic tail fin idly rippling the surface of the water.
A fact that did not go unnoticed by the human. "You are no water spirit but a merman!" he exclaimed in awe.
"Obviously," The king stated matter-of-factly. "And you are making a fuss, unsettling my fish."
"Oh. I'm sorry about that, I didn't mean to." Bard conceded.
Thranduil's expression grew from mildly entertained to increasingly moody. "Be that as it may, you have blatantly disobeyed my order not to trespass my kingdom ever again. What have you got to say for yourself, mortal?"
The bowman grew uncomfortable. "Well, I never meant to come back, please believe me, it's the circumstances that brought me back to your shores, great merman."
"King of mermen, if you please." Thranduil corrected him.
"Oh." Bard instantly duck his head in an attempt to bow which was, in his kneeling state, quite comical. Thranduil snorted. This mortal was so easily impressed and humble. How…unforeseen.
"Great king of mermen," Bard pleaded, plucking up his courage, knowing all too well that he was walking a very thin line. "I returned in dire need of your help. My son was found, but he is gravely injured. Some…beast bit him when he stupidly advanced into the Enchanted River. The infection of the bite might kill him before the day is out.
Thranduil didn't seem impressed by the mortal's plea. "Is that so?"
Humans died all the time, young and old alike and from what the merman could tell the little brat deserved the fatal crab bite. Mermen were a bit cold-hearted by nature and hadn't it been for Thranduil still looking for Legolas when Bard had desperately tried to summon him the King of the merfolk would have flatly refused him. Yet now, on this day, a wicked idea formed in his regal mind that would ideally provide him with some much-needed amusement.
"Hmmmm," The merman drawled, feigning to be in thought. He then flashed two rows of perfect, pearly-white and very sharp teeth at the human. "What, pray tell, would you offer me in return for saving your boy's life?"
Bard blinked, a little embarrassed. "Um…I'm afraid there's nothing much I can offer you, my Lord." He pointed at his ragged cloth for emphasis. "I practically possess nothing more than what I carry on my body right now."
The bargeman drew his fingers through his hair nervously, trying hard to come up with something of value he might give as an object of exchange. "But I'm good with my hands, you know," he suddenly blurted, referring to his craftsmanship although he doubted there was anything he could manufacture for the creature of the sea he would be interested in. "I'll gladly be of any service, just say the word and I will do best I can to reward you for your help. Just save my Bain."
Again, Thranduil flashed Bard a wicked smile and the bargeman could have sworn his tail fin was now swishing a little more enthusiastically. "Now really?" the king purred, gracefully sinking back into the water and sensually gliding over to the human who seemed, once again, enthralled with the merman's physical beauty.
"In that case," Thranduil demanded, reaching for the artful necklace he wore, its main piece a big sea shell. "Take this and follow me. You can pluck the plant that is needed for the antidote right from the gardens in my palace."
"I…what?" Bard asked, dumbfounded. "Oh…forgive me but…couldn't you rather get it for me? I'm…short of time and I'm afraid I might drown or for my lungs to explode from the pressure in the depth."
Thranduil narrowed his eyes, frowning at the petty human's impertinence. "Who do you think you are to command kings?" he thundered. "My magic will protect you; you will come to no harm." Then his voice dropped to a seductive whisper that sent goose bumps straight down Bard's back. "All I ask for is some hours of your time. And some of your service you're so willing to provide me with."
Bard watched the mythical creature mesmerised, completely ignorant to the deeper, hidden meaning of the words spoken with dark promise. The merman handed him the sea shell, gesturing for the bowman to use it as a respirator.
"Now come, human." Thranduil prompted, holding his elegant, clawed hand out for Bard to take. The bowman accepted the proffered hand with some apprehension, taking one step after the other into the muddy water until his feet no longer had contact with the ground. He hastily pressed the sea shell to his mouth when Thranduil unceremoniously immersed, dragging the mortal with him.
They advanced into the icy cold at rapid pace, Bard feeling dizzy from the pressure difference within seconds. For a moment he felt like fainting, but the incredibly wonders of the depth kept him at least semi-conscious. Bard looked at his surroundings in utter astonishment; never would he have thought it possible that the dark could actually hold so much light. Artificial light that is, fluorescent and shimmering a wide range of vibrant colours, but the light nonetheless. It radiated from various plants and fish, plus some more dangerous creatures. At the speed they were going at Bard couldn't quite say whether they were merman as well, some had tails and fins like Thranduil; others had tentacles or crab claws. And they all looked like they could tear him to shreds within seconds yet luckily none of them dared to make a move on him.
MANY DANGEROUS CREATURES LURK IN THE DARK UNDERWATER REALM OF MURKWOOD
"That merman king must be a figure of authority alright," Bard mused to himself, warily wondering what Thranduil might have in stock for him…
The decision to hide and take time to understand this new body was one of his best, Legolas thinks now, because at the moment he's completely baffled by the new sensations he experiences. Well, and stealing the Noldo's human clothes was also great, since what he would have found in the stash of human possessions his father kept wouldn't have helped at all. Well, the other things he got from that stash will definitely help. He's not that naive to think the advantages he had in water will count for anything on land, and anyway, even in water, sometimes you just don't want to sully your teeth with certain things. And the two knives he got, plus the throwing ones, were anyway not his father's favorites by far.
It's a very foggy day, and in his usual body, he would have loved to just sit on a high outcrop of rock, feeling the misty drops caressing his body, while he himself – or maybe little Meludir, or somebody else – would groom his scales nicely. He would obviously not be ungrateful and repay the favor, he always does. But alas, this body seems to just shrink and cringe from the humidity he likes so much, so Legolas needs to get used to the very weird sensation of clothes as fast as possible. He can't wander and meet land dwellers while he's distracted by the way each stitch moves and rubs at him, because even puny mortals can be dangerous.
Especially since now he is woefully slow, too – it's mind boggling how complicated it is to make the much coveted legs move right, and how each stone and plant on land seems to want to stop his movements quite rudely. It's damn frustrating, and only the solid patience he had to learn under his Sire's adamant control helped him to keep doing it, when it would really have been easier to return home. After all, nobody really knows what he did, they probably still assume he just hid somewhere to sulk, so… But he didn't do all this for nothing, and if he returns home just like this, he knows the pressure will just increase.
It's not even that he doesn't want to have offspring someday – or that the King is not the best mate for it, surely. After all, you have to be crazy not to want the strongest one as your mate, right? But the problem is that his Sire really doesn't know the meaning of partnership – and Legolas will not just mindlessly obey his whims in this if it kills him. Which… might happen if he doesn't pay attention and doesn't do things right. And doing things right is a very big pain in the clasper right this second, and not only there, because he stubbed his… damn, not fin, not tail, how is this thing called? This thing that's freezing right now, but he can't stand the damn boots right now, not yet. He needs to get used to the clothes first and then he'll try the very constricting, rigid pieces of leather again.
Ugh, and the fact that his veils disappeared together with his tail is pretty much the worst! Somehow, his hole fares pretty well, because the new shape has protective soft pieces of flesh around it, so it doesn't rub against the cloth, but in front, his clasper and shaft are stimulated each time he moves, which starts to become really unbearable. Especially he has to be very, very attentive not to let his stinger protrude even a hairbreadth out of his clasper, because one time getting caught in the rough material was enough for like, forever. Sheesh, how do land dwellers cope with this? Actually, the question is if there's maybe some issue with the spell – surely everyone has to have a veil protecting such sensitive parts? Or maybe they are less sensitive? This is something he'll absolutely have to find out, when he manages to meet one.
But, of course, that involves mastering the legs first. So, because the pain receded also, Legolas starts again this walking thing. More like torture right now, but he does remember how long he needed to train for certain movements in the water too. The frustrating part has, indeed, more to do with the fact that it has been at least two decades (or five, if he doesn't allow some stupid modestly meddle) since whatever he did in water was anything but very, very good, so he kind of forgot how it was to really have to work at it.
Well, he could remember the times Thranduil was testing him by sparing with him every day – yes, he is very, very fast, but his Sire is stronger, so that was always so very tiring. But good, and this is another thing his Sire stopped doing since he has the new toy. Ah, but getting angry doesn't help right now, he really needs to pay attention, because there's nobody watching his back. Even if the place he chose is so very secluded, it's still not impossible that somebody else can get here, and at the moment he'd be very disadvantaged in a fight, so better be alert. Definitely do not revisit how he got the legs, he can do that when he settles down to rest, behind the nice traps he devised, but not before. Work before, and then eat really well to gather his strength.
By the end of the week he really has to be good enough to leave this place, because if he doesn't there's a high chance the King will think of this place – as a last resort, of course, and with great reluctance, but he will.
Floating in the deliciously heated spring, Smaug is wondering again if this was a dream, if he is dreaming still, or if the reality happened so long ago. That's the curse of being so old and unchanging, and alone. There aren't many of his race around, that he knows of, exactly for this reason – that it's very hard, after a time, to remember to do certain things, or to remember to be awake enough, or to remember how to get out… To remember when you should get out, or not get caught in the magic. But no, surely this was real, and now, because he didn't have this feeling in his lower body in so long, so long… Yes, actually since the last time the other silver Siren so boldly came into his lair. When was that, really? A decade ago? A century? A millenia? So hard to say, but it must be at least a hundred years for sure, since he did eat in the meantime, and yes, especially, the scale he shed for the spell was completely recovered, even he couldn't say which was the one he gave away so the spell can take root. Yes, and indeed now he has a scale missing right under the left wing, in the middle, yes.
He gave the silver creature a gold one this time, not a… was it a blue one the last time? It must have been, because the silver nuisance had so very interesting light blue eyes, like the gems he brought his mate then, when they created that beautiful egg. A string of fury boils in his tired heart at the thought of the egg, at the thought of his mate demanding he protect it, and well… He tried, he really did, but the damn trickster had more magic that he should, and Smaug had tripped over his own wards, the beautifully intricate one he had put in place, together with his beautiful golden scaled mate, and then it was gone.
He's not sure why he thinks the new silver creature has a chance of finding it, really – or why would he believe him, since all of them are tricksters, but, well… It was interesting, at least, and he felt so alive, so good! He didn't feel this in so long, no, not even when the last one came, and that last one did not keep his bargain either. Smaug could go look for him, he has enough magic to find any living being – or, well, almost. The gray trickster somehow covered himself too well in mists, and his egg… yes, his egg is not yet alive, that's why he needed the offspring of the so called King of waters. That's so funny he snorts a geyser of boiling, sulfurous water, and oh, it feels so nice in his nostrils. Such little beings only have power because his race withdrew, and it's funny and sad at the same time, it is.
He will go after him, but after he finds the egg, because he needs the offspring to give life to the egg, he has no need of it otherwise. Yes, Sirens are a nice meal, too, but there is enough food available, when he remembers to eat. What he doesn't have is the mater of whom would share the life force needed to give the egg the spark of life, so he will just have to take it from somebody else, and… And interestingly enough, the silver one coming to his cave… sometime these last days, at first Smaug was really convinced he's dreaming, remembering, because the two were so similar. Strange, that. But yes, this one was different – all slim and long and silver, yes, but not as haughty, not as cold. No, anything but cold, this one, especially when…
Yes, that was a good idea, to make sex part of the price, because it was so fun to see him – scared at first, and it was so amusing to make him play with his full sized shaft! Oh, he really didn't have that much fun in ages, and the little creature was actually so very creative!
Smaug himself wouldn't have thought of certain things, at all, and was quite amazed by the things he enjoyed – but it's probably true the difference in size made things so interesting, after all. Ah, yes, it's not like it would have been possible otherwise. Snorting some more hot water, he rubs the back of a coil against the rock, and damn it feels good! The scales on his back are so old and hard, only when he soaked so well in the boiling spring he can actually rub some grime caught at the edges, and that makes him think it would really be fun to have a little siren tending to them all the time. After all, he was so good at tending other parts of him, yes he was.
He was so silver in the moonlight, this new one, how was he called? Ah, yes, Legolassss, yes, a cute little name for such a slim creature… He felt so good swirling around Smaug's engorged shaft, in between it and the clasper, oh, that was perfect! And the wonder and, yes, fear on his face, when it was clear that Smaug's organ, in his full form, was as big as the little siren himself! Smaug snorts again, he really loved that. And he actually loved too how cheeky the creature got – when prodded to do more, how he teased the big rim of the head, ah, yes, hands are very good for certain activities! Only thinking about it, Smaug wants to uncoil and stretch now, it was so good for those claw free appendages to rub and knead at him! And how scared he got when, after a big, white drop appeared on his slit, and he was told to taste it, Smaug's stinger just teased him a bit on that pretty tail!
He seemed to be very shy of stingers, this silver one, way more so than the other. But Smaug managed to reassure him and then he got even cheekier – which was almost the most interesting part. This Legolasss had seen he can easily push his fingers in Smaug's slit, so he tried something new – he put his clasper inside, fully. It was such an interesting sensation, to feel something enter there – unexpectedly pleasant, really. And the wonder and pleasure of the Siren made Smaug even happier – even when, probably because of the excitement, he stung a bit – and oh, the wave of pleasure that caused! He was really scared when he realized it, not knowing, obviously, that dragons liked heat so much, and the hot bite of the drop of venom made everything so much better! Of course, as a punishment, he had the young one exchange, made him lick at his stinger, made him push his pretty tongue in Smaug's slit, even more, made him play with the back veil, and with his hole, too, until he felt the venom recede.
Making the Siren use his shaft, together with his clasper, to probe Smaug's own slit was even better, getting it in completely, mixing their seed at the end. While they rested, and while he prepared the spell, the little creature had industriously groomed Smaug's scales – something he didn't have done in so, so long. Of course, it was even better because these were the scales under and around the veil, so much more sensitive and hard to get right with his claws. Yes, in the second form the claws are so much smaller, but getting in the second form is tiring, and without a very serious reason, he doesn't do it often.
I know everyone does wander what in the world is a clasper, so I'm going to enlighten you: this is one of the things that sparked the idea https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clasper
Maybe we'll even tell you the other part of the idea, one day (wink)
3 days before, right after dinner, in the underwater palace
“Not you,” Thranduil says sharply, when Galion would have wanted to disappear, just like everyone else found an excuse to do, after Legolas left so defiantly. Well, with one obvious exception he'd want gone for half an hour now. So predictable, all of them.
“Yes, Sire,” the older one bows his head and waits.
So now to get rid of the damn spy. But, as obnoxious as his child was, he will not use the mussels to buy that.
“Mairon, can you wait for me in my rooms? I need to settle a few things and then I'll be right there.”
He clearly doesn't like it, but it's too much of a dismissal for the raging pride the Golodh has to linger, so he tries to leave so very enticingly. This starts to become quite boring.
“Is it true, about the mussels?”
“Yes, the whole garden is packed. The only free spots are now these I plucked, and some of them had secreted a lot of byssus to get in place, so when we'll harvest, we'll also have a lot of quality thread.”
That's a good thing, in a way, because the sticky, silky substance has a myriad uses. But for them to need to make a lot, the place must be crawling indeed. Which means…
“You should have notified me sooner.”
“I'm sorry, my King, I thought it was all obvious.”
“What was so obvious now?”
If he wouldn't be so self-controlled, the older man would fidget now, and Thranduil releases a small hiss, almost subsonic. He doesn't have time to waste with stupidities. So, chastised, the majordomo stops the nonsense and speaks.
“My apologies, maybe the trills are not well heard in the inner palace.”
“Well, then, you can see it's not so normal.”
“Is the child safe?”
Meludir is of age, barely, but compared to the two of them, he is a child. And of course his child doesn't understand yet, he thinks it should be enticing. Well.
“I try to take as much care of him as possible,” Galion states, and hastens to continue, when the King's eyebrow raises, almost a scoff. “Your Majesty knows this is not my… style, let's say, but the prince is, indeed, too demanding for such a young one. It's not that he's hurt, but of course there are too many things making him besotted, and he doesn't know how to come down from it, alone.”
“What exactly does he have to come down from? Doesn't Legolas give him enough?”
“Too much, really, and his body is not yet used to it. Also, from what I saw, he is a bit slower in developing, and his body can't yet conceive, so certain types of attention tend to be too much and need draining.”
“I do hope you're not saying the prince is that irresponsible and would try to breed him!”
“No, not for real, Sire, please don't worry! He does just a bit of… well, teasing play, which would be very normal with more experienced ones, but they would know how to eliminate the venom. He's, ah, well, seems the prince likes to sting the veils, quite lightly, really, not to bring pain! The young one can't take that yet, and the prince does have control. I don't think he realizes though that Meludir is quite sensitive to it, or maybe… well, the ripeness makes it more potent, I wouldn't know exactly. Fact is, it stays in him longer than the play can last, and makes the poor boy very restless, without understanding why.”
“I see, yes then, the mussels would be the perfect antidote. You do give him the rest, don't you?”
“Yes, my King, I try to make it as easy as possible for him to recover without the languishing sickness catching.”
“Yes, he must need it. Still, this is another thing you didn't tell me – what if the ripeness does something irreparable? It was your task to supervise him!”
“I'm sorry my King, I really didn't think he'll be so...”
Thranduil is now rolling his eyes because, seriously, with such parents, Galion thinks the prince would not be obstinate? Which begs the question, what will their offspring be - and it's easier for now not to think of that.
“Do you want to be punished, Galion?”
“I wouldn't dare to presume, Sire!” the old fox tries, although… he might have hoped, like they all did, that Legolas would understand the necessity. Well. He does like it enough, so it will not be such a harsh punishment, anyway.
“Lift it,” he says, briskly, because allowing the other one too much time alone, in certain places, is stupid.
The older Siren bows his head and lifts the rosy veil with one hand, trying to lift his shaft with the other – but that he'd like too much.
“The clasper, Galion”, he commands, and likes the small shudder for a moment. Of course he obeys, and Thranduil tries to gauge how much venom he needs to retain, in order to deal with the Golodh. He's strong, that one, and he might take a page from Legolas' book and tease him good tonight. Yes, that could work. And now, how much can this one take? He's used to it, unlike others, but yes, the new energy just pouring off his offspring might have increased his own venom's potency, too. And he might have not realized it either, because he didn't use his usual partners lately. That is dangerous, yes.
Decided, he brings his own clasper at the right spot, just behind Galion's stinger, and starts pumping it slowly, to help the secretion. OK now, and it's clear how hard it is for the majordomo to stay still and not make noise. His tail twitches though, and then he does trill a bit, half pleasure, half pain, when his own stinger engorges abruptly. Yes, probably the potency increased, so only a little more.
“Don't move,” he says, waiting a bit, and then starts slowly pressing the tumescent, already abnormally warm skin around Galion's stinger. Softly at first, just feeling the interaction of their venom. Then there's a more acute sound, when he presses just a bit, and he insists almost at the tip now, but nothing comes out. Yes, almost twice as powerful, this can get dangerous. Surely he's not the only one affected, so Thranduil will have to do something so everyone can release some steam, or things can get tricky. Damn energy increase, and damn obstinate offspring!
“Pay attention to it, and let me know what's different from other times. Also, let Feren know to watch for increase in aggression, and report anything unusual immediately. How do the crabs fare?”
Galion's face turns in battle mode for a few moments, while it's clear the wave hits harder. So maybe more than a twofold increase? At least like this Thranduil doesn't have to worry about not having enough for the rest of the evening.
“They are a bit restless, too, my King. Two of the big ones were clacking up and down all day, probably want to mate.”
Yes, everyone wants to mate. Fine.
“Please, my King, it's way worse than usual!”
“How much worse?”
“I can't say exactly, but please, just a bit more, to balance it!”
His faithful servant doesn't ask such things on a whim, so Thranduil sighs and helps him, prickling a bit at the limp shaft too. After a few more moments, Galion seems to breathe easier, and the shaft is no longer limp. The stinger though keeps being swollen – or is even bigger than it was, yes.
“Finish the mussels and rest. I imagine Legolas will leave the boy be tonight, after that tantrum. I do wonder why I want more offspring,” he mutters, turning to go deal with the other.
Present day, Legolas' hideout
The night promises to be sharply cold, fine crystals of frost already starting to form at the very edge of the spring, where drops of water landed on leaves and blades of grass. And Legolas is so very tired that he knows, if he remains in the human form, he would be way too easy of a prey, in the, admittedly unlikely, case someone would chance upon him. So, even if for the moment the transformation saps his strength a lot, the smartest choice would be to pass the night in his natural form. Yes, he should be getting used to sleeping on land, too, but safety always comes first. Plus, he will be able to eat better like that – the new body unfortunately doesn't allow for his teeth to lengthen enough, nor for the nails to become really sharp. It's good that part of the battle mode transformation still happens, because the absolutely flat teeth the humans have permanently are useless for so many things.
It's a wonder the weak creatures survived, he muses, undressing and unable to stop a shiver when the soft evening wind touches skin that was covered by cloth. Still, he breathes easily not to feel it scratch anymore – and can't wait to have a proper veil in place, too. So many disadvantages – maybe the prevalent opinion of humans being a weak pest is even truer than he thought. Still, there are always more things to know than everybody talks about, and he paid quite a price to have this, so he will go on. Actually, the price is not even entirely paid, he muses – and the shudder this time is not from cold, but from the very mixed feelings he has about all this.
Legolas knew before he started that he'll have to deal with his Sire when he returns, and that is in no way something he looks forward to; but what happened with the dragon… that he didn't expect. He honestly didn't think it possible, in any way, and the beginning, when the huge beast took so much pleasure in making him feel small and helpless was a very sobering reminder that Thranduil's orders were not always based upon whims. No, their people would never tolerate that and, even if his Sire is very strong, he'd have too much to deal with, fast, if brute strength, even fighting ability, would be all he had to offer.
One thing the King has in way bigger amounts than the rest of them is magic – and knowledge. Yes, two things, really, even better, three, because he does have an iron will. Which is very arousing to watch, when not directed at him.
Yes, physically he's so tired right now, but he can't yet settle down. Obviously, a part of it all is the very unsettling changes his body suffered – it doesn't hurt that much, he can take it, but the magic is quite aggressive and pushes at his bones and sinews in a way that is plain weird and uncomfortable. Supposedly, it will become simpler in time, after he does it enough times – just like everything that was ruthlessly drilled into him. But those things were, somehow, natural to him – this is not.
It's so against normal thought to have to force himself to relax and not fight the change now, but it's the only way to do it, alone. Not that it was that simple the first time it was positively forced upon him – and it does make his blood so very, very cold to understand the sheer power of the being that put the spell on him. It felt like he was a hatchling, he had absolutely no say in how his body was deconstructed and remade, and what happened earlier didn't help the feeling of… yes, lack of control is the best way to describe it, not helplessness. After all, he wanted it and he looked for it, this wasn't just imposed upon him.
No, he thought of it for a long time, and garnered each piece of information he could, as subtle as possible, because Legolas knows this is one of the worst prohibitions his Sire enforces, so he had to painstakingly listen and ask oblique questions and scout by himself, in order to be able to find out exactly where the safe entry to the warren of submerged caves was. It was lucky that he has a deal of magic of his own, because at first navigating it the right way was not at all simple.
No, it's been several years since he made a few of the smaller crabs burrow right at the entrance, so he could have a few landmarks, and then pushed some of the older ones deeper, when they wanted to hibernate after changing their too small shell. They were easier to control when they were more vulnerable, so they did his bidding, and so he didn't start in absolute darkness. Then he just had to extend his inner sense so much, to get the right bearing, towards the heavy magical nexus created by the dragon.
Towards the end it became real easy though – the water was warmer towards him, and yes, of course there are hot springs deep within Smaug's realm, but nobody could answer the question if they were there before he came or if his very existence brought them out from the land's deep bowels.
The thought makes him shiver, and being back in his body makes him remember a bit too much how it felt to be the one at the mercy of the dragon's second form. In that one, the size was doable, barely. Must have been the exact size... No, first rest, damn it, it's not the moment to get lost in it and be stupid, Legolas!