Before The Sun Rises


This story is dedicated to the memory of Steve Irwin, AKA The Crocodile Hunter. Steve was the ultimate Wildlife Warrior and he inspired this side of my Legolas even back when I first wrote Surprises in the Greenwood in 2006.

Before The Sun Rises

By NiRi

Year 3010 T. A.

Legolas slowly and silently drew an arrow from his quiver. Below him, the bushes rustled ever so softly. A small grunt, then more rustling. In the distance, a wolf howled — the dark, eerie sound piercing the night. It was followed by several more.

It was not ordinary wolves that he and his patrol tracked this night. Rumors that a pack of wargs had been seen not far from his father’s halls had prompted him to lead his patrol into the wood to find any sign of the fell beasts, and destroy them if possible. As soon as darkness had fallen, the howls had begun. The wargs were here…and hunting.

The soft stirrings below continued, but Legolas felt slightly baffled. Wargs were not known for solitary prowling, especially in such dense underbrush. Yet, he continued to sense the evil presence beneath his perch in the tall beech tree, and nocked his arrow to the string.

The sound of a nightingale brought his eyes up to the tree beside him where Alagoss also sat poised. His lieutenant raised a brow, and Legolas shrugged. He did not know why the beast acted so oddly. It should be out hunting with its pack, yet it was shuffling in the thicket below.

Alagoss continued to stare at his captain, awaiting further orders. Legolas bit his lip and thought a moment. The lone warg managed to elude them by keeping to dense brush and it was the pack that caused him the most concern, a hunting pack. He returned the arrow to his quiver and motioned for them to move on. They would return to deal with this one later. As a unit, the patrol, following the eerie howls into the night, moving through the treetops.


Several hours later, it was over. The pack had been destroyed. In all, there had been fourteen animals, a large pack indeed, Alagoss thought. Now they returned to the halls, joking and laughing about the number of wargs each had taken down during the night.

"Alagoss, you only killed two! That was the captain’s arrow in the third!" One of the warriors teased him.

He felt his cheeks heat. "I never claimed that kill, and you know it!" Alagoss threw back at the troops. "And I do not know why you all are boasting so highly of yourselves. Captain killed more than most of you put together!"

All eyes turned towards back to the last member of the patrol. Their captain had remained uncharacteristically quiet during the walk back towards the halls. His forehead was creased in a slight frown, and he appeared to be deep in thought.

Alagoss slowed his pace, bringing him in step with Legolas who was walking just behind the group. "Something troubles you, Captain? Are you not pleased with the night‘s hunting?"

Legolas looked up at his second and grimaced slightly. "Something is just not right, Alagoss. That pack was larger than usual, and their movements were strange. Once they knew we were there, it was as if they were protecting something. And did you not notice that the alpha male had no mate?"

Alagoss pondered his captain’s words for a moment. "I did not notice. I thought they were acting strangely, but…" he paused as he realized where his captain’s thoughts were headed. "It was his mate we first encountered…below us in the thicket. She must have been injured and they were trying to protect her by leading us away."

Legolas nodded slowly. "Aye, that is possible. We need to find her, and finish the task we set out to do this night. No warg will be allowed so close to the king’s halls, injured or otherwise!"

Alagoss called ahead to the troop. "The time for celebration is not yet upon us, my friends. We need to seek out one last fiend before the sun rises."

Grins broke forth on the warriors' faces as they returned to the trees where they had rested earlier in the evening and heard the warg below. Upon arriving, they spread out, surrounding the thicket below the beeches. There was no guarantee that the female warg was still there. But if she was, she was now alone and she knew it. She would be much more dangerous. And due to the dense underbrush, this one would have to be flushed out. Several of the warriors led by Alagoss surrounded the thicket on the ground, slowly moving into the brush, keeping wary eyes and ears open for any sign of movement.

Above, Legolas and two others watched with arrows nocked for any sign of movement. For many minutes, there was nothing, and he began to think that perhaps the female had moved on while her pack led them away, but his senses tingled with danger. No, she was here. He bent his bow, waiting.

He didn't have to wait long. A large flash of fur leapt out of the brush, toppling Alagoss to the ground. Before her teeth could sink into his throat, Legolas had released his arrow, its shaft piercing the warg's chest, but missing the beast's heart. He cursed for not making a clean kill.

The warg roared in pain and spun, searching for what had harmed her. Legolas had already reached for and nocked another arrow on the string of his bow, but she never took another step. The other warriors released their arrows, and the warg collapsed, her last breath leaving her in a slow hiss.

Legolas dropped to the ground, skirting the huge wolf, and knelt down next to Alagoss who was tenderly rubbing his sore chest, where the warg had pinned him with a large paw.

"Are you injured?"

"Nay, Captains. Just sore, likely to have a nice bruise for Tirn to tease me about," Alagoss answered as Legolas hauled him to his feet.

He smiled at the mention of his youngest son. Tirn and Alagoss were good friends, and often compared their injuries. Bruises were to be laughed at, while more serious wounds left scars that brought bragging rights.

"I am sure that he will, but perhaps if you ask nicely enough, Rainel will give you a poultice to help it not ache so much," Legolas teased.

His suggestion had the desired effect. The younger warrior blushed deeply, confirming Legolas's suspicions that Alagoss had his eye on Tirn’s lovely daughter. With a small smirk and wink showing Alagoss his approval of such a match, Legolas moved forward to check the condition of the warg, looking for some clue as to why she was not with her pack.

But other than the newly sustained arrow wounds, he could see no sign of injury, and the warg had moved easily upon Alagoss, so she was not lame. Coming around her body, he finally caught a glimpse of her belly and froze. At the same time, something brushed against his leg.

Looking down, he felt his heart constrict. It was as he had feared, though he had not voiced his true concerns. The female warg was the alpha’s mate…and she was keeping watch on the den for she was nursing. The small bundle of fur and eyes at his feet confirmed it.

Legolas sighed and picked up the cub. It was barely old enough to walk, perhaps only three weeks old. Cradling the small creature in his arms, he avoided the others, who were laughing and teasing Alagoss about the warg footprint shaped bruise forming on his chest. Legolas searched the ground for signs and found the den only a few feet away. It seemed the cub was a lone survivor, for he found no sign of any other young.

The small creature whimpered in his arms, drawing the attention of the rest of the patrol. Six elven warriors crowded around him as he carefully held the small cub, their eyes wide and grins slowly appearing. One by one each held the tiny creature making idiots of themselves, Legolas thought to himself with a smile. It was quite humorous how such a small bundle of fluff, eyes and tongue could reduce his patrol of hardened warriors to cooing, kissy-faced softies.

Removing his weapons, Legolas took off his outer tunic, followed by his softer undershirt. He redressed in just the outer garment and strapped his quiver back in place. Shaking his head slightly, he retrieved the cub from his patrol, knowing he would never hear the end of it when he got home. His father in particular would not be happy about this rescue, but it was not within him to kill such a helpless creature.

Bracing himself for the lecture to come on how he knew nothing of wargs or their rearing (despite having raised many wolf cubs over the years), Legolas slowly wrapped the pup up in his undershirt. The creature looked up at him with soft trusting eyes.

"Fortunate one," Legolas smiled at her. "I shall name you Draugalu." She yawned and settled to sleep in his arms as the sun slowly peeked over the horizon.

The other warriors gave each other knowing looks. They respected their captain greatly, and there was no doubt in any one of their minds as to the fate of that small creature. She would be another spoiled addition to the royal family.

Turning the group headed home.


Draugalu – Sindarin. Fortunate wolf.

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