|Tree and Stone
Author: Lothithil PM
The Story of Legolas and Gimli. The birth of an unlikely and immortal friendship. Canon, or at least very close. On hiatus.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Legolas & Gimli - Chapters: 27 - Words: 51,732 - Reviews: 42 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 24 - Updated: 01-27-08 - Published: 06-27-07 - id: 3620338
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Prince of Leaves
Legolas walked the bridge that crossed the Forest River as it exited the caverns that made up his home and breathed deeply the pine and loam scent of the forest. A brief errand he would accomplish before setting out on his mission—for which he risked his father's wrath but cared not. Thranduil had never understood his son's need to visit the place where her monument stood.
"She is not there," he would say. "Why do you linger there, as if waiting? She will return from Mandos as she will. She is no longer your mother."
Legolas knew his father did not say these things to be cruel. Elves do not die; though their bodies can be killed their spirits remain, a collection of memories and wisdom to inhabit another body, in time. Such is the blessing and curse of immortality. Still, it had hurt to hear him speak so. The glade where her monument stood was a peaceful and beautiful place, and Legolas went there to think and reflect more than to mourn; he was long past grief for her, yet he missed her terribly. When would she return? Would he ever come to know her again?
It was late autumn in Mirkwood and the trees that reflected the seasons were arrayed in splendid garments of orange, brown and yellow, red and gold. They gave dry whispers and fell singly to drift over the roots that gripped the earth in knotted fists. In Losingriol's Glade summer still lingered, leaves of green sighing as the wind moved the boughs lazily. A spring bubbled over a flat stone where many small white rocks had been carefully placed. It made a rill that trickled happily down into the earth where it was drank by the thirsty roots of the trees. A shaft of sunlight grew like a pillar in the center of the glade, permitted by the miserly foliage to nourish a bed of fragrant flowers. Legolas threw himself in the middle of that bed and daydreamed.
Horns calling from the bridge roused him from dreaming and he stopped briefly to drink from the spring before hastening back to the fortress. It was time to go. A long ride it would be to Rivendell, the House of Elrond Half-Elven, where he must bear tidings from his father to the Wise. Strange it seemed to send so many to deliver but a message, but in truth, Legolas looked forward to the adventure. Since the night of the orc attack when the prisoner had escaped, Legolas had watched the forest grow more perilous for his people. The spiders were agitated and orcs and wargs prowled. Northern Mirkwood was Thranduil's domain and no evil dwelled therein, but their borders were beset.
Legolas had not been on duty when Smeagol escaped, but he felt that he was responsible in some measure. He had implored his father to allow the creature to be brought out of the dungeons occasionally to feel the free air and see grass and trees, lest he fall back upon his dark ways. Little did he reckon the guile of Gollum, who wore two faces and spoke debatingly with one mouth. Pity for the wretched being had urged him to take a gentle hand, for perhaps someday it would remember kindness and forgo evil by choice.
Now the wretch was gone, aided of orcs who had slain his guards and spirited him away. A great hunt revealed that Smeagol had then eluded his orc confederates and disappeared westward. Legolas had taken satisfaction in wringing that truth from the orcs before they were dispatched to wherever darksome place the twisted spirits of orcs were bound. Now he felt that Mithrandir must know; some foresight or premonition came upon him so that he knew he had to go to Rivendell. He asked of his king for leave to bear the tidings.
Thranduil had given his leave reluctantly, but he too could see that Legolas must go. Three elves would go with him as escort, for it was to be assured that they would encounter danger. The forest must be crossed, and even by the Wood-elves' paths there would be peril, the valley of Anduin and the Great River to be forded, and then Hithiaglir lay across their path with its steep roads and narrow passes. All the land between crawled with every manner of foul creature; it was not a light journey nor a hopeful one. Legolas and his father both wondered how he would come to return. Still, less important it seemed to preserve an heir to a kingdom than to join in the resistance against the growing Shadow. If the Dark Lord won, all kingdoms would fall.
Legolas raced to where his companions were already mounted and waiting. "Let this journey be started and bring us home swiftly," he cried. "Already I miss the beeches. Their branches will be bare, leaves bud and renewed ere we return hither, I fear." Legolas leapt onto the padded back of Fëavano, a palomino stallion that had been a gift from his father. They had ridden many leagues together already.
"Is thy father not coming to bid thee farewell, my prince?" asked Finoglos. Baranhen and Randundo and he each bore bundles upon the backs of their horses, the goods and gear they would require for their journey.
Legolas checked his own gear, though he had packed it himself earlier and knew that all was in readiness; in spite of his bold words, he rather hoped that his father would appear to send him off.
The King had bid his son farewell the night before, when this errand had been appointed to him. "Look not for return paths until your errand is spent, my son," Thranduil had said. "Greenleaf, let not your hasty heart lead you on unnecessary paths. Rein in your impulsiveness and employ wisdom, if only this once in your long life." Though his words were stern his face was smiling, and he saluted his son and embraced him. Legolas had spent long hours in thought since that moment, traversing the terrain from ambition to reluctance. He knew that his path was laid now, and hesitating would only prolong his absence from his beloved forest.
"Come, kinsmen! Rivendell grows no closer lingering here! You shall all be watching Fëavano's tail for the length of this journey!" and he spoke to his horse a soft word and Fëavano sprang away as though in a race. His companions laughed and hurried after him.
In the watchtower above, a tall elf watched the four messengers ride away, a small smile soften the King's mouth with fondness, while on his noble brow a tale of worry was told.
The journey was indeed long and dangerous, but the Elves of Mirkwood travel well-equipped, are skillful and wood-crafty. Not until they were riding through the narrow pass cut high in the mountain did they come at last against an obstacle they could not outrun or cut down.
Legolas gritted his teeth and halted Fëavano. A group of Dwarves were in the road ahead of them. So narrow was the pass and treacherous that they could not ride past them. The Dwarves were aware of them and were careful not to stare back at the Elves, but seemed casually to be adjusting the lay of their baldrics and counting their axe handles. They moved steadily but slowly, and did not seem inclined to allow the Elves to pass round them.
Legolas sighed and dismounted. He wished not to speak to or confront any Dwarf, as he found them alien and incomprehensible. Better to let them go ahead and make the pass before them. Then they would cross and hope to find a way round once the mountains rose at their backs. Legolas had once tried to befriend Dwarves, seeking to understand their differences, as his mother had once instructed him; but always they were curt and unfriendly, and finally openly belligerent. That had been during the Battle of Five Armies, and Legolas remembered it well.
As usual, it had begun with an argument with his father...