|The End of the Third Age
Author: Nebraskafan PM
They had believed a narrowly avoided foe to be dead. But fifty years later, when Aragorn is in rule of Gondor, the enemy resurfaces. This time, Legolas will be the one to pay the price, unless Aragorn risks something else: and that is his people. Kings are tested, loyalties are stretched, and impossible choices have to be made – choices that can bring the most valiant Men to ruin.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Angst - Aragorn & Legolas - Chapters: 12 - Words: 48,111 - Reviews: 66 - Favs: 45 - Follows: 66 - Updated: 03-26-13 - Published: 09-08-10 - id: 6309346
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The End of the Third Age
They had believed a narrowly avoided foe to be dead. But nearly fifty years later, when Aragorn is in rule of Gondor and Sauron is destroyed, a dark enemy from the past resurfaces. And this time, Legolas will be the one to pay the price, unless Aragorn risks something else that is just as precious to him. Kings are tested, loyalties are stretched, and impossible choices have to be made - choices that can bring even the most valiant Men to ruin. Not all evil was vanquished when the Dark Lord Sauron fell.
Disclaimer: I do not own ANY of the characters or places that are associated with "The Lord of the Rings". They all belong to the wonderful Professor J.R.R. Tolkien. I do own several little O.C's, but they are mostly only servants and healers and friends, etc. Other than that, I take no credit whatsoever. Also, several ideas may have been inspired by other authors writings, and though I can't name them all, my thanks for the inspiration nonetheless.
 &  : (Italics: Passages from "The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King" by J.R.R Tolkien)
* This story is AU. Along the lines of what Tolkien talks about in "The Return of the King": The ending of the Third Age brought a lot of changes to the people of Middle-earth, such as partings and leavings and such. Gandalf, Celeborn, Galadriel, and Elrond sail on "the last ship to leave the Havens" (other than Legolas' ship, only sailing after Aragorn is gone). I stay that ship. Some dates may be off, but I hope it's nothing too unforgivable. I tried my hardest for it to be reasonable and make as much sense as it possibly could.
* I base my Elrond, Elrohir, Elladan, and Aragorn relationships on the fact that I believe that they were more a family than anything else. I'm religious about the fact Tolkien gives us; that Aragorn left with the Dunedain Rangers as soon as his relationship with the Peredhil family was destroyed after he fell in love with Arwen. But before then, Tolkien is pretty clear about a young Aragorn being accepted in their family. After Arathon was slain, Lord Elrond took Aragorn and Gilrean into Imladris when Aragorn was a mere babe of two or three, and even Tolkien said that "Elrond took him in and loved him as his own son". That is exactly how I portray them. And, so, I automatically think that Elladan and Elrohir loved Estel as their little brother as he was growing up. This couldn't be described as anything other than family, right? Right.
Let's dive right in, shall we?
"This is your realm, and the heart of the greater realm that shall be. The Third Age of the world is ended, and the new age is begun; and it is your task to order its beginning and to preserve what may be preserved. For though much has been saved, much must now pass away."
- Door-warden of Minas Tirith
Riding at last through the seventh gate of Minas Tirith and coming into the High Court, Legolas Thrandulion resembled all of the royalty that he was upon his white steed, Anaryn. The Prince of Greenwood dismounted gracefully and held his horse steady as he looked around him at the court, and his eyes first found the sapling of the White Tree of Minas Tirith in its first bloom. Beside it in the midst of the sweet sward of green grass rained the fountain. It had been seven months to the day that Legolas had resided in this magnificent city of Men, and it still awed him with its beauty.
"For the fashion of Minas Tirith was such that it was built on seven levels, each delved into the hill, and about each was set a wall, and in each wall was a gate. But the gates were not set in a line: the Great Gate in the City Wall was at the east point of the circuit, but the next faced half south, and the third half north, and so to and fro upwards, so that the paved way that climbed towards the Citadel turned first this way and then that across the face of the hill. And each time that it passed the line of the Great Gate it went through an arched tunnel, piercing a vast pier of rock whose huge out-thrust bulk divided in two all of the circles of the city save the first. For partly in the primeval shaping of the hill, partly by the mighty craft and labor of Men, there stood up from the rear of the wide court behind the Gate a towering bastion of stone, its edge sharp as a ship-keel facing east. Up it rose, even to the level of the top-most circle, and there was crowned by a battlement; so that those in the Citadel might, like mariners in a mountainous ship, look from its peak sheer down upon the Gate seven hundred feet below. The entrance to the Citadel also looked eastward, but was delved in the heart of the rock; thence a long lamp lit slope ran up to the seventh gate. Thus men reached at last the High Court, and the Place of the Fountain before the feet of the White Tower: tall and shapely, fifty fathoms from its base to the pinnacle." 
On May 1st of the previous year, the entire upper level of Minas Tirith had been filled with a frenzy of cheering and exuberant people. The Elves had sent their delegations respectfully to the city as well, of course, to attend the coronation of the King of Men. It was a day of celebration, and filled with a hope that made its way into the hearts of all who watched Aragorn – Elessar – take upon his head the crown of the kings. "It was shaped like the helms of the Guards of the Citadel, save that it was loftier, and it was all white, and the wings at either side were wrought of pearl and silver in the likeness of the wings of a sea-bird, for it was the emblem of kings who came over the Sea; and seven gems of adamant were set in the circlet, and upon its summit was set a single jewel, the light of which went up like a flame." 
The Fellowship had dwelled in Minas Tirith for some time after the day of Elessar's coronation. Partially for recovery and tranquility from the end of the War of the Ring, and partially so that their Fellowship could remain in entire company, having been separated very early on their Quest. Legolas was especially glad for this accommodation; for it ensured that he was able to remain at Aragorn's side for the Man's first months as King. It would be false to say that Aragorn was not wary of sitting in the seat of the High Kings – though the Man had changed must on the Quest of the Ring, and was nonetheless prepared and determined to meet his birth-right head on – and the presence of Legolas, whom had been at his side for most of Aragorn's life, was a very welcome thing. The two comrades rested in the joy of knowing that the peace that they had fought for was settling its blanket over the lands of Middle-earth.
And, on the 21st day of June, Legolas could stand at Aragorn's side as they watched Lord Elrond of Rivendell and his daughter make their way into the High Court of Minas Tirith amidst a splendorous, beautiful array of Noldorian Elves. To lay eyes on Arwen Undomiel; daughter of Elrond, Star of the Elves; made the King of Gondor's heart soar. Aragorn had revered the Elleth since he had fallen in love with her as a young man, and Arwen had found her fate of heart woven with his from that day, and was devoted to him in return. The trials they had faced because of their love had not been few, but they felt those years of toil fall away as they beheld each other that day. Arwen's vibrancy shone even brighter as Aragorn joyfully took her into his arms and kissed her at the foot of the White Tower. The marriage of King Elessar and Lady Arwen was held the following morning, on Mid-Year's Day, and Legolas stood proudly next to Lord Elrond as the love of the Elfstone and the Evenstar was sealed.
Then, the events that followed were considered to be the winding down of the War of the Ring. Perhaps the most important of these doings do not in this tale concern the Ring Bearer; Frodo Baggins of the Shire; and his faithful company of dear Hobbit friends, or any magic Rings, for in this tale we shall follow the happenings of several others. A Mortal man, a Half-elven family, and an Elf-prince from Mirkwood.
Legolas the Wood Elf, son of King Thranduil of Greenwood, chose to remain steadfast at the side of Aragorn, as is said earlier. Legolas had known Aragorn since the time when the Man had been taken into Rivendell and under Elrond's wing at the age of two; delivered by Elrond's twin sons when the Dúnedain village was raided and pillaged by Orcs of Sauron. Aragorn's father Arathon – leader of the Dúnedain clan – had been slain while riding out to meet the enemy, yet Gilrean his mother and himself had been escorted by Elladan and Elrohir safely back to Imladris. Lord Elrond swore to Gilrean that he would keep her son alive, and raise him as his own, as well as did Elladan and Elrohir swear to protect him. So in Rivendell Aragorn was raised for a time, given by Elrond the name Estel, which in the elven tongue is Hope. He was quickly known to the Elves and cherished by many.
As a result of already being in close ties of friendship with both Lord Elrond and his sons, Legolas grew fond of the child as soon as they were introduced. Aragorn found the Wood Elf intriguing as well. Soon they became so close that they were nearly inseparable. As the boy grew into a man, their endless routines together of creating mischief and departing on adventure after adventure became so strong that their bond strengthened with it. Whether it be battles against ill fortune, or battles against the rising enemy, by the time Aragorn had reached the age of his manhood they had encountered every peril, or so it seemed. The laughter and tears that they shared wove them together with friendship, a rare bond of loyalty that few were lucky enough to find, slowly threaded with each act of trust or compassion that they showed. Secrets had been shared, burdens had been lifted, scars had been healed, and strength had been restored between them.
And now – returned to Gondor in this new time, many years later than their first meeting – Legolas could see his friend again. He had traveled for a time with Gimli, and returned to reunite with his father in the forests of Mirkwood – or Greenwood, as his home was named after Sauron had been destroyed.
But Legolas had been anxious to return to the new King, and here he stood. He was surprised to see such a large number of people in the courtyard, but he dismissed it as merely a subject of Aragorn's fresh reign. With a smile on his lips, Legolas handed off his reigns to a guard that hurried across the court to him, for he was anxious to take to the palace and announce himself to his friend. The Elf had just departed from his four kinsfolk in tread of the path around the fountain; nodding politely to the mingling peasants and townsfolk of Gondor; when a cry arose from the stairs. "Legolas, mellon nin!"
"Mae govannen, Aragorn!" Legolas called, his stride quickening as the King emerged from the Great Doors, hurrying down the steps with an expression that mimicked his joy. Distracted, Legolas was unprepared when suddenly one of the folk stepped into his path, and the Elf bumped lightly into the form that was clad in clothes of dark color and a hood that concealed his face.
Stumbling in surprise, Legolas opened his mouth to speak, but the other interrupted him. In a quiet voice; a voice that rose a dim awareness in the Elf's mind; six odd words were whispered into his ear. "Consider this an omen, Prince Legolas."
Legolas did not have time to re-direct his apology into a surprised question, for the mysterious stranger released his arm without another word and moved off, soon lost in the crowd. Legolas' brow furrowed in confusion and he looked over the heads of the people of Gondor, the happiness in his heart dimmed by the ill warning, as if a cloud had floated to block the sun.
The stranger had disappeared.
An omen? The words were dark, and Legolas did not care for the chills that shot down his spine as he turned back to the palace. Aragorn was still descending the stairs – the stranger had spoken in the span of only several moments – but just as the Elf forced the smile back onto his face, walking towards the King once more, the foreboding took its place.
In the form of a scream.
"Lady Arwen!" The voice of a woman rang out across the courtyard from a window. Everyone on the sward of grass started as one, their eyes flying up to lock on a tower to the left of the King's House. Legolas froze in his step and Aragorn turned – and just as they all looked, Adala; the Queen's chief maid; stood to her feet behind the balustrade of the balcony rail, her cries continuing with urgency and blood staining the front of her gown. "Help! Help us, please! Lady Arwen!"
Legolas felt as if his heart had stopped cold inside of him. He watched as Aragorn's face whitened before the Man turned and ran up the stairs, his voice ringing out in a roar, "Guards, to my chambers!"
"Aragorn!" Legolas called, but the King ignored him, already hidden inside of the palace. The Elf turned desperately and looked around at the horrified crowd of people, fighting to clear his mind of the terror that muddled it. The folk of Gondor rushed around him, most of them fleeing the courtyard, all taking up the cry of, "The Queen has been shot! The Queen has been shot!" – but even then, Legolas saw him.
Standing on the front of the path to the next level of the city, the cloaked figure's face was still hidden by his hood, but Legolas knew that the man was looking at him. As he watched, a shadowy grin flickered across the stranger's face, and he nodded once before turning and disappearing down the hall of stone.
Legolas stared after him for the shortest moment, but the sense that seemed to have fled him struck the Elf and prompted him to turn and race after his friend up the palace steps. Following the mysterious wraith would have to wait. Now, there was something far more important at hand. An attack that should not have been.
Like an omen.
The view of the Great Hall did not register to Legolas as he followed the sound of clamoring footsteps through the halls of Minas Tirith's palace, his sensitive ears tuned in to the sound of Aragorn's frantic calls for more guards to follow him and others to scour the courtyard. The Elf caught up to the entourage just as they entered the chambers of the King and Queen.
Many guards were already there. Stopping in the doorway, Legolas watched in horror as the armored Men parted for their King, allowing them both to see the still form of Arwen Undomiel. The raw sound of grief that Aragorn made at the sight of the black arrow in the Elleth's stomach tore through Legolas' heart, and he stepped forward as the Man fell to his knees at Arwen's side.
"Aragorn," Legolas said softly, reaching out to touch the King's shoulder. "Let them take her to the healers. She needs help, now. Do not delay them."
The guards seemed encouraged by the Elf's words and one of them began to gently pull the King back from the fallen Elf-maiden. As soon as he felt himself being moved, Aragorn turned and lashed out at the arm, shouting, "Leave me! No!"
Startled, the guard fell back from the blow and Legolas quickly knelt behind his friend, grabbing both of Aragorn's wrists to still his violent movement. "Enough, Aragorn!" the Elf said sharply. "You must let them go."
"No," Aragorn repeated brokenly, yet even as he said it he slumped back into his friend's hold. "Please, save her," the King whispered. All of his Men heard him, and as soon as they saw that Legolas had a firm grip on the King they swiftly bore Arwen from the room.
As soon as they were alone, Legolas moved his hands to Aragorn's shoulders and turned the Man to face him. "Aragorn, you must listen to me," the Elf murmured. "I know that you are frightened, my friend; I am as well; but you must trust me when I tell you that you have to stay with us while we fight for Arwen's life. You must not give into the shock that I know is close to overwhelming you now. Do you hear me, Aragorn?" Slight fear crept into Legolas' voice when Aragorn made no sign of acknowledging him; the King's stare remained fixed on the floor underneath his knees. Tightening his grip on his friend's shoulders, Legolas ducked his head to try to meet Aragorn's eyes, saying softly, "Please, my friend, let me know that you understand. This is very important. Aragorn?"
It was quiet for a moment. The King slowly drew in a deep breath, and then rose his head, bringing tear-filled, yet clear eyes to meet the Elf-prince's own. "All right," Aragorn said softly, and though his voice was hoarse, he straightened his shoulders. "All right, my friend. I hear you."
A passerby would have perhaps thought their King to be waiting for an important party to arrive, but Legolas knew his friend far better than a passerby. Thus he knew that even as he sat quietly in a chair outside of the ward where Arwen was being seen to, Aragorn was in agony.
Ruhin; the healer that had taken charge over the Queen when she was brought in; had respectfully – yet firmly – told the King that he should leave the room. They were to perform unpleasant tasks on Arwen if they ever expected her to wake from the removal of the arrow. Ruhin used his experienced past and the knowledge of how much his King loved his Queen to tell Aragorn that it would not be wise for him to watch, no matter the healing abilities that Elessar held in his hands. Ruhin knew that emotion would override duty. And the healers needed all of the room to carry out the careful, precise procedure that they could get.
Of course, Aragorn had not been willing to wait outside while his dying beloved was receiving the treatment that may – or may not – save her life. But Ruhin had not enough time to argue with him, and so asked Legolas to keep the King from the room before they had both been shoved aside as if they were pesky children. Standing behind a crowd of turned backs, the Elf and Man watched in horror as the healers began their work, and through their quick arms and hands they caught glimpses of Arwen's ashen face, of her closed eyes and parted lips.
Only when Aragorn turned toward him with a lost expression did Legolas shake himself from his trance and wrap an arm around the Man's shoulders, pulling him from the room.
And thus began the long hours of waiting to see if the Evenstar would live.
For the people of Gondor who knew – which were many, for the horrible news spread like wildfire throughout the streets, and within two days the city was ringing with it – that meant quiet worry that their beautiful Queen; from another world, it seemed; would be no more. For others – those that loved Arwen – it meant long hours of prayer and wearying hours of holding onto hope.
And since the message of the Queen's attack would not reach Rivendell for some time, Legolas was the only Elf of King Elessar's childhood who could be at his side. Aragorn waited outside of the door, unallowed to enter for the remaining day and night; praying in times of gaining hope, and weeping in times of losing it. Faramir did his best to resume the royal duties of Gondor while searching the city for the assailant and it was undeniable that all lively commuting of Gondor slowed for awhile, as if the sorrow of Lady Arwen's condition held the land in a weary cloud.
It was the second morn now. Standing against the wall, Legolas turned his head and gazed at his friend sadly. The Elf had not managed to convince the Man to eat, nor to sleep. Aragorn sat silently outside of the door, or paced the hall, or sometimes spoke his fear and pain to the cold floor of stone. No word had come – except when a healer opened the door, twice for the day past, to say briskly "The Queen is yet living; we are doing all that we can" – and still their commands had been the only sound from the healing room. With every second that ticked by the desperate hope that Arwen would pull through began to wane in Aragorn's mind.
But then, the door opened. Fully. "My lord."
Leaping to his feet when the healer stepped quietly into the hall, Aragorn strode forward eagerly. "How is she?" the King demanded, "Is she all right?"
"My lord..." The healer sighed and dropped his gaze to the floor. "First, I feel that I must tell you the challenge that we have been faced with. I am terribly sorry that there hasn't been enough word; we have been very hard pressed to not stop our work. If we had she would have lost far too much blood. And my lord, her arrow wound is not her only peril."
Aragorn felt his heart plummet. Legolas appeared quietly at his side, sliding a hand onto his shoulder and giving it a tight squeeze, prompting the Man to shake himself from his daze of fear. "What does that mean?"
"It means that her wound is not only an exterior one." Ruhin sighed, and added, almost as if to himself, "It is a wonder that she is awake."
"She is awake?" Aragorn cast an anxious glance at the door, tensing as if he would spring towards it. "Has she said anything?"
"I should first tell you of her ailment before–"
"Then tell me, Ruhin," Aragorn interrupted impatiently, "Tell me clearly what is wrong with her."
"Clearly?" The healer glanced up, sadness filling his eyes.
"Very well, then." Ruhin surprised them both by leaning wearily against the wall, pressing a hand to his brow. His voice softened. "Lady Arwen is dying, my lord."
Nothing in his life could ever have prepared Aragorn son of Arathon to hear those words. His heart leapt into his throat to begin its slow task of choking him; he resisted the urge to grab his suddenly aching chest. "She is dying?" he breathed.
"I am afraid so, my lord," Ruhin murmured. "Not swiftly, but we are losing her."
Aragorn closed his eyes, dropping his head, and Legolas tightened his grip on his shoulder to steady him. "But she… she is strong, I don't… Please, tell me how."
"When the arrow struck her, it broke two of her ribs," Ruhin said, glad to have an explanation to focus on in the stifling presence of the hall. "The arrow missed all of her vital organs in a display of grace, as I can see. But one of her broken ribs has pierced her lung. She... she can't breathe, my lord."
Aragorn turned away. "No," he whispered, "by all of the Valar, no."
"My lord," Ruhin said, stepping forward and laying a hand on the King's shoulder. "All is not yet lost."
Aragorn turned agonized eyes on the healer. "'Not lost'? She is dying! Or is it that you not yet know if that is certain? Speak plainly!"
"Aragorn, peace," Legolas said softly. "She is strong, this you know; she will live."
"She has held on this long, and I think it means that she is waiting for us to reach out to her," Ruhin said. "I will not say for sure that she will live if we take action, but if we do not, she will not be able to hold on much longer."
Aragorn was silent. He turned away, towards Legolas, whose reassuring presence he needed in this moment of terror. He knew that the Elf was capable of being strong for him when he was not. As it had for most of his life, Aragorn's heart calmed when Legolas saw the question in his eyes and asked in a clear voice, "Have you not already done everything that you can?"
"Not without the word of my lord," Ruhin answered somewhat stiffly.
"You have it," Aragorn said, turning once more to the healer. "Tell me what Arwen needs."
Ruhin bowed his head in compliance. "We would cut into her skin under the wound; remove the rib with our hands and re-set it to its original place, before we re-sew the wound. We must do this before the blood loss becomes too dangerous." Ruhin paused, and only when Legolas nodded once did he continue. "It would rely on speed, my lord. If we cannot move fast enough, she will fade, perhaps more quickly than before. But if I succeed; with proper bandaging, plenty of rest, your herbs, and her strong will, she can recover. She can live."
It was quiet for a moment. Aragorn drew in a steadying breath and let the hope of the healer's words wash over him, for the sake of Arwen. "I wish to see her," he murmured. "And by the Valar, Ruhin, if you try to stop me this time I swear that I will strangle you with my bare hands." With that, Aragorn stepped past the surprised healer and opened the door, stepping into the quiet room. Legolas followed him, his heart tightening when Aragorn's steps faltered as soon as his eyes fell upon the bed where Arwen lay. She was as white as the sheets that covered her. The healers had clothed her in a light under-gown, and her chest rose and fell weakly beneath the silk. In one slim hand she clasped the Evenstar.
Even now, lying fatally wounded, Arwen Undomiel was yet the most beautiful sight in the world to the King of Gondor. With tears in his eyes Aragorn sat on the edge of the bed and took the Elleth's slim hand into his own. "Arwen?" he whispered. He gently touched her forehead, brushing her hair back. "Can you hear me, melethron?"
Arwen was silent, and still.
Turning slightly, Legolas fixed Ruhin with a questioning glance as the healer stepped up beside him. "She was awake before I came out to you," the Man said quietly. "She continued to ask for the King, but her strength has betrayed her."
"And that isn't dangerous?" Legolas murmured.
"We cannot wake her."
"Perhaps, then, the surgery should be performed now."
"No. She must not remain in this state while we perform such a dangerous task."
Legolas' heart dropped in horror. "You do not mean to imply that she will be awake?"
Ruhin's eyes were sad. "Yes, Lord Legolas. Our medicines will be considered for her pain, but she cannot be wandering in other realms of dreams else she might seek to run from the pain and never return to us. I will not claim to know everything about the strength of the Elves, but though they are mighty, they are not indestructable."
"I understand," Legolas murmured, though his brow was furrowed as he gazed at the King and Queen. "Whatever you do, Ruhin, do not doubt yourself."
"My humblest thanks, my lord," Ruhin said with a small smile.
Legolas, however, no longer was listening to the healer. His mind was elsewhere – on an odd tightness that had spread in his chest. His eyes began to darken, and when the Elf looked towards Ruhin, his alarm increased when he saw that the healer's face appeared to him as if through a sudden fog. "Ruhin," he said faintly, unable to draw in a full breath.
Ruhin turned. "My lord?"
"No," Legolas murmured, "No, no – I cannot breathe."
"My lord?" Ruhin repeated in alarm, reaching out to grab the Elf's arm. "Are you wounded?"
"No!" Legolas gasped when agony lanced through his chest. A cold sweat had broken out over his brow. He felt light-headed, and fevered, and chilled all at once. "I do not understand; my chest will not–" He placed a hand there. "My legs are numb, and my... my arm burns."
Ruhin tried to guide Legolas towards an empty bed. "You must sit and let me look–"
"The King," Legolas whispered roughly, grabbing the Man's arms to resist being moved. "Call for him."
Ruhin did not hesitate to comply. "My lord! Elessar!"
Aragorn turned in surprise at the urgency in Ruhin's voice. As soon as his eyes took in the sight of Legolas slumped almost lifelessly against the healer, the King stood from the bed and ran to their side. "Legolas! What–"
"He says that he cannot breathe, my lord," Ruhin said urgently.
Legolas reached out and with a strength that belied his state he grabbed Aragorn's shoulders, meeting his eyes. But he could not conjur his voice; his lack of breath allowed him only to utter, "I cannot..."
When Legolas' knees buckled, Aragorn took ahold of his hands and pulled the tall Elf close to steady him. "Legolas, sidh, mellon nin," he murmured. His mind worked furiously to remember any illness that might be the cause of the sudden symptoms – any wound that the Prince might have mentioned. "Legolas, you must breathe more slowly." He pressed a hand against Legolas' chest, and it was a mere moment before the Elf's jerky breaths calmed slightly. "Good, very good."
"There was a man in the courtyard," Legolas breathed, his body relaxing. The black spots dancing in his eyes had begun to expand. "He knew that Arwen was to be shot. He told... he stopped me..."
"Legolas, who?" Aragorn asked fearfully. "Who do you speak of?"
"I know him not," Legolas' reply was faint. Alarmed at the way the Elf sounded – as if he were fading – Aragorn gave the Elf a firm shake. "I am tired, Elessar," Legolas muttered. "Take me to a room."
"You are in the House of Healing, Legolas, do you not remember? You cannot sleep. Legolas, listen to me. You may not sleep." Aragorn turned Legolas' face towards him. When he saw that the Elf's eyes were closed, he slapped Legolas' cheek and hazy blue eyes opened again, meeting frightened grey. "Stay awake," the Man demanded.
Legolas sighed. "Please, let me rest," he murmured. "I am weary."
"No, my friend." Aragorn turned a glance on Ruhin, but the healer shook his head helplessly. "Speak to me, Wood Elf," the King said, the playful jest in his voice weakened by the fear that accompanied it. "Your mind is much stronger than this. You may even sing; but you cannot sleep. Tell me what you saw in the courtyard."
"Goeheno nin," Legolas whispered. "The arrow was... an omen. I am sorry, Aragorn; the fault is mine. I am sorry..."
Sighing, Legolas finally turned to the darkness clawing at him and fell into the blissful oblivion of unconsciousness, his form falling limp in Aragorn's arms. The unprepared King nearly dropped him, a cry of horror tearing from his lips as he was pulled to his knees by the Elf's weight as well. "No! Legolas!"
Elladan Peredhil turned at the sound of his name. His brother, Elrohir, had silently approached him where he stood at the balcony railing in an empty study of his home, musing. For several days there had been an odd darkness tingeing Elladan's thoughts, though the son of Elrond had no knowledge of why he had recently felt like something concerning him had gone terribly wrong.
For quite awhile he and his brother and Elrond had resided peacefully in Rivendell after returning there from Gondor after Aragorn was crowned King. Though the Elves of Middle-earth – therefore some of those in Rivendell – were still diminishing to pass into Valinor, it seemed that with the fall of Sauron there was a new lightness and joy that had settled over the Firstborn that remained in The Last Homely House. More feasting, more singing, more dancing.
Yet the forebodence had taken hold of Elladan's heart despite all of this. He was not as clear in his foresight as his father, but he knew when something had gone terribly wrong that should not have.
He just did not know what it was.
Sighing, Elladan turned away from the serene view of the valley and smiled at his brother. "Yes, Elrohir?"
Elrohir stopped several paces away, his arms stiff at his sides. "A message has arrived," he said quietly. "From Gondor."
"How fares Estel?" Elladan asked, but then he paused. Narrowing his eyes, he studied his brother and started walking towards him slowly, asking, "Elrohir, what is wrong?"
Elrohir's ageless eyes filled with tears. "Arwen."
Stopping abruptly, Elladan tried to ignore when his heart skipped several beats. "What happened?"
"Elladan..." Elrohir's voice broke and he bowed his head, reaching out to place a hand on his brother's shoulder. "We are losing her. We ride as soon as Father is ready."
I'm not going to beg, but I would really love a review, either to tell me what was good or what was bad. All feedback is appreciated!