|Question of Darkness
Author: Elfwine PM
If you look back on this memory with a kind of fondness you will see that because of the time spent with each other, you would not be such close companions as you are now. During the aftermath of the final battle Legolas reflects on some things.Rated: Fiction K - English - Friendship/Angst - Legolas & Gimli - Words: 2,422 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 10-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8596795
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Question of Darkness
Summary: During the aftermath of the final battle Legolas reflects on some things. A plotless one-shot told in the Elf's POV.
As the sun broke out so did the cries and calls of pain, joy and utter madness. It is one voice instead of many. Smoke rises from the burned and ruined earth as we walk among the dead and dying. Yet there is life. I can feel it upon my face as it bursts through the clouds and sinks into my bones. The air is warm and swelling with light, originating from the conquering sky. Soft gray shadows float on the wind, singing and rejoicing in the new hour. I stop to listen to their quivering song, releasing the tension that has grabbed me. We are both splattered in more than just crimson. Dirt and bruises also mar our grim and weary features, concealing all traces of other emotions. Our bodies have been repeatedly beaten and battered with wood and steel and even with the battle over I still feel numb. I struggle to grasp the reality of it all. I can see Estel's gray and blue figure moving through the mess, his eyes downcast and face strained with fatigue.
Gimli is the first to speak. He is watching the birds above; some are even more majestic than others, like the crow and raven. "When I passed that mount over yonder, there was a boy who lay dead there." He looks at me strangely, a gleam in his eyes. "I looked at him and thought how simple it could be if people wouldn't quarrel so. If the whole world could just muddle through it all." Gimli's confession almost seems out of place to me, but I understand his frustration and my heart goes out to him. I feel tore between two different emotions when I try and picture anything as simple as peace. If such a time ever came I think I wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry. Everywhere there is darkness in the world; it's almost incredibly ridiculous to think that jewels and jealousy started it all. How wise and unwise our elders once were, I still marvel at it all.
Aragorn stops to watch us for a moment. Having overheard he seems quite taken by the question before his dark gaze flashes over my shoulder. Suddenly I hear a low voice from behind me softly state, "Because we have desires and passions, and some not of devotion. People want things Gimli, and as you know there are those who will do almost anything to get it." I turn to see Mithrandir in his dirtied robes, sadly meeting my eyes. In his hand he holds his shinning sword Glamdring, sunlight is pouring down the blade. "But do not despair." He chides. "There will come a time." I find myself grasping for the strength to hope.
Later that night I can hear Estel's voice rising softly through the walls. Gimli has joined his song, but Mithrandir is yet to, if he ever will. I lay on the ground, unmoving as the words take form and fade off into the evening. It is not a song of victory but of memory. Something in the deep rumblings and soft verses reminds me that since we left the black land behind I have felt nothing but strange every moment I recall our latest discussion. Gimli suddenly cries out with a laugh and I crane my neck to watch the shadows of my companions on the tent walls. The dwarf is hunched over and Mithrandir is standing across from him, another figure kneeling at his side. I know the third is Estel; few men are as tall in stature as he. The fire is bright and broad and warm enough to comfort everyone, even me. I had decided to rest inside because of the smoke set off by pipe weed. Now I wonder if they have finished already. I cannot tell from here.
I bind at the waist and begin to stand, feeling oddly awake as I push through the entry flap and walk outside into the dark. My feet are bare against the cool dirt and blades of grass pinch my exposed skin. On the wind I smell many things; warm foods, horses, leather and oil. I have grown use to these things. The oil is a strange addition, but not unpleasant like smoke and slaughter. The thought of blood is unsettling so I retreat to the nearest fire, appreciating the heated embrace like I would the morning sun. Gimli looks startled as I step from the shadows and set myself down next to him. His hands cradle an empty bowl still smelling of broth. Mithrandir inclines his head at my coming, the flames shinning in his great gray eyes. Estel makes a puzzled frown as he chews on the end of his pipe but still meets my gaze with a twinkle of amusement. I'm silently thankful when I come to realize that there is no weed stuffed inside.
"Well Elf, you have just missed a most amusing accusation!" Cries Gimli. His eyes are bright with mirth and his mouth is pursed. Estel's gaze turns weary. I wonder of it and look at Mithrandir who only quivers with disapproval.
"Well?" I ask, looking at each one in turn. Only Mithrandir remains unaffected by my scrutiny. "What would that be? Shouldn't you tell me?" I look at Gimli, but he says naught. I sense discomfort from Estel and give him a hard look. "Curious." I say no more, but then Mithrandir chuckles unexpectedly and looks down at Estel.
"It seems that you have been found out my friend." He states cheerfully. Above his voice I hear Gimli grumbling, clearly objective towards the Wizard for hinting me so early in the game. "We were speaking of our time deep in the underground." Mithrandir explains, his eyes losing some of their light. He had fallen there, in that dead place. I have not thought of Moria for so long. Sadness it only brought me and my companions, strange that it was nothing compared to what awaited us later. Anymore it seemed distant, but not distant enough to forget.
"I see." For a moment I hesitate, thoughtful. "But what part of that is amusing?" I look at Gimli who now shifts uncomfortably in his seat. I know his feelings and so it seems that Estel is also aware for he laughs to change the course of the mood.
"I think that it is even stranger that Legolas would not remember his moment of ignorance on top of his experiences in Moria. As you say Gimli, he would be most embarrassed for anyone to know that Dwarvish endurance once proved greater than Elvish dignity!" Estel is clearly enjoying this moment. His brows are knitted and it appears that he is mustering all strength in the muscles of his face to smother a wicked smile. I try and not say anything. I had my moments this is true, but not so many elsewhere. Keeping my pride in check I look into the flames, distracting my mind and trying to hold down old habits. Since the very beginning Gimli had upheld his worth in the dark where I felt more lost than I have ever. But I was not utterly inoperable.
Gimli snorts loudly, but still appears pleased by the Man's speech. "Once you say! My endurance has proven far stouter than his great prejudices. By the second day he in fact gave in and asked me to assist him on the path ahead when Gandalf sent him looking."
Just then something inside me snaps and I feel the heat in my heart rise. Bleakly I reply, "My prejudices as you call them are only natural. It is no fault of mine if I am…" I tried to find the words to express my phobias without leaving the Dwarf any way of twisting my meaning. Usually we play this game but sometimes it becomes more wounding than either of us means it to be.
"You are right my friend." Says Gimli. I tilt my head to one angle and look at him strangely. I can tell that the others are just as mystified. Then I see the small points of light in his eyes and the cords of my jaw tighten. "It is no fault of yours if you are frightened of such things that your kind does not understand." Suddenly the breath leaves me and my eyes flutter open and close. Tread carefully Dwarf, you are the one who should be afraid. Estel must sense my ire and shoots the Gimli a warning look. Even Mithrandir appears stern of face, but I can see the amusement in his eyes. During our time in Moria I was frightened of the dark and utter silence, but be it someplace different I would feel closer to home. However, I know there's no shame in that.
"Well he is not alone in this matter." I gaze over at Estel, fairly grateful for his disruption. But he is watching the blaze, his eyes dark even against the radiance. "There were many nights when I wished we had such comforts as this." He cranes his neck to look up at Mithrandir, the first week of stubbles exposed on his skin. "Not that your staff light was unappreciated friend." Mithrandir only smiles and laughs heartedly. It is true; once Estel had passed through Moria with us it had been his second journey through that dark and long labyrinth of passages. I am sure he was not the only one of us with such desires.
Mithrandir exhales heavily his eyes moving over our little group, "If you look back on this memory with a kind of fondness you will see that because of the time spent with each other, you would not be such close companions as you are now." He spoke with a bit of firmness for us all, "As you all know we are altogether friends, and it is this alliance that has helped us put right our partialities and master our weaknesses. Otherwise we would not be here today. No one would…"
For a long while nothing is said and I wonder if anyone will speak. But then Gimli looks at me and says to us all, "I meant nothing unkind by it." He appears to be suffering through the apology. I have no doubt that he can see the smile tempting my lips in that moment. It is strange how quickly we can forgive, but then his words had not hurt as much as they encouraged what Mithrandir labels fond memories. "You are just as bad as him!" Gimli's sudden declaration startles me gently, but it is expected. The Dwarf has always had a wild fury in him threatening to shatter under pressure. "Anyways I have felt uncomfortable in particular places before. Those spirits gave my heart a chill." It amazes me when Gimli confesses to what he would consider a fault in himself. I know no one can live life unafraid. Gimli grumbles on, making it difficult for the others to follow through his ramblings. Our talk brings warmness back to the fire as Gandalf partakes and Estel speaks softly, lost in the memories of our darkest trials.
Very rarely do I involve myself in the conversation, watching as the others talk and recall our worst moments of foolhardiness and naïve antics. The memories of the Hobbits make Estel smile and laugh, Gimli boom and cry, while Mithrandir only shakes his snowy head in remembrance. The sounds of jests and heated discussions sweep throughout the hour. Stories and memories of our greatest moments also recited. We speak of things that even Mithrandir dislikes to hear. Gimli retells the story of our walk through Fangorn and Estel tells us his thoughts while leading the dead army. I then admit my own recollection even mentioning my first encounter with the sea and as Gimli calls gulls; those wretched fowl. This makes me smile and even as he curses them I know he will never be satisfied. Gandalf even tells us more of his flight with the eagles, something I enjoyed immensely. This is how we heal, I only wish we could be together again. Maybe one day but not today.
By the time we have fallen quiet the fire is low and Estel stands, his face thoughtful. "Well my friends, I think it has been a long night." He looks at me and Gimli in turn and says gently, "Though a fair evening I am weary." Gimli stands as well, stretching his mouth in a great yawn. I laugh and spring up to my feet, startling the Dwarf who looks at me crossly. Mithrandir smiles at us and then departs without another sound; his actions are strange to me. Perhaps he is only restless from all the abusive reminiscences?
Gimli puts the fire to rest, leaving a pile of black charged kindling and white ash as we enter the tent. Estel chooses the corner and I reclaim my place in the center while Gimli settles down near the flap. We leave it somewhat parted to let in fresh air, something that Estel silently allows. I fold my arms under my chin and gaze out into the night, thinking that this will be the last of sharing a tent with the Man. On the marrow Estel will have his own place and I and Gimli will have to share. I do not regret making peace with the Dwarf during our stay in the fair wood. Estel is just as important and even in the dark I hope our friendship remains strong. But there is one thing we have never fully agreed on when folk speak of the departure of our strongest member; the Fellowship never broke.
Note: So there you have it. I'm not sure why I actually wrote this, but I somewhat enjoyed the process. I hope you did. I also understand what Tolkien meant when he wrote that the Fellowship was broken, was that they were separated from each other. But I also like to think the other way. Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer; I don't own Middle Earth, Gimli, Legolas, Aragorn or Gandalf. They belong to the genius J. R. R. Tolkien and New Line Cinema. I also make no profit off this piece.