A Fair Night in Rivendell
Disclaimer: All Lord of the Rings characters and trademarks thereof appearing in this story are the sole property of the late J.R.R. Tolkien and his kin. This story is strictly non-profit. Please don't sue me.
Notes: This dialogue takes place the night before the Council of Elrond. After buying the DVD of the movie and rereading the first book of the trilogy, it struck me how familiar Aragorn sounded when he asked Legolas to sit down in the Council – as if they had been friends. No such connection is drawn in the book. Considering this, I composed this short little story.
* * *
It was a fair night in Rivendell; the leaves wafted gently from the branches of the trees as October (by the Shire reckoning) drew to a close and autumn came into its fullness. Eärendil shone brightly in a cloudless sky and the Elves of Imladris could be heard in the gentle wind, singing and laughing together, ever joyful.
Aragorn son of Arathorn, the heir of Isildur, stood on one of the high balconies, gazing out into the night with grey-blue eyes. His features were hard and his jaw was set; he had the face of a Man preparing to do great battle with the Enemy.
It was thus that Legolas son of Thranduil found him, but even as the Elven prince approached him from behind, Aragorn turned and greeted him in his own tongue. "Legolas! I would have welcomed you to my old home, but you came at an odd hour and I was attending other business."
But Legolas perceived no ill in this. He stepped forward and embraced the Dúnedain as one does an old friend, for indeed, the Elf and the Man had long known each other. "Well met, Estel, well met!" cried Legolas, drawing back to gaze upon his face. "The stars shine upon the hour of our meeting."
Aragorn shook his head slowly, a smile gracing his lips a moment before he spoke. "My friend, it has been too long," he said, for it had been nearly six years since he had last seen the Elf.
The Elf interrupted him then with a laugh like silver bells. "Has it? For in my eyes you are the same as always, although your face is weathered, and for the immortal ten years might seem as a day." But his face fell. "How goes it with you? I perceive a sadness in your face and weight on your shoulders I did not see before."
"Alas, the days grow dark," cried the Ranger. "Evil creeps where there was none, and the Shadow grows ever darker. How fares you?"
"It is the same with us," Legolas spoke sadly as he turned to the East and South as if seeing something that Aragorn could not. "Dol Guldur seems to swell in my eyes, and we can do naught in Greenwood but fall back before its threat. Ai, Aragorn! Mirkwood has earned its name well. Our darkest days seem to fall upon us."
It appeared to Aragorn that Legolas was remembering the greater days of his father's kingdom, when Mirkwood was called Greenwood the Great, and he was loathe to speak. But the Elf suddenly turned back to the Man. "I fear I bear bad tidings as well, for my people have failed in their trust to Imladris. The creature Gollum, whom you took great pains to bring to our hands, has escaped, and not without help, I believe."
"That is foul news," Aragorn agreed, disheartened. "It may be worse, in light of my own tidings. The Halfling called Frodo, the nephew of Bilbo Baggins (whom I believe has been staying here in Rivendell for some time), has brought with him the One Ring."
Legolas drew a sharp breath at this, and his features tightened. "I had heard rumor of this, but I did not want to believe it."
"It is true," breathed Aragorn. "I met the hobbit and his companions in Bree, although I followed them from the East Road, north of the forest where Tom Bombadil makes his home. It was in Bree that I first saw him use the Ring, for in a panic he slipped it on his finger to escape the crowds."
"That seems a terribly foolish thing to do," remarked the Elf.
"I said as much," the Ranger agreed, "and he heeded me for a time, but at Amon Sûl he could not bear its call. He again put on the Ring, and alas, he was stabbed by a Nazgûl and its Morgul blade. He fell gravely ill, and nearly faded away entirely."
"Then it is Frodo who rode Glorfindel's horse to safety," Legolas said in wonder. "Lord Elrond's wisdom and skill in medicine is something to be praised indeed."
"Yes; it was only his aid that saved Frodo from falling into shadow." Aragorn's voice was heavy with care, and he gazed out into the night.
Legolas gave his friend a curious look, but understanding soon alighted upon him. "Do not blame yourself for the hobbit's wounding," said the Elven prince.
"I might have somehow prevented the wraiths from drawing close enough to harm him," breathed the Dúnedain. "In this I failed Frodo."
"Perhaps there was some way this tragedy might have been averted, but then again there might not have been. What is passed cannot be changed, and all is well now," Legolas replied. "This heaviness in spirit does not suit you, Estel; there are far more worthy things for you to turn your attention to." At this the Elf's features became mirthful. "How fares the Lady Arwen?"
Aragorn looked up at his friend and met his playful gaze. "She fares well. Is it to Undómiel that you would have my attentions turned in these dark times, my friend?"
"It seems to me that there is little better for you to think upon, Aragorn, for the mere mention of Arwen brings a light to your face that was not there before," said the Elf, a note of mischief in his voice, for he was a Wood-Elf and delighted in play and havoc.
The Ranger smiled for a moment. "She is more beautiful to me than the White Walls of Gondor shining in the light of the sun, and there is nothing I desire more than to marry her. But Lord Elrond will not allow me her hand until I claim my birthright, and I perceive it shall be a difficult and long road ere I am able to do so."
"Do not doubt yourself," admonished Legolas, his voice gentle. "You have great potential, and I know you will fulfill it."
"Your confidence is an encouragement to my heart," replied Aragorn, his gaze turning to the stars.
"And I am glad for that," answered the Elf, also looking skyward.
An amiable silence followed, for neither Elf nor Man felt need to fill the air between them with words. It was some time before Aragorn spoke into the quiet. "Lord Elrond intends to hold council tomorrow, and at that time the fate of the Ring shall be decided."
Legolas looked to the Ranger, for he heard in his voice a new wistfulness and determination. "So was I told, for I have been asked to attend and tell of Gollum's escape. It seems to me, however, that the Ring can have only one fate: it must be cast into the fires of Orodruin, for there it was made, and only there can it be unmade. It is a fearful task."
Aragorn was a long time in answering, but when he spoke it was with authority, and Legolas perceived in the Dúnedain a kingly change. "I know not whom Lord Elrond may choose for this task, but I know that I must accompany him, whomever it may be. For there lies my destiny and birthright, and I would lay claim to both."
And it seemed to the Elf that Aragorn grew in stature, and upon his brow was a crown of stars. He inclined his head before the heir of the throne of Gondor. "Foresight is not my gift, but I know in my heart that you shall achieve all you set your mind to," said the Elf in awe. "And now I make a pledge of my own: wherever you might go, wherever the stars may lead you, I shall follow."
"That is a serious pledge," observed Aragorn as he turned to face his friend again.
"Nonetheless, it is mine to make. It is an honor to call you 'friend', Aragorn; I wish to see you through your greatest days," replied Legolas, a smile on his lips.
The Ranger drew the Elf into an embrace, and the Elf returned it. "Thank you, Legolas; your friendship and encouragement means more to me than I have words to tell." He drew away to look upon the Elf. "But the third watch draws nigh, and I would sleep before tomorrow's council."
Legolas nodded, understanding and amusement in his features. "And I shall join my kinsman in their song and levity, for I fear that it will be long before I might sing with them again." He leapt onto the balustrade before he nodded to Aragorn. "May the stars of Elbereth shine for you always, and light your path on even the darkest nights."
"And yours," replied the Ranger, lowering his head in friendly deference. When he lifted his eyes again, the Elf was gone.
The Dúnedain went to his quarters with much on his mind, but the burden on his heart was lightened by the Elven prince's words.
He slept well that night for the first time in many days.
* * *
Author's Notes: As I said in the opening notes, I composed this story to sort of cross the movie and book worlds, and maybe glimpse a little into the unseen world of Lord of the Rings …
Once I read a fanfiction that attempted to explain why Legolas, of all the Elves in Imladris, was selected to accompany the Ringbearer to Mordor. It was an excellent fic, but I felt that it gave Legolas too much credit; as much as I like him, I don't see how Legolas would be preferable to, say … Glorfindel.
In all brutal honesty, I think Tolkien had Legolas accompany the Fellowship for one reason and one reason only; he was the son of Thranduil, the Elvenking in The Hobbit, and so provided not only continuity, but also a counterpoint to Gimli son of Gloín (who was one of the dwarves in The Hobbit who was captured by the Elvenking). I wish I could say there was more reason than that, but … frankly, Legolas is an archetypal Elf in the books – nothing particular about him at all.
That being said, I wrote this with consideration for Legolas' being chosen for the Fellowship, and suggest that he desired to be chosen because he wished to follow Aragorn. Totally a whim – and completely non-slash. ^__^x;;;;
… well, I guess the only thing left to be said is: man, Tolkien's style is a pain to write in! *laughs*
Please, please, please, please review … There is nothing I would love more than to hear from you all. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!