Mountain Ice

Disclaimers and all: Characters within belong to JRR Tolkien, not me. I'm just borrowing. Thanks to my beta, Xani! If you like it, reviews are well received. Just take a minute or so to brighten up an author's day!

This is a re-post, due to typos in the previous. I could only find two, so hopefully that's all. Thanks for pointing them out, the computer I was using had a irritatingly sticky keyboard.

Aragorn, King of Men, Elessar Elfstone, and many other names besides, wandered the long tapestried corridor. His pace was neither fast nor slow, but carried him to the West Side, to the marble balconies. The view looked toward the mountains, which stood as Ill├║vatar had carved them in his creation of Middle Earth. The sight never failed to bring a feeling to Aragorn's heart as he gazed at the white snowcaps.

An elf sat on the edge of the balcony, legs unconcernedly dangling over the not inconsiderable drop. He sat so still that anyone at a glance could mistake him for a statue, were it not for his hair lifting in the breeze. He turned his head slightly as the man approached, inclining it acknowledgement. Aragorn stopped behind and slightly to the side of the elf, leaning against the balcony upon which Legolas sat.

"Do you wait for the mountains to move that you watch them so intensely, dear friend?" he asked.

"Do you not have a kingdom to rule, my lord?" Legolas retorted, eyes never leaving the distant peaks. Aragorn smiled.

"Indeed, but one that will continue for itself at least for a little while, as will the mountains, I am sure. But tell me what you see."

"A wren sitting on a tree, halfway down the southernmost peak. She has a berry in her beak. A raven circling the rotting carcass of a sheep, disturbing the bottle flies, who flock upwards. A shrew, avoiding the gaze of a kestrel, but still trembling in his fear."

"'Tis true then, that the sight of elves is keen," the man said, "for I see none of what you do. Yet I see what is straight before you, and you see not." Legolas turned, surprised at Aragorn's statement. A puzzled look crossed his face.

"Tell me, pray, what is it that a man may see but an elf may not?" he asked, watching his friend carefully.

"Why, you, of course," Aragorn replied, "you who see so far fail to see yourself sometimes."

"An interesting comment," Legolas said, turning again to the mountains, "but one that I fail to see the relevance of."

"Your mind spends too long on other matters, my friend," the man explained, leaning forward to see the elf's face, "and not long enough on yourself. You travel far, never spending long in any place. The only area you linger in for any time is Ithilien, but I hear you never seem at rest, even there. No maiden ever catches your eye, though plenty would have you."

"Do you have spies on me, Aragorn?" Legolas demanded. "You seem to know a great deal on my movements."

"Only what is obvious to the eye. I know not what happens inside your head. Why do you wander?"

There was a silence. Both man and elf remained still, poised on the balcony's edge. Finally, Legolas spoke.

"I wander because I must." He sighed. "I still carry in my heart the sound of the sea and the cry of the gulls. Someday I will follow it and go over the sea as so many of my kindred have, but that day is not today. Until then, I shall be restless."

"And what of women, Legolas? Have they no place in your affections?"

"The time of the elves is over, and the time of men is at hand." Legolas' head dipped slightly, hiding his expression from Aragorn. When he lifted it again, his face was blank and emotionless. "Arda needs no more young elves."

"Is that your only reason?" Aragorn touched Legolas' hand gently. It was cold. "Do you never want for comfort?"

"I have my good friend Gimli, and he is all the companionship I need." A wry smile turned the corners of the elf's mouth. "At times more. But we must allow the dwarves their faults."

"You side step my question, master elf," Aragorn pointed out. "You try to tell me that you have no desire at all for female companionship?"

"That is so, as I have said. I am a warrior, not a lover." He tossed his hair. "And I grow tired of this interrogation." He swung his leg over the rail to stand barefoot on the marble floor. "Enjoy the mountains," he said, before walking away.

Aragorn watched him go, and amused smile on his lips.