This is a repost of a story I originally posted here about this time last year. It was my first Lord of the Rings story and reading over it now I have made a few changes- hopefully for the best. I hope you all enjoy it! The original author's notes are at the bottom. :o)
And be sure to check out Das Blume's fanart for this story!: http:www.geocities. com/crayolaenterprizes/fall.jpg Thanks Das Blume! :oD
Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings belongs to J.R.R Tolkien, Peter Jackson, New Line Cinema and their associates. I am making no money from this; it is just a wonderful way for me to write for an audience with room for me to improve upon my skills/technique through their comments and criticisms.
This story is set during The Fellowship of the Ring after the Company departs from Rivendell. It seems to me to be an odd combination of book and movieverese. ;o)
An Elf's Fall
Chasing back the shadows and the mists, the sun rose golden upon the land. The Fellowship stirred groggily, obediently beginning the many tasks that the new morning asked of them.
Lightly rubbing his eyes, Legolas felt uncharacteristically sleepy this morning. 'Twas true, the night before he had some trouble getting to sleep, but his companions and he had enjoyed much fun in each other's company. Rare was the night that their spirits were so high; stories had spilled forth as the Company abandoned their weariness to laughter. So rare, in fact, that while the Elven prince had longed for sleep he remained awake with his friends, reasoning that bonding like this with the Fellowship was rare indeed and that he'd be a fool to retire early and miss it. Now, as his body complained, he wistfully wished that he had slept better. It would just take a little longer for him to get going this morning- that's all.
After breaking their small camp, the Fellowship shouldered their packs and weapons. They would stop for breakfast once the weather began to warm the lands, but as it was they wished to cover as much distance as they could in the cool of the morning.
About a half-hour into their journeying, Legolas began to notice a change in the woodlands. They were now climbing in elevation and with that climb came a change of wildlife. The birds sang different songs here and rare vines clung to trees like over-protective lovers. The darkness and cool of the valley floor had been comforting, and seeing the warmer terrain ahead, Gandalf slowed, just outside of the sunlight. Turning to face the rest of the Company, he gestured to the small glen that they were lingering in. "We shall rest here for a short while. Eat sparingly and drink now, for the day shall be exceedingly warm where we are headed."
The hobbits happily plopped down their packs and began to rummage through them for their food while Boromir un-shouldered his shield. Strider brought up the rear and glanced ahead for a moment, smelling the air. The Ranger knew what awaited them: hot, arid lands that would leave them wishing for the cool glen in which they now resided.
Legolas leaned his back against a tree trunk, gazing off into the near distance at a small grove of deciduous trees beginning to drop their orange and yellow leaves. Yes, the seasons were definitely changing, and the sweet, soft falling of the leaves brought back pleasant memories of their recent stay in the Elven realm of Rivendell. How he longed to return to that fair place! But their present task was more pressing. The fate of Middle-earth lay in their hands, and he would not lose his focus on that fact. Not caring for food, he contented himself to watch the falling leaves, each performing its own dance in the air as it eventually nestled itself amongst its fallen comrades. He felt his apprehensions of the journey and path before them lift as he lost himself in their simple yet endless beauty. The fate of Middle Earth may lie in their hands, yet it was just as important to be reminded of what they were saving.
Too soon for anyone's liking, Gandalf rose and called them all to their feet. Without a word of complaint, the Fellowship rose once more and began to trudge along behind the wizard.
As they exited the shadowy glen they were struck by a wall of heat where the boughs of the benevolent trees failed. Here brush dominated the rocky landscape and there was no protection from the powerful sun.
Legolas took interest in the plants around him that were at once familiar and at the same time foreign. It is hard for a plant to surprise a wide traveler, however, at the same time it is hard for a plant not to amuse a dweller of Nature. The bird cries here were shrill and harsh, the vegetation small-leafed and hardy.
Pippin looked about him with half-interested eyes until he spied a bush bearing tempting red berries. He joyously glanced back at Merry, then back towards the berries. "Look Merry! Do you think we should pick some?" Merry was about to answer that if Gandalf had passed them by without a second thought then it probably wasn't a good idea, but being overheard by the wizard he was spared his explanation. "Those berries, Peregrin Took, are highly poisonous to halflings and Men alike. Hence their bright red color."
Pippin's face visibly dimmed.
Feeling his heart momentarily go out to the crestfallen hobbit, Gandalf offered a small smile. "Pay attention to Strider and myself. There is much to learn about the wilds that you see around you. All exists for a reason and a purpose. While we are merely visitors here it is important to know what it is we are passing through, so as to not make a dreadful mistake. That goes for all of us," he spoke a bit louder so that all of the Company could hear.
Legolas bit back a sigh. How long had he wandered the wilds of his homelands? How many times had he explored the woods, teaching himself of the various plants and animals with which he shared his home? He was not a mere visitor in Nature, but rather a part of Nature. What Gandalf said was for the benefit of the hobbits, dwarf and Boromir. He need not have such pseudo-wisdom imparted upon himself- an Elf of all things! But he would hold his tongue as always and continue his trek in silence, happily noting the changes of the sights and sounds of the insects around him.
A good time later, near to high noon, the Fellowship reached the top of the mountain they had been climbing. From the there was a most breathtaking view. A small group of farms was off to the northeast, a village in the very distant north and green mountains that were very welcoming to the Elf in the southwest. Boromir and the hobbits, however, were expressing their wish that their direction would lead them towards the small village, for in their sweaty and weary states they wished for nothing more than a cool place to sit and a spirit-lifting beverage.
Gandalf leaned on his staff slightly, panting lightly as he gazed at the scene before him. His eyes caught upon three swallows playfully flitting up and down in the sky, catching insects. "Ah, swallows. See how they dart to and fro? They are catching insects. The plants here are in bloom and the insects are feeding upon them, which is why those berries you saw, Master Peregrin, were so red. Now is the season when fruits begin to ripen in this part of Arda."
But Pippin wasn't thinking of the berries he'd seen. "What swallows, Gandalf?"
"There- see them in the distance before us?" Strider pointed in an attempt to help the young hobbit.
Legolas had quickly caught his breath and watched as the other members of the Fellowship displayed their signs of weariness and he inwardly thanked the Valar for being born an Elf.
Pippin and Merry were still squinting into the distant bright skies. Sam sidled up beside them. "Where are the birds? I don't see no birds, Mr. Gandalf."
Stifling a chuckle, Legolas glanced away from the swallows to the halflings. How could they not see them? Once more, he felt a small sense of pride well up within him at having the keen eyes of an Elf. How he rejoiced in knowing that he would never have trouble living in the wilds and sensing the many inhabitants of the woods with his acute senses! Being with the other beings in the Company seemed a constant reminder that he was an Elf, and as such more accustomed to survival in the wilds than other species.
"Of what importance are birds when there's food to be had!" came a gruff voice from behind the Fellowship. While most merely chuckled at the remark and pulled out their waterskins, Legolas glanced behind him to the bush where the voice had come. Feeling another's gaze upon him, the Elf turned back towards the horizon to meet the inquisitive eyes of Gandalf the Grey. Giving the wizard an 'I don't know' look, Gandalf smiled and stepped past the tall Elf. Peeking around a corner he found their dwarf squatting behind a bush.
"Gimli, what are you doing?"
The dwarf looked somewhat sheepishly up at the wizard. "It's shady down here."
Gandalf chuckled. "In harsh conditions we all must find a way to survive."
Gimli looked substantially less embarrassed and even showed a small smile through his rustic beard. Legolas felt a small twang of jealousy that a dwarf had been congratulated on his survival skills and not, well, any other member of the Fellowship. But the emotion was short lived and the Elf let it pass without a second thought, preferring rather to step away from the dwarf who was by now producing a less-than-pleasant odor.
Catching Aragorn gazing at the tree-covered mountains to the southwest, Legolas sidled up to his friend. "Our course shall take a welcome turn to us familiar with the woods, shall it not?"
Strider turned to his Elven companion, tearing his eyes from their mountainous destination. "Our course shall bring great peril, no matter the nature of the wilds."
Aragorn's voice was gruff and caused to the wistfulness in Legolas' face and in his voice to disappear. "Of course."
Sensing the change that his tone had induced in his friend, Aragorn regretted the severity of his thoughts. He placed a hand on the prince's shoulder as the Elf turned his gaze back to the pine-covered mountains. "But the woods will be a welcome change after this arid land."
When Legolas looked at Strider once more the man offered a small smile, which the Elf returned ere stepping away as Gandalf decided to begin their trek once more.
It was a welcome change to begin their decent, but the Fellowship still maintained their earlier weariness. Having changed their placement, Gandalf lead the way followed by Legolas and Boromir, the hobbits and dwarf in the middle, shepherded by Strider.
Their trail had become overgrown and the Company was obliged to take their protruding weapons from their backs and carry them to make their passing quicker. Boromir had begun to complain about the branches of shrubs that snapped back at his head every time they got stuck on Legolas' quiver so the Elf now held it in the crook of his left arm.
Thus the Fellowship continued downhill for several minutes in silence. Gandalf, Legolas and Boromir, having a naturally quicker pace, and found themselves quite a ways ahead of the rest of their companions and began to slow their pace. The arid land began to wane and intermittent boughs began to provide shade for the hot travelers. Legolas squinted as the sunlight suddenly caught in his eyes as they emerged from the shadows. Just then, to his right he caught sight of a plant that he recognized to be of the poisonous oil persuasion. Just a small amount of such oil on one's clothing and or skin could spread quickly to cause a very uncomfortable rash on most, and a more serious reaction among others. Thus swerving to miss this branch, Legolas ducked, took two steps and his mind being thus preoccupied with warning the others behind him of the plant, momentarily lost his footing on the rough, gravel-like, rocky substrate.
The shock of the realization that he was falling all but paralyzed the Elf. The world about him seemed to move as if time was slowed and he barely had time to blink before he hit the ground. His first instinct was to protect whatever was in his arms, a side effect of holding too many young Elfling cousins, and in this case he was saving his weapons. As a result, his knees took the brunt of the fall and he leaned on his left wrist which bore his weapons to catch himself from slipping any further. He remained how he was for a seemingly endless moment as the shock of what had just happened continued to course through his body- on his knees leaning on one wrist, momentarily fighting the gravity of the steep and treacherous slope that threatened to pull him down. Gandalf slowed at the sound behind him and Boromir paused with a look of similar surprise on his face.
Legolas immediately gritted his teeth and bit back the oncoming pain which he was soon to face. Not the pain of a physical wound, but the pain of his now-injured pride. Feeling his jaw muscles tighten as he grit his teeth even harder, the Elf attempted to rise, only to have his right foot slip even further and for a brief moment he feared that he may not be able to stop his descent. Friction, however, was on the Elf's side, and he managed to quickly stop his sliding. In that same instant he saw the belated reaction of Boromir who also seemed to just realize the fact that the Elf may fall all the way off of the treacherous hillside and leaned forward slightly, arms outstretched as if to help his comrade.
Quickly shaking off his shock, Legolas shifted his weight and clambered to his feet, muttering his first thought in Elvish. "That was graceful..." If the other two heard they did not show it. Gandalf merely showed his concern for the fair creature and asked if he was alright. "I am fine. I merely slipped. My mind was elsewhere."
Boromir had visibly relaxed and was ready to move on, not knowing that it was no small matter for an Elf to loose his or her balance. "Any blood?" He asked, shifting his shield.
Legolas glanced down at his dust-covered leggings momentarily before assuredly stating, "Nay."
Gandalf allowed his eyes to linger on the Elf who was obviously avoiding eye-contact with him for a moment longer ere turning to continue leading the march of the Fellowship. In his brief glance the wizened wizard had seen the adamant defiance in Legolas' eyes. He knew that look well: the look of one painfully trying to hide something. Curse the stiff necks of Elves... he complained in his mind, knowing that the young Elf behind him would have claimed he was uninjured even if he were skewered by a thousand Orc spears.
Legolas allowed his eyes to dart toward the poisonous plant quickly ere he spoke to Boromir. "That plant is poisonous. It is not to be touched."
Nodding, Boromir turned to glance back at the rest of the Fellowship who were still so far behind on the trail that they knew nothing of what had transpired within the past few seconds on the ground where he stood.
Following Gandalf, Legolas felt a burning in his right knee and left wrist that he could not deny, yet raised his head and continued to grit his teeth as he continued onwards.
How could I have fallen? Elves don not fall! Clumsy beings who lose their footing do not deserve to be called Elves. You who thought you were so high have now proven yourself to be quite normal by the standards of Men. I who thought that I did not have to heed Gandalf's lectures of the woods, who thought that I knew so much about the wilds that I did not need to be subjected to his warnings, have now proven both to he and myself otherwise. He will think of me as a child now, as one who also needs his guidance. Of course I do need his guidance, but in the woods I am independent! I am of the woodland realm and yet I now fall in with those who cannot tell a pine from an oak! His thoughts were harsh and he knew it, yet he let them fester in his mind anyway, cooling his raging anger at himself and allowing him to focus his pain in one area. I should not have fallen. I am not fit to be an Elf. I deserve none of the friends that I have. Another Elf should have joined the Fellowship, notI. Useless... useless one who cannot tell where his own two feet are! I am not worthy of my title, of my kin, of my own self-respect.
About an hour later, the Company finally halted at the base of the hill and Legolas, sensing the increasing pain of his injuries glanced down at his left wrist as he put his weapons on once more. It was grimy with dust and dirt with the distinct moisture of blood underneath. He sighed. Just what I need... Sensing the increasing pain in his knee he glanced down to find, much to his surprise, that most of the fabric around his knee was stained with blood. His blood... and he hadn't even felt it.
Glancing around quickly at the rest of the Fellowship who were now catching up and un-slinging their packs for a rest, the young Elf sprang into the cover of the trees and made for what he could hear to be a small creek in the distance. He often disappeared while the rest of the Company rested, scouting the trails ahead or looking for signs of enemies. They would not miss him.
Finding the stream, the Elf attempted to kneel beside it, yet found that he could not bring himself to bend his right knee because of the pain. He blinked in surprise... Has it really been so long since I've been injured that I do not remember how it feels? Feeling terribly awkward and his pride sink even more as his feelings his self-loathing arose, the Elf lowered himself to the forest floor near the creek, careful to keep his right leg straight. He grit his teeth and bit back a whimper as he rolled up the leg of his legging so that he could inspect his wound. It was a bloody mess. How in Arda could that slip have caused all of this?! He thought back to his fall and realized that while he certainly hadn't fallen hard, the ground was littered with sharp rocks which easily sliced through his unsuspecting flesh. He let out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding as he realized the extent of his injury. It had to be my knee... Of course, he'd be limping now that he was on a perilous quest to Mordor to save Middle-earth. Of course he'd be limping now that he needed his speed and accuracy. Of course he'd be limping now that he was in the presence of those who, for the most part, viewed him with slight awe for his race and abilities. They will all laugh at me now, as they should.
Yet now was not the time to let his low self-esteem get the best of him. He needed to clean up and keep going. With grit and determination he delicately cleaned his wound, not really wanting to touch the spot and gently pouring water over it and wiping away at the dirt. He was dismayed to see that as soon as the wound looked clean, new blood would spill forth. There was nothing he could do about it now. Carefully tugging his legging back in place and lightly tucking it into his boot he awkwardly rose to his feet and tested out his walking ability. Just those brief few moments of immobility had rendered his knee stiff. He did not want to face the questions nor prying eyes of the rest of the Fellowship, no matter how well-intentioned or concerned they be. Not now with his anger at himself still so near to the surface. He could not find the words to tell them what had happened.
The rest of the Company was already climbing to their feet when he returned once more and took his place in the rear of the snake of beings so as to not draw attention to himself. While Strider led them on, Gandalf fell into step alongside Legolas for a moment and spoke in a voice meant only for the Elf to hear. "I thought I saw some red there."
Legolas did not meet his concerned gaze. There was no use in trying to deny what was already obvious. "I fear I spoke hastily before. My injuries are graver than I had first thought."
Gandalf nodded in thought. "I saw your fall. I would be surprised if even an Elf were not injured from those rocks."
Even an Elf... while the words were intended to comfort the prince, he felt their stinging bite as a reminder that he was not worthy to be among such a fair race and such honorable friends.
As the two took a few more steps Gandalf glanced at the Elf's bloodied legging then back to his stony features. The Elf's gaze was still focused ahead.
"Are you hurt badly?" Gandalf asked from under his odd blue hat, using his staff as a walking stick.
This time he succeeded in making the Elf lock eyes with him, and when they did, Gandalf saw there momentarily unbridled shame and self-hatred. "I can deal with physical pain just fine. It is only my pride that is injured."
Gandalf smiled slightly. He had certainly expected as much. Placing a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder he chuckled wisely as he, too, now looked ahead. "Pride will heal in time, young prince."
Nothing more needed to be said. With one last reassuring squeeze, Gandalf released the Elf's shoulder then made his way back towards the front of the group.
Legolas momentarily let his head hang. Such words are easily spoken from the lips of one who does not know what it is to feel what I feel...
As dusk grew nearer the Fellowship slowed amidst the towering pines of the forest they had seen from afar. While Legolas took joy at the sight of trees of the same likeness to those of his homeland, the pain in his ever-stiffening knee reminded him that he was unworthy of calling trees friends. If he had proven anything today it was that he was not fit for the woods, was not a part of Nature as he had once thought. He was no better than anyone else who tromped through the forests, slipping and sliding and stomping and crashing their way through with no regard for plant or beast. In his heart, however, he knew that this was not true, yet he had long ago been seduced by his own belittling thoughts and now no longer tried to fight them off.
He was the last to enter the small glade where they were to camp for the night and Strider stood off to the side, watching as the Fellowship entered, making sure all were accounted for. Noticing his Elven friend's slight limp and the stain on his legging he stepped forward and fixed the Elf with a concerned stare. "What happened?"
Legolas, having little pride left, met the eyes of the Ranger. "I fell."
To his horror, Aragorn's face contorted into a smirk as he let out a brief, gruff laugh of incredulity. "Of course you did. Now what really happened?"
Pain suddenly entered Legolas' eyes and the Elf turned away, taking a few wobbly steps to a nearby boulder and carefully lowering himself down upon its cold surface. Aragorn observed the careful, awkward and pointed manner in which his friend moved, taking pains not to aggravate his left knee. He furrowed his brown and cocked his head slightly. Legolas had been telling the truth, otherwise he would have corrected him. He now regretted his earlier reaction and knew that he had done nothing but make matters worse for the obviously ailing Elf.
Swiftly coming forward, Aragorn knelt next to his friend who met his gaze. "Legolas, forgive me. I did not mean to hurt you. I believed you were jesting."
"'Tis nothing, Aragorn. I know where your heart lies. There is nothing to forgive." I would have laughed at myself as well if I were you.
Strider bowed his head for a moment in gratitude that he had not instigated his friend's temper or his dismissal. "Will you allow me to look at your wound?"
Legolas clenched his jaw. He had known this would be coming. He never liked others touching his injuries, even those as trusted as Strider. It was just an apprehension that clung to him, even though he was well on his way to leaving adolescence behind. "I am fine," he replied, leaving the validity of the statement up to its receiver.
"Obviously you are not. Allow me to help you."
Reluctantly, Legolas beat back the slightly protesting apprehension as he gazed into the trusting eyes of the Ranger, then broke away his gaze as he leaned down to pull up his legging.
Careful not to cause his friend any further pain, Aragorn inspected the wound. "It's just a badly skinned knee. Yet abrasions such as these are often more painful than a broken bone." The Ranger rose to grab a pot from Samwise's pack and Legolas watched him with a cocked head, his curiosity at the Ranger's words showing in the brightened light of his eyes. When Strider looked back at his friend he noticed this and grinned, chuckling softly, for the Elf slightly resembled a curious bird of prey. "I am going to boil some water to clean your knee. I'll be right back."
Boiled water on my knee?! This is why I don't like others touching me! Taking a moment to calm himself down he was able to reassure himself that Strider knew what he was doing. Whatever was going to happen next was for the best.
A good quarter hour later the hobbits were gaily chatting away as they nibbled on bread and pieces of smoked meat while Gandalf entertained them all with humorous tales of his travels. Legolas was still seated on his boulder distant from the group in the falling night. He smiled as he watched the child-like faces of Merry and Pippin as they glanced at each other in joy at one point or another in the story. They were lucky to have such friends. All of them were.
Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Gimli grabbing something then clumsily making his way over to the Elf, trying to be quiet. Turning his head in the Dwarf's direction, Legolas met his gaze. Gimli looked a bit embarrassed. "I –oh! I was just at the- well, I thought you might like a- here's some bread, that is, if you're hungry." The small, bearded man stuttered in his gruff voice.
Legolas smiled. He hadn't known Gimli long, yet somehow this Dwarf didn't seem so bad after all, and apparently he was having second thoughts about the Elf, too.
"Thank you. Master Dwarf, but I am fine."
Gimli nodded, not really knowing what to say.
"Thank you for your offer."
The Elf's soft yet sweet-voiced reply was all that Gimli needed as he turned and began to waddle off. "Well, if you pointy-ear ever gets hungry don't complain that all the food's gone because you should have had some when there was some to have!"
Legolas nearly rolled his eyes before turning his attention to Strider as the Ranger approached with a small-leaved plant and some strips of linen.
It took nearly a week for Legolas' knee to finally heal enough to scab. It turned out that Strider, of course, had not used the boiling water directly on his knee but allowed it to cool then used the sterile water to clean the wound.
The Elf was quickly tiring of the eyes of all he passed glancing at him then flicking to his obviously-injured knee. He felt like some sort of spectacle. He couldn't wait until he was back to his old self again.
As Gandalf had predicted, with time and patience his pride slowly began to return. Only one as close as Strider or Gandalf knew how much it hurt an Elf to fall and were careful to not let it become widely-held news or a joking matter among the Fellowship. The other beings slipped and slided all the time, especially poor Frodo. This was most likely because the Ringbearer's mind was upon other, more important things...
By falling Legolas had gone through some sort of initiation. He realized that he had proven to himself that he indeed was one of the nine members of the Fellowship. They all had their ups and downs and he was no different. With his pride and self-respect swiftly returning at this realization, he felt even more connected to the Fellowship than before. He was very different and yet no different than the others. And that filled him with acceptance and the warmth of friendship. He wouldn't let the others down nor the quest fail. He was part of their little family now, as odd or dysfunctional as it could sometimes be. Yet it was that brotherhood, those ties of love and friendship that would lead them to their final destination and give them the hope they needed to carry on.
Wanna know something funny that happens when I've been writing too long? Remember this sentence?:" Swiftly coming forward, Aragorn knelt next to his friend who met his gaze. 'Legolas, forgive me. I did not mean to hurt you. I believed you were jesting.'" Now, plug in this after it: "'I was!' he sprang up and laughed manically and danced around like an insane Miss Piggy on drugs who just sat on an ice cube." LOL- thought some of you might find that funny. :oD
(Original) Important: So... after reading a tale like this some may be wondering what the point was. The truth is, out of all of the personalities of the characters in Lord of the Rings, I am probably the most like Legolas. 500 odd personality quizzes have told me so, too. :oP I never really paid much heed to that fact until, well, this story happened to me. I was so embarrassed after having slipped that I really needed a way to project my shame into something productive, LOL, and Legolas seemed to be the only person who had hope of understanding me, as silly as that sounds. Now, I love Legolas as much as the next gal, but I chose him as the main character for this fic because of our very similar personalities. It's uncanny at times. :os So yes, this story is a true story, I merely altered the names of the people involved and changed the circumstances to be a bit more like those of Lord of the Rings. My knee is still not fully healed (the incident having occurred over a week ago)!
Please, oh, please tell me in a review. Lord of the Rings fans are among the most warm, eloquent and intelligent people I've ever had the grace to know. I love you guys! :oD
(Original) Personal Note: I have been a fan of Lord of the Rings for nearly a year now which is some pitiful amount of time compared to most of Tokien's fans, I'm sure. In fact, the first time I saw The Fellowship of the Ring I was in such a grumpy disposition and confused that I couldn't understand why people liked it so much! Then, a year later after viewing the film in my own home while a storm raged outside... something changed and I found myself wholly absorbed in Tolkien and Peter Jackson's worlds. Now that I've told you a bunch that I'm sure you didn't want to know, please tell me what you think!