Inner peace is found when one accepts that one is beyond cure. In that sense, I have found it. For, as pathetic as it may seem to many, here I am, typing away some fantasy again. Not to mention, at Tolkien's expense. And at Legolas'. And all the other characters that do not belong to me and that I am only using to relief my distorted vision of things.
Every story is a challenge. And in my case, the opportunity to do something different. I do not want to repeat myself – neither in my characterization, nor in my plot or genre. Yes, I use the same characters, but they offer different aspects of their nature every time, depending on their surroundings, their upbringing and downright to a change of winds in my mind. So Irulan, who can be bold and uncaring in one story, can be timid and anxious in another, and snappy and self-confident in yet another. Legolas is gentle and graceful in one, determined and dominant in the next and cold and seductive in the following. And accordingly, all characters can change.
The reason for this long introduction is simple – I decided to write a story that is yet far different from the ones I have tried before. A story where some of the elves did not depart to Valinor and remain living amongst us, unknown to the majority of humankind, as immortal beings. A story that explores what they might have changed into after such a long time amongst mortals and in our current world. A story that stretches the limits of characterization and presents a far different Legolas and his –accordingly- different interaction with the mortal Irulan.
I am aware that it is a stretch. But so was Irulan. And so was the Glass Sandal. Hell, in the Sandal I distorted everything to the point when elves were not even immortal and Legolas was Prince of a not existing Kingdom and Boromir still lived – and yet, I had fun writing it and my adorable reviewers had fun reading it.
And that, is the whole point of fanfiction. It is something that starts when somebody some day sits in front of the computer and thinks "What if?......"
Anyone who can not endure new and unusual things, should not read from this point on and spare her or himself the experience. Anyone who has certain standards in his or her mind regarding what elves, Legolas, the world, Middle Earth history is or should be like, should not bother to continue from this point on.
Because this story is only for those who are willing to cross the limits and fly with the imagination to wherever it may take them. For after all, one day a guy in England sat down, took a pen and thought "What if?....." and created a world full with dragons, goblins, elves, dwarves, hobbits, Balrogs and orcs. And though many might have thought him stupid or mad, there are also those who find love, longing, sacrifice, courage and freedom in those stories.
So….choose which one you are and enter at will.
Here we go…. Inspired by FORTRESS AROUND YOUR HEART, by Sting.
A Tale of passion. Of longing for long lost times. Of bitterness and woven shells. And most definitely, of seduction.
"This is where we have fought," he said slowly, his eyes gliding over the landscape. "This is where we have died."
A breeze came up and ruffled his hair. His horse neighed softly and shifted.
The blonde man beside him gasped softly. His tone spoke of not of doubt, but of terror: "Are you certain, Legolas?"
Legolas did not answer. He did not need to. Of course he was certain and Haldir knew that as well as he knew it himself. But he understood the shock and pain of his friend – the pain that comes with change. The pain of going back to your childhood home and seeing it ripped off, turned upside down and replaced with something downright ugly. Legolas had long ago discovered that a certain sense of betrayal always accompanied the shock and dislike. Something so faint, it had taken him centuries to even sense its presence.
Yes, betrayal. The feeling of, while you were having a splendid, joyful and downright shallow moment somewhere else, the place that you once –no matter how long time ago- had fought and looked Death in the eye for, was ripped off and demolished. While you were toasting a drink, or laughing at some stupid joke, or thinking about worthless investments and quadrupling your fortune, the very earth where your fellow brothers had bled into was turned inside out and prepared for a downright sinful and ugly new construction. You had betrayed your past. Everything you had stood up for and fought for and risked for meant......nothing to you any longer.
And it was always a slap in the face. Always.
Legolas swallowed softly and turned away from the scene. A little further and he would hear the clatter of armory. A little longer and he would recall the blood pumping in his temples. A little more and he would feel the comfortable weight of his bow in his hands. He closed his eyes and hurled it all away. Into the deep chasm that was the past and dead and gone now for all times.
When he looked up again it was only a landscape like any other – rolling fields of green, sporadic groups of trees –if one could call them so, these meager and famished grand-children of the once majestic creatures that had stood on the same grounds- and the distant towers of factories in the horizon, bleeding a carbon coal black fume into the sky.
No armies clashing into each other like the waves of the ocean. No thunder, lightning, or rain. No evil. No good.
"Do you miss it?" Haldir said suddenly, his eyes wandering back and forth, seeing far different thing than what was present there at that moment.
"No," was the dull and blank answer. Haldir turned to him then, his head slightly cocked to the side, his hair gently rolling on the air as he had left it long and free this day. He gave Legolas a penetrating gaze, his blue eyes moving over his figure without haste.
Legolas looked back in utter stillness, his own eyes never leaving the other. Their gazes locked and they just kept staring, as was their common unconscious trait from long lost times. Many moments passed. But neither was aware of that. What were moments to timeless creatures?
"I have lost that skill a long time ago," he said then and it was dry to the ear.
Haldir looked away, sighing inaudibly. "I miss the Old Days," he whispered and if not for his elven hearing, Legolas would not have picked it up. "I miss......being a PART of something. Having a reason to exist," he added with a hiss, his grip on his reins increasing and blanching his knuckles, though nothing else about his posture changed.
It was Legolas' turn to eye his friend with a lazy and blank expression, from top to bottom and back. Another string of minutes passed as the sky grew darker and the light grew dimmer. Neither noticed.
"Your reason is your own now," came the late reply. "Some would call that freedom, Haldir." And why was his tone so bitter? So mocking?
"I do not want to be free, then!" Haldir turned to look at him and the embers of fury were in his eyes. Though to any other, it might have been the orange light of the setting sun reflected in those orbs.
"No," said Legolas slowly, locking eyes with him again, "but that choice is beyond you now."
Haldir swallowed and simply stared back as Legolas watched his features undergoing sentiments of anger, shame, more anger, defeat, reasoning, regret and finally acceptance.
"And yet I miss it," he chocked out finally, harshly turning away again, his sentimental state in the face of such cold observation irritating him.
"Worry not," said Legolas from behind him in a frosty tone, "some day you will no more."
Then he heard the other horse turning around and leaving, the sound of its gallop a dim echo of the thunder of cavalry from a time that was ill beyond cure, lost beyond hope and dead beyond resurrection.