I remember standing on the hill watching as my friend slowly walked away. He was still shaking his head at my parting remark and chuckling under his breath as I smiled. I was Legolas Thranduilion, Prince of Mirkwood and stood silently watching as my friend Aragorn, son of Arathorn walked away. We had just finished another one of our adventures and amazingly neither of us was hurt. Our families thought it was impossible and in honesty we both did also. Danger seemed to always find us no matter where we went. Neither of us would say it but we enjoyed the excitement. It brought us closer than I ever thought possible between an elf and a human.
He was making his way back to Rivendell and I to Mirkwood. Half way between the realms, we split and that was where we were now. I did not know how much longer it would be until we meet again but I would look forward to it with pleasure.
"Take a bath, human!" I yelled with a smile and saw him wave back towards me.
"Work on your aim, elf!" he responded and I chuckled.
I don't remember seeing the assassin in the trees. I don't remember seeing the bow and arrow he held while slowly tracking Estel. My mind was elsewhere; how I wish that I could go back and smack myself into attention to realize the danger posed to my friend. The twang of the bow reached my ears a moment too late before I knew what was happening.
"No!" I yelled and stepped forward.
The arrow struck Aragorn deeply in the abdomen and he stumbled back in shock as his hands flew to his abdomen. Raising his hand, he stared dumbly at the bright red blood that stained his palm. I was already running down the slope at full speed to reach him just as he fell to the grass. The assassin was already gone and I didn't care. Nothing mattered now when I reached my friend's side. Falling to my knees, I looked at the wound and sobbed in defeat. It was a fatal wound; even I knew that with my limited knowledge of healing. Shock was already setting in quickly and I could do nothing but stare at the wound dumbly. I remember the thoughts that were running around in my mind and now when I think back I find them so trivial.
"Hang on, Aragorn. I will get you to Rivendell and your father," I cried and ripped strips from my cloak to blot the wound when I removed the arrow.
"Legolas…do not," he choked and blood slowly trickled from the corner of his mouth.
"Hush, Estel. Save your breath," I said and his hand stilled my frantic movements.
"Just…sit here…w-with me," he wheezed and tears welled in my eyes.
I remember thinking that this couldn't be happen. Only a few minutes earlier we were joking with each other and he was on his way to visit him family. How did this happen? What did I miss? I'm not sure if I said anything else. I know that I sobbed loudly when he died. He wasn't supposed to die like this, in a field by a single arrow on his way home. He was to die as King of Gondor, on the battlefield, or with Arwen in his arms to travel to the Halls of Mandos with his wife after along and healthy reign.
I remember seeing the shocked expression on Elrond face when I carried Aragorn's body into Rivendell. The choked sob that shook the great lord to the core. I remember Elrohir collapsing into Elladan's arms as the twins supported each other as they stared at the body in shock. But above all, I remember Arwen's cry when she entered the room. It was a cry that I never wanted to hear again as she lurched into her father's arms trying to reach her beloved. She broke down in front of my dull eyes as I stood silently against the wall to watch the grieving family. Why didn't I notice the assassin? Why did I not hear him? Or her? Why did I let my brother die?
A large stone sits at the base of a great tree in the courtyard. A tree that I remember clearly when I first meet the human that was to be my best friend, my brother. He had been climbing up to look around Rivendell when he slipped and fell. I happened to just be entering the gates to visit the twins when a lump fell towards me from the tree and fell atop me. It was the human and he was laughing insanely at the experience. His laugh was contagious as we both sat there in the stone courtyard laughing like a couple of fools.
The stone has only his name engraved in the white stone. The shards of Narsil rested under the stone with the body of the Heir of Gondor. The body was not dressed as a king or as a lord even, but as a Ranger for that was what he was. Strider, Ranger from the North, the Hope of Mankind, my brother and friend. I remember his laughter, his smile, his sparkling silver eyes and his smell. How often I joked with him to bathe more and actually smell clean. But I knew I would give my soul to have one more day with him just to smell his scent or hear his laughter. Or to see his eyes sparkle one last time when we pulled a prank on the twins and hear his father yell at us while trying to smother his own laughter and smile.
I am an elf. I am immortal. I remember everything. I remember my friend that now lies under a cold stone in the cold ground. I remember Aragorn; I remember Strider; and I remember…Estel.