Chapter 3 – There Shall Be Hope
Something was prodding him very insistently, alternating with concentrations of sudden coldness. He turned the other way sluggishly, moving a hard to swat whatever came to disturb his rest. The pokes persisted, and Aragorn let out a muffled groan, pulling his covers higher. By now, he could tell that he was on something soft like a bed, and that the coldness was from drops of water. Just who was torturing him?Drip, drip…
Was it some phantom from the shadows? Some yet to be discovered manifestation of evil? His mind grew alert once more, listening out for any sign.
Wait, that sounded familiar.
"Who-who are you?" his parched lips moved slightly.
That had been a light voice, seemingly elven. Ada? No, Lord Elrond was not that free to bug him thus. The twins? No, they always came as a pair. Which left…
"Le-Legolas?" he stammered, his eyes springing open.
"Yes, lazy human. I see you have finally decided to awaken," an image of a smiling face came surfaced.
Aragorn was confused, but he did not know why he should be. Legolas? There was something wrong about that.
"And, before you ask, no, neither of us is dead," a reassuring a cheerful voice responded to his thoughts.
Aragorn stared harder, watching as the blond hair, the fair face, blue eyes, sharp nose, pointed ears, and those quirked lips came into focus. This was Legolas; no mistake about that.
Legolas moved closer towards him, tucking a stray lock of dripping wet hair – a very useful weapon against the man – behind his elegant ear, watching as the human struggled to make sense of what happened.
Aragorn definitely seemed lost; his memory was still fuzzy. So, Legolas was the one who was annoying him. And before that, they were in some field, it was raining, and Legolas had… Wait, Legolas had died, and he was here now. He himself had fallen unconscious, and… How did –
"Where are we? What happened? How did we get here?" Aragorn seemed as though he had just regained the capacity to speak, and was trying to ask every question all at once.
Legolas laughed; a bright sound that chased away the darkness, a clear laughter, more resounding, more powerful than any other that Arda had heard, more exuberant, more joyous than any other expression of gladness.
"Firstly, we are in Imladris; you've been snoring away for four dull days now. Secondly and thirdly, I do not know, only that one moment I was in the Shadow lands, the next, I was in Aman, and before I knew it, I was lying beside you on the threshold of Imladris. So, I brought you in, where you have been most lovingly tended to by Elrond –your father, if you have forgotten – who has just left to check on a most terrible earthquake in the library, which was where Elladan and Elrohir – who are your brothers – have been last spotted," Legolas breathed deeply, rather pleased that he had said it all within a mere two breaths.
Aragorn seemed to be overwhelmed by all that his friend had said.
So, I have a father and two brothers? he thought wryly.
"Oh," he said finally.
Then, suddenly, something dawned upon him.
"Library?" he asked, "did you say 'library'?"
"Yes," Legolas wore a bemused look; he did not like the sound of that, "what have you done this time?"
"So, it's what I have done, and not what they have?" Aragorn said in mock anguish before spying Legolas' amused look, and continued cryptically, "When in their company, one tends to learn things…"
Legolas tried to arch his eyebrow elegantly à la Elrond, failed miserably, and was treated to Aragorn's equally carefree laughter. At least the human did understand what he was driving at.
"Actually, it isn't much," Aragorn elaborated when he had calmed down, "I left a little something for them when I last came this way, for fear that they would miss me too badly. It would seem that they've found it."
"What did you do?" Legolas over-enunciated each word. He had to admit: he was curious, yet he dreaded to find out what the particularly ingenious human had planned.
Aragorn's playful grin grew wider, "Shall we say that I rigged the bookshelves to one another and left some rope hanging, such that if you pull it, the first shelf falls –"
"And everything else comes down," Legolas finished, thinking that it would indeed have been a most splendid sight for the massive library to topple on itself, not that he disliked books and libraries, but, it would have been wonderful to witness it. He silently berated himself for not having gone with Lord Elrond, but perhaps, he would be better off being absent when the Elf Lord was bound to be incensed. The whole library… Legolas shook his head; just how long did Estel spend working on this plan!
"Oh, Estel!" he chuckled, "will you ever grow out of these!"
Estel managed to resist the urge to say 'No', but the answer was clearly visible in his eyes, and Legolas most definitely did not miss it.
But their shared mirth was not for long, as three angry and dishevelled Noldor elves, each with the same tussled up dark hair and an equally dark look on their faces, stormed into the room, and were very pleased indeed that the human was awake.
Legolas had retreated inconspicuously to a corner and sneaked out of the room, heading for the library to survey the battlefield-like zone. Thus, he was blissfully spared the bulk of the lectures on the importance of proper care of books, especially the rare volumes stored in the left corner (which, Legolas noticed, housed a well-used one titled 'Hundred and One Pranks to Play with Books').
Currently, Legolas thought that Mordor would have been a more peaceful and safer place to be in.
"Why do you always have to create some form of trouble? Don't you know how much work was put into arranging these shelves of books?" it was Elladan speaking now.
Legolas sighed, picking up yet another worn rare volume with the title 'Templates for Effective Lectures' printed in fading golden ink, and flipped to the section on 'Care of Books'.
Quickly finding what he wanted, he read it aloud, even as Elrohir spewed it out from memory in a certain room some distance away, "Books are the most invaluable source of wisdom and history. They provide us with records and evidence of the past! Yet, they need proper care, and should never be treated so lightly! How can you do such an act with no thought of the damage done to the books? And worse, how can you do this to the entire library!"
Yes, Legolas would agree without hesitating that the library sure held unsurpassable surprises and knowledge. Guessing that the trio were nearing the end, he began to make his way back to the room and check on his dear friend.
Those elves seemed to have finally realised that Aragorn had regained consciousness, and as soon as Legolas stepped in, they started on another series of lectures on the proper care of human health (based on the chapter 'Do Not Touch Everything You See'). Estel shot a pitiful glance at Legolas, who was leaning in the doorway, highly amused by the incredible memory and stamina of the three lecturers, and looking nonchalantly at everywhere and everything except the human.
Estel was getting annoyed, and Legolas could feel the man glaring daggers at his refusal to help. Well, it was not as if he could help at all…
Legolas finally turned to face Estel and shrugged imperturbably, laughing at the way the human's shoulders slumped in defeat. Things were back to normal again. And they lived happily ever after, with the exception of Estel, who would always at the receiving end of the lectures until he had a child of his own…
End of Flashback
Legolas stretched slightly on his seat after handing in the manuscripts and he turned to smile at Aragorn, who had finished slightly earlier and was now flexing his fingers. Both of them were clearly wondering what their tutor would say to their works, should he be inclined enough to read them. And they did not have to wait long to find out.
"Why have the both of you written on the exact same thing?" it was a cold, soft voice.
Aragorn and Legolas exchanged looks of amazement.
"Get this clear: you have been asked to write a personal recount, not some myth or fairytale!" the visibly agitated tutor threw the scraps of parchment onto the floor, "no such thing can happen; you will not find such weapons, neither does the Valar interfere thus in the matters of Arda!"
But Legolas only smiled and winked at Aragorn.
"Believe it or not," Aragorn shrugged.
They knew better.