The Right Colour
Summary: In a world, where everything feels wrong, a light of hope still shines.
Disclaimer: There characters belong to Tolkien, not me. My only profit is the fun I have tormenting- errm- I mean playing with them :-).
A/N: This story was written for the September 2011 Teitho challenge "Colours of Middle-earth". It placed first. Many thanks to everyone who read and voted!
A/N 2: If you don't know what the Teitho Contest is and wish to read the other stories submitted (strongly recommended), there is a link on my profile page.
This was wrong. It took him a moment to realize what was out of place, but he knew it was there. At a first glance everything seemed normal. The sunlit woods were peaceful and quiet, except for the singing of birds and the rippling of a distant brook. No sign of danger, no hint of enemies approaching. And yet, his heart whispered urgently that something was not right, that he should not be here, that he should run, run away, and never look back. And then he knew it. The forest was the wrong colour.
Trees were not supposed to be green.
He closed his eyes and opened them again. The trees were still there, their leaves still green. Fighting a wave of panic, he directed his steed northwest, where his destination lay. The Ered Nimrais loomed high in the distance, its high peaks frozen even in summer. But this was wrong too.
Snow was not supposed to be white.
Fighting his misgivings, he urged his horse forward, as he wished to reach Minas Tirith before nightfall. A mirthless laughter escaped his lips. Why the hurry? He was not afraid of the darkness, was he? But it was not the darkness that terrified him, but what came with it. The same thing that came every single night. Stars.
Stars were not supposed to be golden.
Why would the trees be green? Why would the snow be white or the stars golden, when they were all supposed to be blue. Blue, blue, only blue, pure deep blue, blue like the sky, blue like a cornflower, blue like a sapphire, blue like…
… like the Sea.
Years ago, the trees would have brought Legolas Greenleaf solace, peace and contentment. Years ago, the stars would have made his soul sing, and join its song with theirs. But now as he looked at the leaves and the stars, at the birds and the flowers, all that his heart yearned for was for them to turn blue in front of his eyes and melt into clear water and flow together to form one deep, vast, endless sea, a sea of angry roar and quiet promises, a sea that he would sail with his ship to reach his Home, to reach the only place where he was meant to be.
All the rest had lost meaning. He did not see green, or red, or yellow anymore; all that was empty, meaningless, colourless. The one colour that his heart begged for was blue.
Legolas shook his head angrily, trying to chase the thoughts away. No, he had turned from that path a long time ago. This door was closed to him now. He had vowed to stay in Middle-earth for as long as Aragorn lived. His time with the Man was limited anyway, and he did not wish to cut it any shorter. Besides, he wanted to see his friend's children grow and learn, until Eldarion would be ready to rule a kingdom. And Gimli… In a dream, Galadriel had come to him and told him that the Dwarf would be welcomed in the Undying Lands if he wished to join his Elven friend on this final journey. But Legolas was uncertain if Gimli would wish to sail so soon, and even if he did, the Elf was reluctant to ask it of him. His friend would need to leave home and kin behind, to sail to a strange, elf-infested place. Gimli prided himself for being a friend to the fair folk, but Legolas did not believe that living among Elves for the rest of his life was best for the Dwarf.
Gimli was the reason he was travelling north. It had been a while since he had last journeyed to Minas Tirith to visit Aragorn and his family, but now his Dwarven friend was there as well, and there was no way Legolas would miss the opportunity to spend time with his friends. After all, they were the reason he was still fighting the sea-longing. They were his pillar of strength… for now at least. He had resisted thirty-five years now, surely he could hold on until the end. Only, time was passing by so torturously slowly. Not that he wanted it to pass any quicker; his time with his friends was short enough, but still the burden was not easy to bear.
The gates of Minas Tirith stood high in front of him. If not for his friends, he would have found little joy in this city. Too much white, too much stone. Too little blue, too little water. No! He should not desire the Sea now! The Sea was the end. If he saw it again before the time had come, he did not know if he would find the strength to resist.
"Legolas Greenleaf of Ithilien," he called, in response to the sentry's challenge. The Elf cringed at the sound of his own name. How cruel the Valar were to make leaves green!
"There is no need to wake the King, I assure you," said Legolas, as he stood in the hall. "Show me to a room for the night, and I shall see him on the morrow."
The boy shifted nervously from one foot to the other and then back. "His Majesty insisted that he is informed as soon as you arrive, my lord," he mumbled. "And so did Lord Gimli."
"This is because he did not expect me to arrive in the middle of the night," the Elf said impatiently and glanced at the young servant. The boy's surcoat was dark brown, embroidered with the White Tree of Gondor. Apparently trees were not always green, but the colour was still wrong.
The boy seemed to hesitate, torn between orders and common sense, but at the end nodded. "Very well, my lord. May I take your cloak?"
"I can take care of my own cloak. Once I have seen my room." The Elf's patience was wearing thin. The wave of sea-longing that had assaulted him on his way had exhausted him and he wished for a quiet room and some time to rest and compose himself before meeting his friends. The ache the longing caused was always there, but at times it could be stronger or weaker, and what he had recently felt had been hard to endure. It would do his friends no good to see him like that.
Unfortunately, he had not expected that he would have to argue with crowds of servants, insisting to take him to Aragorn right away. The boy had not been the first, but he dearly hoped he would be the last.
"A room has been prepared for you," the boy said, startled by Legolas's tone of voice.
"This is good to know," the Elf replied. And would be even better to see.
Finally, the boy took the hint and led him down the corridor. "This is your room," he said at last, stopping in front of a dark, oaken door. "Here, take this candle. There are more inside, but unlit. Would you need refreshments, or a bath prepared for you?"
"Food is not necessary. As for the bath, a basin of warm water will do." Legolas thanked the boy and stepped inside.
The room was dark, and he slowly walked to the window to light the tall candles with the one the servant had given him. A drop of red wax fell on his hand, but he did not feel the heat. Legolas turned back, ready to collapse on the bed, and gasped.
Was this a joke? The bed sheets were deep azure. Of course, whoever had prepared the bed could not have known what the colour meant to him, but still this was cruel.
The little flames of the candles danced, rising high and trying to reach the wooden ceiling, but still unable to leave their nests, like little birds, who had not yet learned how to fly and could only uselessly flap their wings. Light and shadow played a game of tag across the room, across the walls, across the blue bed sheets. They seemed to be moving, rising, falling, coming, going, like waves. Legolas watched in awe as the bed seemed to transform into clear water, into an ocean so deep and inviting. The Elf wanted to fall into it, to sink, to drown, to forget.
Legolas took a hesitant step forward, only to be interrupted by a knock on the door. The boy must have come back with the basin. But before he could call an invitation to come in, the door burst open.
"Elf!" Gimli bellowed as he stormed into the room. "How dare you! For two years you never deigned to come visit me, and now that I have come all the way to Gondor, you arrive and do not even find it necessary to tell me you are here!" The Dwarf wrapped his arms around his hapless friend and nearly lifted him into the air. "How have you been, laddie?"
Legolas laughed as he disentangled himself from the fierce embrace. "Forgive me, my friend. I was planning to see you first thing in the morning. I was merely tired from the ride and wanted to-"
"Aye, I can see that," Gimli interrupted, throwing his friend a sidelong glance. "Though I doubt it was the ride that exhausted you so." The Elf had no reply to that and Gimli frowned. "As you wish then. Go to sleep. I shall see you tomorrow." The Dwarf walked to the door and opened it, but before he stepped outside, he looked back one last time. "But do not think you can hide anything from me, lad. Or from the Man for that matter."
As his friend closed the door behind him, Legolas sighed and sank into the soft bed. Thankfully, the Dwarf's unexpected appearance had shattered the magic and the sheets no longer looked like water. But whether he would still find any peace in this bed, yet remained to be seen.
Almost every day the King would have his meals in the great hall, at the head of one of the long tables. A good leader needed to know his men, Aragorn often said. And he needed to know them not only as councilors, captains, healers, servants or soldiers, but also know them as people. And what better way to learn more about them than a conversation over a shared meal?
This morning, however, he had asked the servants to bring breakfast to a small round table on the balcony of his private chambers. None of his men was present, except for Gimli and Legolas and the royal family, and soon the Queen excused herself and left with the children, leaving the three friends alone.
Legolas broke a loaf of hot white bread, fresh from the oven. He inhaled the savory scent, trying to distract himself as a maid carried away the Queen's now empty plate. Arwen had barely eaten anything and it was obvious that she had left early on purpose to give her husband and his old friends a private moment. But it was this private moment that the Elf feared.
"Well, Legolas, I suppose I should invite Gimli more often," Aragorn said as he reached across the table to grab a crimson apple. "This has to be the only way to make you come here." The King's tone was light, but his grey eyes were narrowed as scrutinized his friend.
Legolas slowly spread butter on his bread, trying to feign nonchalance. It was true. In the past years he found it hard to hide just how thin and fragile the string that tied him to Middle-earth was. As a result, he found himself avoiding his friends, which, in retrospect, made no sense. He was enduring this torture only to be with his friends a while longer, and at the same time he had been deliberately running away from them.
"What?" Gimli's eyes widened. "Aragorn, surely you do not mean to tell me that you have not seen the lad in the last two years!"
"Oh, I have seen him, no thanks to Legolas," the King replied. "I have visited Ithilien several times and met him there, but not a single time has he come to Minas Tirith."
The butter melted on the warm bread, turning a pale yellow. Both of his friends were looking at him now and Gimli's words from the night before came unbidden to his thoughts. But don't think you can hide anything from me, lad. Or from the Man for that matter. How much did they know?
"I confess," he replied smoothly, locking eyes with Aragorn. "This was a part of my cunning plan against you, my friend."
Aragorn leaned back in his chair and interlaced his fingers. "I am listening."
"I wished to get you out of the palace. You have been spending too much time inside. And I thought that if I did not come to visit you-"
"Then I would have no choice but come visit you myself," Aragorn finished. "Believe me, my friend, if I could spend more time outside the city walls, I would, but sometimes decisions are made for us and we cannot choose where to go and where to stay." The King frowned slightly and looked behind Legolas. The Elf turned around to see a servant waiting in the doorway. "What is it?"
"Your Majesty, a messenger arrived," the boy said and handed Aragorn two letters. Legolas could not make out the sigils on the wax from that angle, but could see that one of the letters was sealed with red wax, and the other with lilac. The Elf stifled a gasp. To the best of his knowledge, only one person in Middle-earth would use lilac wax to seal a letter.
But why would Éowyn send a letter to Aragorn now? Legolas had seen the Lady only the day before. If she had any news for the King, Legolas would have carried it perfectly well. And why would she, and not Faramir write the letter? A sudden apprehension gripped him and he stared at Aragorn expectantly.
"Please bring the letters to my study," the King said. "I shall read them after breakfast."
"No!" Legolas nearly cried and felt himself blush as all eyes turned to him. Truth be told, he had no idea what worried him so. "I think… I think you should read them now."
"Very well," said Aragorn, still somewhat perplexed by his friend's reaction. Legolas was hoping his friend would start with Éowyn's letter, as it was the one that had unsettled him, but the man took the other one first. Before he broke the seal, the Elf managed to catch a glimpse of a swan on the red wax.
As Aragorn read the letter, his face lost all colour. As he finished, he lowered the parchment into his lap and for a moment stared at the distance.
"What news of Dol Amroth?" Legolas asked anxiously. "What does Prince Imrahil write?"
Aragorn slowly shook his head. "The letter is from Elphir."
Now, this was unexpected. Why would Elphir send a letter to the King, using his father's official seal? Unless…
"Imrahil is dead," Aragorn finished his thought. "I have to travel west for the burial and to crown Elphir as a Prince of Dol Amroth."
Legolas fell silent, remembering the first time he had met Imrahil. It had been on the Pelennor Fields, and the Man had easily attracted his attention with his nearly Elven features, his courage, his instant trust in the King. Later, the Prince had become a chief commander and a member of the Great Council of Gondor, and Legolas had had many chances to meet him and to learn to respect him.
Lost in grief and memories, the Elf did not notice that Aragorn had opened the second letter. "It is as I thought," the King murmured. "The messenger has passed through Ithilien first, so Faramir already knows of the news. He was too disturbed, and this is why Éowyn writes in his stead. They will leave Ithilien as soon as they are prepared and will come here, so that we can all travel together."
Travel together? There could be only one reason for the Steward's family to take the unnecessary detour, and Legolas knew it was not the company for the road. Naturally, it was possible to ride to Dol Amroth, but the King and his entourage would take another road. The faster road… Legolas held his breath.
"Arwen will want to come, and I will take Eldarion with us, but the girls will stay here. They are too young for a funeral," the King continued thoughtfully. "Gimli, you are welcome to join us, or stay here with Legolas until I return. The journey may take long."
The Dwarf considered his options. "I would pay the Prince my last respects," he finally said. "I trust the Elf will still be here when I return, or if not, I will have to travel to Ithilien myself."
Legolas could not believe his ears. Aragorn had not even considered extending the invitation to him! Apparently the king knew more than the Elf might have wished, and wanted to spare him the trouble of refusing. Perhaps the Man feared that Legolas would feel uncomfortable to refuse, and did not wish to make him feel pressured. And there was no way Legolas could come, was there? Not only would they journey by ship down the Anduin, but their trip would take them all the way to the Bay of Belfalas, to the Sea.
"I will come," Legolas said suddenly, surprising himself, not sure if it was mere stubbornness that made him speak. He raised his head to meet his friends' shocked looks, a challenge in his eyes.
"Legolas," the King began uncertainly. "No one asks this of you. We all know what such a journey would cost you. Surely Elphir and Lothíriel will understand."
So he knows. The Elf shook his head. "I can make this journey. And Imrahil deserves it." He never said that this was not the entire reason he wanted to go, but he knew that his friends would not have liked the truth. And the truth was that he wished to see the Sea. He needed it. The green of the trees, the white of the stones that covered the city, the dark purple of the grapes on the table – these colours were exhausting him. They were all dull, empty. It was blue he desired, blue that he yearned for.
He could only hope that once he saw the Sea, he would be strong enough to look back.
Many great men had attended the burial. Faramir had traveled to say his last goodbye to his uncle, and Aragorn himself had come to pay his respects and to grant Imrahil's son the title of Prince of Dol Amroth. The King of Rohan had come to honour the memory of his great friend and father-in-law, and his grieving Queen had accompanied him. Lothíriel had spent more time with her brother than with her husband, perhaps reliving past memories. This had left Éomer more time to talk to his own sister, whom he now rarely had the chance to see.
Legolas carefully observed everyone around him, their reunions, their conversations, their shared sorrow, hoping to find the distraction he was looking for. He could not. The long days on the river had been a torture, but nothing could be compared to what he had felt the day he had set his eyes upon the Sea.
How could something feel so sweet and so painful at the same time? It awoke a longing in his soul and Legolas knew that there, beyond this immense mass of blue, was his home, was where he belonged. Not here. Not anymore. Middle-earth held no place for him any longer. The trees, the birds, the flowers, the stars, they could bring him no joy and no peace. They had lost their charm and appeal long ago.
His life in Middle-earth now was like a tasteless meal. Like a grey scenery. Like an odorless flower. Like a soundless song. He felt numb. His senses refused to work here. He was frozen, asleep, dead inside. And only sailing beyond the sea could ever wake him up again.
The funeral had passed several days ago and they would soon need to leave and travel back. Only that Legolas was not sure if he would be able to return anymore. For how could he go back to the green and the yellow, to the red and the white, when he had seen the Blue, the only colour that made him feel alive… the only colour that made him feel anything at all.
In a desperate effort to regain control over himself, Legolas tore his gaze from the fierce waves and turned it backwards, towards the forest. The sudden change from blue to green was so painful, that it tore his heart apart. Legolas felt as if in a mere second he had lost everything. And then, a gull cried. The call tugged at his soul desperately and in front of his eyes the forest appeared to transform. The green turned to blue, and the trees seemed to melt down into water.
The Elf blinked and the forest turned green once again. He winced at the pain the view caused and the sense of loss it brought along. Suddenly aware of a hand on his shoulder, Legolas turned right to meet Aragorn's worried gaze.
"I have been calling you for a while," the Man explained, his voice anxious. "You looked… lost." Aragorn pressed his eyes tightly shut, and when he opened them, his gaze was pained. "I am sorry, Legolas. You should have never come here."
"Why would you be sorry?" The Elf snapped. "What could you have done, except for tying me up and keeping me away against my wishes? Coming here was my choice, not yours."
The King did not seem taken aback by the cold answer. "I did not mean Dol Amroth. You should have never come this close to the Sea. You should have never come with me along the Paths of the Dead."
Legolas sighed and sat down on the grass. The Man sat next to him, watching him expectantly. "This was my choice as well," Legolas said softly, all of his irritation gone. "I had figured out Galadriel's warning before the end. I knew what I was walking into, and I made my choice with this knowledge." He grasped his friend's forearm seeing the guilt on the King's face. "You could not have stopped me. There is nothing you could have said or done that would have made me stay back. Not back then and certainly not now."
Aragorn gazed at the Elf thoughtfully. "Did you know what the cry of the gulls would do to you? Did you know things would be like… like this?"
Legolas absentmindedly let his hand play with a blade of grass. "I had some guesses, but I never imagined it would be like this. Still, I have no regrets," he hastened to add, seeing the look in his friend's eyes. "If I could go back and do everything anew, I would have changed nothing. I would not have borne the thought of you and Gimli walking the Paths and facing all those nameless horrors without me by your side."
"You came because of me thirty-five years ago," Aragorn said sadly, "and now you are staying in Middle-earth and enduring all this because of me. The choices might have been yours, but I find it hard not to feel at fault."
Surprising even himself, Legolas laughed. "Your only fault, Aragorn, is being a friend worth staying for."
The King raised an eyebrow. "Is that so? Then, perhaps I should change if I want to make you leave."
The Elf scratched his cheek in thought. "Yes, I suppose. If you become an indecent man and a dissatisfactory friend, I might reconsider my decision to stay."
"Good idea." Aragorn laughed. "I will do my best." His eyes suddenly turned serious. "Do you wish to tell me about it? You have never talked about the longing before, and have never told me how it makes you feel."
Legolas stared at the Man incredulously. "Honestly, Aragorn! Is that your idea of 'being a dissatisfactory friend'?"
The King looked down. "Maybe I do not wish to make you leave," he admitted softly.
Legolas smiled for a moment, but then turned serious once again. "Yes, I have never talked of it before, and it is hard to explain, even to myself. It is as if nothing can bring me joy anymore, nothing can make me feel. In the past, whenever I heard a song, it would make me feel cheerful, or sad, or nostalgic, depending on the music and the words, but now I hear a song and I do not feel anything. It cannot move me. In the past, I would eat a good dish and savor the pleasant taste, and now I feel indifferent to what I eat. In the past, I would gaze at the forest and find peace, but now all I long for is the sea. And there is an ever-present knowledge in my mind that somewhere there, beyond the Sea, is my true home. It is where I am supposed to be, it is where I will find joy again. A part of my heart has already sailed and I may never be whole again before I follow. I try to find my place in Middle-earth, and I try to find happiness, but everything is wrong."
"There must be something right, however small and insignificant," Aragorn said. "Or else you would have left long ago. Perhaps you do not realize what it is, but it is still there." His hand grasped the Elf's arm tightly. Normally the touch would have anchored Legolas to reality, keeping the pain at bay. But now, so close to the Sea, he could not even feel it. I am not sure how much longer I can hold on, he wanted to say. I do not even know if I will be able to turn back now. But he did not wish to burden his friend with this knowledge yet and kept silent. "I doubt that I can help you," Aragorn continued. "But if there is anything in my power to do to lessen your pain, you must tell me."
For a brief moment, a smile split the Elven face. "But you have already done it, my friend," he whispered. "You keep doing it every day."
They would leave on the morrow. Or, at least, the King and the rest of his party would leave. As for himself, Legolas was not sure. He did not even know if he would have the strength to try.
In a hopeless attempt to remember how to live, Legolas jumped up and grabbed a low hanging branch of an ancient oak. He nimbly climbed up until he reached the top, overlooking the bay and the city. Years ago such an act would have filled his heart with excitement and would have made him feel at home and complete. Now it made him feel nothing at all.
For a moment, Legolas contemplated going back down as sitting up here did not make a difference anyway, but an agitated voice made him stop.
"It is unfair!" The ten-year-old Prince of Gondor complained. "For once you have agreed to play with me, and I have no time!"
"What is this homework of yours that it cannot wait till tomorrow, when we are back on the ship?" Legolas startled as he recognized Gimli's voice. His keen eyes darted through the trees until he spotted the duo.
Eldarion took off his pack and let a pile of unfletched arrows and feathers fall on the ground. "Father says I need to learn to fletch arrows, and I need to finish all these before we leave! But I am so unskilled and it will take ages!"
Gimli smoothed his beard thoughtfully. "I suppose I could help you. This way we will finish faster."
Eldarion's eyes widened. "I doubt that Father will approve," the child said.
Gimli winked, "He does not need to know, does he?"
A mischievous grin appeared on the boy's face and the two sat down cross-legged and started work. Legolas observed the scene with interest. On one hand, he wanted to chastise Gimli for interfering in Eldarion's education in such a way, but on the other, it was nothing major and the child deserved to have time to play. He even considered jumping down and helping them, which would have made their work much faster.
"Where did you learn to fletch arrows, Uncle Gimli?" the child asked with interest. "I did not know that Dwarves were skilled in archery."
Gimli laughed. "We are not. It is Legolas who taught me how to fletch arrows. He said it might turn out to be useful one day, and he was right. Now I can use my skill to help young princes escape their homework." The Dwarf's gaze took on a faraway look. "I was slow to learn, but Legolas was a very patient teacher and I have much improved."
Indeed, the Elf noticed with pride, Gimli's short and thick fingers were surprisingly quick and nimble as he worked. The Dwarf and the child were so absorbed by their work, that they never heard Aragorn's approach. For a moment, Legolas considered warning them, but then decided to let the scene unfold.
"What have we here?" The Elf grinned in amusement as Gimli jumped at Aragorn's words. "Are you helping my son to cheat with his lessons, Gimli?" The King's voice was deceptively calm, and Legolas was sure that he did not wish to be in the Dwarf's shoes at that moment.
"I meant no disrespect, Aragorn. All I wished was to help the lad finish quickly," Gimli answered, a bit too quickly.
"Uncle Gimli promised to play with me," Eldarion chimed in. "If I don't finish in time today, who knows if I can make him play with me ever again!"
"And what game is so important, that you are putting your lessons at stake?" Aragorn asked, eyebrows raised.
Gimli looked down, as if unwilling to speak. "We are racing!" Eldarion cried excitedly.
"On horses!" the young Prince clarified.
The shock on the King's face mirrored Legolas's own. "Gimli, you mean to ride on your own? And race my son on top of that?"
"See, Ada!" Eldarion cried. "This is why it is so important! I may never again be able to make Uncle Gimli do this, and I cannot miss this one chance!"
Legolas's eyes turned towards Gimli, who had now turned a deep shade of red. He had to agree with the boy – it was of utmost importance that he finished his homework soon and had enough time for the race before the sun was down. It was once in a lifetime Gimli would agree to such a thing, and Legolas for one had no wish to miss it.
"You are right, my son," Aragorn said, after he had somewhat recovered from the shock. "You must finish your work in time and have this race at all costs." To Legolas's delight, he dropped to the ground and reached for the unfletched arrows.
Before the King started work, he gave Gimli a stern gaze. "If you really wish to help Eldarion, my friend, you should teach him how to do this fast and well, instead of only doing the work for him." True to his word, Aragorn carefully explained every step to his son as he fletched the arrow, and watched him do it, offering advice.
"Is there only one way to fletch arrows?" Eldarion asked suddenly.
"No," said Aragorn. "And one is not better than it other. I can show you other ways, but this is the one I am most used to."
"Strange," the boy murmured thoughtfully. "You and Uncle Gimli fletch arrows in exactly the same way."
"Not strange at all." Aragorn laughed. "For we had the same teacher."
To his shock, Legolas felt a warm tear slide down his cheek as he watched Aragorn use the technique he had taught him such a long time ago and show it to his son. One day Eldarion would teach it to his own son, who, in turn, would pass it on to the next generation. Legolas had left little legacies such as this, which would live on in Middle-earth even after he left.
And then, a gull cried.
Legolas closed his eyes against the assault of longing and heartache. When he slowly opened them, the world seemed to shake and tilt around him, trees, grass, and sky turning dark blue and melting into water. The gull cried again, and then another joined, each cry like a dagger through his heart. And then, as he looked around, he could see only the Sea. East, south, west and north, it was only blue, only waves and no shore to crash them. A vision so terrible, and yet so beautiful.
Was this not what he had yearned for every day in the past few decades? Was this not the one thing he wanted? But if so, why did he felt so empty now?
And where were Gimli and Aragorn? Blinking rapidly, he tried to make out the familiar shapes amidst the waves, but all that he could see was water. He tried to cry out, to call for them, but his throat felt tight, as if someone had wrapped cruel hands around his neck and was pressing firmly, letting no air come in or out. Come back! He couldn't have lost them!
With a start, Legolas realized that he was not ready to leave his friends. Not yet. Not ever.
Aragorn had been right. There still wassomething right and good in this world. Only, it was not small and insignificant at all. Slowly, Legolas turned around, giving the vast sea a long look. This was not what he wanted.
And then, a gull cried.
He did not care. He had made up his mind. He was staying.
Legolas closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. As he opened them, the vision began to gradually fade away, and shapes and colours started appearing in front of his eyes. And then, they were all there.
The rich copper of Gimli's beard, the ink black of Eldarion's hair, the silver of Aragorn's eyes, the deep green of the grass they were sitting on, the red and white and brown of the feathers they were using for fletching arrows. And then Legolas knew that each of these was exactly the right colour.
And he would never give any of this away for a blue sea.
-:- The End -:-
Thanks for reading! Reviews are greatly appreciated!
A note on Legolas's claim that he knew about the Sea-longing before the Paths of the Dead: It is debatable if this is the case. In the book it looks more as if the cry of the gulls and its consequences were a surprise to Legolas, but we never see it from his point of view and there is no strong evidence for or against. In my universe, Legolas deciphers Galadriel's warning after the Grey Company arrives in Rohan and Elladan and Elrohir deliver their father's message about the Paths of the Dead. His struggles with the realization and his dilemma if to follow Aragorn in spite of this are described in my old story, "My Path". I am currently planning to write a story set between these two (a sequel to "My Path" and prequel to "The Right Colour"), in which Aragorn learns about Legolas's decision.
The next chapter of "The Only Way to Kill the Dragon" will be up tomorrow!