Night had fallen over the plains of the Rohirrim. The heaviness of the air hid the stars from view, melding earth and sky to shadow in the distance. As the land approached the line of downs to the North it rose into shallow slopes. Sheltered from the chilling breeze by one of these slopes, Aragorn and Gimli slept soundly. Three days of relentless chase were taking their toll.
Only Legolas remained awake and kept watch over his companions. He stood upon the brow of the hill, gazing northward and singing softly to himself. Always his keen elvish eyes sought the trail before them, and his clear voice carried on the wind, gentle and uplifting. What thoughts ran beneath the words of his song, drifting back to lighter times or bent upon the desperate journey ahead, his fair face would not betray.
Though the land bore the marks of many marching feet that had passed this way, the plains were now empty. There was no movement, save for the ghostly ripple of the wind through the grass. It was perhaps this stillness that deceived Legolas, for the first whisper of a presence was faint and fleeting enough to be dismissed as a worrying thought, a fear that their quarry was slipping forever beyond reach. He sighed, casting away the notion. The moment passed and was forgotten.
Some time had gone by when the feeling returned, and Legolas was now aware that something was wrong. His waking senses perceived no threat, but an apprehension too heavy to brush aside was pressing upon his heart. He narrowed his eyes into the night, and drawing his knife he readied himself for any possible danger. None came, yet the feeling would not pass. Perhaps it would be wise to wake Aragorn and tell him of his concern? But Legolas shook his head. His companions were far too weary to be disturbed for the sake of a whim, and if Gimli discovered that Legolas was fretting about imagined fears like a child in the dark his mockery would be great indeed. Restless still, Legolas drew his cloak about him and began to pace to ease his thoughts.
Suddenly full realisation burst upon him, bringing with it a cold wave of shock and dismay. Deep within his mind a force was drawing him, relentless as an ebbing tide, and Legolas knew all too well what it meant. His steps faltered as if he were ill. Pressing a hand to his brow, he held himself rigid and breathed deeply of the cold air – all to no avail. The world grew dim before him. He was weakening.
"No," he gasped. "No! Not now!"
But the pull was already too great, and it intensified with each passing moment. His voice failed him and he could not cry out to his friends. At last, with a despairing shudder, he felt his will give way. His body slackened; the knife slipped from his hand and fell unheeded to the ground. Had Aragorn and Gimli awoken at that moment they would have found him standing as if he were carved in stone, his eyes fixed on the horizon and unseeing.
Coming Up: Ai! Ai! A Mary Sue is come!