10. Musing Over Messages And Dwarves
Chapter Nine: Musing Over Messages and Dwarves
Ten days. Astonishing how littlecan happen in that amount of time — and how much.
The day after Legolas and Gimli were rescued, Aragorn sent out messages to those he knew would want to know of Legolas's condition. One had gone to Tathar in Asgarnen, another to Faramir and Éowyn in Emyn Arnen. He had even dispatched one to Rohan for Éomer King.
Then there was the one he had dreaded to write, the one he knew would invoke the most consternation. He knew the letter he sent to King Thranduil would not only cause great concern, but in all likelihood, anger. Thranduil had never approved of the prince's close friendships with mortals and never hesitated to let it be known. This accident had happened in Minas Tirith, and it was possible the King of Eryn Lasgalen would make a point of blaming Gondor's king.
The messenger Aragorn sent to Ithilien had returned several days ago bringing Tathar's response to the news. Legolas's second-in-command expressed his concern for his lord, but ever the faithful Lord Warden, he suppressed his desire to come and be with his friend. Duty kept him in Asgarnen, serving in his lord's stead. Tathar did inquire as to whether Thranduil had been apprised of the situation, and also requested to be notified immediately if there were anychanges in Legolas's condition.
Due to an illness of their young daughter, three year old Kaila, Faramir and Éowyn sent their well wishes for Legolas but were unable to make the trip to Minas Tirith. Éowyn wrote that as soon as Kaila improved enough to be left with her nursemaid that they would come. Aragorn was not certain what they could do, as Legolas showed no sign of waking, but perhaps having visitors would help. Even unconscious it was possible Legolas would sense his friends, and the prince had grown close to Faramir's family due to the proximity of Emyn Arnen to Asgarnen.
Éomer also sent a reply expressing his concern for Legolas and asking to be kept informed of the elf's condition and recovery. Aragorn noted that Éomer did not allow for anything other than Legolas's return to complete health. He hoped the King of Rohan was right.
A reply was not expected from King Thranduil, for more than likely, Legolas's father would come himself or send another member of the royal family to check on the injured prince. Either way, it would not necessarily be pleasant, though Aragorn would prefer one of Legolas's brothers or even his sister over Thranduil. Aragorn still cringed at the thought of his last encounter with the royal family of Eryn Lasgalen.
It had taken several years, but Legolas admitted to Aragorn that his father and siblings had finally accepted his choice of where he lived and who he befriended, but Aragorn was skeptical. The stern and unforgiving Elvenking wished for his youngest to either reside in the Greenwood as a prince or to follow the longing in his heart and sail into the West. Even if Thranduil had accepted Legolas's choices, the Elvenking would never understand them.
Aragorn sighed. After rubbing his tired eyes, he stretched cramping muscles. He had been sitting at his desk for too long. His stomach growled and he decided he would eat the midday meal with Gimli in the Houses of Healing, using it as an excuse to check on Legolas, though he seriously doubted there had been any change in his friend. Legolas had shown no sign of waking — he had not even stirred.
If only the same could be said for Gimli, Aragorn thought after he arrived and found the dwarf was missing. No one had seen Gimli in some time or even knew where he was. Most of the staff were grateful for the dwarf's absence. It had been a peaceful morning apparently, but Aragorn was concerned. Perhaps giving Gimli crutches had not been the best of ideas, but he honestly had not thought the dwarf would stray from Legolas's side for long.
When Gimli proved impossible to find anywhere in the Houses or the gardens, Aragorn came to the conclusion that he had expected too much. In providing a way for the dwarf to get around, Aragorn had never thought Gimli would use it to disappear. Annoyed, he set out to return to the Citadel and to his surprise found his truant patient coming out of the stable.
"What are you doing here?" He inwardly cringed at his tone. He sounded like an interrogator rather than a concerned friend. To his surprise, a slight flush tinged the dwarf's cheeks pink.
"I was checking on Moroch."
Aragorn blinked, then smiled. He could not pass up this opportunity to tease his stout friend. "It would seem Master Dwarf that Legolas is rubbing off on you. I am sure he will be pleased to know that you have taken to visiting your pony." Aragorn taunted.
"Confound it all, Aragorn!" Gimli huffed. "That pony is a valuable one, a horse of Rohan, no less! It is my responsibility to see that he is being cared for properly. I did not go to visit!" Gimli replied quite gruffly.
Sure he did not. Aragorn grinned knowingly at his friend, then sent Gimli back to the Houses of Healing with orders to rest. To his surprise, the dwarf went without argument, saying he wanted to see Legolas anyhow.
Aragorn returned to his duties but after several hours he again found his thoughts straying to his friend laying unconscious on the sixth level. No one would berate him for returning to see Legolas. Theirs was a friendship forged many years ago, when an elven prince from Mirkwood had visited Imladris and met the young adopted son of Elrond, a child named Estel.
Yes, he would check on Legolas, be there change or not, he decided. Aragorn felt a need to see his friend at this moment. As he stood and walked to the door, memories of days long gone flooded his mind: a real prince come to visit Imladris but still played games with the child Estel and taught him archery; a friend who later taught an adolescent Estel his parables while visiting Imladris; a boon companion who would not leave his side, even facing the Black Gates of Mordor; a brother who denied his longing for the sea in favor of a King of Men; Legolas who remained out of love for his friends.
Aragorn stopped at the door and swiped at the moisture that had accumulated in his eyes. He missed Legolas more than he had realized. His duties had kept his mind off the ache in his chest and the worry he felt for his friend. Would the elf ever wake? Would he be the same friend Aragorn had known if he did? Taking a deep breath, he walked out the door, shutting it firmly behind him.
Gimli was astounded. Never would he have thought a talk with a horse— NO! a talk TO a horse — would benefit him. He sighed. Aragorn had been right. His friendship with Legolas had influenced him greatly.
When he returned to Legolas's side, he realized that though he had been next to his friend the last ten days, he had kept himself distant due to his fears. Fears of losing a close friend. Talking about those fears, even to a horse, had eased the ache they caused and now he was ready to help his friend recover. No longer would he simply watch others do what he should be doing.
Gimli maneuvered to the chair beside the bed and sat in it, looking long and hard at Legolas and taking in the fading bruises on his face, the bandages around his head and left arm. He had never seen the elf this pale before...or so still.
He took a deep breath. "Legolas?" Gimli watched for any signs his friend could hear him. "Legolas, it's me. I just wanted you to know I am here."
What does one say to an unconscious person? He guessed he could start with what had been happening around them the past few days. "Well, elf, Aragorn finally allowed me up and about, on crutches, though. Seems I broke my leg. Doesn't slow me down at all. You know how we dwarves are hardy folk."
There was no change, no flutter of eyelashes, no tilting of the head. Not a finger stirred. Only the steady rise and fall of the elf's breathing showed any signs of life, and Gimli was afraid. No longer only for his friend, but also for himself. What if the elf never woke again? What would he do? How would he go on?
These were the thoughts Gimli had avoided, but no longer would they stay buried. It seemed he had more he needed to say, and here was another silent listener. Reaching out, he picked up Legolas's hand and started speaking again. He told Legolas about his visit to the stable, how he worried that the elf would not wake and what would they all do without having Legolas to keep out of trouble? When he ran out of things to say, Gimli simply sat and held his friend's hand.
Before long, the dwarf nodded off and began to snore softly. If he had stayed awake a few moments longer he might have felt slender fingers very softly, almost too faint to be noticed, squeeze his callused fingers before falling still once more.
To Be Continued…
In this series, Legolas has two living brothers and a sister, all older than he.
Tathar - Legolas's second-in-command, Lord Warden of Asgarnen, the elven colony in Ithilien.
Kaila (Kye' lah) – A Rohirric name meaning fiery.
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