13. Le Iston?
A/N – The use of Elvish in this story will be as follows: If the character from the POV that section is written in understands & speaks Sindarin, then dialogue will be in English in italics. If the current POV does not or only knows very little (such as Gimli) then it will appear as it sounds.
Translations are at the bottom of the page because if the character POV cannot understand it, well, you don't need to either. Translation provided as a courtesy!
It had been a beautiful day. Evening was swiftly approaching now. The sun was soon to set and the day was swiftly coming to an end. Another day without Legolas waking. It had been too long. Gimli sighed.
It had been thirty days since the cave had fallen in on them and ten days since Legolas had smiled and squeezed his hand. Legolas had only done that a few other times since then. A couple of times he had just squeezed the dwarf's hand. Last night, the elf had smiled again, more noticeably.
It was slow progress, but Gimli was encouraged. The dwarf kept talking to his friend, encouraging him to wake, knowing one day the elf would open his eyes. He had to. Gimli would accept no less. The dwarf could not abide the thought of Legolas never waking again.
Gimli was sitting once again beside the elf's bed. He held a cane across his lap. Aragorn insisted he use it, to help take some of the weight off his injured leg. Another week or so, and he wouldn't need anything but his own feet to get him around.
Legolas had also improved. He looked much better and was no longer so pale. The bandages around his head had been removed. Now, except for the fact that he had lost some weight and his eyes were closed, Legolas simply looked to be asleep. Gimli wished it were that simple.
How long would this continue? How long would he sit here and wonder if he would ever have his best friend back again? Aragorn came to the dwarf's mind again. The king was not doing any better than he was. Gimli sighed, and closed his eyes.
"I really wish you would just wake up, Legolas." He spoke his thoughts aloud quietly. A moment later a soft, slightly hoarse voice spoke.
"Hin nîn edri."
Gimli's heart leapt in his chest, his eyes snapped open and he looked into a pair of bright grey eyes. The elf was looking at him curiously. Gimli was speechless for a moment, as two wet tracks streaked down his face and soaked into his beard.
"Legolas." Gimli finally found his voice, hardly able to believe his friend was looking at him. He had waited so long for this day. Now all would be well again! Gimli quickly wiped his eyes and smiled widely.
The smile faded as the elf's eyes, so bright a moment ago, dulled, filled with a look of puzzlement and confusion. Legolas looked around the room before his eyes came back to the dwarf. And fear also crossed the elf's face, not an emotion Gimli was used to seeing on his friend.
"Man Im carel si? Le Iston?" Legolas asked, his voice hoarse from lack of use, rather than light and musical as it usually was. The elf looked expectantly at the dwarf, waiting for a response.
Gimli blinked. His mind made no sense of the words, so surprised was he that the elf was speaking in Sindarin. Why was Legolas speaking in Sindarin?
Grey eyes searched the dwarf's face for answers and finding none, Legolas sighed.
"Nin heniach? Pedil i lam edhellen?" Legolas continued to search Gimli's face for comprehension, but Gimli was still trying to understand why his friend was not speaking in Westron. The dwarf knew some Sindarin. Spending time with Legolas over the years, it had been impossible not to pick up some of the language. But one could not carry on a conversation if that person only knew a small number of phrases, especially when most of them were elvish curses Legolas had taught him. While he could think of uses for them at the moment, speaking with Legolas was not one of them.
"Speak common, Legolas. I cannot understand much of what you are saying." The dwarf watched a frown crease the elf's brow. He felt one upon his own face as well. The dwarf was overjoyed at Legolas finally waking, yet worried, for not all was well.
Legolas blew out a breath, looking quite frustrated. He began to sit up, a little unsteadily. Upon reaching an upright position, Legolas lifted a hand to his head. It was obvious he was still in pain. He went very pale and swayed slightly.
"Lie down, Legolas! You look as if you are going to pass out." Gimli spoke firmly, not wishing the elf to attempt to stand just yet. Too much was happening too quickly.
Legolas obeyed the dwarf's words, and Gimli helped him prop himself into a reclined position with the pillows behind him, rather than lying flat. The elf settled in, looking like he was in less pain now. He sighed and closed his eyes.
"Hannon le." Legolas spoke quietly, continuing to get more comfortable.
"You are welcome." Gimli offered. At least he knew what that phrase meant. The dwarf found himself for the first time wishing he had learned the elf's language.
Legolas grew very still, and fear welled up in the dwarf. Had his friend fallen asleep or fallen back into the darkness of oblivion?
"Legolas? Legolas look at me!" The dwarf called to his friend, almost in a panic.
The elf's eyes flew open and sought his own. Gimli sighed in relief, before speaking again.
"You scared me, lad. I thought you had fallen unconscious again." Gimli looked closely at the elf who was giving him a questioning look. "Do you understand me, Legolas?"
Legolas looked at the dwarf oddly, before taking a breath and speaking in that hoarse voice that sounded so unfamiliar coming from Legolas..
"Le henion. Nin heniach?" Legolas waited for Gimli's response but once more, Gimli did not understand enough of what the elf was saying. The dwarf blew out a breath of frustration himself. This really was too much.
"I'm sorry, Legolas, I only know a little of your tongue. I don't know if that means you do understand or you don't. Can you not speak common?" Another odd look and the dwarf was not sure what to think. Did the elf understand him or not?
"Doesn't matter." The dwarf muttered, answering both the question to Legolas and himself. Gimli reached next to him, and taking a cup of water off the table, handed it to the elf. He couldn't do much, but he could help Legolas with that scratchy throat.
Legolas took it gratefully, drinking most of it, before setting the cup back down on the table himself. He glanced at the dwarf before responding again.
"Hannon le." This time the elf's voice sounded more like it should, though still a little flat.
Gimli smiled, "Well, you sounded a little parched. Keep talking, Master elf. Sooner or later we'll come across another phrase I know. Right now it's enough just to hear your voice."
Legolas raised an eyebrow, and the dwarf laughed. It was such a little thing, but Gimli was relieved to see such a look on his friends' face, rather than the confused, lost look the elf had been wearing.
"You've been unconscious for thirty days now, laddie. Your poor excuse for a voice has been missed!" Gimli narrowed his eyes at the elf before chuckling, but he stopped when it seemed Legolas was becoming angry. Legolas still had that elven glare of his and right now it was burning holes into Gimli's head.
"Don't take it so seriously! I was only jesting." Gimli snorted and patted the elf on the arm. Legolas calmed down, but he still looked at Gimli with uncertainty in his eyes.
"Come now lad, try again, let's see if we can get somewhere with this pathetic attempt at communicating!" Gimli kept smiling, so his friend would know he was teasing. The dwarf missed their banter terribly. It had been too long since Legolas had insulted him. At one time, being insulted by the elf would have angered the dwarf. Now, he would give almost anything to hear it again.
"Le iston?" Legolas spoke hesitantly, repeating one of his earlier questions. This time Gimli listened to what was said, and he understood the words. It was time for his own eyebrow to rise. This was not good, not good at all. The dwarf had not expected this.
"Aye, Legolas, you know me, know me well. Do you not remember?" The dwarf's voice was gruff and when Legolas shook his head slightly, pain shot through Gimli. The dwarf lowered his eyes for a moment trying to deal with the intense emotion that seemingly wished to suffocate him. Legolas did not know who he was!
Taking a deep breath, Gimli looked up again. "Do you know who you are?" Of course, the dwarf thought, I've been using his name this whole time. But Gimli had to ask. He needed to know if his friend remembered anything.
The elf slowly nodded, "Im Legolas." He spoke assuredly. "Ni..." Legolas broke off suddenly, another frown and look of confusion crossing the elf's face, as it seemed Legolas searched within himself, trying to remember who he was. Gimli waited, his own thoughts in turmoil, as he hoped Legolas would remember.
The dwarf did not know what he would do if the elf could not remember. He had never considered this, though perhaps, both he and Aragorn should have. It was not uncommon for memory loss to accompany a severe head injury.
Gimli remembered Aragorn had mentioned there might be permanent damage. He said a silent prayer to Mahal, praying this was not the case. He'd pray to Elbereth herself as well, if only somehow the elf would be whole again. Gimli's eyes came back to Legolas's face, searching for signs that his friend had recalled who he was.
But instead, Legolas's eyes widened and he swallowed hard. He looked very vulnerable. "Av-iston," he whispered, his eyes boring into Gimli's own. The elf looked pleadingly at the dwarf, as if begging something, anything, to hold on to, some comfort that he had not lost himself.
"It's alright, my friend. I am sure in time you will remember. You were severely injured. Quite a blow you took to the head. You still need much rest to let your body heal." Gimli spoke with confidence he did not know he possessed. Somehow, the dwarf just knew everything would be alright, in the end.
This seemed to assure the distraught elf. Gimli watched as Legolas took another deep breath, clearing the panic from his face. After a minute or two of silence, the elf cocked his head to one side curiously and looked intently at the dwarf.
"Man eneth lín?" Legolas voice was sounding stronger, a note of music beginning to fill it again. The dwarf's reassurance had settled the fears in the elf's heart.
Gimli bit his lower lip, "What is my what?" The dwarf blinked, and grey eyes brightened somewhat at the dwarf's answer.
Finally Legolas smiled. "Im Legolas." Legolas pointed at himself as he said it, then pointed at the dwarf. "Le?" It was good to see the elf amused. A step in the right direction, for sure.
"Ah, I don't know why you are only speaking in Sindarin, elf, but I get it. Gimli, son of Gloin, at your service." And the dwarf bowed as best as he could sitting down. "Sound familiar?" Gimli hoped the number of times Legolas had heard him say that, followed by a bow, might spark some memory in the elf.
Legolas pursed his lips as he considered this for a moment, but simply shook his head again. Then, as if a light had dawned in his mind, Legolas brightened and asked, "Le mellon nîn?"
Gimli grinned. Finally, they were getting somewhere. "Yes, Legolas. Actually, you named me elvellon." Gimli watched the elf's eyebrows rise and eyes widen. "Do you know what that means, Legolas? What it means for an elf to name another elvellon?"
Legolas nodded, eyes still wide. Gimli almost chuckled. Communicating in this manner with the elf would be comical, if not for the severity of the situation. Legolas's open expressions and simple attempts at conveying what he was saying, made it seem like the dwarf was dealing with a lost child. Maybe Aragorn...
Aragorn! He needed to let the king know about this development! Aragorn and Arwen could speak with the elf, find out what he remembered and what he didn't. They could help Legolas far better than he could. Both were older friends to Legolas than Gimli was, perhaps Legolas would remember them.
"Legolas, listen to me. I need you to stay here for a few minutes. Do not get up. A fall or another hit to the head is not a good idea right now." Gimli stopped long enough for Legolas to nod his understanding. "I am going to send someone for Aragorn. He will understand what you are saying. We need his help!"
Gimli did not even pause to ask if Aragorn's name meant anything to Legolas. The elf simply nodded again, relief in his eyes, and Gimli stepped out of the room. As quickly as he could hobble with his cane, the dwarf set off to find someone to send a message to the palace.
The dwarf named Gimli left the room and Legolas was left puzzling over what had transpired since he had awakened. He did not understand what was happening.
Where was he? What had happened to him that he could not remember so many things?
Legolas knew he was an elf. He knew what an elf friend was, which was why he had been shocked to find he himself had given that name to a dwarf. For some reason Legolas could not fathom, he had no difficulty accepting the dwarf's words and presence.
There were other things Legolas remembered. He had vague recollections of tall trees and stone halls, singing and dancing under the stars, two long white knives and arrows being split one after another as they hit a target dead center.
But the pieces did not all fit together. Legolas could not make the connections, as large pieces seemed to be missing from his memory. Things such as the strange fact he could understand the dwarf speaking in a different language, while he could only speak his native tongue. He felt like he had lost something important. A lot of things actually.
Legolas remembered waking up to the sound of a very familiar voice. He had heard that voice even while he was unconscious, and it had touched some part of him, deep within.
As he had awakened, he had realized that the one who owned that familiar voice, had called to him, needed him. He had responded but as soon as he was aware, pieces of who he was seemed to fade away. Legolas thought he had known who he was while he was sleeping, but awake, he was only confused.
Legolas felt miserable. Besides his mind being in turmoil, his head pounded in his ears. His body felt stiff and weak, as it should if he had been lying here for thirty days as the dwarf had said. But mostly, there was a painful sense that he was not where he belonged. Legolas searched his heart trying to remember. Then he realized he could discern a song, a beautiful song, but terrible as well, as it filled the elf's heart with much pain.
Legolas gasped. He did not belong here. The sea was calling him home! That much he knew. Why was he here? Had he been injured making the trip to the havens? Legolas searched for the reasons as to why he would linger in this place, when the sea's call was so insistent and painful.
But he could not remember. He had forgotten. Why did that seem so familiar?
Flashes of strange memories began to assault him. He heard birds crying in the wind, water splashed against the hull of a black ship. And the ache in his heart grew stronger, along with the pounding in his head.
He needed to rest. He was not well yet. And sleep would relieve much of the pain. Perhaps when he woke, he would remember. His eyes grew heavy and he closed them.
A few minutes later he was sound asleep. Legolas did not hear the dwarf return, or the gasp and the call of his name.
He had retreated again, to that place in his mind where there was no more pain, save the ache from the song, but even that had faded greatly. The voice in the background continued to speak, and once again, Legolas felt it was very familiar. He knew that voice. And the voice brought comfort as he slept on.
The sun was setting in a clear sky. Pink and Orange rays caressed the stone of the White City. It was truly a breath taking sight. Aragorn would never get tired of watching the sunset from the Tower of Ecthelion.
The king of Gondor had not slept very well the last few nights. Actually, he had not slept well in a month. The lack of sleep and the worry for his friend affected his dealings with members of the court. So he had excused himself and had sought solace in the tower. Watching the sun go down always soothed his troubled heart.
The sun sunk beyond sight, going to its rest for yet another day. The air grew cooler and the stars began coming out, one by one. Still he stood there, seeking some comfort from the troubles that caused his heart to ache within him.
A presence behind him brought a small smile to his lips. The smile grew as two arms reached around him and held him close. His wife always seemed to know when he needed comfort.
"What bothers you so, my husband, that you seek solace in the twilight?"
Her voice was soft as she spoke, full of love and concern. The smile on the king's face was replaced with a frown.
"I am still worried about Legolas. He should have regained consciousness by now. It has been a month!" Aragorn stopped and sighed in frustration. The truth was he felt powerless to do anything. He was a man of action. Usually patient, but his patience was wearing thin from the lack of sleep.
"We are all concerned for the time that has passed, but he has shown signs of awareness, small they may be. Gimli said Legolas smiled again last evening at something he said. This is improvement. You must be patient, he will awake."
Arwen paused and he absorbed what she had said. She spoke again, very softly. "What truly troubles you, Estel?"
The use of his elven name was Aragorn's undoing. His shoulders slumped and he turned into his wife's embrace, laying his cheek against hers.
"I expect Thranduil or another member of his family any day. I dread having them here. Especially with Legolas still unconscious. They may want to move him, take him home. I do not want to deal with the arrogance and prejudices of that family!" His voice clearly revealed his disdain.
"They would not dare to move him. It could set him back greatly. They will see this." She pulled back and lifted hand and caressed his face before dropping it to rest on his arm.
"As for the prejudices, you know why they feel such. Isildur's failure and the loss of Oropher affected Thranduil greatly. He returned to his home with only a third of his warriors after the last alliance. He returned without his father at his side. A loss he could have accepted, if the ring had been destroyed then. Thranduil saw the whole war as a waste of life, a battle fought, yet still not truly won. Isildur's failure, became the failure of men in his eyes.
"In his mind, what he did was just. He was trying to protect his son. All that transpired so long ago, was meant to frighten a young man, the heir of the man Thranduil blamed for the deaths of so many elves. In doing so, he hoped you would not continue to seek Legolas's friendship. He thought those things would dissuade Legolas as well, as Thranduil knew his son would fear for you. He wanted his son to have no dealings with those who were doomed to fail, as Isildur had done."
Again, she paused looking at him with love shining in her eyes.
"But you, you are not Isildur, you are greater than he. You faced the same evil and you did not fail. You again must not let past events affect you. Do not forget, my love, You are the king of Gondor, not Thranduil. He will be in Your realm. Do not fear, you will never lose Legolas's friendship. He has proven this time and again, in spite of his stubborn father."
Arwen smiled and Aragorn pulled her to him, until their faces almost touched, and looked deeply into her eyes. Once again, she had reminded him that she held the wisdom of the elves. She was truly a wise queen and this was only one of the reasons Aragorn cherished her as he did.
He leaned down and kissed her softly. "Thank you, my love."
He took her hand in his, and led her in the direction of their chambers. However, as they neared a voice called out.
"My king!" They both turned. Captain Arnien strode down the hallway towards them.
When the soldier stopped in front of them, Aragorn asked. "What is it, Captain?"
"Forgive me, my lord, but Lord Gimli has sent a message requesting your presence. Lord Legolas has awakened, but not all is well! He bids you to hurry."
Aragorn glanced at Arwen. She looked back at him, her eyes glittering in the torchlight. Hope rose in his chest, Legolas was awake! But something was wrong. Aragorn frowned. He looked at his captain again.
"Please inform Lord Faramir and Lady Eowyn as well."
Then still leading Arwen by the hand, he turned and walked quickly to the houses of healing.
Le iston? - Do I know you?
Hin nîn edri - I am awake. Lit. My eyes have opened.
Man Im carel si? - What am I doing here?
Le iston? - Do I know you?
Nin heniach? - Do you understand me?
Pedil i lam edhellen? - Do you speak the Elven language?
Hannon le – Thank you
Le henion – I understand you
Nin heniach? - Do you understand me?
Im Legolas – I am Legolas
Av-iston – I don't know
Man eneth lín? – What is your name?
Le? – You are?
Le Mellon nîn? – Are you my friend?
Elvellon –Elf Friend
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.