17. Soothing The Pain Of Guilt
Soothing the Pain of Guilt
Legolas notched another arrow and drew back his bow. He released and watched as it hit the target, dead center. It had not taken him long to adjust once again to his bow. Legolas did not remember receiving the beautiful bow of the Galadhrim, but it was a pleasure to use. He ran a finger along the intricate carvings, admiring the vaguely familiar feel as he sighed.
Legolas would never forget that night he had awakened to those who were so strangely familiar, yet were unknown to him. They had spoken long about who he had been, who he was, but it was not the same as knowing himself. He had despaired.
Then his father had come with his sister. It had been comforting to find he still knew them, yet, in truth, he still did not know himself. The small flashes of memory were not enough to define to himself who he was. He had sought solace in sleep, for there he was comforted. There he vaguely recalled remembering.
It had happened two weeks ago, when his life had been turned upside down. When he had awakened to the ache in his chest that haunted him. The sea was a constant ache, giving no reprieve from its song. So Legolas did what he had been encouraged to do, he got up and began regaining his strength. In moving about he hoped to lesson the pain that tore at his heart.
It had taken a few days for him to recover enough to stand and walk slowly, moving about the garden behind the houses of healing. Once on his feet, his strength had quickly returned. Legolas was on the path towards regaining himself. He sought places, things and activities that should stir feelings and hopefully memories.
But very few memories returned to him, and for the most part Legolas simply made new ones. He practiced with his bow. He sparred with Aragorn, Faramir and even Eowyn. He walked the city of stone, and visited the horse he did not know, though it was obvious the horse knew him well, as did the people of Minas Tirith. It would seem he was well liked.
Faramir and Eowyn spoke with Legolas about Ithilien. Arwen told him of their first meeting, when they had danced at his coming of age ceremony. Aragorn had told Legolas much about the last ninety years and the elf could hear the nostalgia in the king's voice as he spoke of the beginnings of their friendship. For reasons Legolas could not name, he knew he could trust this man named Estel.
So the last two weeks had gone by, and Legolas hated feeling confused, a stranger to himself. The only way to overcome this was to remember. Thus Legolas continued seeking out anything to help him remember, and anything to help dull the sea's call. He spent time seeking familiar things, so it was, he spent much time with his father and sister.
Thranduil had rarely let Legolas out of his sight. The time with his father had not all been pleasant. The elven king had seen the call of the sea in his son, and Legolas realized he must have hidden much of it in the past. The situation he now found himself in, the frustration of being unable to remember, was causing him to be unable to mask his emotions easily.
Thranduil wanted Legolas to journey back to Eryn Lasgalen, then after a time, sail to Valinor. His father was convincing in his arguments, but Legolas could not explain why this irritated him to no end. The elf did not want to hear any more from his father. He only wanted time to remember.
But time he did not have. The sea continued to sing to him, pulling his heart closer to the shore, as there was no longer a strong anchor to hold him in the forests of Ithilien. Legolas wondered if he would be able to stay long enough to remember. There would be healing in the Undying Lands.
Legolas continued practicing as his mind continued to process all that had happened to him. Here on the archery field, he could contemplate in silence as he pulled arrow after arrow in comforting, familiar repetition. Here Legolas could escape almost all of those who hounded his steps, worried about him.
All except the dwarf. The dwarf was another matter altogether. Legolas could not comprehend how he had became friends with a dwarf, but he had no doubts that he had done so. Of all the familiar strangers that surrounded him, Gimli, was the most constant and the most concerned for him. Not even his father's worry could compare to the fear he felt coming from Gimli.
The dwarf was the quietest of them all, speaking little, usually when answering direct questions. There was an air of uncertainty about Gimli, one Legolas somehow knew should not be there. Gimli should not be silent, there should be conversation between them..
For now, Gimli simply sat off to the side, smoking his pipe and watching the elf shoot. Legolas held an arrow, notched, bow pulled back, continuing to strengthen the arm that had been broken six weeks ago. When his arm began to shake, he held it a minute longer, then released. This arrow was not as accurate, but that had not been the point.
Legolas glanced at the dwarf, and noticed Gimli had not seen the shot. Once again, the dwarf was looking at the ground before him, lost in thought. Legolas sighed. He had to do something, this was not helping. Aragorn had told him about his friendship with Gimli, and the dwarf was not behaving in his usual manner. Something was bothering the dwarf, greatly.
The elf put his bow and quiver on the table nearby, and walked over and sat beside his friend, for friend he was, remembered or not. Gimli did not even look up, he simply sat there, pipe in hand staring at the ground.
"What is it, Gimli? Why do you focus so intently on the ground?" Legolas asked his friend. "Have I done something to upset you, Master dwarf? Aragorn assures me you are not one to keep quiet for so long." He let a smile grace his lips as he tried for humor.
Gimli looked up and gave a small smile in return. "Well, I have to admit you are trying, lad. But it's just not the same." The dwarf went silent again.
"And it may never be the same, Gimli. I am sorry." Legolas apologized and jumped when the dwarf's head snapped up again.
"YOU are sorry?" Gimli asked incredulously. "Nay, Legolas, it was my fault this happened. You are not to blame. I am the one who is sorry."
Legolas looked at the dwarf in disbelief. Is this why the dwarf had been acting strangely? He was suffering from guilt?
"What do you mean it was your fault? I thought the cave in was an accident. Is that not how I was injured?" The elf asked somewhat apprehensively, unsure of what the answer would be. Why would another feel guilty for an accident?
Gimli took a deep breath and looked the elf in the eyes. "But I am a dwarf, Legolas. I should have sensed it sooner. Even more, I should not have asked you to explore the caves with me at all. You have never felt comfortable under ground, I should not have pushed you to go."
Legolas tilted his head back and gazed into the sky, thinking about the dwarf's words for a few minutes. Bringing his eyes back to the dwarf, he spoke what he knew to be true. No memory was required to know how to answer this claim.
"I do not remember why I went with you. I do not remember going at all." The elf shook his head, "It does not matter. I went, I made the decision for whatever reason and the consequences of that decision are mine alone to bear." Legolas looked hard at the dwarf beside him. "It was an accident. It is no one's fault. It just happened. Please, do not blame yourself... it helps me not."
Legolas gazed at the dwarf, patiently waiting for his reply. The dwarf looked back, a frown on his face, searching the elf's face for what Legolas was not sure. Then Gimli smiled as he nodded his head slowly. It was a real smile and it seemed a great weight had been lifted from him.
"Perhaps things are not so different after all, elf" Gimli told his friend.
The two sat in comfortable silence a while longer. Then collecting their things, they headed to dinner, a smile on the elf's face as Gimli talked the whole distance.
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.