2. An Overdue Visit
(The Day before Prologue)
Royal Wing of the Citadel
Minas Tirith, Gondor
Aragorn watched the dwarf carefully. Gimli had been standing on that balcony for a couple of hours now, looking south. He had not spoken much since he had arrived yesterday, and Aragorn was concerned. This was not like Gimli at all. He knew his friend well enough to know the dwarf loved to talk, to tell of all his experiences. Gimli was a storyteller and a good one, and it had been a long time since they had seen each other. He should have been chatting away, telling all about Legolas' last visit to Aglarond and the mischief they had gotten into, or excitedly discussing the newly found caverns in Mount Mindolluin which had brought him here. Yet, Gimli was silent. This was not a good sign. Aragorn walked out to stand next to him, knowing there was much on the dwarf's mind.
"What causes you to stand here so silently, my friend? I was sure you would be excited about these new caverns and a chance to explore them. Surely you must have much to tell of Aglarond as well! How went Legolas' last visit? Did he get lost again?" Aragorn smiled slightly.
The smile faded when the dwarf turned to look at him. There was such pain in his eyes…and concern. "Legolas did not come see me this last year, Aragorn. There is not much to tell."
The dwarf turned away again. He looked troubled and deep in thought. Aragorn was taken back by this news. Legolas had not visited! He had sensed something was not right when Legolas declined the last invitation to visit Minas Tirith. It seemed the elf had not seen anyone in a while. This did not bode well. He looked down as Gimli spoke again.
"I fear for him. It is not like Legolas to disregard our plans. He did not even send word that he was not coming. When I sent a letter inquiring if all was well, his reply just stated that he had been busy and had forgotten. Forgotten, Aragorn! Then, he went on to say he would not be able to come in the spring either, as he usually does. No reason, just he was sorry he was unable to come. Blast that elf! He's turned me into a sentimental fool!"
Despite his concern, Aragorn could not hold back a smile. It was true, there was a time Gimli would not have cared at all what Legolas did or did not do. They had so strongly disliked each other when they first met and were forced to work together as part of the Fellowship of the Ring. That had all changed over the course of the War, and many were amazed at the strong friendship these two had developed. Though, those who did not know them well might still consider them enemies, as they bickered amongst themselves constantly. It was rare for one of them to admit to the deep feelings between them. He had been correct in his premonitions. Something was not right with his elf friend.
"I will send a letter to Asca Nen, asking him to come, Gimli. I already have a message going to Faramir, we will add one to Legolas as well. With this new discovery, I want him to be here. He has declined our offers to visit the last six months. Faramir mentioned Legolas did not look himself the last time he saw him, though our friend claimed he was just very busy in a new area of the forest. I have wanted to check on him, but I have been unable to get away. It seems our friend the elf has made a habit of claiming he is busy, in order to avoid his friends. Come Gimli, let us write to our missing comrade and make sure he cannot refuse to come!"
"Very well, Aragorn. But if he does not come, I am going to him. Obviously, he needs to have a discussion with the flat side of my ax!"
Aragorn chuckled as they both turned and headed towards his office. Soon a rider left the city gates, headed south towards Ithilien.
(Morning, the day after Legolas made his vow)
Legolas arrived back in Asca Nen the next morning. He had been taking these trips alone for a while now, searching out new areas that needed the elves' touch. After last evening, he realized taking these trips alone was probably not the best thing to do. Shaking his head in disgust at himself, he entered Asca Nen and headed towards his dwelling.
The elves of Ithilien had slowly turned the land back to its previous beauty. The trees were recovering from the darkness. Young ferns, forest plants and flowers were growing everywhere, in and around the elven city. If one could call it a city. Truly, there were few dwellings on the ground. All of the elves that lived here, lived in beautiful talans in the trees. There were a few guest quarters built below for occasional visitors. A hall, of sorts, consisted of a large clearing with a scattering of stone tables and benches. The elves preferred to meet and feast under the stars. There was also a small stable which was only used when there were visitors, as the elves let their own horses roam free. A few other miscellaneous buildings scattered amongst the trees. All were a part of the landscape around them. It was a beautiful settlement.
The most interesting feature here was the home of its lord. A tall tree stood next to the edge of a large, rocky cliff. The main dwelling was a talan built high in this splendid tree. It was the only one with a built in spiraling stair, which began near the entrance to a large cave system. Skilled dwarven hands had carved those caves into magnificent rooms, similar to those of the elven king's halls. It was here that Legolas' personal guests stayed. He also slept in the caverns when a certain dwarven visitor, who detested climbing trees even if that consisted of climbing stairs, came to stay.
Legolas stopped walking towards his dwelling and turned towards his second in command. He had known Tathar since they were elflings. Their friendship had grown from mere companions to include military chain of command. When Legolas became a captain of his own patrol, Tathar became his lieutenant. When Legolas moved to Ithilien after the war, Tathar was the first to agree to come. Tathar took his duties as second in command and advisor very seriously. He knew his place and filled his role well.
"My lord," the dark haired elf repeated as he hurried towards Legolas. "A rider arrived from Minas Tirith last night. He left a message for you from the king! He said you should read it as soon as possible," Tathar exclaimed, handing the scroll over to Legolas.
"Thank you, Tathar. I will take this up and read it now. Unless the king requires something other of me, I will be leaving for Rohan, and I don't want to hear any arguments about it either!" Legolas stated quickly as the other was opening his mouth to protest. "I have already missed my regular trips to see Gimli, and nothing here is pressing. Unless Aragorn needs me elsewhere, I will be gone at least a month, perhaps two." Pausing to observe Tathar's expression of shock, he added, "I'll be leaving as soon as I can finish preparing my things."
"As you wish, my lord. I do not like you being away without a guard, but perhaps the time will be good for you. We will miss you, my lord." Sometimes there was just no arguing with that stubborn creature of a prince. Better to just accept the fact and make sure all stayed well here in Ithilien while his lord was away.
Legolas was surprised at this response. Tathar strongly disliked his lord being away for any length of time. Yet, his second was not arguing. Things would be well here while he was away. Legolas was confident of his second's abilities.
"Thank you, Tathar. And stop calling me lord. You have known me long enough to know how I feel about titles!" Legolas gave his friend a grin and turned back towards his talan.
He climbed the stairs rapidly, and once inside, he sat at a desk and looked at the scroll in his hand. Breaking the seal, he opened it and scanned it briefly. This was a personal letter rather than official business.
Greetings Prince Legolas,
My friend, I hope this letter finds all well with you. As it seems all is well in Ithilien, your people can spare your arrogant presence for a time. It has been too long since you visited us, Legolas! We have missed you.
A certain dwarven friend of yours arrived yesterday and is requesting your presence here in Minas Tirith, as well. It seems our city's engineers have come across some old caverns that run deep into the mountain from the city. Gimli is certain he could not explore these without your complaining and has requested I send a messenger to you. I quickly agreed, as I would have your opinions on these findings, as well.
In his words, "You better get here quickly ,or I'll have to find a use for my ax on your backside!" Seems you are not in Gimli's favor at the time, my friend. Something about not visiting? Again, I wonder if all is well with you or have you just tired of our presence?
You have until the end of the week to get yourself here to Minas Tirith. Failure to arrive will result in an angry, ax wielding dwarf coming to look for you.
We look forward to you gracing us with your fair presence again.
A smile spread slowly across the elf's face. Of course, they would never believe that he was already planning to visit. But by leaving this morning, he would arrive by late tonight. He would surprise them by showing up very early. Legolas smiled again. The dwarf would have to find other uses for that ax of his.
After informing Tathar of the change in plans, Legolas packed quickly. He slipped his knife in his belt and buckled his quiver on his back. He picked up his bow and pack, and after a last look around, turned and left. A whistle produced his horse, and he mounted and headed for Minas Tirith without a backwards glance.
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.