21. Accepting The Loss
Words spoken in italics are spoken in Sindarin
Accepting the Loss
Anariel looked at her father riding beside her. He was not the same as he had been on their way to Gondor. He had changed, so much for the better. Her joy at having her father restored to them was diminished by the fact her little brother had lost his way and his heart to the sea.
The elven Princess had hoped, had prayed that her brother would be restored to them. But it was not to be on these shores. She had not wept much, for she knew they would see Legolas again, and soon as time goes by to the elves. But Anariel knew her brother would never be the same. Once Legolas remembered, his pain would be great for having sailed before his vow released him, for leaving those he loved dearly. None could blame him for taking this course, but he would blame himself. The lady sighed to herself, knowing there would be little more comfort for him in Valinor, than he had had here.
After a difficult good bye to Legolas, King Thranduil and his daughter had gathered their guards and bid farewell to Asca Nen, the land Legolas had loved and worked so hard to restore. Anariel had been surprised when Thranduil had insisted on stopping in Emyn Arnen before returning home. The king wished to speak with the lady Eowyn and Prince Faramir before turning north.
Anariel knew Legolas was having Aragorn send a letter explaining the Lord of Ithilien's departure. It seemed Thranduil felt it his responsibility to inform the Steward and his wife in person. It had been a touching visit. Anariel would never forget the sight of the lady Eowyn, tears brimming in her eyes, placing a kiss on her father's cheek, and the look of thankfulness in both her and Faramir's eyes for being told personally. They would grieve this loss for a long time.
"We need to pick up the pace. I wish to be home as soon as possible. We have been away too long and there will be much explaining to do." The elven king spoke from beside her. Anariel urged her horse faster after taking a last glance over her shoulder at the Land of the Moon. And since he had not, could not, she bid the land farewell for her brother.
The road northwest would be a long one. Legolas looked over at the two guards his father had insisted he take with him. He would have rather made the trip alone, but he did not remember the way. It seemed these two elves were either naturally very quiet, or Thranduil had ordered them to leave the troubled prince be. Whatever the reason, Legolas was grateful. He wished to be alone with his thoughts.
They set out in a most direct route, Legolas made sure they would avoid both Helm's Deep and thus, Aglarond, as well as Edoras, riding north of both before turning more westward. They would cross the river Isen near what had once been Isengard, and continue northwest traveling just south of the Shire. The Grey Havens were not much farther west.
Before they ever entered Rohan, Legolas's thoughts inevitably turned to his last day in Gondor. It was not easy to think about it, but he supposed it was necessary to put it behind him. The elf did not understand what had happened in that library, only that when the dwarf had released him to go, the pain had been almost unbearable.
Legolas had stood there looking after the dwarf for a long time. Shock and confusion, as well as an almost physical pain, held him to the spot. He convinced himself it was the pain of the sea longing growing stronger, now that he was truly free to leave. Estel had reentered the room and had snapped the elf out of his frozen state.
That night he had spent with Estel and Arwen. They tried to hide their feelings, but Legolas could sense their pain at his leaving. Neither attempted to sway his mind. Both supported the elf in his choice, no matter how painfully it affected the king and queen. Legolas truly appreciated their love and respect for him in this matter.
The next morning had presented a very difficult goodbye. Tears streamed down the Evenstar's face and she hugged him tightly before kissing him lightly on his cheek. Estel had tears as well, though he held them back until the elf embraced him. The king had clung to Legolas for a long moment, before shifting his hold to the more familiar warrior's grasp.
"I will miss you, Legolas. Take care of yourself on your journey. May you find peace in your crossing." A tear slipped down his face as he added, "Forever you are my friend and my brother.."
Again, that piercing pain shot through Legolas's heart and he knew he needed to leave quickly. "May the sun shine upon your path and your ways be green and golden."
The elf smiled slightly. "May the leaves of your life never die." He gave Estel's shoulder one last squeeze and lowered his hand to his heart and bowed his head. Looking up again, he swept his hand outwards to them in the traditional elven farewell salute. "Farewell, my friends."
Now, they were entering Rohan and had many days of hard travel before them. Legolas kept to himself, speaking only when necessary. He rode, ate, and tended his horse, and always his eyes turned west...to the sea.
Arwen walked in the Queen's garden alone. The moon shone brightly overhead as she moved to sit on a low bench. Her tears had dried days ago, but the ache in her heart would take longer to heal. How she missed the laughing, mischievous elven prince whom everyone loved. She missed him almost as much as she missed her husband.
Aragorn would need much time to accept the loss of Legolas. It had hurt him deeper than either of them could have imagined. Aragorn had met the prince of Mirkwood when he was only seven years old. Their friendship had blossomed quickly as Legolas taught him archery and how to get even with Elladan and Elrohir. Arwen had not been in Imladris for the beginnings of that friendship. But she had seen the results years later. Never had she seen two closer that were not related. At least, not until Legolas had met Gimli.
The queen's heart cried out at that thought and her tears began anew. Not for herself or her husband, but for the unusual dwarf who had charmed her grandmother and befriended the son of the elven king. The one who refused to let anyone other than that elf see his heart so clearly. They had been closer than brothers. And now Legolas was gone.
Arwen wiped her eyes with the handkerchief in her hand. Aragorn had sent a rider to Rohan to take the letter Gimli had never seen. They knew in time he would wish to read it, though right now it was still so very painful. Aragorn had ridden personally to deliver the letter from Legolas to Faramir and Eowyn.
When he had returned to Minas Tirith, he told her Thranduil had stopped in Emyn Arnen, before returning to Eryn Lasgalen. The elven king had felt it his place to let them know of Legolas's decision. Thranduil had also thanked Eowyn for the lecture she had given him and helping him to see how best to help his son.
When Arwen inquired about this, Aragorn shared the scene he had unwittingly walked into. Remembering, the queen smiled. She would have given a lot to have seen that sight! She wondered if King Thranduil's face had looked anything like Legolas's when he had received a well deserved lecture from Eowyn in front of Eomer.
Eomer. Arwen's heart clinched again. They had received a letter from him for Legolas, but only after the elf had left. They would have to return it to the king of Rohan, as well as inform him of Legolas's departure, unless Gimli had told him, but Arwen did not think he would be thinking of such things any time soon.
The moon had started to slowly make its way towards the horizon when the Queen of Gondor finally left the garden and made her way back into her husband's arms where they could comfort each other.
The dwarves of the Glittering Caves had been filled with joy upon Gimli's return, until they realized their friend and lord was not himself. He was troubled greatly and Din, his dear friend, was encouraged to draw him out. They could not help the Lord of Aglargond until they knew what troubled him. Many assumed it must be the elven prince who had been injured, but they had received word that he was recovering.
After a grand meal, like only the dwarves can make, Din realized his friend had slipped out of the hall. The dwarf found Gimli standing outside the caverns under the tree that stood there. The tree that Legolas frequently slept in or sat in while he sang. Gimli was looking up between the branches at the stars.
Din walked over to his lord and tilted his own head back to observe the twinkling dots of light. This was something that only the dwarves of Aglarond did, and never in front of their distant kin. Appreciating beauty is something dwarves do well, but star gazing was unknown to them, until one of their own had befriended one of the firstborn.
Din said nothing, simply stood beside his friend. After a long while, Gimli spoke slowly without taking his eyes from the stars.
"He decided to sail, Din. He does not remember, and he suffers greatly. I had to let him go." The sadness in Gimli's voice took Din by surprise. He had not expected this news. His heart went out to his friend, the dwarf Legolas had named elvellon. Truly Gimli would suffer greatly at this loss. But perhaps...
"Surely he will change his mind, Gimli. He won't go through with it. I'm sure if you went after him and asked him to stay..." Din's voice was cut off.
"No, I asked him in Minas Tirith. I saw it in his eyes, and I know it in my heart. He needs to go." Gimli lowered his gaze to meet his friend's eyes. "I gave him my blessing. I cannot go after him, though I thought of it many times on the way home. I have already said goodbye. It is time to let him go. I will cherish the time we had, for it was truly a gift. I have the memories to sustain me. I asked him to remember me in Valinor, and I will remember him here." Gimli spoke, his voice soft and gruff. He turned his eyes back to the stars.
"Truly, Legolas will be missed around here. Somehow it will not be the same without his visits." Din smiled as memories of the strange being filled his mind. "I will never forget him stumbling around in the dark, getting lost in the caves. We will all miss him."
A small smile formed on Gimli's lips as he also had pictures of Legolas's time in Aglarond. "Indeed, it will not be the same." He looked at the tree beside him. "I keep looking up thinking he will be there. I find myself listening for his voice raised in song. It is hard to accept that he will never sit there again." The dwarf swallowed the lump in his throat.
Din saw it and a plan began to form in his mind. If Gimli could be somewhere else, where there were not so many memories of Legolas, it would be easier for him to start to heal. The dwarf looked at his friend carefully.
"Gimli, things are going well here. It would be a good time for you to take a trip to the Lonely Mountain and see Glóin. Kili mentioned when he was here that your father asked when you would visit again. He is getting older, my friend. Now is a good time to go." Din stopped knowing he should not push the issue. Gimli would decide for himself.
The Lord of Aglarond continued to stare at the stars, a hand in his pocket, which held the hairs of the lady Galadriel which she had given him years ago, enclosed in crystal. Gimli began to nod his head, and turned to Din.
"I agree. Moroch will be glad of another journey. He was cooped up too long in Minas Tirith. I will leave you to tell the others this sad news. I believe I will leave at sun up."
Gazing a few more minutes at the stars, Gimli then took one last look at the tree next to him. He raised his hand to the bark for a moment, then turned and disappeared in the caves.
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.