22. Doubts And Hesitations
Doubts and Hesitations
Legolas turned to the royal guard who had traveled with him to the havens. The guard looked nervous. "Yes?"
"I was just wondering about Celedae, my lord. Do you wish us to take him back to the wood with us?" The guard spoke hesitantly, but he felt the need to see to this last thing before they left their prince in the havens.
Legolas looked around him. The Grey Havens were more than just a port on the sea. It was a city of sea elves, devoted to building the grey ships for the elves headed westward, until they themselves were called home to Valinor. From the outskirts where they stood, Legolas could see the vast water stretching to the horizon. His heart ached fiercely within him, but he calmed himself knowing he would be on one of those grey ships soon.
"No," Legolas spoke quietly, looking at the horse he had come to love during the journey. "I will set him free before I sail. I do not wish him to serve another." The horse snorted in agreement. Celedae would never allow another to ride him, once his elf had left him.
Legolas tore his eyes from the sea and turned to his escort. "Thank you for seeing me here. I give you leave to return to the wood. I will be fine and I wish to spend my remaining days alone." Both guards nodded and politely left their prince to make his own arrangements.
Legolas walked slowly into the havens and quickly found who he needed to speak with about sailing. He was given accommodations and informed the next ship would not be leaving for at least several days, perhaps a week. Legolas contented himself walking the shoreline and making acquaintances among those who built the ships.
The elven prince was surprised to find the building of the grey ships fascinated him, and soon he was questioning all who would give him information, learning all he could about designing and crafting these works of art. But during those first two days, he could not bring himself to actually set foot on any of the docks.
Legolas could not understand why but every time he walked closer to the ships, the pain from the sea eased. Yet another pain, the one he had sensed in Ithilien and in Minas Tirith, grew stronger, piercing even.
Today, Legolas told himself, it did not matter. He was going to climb aboard one of those beautiful creations and familiarize himself with the ship. As soon as he stepped onto the dock, he grimaced, stopped walking and bowed his head against the pain. A hand was applied to his shoulder and Legolas looked into the face of one of the elves from the havens.
"Forgive my intrusion, I am Rimedur. Are you alright?" The elf asked.
"It is no intrusion, my name is Legolas. I am not sure what ails me. I have a sharp pain in my chest. I know not what is causing it." Legolas answered.
The other elf observed him for a moment, taking in the hand Legolas had brought up to his chest.
"Are you certain you hear the call of the sea? It is rare for one to be so called and yet show such pain at leaving. Usually one cannot wait to get on the ship. You are reluctant to move closer." The sea elf observed.
Rimedur had seen many elves, who had not heard the sea's call, attempt to sail over the years. Usually it did not matter, as all elves would go in time, whether they heard the sea or not. But there were times this was not the best course for a particular elf.
"The pain you speak of is not normal. Are you sure this is the right thing for you at this time? There is no turning back once you have sailed." Rimedur warned him.
Legolas knew it was true. Once in Valinor, there was no returning. But there was no doubt that he had heard the sea. There was no denying what had happened at some point in time. He had heard the gulls, and the longing had been awakened in him. It mattered not that he had no memory of when it had happened.
"I felt the call years ago but have long denied it. Through an accident, I have lost my most of my memories and can no longer resist the sea's song." Legolas informed Rimedur. "But this other pain I do not understand. The closer I get to the sea, the lighter the sea's call, yet the heavier the weight on my heart. The closer I get to the ship, the stronger the strange pain becomes. Why am I different from others who hear the sea?" Legolas asked.
"Possibly, you still have ties in Arda, and your heart is not ready to go Perhaps you still have something or someone here who needs you, some task you have not yet fulfilled. Take some time and be sure before you leave. The Valar do not place such ties without cause." Rimedur spoke carefully. And Legolas heeded him.
Legolas spent several days pondering the strange things in his heart. The tug that drew him away from the sea as much as the sea called him towards it. Time was running out and he had yet to find the answers. The ship would be sailing in two days. Legolas needed answers before then, as he did not think he could wait for the next ship to leave.
Walking the shore the next day, Legolas realized he might never understand the turmoil within him. He needed to make a choice. He could stay here and continue in his misery, or he could make the decision to get on the ship. The elf looked out over the water to the grey vessel bobbing lightly with the waves. Such a beautiful sight.
He watched the ship for a while, then, nodding to himself, turned back towards the city. Once he reached his room, he began to ready his things. As soon as everything was in his pack, he went to the stable to get Celedae. He opened the stall door and led the horse out, speaking softly the whole time as the horse pranced in impatience to be off.
Legolas led Celedae through the streets, back to the outskirts of the city. He looked back over his shoulder at the expanse of water that cried out to him as surely as the gulls overhead did. It took much effort to look away again. Slowly, he turned back to his horse and spoke to him again.
An hour later Legolas walked back to his room alone. Celedae had been set free to roam wherever his heart desired. On the morrow, Legolas would board the ship, and as he had told Gimli, if it brought regret, so be it.
Gimli continued to ride Moroch through the night. His heart was in great turmoil and he could not stand to simply be still. He would need to let the horse rest soon, but for now, Moroch seemed to be enjoying himself. He was of Rohirrim stock and had great endurance.
Finally, the dwarf knew he could go no further this night. He cared for his horse, rubbing him down and picking the dirt and small stones from his feet as Legolas had taught him. He then built a small fire, and as he ate some of the dried meat he had brought with him, he thought of Gloin. It would be comforting to see his father again. When Gimli had finished his meal, he wrapped a warm blanket about himself, as it was much colder this far north, than in Rohan, which lay many leagues to the south.
The weather had been getting chilly even back home. The leaves had dressed themselves splendidly, and most had already danced their way from the trees to the ground below. The cold of winter would soon be upon them. It was the season Legolas liked the least, though he always managed to find fun in the snow, which usually involved ambushing the dwarf.
Gimli sighed. As much as he tried, he could not stop himself from thinking of the elf. He wanted to remember his friend, but presently the pain of the loss was still so strong. His heart hurt like someone had stabbed him through. Here, alone in the wilderness, he could let his tears fall once more. But no tears came. The dwarf eventually fell into a light troubled sleep. His last thought was of how much he wished Legolas was here, a soft song on the elf's lips to help him sleep peacefully through the night.
The next morning the dwarf was up and had Moroch packed just as the sky turned grey. He mounted his horse, and set out again, hoping to arrive by the end of the day. He needed some comfort from the pain and he hoped he would find it there. He only wished he were not traveling alone.
A/N - This story has two endings, the real one and an an alternate ending. If you want to read the real story, keep on to the next chapter. If you would rather read the alternate ending, go to the last chapter after the Epilogue. Or if you are feeling brave, read them both! The alternate ending comes after this chapter and is titled Finding Light As The Sun Sets.
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.