28. Le Iston?
Chapter Twelve: Le Iston?
It had been a beautiful day. The sun was soon to set, another week swiftly coming to an end. Another day without Legolas waking.
It has been too long, Gimli thought as he sighed. It had now been thirty days since the cave had fallen in on them and ten days since Legolas had first smiled and squeezed his hand. Legolas had only done that a few other times since then. A couple of times he had just squeezed Gimli's hand. Last night, the elf had smiled again, more noticeably.
It was slow progress, but Gimli was encouraged. He kept talking to his friend, encouraging him to wake, knowing one day Legolas would open his eyes. He hadto open his eyes! Gimli would accept no less. He could not abide the thought of Legolas never waking again.
Sitting once again beside the elf's bed with a cane across his lap, the dwarf watched for any signs of waking in his friend. Aragorn insisted he use the cane to help take some of the weight off his still healing leg. Another week or so, and he would not need anything but his own feet to get him around. He looked forward to it, though he missed the teasing he would have gotten had Legolas been awake to see him hobbling about.
Legolas had also improved. He looked much better and was no longer so pale. The bandages around his head had finally been removed and his hair had been combed, but left loose about the elf's shoulders. Now, except for the fact that he had lost 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 friend back again? Aragorn was not doing any better than he was, Gimli mused, thinking of the king's worried expression when he had last come to see the elf. The Man still had dark circles under his eyes and looked perpetually tired.
Sighing deeply, Gimli closed his eyes and pleaded quietly with Mahal for Legolas to wake. Unable to keep his thoughts to himself any longer, he spoke them aloud. "I really wish you would just wake up, Legolas."
"Hin nîn edri," a soft, slightly hoarse voice spoke.
Gimli's heart leapt in his chest as his eyes snapped open and he looked into a much missed pair of grey eyes that were not quite bright, but welcome nonetheless. Legolas 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 spoke brokenly, finally finding his voice and hardly able to believe his friend was looking at him — had spoken! He had waited so long for this day and now all would be well again. Gimli mopped at his eyes and smiled widely, patting his friend's hand.
His smile faded as the elf's eyes filled with a look of puzzlement and confusion. Legolas looked around the room before his eyes came back to Gimli. He was surprised to see fear cross the elf's face, not an emotion Gimli often saw on his friend.
"Man caron sí? 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 Gimli, waiting for a response.
Gimli blinked. His mind made no sense of the words, so surprised was he that the elf was speaking in the elven tongue. Why was Legolas speaking his native tongue rather than Common?
Legolas sighed impatiently. "Nin heniach? Pedich i lam edhellen?" Legolas continued to look at him with an expectant expression, but Gimli was still trying to understand why his friend was not speaking in Common. Gimli knew some of the elven tongue. 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 that Legolas had taught him. While he could think of uses for them at the moment, speaking with Legolas was not one of them.
"Speak in the Common Tongue, Legolas. I cannot understand much of what you are saying." Gimli watched a frown crease the elf's brow, and he felt one upon his own face as well. Gimli was overjoyed at Legolas finally waking, yet worried, for it seemed not all was well. Something was not right with his friend.
Legolas blew out a breath, looking quite frustrated. He began to sit up, a little unsteadily, but upon reaching an upright position, the elf 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, and Gimli helped prop his friend into a reclined position with the pillows behind him, rather than lying flat.
Legolas settled in, looking like he was in less pain now. He sighed and closed his eyes. "Le hannon." Legolas spoke quietly.
Now that one I know! Gimli thought with a smile. "You are welcome." he offered.
When Legolas grew very still, fear welled up in Gimli's chest. Had his friend fallen asleep or had he fallen back into the darkness of oblivion? "Legolas? Legolas look at me!" Gimli called to his friend, almost in a panic.
Legolas's eyes flew open and sought him out. Gimli sighed in relief, before speaking again. "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?"
The elf looked back at Gimli as if he were daft 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 to make sense of it. He 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 in Common?" Another odd look and Gimli was not sure what to think. Did the elf understand him or not?
"Doesn't matter." Gimli muttered, answering both the question to Legolas and himself. Reaching next to him, Gimli took a cup of water off the table and handed it to his friend. He could not do much, but he could help Legolas with that scratchy throat.
Legolas took the cup gratefully, drinking most of it, before setting it back down on the table himself. He glanced at Gimli before speaking again.
"Le hannon." 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 Gimli chuckled. It was such a little thing, but Gimli was relieved to see such a familiar look on his friend's face, rather than the confused, lost look the elf had been wearing.
"You've been unconscious for thirty days now, lad. Your poor excuse for a voice has been missed!" Gimli chuckled again but 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. He had 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. 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. His eyebrows flew upwards. This was not good, not good at all. Aragorn had tried to warn him, but Gimli had not accepted it could truly happen.
"Aye, Legolas, you know me and know me well. Do you not remember?" Gimli's voice was gruff to his own ears, and when Legolas shook his head slightly, a lump seemed to form in his chest. Gimli 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, he 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.
Gimli did not know what he would do if Legolas could not remember. It was not uncommon for memory loss to accompany a severe head injury. He knew that, had seen it himself after a battle when a comrade took a hard hit to the head. But Aragorn had said something about the possibility of permanent damage and that thought frightened Gimli to his core. He sent a silent prayer to Mahal that this was not the case. He would pray to Elbereth herself as well, if only somehow Legolas 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, the elf's eyes had widened and he swallowed hard. He looked very vulnerable.
"Ú-iston," Legolas whispered, his eyes boring into Gimli's own. The elf looked pleadingly at Gimli, as though silently begging for 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 a confidence he did not completely feel, but he shoved down his worry. Somehow, everything would be alright, in the end.
His words seemed to assure the distraught elf, and Gimli watched as Legolas took another deep breath, clearing the panic from his face. After a minute or two of silence, Legolas cocked his head to one side curiously and looked intently at Gimli.
"Man eneth lín?" Legolas voice was sounding stronger, a note of music beginning to fill it again. Gimli's reassurance seemed to have settled Legolas's fears.
Gimli bit his lower lip, "What is my what?" He blinked, and grey eyes brightened somewhat at his answer. Then Legolas smiled, and Gimli's heart leapt at the sight. It was good to see the elf amused. A step in the right direction for sure.
"Im Legolas." Legolas pointed at himself as he said it, then pointed at Gimli. "Le?"
"Ah, I don't know why you are only speaking in elvish, Legolas, but I get it. Gimli, son of Gloin, at your service." And he 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 kwith amusement as Legolas's eyebrows rose and his eyes widened. "Do you know what that means, Legolas? What it means for an elf to name another elvellon?"
Legolas nodded slowly, eyes still wide. Gimli almost chuckled. Communicating in this manner with his friend 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. Perhaps Aragorn...
Gimli had forgotten him entirely. He needed to let the king know about this development! Aragorn and Arwen could speak with Legolas and find out what he remembered and what he did not. They could help Legolas far better than he could. Both were older friends to Legolas than Gimli was, and 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 limped out of the room. As quickly as he could hobble with his cane, he set off to find someone to send a message to the Citadel.
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. And more puzzling, fo some reason Legolas could not fathom, he had no difficulty accepting the dwarf's words as true and also accepting his presence. But did he not loathe the diminutive beings? He remembered that he did, yet, for some reason, this particular dwarf caused him to feel at ease instead of on edge.
There were other things Legolas remembered. He recalled tall trees and stone halls, singing and dancing under the stars, his long white knives, the feel of a bow in his hand and his arrows hitting the dead center of a target, one after another. But the pieces he remembered did not all fit together. Legolas could not make the connections, as large pieces seemed to be missing from his memory. How did he get in this strange room, for instance? Why could he 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.
He 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 regained consciousness, he had realized that the one who owned that voice had called to him, needed him. He had responded to the plea, 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 felt only confused.
And then there was the fact that besides his mind being in turmoil, Legolas felt miserable. His body ached in various places, his head pounding in his ears. He felt stiff and weak, as if he had been lying here for a long time, just 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, trying to place the feeling. Then he realized he could discern a song, a beautiful song but terrible as well. It called to him and filled him with such longing and pain that Legolas gasped.
He instinctively recognized the sea's song. He did not belong here; the sea was calling him home! That much he knew. So why was he here, in this stone room? Had he been injured making the trip to the Havens? Legolas searched for the reasons as to why he would linger anywhere when the sea's call was so insistent, so plaintive. 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 yet well, and sleep would relieve much of the pain. Perhaps when he woke, he would remember more. As his eyes grew heavy, he closed them. A few minutes later he was sound asleep.
Legolas did not hear the dwarf return, nor 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, and Aragorn would never get tired of watching the sunset from the Tower of Ecthelion.
He had not slept very well the last few nights. Actually, he had not slept well in a month, and 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 in the West always soothed his troubled heart.
As 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 widened 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.
His smile faded. "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 and Legolas's continued unconsciousness.
"We are all concerned for the time that has passed, but he has shown signs of awareness, small though 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 childhood 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, lifting a hand to caress 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 or his eldest son at his side. And perhaps he could have accepted the loss if the ring had been destroyed. 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 the race of Men in his eyes."
Arwen paused, rubbing a hand over Aragorn's back as she looked up at him with compassion. "In his mind, what he did all those years ago was just. He was trying to protect his son. All that transpired was meant to frighten a young man, the heir of the one Thranduil blamed for the deaths of so many elves, including his father and son. In doing so, he hoped you would not continue to seek Legolas's friendship. He thought those things would dissuade Legolas as well, since 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 into her eyes shining with the light of the newly risen Gil-Estel. Once again, she had reminded him that she was of a race which held much wisdom. She was truly a wise queen and this was only one of the reasons Aragorn cherished her as he did.
Leaning forward, he 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 their rooms, a voice called out, halting their steps.
"My King!" They both turned. Captain Arnorion purposeful strides brought him quickly down the hallway towards them. The soldier stopped in front of them, saluting.
"What is it, Captain?" Aragorn asked.
"Forgive me, King Elessar, 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…
He cast a glance to his captain even as he began moving down the hall. "Please inform Lord Faramir and Lady Eowyn as well. They would wish to know." Then still leading Arwen by the hand, he hurried to the Houses of Healing.
To Be Continued...
Le iston? - Do I know you?
Hin nîn edri - I am awake. (Literally - My eyes have opened.)
Man caron sí? - What am I doing here?
Le iston? - Do I know you?
Nin heniach? - Do you understand me?
Pedich i lam edhellen? - Do you speak the Elven language?
Le hannon – Thank you
Le henion – I understand you
Nin heniach? - Do you understand me?
Im Legolas – I am Legolas
Ú-iston – I do not know
Man eneth lîn? – 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.