29. As The Night Closes In
Dialogue in italics is spoken in elvish.
Chapter Thirteen: As the Night Closes In
Legolas slept soundly, deeply, but something gradually began to draw him from his slumber. Slowly, he became aware of a cool hand lightly stroking his brow, urging him from his peaceful rest. He struggled against consciousness. He would rather remain asleep, but found that he could not return to that blissful place where he was unaware of the world around him.
Bit by bit, Legolas began to distinguish voices in the background. The gruff voice of the dwarf was accompanied by another familiar voice, this one not gruff at all. It was deep and somewhat melodic. He knew the owner of that voice! But he could not place a face or name to it. Then a woman's voice also broke into his half-asleep musings, and he realized it was another voice he should know, and it belonged to one of elf-kind.
He knew these people who talked around him; he was sure of it! Legolas struggled to remember how he knew them, but with unconsciousness fleeing the closer he came to waking, the less familiar they felt. The hand continued to stroke his face, and now he could understand what the woman was saying.
"Legolas, come back to us. Come back to the light."
Very slowly, with much effort, Legolas opened his eyes. He was so tired, though why he could not fathom. Had not that dwarf told him he had been unconscious for many days? He blinked a few times, clearing the sleep from his eyes, then he looked into three smiling faces.
The dwarf, Gimli, was there, which comforted Legolas even as it disconcerted him. Gimli was familiar from their previous conversation, and there was something he could not quite grasp about this particular dwarf, which reassured him greatly, even as it vexed him. He did not like dwarves!
There was also a beautiful elf-woman. Did he not know her? Legolas felt he should. He frowned as he studied her, and suddenly saw her laughing as she sat on a bench in a garden, while behind her waterfalls fell from the heights of a steep valley wall. Near her were two identical elves with dark hair and sparkling grey eyes. Her brothers, Legolas remembered, though he could not remember their names. He knew them, were friends with them. He saw them hanging over the side of a cliff trying to reach two others who hung precariously from the rocks, but the more Legolas tried to remember, the more the memories slipped from him, hiding behind walls he could not penetrate.
He glanced to the other person in the room, and blinked. It was a Man. His dark hair and blue-grey eyes were greatly familiar, yet Legolas would swear he had never seen the Man before. A greatness seemed to emanate from the Man, a power that felt both familiar and comforting in the same manner Gimli felt to Legolas, and yet, he could not put a name or memories to the face.
"It is good to see you awake, Legolas! You have slept enough for the next year, I believe. How do you feel?" The Man's voice and manner of speech nagged at the back of his mind. Legolas knew this Man, knew him very well, but how? He struggled to remember but the longer and harder he struggled, the more the feeling fled and the more his head pounded. He began to lose hope of ever remembering anything.
That one word triggered images of a young boy struggling with a bow. Legolas looked at the Man again more closely…and blinked. That one memory was all he had, but it was enough to confirm the feeling that he knew the person standing next to his bed.
"Estel?" Legolas blinked again as the Man's eyes widened and a smile spread across his face.
"You know who I am, my friend?" The others in the room seemed excited that Legolas had used that name. The dwarf, Gimli, especially was grinning, looking at the lady with a knowing look.
Legolas hated to disappoint them. All he knew was a name, just a name to go with the face of the child from his memory. Legolas sighed. He had to let them know that he really did not remember anything of importance. He still did not know who these people were, or even who he himself was at the moment, beyond his name.
"I am sorry," Legolas told Estel, "but I do not know you. You seem familiar to me, the dwarf and the lady as well, but I only know your name is Estel. That is all." Legolas winced as the faces around him fell. He had not meant to upset them.
Estel spoke again, his voice conveying none of the disappointment that radiated from his eyes. "It is all right, Legolas. You have remembered something and that is a good start. In time, I am sure you will remember all."
Legolas nodded and closed his eyes for a moment. He was glad Estel, or the man who the child in his memory had become, understood. It hit him suddenly that they spoke his language. They could understand him! There was much Legolas needed to know and he eagerly began questioning them.
"Please, I do not seem to have many memories. I know not how I came to be in this place. The dwarf…Gimli…spoke of a severe injury. How did I come to be injured? Was I traveling to the Havens? Do you know what befell me?" Legolas pleaded for answers to fill in the many empty places in his mind.
Estel frowned, and the woman inhaled a sharp breath. The dwarf simply looked between the two as he could not understand much of what was said. Apparently Legolas's questions were causing them all some distress, though he could not understand why.
Legolas turned his eyes to the Man again. "Please, I need to know what has happened." It must have been terrible to have evoked such a response from those around him.
Estel spoke quietly, but confidently, as one who has dealt with such a situation before. "What do you remember? Do you remember anything at all?"
Legolas shook his head, looking expectantly at Estel, waiting for him to fill in the gaps. But the Man turned and looked at the lady. Arwen. That was her name. She spoke, her voice as one of the Eldar, full of wisdom and light.
"Legolas, you need tell us all of what you know of yourself. We will tell you of what we know, but first, it is important that we know just how much of your memory you retain. What did you remember of yourself when you first awoke and spoke to Gimli, and what have you since remembered."
Legolas wanted answers, but he saw the lady's wisdom in seeking these things first. He nodded at them and began to tell them what he had felt and knew since awakening.
Aragorn listened as Legolas told them what he knew. He did not like this development, not at all, but as the elf continued, Aragorn was reassured. Legolas was remembering things. They might be slow in coming, but Legolas had not completely lost himself. He would be restored, of that Aragorn had no doubt.
It was the elf's mention of traveling to the Grey Havens which was unsettling. Aragorn was grateful Gimli had not understood what Legolas had said. Perhaps his fears would be for naught, but if they became grounded, Gimli would have to be told.
Aragorn had known memory loss sometimes accompanied serious head injuries, but he had not considered it in Legolas's case, though he should have been prepared. Aragorn also had not considered that Legolas would still hear the call of the Sea, even with no memory of it. How would that affect the elf, if he could not remember all that had happened? Their friendship? Legolas's promise to stay? Aragorn tried to swallow the lump that had formed in his throat.
As Legolas finished recounting what he knew and had remembered, Aragorn took note that the elf only casually mentioned hearing the sea's call. Legolas seemed to assume he had been on his way to sail when such a calamity had come upon him. Again, Aragorn was grateful Gimli was not comprehending this part of the conversation.
Now that they knew what Legolas knew, which was not much, they could answer the elf's questions. Aragorn started by telling Legolas of their long friendship and explained that Legolas had been visiting and exploring with Gimli when he had been injured in a cave-in. When Legolas seemed puzzled that he had not been traveling to the sea, Aragorn explained what Legolas had told him after the war.
Legolas was not accepting the answers to his questions very well. Aragorn, Arwen and Gimli did all they could to assure the elf that all would be well in time, but Legolas was now upset and confused. It was going to be a long night.
Faramir was on the way to the rooms he and Eowyn kept at the palace. Eowyn would want to go with him to see Legolas, now that the elf was awake. Legolas had become a good friend to both of them since forming the elven colony in Ithilien. It was good news to hear their friend was now awake after being unconscious for so long. Faramir had feared the elf would never wake.
The king would be doing much better now. Faramir had worried about the dark circles under his lord's eyes, the worry that constantly creased his brow. The elf's awakening would ease Aragorn's fears.
Stopping when a young guard called out behind him, the Steward turned. "Yes?"
"My Lord Faramir, a diplomatic party has arrived and has requested conference with the king." The guard swallowed hard, looking very nervous.
"And where is this party from?" Faramir asked. His heart seemed to turn to lead when the guard told him. With Aragorn otherwise occupied with a newly awakened Legolas, it would be Faramir's duty to greet the party. Panic welled up inside him. Aragorn was not going to like this. Why was this happening tonight of all nights? Gone were the thoughts of a joyful king, replaced by doubt that the city would have any peace any time soon. He prayed it would remain in one piece! He all but ran to the receiving hall.
Slowing to catch his breath before entering the hall, Faramir paused, his mind racing. With Legolas just waking and not all being well with him, the Steward dreaded the outcome of the next few minutes. But he was grateful he could at least give his king a little more time before facing the next obstacle to be overcome.
Faramir adjusted his tunic, and standing tall and proud, walked into the hall as the Steward of Gondor should. No one would know just how much he dreaded what was about to happen.
"Good evening, King Thranduil. I am pleased you were able to come."
To Be Continued…
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