3. A Late Night 'Discussion'
The moon shone high in the night sky as a horse galloped through the night. Celedae was everything his name implied as he raced across the Pelennor Fields. Truly, he was a silver shadow, slipping almost soundlessly through the night. Legolas rode him effortlessly, hardly moving on the horse's back. He was eager to arrive in the city and take some rest. He had not slept for several days and the emotional turmoil of the last day had drained him. Riding alone with his thoughts had only increased his guilt over his self-imposed exile from his friends.
He was let in the city gate quickly since he was well known and greatly liked amongst the guards. It did not take long for the elf to make his way to the sixth level of the city There, he tended his horse, cleaning out his feet and rubbing him down. He left Celedae in a clean stall, making sure the large, silver-gray stallion had plenty of fresh hay and clean water.
Legolas made his way on foot to the seventh tier, and was stopped by the guards at the entrance to the courtyard. Upon realizing who he was, the elf was quickly admitted, and a young guard escorted him through the courtyard, past the white tree and into the palace.
"Lord Legolas, King Elessar told us to expect you, but he did not think you would arrive for several days. All have retired for the night, sir, however, I know the king would want to see you. Shall I announce you?" the young man asked nervously.
Legolas turned and looked at the guard, considering this for a moment. "Nay, do not disturb anyone this night. I am also weary and will see myself to my chambers. If you would simply let the king know in the morning that I have arrived, that will suffice."
"As you wish, my lord. Pleasant dreams," the guard returned, looking relieved as he slipped away to return to his duties. Legolas smirked and made his way to his room.
While he was weary, the elf also needed to think about his meeting with his friends on the morrow. They would want to know why he had kept to himself in Ithilien for so long. He would not lie to them, but he could not bring himself to admit the whole truth either. Legolas was ashamed of his behavior. He would have to think this through before he spoke with Aragorn and Gimli.
Arriving at his door in the long hallway, Legolas quietly let himself in. The moonlight from the open balcony door illuminated the room, and he noticed the door that joined his room to Gimli's was open. He made his way to a chair where he deposited his pack, and placing his weapons in their places on the wall, he moved on to the open adjoining door.
It would not be wise to wake Gimli at this hour. He was in enough trouble with the dwarf as it was, without intruding on his sleep. But he could not help standing in the doorway and looking in on his friend. The sound of loud snores came from within the room, and Legolas smiled. For once, that was a comforting sound. He had missed his friend.
Leaving the door open, Legolas moved to the wash room. After removing the dirt from traveling, he quickly dressed for bed in loose leggings and a soft shirt, which he left open to the night air. He then slipped out the door of his balcony and perched on the rail. The elf looked up at the stars and started to hum softly to himself. It was comforting to be here. He sat there lost in the stars and the quiet night, thinking.
"As much as I tire of your foolish ways, elf, it doesn't mean I want you to disappear for a year. How on earth am I to look after you, if you hide yourself away in Ithilien?" The soft, yet gruff voice sounded in the doorway, startling the elf perched on the rail. His head jerked to the door where a concerned, scowling Gimli stood in his nightclothes.
A slow smile graced Legolas' face as joy at seeing his friend filled his heart. "Forgive me, Gimli. I did not mean to wake you. But it is good to see you again." His smile faded as he realized there was not going to be any pleasantries returned. There were many emotions swirling in the eyes of his friend: concern and hurt, anger and was that fear? Legolas winced when he realized just how much his absence had worried his friend. There would be no jesting his way out of this. There would be a serious discussion, and he dreaded it. The elf pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapping his arms around them, looked back up at the stars.
"What is going on, Legolas? And do not take me for a fool! I want to know why you've been avoiding your friends. What's wrong, lad?" The tone of his friend's voice, the concern and love that filled it, shook Legolas. Rarely did Gimli sound like that. He bowed his head, his loose hair covering his face like a golden curtain. A moment later a warm hand was placed on his arm.
"Come down from there, laddie. Come sit and talk to me. You've had enough time to think about what to say." The dwarf's voice was insistent. Legolas slowly lifted his head, then slipped off the railing, moving to the bench just outside the door. Gimli joined him and waited for him to speak.
Not looking at his friend, Legolas spoke, "I am sorry it has been so long, my friend. I have been busy, but I should have made the time to visit as we had planned." Legolas looked up at the dwarf, knowing that excuse would never suffice, and found anger in those dark eyes. It did not surprise him. His friend knew him too well.
"I told you not to take me for a fool. What on earth were you thinking, Legolas? A whole year! Do you have any idea how worried I have been for you? You can not do that to yourself! It will destroy you!"
"I know, Gimli! Believe me, I know! But you did not come to see me either if I recall. You can not put the entire blame for failing to see each other on me!" On the defensive now, Legolas did what came naturally, he struck back. He immediately regretted it and looked away.
"By Mahal, Legolas! You knew this year I'd be unable to come to Ithilien. There's been much that required my presence in Rohan and in Erebor. I did not come to see you, Legolas, because I could not! That is why we had planned on your visiting me, or did you forget we were to travel to Eryn Lasgalen and the Lonely Mountain together this spring? You will not throw me off by turning this around, lad! You WILL tell me what is wrong!"
"What do you want me to say, Gimli? That I allowed myself to get caught up in the sea's song? That the pain was so great, I isolated myself from all those who are close to me? That I...I was so caught up I did not even notice the change of seasons... and missed my visit with you? That I was so angry with myself... I could not bring myself to face you in the spring either? That I regret deeply not seeing you this last year?" Legolas forced himself to look at the dwarf, grief filling his eyes. In return, the dark eyes of his friend were filled with compassion.
"If that is the truth, lad, then yes, I want you to tell me those things. I want you to trust me enough to be honest and stop hiding behind that pride of yours. I want you to remember I am your best friend, not just someone with whom you can jest." It was true, in front of others they argued and teased one another mercilessly, but in heart they were as brothers.
"I apologize, Gimli. It is not easy to speak of these things. I had not realized how long it had been since I had seen my friends. I am here now. I was on my way here before I got the letter from Aragorn. I was foolish, I know!" He pleaded with his friend and was surprised when the concern and anger faded completely to be replaced by amusement.
"Did you just admit that you are a fool?" Gimli chuckled and Legolas groaned.
"That is NOT what I said. I said my actions were foolish, not that I am a fool! There is a difference." The elf sniffed. Gimli's smile faded and the serious look returned. This conversation was not over yet, Legolas knew. There was no getting around it. It was time to be completely honest.
"It is getting worse, Gimli," Legolas whispered. He cleared his throat, and continued, "I could not stop myself from getting lost in the song. The pain was so great, I lost track of time. I told myself I was just immersed in restoring Ithilien, but I was losing myself to the sea. Two days ago, I realized how foolish I had been. Yes, I admit it. I was foolish! I promise I will not cut myself off from you again, my friend."
Gimli reached out and put a hand on his arm. Legolas glanced over at him and noticed tears in the dwarf's eyes. "Legolas," he began, "you are my best friend. It would pain me greatly to lose you to the sea. This last year, I worried that you were planning to sail and that was why you were distant." The dwarf paused and swallowed hard. "If you need to go, lad, leave with my blessing. I won't see you in pain for my sake."
Legolas felt the tears filling his own eyes. He blinked them back, touched at this gesture from the dwarf. "Nay, Gimli, I will not sail yet. I vowed to stay until the end of Aragorn's life, and I will fulfill that vow. I do not want to go. Not if I have to leave you here. I simply needed to realize I can not cut myself off from my friends. I can not dwell on the song of the sea. Sailing would only be trading one ache for another. No, I fear instead, you will be seeing much more of me, elvellon."
Gimli looked much relieved. It had cost him, Legolas knew, to make that offer. Exhaustion began to take hold of him as they sat there quietly. Emotionally drained, as well as physically, he felt sleep closing in on him.
Finally, Gimli spoke. "Very well, if I must put up with more of you, so be it. But remember this, Legolas, you will not worry me like that again. If I had been able to get away, I would have tracked you down. Do this again, and I'll move to Ithilien myself! Right into that tree of yours!"
Legolas smiled, "You are always welcome in my tree," he yawned, "but somehow you have never made it there." He yawned again.
Gimli smiled and patted his arm, "Take some rest, Legolas. We have much to discuss and plan tomorrow. You look tired. I'll see you in the morning." He got up and walked back inside. Legolas followed closely behind him.
"Thank you, elvellon." Legolas spoke up softly.
The reply was more gruff, yet just as sincere. "You're welcome, elf. Now get some sleep!"
Legolas smiled again as he laid down in his bed. The pain in his heart had eased in speaking to his friend. Now he could get some much needed rest. As his eyes glazed over, one last thought ran through his mind. He was truly blessed with a very good friend.
Celedae - Legolas' silver-gray stallion. His name means 'silver shadow'.
elvellon - elf friend. A term of honor given to certain mortals.
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.