1. Dreams and Echoes
Timeline: After book three
Part One: Dreams and Echoes
Fog surrounded him like a thick blanket of wool. There was nothing to see but grey; a greyness that moved as the wind swept through. The wind was wet, carrying tiny drops of water with it. Salt water; the sea was near.
It dawned on him that he had been there before. Where the realisation came from, he did not know. But the feeling of recognition was unquestionable. The images were familiar, like he was reliving a past memory.
The fog shifted again, beginning to pull away. He peered forward with his keen eyes as the sea came into view.
It was dead calm. No waves, there was not even a ripple. There were no sounds but the wind, a wind that seemed to wail in his ear.
There was a ship out on the sea, sailing towards him with growing speed. In his mind he had seen that kind of ship often enough, for it carried most of the beauty of Middle-earth with it.
The Ringbearers. The Three. The ship that was sailing towards him in the calm water was from the Havens; he would know it even if thousand years had passed since he had last seen the kind.
But the ship seemed empty.
It sailed like a ghost ship, no trace of life. Dead ship in dead water. The ship seemed to stare up at him, and then it slowly turned. Westwards, where the Blessed Realm resided in undiminished beauty.
Westwards, where the fog was thinning and becoming small wisps. And with a drift of wind they were gone, leaving only the distant horizon. No signs of land, nothing even faintly green in sight.
Westwards he moved now, with the ship, as if he was light enough to be carried with the wind.
How far was it to Valinor?
A strange, disturbing notion came over him. He was looking at where Valinor had been. It was gone.
No. He shook his head, hair flowing freely in the wind. It could not be. It was further west, beyond the horizon, further…
Panting, Legolas bolted upwards, and nearly hit his head on the hard cave ceiling. The height was more than sufficient for a dwarf, but for an elf it was a constant danger of a splitting headache.
Legolas did not pause to consider yet again the implausibility of an elf staying in a dwarven hall, his mind elsewhere.
The dream. It had come again. Sleep had taken him even though he had had no need for it and brought the same dream. Five times he'd had it now, each time more vivid.
Carefully getting up, Legolas exited the small room. Flickering torchlight guided him through the quiet halls. He got a nod from a dwarf here and there as he passed, moving upwards. How they could thrive cut off from sky and trees was beyond the elf, but they seemed happy. And despite that many glances were sent in his and Gimli's direction, none of the dwarves had commented on a wood elf living with them.
Cold air greeted him, and he stepped out into the night. Distant sounds of nightlife reached his air, taking away some of the unease of the dream. The stars were twinkling as merrily as always, the moon was bright and there was nothing sinister in the air.
A beautiful night. At times like this Middle-earth hardly seemed changed. It was as beautiful as ever, echoes of songs past lingering in the air. It made him feel young again, listening to the nocturne of Middle-earth.
For a while he just stood there, drinking in the sound and smells. He thought he could feel a faint smell of moss and dew of Mirkwood, but it was probably just wishful thinking. He wondered if he truly missed the great forest, or rather his own relative innocence.
So much had happened since he had left his home. The Quest, seeing the Golden Wood and the Lady countless battles, the fall of Sauron, the departure of the Ringbearers, Gimli…
So many tales come to an end. Westwards waited Valinor…
The memory of the dream came over him again. Who would know what it meant? Lord Elrond or Lady Galadriel surely, but they had passed into the West. His father? Perhaps, but Legolas felt a slight reluctance to share this with the King of Mirkwood.
Soft footsteps alerted him to another presence near, and he instantly knew who it was. He did not turn, merely waiting until his friend had reached him.
“Gimli,” he said softly.
“I know you don't have to sleep like a dwarf, but can you at least pretend?” the Dwarf complained, looking like he had just risen from bed. Someone had to have woken him, perhaps a dwarf that had spotted Legolas wander the halls. Despite no ill words at all, there were times the Elf wondered if any of the dwarves save Gimli truly trusted him.
“I dreamt again.”
Gimli's face instantly lost the look of grumpiness and became one of worry.
“It is always the same, Gimli. A dead ship in a dead sea, and a feeling that Valinor is gone. I fear it is speaking to me, but I cannot fully hear what it is trying to say.”
“What could be wrong?” the Dwarf argued. “Sauron is fallen, for surely he cannot threaten Middle-earth without the One.”
Staring into the distance, Legolas did not instantly reply. An owl hooted far away, a fox padded through the grass. Gimli kept wisely silent, knowing his friend.
The Blessed Realm had been almost a curse for dwarves for a long time, used to argue that elves did not belong in Middle-earth. The faster they all sailed over the sea, the better. But now Gimli felt a distinct sadness whenever he heard the name spoken.
Valinor. Valinor had taken many of his friends, and would eventually take his best friend from him also. Legolas would cross the sea and Middle-earth would have little to offer. Gold and high stone halls piled with jewels and mithril seemed so little in comparison.
“I fear for Valinor. But why? Why would I fear for Valinor? Great powers protect it.”
Gimli did not know what to reply and merely kept his stare on the sky. An image suddenly came to him; an image that would cause any dwarf to be struck by fear. The Balrog of Moria, Durin's bane. An ancient demon far beyond the power of a mere dwarf. An echo of what had been.
“Terrible powers have been too,” he muttered, causing Legolas to look down at him.
The wind seemed to stand still, as both thought of a name neither dared utter. A shadow far darker than Sauron, but now it was but a whisper almost forgotten. Fouler and greater than Sauron - Morgoth the Ancient Enemy.
Legolas felt his mind wander westwards against his will, pondering the images of the dream. Valinor could not vanish surely, but could it be concealed?
“No.” Legolas shook his head and forced the thought away. “Darkness has been banished. Tell me more of this place where your kind lives, Gimli, and ease my ill mood.”
And as the Dwarf chatted lively about mining and carving of great halls, Legolas listened only partly. It was comforting to hear his friend's gruff voice among the night sounds. It was almost enough to wash away all of dream; a night song that seemed to speak to his heart.
They remained under the stars, quietly chatting the night away. And by morning the dream felt faint and unimportant.
Until the messengers came with the sunrise
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.