Disclaimer: As always,not mine. Just for fun.
As always, but more so than usual, thanks to lovely Anarithilien. I have used her word, cuivëar for the sea-longing. Although I think a lot of other writers have used it, I think it belongs to Anarithilien first.
Warnings: AU. m/m. Violent and erotic. Lots and lots of angst.
Chapter 8: Aftermath
He drifted. Aware of pain, and blurred faces, voices he could not hear...
There had been a moment where the pain had crushed him, a spear of agony pierced his shoulder and he had cried aloud. A hand on his wound and then fingers probing at sore, sensitive flesh. Searing burning pain ripped through him and he was suddenly held tightly, soothing words and hands that were warm and healing stroked him, soothed him. He had opened his eyes and a blurred face swam before him, familiar, distant… a beard, and at first he thought it was Gimli, but it wasn't. The beard was rougher, shorter and darker… the face spoke kindly but he didn't understand… his cry died to a sob. Soft voices, soothing, someone held his hand kindly, stroked a cool cloth over his feverish face and the fragrance of athelas enveloped him…
In the forest, dark trees shaded him and he ran... no, he wasn't running, he was galloping, it was a pony… ah, Gwaloth! Surely she was long gone… but he was galloping, and his father and strong powerful brothers on their great chargers rode with him, laughing loudly, their golden, brown and black hair teased by the wind and… No, it was Yule and the great bonfires were burning in the glades, and there was singing and dancing… he was leaping over one of the bonfires, laughing when he saw his mother put her hand to her mouth briefly as he leaped… ah, surely it could not be… and she stroked his hair back from his face, her hands cool, her scent, fragrance of … what was it? Athelas? No, wait… those were Aragorn's grey eyes… no, not Aragorn… Elrond then?
And then, a scent like silk lying on the breeze, of salt and black rocks shining from the tide… the wind from the Sea stirred his hair. A sudden break in the clouds shot silver through grey and there was a single sound, a sharp keening on the wind, and he saw the white wings catch in the brief sunlight that broke through. His heart soared and plummeted at their call and at the touch of cold salt spray on his lips.
''Te naegra…' Legolas murmured, 'Gaear-maew...'
There was a whisper to rest, to let himself drift now on the Song, to let it take him and he did. Warmth settled over his limbs, and then he slept once more, lulled by the rocking of the waves, the splash of the sea against the grey hull of the ship, and the distant keening of the gulls as they lifted into the breeze and soared...
Later, how much later? He did not know… time blurred...
There was a different sensation… pain nibbled at the edge of his consciousness but there was a sensuous tingling on his skin, feather-light touches. He felt his name traced on his skin. The touch drew his attention, tracing the patterns of runes and protection, lifting him from the darkness and the endlessly lulling waves. Fingers brushed across his chest, his nipples and he pushed into the touch… arched his back although the pain crushed him. His head tipped back and his neck exposed…wetness on his neck and then his mouth… a trace of wetness on his lips, like salt, he'd heard the sea was salt… he closed his eyes again listening to the song of the sea, the cry of gulls, the waves lapping at the shore, and then he felt a hand hold him by the shoulder, warmth spread into his shoulder, down his arm, to his fingers, and around his chest, to his stomach, and then further down. He felt a surge of warmth at his groin and he pressed into it. He felt pressure on his thigh, and he heard a moan… was that him? Through his eyelashes -- he could not open his eyes -- he saw a ring with a dark gem flashing in the golden light…
He suddenly struggled as pain surged around him. He tried to raise his hands to push off the heavy weight that crushed him, and then rough fingers seized his hair, pulled so his scalp hurt. He struggled against the hot hands, fingers digging into his sore, wounded shoulder, pulling him over, shoving him onto his stomach. He cried aloud again, but he could not raise his hands and was suddenly sinking, sinking… He could not move and sweating hands on him and then a heaviness suffocated him. The hot pain knifed through his shoulder and pierced his nerves. He whimpered and arched away from the pain. There was a sudden, anguished cry from someone else, the weight went from his body and then all was quiet.
He drifted again blessedly unaware….
* * *
When Elladan entered the cabin he could smell it. He glanced quickly, first to the bed and then at Elrohir, who stood with his back to him, leaning on a small wooden cabinet and breathing hard. The smell of athelas and uilos could not hide the musk that hung in the cabin's close atmosphere.
Appalled, he grabbed his brother's arm and hissed, 'What have you done?'
Elrohir turned abruptly with a fierce gaze, his lips thin and drawn back from his teeth. Elladan almost stepped back from him but it was still his brother, his twin, and he clutched at Elrohir instead, his own grey eyes searching the beloved face made unfamiliar with its savagery.
At that moment, Legolas murmured and stirred. The white linen sheet fell back and the lamplight bathed his half-naked body in golden light. Elladan stared. Runes and swirls and tendrils of gold and green were painted there on his warm skin. But more, Elladan immediately saw that the fabric of his breeches was torn and rucked, pulled down to expose pale flesh. Legolas moaned and rolled onto his back, his hand dropped to his side.
Disturbed beyond thinking, Elladan glanced at his brother… his face was transfixed, his lips parted and eyes fastened on Legolas. Long pale gold hair spread out over the pillow, lean, hard chest, belly. An abstract shape, a dragon? peered over his shoulder, curved at his narrow hip and trailed away below the ripped waistband… Elladan wanted to gaze himself but anger sobered him and he tore his eyes away, pulling the sheet back over the Elf's body to break the spell.
'What have you done?' he whispered again. Elrohir stared at Legolas and Elladan saw the lust, the desire, heavy, predatory. He stared at his twin, barely recognising him and fear made his stomach lurch. 'You are a healer!'
Elrohir pulled his arm away from Elladan. 'What do you mean?' he snarled. 'I did nothing! I healed him! You dare…? You imply…?'
Elladan's blazing accusation hung between them unsaid. He watched his brother lick his lips and look away.
'I did nothing…' he whispered, half to himself. 'I only looked…only touched…' He glanced briefly at Elladan. At the disgust on his twin's face, Elrohir suddenly stopped. Slowly, he looked down at his own hands as if barely recognising they belonged to him. His face crumpled. 'I lie, even to myself! I touched him. I pressed myself against him. I wanted to…' He covered his face with his hands.
Elladan almost stopped breathing. 'Did you…?'
'No! No, I stopped before… I stopped.' Elrohir shook his head as if trying to rid himself of the image, of the thoughts and the terrible urge to hurt. He did not know what drove him to want to hurt this Elf, to hold such rage against him, Legolas had done nothing.
Elladan breathed. He had seen this look before. He had seen the loathing and horror, the self-disgust that would not let Elrohir find release.
'I thought he was like …'Elrohir paused, hardly aware of his brother, eyes distant and glazed, 'but he is not. Nothing like.'
'Like whom?' Elladan had to ask, but he hardly dared to breathe, did not want to know. And if he was honest, later he was glad Elrohir would not answer, but only buried his face in his hands and groaned. It wrung Elladan's heart to see his brother like this.
For this was his brother, his twin. His heart. He reached out a tentative hand and touched his brother's sleeve. 'Leave these thoughts, Elrohir. This will destroy you.' He knew he sounded desperate. 'Put this out of your mind.'
He put his hand on the back of Elrohir's neck and pulled him towards him, nestling his brother's face in the crook of his neck and his heart felt such tenderness he could almost do anything if it would ease his brother's pain. He remembered again that time… Elrohir had returned on his own, his shame hung about him like a pall. And he had hidden from everyone. But Elrohir had helped him bind the wounds, those strange tears and scratches in his skin, on his arms and on his chest, like he had been clawed by some wild beast. Elladan squeezed his eyes shut. He could not let this go on. But he did not know what to do either.
He lifted his brother's chin and caught his anguished gaze. Elrohir pulled away, unable to meet his eyes, his mouth almost trembling on the edge of tears. Elladan seized him again and hugged him hard. 'I am here. You are not alone.'
Elrohir murmured in a voice so strangled he barely caught the words. 'I am a monster, worse than an Orc. How can you bear me?'
'No! No, you stopped. Before… There is no mark upon him, no…trace of…' He found it too hard to say the words. He had not… Elladan could not speak it even to himself and he pushed away the thoughts. He would deal with those later. 'Hush my brother, do not speak it.' Elladan smoothed his hand over his brothers' head, shushing him, he did not want to hear. 'You healed him. And you are still in the bloodlust of battle. You would not have harmed him.' But even as he spoke, he wondered if that were true, wondered what had happened that other time. 'I bear you because I love you. Whatever you do, whatever you have done, I will not let you go.'
He handed Elrohir a clean cloth, without meeting his eyes. 'Here, wash yourself,' Elladan instructed him and turned away, pretending to tidy the bottles and the small basin. The sharp smell of uilos and ortire stung his eyes with tears briefly and when he turned back, Elrohir was rolling down the sleeves of his shirt and shrugging into his black tunic.
He looked at his brother who still would not meet his eyes. 'Go. Find Aragorn and Gimli. Tell them Legolas is here.' He gripped his brother's arm and then said insistently, 'Tell them I am caring for him. Say nothing about you being here.'
Elrohir hung his head but Elladan gently turned so he could see his face. 'We need to find you a way of… of releasing this pain you have, that does no harm to another.'
He was relieved to see a nod from Elrohir. 'We must talk of this further,' he pursued while he had the chance, before Elrohir brought down the shutters and became stone once more.
'You have saved me from my own dishonour,' Elrohir said heavily. 'I will tell you what I can, but I do not understand it all…and there are some things…' he hesitated, 'some things that are too dark for me to bear.'
* * *
Gimli sighed and leaned on his axe, his muscles sore and cramped now that the fighting had stopped. He glanced down at himself; black gore spattered him from head to toe, mud clung to his boots and all up one side of him where he had slipped on Orc entrails. He grimaced, for he had been the reason said entrails had been spread out on the ground in the first place. He felt the battle fever seep from his blood and then the exhaustion set in. He needed to sleep. Desperately. But all he could see was the image of Legolas, kneeling on the bloody ground, his head tipped back and blood soaking his chest. Anxiety gnawed at his own entrails.
He needed to find Legolas.
Then find Aragorn. Then sleep. Then punch Aragorn. Hard. More than once. And then punch him again.
But he wanted to check they were both safe first.
He looked across the devastated field of battle. Smoke drifted across the plains like a thick fog. Corpses of Men and Orcs were piled or scattered. There were a few dead horses lying like great boulders, unmoving, only tails or manes fluttered slightly in a breeze. The River Anduin lapped at the shoreline, washing grey pebbles up and down in the tide. Beyond, on the river itself, a black ship still burned, orange flames leaping high in the sails and a cross bar fell flaming onto the deck, crashing though the rigging. There seemed to be no one on the ship, but small round shapes bobbed on the oily water. Gimli realised that these were drowning Men, and even though they were Corsairs, he still felt a sense of angry helplessness.
Another ship sailed close by and Gimli could see through the smoke that small boats had been lowered and even now, Men rowed out to the burning ship and pulled their drowning enemies from the black water. He murmured a short prayer of thanks.
There was a shout and Gimli turned to see Aragorn waving and striding towards him.
'Gimli! Well met! You are unharmed?'
Gimli rubbed his hand over his eyes, relief washing over him. Aragorn looked grimy with ash and dust; his sword, still unsheathed, was wet with blood, gory black clots strung from the blade. But he walked easily and his eyes were clear grey. He was flanked by two Rangers, walking swiftly, their grey cloaks billowing.
The Dwarf scowled and nodded. 'Yes. And you?'
'I am well,' Aragorn said distractedly, looking over Gimli's shoulder, searching. 'Where is Legolas?'
Now that he could see Aragorn was unharmed, Gimli could let his anger flood his veins, a red fury.
'Gimli? 'Aragorn asked concerned, this time focusing on Gimli.
'He was injured,' the Dwarf said shortly, glaring at the Man.
'Injured? When? Where is he?' Aragorn grasped Gimli's sleeve and stared at him. Gimli said nothing but he met Aragorn's grey eyes with a hard look of his own. He wanted to let the moment draw out, let him feel the uncertainty, the possibility of loss. But this was his friend too, and there was the same raw fear in Aragorn's eyes that he knew would be in his own.
'An arrow. He was shot just as he heard the gulls.'
Aragorn paled. 'He's been shot? Gulls? What do you mean?'
'Ah!' Gimli roared. 'You stupid man! Gulls. He heard the cry of gulls on the shore.' He saw Aragorn's blank look and was appalled. He grabbed the Man's arm. 'Have you forgotten? Galadriel said that if Legolas heard gulls he would die!'
Aragorn stared in horror, the beginning of realisation dawning. 'No! Of course I have not forgotten! But…' he glanced around them, taking in the grey shore, the heavy overcast sky. 'But we are not by the Sea.'
Gimli clenched his fists and shook his head in fury and frustration. 'You have been here before. Smaug's balls, Aragorn! You have sailed upon this river before all this. Did you forget that gulls come up this far? Did it slip your mind? Would you have played so fast and loose with the lives of your brothers or if it were the lives of your own folk, your Rangers there?' He pointed towards the two Rangers now standing nearby, grey cloaks, swords now sheathed but watching uneasily the exchange between their Chieftain and the Dwarf. He was being unfair, a part of Gimli knew, but his anxiety and guilt made him harsh.
And then, as if to punctuate his words with horrible irony, a gull mewled in the sky above them grey now in the dim light. And a sudden flock of white gulls lifted on the breeze and sailed above them.
Aragorn followed them in their flight, lips parted, aghast. He turned back to Gimli then. 'Tell me he is not dead,' he whispered.
Gimli winced. He could not answer. All that he knew was that he could not bear it if he should lose Legolas. Theirs was a friendship forged in iron and battle. He let his axehead rest on the ground and sighed. Then his hand crept out to Aragorn and he clasped the Man's arm for comfort. 'He was alive when I last saw him. He was taken by Elladan to a place of safety. I hope he will heal him for the arrow was in his back and… and there was so much blood.' Gimli swallowed.
'How did you know it was Elladan?'
Gimli gaped at him. 'Well I…I just assumed that…' He remembered the Elven warrior staring down at him, black gore slick on his tunic, on his sleeve and blood on his sword, the fire burning in his eyes. 'I do not know... he did not say…' And then he realised that he too had been a fool. He felt rage boil in his chest. 'If he has harmed one hair of his head, if he causes one wince of pain, I swear I will kill him!'
'Peace Gimli. We do not know. Let me find them.' Aragorn sounded desperate to Gimli, and the Dwarf clenched his fists again. 'They both are powerful healers. Legolas is in good hands whether he be with Elladan or Elrohir.' Aragorn looked away over the devastated battlefield, searching.
There was a black horse picking its way through the devastation towards them; the light breeze feathered a tendril of raven black hair. One of the sons of Elrond. He lifted a hand in salute. The two Rangers turned to watch him approach and Gimli suddenly realised why they were there - to protect Aragorn.
Gimli strode forwards, beard bristling and swinging his axe.
'Elrohir!' Aragorn called, 'How goes it with you?'
'All is well, Aragorn. Elladan is well. He tends the Mirkwood Elf even as we speak.'
Gimli let out a breath he did not realise he had been holding. 'You mean Legolas,' he said angrily.
'Yes.' The Elf paused and something indefinable flickered across his face. 'Legolas.' He looked down at his own hand that stroked over his horse's glossy black coat. 'You are right. He is injured' continued the son of Elrond, 'but he will heal quickly. The arrow he took was clean, a Haradrim shaft, not Orc.'
He slid from his horse and clasped Aragorn's arm. A smile flashed across his face and for the first time, Gimli saw Elrohir as he was, as he should be, his grey eyes were lit with love for his foster brother and relief that those he loved had survived.
Now that his face was softer, he saw how strong were the sons of Elrond, how striking was the black hair and grey eyes so similar to Elrond's, the fine features like carved stone – not marble or alabaster by any means. It should be granite, thought the Dwarf, but that was not fine enough. He paused and then shook his head at his ridiculousness.
Legolas was recovering, that was what was important. He was alive. And Elladan was caring for him.
'Where is he, good Master Elrohir, that I may tell him he is lucky I am so mellow a Dwarf as to not beat him about his little pointy ears!'
Elrohir turned his gaze to the Dwarf and Gimli was suddenly caught in their inner light- almost silver, argent perhaps… he found himself speculating again, what stone, what rock, what gems…
'He is aboard the ship of some of the freed slaves. They sailed from Linhir to aid us. Fine folk indeed. And Elladan is there.'
Gimli peered out across the river and picked out a black ship with figures scurrying to and fro as one of the small boats he was watching earlier drew alongside. 'It is not only the arrow that caused him injury,' he said and turned his dark gaze towards Elrohir meaningfully. The Elf took a step back at his words, and it seemed to Gimli that he looked guilty.
Gimli stroked his beard thoughtfully. The Elf-lord must think he referred to the fight between he and Legolas, Gimli thought. Recognising an opportunity when it presented itself, he said in the spirit of reconciliation., 'Come now, Master Elrohir. We are all now brothers in blood, in battle. We must put aside our differences and work together to defeat the One Enemy. Legolas will not hold that fight against you.'
'You were both in the wrong,' Aragorn intervened. 'It was not only Elrohir who drew blood.' He stupidly chose to remind Gimli, as if he needed that right now after Aragorn had so carelessly led them right to the mouth of the Anduin and to the Sea where it had been almost a certainty, a certainty, Gimli emphasised in his own head, that there would be gulls.
He turned to Aragorn, feeling the righteous indignation on Legolas' behalf fill him but Elrohir spoke first, in a quiet calm that was not at all how Gimli expected. 'He was more wronged than wrong. I wish now it had not happened. I do not seek to excuse myself.'
Gimli stared, open-mouthed and Aragorn turned to look more closely at his brother but Elrohir did not flinch. He continued, 'You are right, Master Gimli. We must put aside our differences.' Then he added in a low voice, 'I have much to redeem.'
Gimli was not quite ready to forgive Elrohir for all his transgressions against Legolas, but he was never grudging in his manners or his good opinion. And this could mean a healing of the rift between the sons of Elrond and the son of Thranduil. 'Well now, I am glad that someone is taking my advice for a change!' he said. He turned and glared at Aragorn, 'You should listen to me more often, you might yet be King of all Gondor and Arnor and whatever else it is.' Aragorn rolled his eyes but Gimli had already turned back to Elrohir.
'Yes well, I am glad that you are going to mend things with Legolas. He will be pleased with that too I am certain. But that was not what I meant.' Gimli leaned heavily on his battle axe, suddenly weary. 'It was the gulls that did it. They distracted him. It was because of that he let down his guard and so was shot.' Slowly Gimli rubbed his hand over his eyes, 'This smoke stings does it not?' he muttered and then said quietly, 'The Lady foretold his death should he hear the cry of the gulls. Does this mean he could still die?'
Aragorn swallowed and looked away across the bleak battlefield.
Elrohir did not move. He stood quietly, allowing Gimli time to recover. Then he stared across the great Anduin and Gimli followed his gaze to a small ship. 'Galadriel did not foretell his death. She said if thou hearest the cry of the gull on the shore, Thy heart shall then rest in the forest no more.
'His heart will not rest.' Elrohir's voice seemed distant and laden with sorrow and pain. 'It is perilous to stir the cuivëar, the sea-longing, in the heart of an Elf, and for the silvan kindred even more so. The cuivëar.' Gimli thought the Elf's eyes seemed the colour of the grey sea itself then but Elrohir continued, his voice low and resonant. 'He will never rest again, not here, not in Middle Earth, not in the beeches of his home or the gardens of Imladris, nor anywhere else. Only if he heeds the call and takes to the grey ships will he find peace. It is a sundering of kin. He will be torn from all he loves, all those he holds dear. And if he resists, it will become greater and stronger until he either listens and sails, or he is destroyed by the yearning.'
Gimli bowed his head and leaned on his axe. He had already confessed to himself that he could not bear to lose Legolas. It seemed he had already lost.
Elrohir looked at the bowed head of the Dwarf and was stirred with pity. He had committed such crimes, had so much to redeem for his terrible sins. Perhaps he could begin with helping the Dwarf understand. 'It is like the Mazar-kut,' he said softly, and met the astonished Dwarf's deep brown gaze. 'The call in your heart for Êkhezd-dum, where Mahal first delved and the Seven Fathers sleep, awaiting the breaking of the world.' He lifted three fingers of his left hand and then pressed them against the Dwarf's chest, over his heart.* 'The fire in your heart that calls stone to stone is like the song the Elves hear that calls them home to Valinor, across the Sea. Do not despair, my friend, it is a blessing also.'
* * *
Legolas opened his eyes mussily. He was in a small room, wooden walls and floor, polished oak. A fragrance of athelas suffused the air and he breathed in deeply. A sharp pain lanced his shoulder and jangled his nerves. He gasped.
'Shhh. Do not move.' a quiet voice soothed him. He felt a cup pressed against his lips and a trickle of liquid in his mouth. A tang of copper and something sweeter. Sere-vanda… he didn't want it. Didn't want that blanket of sleep to dull his senses, to wrap him about in a fog of warm forgetfulness… He tried to shake his head but it hurt too much.
'This will dull the pain. You will not sleep unless you wish me to give you more.' Again that quiet voice, commanding, intense, kind. It reminded him of something… someone… but it was too much effort to think. So he allowed the liquid to trickle into his mouth and throat. He tried to lift his hand to the cup but it fell back uselessly. A hand supported his head so he could drink. A memory flickered somewhere, of hot hands and a flash of a dark gem. But there was nothing on this cool, gentle hand.
'You are aboard the ship of your old friends, Nestor and Anor,' the voice continued gently. Legolas smiled.
His thoughts became clearer - there had been a battle. There were things he could not bear to lose. 'Gimli?' he asked weakly. 'And Aragorn?'
'They are well. Both survive with less injury than you.'
He could not prevent the sudden overwhelming sensation of relief. He had never really doubted but the Dwarf and Man were dear to him… and the Dwarf … Well, he needed that earth-bound sense and warmth at his back.
His eyes cleared a little and he saw Elrond's face hovered above him. He frowned, confused. 'My lord?' he struggled to sit up but could not and collapsed back onto the bed with a gasp. 'My lord…?'
Elrond smiled benignly and said, 'No. My father is yet in Imladris. I am Elladan.'
Ah… that was it… Elladan. He breathed out. It was becoming clearer.
But a memory drifted… light touches feathering his skin… warmth that permeated his bones and blood thrummed with burgeoning desire. He glanced up again at the fine, strong face, its dark brows and grey eyes that were full of compassion and concern. He became acutely aware of his nakedness, the bandage tight against his nipple, and his chest and stomach naked. He glanced away and pulled at the waistband of his breeches. His fingers found the torn fabric and he paused, wondering how that could have happened. He pulled the edges of the material together self-consciously and met Elladan's eyes.
'Forgive me,' the dark-haired Elf said, his eyes darting to where Legolas struggled uncomfortably beneath the sheet. 'You were so far gone it seemed perhaps there was some other wound.'
Legolas sighed, of course. He was relieved that it was Elladan who had tended him and not his brother. But the softly sensuous touches he remembered flitted across his memory again and he thought about that for a moment. He licked his lips, his throat felt dry and his head had started pounding.
'You will need to drink water.' Elladan seemed to have thought of this already for he lifted a wooden cup and held it to Legolas' lips again.
Legolas pulled away slightly and took the cup, glancing up at Elladan briefly. He was no weakling and he had wanted the sons of Elrond to see him for the warrior he was, not a weak injured Elf who needed tending. It would be different if it were Gimli, or Aragorn here…And he still felt strange, befuddled.
'I can do this,' he said stiffly, and then realised how churlish it was after Elladan had brought him to this place of safety and bound his wounds. He felt ashamed. 'I wish to thank you for what you have done.' He flashed a weak smile at Elladan, who stared for a moment and then tore his eyes away.
Legolas frowned and watched the Elf as he turned away and busied himself at the small cabinet. Richly coloured glass bottles stood in a haphazard row on the cabinet, the lamplight glowing through the emerald, gold and amber liquid. These sons of Elrond were heavier than silvan Elves, Legolas mused. Elladan's shoulders were perhaps broader even than his own archer's frame, his build more Mannish, lean but not in the same way as Legolas was himself. The Peredhel's legs were sturdier but still shapely, and long black hair gleamed in the lamplight, black as a raven's wing. Legolas almost expected to see blue lights in it…he remembered again the light feathering on his skin and touched his fingers softly to his own lips. He wondered what it would be like to sift the long raven hair through his fingers.
* * * *
The ghostly mist drifted, still, silent. Sated. There hung the tattered remnants of banners long forgotten. A glint of sunlight touched pale swords, ghosted over helms from long ago. Now that Aragorn stood before them, the whisperings had ceased. Their insistent demands were replaced by expectation. Like pressure before a storm, Aragorn felt his head throb, like someone was pressing down on him. He dragged his gaze to the spectral host that stood silent, listening waiting. He did not raise his voice, nor cry out to them for he knew he could speak no word and they would hear him.
'Hear now the words of the Heir of Isildur.' he said quietly. 'Your oath is fulfilled. Go back and trouble not the valleys ever again. Depart.' Aragorn paused and for a moment he glimpsed faces in the shadows massed before him, saw into their hearts, the thoughts of loved ones long ago buried and vanished into the earth, and he thought he heard the sound of hooves pounding across the rolling plains under the wide blue sky, the clink of stirrup and harness. He thought of all those wasted years and pity moved him. He said quietly, 'Be at rest.'
There was a faint sound, like a sigh, a breeze that barely ruffled his hair but was cold as frost touching his cheek. And they were gone.
It was over. The fear that had stalked them every step was lifted.. Aragorn felt lighter than he had for days, since first he looked into the Palantir and knew his path was to summon the Dead. Now he looked about himself and could see clearly and realised that his vision had been clouded, that he had seen everything through a mist, through a fog of waiting, of fear, of whispering. He saw Halbarad watching him carefully, and Gimli standing near Elrohir. Elrohir himself leaned on the standard that seemed to flutter and snap even though there was no wind. The sun broke through briefly and glinted off his Elvish armour and raven-black hair. But Aragorn saw that his eyes were distant and sad, gazing across the wide expanse of silver water to a small black ship.
Mazar-kut :Sacred fire. The fire of Mahal who made the dwarves without Iluvatar's knowledge although he later gave Mahal his blessing. (or Aule)
Êkhezd-dum: the Underground halls of the Seven Fathers
*Iglishmêk - the gesture-langauge of the dwarves. Elrond is the greatest lore master in ME and it is a fair assumption that his sons would know something of the language of the Dwarves. Galadriel also reveals a certain fondness for Dwarves and understanding of their culture. In LOTR, Gimli found comfort that the words of his own kind were spoken by Galadriel, although Tolkien says it is a secret language and dwarves did not teach it to other folk. There are only a few words known (source Ardalambion is the easiest I think although there are plenty of other useful sites). Any Dwarvish scholars out there who want to improve this or give me a few easy tips on Khuzdul, I'd be delighted.
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.