7. Many Meetings
Beta: Thank you Anarithilien, who has given so much of her time to this whilst also completing her SIX YEAR opus, Dark Forest. A wonderful and rich story.
Special thanks too to Spiced Wine who, as my favourite Noldor/Silmarillion expert, has helped so generously with Erestor's back story, which is in itself a bit of a tale!
And as always, lovely reviewers who are so encouraging and keep me writing.
This is set the night before the Council of Elrond- the night Legolas arrives in Imladris, the Dwarves.
Chapter 7: Many Meetings
It was late by the time Erestor had completed all his duties. He had seen that all the guests were settled and in comfortable accommodation. He had been a little concerned by the number of Dwarves who had arrived, and the Man who had come all the way from Gondor, and the Hobbits. He was unsurprised of course by the appetites of the Hobbits at least, having now been host to Bilbo Baggins for some years. And he was fond of the old Hobbit and pleased that some of his kin were here whatever the reason for their flight. At least the messenger from Mirkwood had been hastily bundled into a suitable room high up in the eaves of the House by Berensul, who had then hurried to tell Erestor as he knew he should.
What is his name? Erestor struggled to remember as he strode up the wide sweep of steps to Elrond's rooms, two at a time. I know it was not Alagos who came this time.
He did not knock, and entered without glancing even at the three occupants already seated in wide comfortable chairs placed about a blazing fire. The nights were cold even in the Valley and it was late October. He himself would have thrown the windows wide and welcomed the cold mountain air and the sound of rushing water, but not everyone was as he. Glorfindel turned his head as Erestor came in and the firelight turned his rich hair molten gold. One could not help looking at Glorfindel, thought Erestor without rancour.
Erestor strode over to the sideboard where several bottles of good wine stood open and breathing, and one remaining goblet. He poured wine, rich and red, into the goblet and lifted it in salutation. Then he shrugged his velvet robe from his shoulders and threw it over the back of the empty chair and sat in it, draping one long lean leg over the arm of the chair in an overtly sensual way and gave a thin smile. In his linen shirt, fine velvet hose, and soft suede boots he knew how he looked and enjoyed the effect hugely. He let the cup dangle from his long fingers and pulled his long hair over one shoulder as if unconsciously.
Glorfindel gave him a wry look.
'There was a messenger from Mirkwood,' he said by way of explaining his lateness. 'He arrived with the Dwarves.'
'Ah, I met him,' said Elrond. 'He was in the wine cellar, half-dressed and soaked to the skin.' He smiled benignly. 'He was hanging up his clothes and emptying his very wet boots out into the drip-channel.'
'It seems as good a use as any.' Glorfindel turned a bottle upside down and watched a few drops crawl from the lip and drip into his fine goblet. He looked surprised there was none left. Erestor passed a new bottle and watched Glorfindel fill his goblet.
Glorfindel, thought Erestor, had several startlingly capacious abilities; one was to drink fine wine, another was to slay terrifying monsters.
Glorfindel looked up and grinned at Erestor as if he could read his thoughts and said, 'You will be unsurprised to know, Erestor, that your role at the Council tomorrow is to ask the difficult questions. Make sure that Aragorn has his chance to declare himself. Most auspicious that this Boromir of Gondor has joined us. He is the son of the Steward, Denethor.' Glorfindel raised his goblet to Erestor and Erestor glanced towards Elrond. His Lord's face was impassive and his grey eyes stared into the fire. For just a moment the mask slipped and he looked so unhappy that Erestor winced.
However he simply nodded in agreement, unsurprised; it was always his role to move things along. He looked into the depths of the red wine, its was deep and rich and he tasted it on his tongue, at the back of his throat and wondered who had brought out the good stuff that he, Erestor, reserved for very special occasions. Perhaps this was one, he thought.
'So Aragorn will go with the Ring then, and Boromir. At least to Minas Tirith,' he said thoughtfully. 'And who else? Mithrandir? You, Glorfindel?'
'I will if you will,' Glorfindel's lips twitched mischievously, but Erestor did not rise to his bait.
'Mirkwood eh?' Gandalf reached towards his pipe but he did not draw it out. 'How very fortuitous that he comes at this time.'
Erestor caught Glorfindel's eye. Glorfindel stifled a smile and asked obligingly, 'I wonder why he comes now. What news do you think he brings, Mithrandir?'
'Ah, well. It depends.'
Erestor tried not to sigh for Mithrandir would play his little games, but he was curious now that Mithrandir thought a messenger from Mirkwood worthy of mention. 'Berensul is with him,' he dropped in deliberately and watched the reactions of those around him with amusement.
'Poor Berensul,' said Glorfindel laughing and Elrond looked at him.
'I do not think Berensul will find it a hardship,' Elrond said. 'It is not...um... what is his name? The usual messenger. Alagorm?'
'Alagos,' said Erestor. 'No. He is called ... ah, I have forgotten it. Begins with an L. Legolas!' he said triumphantly.
Gandalf nearly spluttered into his wine. 'Legolas? Are you sure?'
That caught all their attention. Erestor thought that he should have pressed Berensul a little harder for information. 'I am sure that is what Berensul said. Yes, Legolas.'
'And who else is with him?' Mithrandir leaned forward and his bright blue eyes were fixed on Erestor now, most disconcertingly.
'He came on his own. Well, he arrived with the Dwarves but it is not clear if he actually travelled with them.'
'Oh, I doubt very much if he travelled with them,' said Mithrandir drily. 'So he came over the Mountains on his own?' The Wizard leaned back in his chair and pursed his lips thoughtfully. 'Well now, this is unexpected.'
Elrond turned to Mithrandir with curiosity. 'You know this Legolas, Mithrandir?'
'Oh yes,' said the wizard infuriatingly. 'And I know his business too. He has come to tell us that Gollum has escaped.'
'Oh that,' Erestor waved his hand dismissively for he also had news of that and enjoyed the irritated look on the Wizard's face. 'Yes, and it is right that Thranduil should tell us how this happened.'
'Ah, but he did not need to send his youngest son.' Mithrandir threw a glance that could only be described as smug.
Erestor could not stifle his surprise and dismay. 'Elbereth's tits,' he swore, ignoring the appalled looks from both Mithrandir and Glorfindel at such obscenity. 'We have put Thranduil's son in the domestics' quarters and I have let Berensul...' He did not finish that sentence, had enough sense to put a sock in it, as Glorfindel would say who had language at least as colourful as Erestor's when he wanted. 'Why did he not tell us who he was?' He rounded on Mithrandir as if it were his fault somehow.
'Oh,' the Wizard was now fumbling in his robes for that infernal pipe, Erestor thought. 'I expect he hopes no one will realise. He is probably worried sick about telling everyone that Gollum has escaped...He is a good boy.' The Wizard's eyes were distant for a moment as if he stared into some future and he chewed on the end of the pipe slowly. 'Perhaps I should have told Thranduil more than I did but I felt that there was still some hope left for Gollum. If they were kind to him...And Legolas is very kind.' He lifted his eyebrows and looked down.
He put his pipe between his lips, after a cursory glance around the room as if he cared that no one else smoked, and struck a flame. The flame cast an orange glow on his face for a moment and then died. 'It is no coincidence that the Peoples of Middle Earth are gathering. It is more than fortuitous.'
'It is too late to disturb him now, Erestor, and insist he moves into another room more befitting the son of Thranduil,' Glorfindel said amused no doubt by Erestor's consternation. 'If he is anything like the Woodelves I have met, he will be just as happy sleeping in a tree. And tomorrow you can move him if he wishes it. My guess is that once our assembled guests hear the news at the council, they will all want to depart as quickly as possible to give the news to their lords. And we must give our attention to finding out if the Nazgul have all departed this place or if they yet lurk in the corners and shadows outside Imladris.'
Erestor agreed with Glorfindel. The Nazgul were the greatest threat and even he shivered a little at the thought of all Nine clustered around the edges of Imladris like reaching shadows.
At that, Elrond stirred. 'We will send out riders to seek them after the council. Glorfindel, you will take one company and seek east and Erestor, take another company and seek south. My sons have returned and may have news.' He shuddered almost imperceptibly. 'It frightens me to think they may have encountered the Nine out there in the Wilds.'
Erestor found his heart faltered too at the thought and murmured a quick apology to Elbereth if only she would keep them safe.
'They are uncloaked and unhorsed, my friend,' said Mithrandir with compassion. 'But you are right, they are diminished, not powerless, not even now. And they seek the Ring...They may even have departed completely, but they will be back.'
Erestor said nothing for he did not quite trust that the Sons of Elrond were safe from the Darkness, but it was not only the Nazgul he feared; they had a darkness of their own, in the furious revenge for their mother's torment in the caves of the Orcs. Not for nothing were they known as the Sons of Thunder by the Orcs of the Mountains.
Unaware of the consternation his arrival had caused, Legolas awoke early the next morning feeling sated and comfortable. His limbs were soft with sleep, proper sleep and sex and he felt whole, content. Even though the bed was narrow, it was reasonably soft and the sheets fine enough for him. He blinked sleepily and saw that even in this room high under the eaves the windows were tall and the rooms bright.
He reached out and found the comfortable bed empty, but there was Berensul standing beside the bed, pulling on his clothes. Berensul turned and smiled, and then sat on the edge of the bed and looked down at Legolas, smiling. 'Last night was nice. Unexpected.'
Legolas looked at him still disbelievingly. 'Very,' he said. 'I never thought this would be how I spent my first night in Imladris.'
Berensul thinned his lips for a moment. 'We must be careful about last night,' he warned. 'It is true what I said, that some in Imladris would frown upon us.' He shook his head sadly. 'We must be secret.'
Legolas propped himself up on his elbows and looked at Berensul, hoping his caution was not because he was ashamed or that he wanted no more of him. Berensul's long dark hair was combed now and loosely braided, but last night he had been wanton and his long hair had poured over Legolas, his green eyes dark with lust and desire. He lifted his hand and stroked Berensul's face. 'I was hoping we might do this again,' he said.
Berensul laughed and caught his hand. 'If you wish me to come to you tonight, of course I will. But you are only here one more night perhaps and then you will be gone. I do not want you to break my heart.' He grinned brightly and Legolas thought it would take more than one night with him to break Berensul's heart. He had been a skillful lover too, knowing how to draw out the pleasure and how to seek pleasure himself. It had surprised Legolas after all he had been told of Imladris.
'I do not think that likely,' he said wryly. Berensul looked at him then and Legolas wished he had not been so blunt. 'I did not mean to make you sound cold,' he said quickly, regretfully. 'I hope we are friends beyond this. But I am no fool, I know this is only what it is and nothing more.' He kissed the palm of Berensul's hand to soften his words.
Berensul swatted him lightly and said glibly, 'Of course. And there are many maids who wish to have a share of you. I would not deprive them and who knows where that may lead!'
Legolas looked at him in surprise. 'Don't look so scandalised,' Berensul pulled Legolas to his feet. 'You are exotic and new and you cannot expect to stay in this splendid isolation!' He cast a quick, wry look around the room. 'They are already swooning over the Woodelf warrior who has barbaric paintings on his skin and will sweep them off into the trees to make wild love.'
Legolas raised his eyebrows, unable to think of himself in this way and stretched. He padded over to the wash basin and poured freezing water into the bowl. He could not help but gingerly sniff the soap again, puzzled. It was sandalwood, he thought, or something musky. Why would one put scent in soap, he thought. Wouldn't it make him smell odd? Not himself? He thought he might quite like it if he became used to it. He saw Berensul watching him out of the corner of his eye with a look of amusement on his face. So he shook his head slightly and rubbed it between his hands in the water and washed his face, his body and hoped he did not smell like a maiden.
'Does everyone use scent?' he asked, turning around and rubbing his skin with the linen cloth left for the purpose.
Berensul was fully clothed and lay stretched out on the narrow bed, hands clasped behind his head. 'Yes. We do not all want to smell of horses and sweat. Or Orcs.' He grinned appreciatively at Legolas as he leaned over and shook out his own leather breeches and pulled them on. Berensul had brought them up with him, amazingly already dry. He felt more comfortable in his own clothes and slipped his shirt on, then his moss suede tunic. It was still a little damp under the arms but that would not worry him. He carded his fingers through his hair, smoothed his hands quickly over the tight warrior braids and fastened the wide leather belt around his waist, surreptitiously checking that the hidden darts were still in place.
He reached for his twin blades and was just about to sheathe them when Berensul's eyes widened in alarm.
'Oh, you won't need those,' he said quickly. Legolas turned his head to look at him. 'I would leave all that behind if I were you. My lord insists that weapons are left at the porch with the gatekeeper.'
Legolas almost gaped at him. 'Surely not? Do you not need all your warriors armed in case there is an attack?' he asked in astonishment.
'That would never happen,' Berensul said definitely. 'It never has, never will.' He swung his feet to the floor and stood. 'Come. I must not be late or Ceredir will have my liver.' Legolas knew now this was the Cook and he was a terror in the way that Galion was not. Berensul threw open the door and looked out of the door warily. 'You must present yourself to my Lord Erestor properly. He was too busy last night to receive you.' He hesitated and then said carefully, 'You must beware of my Lord Erestor. He is very powerful and fearsome.'
Behind him, Legolas frowned as he pulled on his boots. Berensul's description did not match the man he had met and who had given him the tunic and hose. He checked that his knife was still in the sheath in his boot despite Berensul's warnings. He did not think anyone else would notice the knives and he could not walk about anywhere without a single weapon. It felt...naked. He began to buckle on his greaves but then stopped and dropped them back on the bed. They would attract attention.
'The girls say that he becomes a wolf at night,' Berensul turned back to Legolas and said mockingly. He grinned and Legolas gave an uncertain laugh. 'Do not look into his eyes.'
He led Legolas down the sweep of steps and out onto a wide terrace above the loud, rushing Bruinen. They paused and watched the pale sun rise above the mountains. The mountains looked beautiful now, a silver mist lay across them like a veil, but the snow-clad peaks rose high above and the rising sun caught on the snow.
The valley was wide and lush, and in Autumn the leaves of the many trees had turned gold and fluttered down onto the grass like showers of gold. All around them was the sound of water, the river rushed below and there were waterfalls spilling over high cliffs, foaming into deep green pools, rushing over rocks and swirling in rivulets around the lovely gardens. They left their footprints in the dew, scattered over the lawns like silver drops and stared at the glittering cobwebs looped over the roses. Legolas felt peaceful, calm like he never did in the Wood, even when resting in the boughs of the great oaks around the stronghold. He wondered why that was. He thought then that perhaps no weapon was ever needed after all.
He could stay here, he thought, and rest. Let his heart soak in the peace. He listened to the birds singing even though it was Autumn and they should be quieter.
'Come. He will be waiting.' Berensul pulled at his sleeve and Legolas turned from the sight and followed Berensul through a cloister of cool arches where water ran along a channel cut in the stone and ended in a fountain. A Man passed them. His hair was dark and he was bearded. A great fur-lined cloak was wrapped around him and upon his back was a heavy round shield and at his waist a great hunting horn. He glanced up at Legolas as he passed. His eyes were wary and guarded and Legolas felt a sudden empathy.
'Here.' Berensul rapped sharply on the door. 'Remember what I said, don't look into his eyes!' And having knocked, he turned and seemed to flee.
There was nothing, no sound from within so he steeled himself, scolded himself for the silliness of Berensul's fairy tales and he knocked again, a little louder. Still nothing. He knocked again even louder and this time he heard a voice within calling him to enter, a little impatiently. He was about to open the door when it was thrown open and an Elf stood there, tall, imposing and looking very irritated. Unable to help himself, Legolas looked up into sharp eyes, hawkish, but such a light brown as to be almost amber. Legolas stared open-mouthed for it did indeed give the Elf a faintly vulpine air and he narrowed his amber eyes as though he were used to the effect he had, a predatory smile that showed his white teeth. Legolas felt for a moment like a sheep that had strayed too far. Definitely not the Elf from the wine cellar, he thought. Nothing about this Elf reassured him. His long black hair was tied back severely but not braided, it looked strangely antique, a long horsetail of black hair, cheekbones like knives. Tall, broad-shouldered, dressed in an elegant tunic embroidered with silver thread, and fine velvet hose, fine suede boots. Legolas could well believe the tales Berensul had told him.
Legolas bowed slightly and said, 'My Lord Erestor?' When he lifted his eyes to the elven Lord's face he saw that the Elf watched him with a smile of wry amusement.
'I see you have heard the tales,' he said, a fine black eyebrow lifted sardonically. 'They are all true.' He stood back and gestured Legolas to enter. There were some wide shallow steps that led up from the cloister and into a wide room with an elegant and sweeping view of the Valley and its golden trees. Graceful arching windows floor to ceiling were thrown open and the cold fresh mountain air filled the room and there was the sound of water.
'You are from Mirkwood,' Erestor said as he led Legolas into the room. He carefully picked up scrolls from where they were piled up on chairs. There were books everywhere and scrolls, both unrolled and tightly sealed. 'You have crossed the mountains on your own. That in itself is a feat.' His voice was unexpectedly rich and mellow, the voice of a bard and poet, thought Legolas staring in turn and confused by the sudden fleeting impressions, but he did not dare to lean in and listen to the Song of the Elf for he thought it would be deemed far too presumptuous.
Erestor pulled out a tall-backed beech chair from an elegant desk, also of beech, where inks of different colours in glass bottles like jewels were lined up neatly. Ancient books were piled up carefully on the desk. Erestor sank into the chair and steepled his long, elegant fingers. He surveyed Legolas for a moment, just enough to unnerve him with those strange amber eyes but Legolas had learned at his father's knee how to withstand such scrutiny and bore it well, he thought.
'That rascal Berensul tells me you have messages from Thranduil,' Erestor said smoothly and Legolas flinched. Had Berensul told Erestor everything? He racked his brains for what else he might have said unguardedly and wondered if Berensul's only motive was to find things out. He hoped that was not the case but he remembered too how skillful Berensul was and how quick he was to approach him...how easily Legolas himself had fallen. He cringed. Laersul would never have given in and Thalos would have given in but said nothing. Legolas closed his mouth now, determined that at least now he would say nothing....He wondered if the one bit of information he should have given was his name. because he suddenly felt sure that Erestor would know that too.
'He tells me you are looking for Mithrandir.' The elven Lord looked carefully at Legolas as if waiting for a reply. But when there was none forthcoming, he gave a slight smile. 'I will let him know that you are here. You will have messages of course for my Lord Elrond too,' he said invitingly but Legolas was determined now and said nothing.
There was a moment where each stared at the other and Legolas felt himself flinch a little. Erestor may have noticed because he inclined his head as if acknowledging his victory and said, 'You are not Alagos.'
Well that was true, thought Legolas so he nodded. 'Alagos was injured,' he said, trying to look helpful.
'Ah, I thought as much. He would not easily give up his title of King's messenger,' Erestor said smoothly, but Legolas thought he detected an undercurrent of amusement. 'Then what is your name, child.'
Legolas blinked slowly and said as innocently as he could, 'My name is Legolas,' knowing it sounded as evasive as it was.
Erestor waited. A slight smile played about his lips and Legolas was reminded of a cat playing with a mouse, but that was too obvious...He had seen a wolf once, trotting nonchalantly after its prey, just watching, waiting for it to fall, to trip... that was how he felt now. He swallowed. Berensul was right. Erestor was a wolf. No escape now.
'Legolas Thranduillion,' he said, his mouth going a little dry, but the Elf lord's eyes face remained expressionless.
'Legolas Thranduillion,' he said slowly and he gave Legolas a piercing stare that reduced him to a child who has been caught stealing cakes. Legolas bit his lip. 'Ah. So not a simple messenger then, my lord.' Erestor inclined his head slightly.
'In the Wood, my lord,' said Legolas, trying to assemble some dignity, 'I am no lord. Nor do we see lineage as worthy of note. In the Wood I am simply Legolas Thranduillion, an archer.'
'Nevertheless, in the Valley,' said Erestor carefully, 'we do see lineage as worthy of note. Here,' he said emphatically, 'you are a lord. And we will treat you as one.' It was almost a threat.
Legolas lifted his chin. 'It will not be necessary and hardly worth it, my lord. I intend to deliver my message to Mithrandir and then leave. I will of course pay the Wood's respects to my Lord Elrond and then depart.'
Erestor rose slowly, majestically from the tall backed chair. It was impressive and probably well rehearsed, thought Legolas nervously, but that only made it worse. He stood looked down sternly at Legolas. 'You may think that arrangement acceptable, but I assure you it is not. I will of course have the son of the Elvenking moved to more suitable quarters.' He strode quickly to a second door that Legolas had not even noticed and threw it open. Legolas glimpsed another Elf sitting at a desk, head bent and a black feathered quill scratching at a parchment. He looked up at Erestor's approach, who spoke to him quickly and quietly. The Elf threw a startled glance past Erestor at Legolas and then back up to Erestor. He nodded briefly and then rose to his feet and disappeared.
'There. All done. Your belongings will be moved to more suitable quarters, in the guest and family wing of course. Ceredir and Berensul will be reprimanded.' There was a slight glint in the elven Lord's amber eyes that unnerved Legolas even more.
He shook his head in distress. 'Please my lord, that will not be necessary I assure you. The kitchen Elves have been more than hospitable and treated me very fair. They showed great kindness to a stranger, a mere messenger,' he said desperately. 'It says much that I had such a welcome in the Last Homely House.' He wondered if he would have had quite the welcome if he had declared himself.
Erestor paused then for a moment. He was still on his feet, looking down at Legolas whose fair face was turned up and beseeching. Something flickered in his amber eyes then and his face changed subtly. He licked his dry lips as if considering and then said, 'Very well. Since you speak so fair of the kitchen, I will not turn them out to fend for themselves in the Wild. This time.'
Though he spoke severely, Legolas was skilled at reading even the stoniest countenance, and he thought he detected a glint of amusement. Erestor tilted his head considering and Legolas knew it was not an invitation, or at least he hoped not because he would not have dared refuse. 'It is certainly fortuitous that you are here, and that we have a representative of Mirkwood,' he said and Legolas did not dare correct the slight to the Woodland Realm. 'You must join the Council that my lord has called.'
Legolas' heart fell. A council! Thranduil would be furious, and kill him. Slowly. Alagos was probably already dead at Thranduil's hands, and that only left him. But he did not think there was any way out. He resolved to sit tight and keep his mouth firmly closed, say nothing. Nothing at all. Find Mithrandir and then scurry back to his room until another group left to cross the mountains. The Dwarves perhaps...
Erestor leaned back in his high-backed chair, looking pleased now that he had decided Legolas would be joining the Council. 'If you had been a mere messenger, it would not be proper for you to join the Council. Certainly you could not speak for Thranduil. But as his son, you are more than capable of speaking for him. Indeed, I have heard of your diplomacy and skill.'
Melkor's balls, thought Legolas but what he said, rather faintly, was, 'I think you mean my brother, Thalos. He is a skilled diplomat.' And Elbereth knows I wish he were here now, he added mentally.
'Ah. Then you are the warrior who led the battle with your father at Erebor?' said Erestor, looking even more impressed.
'No. That is my oldest brother, Laersul,' he said trying not to look miserable.
Erestor was, Legolas thought miserably, far too refined and intelligent to say more but he could almost hear that mellow, silky voice say Ah, then you are the stupid one, we hear that Thranduil would rather send his horse to a council than send you.
Instead Erestor said, almost kindly 'Then you must be his youngest. Too young yet for your reputation to reach us.' Legolas hung his head and so missed the look of pained empathy on the councillor's face. 'Come. The Council will begin soon and perhaps you will be able to give Mithrandir your message and then stay and learn what has been happening in the world beyond Mirkwood.'
Legolas bit his tongue again. This was the third time. But Erestor had been gracious enough at his small deception and he wished to be on good terms so he followed the councillor out of the room and down a smooth flight of stone steps that swept down onto yet another terrace that led to a wide lawn. Legolas had seen a lawn before but it seemed so odd a thing, to keep the grass so short that nothing could live in it or grow but the grass itself. He wondered if Elrond kept his horses on it but there was no dung anywhere. Except on the roses! he suddenly realised with astonishment as they passed. But he said nothing and simply followed Erestor.
They came to a high garden above the steep banks of the river and the sound of it filled the air. There were the scents of the gardens around them as if Summer yet lingered here in this place of sanctuary and refuge and Legolas realised that he had slowed and that Erestor was waiting for him, a slight smile on his face. 'There is a sheltered place where Elrond keeps council. We will find Mithrandir there.'
Ahead of them was a covered porch, in that it was a terrace that had a roof over it to give shade and shelter. It faced East and so the sun poured over it, the stone was warm and the autumn leaves gold.
He felt the Song flood the clear mountain air, lacing through the arches and colonnades, drifting over the lawns and gardens and in the voice of the river and waterfalls. There was a sense of tremendous power and he remembered the man he had met yesterday, how the blue power seemed to lift him and whirl around him like all the Airs of the world, like he had been snatched up by the wind. For a moment he felt again the overwhelming power that he had felt before, the air swirling around the world, rushing between Sea and Stars, and quickly he stepped back from it before he became overwhelmed. He blinked slowly, his eyes focusing on Erestor's curious face.
A murmur of voices drifted over the gardens and Legolas turned to see that Erestor was watching him with a strange expression on his face. "What do you hear?' the Elf asked in a low voice. 'I have heard that the Woodelves can hear the Song more clearly than any others. Is that what you hear?'
Legolas looked up at him and nodded, a little bewildered at both the question and the power. 'Yes. Do you not hear it?' he asked. Erestor was taller than him by half a head, lean and strong. He stood close and Legolas was aware of his sharp cheekbones, his mouth and the intensity of his power.
'We hear it, in the breath of the world perhaps,' murmured Erestor staring at Legolas with his amber eyes. Legolas felt all the weight of the Elf's years, all his wisdom, hard won and paid for by long years in exile, in banishment, and finally in the restless peace of Imladris. 'We hear it in the cry of the gull or the wash of the sea. What do you hear?'
Legolas pondered but he could not find the words. It was in his veins and in the air he breathed. 'It is...it just is,' he said a little helplessly and Erestor nodded in understanding.
'Yes,' he said.'I have been told that. Long ago in Eregion, and once before, in Nargothrond. Finrod was glorious.'
Legolas knew he gaped but he had no time to ask for at that moment a single clear bell rang out to signal the Council was to begin.