1. A Change of Seasons
Without purpose or direction, Legolas’ walk became a sprint, and he ran with great speed over the slowly awakening soil. Of late, Legolas found these woods, although not as fair as those of Lórien or as familiar as those of Eryn Lasgalen, to be one of the few things to offer him solace. It was now nearing the end of Coirë; the moon had almost been through Her last complete cycle and cleansed everything in the path of Her healing light. Though he’d stood pensively in the moonlight many a sleepless night before now, Legolas’ heart felt anything but cleansed of its recent misery. Since Aragorn’s passing roughly three weeks before, little could console the Elf: his sense of loss was great, and not only as result of his bloodline. Losing such a dear friend had forced him to consider his own existence.
Legolas missed the Sea. Its Waters, it seemed, loathed his absence as well: always he could taste the salty wind, hear the crash of waves on well-worn rocks, sense its sandy shores… Always he could feel its presence upon his heart. Truthfully, there was never a time he hadn’t felt its presence after Sauron’s fall, but the simple longing then had turned into a desperate need now. Dreams, when he had them, were of the Sea and seemed to be a reality. So vivid were the colors and sounds it seemed that if he walked too far forward or with ill-placed steps, he would drown in his own memory.
Despite his attempt at nonchalance, he was not the only one to notice that the ache in him could hardly be concealed. At times, when in Gimli’s presence, Legolas found himself straying from any conversation and gazing almost apologetically in whichever direction his beloved Waters lie. Of course, he quickly learned to better pay attention, as his actions were very trying on the Dwarf’s patience and Gimli made no attempt to be subtle when voicing an opinion.
At length, Legolas’ run slowed to a walk once more. The edge of the forest was now in sight, and through the limbs of the trees he could see the banks of the mighty Anduin. Its waters were calm today; it was almost as if they sensed the Elf’s hidden heartache and slowed their incessant tumbling to a more peaceful song. He appreciated the effort, though they did not comfort his fears in the way that one might think.
As he stepped nearer to the river and its melodic dance, a figure made itself apparent to his Elven eyes. It was small in comparison with Legolas; even quite stout. Slowly, it rocked back and forth on its heels, seemingly deep in thought and considering the dark waters of the Anduin, which it faced. It was completely oblivious to the Elf’s presence. Recognizing when he had the advantage, Legolas sprang forward.
“Gimli!” he called, emerging from the edge of the forest. He had caught Gimli at unawares and took pride in the fact, even though Gimli managed to refrain from jumping with surprise.
“Ah, Legolas.” Gimli greeted, attempting to seem at ease. Upon seeing the Elf, his face assumed an expression of mock irritation. “I now understand why it is you are so fair of face, my friend, for it is your looks which seem to compensate for your punctuality.” Legolas granted the Dwarf a slightly mischievous grin, though he did not entirely feel the joyfulness he portrayed. Nonetheless, he could not ignore the opportunity for a battle of words with Gimli.
“And I now understand why it is that you pride yourself on being so clever, elvellon, for it is your wit which seems to compensate for your etiquette.” Legolas beamed at his triumph when Gimli grumbled unintelligibly in response.
Legolas’ smile faded at length and he looked to the ground. He noticed Gimli had done the same. Several moments of reflective silence followed; it wasn’t an uncomfortable silence, simply the kind for reminiscing. When the moments had slowly become minutes, Gimli softly spoke aloud. “The longer we tarry, the older the day grows, Legolas.”
With a deep sigh, the Elf turned round to face the woods he had journeyed through to come to these banks. He closed his eyes and inhaled the scent of green rebirth: the scent of Life. He listened to the trees’ whispers: they spoke of the lives of the Middle-earth’s inhabitants in years long past and the hope and the promise of a new season. The wind, an old friend, touched his face in a final farewell. It seemed to know his choice was for the best and gave him confidence, for after so many centuries of knowing this soil and coming to love and trust it with his entire being, his hasty decision almost appeared to be based upon his own selfishness. He breathed in the cold air and felt it become part of himself. As it spread throughout his body and at last reached his fingers at his sides, they tingled with anxiousness and he knew the time had come to part. Finally, after taking what was offered from everything around him, he opened his eyes and faced Gimli once more.
“I am ready.”
With a slow, gentle nod, Gimli turned to face the Anduin again. The vessel there danced upon the waters with a fluidity that almost made it appear to be an extension of the waves themselves.
“Then, Master Elf, let these shores see us off.” With one final sigh, Gimli quietly moved to board the boat, then looked to the Elf as he patiently awaited his companion to do the same.
Slowly turning to gaze sorrowfully back at the worn land one last time, Legolas felt his eyes become faintly watery. “Namárië, Endor.” He raised a hand to rest lightly upon his heart. “May the Valar keep you well, for our paths shall not cross again.” And as those final whispered words were carried away upon windy wings, the last of the Fellowship departed for the West.
Elvellon - Elf-friend.
“Namárië, Endor.” -“Farewell, Middle-earth.”
Coirë- the Quenya name for the Elvish season that lay between modern 11 February and 5 April.
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.