9. Chapter Nine
In this universe, Legolas's mother has sailed over the sea
Fortunate is he who is favoured in his lifetime
With praise and words of wisdom:
Evil counsel is often given
By those of evil heart.
The eyes of Wormtongue had shone with it, a fever in the man's blood. Desire for that which he could not have – Éowyn, fair maiden of Rohan. What had once been a man was now but a void, howling winds weeping for his fate. How easily men could be corrupted.
Yet at the moment Wormtongue had run past them, running to his master Saruman, Legolas had felt a stab in his heart.
Not for the fate of men – for the fate of one pained elf.
It would not take much before he would stand there, fever in his eyes, willing to do anything to end the pain and have that which he desired.
His dark star, his friend, his comfort. His desire. His heart pined for something he dared not quite put into words, for if he worded it, it would be true. And if it was true, he faced the pain of being rejected.
And the winds would howl for Legolas of Mirkwood, corrupted by his desire for a dwarf. His kindred would not understand, and the hatred would grow. 'A dwarf had corrupted an elf,' they would say – but it would not be the truth. It would be his own doing. His own pain.
The pain of losing Gimli was too great to face. Yet he had to. Immortality carried a heavy price. And a part of him – a small part – wished he could still resent Gimli, still merely see him as a dwarf.
But he had stumbled onto this path and there was nothing to do but walk it to the end and hope his heart held true.
Perhaps men were not so easily corruptible after all. Perhaps they only faced a greater pain on their path.
And Aragorn looked even greater as the elf regarded the human ranger. Great among men, surely, but great among all living beings even more so. He bore the pain of a lost father and mother, and the uncertainty of mortality. None knew what waited beyond the veil of death, and to not know was to fear.
To fear was to feel pain.
And Legolas found himself longing for youth and the spring days he would ride with his father in Mirkwood, singing in bright voices to the beauty of the forest. The world had been Mirkwood and it had been grand enough.
But as he had grown older, the forest had grown smaller. Shadows had crept in, and the songs were rarer. His father was older, more worn. Tired, for he had seen many years, and above all yearning for his wife beyond the sea.
Legolas did not remember much of her, for she had left when he was young. But a sudden urge to lay his head in her lap came over him now. To hear her songs and close the world out with her golden hair, as he had once done.
The world was here now, and there was no hiding. Following his friends, his steps seemed to echo through the halls with an eerie sound. Almost haunting, it seemed.
They ate hurriedly at a great table, Théoden with many questions for Gandalf. Even here the sense of urgency was still about, lingering like a foul shadow. When would they rest? Where could they rest?
In the arms of a dwarf.
Legolas closed his eyes, nearly shivering as the sensation of touch was recalled by his body. Warm, slow, sensuous caresses turning his body to a flame. Too wonderful to endure and yet not enough. He desired more.
He could not have more. The dwarf had offered him comfort, nothing more. And even the comfort would end, for Gimli was mortal. He would die, forever vanished from the land. The very thought was pain.
Pain. How did mortals stand it? The elves felt pain, but Valinor waited in the West, promising healing. Where waited healing in Middle-earth?
Gimli was sending a few looks at Éomer, but otherwise looked no different than any other day. Did he not remember what had happened? Or was he simply being gentle by not speaking of it?
The minds of dwarves were no more easy to understand than that of men. Different they were, though. Men's thoughts were on their faces. The dwarves spoke through their eyes. Gimli's were as clear as a mountain spring, and the elf found he missed the feel of those eyes on him.
“He was crafty: dulling men's wariness, or working on their fears, as served the occasion,” Gandalf was saying, looking grim as he detailed the betrayal of Wormtongue. Gimli nodded, his eyes for a brief moment flickering over to look at the elf.
There was no resentment there, as Legolas had feared. Just the openness and warmth that had always been there, had he had a care to look before. Yet something new had entered into them.
Fear. Fear was reflected there. Fear for the future, fear for their friends, fear for the beauty of Middle-earth.
'I shall protect it all for you, Gimli,' Legolas swore silently. 'Until the pain claims me whole.'
Gandalf's eyes suddenly fell on the elf, and Legolas felt the piercing glance of age and wisdom on him. The wizard had changed, not just in appearance and clothing. Power lay around him; granted power, not stolen power.
So many great beings. Gimli, Aragorn, Gandalf and even Théoden, the King throwing off old age as if it was a blanket. They all shone in the dark with their own light.
And what of him? Would he become as Wormtongue, twisted and evil, blinded by pain and desire? The Ring had known. The Ring had tempted him.
The Ring was out of his grasp. But there were other forces of evil at work besides the Ring.
“Legolas,” Gandalf said quietly. “Pain is not an evil until it overcomes us. Remember that.”
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.