Legolas awoke slowly. Sunlight pierced through the canopy of leaves that formed a protective layer above him. It took him a full five minutes to come to full consciousness.
"Master! You are awake!" An exuberant shout announced the presence of his ever faithful friend. "How feel you?"
A hand brushed his forehead. He struggled, and was helped upright, leaning against a beech.
"You do recall the attack by the Orcs and your subsequent injury, do you not, Legolas?" Esendri enquired anxiously, peering intently at his friend, when he saw the confusion. "Glorfindel has been keeping watch, and the Orcs have not returned but we must move once you see fit!"
"What of Yuvinel?" said Legolas.
Furtiveness swept across the face of the other.
"She saw fit to leave in the dark of the night, believing us unaware of her movements. We did not stop her."
"You let her leave?" Incredulity and anger crept into Legolas.
"Indeed, for it was her decision!"
Legolas cast a dark look at his friend.
"I had not the chance to thank her!"
"Save your breath, my prince, for it is perhaps a greater favour for her to remove herself from your influence!" said Glorfindel, who had come up to them when he heard voices. "Enough time has been wasted. Do not lose yourself in every whim and fancy you encounter! You forget your duty to both you father and your home."
"Lord Glorfindel speaks the truth, Legolas. The threat to Eryn Galen is great, and we cannot fail in our task. How do you feel this morning?"
"The pain is bearable, although it usually does not come with guilt as an accompaniment!"
"Enough, Legolas! You must learn to limit your contact with mortals. Nothing good would come out of it! You must realise that kindness will not beget kindness. You barely escaped with your life this time, and let this be a lesson!
"It is time we left this forest, for we have lost two days to the foul creatures. Let us know if the pace we set is too quick for you, Legolas, as the journey to come will tax you greatly. You are no stranger to the High Pass."
A determined nod of the Elf's head signalled the affirmative.
"Indeed, Glorfindel. Rest assured that I will be no hindrance to the group!"
Glorfindel smiled, and offered the prince a hand, only to be refused politely and pointedly. The smile faded as he noted the flash of uneasiness in the eyes of the young one as he rose.
"Perhaps I should examine your wound again?" he proffered, trying to keep the worry out of his voice.
A short laugh erupted from Legolas. "Mind me not, Glorfindel, for I can assure you that being kept off one's feet for two days would indeed have some effects on one's movement!"
Glorfindel did not press further. He could see that Legolas was embarrassed for getting himself injured, and so he left it at that.
In spite of the words he spoke, Legolas felt a heavy throbbing in his shoulder. While the rest of his wounds had healed quickly in the manner of Elves, something felt wrong about his shoulder. However, he had cost his companions enough worry and time, and he would not slow them down. His own examination of the injury could wait.
He noted how he was wearing his ceremonial robes. A dark curse passed through his head, both for the foul creatures, and the tailors who had managed to conjure such majestic but impractical garments.
Esendri thrust a cloth of fruit in front of him, interrupting his thoughts.
"Have some sustenance, Lass!"
A sudden gagging rose in Legolas's throat as he beheld the food. He pushed it down quickly, beaming at Esendri, and took one up in his hand. The thought of having to eat the pear was vile. Not understanding, confusion took hold of him. It was silenced by his awareness of his companions suddenly watching him closely.
Smiling as hard as he could, he forced himself to take a bite of the fruit. Bile came up in his throat, almost making him spit it out. The taste, normally so pleasant to him was revolting. Not wanting to alert his companions to this alarming change, he swallowed it as quickly as he could, all the while struggling to maintain a neutral, appreciative expression in his face while it was all he could do not to run into the bushes and throw up.
Seemingly satisfied, the other two turned their backs on him, readying themselves to set off. Legolas quickly hid the remainder of the pear in the undergrowth.
A loud whinnying was heard, and Nardawin charged out from the bushes, straight into Legolas. In her anxiety and elation at seeing her master awake and recovered, she charged straight at him.
"Legolas!" Esendri cried, as he saw Legolas get knocked to the ground.
Even Glorfindel was caught off-guard and both cried out as the Elven prince hit the ground.
The Elflord and the servant were at his side in an instant, only to be pushed aside by a laughing Legolas.
"Worry not! I panicked upon seeing Nardawin come charging at me!" Legolas rose, and rubbed the startled mare's nose affectionately.
Esendri could tell that Glorfindel was not convinced too. They both exchanged another worried glance before pretending to ignore what they had just witnessed. No Elf would ever let himself be so easily run to the ground, but neither wanted to push their friend. They knew that they could well be dealing with a mutiny if they attempted to force Legolas to rest further.
Legolas took a swig from his flask, wiping away the beads of moisture that had gathered on his forehead. He had not even managed to gather the reflexes to jump aside as the horse charged at him.
He continued stroking his horse's mane, unsure of what to say next. Even the mare was eyeing him suspiciously. He spoke soft words to her, before swinging himself up. She shuddered at his touch, but went still. The horse was agitated, but did not show it, and the Elf could tell that she was uneasy bearing him.
Horse and rider moved off, not waiting for their companions. Legolas felt his hands go cold with the movement. The mare seemed to be eager to depart from the place, and worked up a canter.
"Nardawin!" Legolas cried. Never before had the mare moved without instruction from him. The sounds of branches cracking behind him told him that his companions had caught up.
Esendri pulled alongside his master, and looked worriedly at him.
"Legolas, why did you not wait?"
"Do you not see that we must not tarry? Imladris awaits us!" the prince answered. "Surely you are eager to set your eyes on the house of Lord Elrond?"
"Indeed, you speak the truth, Master! Away, away we fly!"
"Ride on, Legolas, for many pleasures await at Imladris!"
Glorfindel, too, sped along his way. He was followed closely by Nardawin, and the Elven prince who rode uneasily atop her.
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.