6. The Door Is Open
Winter was coming, though it was not yet the season for it. Cold winds came from the north and the west, freezing flowers to death. Snow fell in the north, covering the still green grass. Trees had to fell their leaves or die.
Lakes froze, and the sea became a cold grave for all those who dared sail out. Even the moon seemed pale, and the sun hardly showed its face. Those who could sought the indoors and hardly ventured out.
But for some there was no choice. Gimli and Legolas were seeking the Havens, and no foul weather could keep them from journeying onwards.
Legolas was mostly silent but Gimli sometimes awoke in the night of songs of lament. They seemed to blend in with the weather strangely – songs of cold hearts in a cold world. Sometimes the Dwarf thought he might understand them, for they were not only in the language of Elvish. They were in the language of the heart, and all beings had the capacity to understand that
But what worried him most was a line of poetry that seemed to echo in his mind over and over. He was not sure if he had invented it or was remembering it, or perhaps heard it in a whisper somewhere.
There are wind-ages, wolf-ages, Ere the world falls dead
Wind-ages and wolf-ages. He thought sometimes he heard wolves howling in the wind, but he never saw any. Legolas paid no heed, or perhaps he did notice and did not say. It was impossible to break through the shield Legolas had erected for now, but the Dwarf was determined to see it shatter eventually.
But for now he let the Elf grieve in his own way and tried not to freeze to death.
Each day seemed the same. Trotting or riding through snow until night fell, then seeking cover for the night freeze. Onwards and onwards, through the pass and into the valleys where the wind died down a bit.
The snow began to fall thicker, silencing the world. It was a strange mood about, as if time itself had frozen. Nothing seemed to move, nothing seemed to happen.
They passed by the empty Rivendell, cold and covered in snow. It seemed to greater distress Legolas, and Gimli felt a bang of sadness also. He could not explain it, but seeing the wind sweep through the empty halls nearly brought tears to his eyes.
They continued along the road, meeting few other travellers. The few that were out spoke in worried voices about orcs and a great wolf that had been spotted. Ill omens, they called them.
The two companions reached Bree just as a winter storm came from the west, assaulting the town. It seemed unusually cold and harsh, sweeping through clothes and wood alike to fasten its cold grip.
The Prancing Pony still stood, and they took lodging there. But even in Barliman's tavern there seemed an ill mood about that not even ale could cure. Not for the lack of trying though.
Seeking a quiet corner, the Dwarf and the Elf sat down, listening to the wind and the low whispers. A few sent curious glances their way – an elf and a dwarf travelling together was an uncommon sight.
They sat quietly for a while, when suddenly a familiar voice called out.
“Bless me, it's Sam,” Gimli said astonished.
Indeed it was. Clutching a pint of ale was Samwise Gamgee, looking a fair bit older from the last time Gimli had seen the hobbit. His face seemed less innocent, and more hardened.
“I did not expect to see you two here,” the hobbit said, looking somewhat guarded. Legolas realised the hobbit already knew why they had come.
“What brings you here?”
“The Havens,” replied Legolas.
Outside, the wind picked up, rushing through the town and into the wild. Through the trees and past the pack of wolves waiting by the hilltop it went. Wolves, yet not wolves, for they had not been born as wolves. And the pack leader was greater than any wolf, as tall as a horse and fur as dark as the night.
Night fell. Sinking down on the bed, Legolas stared up at the ceiling. The meeting with Sam had not comforted him, for the hobbit had confirmed his fears. There was something seriously wrong at the Havens – Sam had spoken of wolves hunting and elves missing.
The wind shrieked, shrieked like a dying.. a dying..
A dying elf.
The shriek died away as Legolas found himself on a great cliff overlooking the stormy sea.
There was blood in the water. Rusty red spilling into blue. Legolas stared as more blood fell into the water, fell from the sky.
“The door is open,” said a voice in his ear, and Legolas spun around to face his father. White as death he was, sea weed in his hair.
“Father!” Legolas exclaimed, reaching out to touch Thranduil's hand. It was cold and wet and he could not help but shudder.
“My son. My beloved son. You must understand. You must see.”
“The sky.” And with that Thranduil lifted his hand, pointing upwards. “The door is open. He can reach out and touch the world once more, and soon he shall escape. The end of the world draws near, Legolas, but it should not be. This is not the time.”
His father seemed to deteriorate before his eyes, flesh falling from his bones, bones becoming ash and the wind swept the ash from the ground.
“Father!” Legolas cried out, reaching out and only catching a handful of ash.
“The door is open!” the wind cried. “The door is open!”
Panting, Legolas awoke. Unasked for, tears began to stream down his face. He did not hinder them, letting out all his grief and fear in silent sobs.
To his surprise, he suddenly felt a gentle hand on his shoulder, and looked up to find it was Sam, not Gimli.
“Take me to the Havens,” the hobbit pleaded. “I need to know Master Frodo is well.”
“I will, Sam. And I hope he is.” The words were lightly spoken, but there were no hope in them. For Legolas remembered the tale his father had told him long ago.
'Morgoth shall come back through the Door out of the Timeless Night,' his father had said, then laughed it away as though the time would never come.
But the door was open now.
Author's Note: 'Wolf-ages, wind-ages, Ere the world falls dead' is from Norse mythology and the tale of Ragnarok, end of the world.
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.