17. A Brother's Farewell
For Azalais on her birthday.
F. A. 120
Girion, Thranduil's firstborn, having ridden to Ithilien with little rest, wore a forlorn expression as he regarded his younger brother. Ill with the cursed Sea-longing, Legolas was a shadow of the Elf he'd once been.
"You will leave your wife, your children, and all you have built here in Asca Nen, to travel to a land where dwell very few you have ever met? How can you know that will not be worse then what you suffer here? Why not return to the Greenwood? Perhaps Daernaneth can help you. Or Father, or Mother, or … surely someone can heal you! For illness this is."
"I must go, brother. I must! There is no choice in the matter. If I stay, I will fade, and then still I will pass into the West. Better alive and free than to Badhron's Halls. None can change that."
The elder gripped the younger in a tight embrace. "That is what they all told me you would say." Indeed, they had been so despairingly certain of it that they had not come. "But I would not believe it until I heard it from your lips."
Girion stood back. "If Oropher has been released, tell him Father has done him every credit, and that Daernaneth still hopes the Straight Path will one day run Eastwards again, so that he may return to her. And tell him - tell him I have turned out to be the fool he predicted I would become."
Legolas managed a smile. He did look forward to meeting Oropher, who'd been slain nearly two thousand years before his begetting. And at his brother's half-jest. Though Girion was no fool, well Legolas knew that Oropher had made that prediction. Many times.
But when, in his early youth, he had asked the King why Oropher would have said such a thing about his own grandson - Elven predictions had a way of making their own reality - Thranduil had laughed and said that this was only Oropher's way of saying that Girion took after himself.
Yet Legolas knew that despite all these fond memories, and all the love of his family, which should have bound him to the land, still he had to leave it. And soon.
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