"The Whisper of Leaves": 1. Chapter One

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1. Chapter One

Title: "The Whisper of Leaves"

Author: Darkover

Rating: K+, for mention of character death

Word Count: 1,031 words

Disclaimer: The characters of "The Lord of the Rings" were created by J.R.R. Tolkien, not by me. I am making no money from this, and no violation of copyright is intended or should be inferred. The original characters in this story are mine.

Characters: Legolas Greenleaf, OCs

Summary: Legolas has an important conversation, one that only an Elf can have.

~ooo0ooo~

Aragorn is dead.

 

Legolas was still hardly able to comprehend that fact. His father, King Thranduil, had told him often enough that it was a mistake for any of the Eldar to become too attached to the Secondborn. They were not so hardy as the Firstborn, falling ill or suffering wounds far more easily, and the span of even the strongest and the wisest of them was but a brief time in the reckoning of the Eldar.

But even so, to lose a Man and a friend as strong, as hardy, as *great* as Aragorn son of Arathorn, because he was dragged over a cliff by a warg, was a heavy burden to bear. It was unfortunate that circumstances kept Legolas from being able to go off alone—right now he did not wish even for Gimli's company—in order that he might mourn his friend. The Rohirrim were milling about, preparing for their siege, making the Elven Prince feel crowded. It was not their fault, but they were still getting on his nerves. Being surrounded by so much rock and stone, with so little greenery, was bad enough. His Dwarven friend undoubtedly felt right at home, but Legolas Greenleaf longed for the feeling of grass underfoot, for the sight of trees, the rustle of leaves, and the feel of a breeze on his face.

His eyes widened as he spotted a nearby copse of trees. Pushing his way through the assembled Men, he drew near to the trees, grateful for their presence. He inhaled their scent, ran his hand appreciatively over their rough bark. As Men reckoned such things, these trees were old. King Théoden had not yet even been thought of when they first began to grow.

Legolas concentrated. {May I climb you? Talk with you?}

 

{Yes.}

 

Unhesitatingly, the Elf climbed the tallest and sturdiest, settling himself in its branches. Someone among the Rohirrim called out to him, asking what he was doing, but he paid them no heed.

Closing his eyes, Legolas relaxed and leaned into the sturdy branches. He smiled, still without opening his eyes. A maple. He could hear the whisper of the tree's leaves as it breathed, feel the inconsistencies in the bark, and sensed the moisture that was being pulled up by and through the roots. Even in this rather desolate and rock-bound area, the maple was intensely alive.

{Why sad?}

 

{My friend dead.}

 

The maple was quiet for a moment. And then….

Sights, sounds, sensations leaked from the tree into the mind of the Elf. The image of a large, elderly, rickety-looking tree, uprooted, dried up, and bereft of sap, came to him. Sadness filled Legolas again, sorrow mixed with anger.

{No. My friend still young, strong.}

 

The tree was quiet for a moment, save for the whisper of the breeze moving through its dark green leaves. Another image entered the mind of Legolas: that of a young sapling, struck by lightning. The tree burned and collapsed in on itself, dead. The Elven Prince was grateful that the maple understood.

{Yes. Warg attack.}

 

The leaves murmured in the wind. This time in his mind's eye, Legolas saw an uprooted tree lying dead. He saw the corruption of the wood until it sank into mulch, saw it spread about by insects and animals. He saw a seed, lodged in the earth; saw it open, take root, and grow, until a trace of greenery erupted from the earth and turned toward the sun.

{Friend reborn. Never completely die.}

 

Almost impatiently, Legolas shook off the maple's attempt at consolation. {No. Not tree. My dead friend a Man. Warg attack him. They fall off a cliff to river below.}

 

The tree was silent for so long that Legolas thought it might have stopped speaking to him. And then, new images rushed forth from the tree, flooding his mind….

Aragorn and a warg, the Man's hand caught in the hair of the beast as they rushed madly along. They went over the cliff together, but the warg landed first, breaking the Man's fall. Aragorn was still unmoving as his body slipped into the water of the stream. Face up, he floated along unconscious until at last he washed up on a bank….

{Your friend?}

 

The Prince of Mirkwood was stunned, but dared to hope. {Yes! More!}

 

The maple obliged. This time, the images that entered the Elf's mind were of Brego, the horse that had been the mount of Theodred. The massive equine found Aragorn, breathed horsy breath into his face and nuzzled the Man, reviving him. To Legolas' elation, the Dunadan stirred, indicating he was still alive! As Brego knelt beside Aragorn, the Man, weakened by his ordeal but alive, pulled himself up onto the back of the horse, and after a moment, man and beast trotted off together.

{True?} Legolas begged, hardly daring to hope.

There was no answer but a repetition of the images of the Man dragging himself out of the water and onto the horse's back. Of course. Trees cannot lie. A delighted smile bloomed on the face of the Elven Prince.

{Thank you! Thank you!}

 

The leaves of the maple rippled more energetically this time, in a way that might almost have been kindly laughter.

"I must find Gimli, tell him the good news!" Legolas said aloud, and sprang down from the tree so quickly that he almost landed on two Rohirric men who stood underneath. From their expressions, they had been watching him, although for how long he did not know. Nor did he care. Aragorn son of Arathorn was alive!

"Your pardon," he said to the two Men, aware that the words of apology were at odds with the happy grin on his face. He moved past them to find Gimli.

"What has gotten into him?" the first one asked his countryman, when Legolas was out of earshot. "He grins like one fey."

The second Rohirrim shrugged. "He is an Elf. And what do you expect from someone who speaks to trees?"

With some head-shaking, the two Men walked off together. Above their heads, unnoticed by either of them, the leaves of the maple continued to move in the breeze.


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.

Story Information

Author: Darkover

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: General

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 01/14/12

Original Post: 01/14/12

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