1. Vision in the Night
Legolas stood still, his keen eyes peering into the night. He was on watch. The darkness seemed to envelope everything. A small circle of light marked where Gimli and Aragorn lay sleeping, the campfire giving just enough light to make out their features. Legolas stood beyond the circle of light, in the blackness. Next to him was a large oak tree, the Elf dwarfed by the immense size of it. Except for the tree and the golden haired Elf, nothing else could be made out of the area. Empty blackness stretched out on every side. Even Legolas's keen eyes could make out little in the pitch black, so he had to rely on his other senses to keep them all safe. Fortunately for the three hunters, nothing would disturb them this night; their enemies were all far away.
Legolas looked over towards where Gimli lay sleeping peacefully, he smiled. It must be hard for the Dwarf, sleeping while an Elf stood guard.
Then, something caught his eye. Beyond the fire and his sleeping friends; what was it? He peered into the darkness, straining his eyes to try to see what it was, then he gasped. Dropping his bow, he started to run.
Gimli rolled over. It must be about time for him to watch now. Suddenly, the Dwarf felt someone, or something, run into him and fall to the ground. He laughed to himself. The sure-footed Elf had tripped over him in the dark! Sitting up, he turned to look at the golden haired immortal sprawled on the ground next to him.
"All right, Legolas. I'm awake now," he said.
The Elf did not stir.
Gimli tapped his shoulder and called his name, no reply. Gimli was starting to get confused. He pulled the motionless Elf over onto his back, to his shock, Legolas was barely even breathing. Now Gimli was frightened. He scrambled to his feet, and hurried over to where Aragorn lay sleeping.
"Aragorn," he called.
The man sprang to his feet, drawing Anduril from it's sheath with one fluid motion, as he rose.
"What is it," he cried, seeing Gimli's distraught face.
"It's the Elf," said Gimli. "He tripped over me in the dark, and now he won't respond, and he's barely breathing."
Aragorn had started running before Gimli had even finished speaking. He ran to where Legolas lay and knelt down, grasping the Elf's hand, and laying a hand on his brow.
"Legolas, Legolas!" he called. The Elf did not stir. Aragorn called again, more urgently this time.
Suddenly, Legolas sat up, staring past his friends without seeming to see them. He cried out. "U, aldu cel! Deri! Im na tola!" (1) He struggled wildly, but Aragorn held him tight.
"Peace, mellon nín," Aragorn said firmly.
Legolas stared at him without recognition. "Let me go," he begged. "I must go to her!"
"Who," asked Aragorn gently.
"Tauriel, the forest daughter!" cried the Elf in a distressed voice. "Can you not see her? She is so beautiful!" Legolas got a dreamy look on his face. "Her hair is the brown of the living wood, cut from the heart of a great tree. Her skin, the perfection of a silvery Mallorn. Her eyes, deep pools of dancing light, like to that which falls from the trees in spring. Look, there she is!" He struggled wildly. "She beckons me! I must go!" He jerked against Aragorn, then suddenly collapsed with a gasping cry. Aragorn caught him as he fell and gently laid him back on the blanket.
Gimli rushed to his side. "What happened," he demanded anxiously.
"He fainted," was Aragorn's terse reply.
"But why? And what was he talking about just then? I couldn't understand a word he was saying!"
It was a moment before Aragorn replied. He felt Legolas's pulse and made sure he was breathing properly, before brushing the Elf's eyelids with his fingertips. After he had done this, Legolas seemed to relax slightly, and seemed simply to be asleep. Then, he turned to Gimli.
"He fainted because he was greatly distressed. You could not understand him because he was speaking in Quenya. It is a language used among the Firstborn to describe things of great beauty or reverence," he said, in response to Gimli's confused look. "He said that he had seen a lady and that she was very beautiful. I believe that he saw a vision, though why he would have seen one, I do not understand," he stopped and thought a moment in silence.
Gimli could not bear the silence and finally burst out. "Well, is he all right now?"
Aragorn turned to look at him gravely. "I do not truly know. I have the power to send a person into a healing sleep, and I have done so. I fear it may be the first sleep he has had for some time. Did he wake you last night, to watch?" he asked suddenly.
"Why, no. He didn't," Gimli said.
"I thought not. He did not wake me either."
"But why," Gimli asked again.
"Elves need less sleep than us mortals, my friend. Ever since Gandalf fell, I fear Legolas has felt rather responsible for us. Even though he does not look it, he is the eldest among us."
Gimli snorted incredulously. "You mean he has been going without sleep, because he was worried about a Dwarf?"
"I'm afraid so," was all Aragorn would say.
The Dwarf frowned. "Well, when he wakes up, I'm going to talk some sense into him!"
"I fear it will not be that simple," Aragorn replied quietly.
"But why? We have to make him stop worrying about us, and think of himself!" Gimli almost seemed to be pleading now.
"That is not the way of my people," said a quiet voice behind him.
"Legolas! You're awake!," cried Gimli in delight, then he stopped suddenly, as if realizing that he was showing very uncharacteristic emotion.
"Yes, I am awake. But I would think you if you would keep a little quieter. My head aches!" The Elf had sat up while speaking but now he closed his eyes and swayed, almost falling over. In a flash, Aragorn was at his side, holding the Elf gently in his arms and supporting him.
"I will brew you some herbs to help you," he said. "Gimli! Go get my pack please!"
Legolas watched Aragorn take his pack over to the fire and start removing things. Then, slightly unsteadily because his head did ache, he rose to his feet and slipped away into the darkness.
Aragorn came back soon, with a cup of tea for Legolas, but discovered that the Elf in question had vanished!
"Gimli!" he cried
"What is it now," grumbled Gimli, running over and dropping the firewood he had gathered.
"I think Legolas has run away," the man paused, and grasped two long sticks out of the pile of firewood and stuck their ends into the fire. He handed one of the makeshift torches to Gimli. "We have to look for him. You stay here, I don't want to have to start searching for you!" The man sprang away into the darkness, a hunter searching for his prey.
Gimli searched near the campsite, coming back every few minutes to make sure Aragorn had not returned. As he paused to build up the fire, an anguished cry reached his ears; he ran towards it.
"Legolas! Noooo!!" Aragorn cried again. When Gimli reached them, he found Aragorn holding the motionless Elf in his arms. There was a gash in Legolas's head and it was bleeding profusely.
"Is, is he, dead," Gimli asked hesitantly.
"No, but I fear he soon will be!" The man bowed his head but Gimli had noticed something strange. There was a green light being emitted from the neck of Aragorn's shirt. Slowly, he reached out his hand and pulled the neck of the shirt open. To his wonder, the green stone, the Elessar, that Galadriel had given Aragorn, was glowing!
Aragorn looked up in wonder. "The Evinyatar! Is it possible?" Rising quickly, he strode back to camp, still carrying Legolas in his arms. Laying the Elf down on his bed next to the fire, he knelt down next to him and reaching into his shirt, pulled out the Elessar. The stone's light had increased and was now glowing strongly. As he held it over the unconscious Elf, the deathly pale left his face, and a little color slowly returned to his cheeks. Searching in his pack for a moment, Aragorn pulled out a handful of dry leaves. Gimli recognized them as the same ones Aragorn had used to heal Frodo and Sam outside of Moria. What were they called?
Almost as if he had spoken aloud, Aragorn suddenly spoke. "Athelas. A powerful weapon against the forces of evil. It was brought out of the West by the Numenorians. It has great virtues, it may be that it may help Legolas to recover." He cast the leaves into a pot of boiling water which Gimli had placed on the fire for him. Taking a cloth out of his pack, he wet it in the water and began to wash the gash on Legolas's forehead. As he worked, the Elessar gave off an entrancing light, forming a sort of veil around Aragorn. At last, Aragorn laid aside the cloth. He placed his hands over the wound, closed his eyes, and began to sing in a low voice.
Gimli could not understand the man's words, but he felt that they were of light, and hope, and healing. After a moment, Aragorn opened his eyes. He swayed slightly, and almost fell over, Gimli rushed to his side.
"Aragorn! Are you all right, laddie?" he asked anxiously.
"I'm fine, Gimli," Aragorn said, smiling faintly. "Just hand me that pot of water please." The Dwarf handed him the pot of steaming water and Aragorn slowly breathed in the steam. Setting the bowl aside, he sat up straighter, and started to rummage in his pack again. He pulled out a pot of salve, and a roll of bandages, and started to gently bandage Legolas's head. After this was done to the man's satisfaction, he sat back with a sigh and replaced the objects in his pack.
Gimli watched anxiously. "Well," he said finally. "Is the Elf all right now?"
Aragorn sighed. "I think so," he said wearily. "He is sleeping naturally, and that is the best thing for him right now. Only time can tell whether he will make a full recovery, but there is a very high chance that he will. Would you please watch for a time, Gimli? I think I must get a little sleep."
The Dwarf smiled and patted the man's shoulder. "Of course I'll take it! You get some rest. Can't have you seeing pretty ladies and running off!" Moving off to the edge of the firelight, Gimli sat down to watch.
Aragorn settled himself on his bed, next to the sleeping Elf. Perhaps he could catch a few hours sleep before dawn.
About an hour later, Aragorn was startled awake by a cry.
"Tauriel! Nín mel!" It was Legolas. Still asleep, but clearly dreaming.
Aragorn gently touched his shoulder, but he lashed out, hitting Aragorn a glancing blow on the chin. Seeing there was no hope of waking Legolas gently, Aragorn took him by the shoulders and roughly shook the Elf's slender frame.
"Legolas! Wake up!"
The Elf sat up, staring at Aragorn with bleary eyes. It made Aragorn's heart clench to see those eyes, those clear blue eyes, who loved to stare for hours on end at the wonders of Arda's nature, now clouded with confusion.
"Aragorn? What happened," he asked.
"What do you remember," Aragorn asked in reply.
Legolas scowled at him briefly, seeing through the attempt to not tell him what had happened.
"I remember," he began hesitantly. "I remember being on watch. Then I saw a beautiful lady, Tauriel, the forest daughter. I do not know how I know her name, but I know for a fact that it is Tauriel. I tried to go to her, that much I am certain of, but after that, all is darkness." He tried to sit up, but almost fell over from the intensity of the pain in his head. "Oh, my head! Why does it ache so?" Putting a hand on his forehead, Legolas noticed the bandage. "And why am I bandaged," he asked in confusion.
Aragorn was deliberating with himself on how best to reply, he did not want Legolas to become upset and possibly injure himself more, when Gimli came up.
"You tripped over me in the dark and hit your head, laddie," he said matter-of-factly.
"I hit my head?" Legolas was starting to sound like a parrot!
Aragorn glowered at the Dwarf. He would have preferred to find an easier way to tell Legolas what had happened.
"Yes, mellon nín, I'm afraid you did," he said. "You landed on a rather sharp rock and I was afraid you would simply bleed to death. Praise the Valar, I was able to patch you up before that happened.Your head may ache for several days, but as long as you are careful, you should heal soon."
Legolas held up a hand to silence the man. "Aragorn, I don't mean to be rude, but, YOUR SHIRT IS GLOWING!"
Aragorn smiled. Reaching into his shirt, he retrieved the Elessar hidden there.
Legolas gasped involuntarily. "The Lady's gift to you," he exclaimed in surprise.
"Yes," said Aragorn. "The Elessar. It is also called Evinyatar. The Renewer." He started to replace the jewel in his shirt, but Legolas laid an unsteady hand on his wrist.
"Please keep it out," he pleaded. "I feel better when it is near."
Aragorn smiled. After only a moment's hesitation he slid the light chain holding the precious jewel over his head and laid it gently on Legolas's breast. "Here," he said.
Even as Legolas tried to gasp out that Aragorn should not do such a thing, the green light being emitted from the Elessar grew until it was too bright for any not blessed with Elven vision to look directly at.
Gimli held his hands over his eyes, whether in fear or simply to shut out the light, none could have said. "What on Arda is happening," he growled through his fingers.
"It recognizes Legolas's need of healing," Aragorn replied in a slightly strained voice, as if trying not to wince from the pure intensity of the light.
Legolas closed his eyes, relaxed, and let the renewing glow wash over him as one would a warm bath.
After some minutes, the light finally diminished to a tolerable level and Aragorn and Gimli could open their eyes.
Legolas eyed them both bemusedly. Sitting up, he lifted the Elessar from his breast and handed it reverently back to Aragorn. "Here, mellon nin. I think you may take the Elessar back now. It has done it's duty."
Aragorn accepted the precious jewel and replaced it around his neck. "I am glad it could help you!"
"Please help me remove this bandage," Legolas cried impetuously.
"What on Arda for?" Gimli cried in shock. "Have you taken leave of your senses laddie?"
Legolas smiled enigmatically. "Bring me my pack and you shall find out," he said mysteriously.
Gimli turned to Aragorn, but the man only shrugged. Gimli sighed and fetching the Elf's light pack, plopped it down on the ground next to where Legolas sat.
Legolas smiled his thanks. "Now, Aragorn! We Silvan Elves may be less in lore knowledge than your Noldorin relatives, but do not imagine that our need to learn of the arts of healing is any less!" Reaching into his pack, Legolas triumphantly brandished a handful of dark green leaves and a small silver vial. "Please." He motioned to the bandage and Aragorn, after heaving a sigh, unwound the strip of cloth and set it aside. "Could you wipe off any salve you applied? The wound must be completely clean for this to work."
Aragorn picked up the damp cloth he had used earlier and gently cleansed the gash, sitting back after he was done to look questioningly at Legolas.
Legolas hesitated for a moment but steeling his nerves, explained what he needed his friends to do.
"Aragorn, in this vial, there is a salve. I will need you to pour some of it over the wound, then cover it completely with these leaves. It is imperative that the wound is completely covered or it will not heal properly. Gimli, would you hold my hands please? It will sting, and I want to be sure I do not remove the leaves before the treatment has had time to work."
Gimli nodded and knelt in front of his friend, holding the Elf's soft, white, hands in his own brown, gnarly, ones.
Without turning his head, Legolas spoke. "All right, Aragorn. Do it quickly please!"
Carefully breaking the wax seal, Aragorn uncorked the silver vial. Sniffing the contents cautiously, he shrugged and carefully began to apply the thick liquid contained therein to the wound.
As Aragorn started to apply the salve, Legolas shut his eyes tightly. Gimli could not know what his friend was going through, and he had never imagined that a healing process would hurt as much as this one appeared to! Legolas's slim, white, hands had turned unnaturally white around the knuckles and the Elf gripped Gimli's hands in a grip of steel.
Aragorn laid the last leaf on Legolas's head and, setting the vial aside, knelt beside the Elf to see what would happen.
The following minutes felt like an eternity to the three hunters. Finally, Legolas opened his eyes and relaxed his grip on Gimli's hands. The Dwarf almost fell backwards at the sudden removal of pressure, then sat up and gingerly rubbed his hands together, scowling slightly as he did so.
"Well! That's over," Legolas said with relief apparent in his voice. Deftly removing the leaves tenderly placed there by Aragorn, he took the damp cloth and slowly wiped away all traces of the ointment. Setting down the cloth, he waited for a reaction from his friends. He did not have to wait long.
"Your head!" cried Gimli.
"But how?" gasped Aragorn.
The wound on Legolas's head was completely healed! There was not a single mark on the smooth white skin!
"Never underestimate the power of the Elves, my friends," Legolas said with a slightly smug smile.
"I have heard of such things, but never seen them, not even in the House of Master Elrond," Aragorn said, reaching out his hand and gently touching the healed skin.
Legolas and Gimli both yawned.
"Why don't you two get some rest," suggested Aragorn. "I'll keep watch for a while."
Legolas started to protest, but Gimli put a firm hand on his shoulder.
"Oh no you don't, laddie!" the Dwarf said. "You may feel better, but you are going to get some sleep, even if I have to sit on you!"
Legolas smiled fondly at the Dwarf. "All right, Gimli. I will sleep! I am rather tired." He lay back on the blanket and was soon fast asleep.
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather I watched," Gimli asked Aragorn, even as he stifled a huge yawn.
Aragorn smiled. "No, Gimli," he said. "Get some sleep. I'll be fine." Aragorn watched the Dwarf go over to his bed, then settled himself down to watch.
When dawn came a few hours later, it found the three hunters all fast asleep. Aragorn had nodded off.
Far away, in the halls of Valinor, Lord Manwe watched over the sleeping friends.
Let them sleep peacefully for a time. The coming days would be anything but peaceful!
(1) No, do not go! Wait! I am coming!
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.