Hope of the Evenstar by Aurum|
Title: Hope of the Evenstar
Characters: Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, Elladan, Elrohir, Glorfindel, a few others
Summary: After Aragorn is presumed to be dead on their way to Helm’s Deep, Legolas must decide what to do with the Evenstar.
Disclaimer: A few of the lines are from the movies. All the flashbacks, though inspired by the books and movies they may be, have been completely re-written, as each incident is how things happened in Legolas’ mind. All characters belong to Tolkien, except for Calanon and Morfindion who both belong to me.
Chaos was prevalent as clashing swords could be heard from several leagues away. The pounding of hooves on the solid dirt echoed through the ground. Arrows, mostly shot from crossbows, whistled through the air before usually hitting their intended targets. Growls and grunts from orcs ran in Legolas’ ears as he drew his bow to shoot at another one of the warg riders that was about to attack one of his friends.
“Aragorn, a little help?” Legolas’ elvish ears could make out the voice of Gimli calling from the other side of the battle. There would have been no way that he could have gotten over in time to help his friend out. As he drew one of his long, white knives to slash at an orc coming from behind him, the corner of his eye caught Aragorn rushing off to help protect Gimli. The battle kept going as they assisted the rest of the soldiers of Rohan in fending off the attack from Isengard.
As a few of the orcs that were still alive dispersed, Legolas let out a sigh. Several dead corpses- from both sides of the battle- lay strewn across the field and the brownish grass was covered in blood- both dark red and black. His keen eyesight scanned the field for any sign of his two companions; they were the only ones he had left on this journey. He spotted Gimli almost immediately, and was relieved to learn that the Dwarf had only acquired a few scrapes from the battle.
“Well, you fared about as well as I did,” the Dwarf grumbled as he wiped the blade of his double-sided axe on the almost non-existent grass replaced it in the loop on his belt.
Legolas gave his friend a gentle pat on the shoulder. “I wonder if the same is for Aragorn,” he said. His voice was quieter and much more subdued than his companion’s, but this was typical. “I hope-”
“He’s dead.” A cackling voice interrupted from not too far away. Almost simultaneously, Legolas and Gimli turned around to find one of the orcs sitting up against a large rock. Both ran over and Legolas arrived first, only ahead of Gimli by a few short steps.
“You lie! Tell me what really happened.” Legolas shook the already half-dead orc by his bony shoulders and rusty metal armor. His own blue-grey eyes stared into the orc’s red ones. Gimli, as surprised as he was at his companion’s forcefulness, watched this exchange take place with little shown emotion.
“He took a little tumble off the cliff,” the orc replied in the same cackling voice. Legolas pushed the orc down, the almost dead body making a sickening thud when it slammed up against the rock. The orc cackled and chocked on the black blood that gurgled up in his throat and his body became stiff.
Despite the fact that Legolas’ eyes were quickly filling with tears, he noticed the rays of sun cast a beam of light that bounced off the orc’s hand and caught his attention. He recognized the object that was causing this to happen as the necklace that Aragorn had been wearing, a gift from the lady Arwen. He abruptly snatched the small object out of the orc’s gnarly hand and placed it carefully in a small pouch at his side. He would decide what do with it later.
“He can’t be-” he said, fighting back the tears that came to his eyes. Gimli gave his Elvish friend a firm pat on the back and Legolas let the tears fall freely as his thoughts drifted off.
“Fine Estel. You can come along.” A dark-haired Elf sighed in impatience to a much younger boy. “But you must do exactly as ‘Dan instructs or you won’t be joining us again until you’ve grown a beard!” He finished shoving food supplies for the weekend trip in a small pack, along with a spare change of clothing.
“And we mean it, Tithen!” A face identical to the first Elf’s looked up from the preparations he was making. The ten-year-old jumped up in excitement and quickly promised to obey his older Elven brothers. He was so thrilled that he overlooked that Elladan had called him little.
“But Lord Elrond-” Legolas started to say, but stopped abruptly. He had been invited along to hunt on the weekend, an idea of Estel because Legolas had been visiting Rivendell. One of the twins glared at him, dark eyes growing narrower.
Estel smiled. “Come on, Elrohir, just relax,” his voice was quiet. He had always been a natural peacekeeper between his close friends and family. “Let’s go now.”
The journey to camp was only a couple hours’ travel from Rivendell. Once the four arrived at the terrain they wanted to set up camp at, Legolas and Elladan pitched the tent while Elrohir and Estel scouted the area and gathered firewood for the campfire later that night. Elrohir went north and Estel went south.
Time passed and the day was soon coming to an end. Elrohir had returned to camp and he sat with Legolas and his brother, listening to tales of current happenings in Mirkwood, all watching the beginnings of what would later be a beautiful sunset. When the dark blue and purple shadows began to creep over them and Estel had still not yet returned to camp, the three Elves began to worry about him.
“I knew it was wrong to invite him along!” Elladan snapped in an off-handed manner. He abruptly stood up and folded his long arms across his chest. He fumed and paced quickly back and forth.
“But Ada-” Elrohir cut in, his voice higher pitched than his brother’s, but still undoubtedly masculine. The easiest way to tell the identical twins apart was by the sound of their voices, not by appearance.
“I don’t care what Ada said! We should have left Estel in Rivendell where he belongs,” Elladan replied sharply, shaking his hands at the sky in pure frustration. With a swift kick aimed at the ground, he sent stones and dirt flying into the fiery flames of their campfire.
Legolas stood and held his right hand up in the air, quietly signaling for the twins to pay attention to him. As soon as Elladan had calmed down, Legolas said, “I’ll go look for them; you two stay here in case he returns.” He left Elladan and Elrohir by the campfire, still arguing over whether or not it had been a good idea to bring Estel along with them.
He set out along the southern way in the general direction that Estel had gone while scouting the area. There was a slight breeze that blew through the land and he wrapped his cloak around him and kept walking. After some time, he spotted some dark stain on the grass and dirt. He stooped down and touched the black liquid with his fingers. It was still fresh: orc blood. He carefully followed the tracks of blood like he had learned how to do while in Mirkwood from Morfindion, one of the older Elves. The few tracking skills he had learned in Elf Scouts served him well; soon he came across a hewn body. This body undoubtedly belonged to an orc, as the skin was grey and rough and stained with black orc blood.
I hope Estel is all right, he thought to himself. He quickly surveyed the area, keeping his eyes alert for any signs of the human boy. He only looked for a matter of a few minutes, but his answer came as he ventured around a large rock.
On the other side of the rock, he spotted Estel. However, the boy did not look like he had when he had leaving Rivendell early in the afternoon or even when they had first gotten to the campsite later on. Estel’s face was pale and he had the remainder of a bloody nose that had finally stopped bleeding. His sword, tainted with blood, was only an arm’s length away from where the boy sat, his back leaning up against the rock. He had a long scratch on his lower arm and wrist, but it was no longer bleeding. Legolas rushed over at once and felt Estel’s forehead gently. His skin was cool to Legolas’ touch, but at least he was still breathing, albeit heavily.
“Estel, are you alright?” Legolas asked, kneeling down next to the boy and tapping him on the shoulder.
The boy opened his eyes slowly, as if awakening from a deep sleep, and blinked a few times. “Yeah, I’ll be okay,” he answered, using Common rather than the Sindarin that Legolas spoke in. “But Ada will worry if he knows I’m hurt and I promised I wouldn’t be...” His voice trailed off and he began to close his eyes. He fell into sleep and his breathing became more relaxed. Legolas sat next to him for several hours, watching to make sure his friend would be fine.
“You okay, lad?” Gimli asked, dragging Legolas out his thoughts. “Come on, Theoden’s calling.” Gimli made a gesture towards the seemingly older king of Rohan, who was mounting his horse.
“Leave the dead!” Theoden called out to his riders who were relatively uninjured. “The orcs will return and we must get to Helm’s Deep.” There was a sense of urgency in his voice that made the hairs on the back of Legolas’ neck prickle.
“But-” he started to cut in, but was stopped by Gimli. Legolas was going to say that Aragorn wasn’t dead, but he kept his thoughts to himself. Eomer had been right. Hope had forsaken the land.
“Leave it be, laddie,” Gimli said, holding a hand up to silence Legolas. “Aragorn is dead and there isn’t much we can do about it now.” He grabbed Legolas’ arm gently and led him to where Arod was standing with some of the other horses and the soldiers of Rohan, all anxious to get to Helm’s Deep where they would presumably be safe. Legolas reluctantly mounted the light grey horse, only doing so because he knew that Gimli disliked riding solo with such a passion. Soon after they were on their way and had been riding towards Helm’s Deep for almost half an hour, Gimli broke the awkward silence that had built up between them.
“Do you have it with you?” he asked. He raised the volume of his voice because the sound of the horses galloping would drown out even Gimli’s voice at a normal tone. After a long moment when Legolas didn’t answer- and Gimli was certain that his friend had heard him because elvish hearing was exceptionally sharp- he repeated his question. “Do you have the Evenstar?”
Legolas nodded, still keeping both hands on Arod’s mane. Despite the fact that Gimli was an inexperienced horseman, Legolas still insisted on riding in the Elvish fashion- bareback and without a bridle or reins. He had tucked the Evenstar safely away in the small pouch that carried any small tokens that might be desired later, including Pippin’s brooch after Aragorn had found it.
“Well, what’re you going to do with it?” Gimli asked once he was sure he’d seen his companion nod. Legolas didn’t know. At least for now, he would hold onto it as a token of hope that his companion was still alive somewhere and would come back to find them as soon as he realized what had happened. He supposed he could give it back to Arwen, who had been the one to give it to Aragorn in the first place.
It was a dimly lit night as Legolas, Elladan and Elrohir sat in the bushes out near the small glade in Rivendell. All six eyes were fixed on the couple that was standing not too far away, but well outside of earshot range for Elvish whispering.
“You think Ada would approve of spying?” Elrohir, ever the more cautious of the twins asked, his voice in a low whisper to attempt to communicate without the two in the glade overhearing.
“Nah, but that’s half the fun of doing so!” Elladan replied in an excited whisper, without turning his head to see how his twin and Legolas reacted. They kept watching, each straining his sharp ears to hear what was being said.
Legolas saw Arwen place a shiny object in Aragorn’s hand and gently close the Ranger’s hand around the jewel.
“I can’t accept this, Arwen,” he heard Aragorn say in Sindarin. Though Aragorn was not an Elf, living in Rivendell had quickly taught him how to speak fluently in Sindarin and Common, as well as nearly fluently in Quenya.
“It is my gift to you,” Arwen replied, taking Aragorn’s hand in her own. “Keep it as a token of my love.” Then they began to kiss and Legolas wrinkled his nose, never having cared much for things romantic.
The next day, Aragorn was casually wandering around the Halls where Legolas happened to be walking. Aragorn rushed up quickly and greeted his friend with a hug. Legolas noticed that Aragorn was wearing a shining necklace and asked his friend about it.
Aragorn glanced down at the Evenstar, then at Legolas. “Arwen gave it to me,” he said, holding out the Evenstar for his friend to see.
Legolas sniffed, still in a vain effort to hold onto the hope, trying to attempt to hold back the stream of tears that came to his eyes. “You okay?” he heard a voice ask from behind. Legolas nodded. They kept riding for about an hour longer until at last they came to Helm’s Deep.
“Finally,” Legolas whispered in Elvish, letting the word roll off of his tongue. The refuge of Helm’s Deep was a large building made mostly of stone and a wooden door. The gates were opened for them as they rode in on horseback, following the last of the soldiers of Rohan, few as they were. The fortress held a gloomy look to it and Legolas could feel his heart sink even further, loosing hope very quickly.
To him, the Evenstar was hope and love, and he clung dearly to this as the grief hit him that one of his closest companions was gone forever and they would never meet again. And Aragorn’s death happened so quickly- he hadn’t even had a chance to say how much their friendship had meant. His heart tugged on his mind, trying to encourage him, but this didn’t seem to be working. Inconspicuously, he reached into the pouch to finger the Evenstar, resolving not to tell Arwen of Aragorn’s death, even if he did ever see her again.
Once inside, they were greeted by many of the women and children of Rohan that had arrived earlier, but Legolas headed straight for a place where he could be alone, a place where he could think for a little while and grieve in silence for his fallen friend. He found no such place, as everyone seemed to be busy getting situated or preparing for the upcoming battle that lay ahead. Sighing to himself, Legolas finally settled for a quieter corner. He sat down, leaned his back up against the stone wall and drifted off.
Legolas hurried to catch up with Calanon. The two had traveled all the way from northern Mirkwood to Rivendell together, as Legolas often did alone because Calanon would have much rather stayed in Mirkwood. It was an early Saturday morning as they raced through the halls.
“Where are you taking me?” Legolas called after his friend, speaking in the Silvan dialect of Elvish, rather than Sindarin, which everyone in Rivendell understood and spoke fluently.
Calanon grinned, but kept walking, still faster than Legolas. “Glorfindel ought to have some good advice for you,” he replied, only slowing down because they approached the library. “He always has good advice- or that’s what the twin Els said earlier.” Legolas let out a groan. By the twin Els, he was certain that Calanon meant Elladan and Elrohir, and if that was the case, he was in for more than he had originally bargained for when agreeing to accompany Calanon on a journey to Imladris.
They found Glorfindel in the library, as expected, pouring over old scrolls, but he looked up and smiled when he saw the two Elves approach him. “Greetings, Legolas, Calanon,” he nodded towards each as he greeted them warmly. “What can I help you with today?” He sat back down in one of the chairs and motioned for the others to do the same.
Legolas sat down. “Glorfindel,” he said, looking the older Elf straight in the eyes. Unlike his father, Glorfindel loved being looked at when spoken to and Legolas silently attributed this to a difference in customs between the two Elven lands. “I need some advice,” on the word advice, Glorfindel perked up, “about friends.”
Glorfindel smiled quietly. “Do tell, young one,” he said in a gentle voice.
Legolas paused for a moment, as if reluctant to ask Glorfindel for advice. “I got into a fight with Morfindion back in Mirkwood and before he stormed out, he left his sword in my possession. And now I don’t know what to do.”
Glorfindel took in a breath of air. “Well, is Morfindion in Mirkwood right now?” he asked. Legolas nodded, so Glorfindel continued. “I would go to him and calmly explain what happened. Tell him how you saw the incident, then let him speak. I would also give him back his sword.” Glorfindel chuckled slightly to himself, thinking of Morfindion and Legolas getting into a verbal argument that turned into a physical fight.
Legolas sighed, shifting his weight in the chair. “Are you sure that’ll work?” he asked. “Morfindion is stubborn and always thinks he’s right, only he isn’t.”
Glorfindel nodded. “You know how stubborn Erestor can be,” he replied with a smile. Glorfindel and Erestor rarely got along, especially where important matters were concerned, so Legolas understood that this method had been tried and tested.
“Thanks, Glorfindel,” he said quietly.
Legolas instantaneously awoke at the sound of a door banging shut. He blinked his eyes a few times and stood up. His sharp eyes surveyed the Keep around him. People were rushing this way and that, busy with gathering weaponry and laying provisions for the days ahead. He stood up to stretch his legs and wander around a little bit. He’d not been walking for more than a few minutes when he suddenly spotted a familiar figure walking towards him.
“Legolas, is that you?” the familiar voice called in Sindarin. Legolas nodded and ran over to the unkempt Ranger- who still looked as if he were partially dead- and gave him a warm hug.
“You look terrible, Aragorn,” he said once he had let go of his friend’s embrace and had a chance to eye his companion from top to bottom. Not only was Aragorn dirty and his clothing torn, but he also had a nasty cut on his forehead and another one on his shoulder, not to mention the plethora of bruises and smaller cuts that were more numerous and difficult to see.
“I couldn’t say much more for you, mellon,” Aragorn replied with a chuckle. “What have you and Gimli gotten yourselves into?”
Legolas paused for a long moment, as if in deep thought. He reached deeply into his pouch and felt the few small objects in it for a brief moment, then pulled one of them out, carefully fingering it in his relatively small hands- smaller than Aragorn’s, anyways. There was a moment of silence between them as Legolas placed the silver jewel in Aragorn’s dirty hand. Aragorn’s eyes grew wide and teary as he gently touched the Evenstar.
“You need it more than anyone else does, mellon-nin,” Legolas said, whispering in Sindarin. “Arwen is very fortunate to have chosen someone as kind as you to give her love to.”
“Hannon le, mellon-nin, hannon le,” Aragorn said, embracing his friend one more time. In his heart, Legolas was quite relieved that he wouldn’t have to break the news of Aragorn’s death to Arwen. That would have been much to difficult to do, especially being fairly close friends with her while they were younger. “Arwen’ll be happy I’m not dead, right?” Aragorn commented in an off-handed fashion.
“She will, Aragorn,” Legolas smiled, giving his companion a pat on the back. “And so will we.”
Aragorn grinned. “I need to talk to Theoden, but first could you do me a quick favor?” he asked, turning back towards Legolas. The Elf nodded, so Aragorn continued. “Could you give me a hand and help me get this thing back on my neck?” Legolas chuckled softly to himself as he carefully fastened the Evenstar necklace around Aragorn’s neck, thankful that he’d chosen to grab it and bring it with him. Together, the two friends walked towards the largest hall where Theoden was. Aragorn took a deep breath, pushed open the doors and led the way in.