Crossroads by Ninfea|
No summary provided.
Legolas was running. He turned over his head regularly, trying to see who was following him. But he could only hear a sound of claws against the ground and sometimes a growl. He stumbled suddenly, and in his haste to rise up, let several arrows escape from his quiver. He hesitated one second and finally started again his unrestrained race without taking time to collect them. He was hardly conscious of the desolate landscape which extended around him. The sun lay down on an arid and desert moor. Some tired, knotty trees, gray and deprived of sheets strewed the ground, obliging him sometimes to sidestep abruptly to avoid them. He turned over once again, after having heard a jaw snap closer to him than the last times, but once again, he didn’t see anything. He hadn’t ceased running, the head turned in back. He accelerated and was abruptly thrown to ground. It seemed to him that his head had exploded. During a few minutes, he couldn’t see anything anymore, dazed. When finally he succeeded in readjusting his vision, he noted that he was lying on his back, under a tree. He had simply struck a branch, while he was not paying attention to where he was going. He tried to get up on his elbows, which yielded under his weight. He groaned and rubbed his temples with the tip of the fingers. A sound made him reopen his eyes, which widened with fear.
Legolas started and groaned. Anxious, Aragorn leaned on him. He put his hand on his face and sighed. The fever had not dropped. His friend was extremely hot, and despite his efforts, the healer did not manage to calm the delirious of the elf. This last was now moving in his sleep, which could not be a good sign after the long aphasic slumber in which he had sunk a few hours earlier. Aragorn drenched once again his rag in the cold water of the river and started to relieve his friend. But the elf unconsciously tried to push back him, which did not make the task easy. Aragorn feared he would frighten him if he blocked his movements. Whatever dream Legolas faced, he was obviously fighting against wild enemies. Aragorn knew by experience that whatever he tried in reality would be reflected in the delirium of the patient. Consequently, he did not want to restrain too much the movements of his companion, who would imagine Elbereth knew what in his nightmare. With a sigh of frustration, the strider turned away a little, and observed Legolas struggle without intervening more.
Above him, a wyvern was quickly appearing. Legolas let out a cry of terror from the bottom of his throat swiftly slammed his hands against his mouth, to choke any sound which could escape from him, thus luring the beast towards him. The monster sniffed, his muzzle tended ahead. Definitely for the first time of his life, Legolas was happy to be dirty, covered in mud, sweat and blood, as many odours which hid his presence. He had however to fight against his instinct, which howled him to flee. Lying in gray ash, Legolas tried to catch his breath. His chest hurt him and he had difficulties to breathe. The presence of the wyverne oppressed him. Never an elf should have had to confront such a spawn of the Hells. Finally the animal deviated with heavy steps and Legolas let a breath escape. He felt dizzy from having remained so long without breathing.
Tightening his teeth, Aragorn held Legolas against him, in sitting position. The elf had coughed twice and then ceased breathing for fifteen minutes. The strider had rushed towards him and in a movement of panic, had tried all that he could. He had massaged his chest with energy, breathed air into his mouth, and had put him in a straight position. He had tried to banish from his head the voice which told him that these methods sometimes functioned, but generally failed. Valars had been lenient this time. Aragorn had finally felt the chest of his friend raise again, slightly, but in a significant way. Tears in his eyes, the man had sat his friend against him, and maintained him firmly, to protect him from any bad predicament. He dried briefly his eyes with the back of his hand and addressed a dumb prayer to Valars:
“Give to Legolas the force to live! ».
Legolas tried to raise himself but his limbs did not obey him anymore. Despite all the will he was trying to gather, his body now refused to follow him. He was so tired that he could have cried about it. He didn’t hear the wyvern anymore, but that did not mean that it had left. The elf thought one moment that he was not safe enough, under this emaciated tree, to allow himself to sleep, but his eyes were closing on their own, and overcome with exhaustion, he let himself drift to a dreamless sleep.
Aragorn had risen, taking care to not hustle his friend. Then he delicately took him in his arms and with lassitude, started to walk staggeringly towards the heart of the forest, where he could find a less exposed place to spend the night. He lowered his glance towards the elf, who, if he had not been so pale and so motionless, could have passed as asleep. A puff of concern seized him. Never his friend had been in such a bad state, so near to death, in any of their hunting sessions despite the fact that they had almost all gone awry.
Legolas awoke abruptly and without even thinking about it, found himself standing upright. He studied the landscape around him with caution. All that he saw could be described in a word: `grey'. The ground was flat, of a uniform grey, a grey of ashes. The elf felt a latent anguish seized him, without valid reason. Suddenly, a dazzling white light lit the plain. The lightning had just fallen. Legolas was startled, and in an instant of panic, he sought a place to shelter. But he was alone on the middle of nowhere, an easy target. He turned twice on himself, his eyes seeking a relief of the ground frantically where he could shelter. A second flash illuminated then died in the meadow, much closer to him this time.
Aragorn had laid the elf under a tree, hoping that he would be able to hear its reassuring murmur, despite his unconsciousness. He lit a fire, put a water filled kettle to boil and came back close to his friend. He took from his bag some leaves of athelas which he put to boil in water and undertook to remove the bloodstained tunic off his friend. Blood still oozed of the wounded shoulder. He winced at the sight of the wound, deep and purplish. The beast had done a lot of damage. The man thought one moment that if Legolas had not interposed himself between it and him, it would be him, Aragorn, who would be lying there at this moment. A puff of gratitude filled him up at the same time as unpleasant relents of culpability. He looked away to check on the potion in fire, soaked a clean fabric in the kettle and started to clean the bite.
Lying on the ground, Legolas tightened his hands around his head, a poor attempt to make himself smaller. The lightning continued to fall, at regular intervals, but did not approach. Little by little, the elf regained confidence and sat up slowly. It did not rain and a light breeze rose. Legolas finished sitting up and moved drowsy shoulders. He then felt a tiny tingling on his right. He lowered his eyes towards the origin of this new feeling and let out a cry of fear. Hundreds of ants were climbing on him, in the direction of his open wound which was still bleeding. He rose with a jump, not concerned about the lightning, and in spite of the pain which this gesture caused, swept himself feverishly with the palm of his left hand.
Aragorn cursed between his teeth. In spite of the athelas, the wound would not stop bleeding. It almost seemed to him that even more blood than before was running out of it. He was going to have to stitch him. He did not want to cause more pain to his friend, but did not want to take the risk to make him drink by force a calming tea, while his state was completely unstable either. He thus took unwillingly the wire and a needle, which he left in the fire a few moments to sterilize it. Slowly, he passed the wire in the eye of the needle and after cleaning it one last time, pricked the skin of the elf.
Legolas did not know anymore what he should do to get rid of the insects. They pricked him, bit him, and seemed to revel in his blood. The burn was horrible. With despair, the elf inspected the horizon, with a seeking glance, looking for a stretch of water which would enable him to get rid of this vermin. He started when the thunder boomed. One second later, the rain fell. Legolas raised the eyes towards the black sky, not being able to believe in his fortune, after all his misfortunes. With a hasty gesture, he took off the sleeve of his tunic and leaned back slightly to expose his skin to the freshness of water.
Stitching up his friend greatly affected him but he did not have a choice. Legolas had already lost a lot of blood, and even though he was an elf, his body would not tolerate a hypovolemic shock in the state of weakness in which he was. He tried to finish as fast as possible, presenting quiet excuses to the prince of Mirkwood with each movement which the puncture of the needle caused. After a little more than thirty stitches, he had finally finished and he cleaned the wound one last time. He felt with pleasure the elf wind down with the contact of the wet rag. It was the first sign which he perceived which showed him that he was bringing a certain relief to his friend.
Legolas remained a long time under the rain. He was soaked from now on, but did not seem mind. The rain had always cleared him up, in all circumstances. He observed his hair gray with soil and dust to become fair once again. He smiled while thinking of Aragorn, who hated the rain, because it generated mud and that humans could not, like the elves, dodge it subtly. Aragorn… Legolas almost leaped. Aragorn! How had he been able to forget him? After all this time (Hours? Days?), he was alone. Where had his friend gone? Aragorn would never have left him!
Legolas had a sudden start. Aragorn approached his friend, anxious. The elf shook his head, moaned with pain and without the strider being able to foresee it, stood up in a jump, with large, opened, dazed eyes.
- Hush, Legolas, I am there, all is well. »
Legolas looked at him but the man had the unpleasant feeling that the elf was not seeing him. Legolas closed his eyes again, and if Aragorn had not been wary, he would have collapsed heavily behind. He held him gently, and laid him. The elf was still feverish and agitated. In an attempt to reassure him, Aragorn whispered a few words in Sindarin to him. Legolas reopened his eyes, which were now fixed, with more precision this time, on the strider. This last smiled to him, relieved that his friend was finally regaining conscience.
Legolas howled his name while running. The wyvern, the lightning and the ants mattered little to him! All that mattered was that he found his friend as soon as possible. He stumbled and found himself kneeling in the dust.
- Hush, Legolas, I am there, all is well. »
The elf turned his head swiftly in the direction of the voice but did not see anything. He tried to stand up but could not. He cursed his weakness and closed his eyes. When he reopened them, Aragorn was leaning over him and was smiling at him.
“How do you feel?
The elf blinked a few times, leaned on his left elbow to look at his wound and let himself fall down with a sigh.
- I’ve felt better. What happened?
- We came face to face with a warg. It was going to attack me but you interposed. You succeeded in killing it, but not before it bit you at the shoulder. Aragorn kept silent one moment and finally said:
- You gave me a great scare!
Legolas laughed quietly, coughed and finally added:
- I had my share! »