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Subject: Hope and knowledge

Aragorn and Legolas
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Date Posted: 21:10:15 08/29/02 Thu

"Ah, but you contradict yourself Aragorn," Legolas informed him lightly. "First you tell me that I cannot stop love, and then you turn and tell me to break the habit. It seems that love is as big a mystery to you as it is to me."
"Love is a mystery, contradiction is its language." He watched his friend intently. "If you acknowledge that it cannot be halted you admit something to yourself; you admit that you are in love."
"I admitted that part already. Unfortunately, it was not reciprocated. In fact, she couldn't leave the palace fast enough."

Aragorn sat silently hating himself for introducing such a painful subject at such a delicate time. "I'm sorry Legolas. I don't know what else to say."
"There isn't really anything else to say." Legolas sighed. "Except, of course, for what I actually came to tell you, and have sat here for the past several minutes avoiding."
The king eyed his friend suspiciously. "What did you come to tell me?"
All semblance of levity vanished from his face, to be replaced by a mixture of misery and apology. "She was more than, well, upset when I finally..." the words trailed off into the territory of things that were still too painful to dwell on. "Indeed, she seemed, more...scared."
"Scared? What do you mean? Surely that's a good thing if she is, as you fear, on the side of darkness."
"Perhaps. But possibly she had good reason. Maybe she wasn't as scared of me, more of...you. Of what you might do to her."
"Afraid of me?" Aragorn asked incredulously. "What I might do to her? I'm afraid I must've missed something for I do not understand."
"My fault again I'm afraid. We Elves have a tendency to speak in riddles when bearing bad news. It gives us time to get away before the recipient works out what we've just said."
"Then stop talking in riddles!" he almost shouted, growing irriated even through the stupour that engulfed him. "Legolas," he tried again firmly, "tell me what you came to say."

"She killed Isildur." he burst out finally. "There you go Aragorn. I really know how to pick them, dont I? Not only did I have to go for an ally of the Dark Lord, I managed to choose the murderer of two of your ancestors."

"Oh yes. She said she was responsible for the death of Elendil as well. Oh- and Gil-Galad. Lómódë aims high."
He tried to temper his voice slightly, angry at himself now as well for letting too much of his own feeling come through.
"I'm sorry, Aragorn. I didn't know. I'm sure it's not something you want to hear right now, but I thought you had the right to know." A pause, and then,
"What are you going to do? Do you want me to send some men after her? Nobody would blame you if you had her killed."

"Nobody would blame me?" he repeated. "No of course they wouldn't. What do they know of her?" He focused on Legolas again. "Is this how elves deal with love? Sometimes I feel as if I don't know you at all; at this moment I wish I didn't." He rose and moved over to the window and gazed out into the night. "You're asking me to destroy the woman you claim you love, maybe in her death you would find peace, but ask it not of me."
His thoughts flew again to the woman he loved; her eyes glinting with the thousand lights of the White City and with betrayal.
Arwen, I'm...sorry.
It still wasn't enough.

He grew angry. "You think I want her dead? I am not that coldhearted. How could I wish something so beautiful to be destroyed? No, I would have her well away from here, and safe as she can be at this present time. But it is not my decision to make. Do Men not believe in the blood feud, in the right of their ancestors to vengeance? I can not go against that."

"Some men may," he said listlessly still staring out side, "I cannot claim to be one of them. My ancestors are dead; I cannot bring them back especially not with more
He focused on the female elf: he had seen her before this night.
With Arwen.
No. Not with Arwen.
She wasn't with Arwen, but she had talked with him about Arwen. She had told him to leave his wife in Rivendell; that Arwen was better off without him.
If what Legolas had said was true...
"What have I done?" he whispered miserably.

Legolas broke
away from his melancholy to peer at Aragorn in
puzzlement. "Well, many things, probably. Would
you care to be more specific?"
"I've sentanced my wife to death, he thought but it did not reach his lips; Legolas already suffered under guilt's strain. The change in his friend still astonished
him and he related as much to the other.
"I'm sorry," Legolas apologised, contrition coming to him as
quickly as anger had earlier. "That wasn't necessary."
"No, it wasn't," Aragorn sat himself down on the window seat before his legs gave out on him. "However it has been a long day and none of us are at our best. The day has
been especially trying for you I fear."
"No more so than your own." Removing an arrow from his quiver he turned it over and over in slender hands, running a finger along it's sharp point.
"Did you really manage to get yourself locked in the dungeon?"
"Oh yes," he laughed bleakly. "You would not have thought it possible. But then I wouldn't have believed there
was a place worse than Minas Morgal below my own castle. Things can surprise you."
"Indeed." Legolas agreed, sinking back into his own thoughts.

For a moment the two sat in silence. Aragorn felt his eyes being continually drawn back to the open window as if
by merely looking for her he could bring his wife back from Rivendell. In frustration he drew the curtains and turned back to the elf. "Do you want to talk about her?"
He smiled sadly. "What's there to say?" After a few more
moments though, he sighed and looked up. "It was as if..." he began, and then stopped, searching for the right image. "It was as if I were Beren and she Lúthien, and I was caught in her spell, without even realising it. Almost like her own light was so bright, and so dazzling, I forgot to tend to my own. And now she's not here and everything's
dark again. Can you understand that?"
What a question. He nodded and barely discernable came the words "Yes, I believe I can understand that."

With a flash of perception, Legolas realised how close the words came to the king's own life. Casting the arrow down on the floor he stood up and stretched like a cat, moving nearer to the warmth of the fire.
"But enough of this dreary subject. I have become but a shadow of my former self, but I refuse to stay in this sorry condition for long. What would my people say if they could see the proud prince of Mirkwood now?" he asked, changing the subject neatly. "This is no way for men of our stature to behave. We should be drinking and singing at
this hour, not shut away feeling sorry for ourselves."
"Perhaps we should," the king managed. "But I cannot think of a time more ill suited to merry making."
"Let Sauron
come." he challenged, intent on lightening the burden his friend carried if possible. "We will be ready for him!"

"Will we? I cannot hope for that Legolas. My army consists of untrained boys, the generals who fought Sauron are dead,
the elves have gone. Away from the throne room I can finally admit: we haven't a hope."
"Do you truly think that? Because if you really do, then
you're right. We have no hope at all. It isn't enough just to be able to play the part, Aragorn. You should know that by now. You have to believe."
"What is there to believe in anymore" Aragorn replied despondantly.
"In the stars, and in the sunrise. In the opening of a flower. In the feel of the grass under your feet, and the rain on your face, and the wind in your hair. In life."
"How can I look to life for comfort when every observation I take tells me that Sauron will overcome us, destroying the world's light and our way of life in one minor stroke? The dewy grass will not avail me against the weapons of Mordor, the deliciate petals of elanor will not protect my people from their anger."
Legolas shook his head wryly. "You really have no romance in your soul whatsoever, do you? You will believe only in what you can touch, what you can feel." He waited a few seconds for impact, as Aragorn glared at him. Then with a sigh, he continued. "Very well, I will give you something real.
Maybe Minas Tirith was not strong enough to stand against Lord Sauron's armies eight years ago, but things have changed since then. Your engineers know its weak spots. They have strengthened them. We will not be caught out again; this time, the city shall remain indefensible. Not even the first wall will fall. I have seen your warriors, I have trained with them. Young they may be, but they lack neither in talent, nor in courage. They will do you proud. Added to them, you have the men of your city. And even they have combat experience, for most of them fought in the siege. Do not doubt their hearts, for they will defend you until the end. Added to them, we have the Istari. And it seems the faeries have now decided to take a stand as well. My people have been fighting against Sauron for thousands of years, we do not intend to give up the fight now. And what of the Dwarves, and the hobbits? Gondor is not alone here. All the free peoples are allied with you. Is that not something to believe in?"

"You speak well" Aragorn acknowledged. "If words were weapons we could turn against our foes we would have no cause for worry. I am trying hard to believe you, I... want to believe you but... Oh I don't know; I am not sure of anything any more." He lent against the window, his unshaven cheek resting on the cool, solid glass that offered a sense of reality in this all too complicated world. "This morning I could've told you that Sauron had gone forever, he'd been defeated for the last time, we'd won. The evil force that has threatened my ancestors since the beginning of days had finally been vanquished and it was possible for us to live in peace. This morning I knew that there really was no need for my armies train for anything more complicated than a state parade. This morning I knew many things..." he trailed off and stared futiley from the window once more. He let out a long, steady breath as if dispelling all these thoughts from himself with the air and turned back to his friend. "Maybe you are right and I am just too tired to see it. Maybe tomorrow's morn will bring new knowledge. Maybe."
"There is no maybe. There is truth. And yes, when you are ready, you too will see it. And it will sing in you." Legolas promised him. "And as for me, well, I think I have been apart from my dearest companion for too long. On the morrow I will ride to the Glittering Caves and retrieve our dwarven friend from the clutches of his relatives. Mayhap I will be able to bring back a party of warriors for you as well. Would that hearten you?"
"It might had I the knowledge of this morning and not than of the evening; I do not. It has been brought to my attention that Gimli never reached the Glittering Caves, infact I find it very unlikly he was ever bound for that destination." A brief flicker of anguish passed over his face. "It seems he followed you as you ran from Minas Tirith. He did not find you, neither did the orcs who lay in
wait for the Prince of Mirkwood. How they knew of your flight I know not but i know that the orcs and the dwarf found each other and that Gimli now resides in their custody as they wait for you."
Legolas stared at Aragorn for a few moments in utter incomprehnsion, all colour draining from his face. "Why didn't you tell me this before?" he whispered huskily.
"I did not know myself till minutes before your own arrival in the Throne Room."
"And no one ever suspected anything...I just assumed he'd gone to visit his own people, he's done so so many times before..." he said slowly, before standing up abruptly and making for the door.
"We can sit here an concoct excuses until Sauron invades yet it will not avail him. You have given me your consil and in return take mine. The faery that spoke of this informed me that the orcs have been ordered not to slay Gimli but that they grow increasingly restless. So now that we know of his situation we must do something, we must rescue him and soon. I know I do not really need to ask it of you but you intend to fetch him do you not? Even knowing the reason for his imprisonment?"
"Of course." he muttered, already reaching for the door. "It's my fault he's in this position. I can't leave him there a moment longer."
"Sit down Legolas. It is not your fault just as Lomode's identity was not. You will not help Gimli if you rush out alone and get yourself killed in this storm. Wait till the morning and then set out with a small company; I cannot afford to loose you as well."
"But I can't just leave him there!" he repeated in frustration.
"Then do not. Merely wait until the morrow to search for him."
Legolas didn't answer, but stared down at the doorhandle he held, as if somehow it could hold the answers to his predicament. Eventually his shoulders slumped in defeat and he returned to his chair. "I know that you speak the best course of action. It's just that my heart tears to think I must follow it."
There was a gap and then Aragorn spoke again. "Sometimes we must make the decision that hurts ourselves if it aids another. In your heart you know it is only the guilty soul that will be helped by your setting out tonight. Leaving in a storm without plans or companions will not help Gimli. You know that."
"Aye, " he sighed, "I do. I may not like it, but I have to conceed that you are right. Very well, tomorrow then. Do you know where I should look for him?"
"No, I do not."

A red eye

He shuddered involentarily.
"I can however consult the palantir but not yet... I am so tired."
"Tomorrow then. You will need to keep your warriors here- who should I take with me?"
"Have you met Aryante yet?"
"I believe so, although it must have been a couple of months ago."
"Then I suggest you take her. I doubt I shall be needing a personal healer in the weeks to come."
"You think I'm going to need a healer?" he asked sharply, growing alarmed. "Aragorn, what exactly did that faery tell you?"
"Not enough," the king answered. "But though you may not need a healer it was made quite clear than Gimli would. Besides she has elven blood and will probably prove a valuable ally should you meet with any orcs."
"I should think that a meeting with orcs is a fair certanity."
"Then you will need all the help you can muster. Perhaps Aryante will not be enough but I can think of no one else."
"Agreed." Legolas opened his mouth to add more, but was stopped by the sound of knocking on the door.

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