Hard to Forgive, Hard to Forget. - Chapter One; Farewells.


Author's Note: This is my first attempt at fan fiction so please be gentle. I don't claim to be a writer just a fan and not even an expert one at that. This story has no beta so all mistakes belong to me. Any useful advice, hints, suggestions would be greatly appreciated, especially with the elvish !!
The events in this story ( which take place after ROTK, some movie references ) come from my own warped mind, please don't get upset if characters etc. don't conform with your idea of Middle-earth, it's just a bit of fun ! I don't intend to offend ! Legolas' family history etc. is my own pitiful invention.

Disclaimer: Any recognisable characters, places etc. belong to Prof. JRR Tolkien et al., all knowing, all powerful. I am merely borrowing them for a wee while & will return them reasonably unscathed. Anyone else unfortunately belongs to me though I have tried to disown them !
No money is being made from this - as if !

Hard To Forgive, Hard To Forget by Laiquendi

Chapter One ; Farewells


The two unlikely companions made their way steadily north-east through the forests of East Lórien. They travelled unhindered for the woods were peaceful once again now that the dark tower of Dol Guldur lay in ruins. Much damage had been done to the trees and the valiant elves of the Golden Wood had suffered many losses when the servants of Sauron attacked their homeland again and again.

But they did not allow evil to prevail and once the Dark Lord was destroyed they sailed across the Anduin where Lord Celeborn and the Lady Galadriel saw to the tower's destruction.

The forests which once echoed the harsh sounds of battle were healing, returning to their former glory and all that could be heard now was musical birdsong, the chattering of squirrels and the steady gentle pounding of hooves.

This lightened the heart of one of the travellers for he was a woodland elf and held a close connection with nature. The elf was Legolas, son of Thranduil, King of Eryn Lasgalen situated in the northern parts of former Mirkwood and he was returning home.

It had been many years since he had seen his Father and though time passes differently for an elf, he was still anxious to see how the King and his people fared after their recent battle with darkness under the trees.
He had heard that much of the northern forest had been tainted and damaged by fire and he prayed to the Valar to speed their recovery for it was amongst the familiar trees of home that he always felt most at peace and he was looking forward to renewing that feeling.

The War of the Ring had ended, his friend Aragorn had taken his rightful place as King of Gondor and the remainder of the Fellowship had returned home all except his companion that is. For the elf travelled with a dwarf, Gimli son of Glóin.
They joined the Fellowship together in Rivendell, much to one another's annoyance and despite themselves their relationship grew from barely concealed contempt to begrudging acceptance to mutual respect and inseparable friendship.

They had spent time together exploring the wonders of Fangorn Forest and though Gimli did so some what reluctantly he knew that in return the elven Prince had promised to visit the glittering caves known as Aglarond with him and Legolas had remained true to his word. Though each companion had tried their best to extol the virtues of their chosen location it was painfully clear that the other could not fully appreciate the true beauty they were being shown.

Legolas had pointed out countless magnificent trees, literally singing their praises all the while recounting fascinating stories he had heard as a young elfling, tales about the mysterious Fangorn and ancient Ents.

But to Gimli a tree was a tree, good for shelter and fire wood . Why would anyone want to climb them ?! Surely that is a job best left to the squirrels ! And it was beyond him why any one of sound mind would want to talk to them, what could a tree possibly have to talk about ?!
He had said as much to Legolas and they elf replied cryptically, "Many things my friend," as he disappeared again silently making his way amongst the branches.

So the dwarf endured his time in the perilous forest, wary of every sound comforted only by the heavy weight of his axe against his back, until the elf had satisfied his curiosity.

Then they crossed the open plains of Rohan, home of the horse lords and travelled to Helm's Deep to view the Glittering Caves. Here the dwarf was in his element and he could not contain the passion he felt as he walked through the immense caverns, indicating strange and wondrous formations in the rock that had taken an eternity to create.

He pointed out the numerous crystals, gems and ores to be found in the bowels of the mountain, marvelling at how they shone and sparkled in the torch light and he often spent hours staring into the still pools of water hidden deep within the caves, amazed at the reflections they mirrored perfectly.

Unfortunately much of this beauty was lost on the elf, though he could appreciate it on some level it was still just a hole in the ground!
It was not natural for an elf, especially a wood elf to spend so much time underground in fact he rarely spent more time than was necessary in his own Father's ornate halls deep inside the mountain .

Elves needed to see the sun and the stars, to hear the song of the trees and keep a close affinity with nature, one could not do this in a dark cave ! And though it reminded him at times of Moria and made him feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable he endured it for the sake of friendship until the dwarf had sated his need to delve in the deep places of the Earth.

Both then returned to Gondor for a time and helped their friend Aragorn, the newly crowned King Elessar to rebuild the city of Minas Tirith. The dwarf shared his extensive knowledge of masonry and the elf tended to the much dilapidated gardens.
Now however they were finally returning home and they rode together as always on Arod. They left Gondor with the King and Queen's blessings and thanks.

Each had promised to return in the near future with aid from both their peoples. Gimli would settle in Aglarond with some of the dwarves from Erebor once Minas Tirith had been restored to it's former glory. With his Father's permission, Legolas would bring some of the Silvan elves from Eryn Lasgalen and set up a small colony in the forests of Southern Ithilien. The area was once very beautiful and had lots of potential, the trees would do well under the caring hands of the elves.


"Farewell my honoured friends, be safe and try not to get into too much trouble on your journey home," Aragorn cautioned, though it was said with much humour and affection.

"Fear not for me and this pesky elf Aragorn for I will keep us both safe," Gimli stated as he patted his trusty axe, "I have grown accustomed to saving his scrawny hide in fact it keeps me in full employment !"

"That is an unlikely fantasy Master Dwarf," Legolas retorted peering down at his friend, his sapphire blue eyes twinkling with mischief, "but one which I shall permit you to continue for I doubt you will find employment elsewhere, in fact your list of options would be as short and stunted as yourself !"

The dwarf's temper had a short fuse and his face grew redder as he became more outraged .
"Why you prissy, pointed-eared, long-legged son of an orc, why I aught to............."

"Gentlemen please."
Arwen's soft voice gently interrupted before things got out of hand.

Close friends knew from experience how to handle the two when they engaged in their frequent verbal sparring matches. The weapons of choice consisted of barely veiled insults, challenges at their opponents parentage, abilities in battle, general appearance and of course threats of physical violence, especially from Gimli, though the elf had on one occasion threatened to hog tie the dwarf, shave off his beard and hang him from the branches of the tallest tree in Gondor. That particular threat had kept the dwarf on guard for weeks.

"If you continue with this "discussion" I fear one of you may end up in the House of Healing .....again," she warned lightly as though she were chastising naughty children, "and I doubt either one of you wants to delay your journey home unnecessarily."

"As ever my Lady you speak with wisdom," said Gimli bowing graciously, "and I for my part shall resist the urge to pound this ungrateful elf into the ground and leave the healers of Minas Tirith to tend to more worthy patients."

But Legolas as usual was quick to reply with a slight impish smile.
"As ever Master Dwarf you set your sights too "high" for you lack the stature to pound this or any elf into the ground and though I could easily return the favour there would be no challenge in it for you are already so close to the earth that there would be little pounding required !"

The dwarf growled low and swung out with his axe in the direction of the smirking elf but Legolas easily avoided the weapon as he leapt aside in a blurring fluid motion.

"Legolas !"
"Gimli !"

The King and Queen groaned together in growing exasperation.
"Will you two PLEASE try to act responsibly, people are watching...." Aragorn pleaded through a tightly clenched jaw as he quickly glanced at the citizens of Gondor whom had gathered to wish the heroes farewell, "and kindly refrain from killing each other while you are in the realm of Gondor for I would not relish writing to your respective fathers explaining the details of your untimely demise !"

"Fear not Master Elf," the dwarf consoled solemnly, "for I should carve a tomb stone worthy of your memory."

"I have naught to fear Master Dwarf and rest assured I would compose a lament worthy of your remembrance," the Prince countered with exaggerated flourish.

A small sigh escaped Arwen's lips and Aragorn merely looked to the sky, silently questioning Ilúvatar's wisdom in putting these two together.

A temporary truce was eventually achieved long enough for the pair to mount Arod, then the Royal party waved their friends goodbye at the main gates of the city. As the duo faded from sight the King turned to his beautiful wife and smiled but his eyes held slight apprehension.

"Do not worry my love, you shall soon see them again," she soothed, "they will arrive home safely, they are more than a match for any problems they may encounter on the way."

"Aye," he agreed, "more than a match, assuming they don't kill one another first !"

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