Secret of the Heart - A Story

Legolas took in the beauty, the unspoiled beauty of Lothlorien. The trees which touched the sky, the land where shadow had not yet fallen.

Long had he wished to tread in the Golden Wood, the place time did not touch.

He sighed, drawing himself out of his reverie.

No, time had not touched Lothlorien, but it continued on in the rest of Middle Earth. The passing of time brought changes, changes Legolas wished to forget. But, that was not the way of things.

He started as a voice spoke at his side.

"You love the Golden Wood, Legolas son of Thranduil."

He lowered his head in respect as he replied "I do, Lady Galadriel."

She paused, then said "The Company owes much to you. It could not have come thus far without your help."

"I take no credit, it is owed more to others... like Gandalf."

"Your humbleness serves you well."

He did not reply.

"Pride is an evil thing, Lord of the Woodland Realm, forget this not," she warned softly "Pride destroyed Isildur."

Silence fell on them before Legolas spoke again.

"My Lady, shall the Fellowship fall, as you spoke of?"

"This I cannot see," Galadriel answered.

"The Ring must be destroyed! This drives me, or naught would I leave Lothlorien!" Legolas exclaimed.

The Lady regarded him a moment, then said "Yet, something else drives you. Something deeper...does it not?"

He could not meet her eyes. "You know my heart Fair Galadriel."

"You long for her, she is still dear to you."

"Her memory is clear in my mind, even after a millenia. The pain is still there," Legolas replied, his voice breaking. "She is gone, my dear Rhiana. Forever just beyond my reach, she is lost to me."

"There is more,"Galadriel said, willing him to speak of it.

"Yes, there is more! More I cannot bear to speak of," Legolas cried. "It is my fault, Galadriel, mine! Mine that she was killed! I could have saved her, but I did not," his voice softened "I failed her."

He began pacing. "Rhiana died looking into my eyes realizing I did not rescue her--she knew my failure."

The Lady of the Wood watched him intently, his pain was evident.

"The Dark Lord's forces, they killed her before me...they killed my love."

Galadriel grasped his arm and turned him to face her. His cheeks were wet.

"Oh Legolas," she said, wiping the tears from his face.

Lady Galadriel gazed into his eyes, seeing his pain. It was deep, it tormented him.

"Legolas, I know what happened. I also know, despite your sense of guilt, it was not your fault."

He opened his mouth to protest, but stopped short as her gaze became intense and near unbearable.

"I have seen it. You are choosing to remember it as your fault. How could you save her, I ask you? You were in an intense battle for your own life! Listen to me, Legolas. You could not have saved her, it was beyond your control."

Her eyes bored into his, and slowly she could see a change in them. A rememberance crept in to replace the torment, a new light she found in his eyes.

Finally, she released his gaze. How long they had stood there, Legolas knew not.

"My Lady....I cannot find the words..." he gazed off in the distance.

She laid a hand on his shoulder "Go Legolas, go and be at peace."

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