The Lord of the Rings: The Last Battalion - Part 7 - Goodbyes and Friendships
Part 1 - www.tolkienonline.com/docs/9119
Part 2 - www.tolkienonline.com/docs/9154
Part 3 - www.tolkienonline.com/docs/9157
Part 4 - www.tolkienonline.com/docs/9319
Part 5 - www.tolkienonline.com/docs/9435
Part 6 - www.tolkienonline.com/docs/9463
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The company walked out of the woods into the bright sunlight. Their lungs gratefully breathed in the fresh air and their skin felt the soft caress of sunshine. Their horses had been eagerly waiting for them and were anxious to leave. There was an extra horse present for Gimli which, Merry guessed, Shadowfax had retrieved. The company split into two groups. Legolas, Gimli and Nien traveling north, while Gandalf and the hobbits traveled south to Gondor. The friends said good bye to one another wishing they could stay together longer. It appeared Nien had taken quite a shine to Pippin as she gave him a big hug before they left.
Gimli gingerly mounted his horse and gave Legolas an exasperated look.
"I can't wait until I get to the lonely mountain and can finally get off this wretched beast."
"We have a long way to go, good friend," replied Legolas.
The three kicked the sides of their horses and headed north across the plains of Rohan. They started at a gallop but eventually got slower as the sky grew darker.
"I guess our first stop will be Lothlorien," sighed Nien. "You two should also stop there for rest and replenishing of supplies."
"I assure you, elf maiden, nothing would stop me from seeing the fair Lady of the Wood again. I go freely into those woods now," Gimli's eyes looked to the north expectantly.
"Aye, and Gimli you will be able to see my home in Mirkwood forest," Legolas turned to Nien. "Have you ever been to Mirkwood?"
"No, only Lothlorien, Rivendell and Fangorn but I would love to go, I hear it is very much like Fangorn."
Legolas shook his head, "no forest can compare to Fangorn, not even my kingdom."
"I am sick of forests, give me caves and rock any day," huffed Gimli.
"I guess we can bypass Lothlorien then, head straight to the lonely mountain," Legolas smirked. "If that be your wish."
Gimli looked at Legolas shocked, his eyes full of dread, "I didn't mean that, no...I mean the Lady, I have to see her...uh...not sick of forests, no."
Legolas laughed and slowly Gimli caught on to the joke and laughed also.
"Oh elf friend, you're lucky my ax isn't handy. You'd be only half of yourself by now."
They both laughed at this remark and Legolas reached over and slapped Gimli on the back nearly knocking him off his small horse.
"You'd die before your stroke fell."
This made the two companions laugh even harder and Nien watched with surprise and wonder in her eyes. She approached the joyous companions slowly.
"What witchcraft is this that a dwarf and an elf are such good friends? I have never seen or heard of anything like this."
"You haven't been through what we've been through. In the war of the ring we came to depend on one another and then trust one another and then respect one another. It was slow, I suppose, but it is strong. I daresay I have never had a friend like Legolas."
"Stirring words, Gimli. It was a rocky start for us but my life will never be the same now. Gone are my elvish prejudices. I look forward to visiting the Lonely Mountain."
"Astounding," stared Nien. "This is amazing and wonderful. Personally, I never understood the hatred between elves and dwarves. No elf is even sure how it started, the same can be said for dwarves. Well that's not exactly true. Some elves do know..."
Her voice trailed off leaving the impression she had said too much, she quickly changed the subject, "we'd better camp here for the night and have some dinner."
The trio dismounted their horses (Gimli was very grateful) and made a warm supper.
Pippin's head started dropping as the ride progressed. He was very tired but Gandalf kept pushing them harder wanting to go faster. He supposed that they should, considering that Middle Earth was at war again. Yet he was tired and hungry and that took precedence over anything else at the moment. Besides they weren't in any immediate danger. He shook his head. What was he thinking? That was his old hobbit nonsense kicking in. He wasn't like that anymore.
"I am a soldier of Gondor," he thought. "I need to stay focused and help King Aragorn all that I can."
Pippins dropping head quickly went up and he held himself proudly like the true soldier he was. Gandalf shifted on Shadowfax.
"We will first visit Edoras and King Eomer. Tell him the ill news. I fear Gandalf Stormcrow has returned." He said the last bit with a faint smile on his lips.
Merry looked excitedly at Pippin, "we get to see Eomer!"
Merry's excitement quickly rubbed off on Pippin. He was also looking forward to visiting the horse lords.
"Hey, Gandalf, any hope of seeing Eowyn too?" asked Merry.
Gandalf turned to face Merry, "possibly, but she is married to Faramir now and does not live in Edoras anymore...but there is a good chance she is visiting." He winked at this last comment and sent Merry's hopes soaring.
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