The morning brought life to the forest. It was definitely different than life in any other forest, but Aragorn was content to hear the crickets and the frogs, and every now and then the hustle of a rabbit running for cover. He had woken early in the morning to take his turn to keep watch. Once Gimli woke up a couple hours later, Aragorn took the chance to thoroughly scout the area. He had hoped to find the hobbits, but saw no sign of them. Aragorn made his way back to camp satisfied that at least they were safe for the moment.
As he arrived, Gimli was hovered over the fire cooking breakfast. Legolas was resting near the sleeping woman. Aragorn knew that the elf had kept a close vigil on her through the night. A smile came across Aragorn’s face. He had seen the concern in his friend’s eyes, which Aragorn felt was good for his friend to feel after all they had been through. He sat down by Gimli and focused in on the woman. How familiar she looked to him, but he could not remember ever seeing her before. Aragorn glanced over at Legolas who was now awake and looking at the woman with a very similar look on his face.
“It’s good to see her sleeping peacefully. The last couple days have definitely taken a toll on her. As much as she has been thru, there are not many men who could have come thru it as good as she has. Of course, she has the luxury of your healing touch, my friend.”
Legolas noticed the smirk on Aragorn’s face. “If I had not been here, your healing touch would have been just as good.” Legolas could feel his face turning red, and turned to escape Aragorn’s eyes.
Aliana quietly opened her eyes and took in the view. For a moment she was startled, until she found Legolas’ face. The scene of the night before wafted into her mind and it calmed her. She moved her hand over her side where she expected to feel the wound from the sword and was surprised that it was almost healed. She started to move and was relieved that there was hardly any pain. As she started to sit up, she found Legolas’ hand on her back, helping her.
“Thank you, my lord.”
“You are quite welcome. But there is no need to call me that.”
“But there is. I’ve heard your name before. You are the son of Thandruil of Mirkwood, are you not?”
“How do you know me? And how do you know of my father?” Legolas was shocked that she would know of him. Mortals didn’t usually bother themselves with Elvin lineage these days.
“The lady of the wood talked about you often. At times I had felt like I had known you all my life.”
“And how is it that you know the Lady of the Wood”,asked Aragorn, now sitting next to Legolas. She had definately drawn the attention of her companions.
She stopped for a moment, wondering if she should share so much with these men. She was not accustomed to talking about herself with anyone, let alone someone she had just met. She had spent most of her time alone over these last years in Vaneril and had grown quite accustomed to it. But something was different here. Aliana realized she felt safe in their company. As unsettling as it was, she found their company quite welcome. After a short pause, she decided to continue.
“Galadriel raised me as her own until I reached the age where I wondered on my own people. She brought me to Vaneril when I was seventeen, where I have lived ever since.”
Legolas looked into her eyes. “You are the young ward of Lorien! I have heard much about you. I never had the honor to meet you, as Galadriel and Celeborn kept you quite guarded the few times I had visited while you were in their midst. I have been there several times after you left, and Galadriel has talked much of you.” Looking to Aragorn, Legolas said, “This answers many questions”
“My lady, do you feel good enough to travel this morning? I feel we need to find our way out of this forest as soon as possible,” Aragorn asked. As much as he wanted to carry on this conversation, a feeling of unsettling had moved over him. He looked to Legolas and could tell from his demeanor that the elf had the same feeling.
“Yes, I am able,”she replied.
Gimli had broken down most of the camp and was gathering his personal belongings. He had listened intently to the conversation but felt it was not his place to participate. It only took a few minutes for everyone to be ready for the day’s journey.
As Legolas checked his weapons, his hand came to lay on the bow he had found in the battlefield. He pulled it out and presented it to Aliana.
“My bow!” she exclaimed. “Where did you find it?”
“One of the orcs must have taken it as a prize. It was lying in the clearing just outside the forest.” As he handed it to her she reached out and embraced him. She stepped back quickly, her face flushed. She had never been this forward with anyone.
“I am sorry my lord for being so forward. I can not tell you what this bow means to me. It was a gift from Lord Celeborn.”
“I understand,” he replied, knowing how he felt about the gift Galadriel had embelished upon him. He turned quickly in hopes that no one noticed his face flushing again..
Gimli had sat back taking in everything. He noticed the look on Legolas and Aragorn’s faces when they looked at Aliana. And he had noticed the same look in Aliana’s eyes when she looked at them. He could see the foundation of a great friendship building. “It looks to me that more than this forest is stirring this morning,” Gimli mumbled to himself. He brought himself to his feet and grabbed his axe that was propped against the tree next to him.
“We had better get a move on. I don’t like the way this forest looks at me.”
The other three looked at each other and started to chuckle.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.