CH. 4: STRANGE DREAMS
Legolas sat by Rowan’s bed with a look of concern etched into his fair features. The hour had slowly passed since he had found her by the wall, and yet she had not made so much as a sound as she lay there. The healer had left the room a short time ago, with a mask of confusion on his face; something Legolas had not been encouraged by. Of course, even in the days when Aragorn was King the healers had still been incompetent. But the memory didn’t bring a smile this time. He stood up out of his chair, and walked over to the bed, kneeling beside her and looking in her pale face, wondering what dreams lay within.
He placed a hand on her forehead and it was still cold. He did not understand, and yet he was happy that it was not as icy as it had been. As he touched her face, a little color crept into her cheeks but she still didn’t move, and Legolas let a sigh escape. What had happened in that short period of time between when he had talked to her, and she had gone into the citadel. . . what possibly could have harmed her?
Legolas wondered if the elven grace inside of him could pull her out of this trance that seemed to have overtaken her. Frowning, he took her hand and closed his eyes, picturing the fair white shores of Valinor; what would Elrond have done? Elladan and Elrohir were not here yet; but he guessed they had no more power over the situation then the healer had. But still he hoped beyond all the perplexity that he could somehow bring her back. For some reason, he had a peace within him- he knew that she was not in danger, and yet why would something not dangerous cause this? He knew not.
“Rowan. . .” He whispered, pressing his lips to her cold hand. His eyes remained closed, until he felt himself drawn away, out of the room and into a misty sea. The walls were gone, and Legolas found himself on a patch of dry land, the grass a tint of white, not green.
“Rowan?” He called, squinting as he peered through the fog. It enveloped him in it’s claws, and he felt the wind beat icy on his face. Turning, he slowly stepped inwards, away from the waves. Where was she? Or was she even here? Was this some warped dream of his own, or was he really with Rowan somewhere in her mind?
“Is anyone here?” He repeated, feeling his way across the grass. Just then the fog cleared, as if blown away by a sweet breath. Incense tingled in the breeze, and Legolas watched as great trees of silver and gold rose before him, and the white grass turned to green beneath his leather boots.
Legolas spun and under the bright sun he saw the speaker, dressed in white and silver robes coming towards him. And the realization of where he was dawned on him:
“Valinor. .” whispered the elf.
“Yes, this is Valinor. It seems you would have remembered quicker, being so soon gone.” The figure smiled, wrinkles filling the face.
“Mithrandir? What’s going on?” Legolas felt lost. Gandalf laughed quietly, stepping beside the elf. “Where’s Rowan?” the elf continued, concerned.
“She is safe-” Gandalf began.
“Where is she?” Legolas asked again, a firm tone in his voice. Gandalf ignored the question this time.
“Walk with me,” He said, and Legolas obeyed, rather hesitantly, as the sound of the crystal waters lapped not ten paces from them. “You remember the Vala told you they could bring you back at any time, do you not?” Legolas was silent. Gandalf glanced at the elf quickly before continuing. “You obviously needed counseling.”
“What is this about, Mithrandir?” Legolas cut in, making the duo stop. Gandalf gazed at him a moment, as if weighing the question.
“Why won’t you listen to Elladan?”
Legolas looked away hurriedly. Why was he bringing this up?
“Because I can’t believe him.”
The elf was at a loss. Gandalf grinned and motioned them to keep walking.
“Legolas, sometimes you need to listen to your peers because they have the answers, even when you don’t want to hear them. Now, Elladan tried to warn you about Rowan, so you need to listen-“
“Mithrandir, do you remember what Rowan told you when you tried to make her go, when you left Middle Earth?” Legolas said. Gandalf didn’t say anything. “Well I do; she said ‘I know in my heart I cannot leave, not yet’. Remember now? She’s still saying that, and I wholeheartedly agree that she can’t just leave.”
“Even if she dies?” Gandalf asked. Legolas set his jaw, and Gandalf placed a hand on the elf’s shoulder.
“She must come back, but she needs to choose of her own free will.” He put in.
“She won’t come.” Legolas answered quietly. Gandalf sighed, his face seeming to become more wrinkled even as they walked. Legolas waited a moment before he asked another question.
“How come you and Elladan want her to come back, and yet there is something she can do to save Middle Earth?” He said, watching Gandalf’s face as the older man worked his jaw. He didn’t receive an answer, which frustrated him. “Why is she hurt?” And he remembered her, still lying in the room without him.
“She’s not hurt.” Came the reply.
“Then what is wrong? Why am I here? I see no Vala here to greet me.” said Legolas strongly.
“That is for her to know, and not you,” Gandalf replied, in response to the first question. “As for the other one, because I asked them to bring you here.”
“But. . . but even if she dies, she’ll come here.” Legolas put in, barely able to get the words out of his mouth. Gandalf didn’t reply.
“Mithrandir? She will come here. She’s an elf,” He stopped Gandalf in his tracks. “Answer me, please.” Gandalf suddenly burst into a fit of chuckles, bringing a dark frown to Legolas’s light face.
“Yes, Legolas, she will come here.” He said, his face shifting back to it’s former grimness.
“It is not that, no, it is something far greater than that. It is what she will do there that frightens me.” said Gandalf.
“It can only be for good-“
“Can it? Is there only a good force in this universe, Legolas?” Gandalf broke in.
“But good is stronger.” said Legolas firmly. Gandalf made a subtle nod.
“Yes it is; but people aren’t. It is not Iluvatar verses Melkor I am talking about. It is Rowan against something she may or may not be able to fight.”
“What?” The elf asked as Gandalf ceased to speak.
“That is something she will find out, if she doesn’t come back. The good may outweigh the evil in the end IF she succeeds, but only if. “And if is a big word.” Gandalf finished and grew silent. Legolas mulled over the Maia’s words quietly, thinking. He longed to know everything, and yet he knew he never would understand it all. Sighing, the elf and old man kept walking down the shore line, and unto the swift sunrise in the distance. . .
* * * * * * *
Rowan woke suddenly. The room was cold, it chilled her to the bone, and yet even as she lay there the temperature seemed to rise. She was alone. Frowning, she sat up; was it morning? Wracking her brain she quickly remembered: Elladan’s conversation, Legolas’s coldness, and Corin’s dark face even as she spoke with him. Her face went grim as she remembered the prince, his voice so light and yet his eyes so black. Shuddering she forced the images into the back of her mind, and let her legs swing over the bed. She picked at the white gown that she found herself in- where were her other clothes?
“Rowan? Rowan, are you alright?”
The elf maiden turned, and smiled seeing Jax standing in the doorway.
“Come in, Jax, you don’t have to stand outside,” She teased, and he entered with a boyish grin. “I’m fine.”
Jax sauntered over and sat beside the bed.
“What exactly happened?” He asked. Rowan shook her head, wondering the same thing.
“I don’t know. It was strange. . . and this dream I had-” She stopped quickly. Jax raised an eyebrow.
“Well you don’t have to tell me everything.” Jax snorted, sarcastically. Rowan laughed at her friend, and reached to smack him. Jax stood, escaping her hand.
“I guess losing consciousness put a violent streak in you, elf.” He said, grinning. Rowan felt tired suddenly, and rested her head against the headboard. Then she frowned.
“You look different.” said Rowan. Jax glanced at her quickly.
“You look different.” She repeated, staring into his face. He seemed. . . lighter, or something.
“Better or worse?” He asked in a doubting voice.
“Better.” She smiled. Jax seemed to forget it as soon as she said it.
“In all seriousness, though, I need to tell you that the king has called off the march,” said Jax. Rowan was quiet, so he continued. “Yeah, thought you’d be upset.” Actually Rowan wasn’t upset at all. “Anyway, Corin is too. Seemed to be all panicked when I last talked to him. He practically shoved me out of the citadel.” Jax shook his head as he spoke, half laughing, yet half concerned. “What’s gotten into him, I wonder?”
Rowan didn’t reply. Corin’s face once again flashed before her eyes. Jax paused, watching her keenly.
“I’m sorry, Rowan. I’ll go now.” He grinned before he stood, and mocking a bow he left her quiet, thinking. What had gotten into the prince? Waving a hand as if to breath away the thought, she stood and changed back into her clothes.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Asked the healer, just entering. Rowan rolled her blue eyes.
“I’m leaving, and so can you.” She gave the old woman a shove out the door, closing it behind her. The old woman stumbled away, muttering and grumbling. Rowan watched her leave, and then stepped lightly the other direction, towards the gates that led down another level. She still wanted to see Legolas, even if he was still acting so strange. Carefully she picked her way through the dwindling crowd, even as the sun set beyond the high wall.
“Ai! laurie lantar lassi surinen,” She began to sing, an old song that Galadriel taught her once, long ago.
“Yeni unotime ve ramar aldaron. . .*” But she fell to humming, as she drew numerous odd looks from passers-by. Her sweet green dress flowed around her as she walked, the sun glinting its red and gold streaks off of her equally golden hair. Several silver strings swept a belt across her waist, and her feet didn’t make a sound even as they hit the stone floor.
This was how Legolas saw her, finding himself once more among the men of Middle Earth.
“Lle naa vanima.**” He whispered as he approached her, and slipped an arm around her slender waist. She jumped slightly, yet when she saw it was him she smiled, and her eyes flooded with relief.
“I didn’t see you.” said Rowan, even as she leaned against him, forgetting every strange thing he had done that day. Legolas kissed her head. “Where have you been?” She asked, looking up at him. He hesitated.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there.” He simply said. Rowan’s heart fell slightly as she felt a wall go up between them; and yet she ignored it.
“It is alright.” She murmured. Legolas found himself walking down to the last level, where the sun could be seen dimming on the horizon. He quickly led her up that last wall, onto the battlements and they stood together as the sun was swallowed up in the far mountains. Rowan sighed at the sight: how well did she remember standing in this same spot when the darkness of Mordor rose against them, and fair Pelennor was flecked with the armies of the Black Lands. She shuddered, and Legolas held her closer. She just as quickly forgot the memories, and felt a warm sensation in her heart.
“Amin mela lle.***” He said softly.
Rowan started, and glanced up at Legolas. I love you? Did he? Did she? Rowan saw Legolas quickly look down, as if expecting his words to have fallen flat on the ground.
“Do you?” She asked. He looked over at her, and he smiled.
“More than anything.” He whispered, and he leaned over her upraised face, pressing his lips into hers.
But just then the ground beneath them shuddered. Legolas tore himself away, and looked up towards the levels. Everything looked at peace. Rowan frowned, and gripped the wall. She heard the guards who were far from her whispering in confused tones. Suddenly she grabbed Legolas’s arm.
“Something terrible is going to happen. . .”
* Song taken from Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.
** You are beautiful
*** I love you