Legolas stood quiet as a young tree beside one of the great carven pillars within the Golden Hall, watching the beams of light spilling in through the windows, as they trailed so slowly across the floor as the morning sun trailed across the sky. Flickering dust motes swirled through the golden trails of sunlight, and he lowered his eyes to the stone tiles beneath his feet. He was aware of the others in the hall, of King Théoden, and his ministers bent over a map near his throne, of the others of the court milling quietly about him, but his thoughts did not dwell here, in Rohan, but far away, across the mountains, in Gondor, in the city of Minas Tirith, upon the fairest of maidens ever to grace Arda. Picturing her fair face in his mind, her eyes, her smile-, the feel of her embrace, he shuddered softly.
Time indeed seemed to pass all the more slowly, when Lalaith was not near him, Legolas acknowledged mutely to himself. He drew in a silent sigh, interrupted by a noisome harrumph at his elbow.
Turning his eyes upon Gimli, he noted the Dwarf’s smile from beneath his matted beard as he drew near.
“Lalaith’s alright, lad,” the Dwarf muttered gruffly, though Legolas could detect a hint of warmth beneath it. “She’s got Gandalf, and that young rascal Pippin. They’ll watch over `er. No need to worry.”
Legolas cast the Dwarf a small smirk, and clapped his hand upon Gimli’s stout shoulder.
“Indeed, Gimli,” he agreed softly. “Yet still, I cannot help but think of her. Would that I had a reason to-,”
In that moment, the great doors of the hall, flew open with a clatter, and Aragorn staggered in with the bright light that burst through, breathless.
“The beacons of Minas Tirith! The beacons are lit!” he cried as all eyes turned upon him, every glance grown fraught with anxious question as Aragorn’s scrambled nearer to Théoden, his face written with anxious pleading.
“Gondor calls for aid,” he gasped in a breathless voice.
Silence fell over the hall. A silence that grew more weighted with each passing second as all eyes turned upon the king of Rohan.
Legolas’ heart felt the weight of the silence, for he understood well, Theoden’s bitterness that the Rohirrim had been alone, bereft of allies when the orcs of Saruman had marched on them from Helm’s Deep. What would his answer be? Éowyn, the king’s niece, came brushing breathless, from another chamber to stand at her brother Éomer’s side, her eyes upon her uncle, the king. Doubtless, she would be concerned for Lalaith as well, Legolas recalled, for the two of them had become friends during Lalaith’s brief stay.
Long the moments seemed to pass, until at last Theoden drew in a deep breath.
“And Rohan will answer,” he returned, his voice deep with surety.
“Muster the Rohirrim,” the king called out, to which Éomer at his sister’s side, offered a short bob of his head, and turned away as many of the other men of the hall did, as well.
A deep breath seemed to burst from Legolas’ lungs at this. Now was his chance. Now he would go to her, at last, as his heart bid him to.
A terse chuckle from his elbow turned his eyes once again upon Gimli, and the Dwarf punched his arm companion.
“It won’t be long now `til you see her again,” Gimli offered. And as a distant echoing clang, began to echo outside, the signal summoning the warriors of Edoras, the Dwarf harrumphed importantly.
“Come on then, Legolas,” he muttered, starting toward Aragorn who had turned to them now, offering the Elf and Dwarf a terse grin. “Let’s go to the stable, and ready Arod.”
The wind was brisk and swift as Legolas cinched the saddle firmly, but not too tightly about Arod’s cream white midsection. The spirited horse of Rohan seemed to sense the excitement about him, and was stuttering his hooves, and snorting anxiously.
“No bronadui, mellon nin,” he murmured with a smile, moving to Arod’s head, and catching the horse’s chin gently within his hand. “Estent lû-,”
He smiled softly to himself as Arod snorted softly and the cream white horse pushed his nose into Legolas’ shoulder as if in acknowledgement of what the Elf had said as Gimli came tromping near, and with an important huff, set the head of his axe upon the ground, and leaned heavily over the haft of it.
“What Elven nonsense are you muttering to him now?” he muttered.
Legolas merely chuckled lightly, and turned back to the horse’s cream white face as he half listened to the soft clomp of another horse’s hooves, Windfola, as the lady, Éowyn drew him out of the stables.
“Will you ride with us?” Aragorn, asked where he stood a short distance away, readying Brego, his own quiet surprise lacing his voice.
“Just to the encampment,” Lady Éowyn returned, and Legolas quelled a soft grin at this. “It is tradition, for the women of the court to farewell the men.”
Legolas could hear the strain in her voice, perhaps inaudible to the ears of Men, that hinted at her desire to ride beyond the encampment at Dunharrow. Perhaps to battle? Surely the king would not allow it. Glancing over Arod’s neck, he could see Aragorn lifting a cloak bound to Windfola’s saddle, revealing a sheathed sword underneath to which Éowyn pulled the bound cloak back over the sword again, glancing at Aragorn with a slightly accusing stare. Legolas drew in a deep breath that swelled in his chest, and turned his eyes back upon Arod’s deep warm eyes, brushing the steed’s smooth, creamy neck.
“The men have found their captain,” the lady Éowyn said in a soft voice that doubtless no other could hear beside Aragorn, and himself. “They will follow you into battle, even to death. You have given us hope.”
Legolas swallowed softly. There was something in her tone, in the determination of her words that reminded him somehow of Lalaith. Would that the lady stayed in safety, but he knew in the end, none could stay her if she wished to fight with her kinsmen, as Lalaith did, and as the lady, Lothriel, of Lórien. He could only offer a silent prayer to the Valar that such a brave, noble lady might live to enjoy the fruits of the freedom that would be won by such bravery as that which she showed.
With a final deep breath, Legolas placed his foot in the stirrup and swung up into the saddle, noting the Hobbit, young Merry seated upon a small white pony, just his size, with a wildly pleased smile upon his face. And Legolas grinned for his happiness. But it was not Merry to whom the greater part of his gaze was drawn. For Éowyn’s eyes were deep and soulful, fixed steadily ahead of herself, though as Aragorn turned toward Legolas with a terse, shadowed expression, the Elf noted that she turned her eyes, glancing covertly at the ranger with a mute expression of quiet longing.
Legolas furrowed his brows, feeling a soft sense of pity for the lady. Aragorn’s heart was another’s, and the noble lady’s heart was bound to be wounded. The Valar would not leave her comfortless, surely. Doubtless there was another somewhere upon this Middle Earth, who could win that lady’s heart, and return her love.
“Oi, Legolas!” Gimli grumped from the ground, and he turned his head once again upon his friend, who stood below him, frowning beneath his beard, clearly incensed at being momentarily forgotten.
“Forgive me, Gimli,” Legolas returned, and reached down a hand, clasping Gimli’s sturdy forearm as he wrenched the Dwarf up behind him, upon Arod’s back.
“Horsemen, hrrmm,” Gimli grumped from behind him, shifting his weight noisily as mounted soldiers of Rohan clattered down the dirt path beside them. “I wish I could muster a legion of Dwarves, fully armed, and filthy.”
Legolas drew in breath at this, as a sober thought entered his heart. “Your kinsmen may have no need to ride to war,” he returned somberly. “I fear war already marches on their own lands.”
Soldiers continued to file past, and Aragorn swung up into his saddle, as the lady Éowyn deftly mounted her own, gracefully, yet with the sturdy strength of one who knew her own powers, and was confident in them.
“Now is the hour!” The voice of Éomer rang out over the hilltop as riders gathered about him, and, Legolas noted, as the wives and children of the riders looked on, somber and quiet, unsure if those whom they loved would ever return. “Riders of Rohan, oaths you have taken. Now, fulfill them all! To lord and land!”
With that, the heir of Rohan’s throne turned his mount’s head down the hill, and toward the gate.
Legolas nudged Arod into motion, and the eager white horse leapt easily into a swift trot, scampering to Aragorn’s side as the head of the column clattered down toward the gate.
To Lalaith, to Gondor, he thought to himself, and a terse smile touched his lips even as a shadow of somber duty fell over his heart as the shadow of the gate passed over their heads, and they were off, galloping off over the grassy plain, eastward, toward the dark haze of angry black clouds that lay ever upon the far horizon.
No bronadui, mellon nin- Be patient, my friend.
Estent lû- A short time (at least, I think so.)
Hey, everyone! Sorry for such a long delay! But I’m back again. And there shouldn’t be any more big gaps as there were before.