STRUGGLE TO LIVE
Summary for last chapter: The fellowship regrouped and decided to go on a search for the Stone of Palayne
Chapter 10: The Night before the Journey
Aragorn knocked on the door softly, and he heard a sound of objects falling on the ground. “Who is it?” The voice from the room was a little tremble but the speaker was trying to stay calm. Aragorn answered, “It’s me. Aragorn.” He leaned on the door to listen closely, wondering what the elf was doing inside.
“Are you alone?”
The human frowned at the question, “Yes. . . why?”
“Do you see anyone outside?”
Aragorn looked around, and answered, “No.”
“Are you sure?”
The human’s patience began to wear off, “I am sure. Just open the door, Legolas.”
“Come in. The door is unlocked.” He opened the door eagerly and scanned the room. The packs Legolas had prepared for the journey were lying on the bed. His eyes then fell on his friend and chuckled at the sight of the elf trying to put all the extra packs in his closet. Legolas looked awful. His usual nicely braided hair was all messed up, and his clothing wasn’t dressed neatly. “Don’t just stand there! Come and help me.”
“Why are you putting all the packs inside?” The human asked curiously, while applying his strength trying to help his friend to close the closet door. Legolas ignored the question as they finally closed the door and he took the chance to lock it. They both released a sigh.
There was an uncomfortable silence in the room, until Aragorn finally commented, “You know, you look quite awful. What happened?”
“What do you think!?” Legolas raised his voice as he walked off, then threw himself onto the bed. Aragorn sat on the chair while his friend started to grumbled, “I was dragged by Arail in the midnight to listen to his lecture on `how to protect myself on the journey.’ Then, he insisted that I need to carry all those things on the road. I swear all the food he gave me is enough to eat hundred of years! There are more clothes than all the people in Gondor need. Not only that, he packed me thousands of arrows, twenty bows and quivers, and ten swords `just in case’. I will die of exhaustion before I have my foot out of Mirkwood if I really have to carry all of them.”
The ranger smiled, “He just worries about you.” “But he doesn’t need to treat me as a child; I am almost one millennia years old and I am fully capable of taking care of myself,” Legolas looked away.
“Did you do the same thing when you left for Rivendell answering the summons of Elrond in regard for the one ring?”
“No, because the summons came in a sudden that he didn’t have the chance to do it,” Legolas laughed slightly.
Aragorn noticed his friend hold his ribs while he thought the human wasn’t watching. “Let me take a look at your wound.”
“There is no need to worry, it heals nicely,” Legolas protested.
The human knew he would not corporate. “I want to make sure you are fine before we take off tomorrow. Let me see now or I will tell Arail of what you did,” he threatened, and knew it worked when he saw the colors were drained from the elf’s face. Legolas cursed under his breath and surrendered as he took off his shirt. Aragorn examined the injury. It was healing, although the progress was too slow for an elf. He couldn’t help but noticed the black markings that covered Legolas’ upper left side of his body.
Legolas noticed the stare and uncomfortably called, “Aragorn?”
Aragorn’ attention snapped and apologized, as he handed the shirt to his friend. The silence once again claimed the room’s atmosphere.
“This journey is dangerous. I wish to go alone,” Legolas said quietly, staring out to the window.
Aragorn shifted himself so he faced his friend directly, “We are your friends, and we are trying to help you.”
“What will you do if I become a Dark Lord, Aragorn?”
“No, of course you won’t.” Aragorn tried to reassure his friend.
“It is possible. Once these markings run through my whole body, I will only have two choices to make. I will either die of the curse, or the curse will make me . . .” Legolas stopped a while, and took a deep breath, “Sometimes, I feel there is darkness inside me. Some unknown dark power that I know I possess; it seems like it will devour me if I let it. It scares me. It becomes stronger and stronger even Gandalf’s magic tried to fight against the process. I am afraid I will lose. I am afraid I will become the darkness and hurt the people I love.”
“But. . .” Suddenly, a knock on the door interrupted the conversation and someone came in. It was Thranduil. He looked at Aragorn, who understood the hint that the king wanted to speak to Legolas alone. The ranger smiled at his friend and left the room.
Legolas bit his lips nervously; he wasn’t sure what to do. His father hadn’t spoken to him since he learned about his bloodline. He had wondered painfully about his father’s feeling on the matter, but now he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know. He watched as his father took a seat on the bed next to him.
“I am sorry, Legolas,” Thranduil spoke first.
The prince was about to response to the statement, but he stayed quiet as his father continued, “I have never been a good father to you, have I? How much I wish to turn back in time, to bring back your childhood I missed greatly. Wouldn’t that be good if I could spend more time with you when you needed my affection the most?” The King closed his eyes and started to remember. . .
Legolas walked into the room quietly, like he usually did everyday. Thranduil was sitting on his desk, working on the tons of paperwork and talking with his advisors. That was what the King did most of the time. Either he was in council, dealing with the affairs in Mirkwood, or he was admiring his treasures and precious gems.
The little elf took the usual spot he had in the corner of the room. He sat, sometimes popped a candy into his mouth, and watched his father doing his works, but Thranduil had never acknowledged his presence. Legolas sometimes wondered if his father loved him, or if he would ever spent some times off with him. He told himself that, maybe if he waited patiently, his father would have free time and agree to play with him. But it was hard to wait; the sun had gone down hours already, the candies he brought were all eaten, and he started to feel tired. He rubbed his eyes and yearned a little before he could stop himself.
“Go to bed, Legolas,” Thranduil said, still hadn’t cast a glance to his son as he continued his work.
Legolas answered quickly, “I am not sleepy.” He waited and waited and fought against the heavy eyelids from closing. He wasn’t sure when he fell asleep, but he woke up when his father shook him.
“Come, you need to brush your teeth and change your clothes before going to sleep,” Thranduil said, and watched his son to open his gooey eyes. The little elf stood up, and started to walk shakily. He looked as though he was going to fall down on the ground and sleep any time.
The King sighed. He picked up Legolas, who immediately rested his head on his father’s broad shoulder. “Don’t fall asleep yet, Little Greenleaf,” Thranduil called out, but he didn’t receive an answer. He shook his head; he didn’t want to wake up his son again, so he decided to put the child to bed.
Thranduil covered his son’s tiny body with blanket. He couldn’t stop thinking how much Legolas resembled his mother’s features. It pained him to look at Legolas. It reminded him too much that he didn’t want to remember, and also, it angered him to a great extend knowing this child was the cause of his pain. He understood it wasn’t Legolas’ fault, and Legolas had suffered too much already; but somehow . . . he just couldn’t control himself. He sighed deeply, and closed the door behind, wishing things had not been what they were.
(End of Flashback)
“There are many things I want to change in the past, in my immortal life. However, I want you to know that I am not angry at what you are, that you are my dearest son and I will never abandon you.” Thranduil slowly embraced his son.
Legolas was lost in words as tears started to blur his visions. He could do nothing but held onto his father.
“I want you to fight bravely against the darkness,” Thranduil encouraged, as he pulled away from Legolas. “Once this is all over, I want to spend some more time with you. Maybe we can go on to a hunting trip together, what do you think?”
The young elf smiled brightly, “Yes! I love to, ada.”
Aragorn wondered off in the palace. He knew the father and son needed some time to sort things out. The sky was clear tonight; tomorrow would be a good day to start off their journey. This journey would be a perilous one. What worried him the most was what Legolas told him. He continued his thought, and came to the balcony. He was not alone; the second prince of Mirkwood was sitting there, staring blankly to the horizon. He didn’t seem to notice Aragorn’s presence, which bothered the human a little, because elves weren’t usually this careless.
“You are not going to see Legolas before he leaves?”
Rean was shock at the voice, but he recovered quickly and turned to the ranger. “Why should I do that? It has been confirmed that Legolas was the one who killed my mother. I do not wish to speak to the murderer,” Rean’s voice was cold.
Aragorn knew the relationship between Legolas and his brother was ill, but he couldn’t understand why Rean had to hate Legolas deeply. “Why are you trying to lay the blame on the one who was innocent? What can be gained from this hatred?”
Fire flared in the prince’s eyes as he stood up, stepping closer to Aragorn, “He is not innocence and I only want justice! He has to pay for what he did.”
The human asked, “What justice? What do you want to seek from the one who didn’t mean for anything bad to happen? Answer me, Rean. Do you think Legolas will give up his life to exchange for your mother’s life if he has a choice? Do you think he will give up his life to exchange your happiness if he can?”
“What does a human like you know? He murdered my mother and . . .”
“Answer my question!” Aragorn’s voice was strong and demanding, which didn’t leave any space for Rean to escape.
“I. . .” The prince paused, and lowered his glance. His whisper was barely heard, but he truly believed on what he said. “yes. I think he will.”
“Then why are you holding this hatred? I think you are just trying to make yourself feel better because you couldn’t do anything to safe her. You want to blame someone so you can lessen your guilt,” Aragorn saw through the inner soul of Rean that the elf himself wasn’t aware of. He felt his mouth went dry. He didn’t know how to respond to those words.
Seeing this reaction, the ranger prepared to leave some time for Rean to clear his head. He turned back a little to say his last words, hoping the prince could at least register some of its meaning, “Hold onto what you have now. You may regret it after they are gone.”
He felt weak. It was the same weakness he felt when he watched his mother died and he couldn’t help her. Somehow, the words Aragorn spoke echoed with Lady Galadriel’s.
The next morning, the King and two princes of Mirkwood and the Lord of Rivendell gave their farewells to the fellowship.
“Where is Legolas?” Arail frowned as he looked around the group.
“Ah. . . He. . . he went first with Gimli, because he wants to make sure the road is safe ahead,” Aragorn answered. He couldn’t tell the crown prince that Legolas wanted to avoid him because he hid all the packs in his room that he was `supposed’ bring with him on the journey.
Arail was shock, “What!? You let him to go ALONE with that DWARF?”
Frodo defended his friend, “Yes. What’s wrong with that? Gimli is one of the fellowship members and he is a good friend of Legolas.”
“But he is a dwarf! Are you sure he can protect my little brother if he is in danger?” the prince narrowed his eyes.
“Do not worry. Legolas doesn’t need protection and Gimli’s skill is great; besides, you don’t want Legolas to know you speak ill of his friend,” Tekrir smiled at his brother.
Arail gritted his teeth, “But I still can’t believe he didn’t even say goodbye to me before he left. I want to make sure he brings everything he needs.” The hobbits tried to hide their sniggers. Everyone knew why Legolas was trying to hide from his oldest brother.
Aragorn smiled, “We will make sure he is fine.” Before Arail could complain more, his younger brother led him away, which was something the ranger was very grateful for.
“So you are going to the golden wood?” Thranduil asked the fellowship.
Gandalf nodded, “Yes. Since we have no clue on where to start looking, it will be the best to seek the council from Lady Galadriel. She might know something that can help us.”
Elrond said, his eyes were twinkled with amusement, “Come to Rivendell if you need any help. But please, try to walk into the house without me having to carry any of you in.”
“Let us go to Lothlorien.”
End of Chapter 10
Next Chapter: The broken pieces of the Stone?
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