Legolas settles next to me and leans his head against my leg. I stroke his hair. His eyes drift closed and he drifts away somewhere in his mind. The slightest sound or change in the light will rouse him. Even a strange scent in the air will wake him, or a tremor in the ground.
He rarely sleeps. When Gandalf was with us, it was easier on him. He still carries that grief. When Sam and Frodo parted ways with us, he was saddened but willing to let it be. Sending Boromir over the falls saddened him, but death is as natural as life to him. Merry and Pippen weigh heavily on him though.
Legolas, who knows Gandalf's fate, but won't speak of it.
My constant companion, as faithful as Samwise is to Frodo.
He is ever-watchful. His attention has saved us often enough, that I am selfishly glad it wasn't him I had to comfort as he died. My grief for Boromir is too painful to probe right now. No, my mind must be focussed upon saving the Hobbits and then the White City as I promised. Then, I can grieve for all those who are lost due to one pernicious band of gold. Even my ancestor whose life and death has tainted my blood and placed fear in my heart.
Gimli lies under a small shelter, snoring lightly. For all his gruff bluster and smug dwarfishness, he trusts us to protect him in his sleep. All of us should be resting now, but my heart beats like a frenzied battle-drum, and my mind circles like a hawk over its prey. I cannot find sleep today.
Legolas' eyes are closed and his breathing even. Perhaps, he has finally drifted off. He's given up trying to ease my worries with words or song, but he won't leave me alone with my thoughts. He looks so peaceful, so fragile, that my eyes burn for the life I drew him from. He was safe enough before this madness.
He may or may not believe in the destruction of the ring. He may or may not believe in Frodo's ability to destroy it. He may or may not believe that man will grow to take the place of the elves in guiding the world as Gandalf believes. Yet, there is no question that he believes in my leadership. He would follow me into Hell.
And that is where I'm leading him.
I clutch the pendant beneath my tunic. Its presence reminds me of Arwen. I miss her smile and her taunts, her raven hair. I miss the lightness of spirit she brings to me.
Thinking of her calms my heart a bit.
My cares cannot be so easily thrown aside. Arwen may have bound her life to mine with words and magic, but it is her heart-brother who followed me into battle. He's bound himself to me with blood and deed. And I draw strength from his calm belief in me.
Who am I to deserve it?
Why does he follow me?
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