Legolas walked through the twilight heading for the forest a few yards away. Everything was quiet and peaceful as he walked under the boughs of the trees. The trees were birches and their white bark gleamed in the moonlight. Legolas walked over to the trees and placed his hands on their smooth bark. He could feel the life pulsing under his hands and smiled. He desired to stay here but something kept nagging at him. Was he supposed to meet someone? He just couldn't remember. As he stood there amongst the trees he heard something behind him.
Legolas didn't see anyone but he began to walk along a path that was visible amongst the trees. He went a short distance when he saw a familiar face. Legolas ran down the path and embraced his friend.
"Himdel," Legolas said as he stepped back.
"It's good to see you my prince."
"I am here."
Legolas turned to see Lindon walk out of the forest. The twins stood side by side as they regarded Legolas.
"You must go back," Lindon said.
"Back?" Legolas asked confused.
"You don't belong here," Himdel added.
Legolas didn't know what they were talking about. As he watched the moon went behind a cloud and the twins began to fade. Legolas just stared in confusion until he remembered the attack by the Orcs. The moon came out again and the brothers became more solid.
"You must go back," Himdel insisted.
"No!" Legolas cried. "I want to go with you."
"Seek the sword that is broken," Lindon said. "Its owner will guide you."
"I need no guide," Legolas argued. "My place is with you."
"Your fate is still with Middle Earth," Himdel said.
"You are still needed," Lindon added.
"You must go back," they said together as they began to fade.
"No!" Legolas screamed.
Aragorn moved quickly to Legolas's side. The elf was screaming not to be left behind. Aragorn held him against the bed as he continued to struggle. After a brief struggle Legolas was still. His body was still weak and tired easily. It had been three days seen they brought the injured elf to Rivendell. The many wounds were healing but Elrond hadn't been able to call Legolas back. Aragorn ran a damp cloth over the elf's fevered brow. He wasn't sure why he was drawn to this particular elf but some how he knew their fates were bound together. Aragorn was just finishing arranging Legolas in a more comfortable position when Arwen walked in.
"Why do you not talk to him?" she asked as she sat on the bed opposite from him.
"If Elrond can't draw him back how can I?"
"When the King returns he shall come as a healer," Arwen reminded him.
"I will not be king," Aragorn said angrily.
"Why do you shy from your past?" Arwen asked calmly.
"I do not wish to be like them," Aragorn answered.
"In what way?"
"Weak!" Aragorn said angrily and stood to pace the room.
"I see no weakness," Arwen said gently. "Just a caring soul who drives himself beyond what he should."
Aragorn stood by the window looking out towards the falls. The sun was setting and its final rays were turning the falls into a river of fire. Many birds lived in Rivendell and their songs could be heard echoing from the cliffs surrounding the city. Aragorn heard Arwen walk up to him and he turned.
"Your time will come," she predicted as she placed her hand on his heart. "Do not run from what will be."
"An what do you see?" Aragorn asked as he drew Arwen into his arms.
"I see a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders," Arwen said sadly. "Legolas will help you bare them."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know," she admitted as she pulled away from him. "I see the two of you together on many journeys. Legolas's free spirit and sense of adventure will ease your burdens."
"But why him?" Aragorn asked as he glanced back to the bed.
"I do not know," Arwen said. "But if you don't call him you never will."
Aragorn returned to the bed and sat next to Legolas. Legolas was tossing and turning in his sleep. His long blond hair was tangled and matted on the pillow. Aragorn brushed the damp hair from Legolas's face as he placed his hands on either side of his head.
"Legolas, tol dan," Aragorn called.
Legolas fought against Aragorn's grip but the Ranger held firm. He continued to call as Legolas struggled to be released.
Legolas searched the forest for the twins. The moon was no longer visible and he stumbled in the darkness. Legolas didn't know what to do. He wished to go with Himdel and Lindon but something was holding him back. Legolas continued to stumble along when he came to a clearing. A light was shinning in the trees on the other side and Legolas heard someone calling his name. The urge to answer the call was strong but Legolas refused.
"I do no wish it!" he yelled and turned from the light.
Aragorn continued to call as Arwen watched. She could sense something was happening but was surprised when Aragorn was thrown back. Arwen looked at Legolas in surprise as she reached for Aragorn's hand.
"I don't know," Aragorn admitted. "For a minute I thought he was there then the next he was gone."
"He is being stubborn," Elrond announced from the doorway. "The dream world he is wandering is quite peaceful. Except I do not think he will find peace for much longer."
"What if I try, father?" Arwen asked.
"It's better if Aragorn continued to call," Elrond replied as he walked in with Gandalf. "Legolas might be suspicious of you."
"But why?" she asked confused.
"The Sylvan elves are very independent and proud," Elrond explained. "They don't take kindly to following orders given by the Noldor."
"I don't think I have the power to call him either," Aragorn confessed.
"Legolas was always willful," Gandalf said as he moved towards the bed. "Now that you have his attention he will listen to me."
Arwen relinquished her spot on the bed and Gandalf sat down. He placed his hand on Legolas's chest and closed his eyes.
Legolas wandered amongst the trees aimlessly. His heart was torn in two. He wished to go to the Halls of Mandos to be with the twins. But on the other hand he longed to return to Middle Earth. The words of Lindon were compelling him to seek the sword that was broken. He continued to wander as he thought.
"Don't you think it's about time you returned?"
Legolas whirled around to see someone he never expected. "Mithrandir!"
"Yes," Gandalf said. "I've come to bring you home."
"Himdel and Lindon?"
"Are beyond my call," Gandalf said sadly. "You know in your heart it is not your time."
"Yes," Legolas nodded. "The twins told me as much."
"The twins came to you," Gandalf said in surprise.
"They said to search for the sword that is broken and that it's owner shall be my guide."
"In deed," Gandalf said stroking his beard thoughtfully.
"But what does it mean, Mithrandir?" Legolas asked confused. "I know Narsil rests at Imladris but the sword has no owner."
"If you return I think all your questions will be answered."
Legolas glanced around the woods. The moon was shinning through the clouds and a soft breeze was rustling the leaves of the birch trees. Gandalf knew birches were rare in Mirkwood and he could understand Legolas's reluctance to leave.
"There is a grove not to far from Rivendell," Gandalf said.
"Is my heart so easy to read," Legolas smiled.
"You were always draw to the white trees," Gandalf reminded him. "Even in your youth."
"The trees were once beautiful in Mirkwood," Legolas sighed.
"I remember them," Gandalf said. "Come."
"He's coming," Gandalf said as he took his hand from Legolas.
Elrond came to stand behind Gandalf. Aragorn stood up and moved away. Legolas didn't know him and there was no need to frighten him. Arwen stood off to the side with Aragorn. They waited a few minutes before they saw Legolas begin to stir then open his one eye. The other was still swollen shut. Legolas groaned when his body finally registered his many pains.
"You did not say it would hurt so," Legolas accused.
"And if I did would you have come?"
Gandalf laughed when Legolas cursed him in Silvan. Elrond reached over and placed his hand on Legolas's forehead. He began to sing and Legolas relaxed as the pain was dulled.
"You've been wandering far Prince of Mirkwood," Elrond said. "You still have much healing to do."
"I was sent on an urgent mission," Legolas said as he tried to sit up.
"It can wait," Gandalf said as he pushed him back.
"I do not believe it can," Legolas said weakly. "Forces stir in Dol-Guldor."
"We know of the Ringwraiths return," Gandalf reminded him.
"It was no Nazgul," Legolas said. "I spied something astir on the ramparts of Dol-Guldor while guarding our Southern border."
"Dol-Guldor is over three hundred leagues from the border of Mirkwood," Aragorn blurted out.
"Keen are the eyes of Legolas Thranduil's son," Elrond said. "Evil tiding you bring."
"My father thought you should be told," Legolas said. "The elves of The Greenwood can't fight them alone."
"Nor should you," Gandalf said. "We'll discuss this again when you are well."
"But my people need the help now!" Legolas said angrily.
"There is time Legolas," Gandalf said as he pushed him back against the pillows.
"Sleep," Elrond commanded.
Legolas tried to fight the command but he was too weak. When Elrond was satisfied he was deeply asleep he stepped back. Gandalf stood and they walked to the door followed by Arwen and Aragorn.
"So Dol-Guldor is astir," Elrond said.
"It has been for sometime," Gandalf reminded him. "The Elves of Mirkwood have been fighting it's evil for a number of years now."
"What do you suspect, Gandalf?" Aragorn asked.
"I think you know," Gandalf said.
"Did I not warn this would happen," Elrond said. "Sauron has returned."
Aragorn did not flinch from Elrond's look. He knew what he was thinking. It was Isildur who refused to destroy the One Ring and now Middle Earth would suffer because of it. Aragorn knew his fate was bound to the One Ring but the where abouts of the ring were a mystery. When Isildur was attacked the ring of power had disappeared. But Aragorn knew one day it would be found then he would have to face his greatest challenge.
The return of Legolas from the Twilight world brought new challenges to his keeper. His wounds were healing but not at a fast enough pace for the restless elf. Twice they had found him stumbling in the garden below his balcony. Aragorn returned Legolas to his room both times then stayed to make sure he didn't stray again. Gandalf said Legolas would only get worse as he healed. Aragorn seemed to be drawn to the elf and took it upon himself to watch him. Aragorn didn't mind sitting in the room. It was an open room looking on the extensive gardens around the house. The bed was beautiful wrought from pale woods. The headboard had a carving of an elf maiden holding out her hands. As he admired the life like carving he saw Legolas begin to stir. Legolas opened his eyes and looked around the room.
Aragorn grabbed the pitcher on the table and poured a glass of water. He waited while Legolas propped himself against the headboard. When he was settled Aragorn handed him the glass. Legolas drank the water watching the man as he did. He was surprised to see one present in the house of Elrond.
"Who are you?" Legolas asked.
"Thorongil," Aragorn said using one of his aliases. "A ranger from the north and a friend of Gandalf's."
"You were with Gandalf when he found me?"
Legolas didn't say anything else as he threw back the covers and started to get up. Aragorn didn't stop Legolas as he pulled on a pair of gray leggings and a silk tunic. There were no shoes but that didn't stop Legolas from leaving the room. Aragorn sighed and followed him. Legolas stalked through the house looking for something.
"Maybe if you asked," Aragorn suggested.
Legolas whirled on Aragorn. The attempt to glare would have worked if Legolas hadn't stumbled. Aragorn reached out to steady him. Legolas would have pulled away but he knew if he did he would fall.
"Are all Elves of Mirkwood so stubborn?"
Both males turned to see Arwen walking towards them. Aragorn smiled at her but noticed that Legolas bowed his head in respect.
"Lady Arwen, we were just going for a walk," Aragorn said.
"No we weren't," Legolas argued as he pulled away. "You were following me."
"Thorongil has appointed himself your guardian," Arwen said. She knew Aragorn wished to keep his identity secret.
"I have no need of one," Legolas said haughtily.
"I think Legolas is looking for something," Aragorn said. "But he's too stubborn to ask."
"Shoes perhaps," Arwen teased.
Legolas glared at both of them then walked away. Aragorn shrugged and they followed. Legolas's wanderings brought them to a covered walk. Along the walls were murals of the Last Alliance. Legolas walked along looking at all of them. As he came to the last mural Aragorn became uneasy. The mural showed Isildur cutting the Ring from Sauron's hand. Legolas starred at the broken sword in Isildur's hand. As he looked he recalled the words of Lindon 'seek the sword that is broken. Its owner will be your guide.' Legolas stepped back from the picture and bumped into a statue. He turned to find and elf maid standing in front of a dais. On the dais were the remnants of a shattered sword. Legolas reached out and touched the hilt of the sword. Arwen could see Aragorn wasn't comfortable with the attention Legolas was showing the sword. She left Aragorn and walked over to Legolas.
"What is it?"
"Nothing," Legolas said and stepped hastily back.
"What are you seeking, Legolas?"
"A bow," he lied.
She knew it for a lie but said nothing as she led him away from the sword. Aragorn glanced at the sword as he followed his companions. Little did they know their elders had observed their actions.
"What does he seek, Mithrandir?" Elrond ask.
"While wandering the twins told Legolas to seek the sword that is broken," Gandalf answered. "That the owner will be his guide."
"So their destinies are entwined," Elrond said.
"It would appear so," Gandalf nodded. "It will do both of them good. Aragorn has become too insular he hardly ever leaves Rivendell and if he does he only travels to the north. Legolas wishes to see more of Middle Earth."
"I see many misadventures," Elrond smiled. "Will Thranduil let his son go."
"I have already sent a message," Gandalf said. "He'll agree to my terms."
"I'm sure he will," Elrond laughed.
Arwen walked across a courtyard that led to the armory. Aragorn had been here many times but each time he was taken by a sense of awe. Here was housed the armor of the elves. Legolas was just as impressed as he walked slowly amongst the Mithril armor. Arwen smiled at the pleasure Legolas received from the visit. They wandered amongst the armor and swords for a time until Legolas saw the bows. They were beautifully worked in various colors of wood. Legolas passed the truly intricate ones until he found a very plan one amongst the splendor. It was made of a dark wood inlaid with silver vines running along the length of the bow. He picked up the bow and ran his hand along the wood checking for imperfections. When none were found he gripped the bow tight and went next to the quivers and arrows. Aragorn watched as he checked the fletching on the arrows before choosing a quiver full of arrows with pale yellow fletchings.
"I would test this bow," Legolas announced.
"Youre sure your shoulder is up to it?" Aragorn asked.
"It is fine," Legolas declared.
Aragorn just rolled his eyes as he followed them out of the armory. Arwen took them out to the practice range behind the armory. It was empty this early in the day and Aragorn led Arwen over to a bench while Legolas stood in front of the targets.
"His shoulder isn't healed enough to pull the bow," Aragorn said.
"I fear you may be right," Arwen nodded. "But something is troubling him. He uses this as an excuse to hide from it."
They watched as Legolas swung the quiver to his back and buckled it in place. Then he stepped on one end of the bow and pulled the other end down so he could string the bow. Once that was accomplished Legolas used his right arm to reach for an arrow. The healing wound in his shoulder and side protested the move but he ignored them. He notched the arrow and pulled back taking careful aim. Aragorn could see his hand shaking but said nothing. Legolas released the arrow. It hit the target just to the left of center. Aragorn was impressed but Legolas was not. He tried again and missed. Legolas screamed in frustration as he quickly pulled and shot arrow after arrow. Aragorn went to stop him but Arwen held him back. When the arrows were all spent Legolas stood there panting and staring at the targets. Most of the arrows had gone wild but a few were lodged in the target dead center. Aragorn watched as Legolas just stood there. Suddenly the elf's posture changed and Aragorn rushed to his side in time to keep him from hitting the ground.
"That was productive," Aragorn said.
"For him it was," Arwen said as she unbuckled the quiver.
"If you say so," Aragorn said as he lifted the unconscious elf. "If nothing else I will develop muscles from carrying him back to his room. He's heavier than he looks."
Arwen laughed and watched him leave. When he was gone from sight she turned to the target and removed the arrows. She careful placed them in the quiver. Arwen picked up the bow and followed Aragorn into the house.
Over the next couple of days Legolas's strength improved and they could no longer confine him to his bed. Aragorn was his constant companion but knew when Legolas needed to be alone. This morning found them in the archery range competing against each other. Legolas's wounds were still healing giving Aragorn a chance to possibly beat the elf. It was Aragorn's time at the target and he took careful aim. Just as he released the arrow a stick hit the side of his face and he flinched causing the arrow to miss the target. Aragorn lowered the bow and glared at his smiling companion.
"Two can play at this game, elf," Aragorn declared as he moved aside.
Legolas took Aragorn's place and drew an arrow. He notched it and drew back on the bow. His concentration was shattered as he felt something hit his injured side. Legolas flinched and released the arrow. Aragorn watched as the arrow hit the target but far from center.
"I still win," Legolas declared.
"How do you figure that," Aragorn demanded.
"My arrow is the only one on the target."
"Not for long."
Aragorn dashed for the target to snatch the arrow from the board. As he reached for the arrow he jumped back in alarm as another thudded into the target close to his hand.
"Are you crazy!"
Aragorn wasn't expecting that answer and hastily moved back as two arrows sped towards the target. They both hit dead center. Aragorn was impressed at Legolas's skill. Most elves were good archers but Legolas was exceptional.
"I yield," Aragorn declared.
"As you should," Legolas agreed.
"With an attitude like that you won't make many friends."
"I have no need of any," Legolas said angrily and left the range.
Aragorn just shook his head as he watched Legolas leave. Whenever they seemed to becoming friends Legolas would pull away. Gandalf had also noticed Legolas never mingled with the other elves of Rivendell. The death of the twins still laid heavily on Legolas and he would let no one get close. Aragorn retrieved the weapons and returned them to the armory. He decided to go look for Gandalf. As he passed the courtyard where Narsil was on display he noticed Legolas standing by the statue. Aragorn hid behind one of the pillars and watched. Legolas grasped the hilt and picked it up. There was only a short fragment of the sword attached to the hilt and Legolas just stared at it. After a few minutes he put the hilt down and walked away. Aragorn stayed hidden until he was sure Legolas was gone.
"Spying, Aragorn, that's not like you."
Aragorn was taken by surprise and whirled at the voice with his hand on the hilt of his sword. "Gandalf! I could have killed you."
"Highly unlikely," the wizard said with a smile.
"What does he want with Narsil?" Aragorn asked. "Surely you know."
"He has said nothing to you?"
"No," Aragorn replied confused.
"Stubborn elf," Gandalf declared. "He was told to seek the owner of the sword."
"It is part of your destiny."
"A destiny I do not want," Aragorn said angrily.
"But one you can not avoid," Gandalf said. "It will be good to have allies you can trust. Legolas will make a loyal companion."
"Can he not accept me for what I am?" Aragorn asked. "Why must my heritage be the catalyst of that loyalty."
"You sell Legolas short," Gandalf chided. "He would be your friend regardless."
"You could have fooled me," Aragorn laughed. "He shuns my advances of friendship."
"You forget he just lost two of his oldest companions," Gandalf reminded him. "It will take him time to want someone close to him again. Have patience."
"Something elves have in abundance but humans seem to lack," Aragorn smiled. "I will give him time."
"I suggest you tell him who you really are," Gandalf said. "I have a feeling you might be surprised by his reaction."
Aragorn nodded and went looking for Legolas. As he searched he found Arwen in one of the gardens. She was sitting next the pond feeding the swans.
"Arwen," he said in greeting.
"Aragorn," she smiled. "What brings you here?"
"I'm looking for Legolas. Have you seen him?"
"Have you looked up?" she asked cryptically.
Aragorn gave her an odd look and she smiled as she pointed to the roof. Aragorn looked and saw Legolas walking along the beam of the peaked roof.
"Legolas!" Aragorn yelled.
Legolas whirled at his name and miss stepped. Aragorn watched in horror as Legolas fell and slid down the roof and over the side. The next thing he knew there was a crash and squawking from the swans as somebody landed in the pond. Aragorn and Arwen quickly grabbed Legolas and pulled him from the pond.
"Do you make a habit of falling from the roof and landing in the pond?" Arwen asked smiling.
"No!" Legolas declared and shook off their hands.
"What were you doing up there!" Aragorn demanded.
"He won't tell you," Arwen smiled. "He didn't last time."
"Last time?" Aragorn asked confused.
"Yes," Arwen smiled. "When Legolas was just a boy he fell from the same roof and landed in the pond."
"I was thinking!" Legolas said quickly to get them off that subject.
"On the roof?"
"Often I would climb the trees in the Greenwood to think," Legolas said as he wrung the water out of his long hair.
"You couldn't just climb one of the trees here?" Arwen asked.
"They are not as tall as the ones by my city," Legolas said longingly.
"You miss it?"
"Yes," Legolas laughed. "I wished to see more of Middle Earth yet I pine for home."
"It is good to have somewhere to call home," Aragorn said enviously.
"Where do you call home Thorongil?" Legolas asked.
"I have no home," Aragorn said bitterly. "I am an exile."
"Exiled, from where?"
"My home used to be in the north," Aragorn explained. "I am a descendent of the Dunedain. I am Aragorn son of Arathorn."
"You!" Legolas laughed. "Isildur's heir."
"It is true Legolas," Arwen said. "He wears the Ring of Barahir."
"Anyone can wear a ring," Legolas said. "That doesn't make him Isildur's heir."
"Come with me to the north," Aragorn declared. "I will prove it to you."
"If you insist," Legolas smiled. "I wish to see more than just Rivendell."
"We leave tomorrow."
Legolas bowed and left them. Aragorn was angry. He hadn't expected that reaction. Aragorn heard someone chuckling from the house. He wasn't surprised to see Gandalf walking out with Elrond.
"You knew he wouldn't believe me!"
"As Legolas said anyone can wear a ring," Gandalf smiled.
"But not everyone can be king," Elrond added. "You have much to learn Isildur's heir."
"That is unfair father," Arwen said. "Aragorn knows what it means to be Isildur's heir."
"Elrond is right," Aragorn conceded. "There is a lot I don't know. If I can not convince one elf of who I am what makes me think I can convince a whole country."
"I don't think it will be that hard to convince Legolas of your claim," Gandalf said. "You will have many adventures together and he will be a true friend."
"It will be good to go north again," Aragorn said.
"I ask only one thing," Gandalf said. "Thranduil has agreed to his sons absence as long as he has a proper body guard and I come to see the stirrings in Dol-Guldor."
"I will do my best," Aragorn promised.
"Legolas is young," Elrond said. "Try to curb his recklessness."
"Young, father, he is older than I am," Arwen laughed.
"Young I say," Elrond insisted. "As are you."
"Compared to your advanced age I concede," Arwen smiled.
"I remember a time when children respected their elders," Elrond lamented.
"I fear that age is long past," Gandalf added.
"I will watch him," Aragorn smiled. "We will leave at first light."
The three immortals watched Isildur's heir leave the garden. Arwen glanced at her father and Gandalf. They both seemed to be pleased about this turn of events. She just wished she felt as confident.
Legolas waited impatiently for Thorongil. They were supposed to be leaving this morning but he had yet to emerge from the house. Legolas knew there was affection between Arwen and Thorongil but he didn't think Lord Elrond approved. He had to agree since the ranger could offer the Elven princess nothing and besides he was just a man. Legolas talked with Gandalf the night before to find out what would be done for his people. He was glad the wizard would be going to the Greenwood to have a look for himself. The fact that his father had agreed to his absence was a surprise and Legolas wandered what Gandalf had offered his father. He was just about to go into the house to retrieve Thorongil when he saw the Edain walking towards him. Thorongil looked different dressed in the dark clothing and leather tunic. Strapped to his hip was a great sword something that had been absent while staying at Rivendell. Around his shoulders was also a black cap with a hood. On his back was a quiver of arrows and a bow. As Thorongil approached he looked at Legolas and scowled.
"Is that all you have?"
Legolas was wearing his usual gray leggings and soft leather boots. Over his silk shirt he wore a leather tunic and a gray cape. On his wrist were bracers and strapped to his back was his quiver and knives. He carried the black bow in his hands.
"It is all I need," Legolas said.
Aragorn shook his head and handed Legolas a leather bag. In the bags were lembas and other staples they would need. They walked to the stables to get their horses. Aragorn tacked his bay while Legolas went to get a black horse from near by. Legolas normally would ride without tack but Aragorn said it would draw too much attention. The elves had small sleek saddles and Legolas put one on the horse. The bridle he used had no bit and was easy to put on. Legolas attached the leather bag to the rings on the saddle then vaulted onto the horse. When Aragorn was finished he climbed into the saddle and they rode out. Aragorn could see Legolas was excited to be leaving and once they were out of the city they pushed the horses to a faster pace. They quickly came to the river that was the border of Rivendell and crossed over the ford. Legolas stopped on the other side and turned back.
"What do you see?"
"Arwen stands at the highest balcony watching our departure."
The city was far in the distance and Aragorn had to take the elf's word that she was there. He raised his hand in farewell.
"She returns your farewell."
"Let us go," Aragorn said with a smile.
He turned his horse and continued along the trail. Legolas raised his hand in farewell then turned to follow. The land was greatly changed since the last time he traveled here over 1,000 years ago. Thorongil seemed to know where he wanted to go and he let his horse follow as he watched the land. The elves lived far from other beings preferring to keep to themselves so Legolas knew they wouldn't meet anyone in their travels. They rode along an open plain for a few hours when Legolas saw a stream ahead. Thorongil seemed to be heading for it.
"Well stop just ahead."
Legolas nodded and they continued on. They came to the stream a short time later and Legolas smiled. Birch trees lined the banks on either side. The mid day sun shone through the leaves casting shadows on the waters surface. They dismounted and led the horse to the water to drink.
"We'll rest here for a short time," Aragorn said. "I want to get to Amon Sul before night fall."
Legolas nodded and waited for his horse to finish. Aragorn's horse finished first and he led him over to the shade of the trees and sat down. Legolas took some dried fruit from the bag then left his horse while he wandered among the trees. He knew the horse wouldn't go far. Aragorn watched as Legolas walked away from the stream. He knew he should keep Legolas in sight but decided the elf could take care of himself. A few minutes later he heard singing. It was the first time Aragorn had heard Legolas sing. The prince had a deep voice that reminded him of lazy summer days. Legolas sang of birds and the coming of the great eagles. As Aragorn listened he heard birds of the woods add their song to the elfs. Aragorn retrieved some food for himself and relaxed against the tree. An hour past and Aragorn was about to call to Legolas when he saw him walking towards him in the stream.
"We should be going."
Legolas nodded and stepped out of the stream. He pulled on his boots and went over to his horse. Legolas took up the reins and swung onto the horses back. Aragorn mounted and they moved out. They rode through the forest for a couple of hours when it ended at the start of the plains. In the distance Legolas could see a rise. On the rise were the ruins of the great watchtower of Amon Sul. Legolas stopped his horse and stared at the ruined tower in the distance.
"What do you see?"
"The past," Legolas sighed. "Sometimes our gift of everlasting life is a curse. Everything changes not always for the good."
Aragorn said nothing and moved out. Legolas let his horse have its head and it followed the bay. Aragorn pushed his horse to a canter and both horses raced along the flat terrain. As they drew closer to Amon Sul Aragorn became more wary. More than men and elves used the ruined tower to camp in.
"I hear and see nothing," Legolas informed him.
Aragorn relaxed and headed for the ruins. When they came to the base of the hill Aragorn dismounted and led his horse up a path. Legolas jumped from his horse and followed. The short path led to a place of concealment for the horses. They un-tacked the horses and left them to forage. Aragorn grabbed the leather bags and started up another path. In Legolas's mind he was seeing something completely different. He'd been here when the tower was whole. The area where they left the horses used to be a covered grotto with space and water for many horses. The weed covered path Aragorn walked on had been a cobbled path leading to the entrance of the tower. Legolas ran his hands along the cracked and pitted stone that made up what was left of the walls of the tower. Aragorn climbed a flight of broken steps and emerged in what was left of the main hall. It was open to the sky and all that remained was a few walls and some of the statues. He dropped the bags under one of the statues then went looking for wood. Legolas followed his example and soon they had enough for the night. Aragorn started a fire and watched as Legolas wandered around the tower.
"I'll catch us something for dinner."
Before Aragorn could protest he was gone. Every instinct told him to follow the elf but he knew Legolas would resent it. If the elf didn't seem worried about the area then neither should he. Aragorn continued feeding the fire then sat back to wait for Legolas. As he waited he glanced around the ruins. Only one of the statues was still intact and it stood forlornly across the fire. Moss and lichen covered the statue. Birds and other animals had made homes in the niches along the walls.
"It's sad to see it like this."
Aragorn whirled as he pulled a knife. "Legolas!"
"Expecting someone else?" he asked with a smile as he moved to the fire. "I remember this as a strong and beautiful tower." Legolas cleaned and skinned the two rabbits he caught as he talked. "This was the main hall. The statues were of the kings and queens Numenor."
"My people," Aragorn said.
"So you say."
Legolas finished skinning the rabbits then put them on a stick to roast over the fire. Aragorn didn't want to argue with Legolas about his heritage. He knew he would have to show the elf before he believed. Aragorn still couldn't get over the fact that Legolas had been around for the battle against the Witch King.
"Was Fornost your only battle?" Aragorn asked to pass the time.
"No," Legolas said solemnly. "I was present for the Battle of Five Armies after the killing of Smaug."
"Where the dwarves reclaimed their city."
"Yes and stirred up a hornets nest," Legolas sneered.
"Don't care for dwarves, do you?"
"There is little love between elves and dwarves," Legolas answered. "They care nothing for others. They only wish to dig in their mountains stirring up things that were better left undisturbed."
Aragorn didn't want to get into a debate with Legolas about the dwarves. "Tell me more about Amon Sul."
While the rabbits cooked, Legolas painted a vivid picture of what the watchtower looked like. He described the way the tower looked and where the Palantir, the seeing stone, was kept. The Palantir at Amon Sul was one of seven. They were used to communicate with the other realms of Numenor. When the rabbits were finished they ate them in silence. The animals of the night could be heard scurrying around in the darkness. An owl hooted high in the ruins.
"Where does our path lead after Amon Sul?" Legolas asked.
"We will head for Bree," Aragorn said.
"I am not familiar with that area."
"It's a town not far from here."
"A human town," Legolas said. "You never mentioned we would be visiting a human town."
"You never asked."
"There is little love between elves and men as well."
"I'm considered rather eccentric so bringing an elf with me will raise few suspicions."
"As you will," Legolas conceded. "I said I would travel wherever you wished. I will take first watch."
Aragorn watched as Legolas stood and took his bow with him. The elf wandered amongst the ruins touching each of the statues as he past. Aragorn heard him murmuring in the Elven tongue but couldn't make out any of the words. Aragorn prepared his bed close to the fire and stretched out on the blanket. He closed his eyes and quickly fell asleep knowing he was safe with Legolas on watch.
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