I could not lie even if my life depended on it, my immortal future suddenly threatened with the tip of a blade. Lothlorien was beautiful, the pale trees standing tall from the soft grass at their roots. The canopy decorated with elvish architecture and sparkled with the warm colours of early night. From the very top of this vast yet isolated home, I could gaze upon the sparkling and ethereal night sky that beckoned me to dance amongst its streams of silver cloud. There was no moon, but the world still shone in its own way, much like the Lady of Light herself- Galadriel. It was all so different to Mirkwood and Rivendell which always smelt of Autumn and fresh running water- oranges and yellows painting the leaves. The places I had grown up, the elves I had lived amongst, worshipped the sun in all its glory but at last I stood in a place where the moon’s glow reminded me of my own home. A place further than the Misty Mountains could stretch. Only in dreams can I ever return to it.
As I glanced down at my hands, scratched, sore and bruised did I remember the reality in which I had so willingly joined. Beneath the balcony on which I stand lies a fellowship in the midst of grief after the loss of a leader, a teacher and most of all, a friend. Gandalf, who had led us so bravely, had fallen into the shadows all in hopes that Frodo shall one day make it to Mordor. Yes, Frodo the hobbit, the ring bearer, is to be the one to destroy all of Sauron’s evil and more. I prayed that the members of the Fellowship, my new family, would rest easy tonight.
A gentle wind blew through, tousling the leaves and whispering through the forest. Whispers of an ancient evil that has returned, the blood of man’s last king trapped within one whom hesitates to draw his kinds sword, a hobbit chained to gold and many others who find themselves far from the comforts of their home halls and beds.
“Meleth nin?” came a gentle voice, one that did not belong to the air.
I turned to see Legolas, his tender yet marble like features plastered with concern. Those ocean eyes that had me frozen the first time we met now filled with a kind warmth that was alien to the rest of his people. I smiled slightly before gazing back at the horizon, tracing the silhouette of each tree I could define.
“You are lamenting, though I fear it is not alone for Gandalf,” he murmured, taking his place beside me.
So easily he could fit in with those stars in the night sky. His locks of pale gold shone with life that was distant to most men and dwarf along with the silver tunic that tied him back to Mirkwood- our home. Lothlorien was beautiful and the night sky a bewitching sight but all falters in comparison to the smallest smile that the elf prince could give.
“Last you were this silent was in the Winter, the night before we were to be wedded,” Legolas began again but I still had no words to give him, “Aragon concerns for you, as do I. You are yet to release any breath of relief since we left the mines. Boromir believes you to be in deep despair and may not have the strength to move further with us.”
At this I scoffed quietly but the look on his face was serious, a gaze that echoed of his father.
“I would not have pledged my skills to Frodo if I did not believe I had the strength to complete this journey alongside you,” I whispered though it was harsh.
“I was not the one to doubt you, my flower. It is Boromir that deserves the offence in your voice,” he chuckled.
I eased slightly, placing my hand in his and resting my head on his chest. For a moment, I considered the possibility that this show of affection may gain the attention of the other elves, as it used to do back home, but I figured they should look. They should gaze upon a half-elf and the pride of Mirkwood in an embrace.
“The ring beckons him,” I mumbled.
“As it does everyone.”
He was too gentle for his own good. Legolas could speak words of war, fire and death and yet it could still pass as a lullaby to children. Memories of his voice echoing amongst abandoned stone walls, once grand halls littered with the skeletons of Gimli’s kind, and a chill overtook me. A cold like frigid ice grating and prodding against my spine and senses. We were so close to mortality, so close to the shadows ourselves. The thought of it being him instead of our wizard companion had tears streaming down my cheeks in a matter of seconds. This journey was unlike any other; filled with sorrow and pain that we were yet to experience. Far were we from the warm embrace of safety and life eternal. Into the darkness we so naively wandered through and we are yet to exit it.
“Guren vell, my flower, my wife, you are weary. You must rest,” Legolas comforted me, his calloused fingers cupping my face and wiping away the tears in hopes to sooth my weeping, “I have prepared us a bed.”
“I want to go home.”
I knew not where this sudden weakness had derived from, this lack of endurance. Perhaps from the unnatural and new aches that stiffened my joints, the dryness in my throat, the feeling of hopelessness or the image of my one love dead before me in fields of mud and ash.
“I want to return to Mirkwood. I want to be back in our bed. I want home,” I sniffed, the human in me wallowing in self-pity for a change.
It felt good at the time being. No wonder humans do it so often. Legolas had remained silent, face falling as he kissed my forehead and ran his hands through my hair- knotted after battle and untended to since we arrived in the elven kingdom. There was silence for a moment where there was nothing but the sounds of the night time, a veil of paranoia over the land, and the whimpers of a cowardly princess. Boromir was right. I had not the strength to go on.
“You are not alone with those desires.”
I looked up, shocked with my eyes veined with red. There was no pity or disappointment anywhere on the elf’s face but only tiredness- something I was even yet to witness. Weakness, Legolas was displaying weakness.
“I too want to return home, or at least back to Rivendell, and leave this task to that of man, dwarf and hobbit. It is a selfish desire, but I wish it none the less.”
“I want nothing more than for you to be safe and at dawn of every day that passes, I must combat with the thought of returning you to Rivendell against your own will for the sake of my own heart. Too often have I fallen asleep aside you to only dream of you being taken by the shadows. There will be nothing that torments me more than the loneliness and emptiness you will leave me with if you were to perish.”
“Legolas, my beloved, why have you not told me this?”
He glanced away, eyes to the clouded as he licked his lips.
“I did not want you to feel as if I… figured you incapable of accompanying us. Your pride in your abilities is like that of lioness and I did not wish to offend you.”
Once more, a breeze blew through, humming and singing to us as I placed a hand on his cheek and drew him into a long kiss, something we had not shared since we departed from Rivendell. Legolas sighed as I felt him relax against me.
He crooned, “I do not believe I can endure this trial without you.”
I grinned, a blush forming across my cheeks as he nuzzled his nose against mine, eliciting quiet giggles. He has been just as silent as I have. I should have known. He is my husband, the green leaves to my oak tree. I still wanted to return to Mirkwood or retreat to somewhere safer but the knowledge that he was frightened too was enough to have me brandish my daggers again. He will not complete this quest alone, not this day or any other to come.
“I shall not leave you, meleth nin, not that easily,” I promised, “your dreams, and mine, will cease to come true.”
He let out a sigh of relief as he kissed my hands, light hearted happiness, youth and beauty returning to his face as he gazed down at me.
“I shall hold you to that promise, my flower. Come, for it is late and I wish to hold you in my arms as I sleep.”
Gradually, we made our way down the never ending, spiralling staircases that linked the trees to enter the Fellowship’s small camp tucked amongst the giant roots. Gimli was snoring, his belly sticking out farther than his nose as he laid on his back and Aragon remained awake, sharpening his sword as he watched over the hobbits. We shared a nod before Legolas pulled the curtain of our tent closed with only the amber glow of a few candles to light the cosy area.
“For tonight, let us forget about the worries of the world outside until we must wake to take leave.”
I yawned, sitting on the make shift bed that was incredibly soft for something so small as Legolas took his place behind me and began to run a comb through my hair. For a moment, it seemed that all was at peace again as I watched the flames dance, feeling my husband’s fingers weave through my lengthy locks. Somewhere deep inside of my heart, at the very edges of my immortal being, I believed, I knew, that not all hope was lost.
Boromir stirred for only a moment, his eyes opening from a light sleep to see the two elves enter their tent. Aragon sat beside him with a smile, Arwen’s pendant hanging from his dirt covered clothes. The ting of the sword against the rock awakened the man of Gondor further before he sat up.
“Will she fight still?” he asked, uncertainty edging his gruff voice.
“Harder than she already has been, Boromir. I advise that you do not doubt the resilience of the future Queen of Mirkwood and the Woodland Realm again or you may have an arrow protruding from your knee soon enough,” Aragon warned but with laughter, the chortle that only ever arises in quiet times.
Tomorrow the Fellowship shall leave once more for Mordor.