"Legolas. Get down from there!"
The voice, tense with anxiety pierces my reverie like a shard of glass and I lean over to reassure him.
"All is well Aragorn!"
All I get in response is a horrified gasp.
"Come down now!"
He sounds as if he is not in the mood to be argued with but still I debate in my head if I wish to do as he demands. It would not do to let him think I am that easy to order around. Today, however I decide to take the easy route and I clamber down the walls but it is with regret that I do so.
"I am here, safe and sound." I announce with a smile when I reach him but he will not be mollified.
"Do you want to see me in an early grave?" He demands.
"No!" I say in alarm, "Why would I wish that? Is something wrong with you?"
He looks well and hearty but they are so fragile these mortals that it terrifies me. Perhaps some illness is behind his cantankerous mood? My blood runs cold at the thought.
"Nothing is wrong with me except worry for you." He snaps and I am not convinced.
"Why would you worry? I am well. The view is glorious up there Aragorn, you should see it."
He turns pale at the thought and I look at him through narrowed eyes. That loss of colour often signals more serious things in Men. I know that much.
"It is blowing a gale Legolas and you were too high."
I look up at what was my perch in confusion.
"It is not that high Aragorn and the wind is a pleasant one. It means me no harm."
"It is not about what harm it means you-" he begins but the wind chooses that very moment to ruffle my hair and whisper in my ear of things it has seen. It has come from the forest and brings with it the smell of pine for me to revel in. I am lost in it.
"Is there any point me speaking to you when you do not bother to listen?" Aragorns voice is harsh and jarring against the softness of the breeze.
He is angry with me, that much is obvious. He turns on his heels and strides away leaving me wondering what I have missed to upset him so. I am not convinced he is as well as he proclaims and a sliver of worry twists within me. He is behaving so oddly, there must be some reason for it.
I decide to find out.
Catching up to him is difficult and I have to jog in the end to reach him.
"I am sorry," I say contritely "I was listening to the wind."
"And the wind is more important than anything I may have to say?"
"No." I admit, "But it is very insistant."
He laughs at that, a short burst of reluctant laughter. I should be pleased for it means I am improving his mood but in fact if I am honest, it hurts, for it was not a joke and I did not mean it to be funny. The wind IS insistant. It does not like to be ignored.
He eases up his hurried pace and looks at me.
"Sometimes Legolas you can be intensely frustrating. Do you know that?"
I stare back. Does he mean to insult me? Or is this merely a topic of conversation to pass the time? I cannot tell by his tone.
I do not answer, uncertain of the response he wants. Does he really want an answer to that? And what answer can I give that is not an inflammatory one.... If I am so frustrating why did he ask me to come down from my vantage point, where I was perfectly content, to spend time with him....why did he not just leave me there?
Of all the answers I can give silence, apparently, is not the right one and he sighs loudly, throws his hands in the air in exasperation and stalks off.
"Talk to the wind then Legolas," he calls back to me. "If it is so interesting."
"I thought you did not want me up on the walls Aragorn?" I reply, "Can I return there now?"
"Sarcasm does not suit you." He bites back but I was not being sarcastic. I wanted to know.
Too late, he is gone. I can get no clarification on my question and I am not in the mood to chase him any longer.
Instead I retreat back to my place high amongst the stones and let the wind soothe the battered edges of my soul left by our conversation.
Sometimes I think I will never understand him.
Things go no better when next we meet at dinner. At least it is in the quiet of his study and not the chaos of the hall. I hate it there, full of noise and distractions. It is impossible to focus amongst the general cacophony of Men.
I am unsure where we stand after our earlier conversation and am on edge because of it although he seems quite relaxed. I note with care however he does not eat, merely pushing food around his plate from one side to the other. I often eat little for I do not need it but in mortals I have learnt it is a sign of sickness. There is no possible way I could not know this after the hours Gimli has spent fussing over my appetite.
My earlier fears over his state of health return to haunt me. Can I be sure he is not sickening for something? Arwen seems unconcerned but perhaps she has simply not noticed? I chide myself over that particular thought. How ridiculous....Arwen notices everything.
"How was your day Legolas?" she asks me now sweetly. "What did you do?"
"I was up on the walls." I say, sending a sideways glance at Aragorn to see if he registers any disapproval. He does not. Instead he leans forward with a smile.
"And what did the wind have to tell you in the end?" He asks.
The question throws me. Does he really want to know? Before it annoyed him so why does he now refer to it with mild amusement....affection even?
And he calls me flighty.
"Where did it come from today, what message did it bring us?" Arwen fills in the silence left by my now obvious confusion.
She can listen to the wind as well as I can of course if she chooses. She is well aware of the stories it told today. I know it and I send her a look that says so but I must say something.
"It spoke of the forests." I mutter.
"Then no wonder it held your attention." Aragorn smiles widely. There is nothing in that smile except love and affection but I am prickly now and alert for insult. The truth is the hurt still stings from his unintentional insult earlier so I look beyond the love and wonder if I do not see the barest hint of ridicule.
"I am tired of speaking of it." I add sulkily.
Aragorn leans back in his chair, hands behind his head. It seems he has not noticed the darkening of my mood.
"Well my day was tiresome in the extreme," he says, "I wish to never be in another meeting in my life. They are interminable."
That I can agree with.
"Ah," I say pleased to offer consolation where I can, "Thank goodness my father is blessed with immortality so I will never have to suffer that fate."
And Aragorn smiles back,
"You, Legolas, lead a charmed life."
I don't know why I react the way I do. Because the earlier hurts went deeper than I had acknowledged perhaps?
His words hit my heart like a dart filled with poison.
"A charmed life.....really?"
"Yes indeed," he grins, "It is a shame we can not all spend our time wandering through the forests conversing with the trees."
Aragorn often accuses me of being changeable, he says my moods appear from nowhere and disappear just as quickly. He complains he cannot keep up with me. It is not true of course. The problem is he simply does not notice.
This mood has been building for hours, he has had warning but I know to him it is like a bolt from the blue when I rise to my feet, eyes blazing.
"Is that how you see me? What is it you accuse me of....laziness or stupidity?"
"No Legolas." He pushes back his chair to stand beside me. "I did not mean-"
"You laugh at me." I snarl.
Because that is what has hurt, his laughter when I tried to explain the insistence of the wind.
"Never!" He cries but I do not want to hear it. I am enveloped now in my injured pride.
"I think I will go and take my charmed life elsewhere."
Arwen rises and places a hand upon my arm.
"Don't go Legolas." she tries to calm me, I feel the surge of her fea as it brushes against mine all softness and peace but I will not accept it. I push her off, shut her out and take great pleasure in the slamming of the door behind me.
The gardens are where I go when I need solace within this city of stone. Aragorn's city is beautiful in its own way I know but to me it can be cold and unfeeling and so I retreat to the warmth of living things to watch the the stars.
I sense when he arrives even before I see him. There is no mortal alive who can approach me unawares but if there was one it would be he. One day maybe he will succeed but not today. I do not move though or give any hint I have heard him, not even when he sits himself next to me. I ignore him and keep my gaze on the stars. I have been known to sulk, my father accused me many times of nursing a hurt long after I should have let it go during my growing years. I am not yet ready to let go this hurt today.
"I am sorry Legolas." Finally he speaks and it is a heartfelt apology.
"I did not mean to give offence. Believe me when I say I value everything you do here and in Ithilien. I could not ask for a better friend."
Always he does this. He is so open, forthright and honest and it undoes me as it always does, washing away my bitterness and anger. I am left with the awkward feeling that I should be apologising also although I am not sure why. I cast my mind around searching for a reason.
"I am sorry for sitting upon the walls." I say grudgingly. It is the best I can up with for I know it upset him.
He laughs and there is no trace of bitterness within it this time, only joy and so despite myself I smile in response.
"Do you even know why you are apologising Legolas?"
"No." I admit frankly for there is no point in pretending.
"I was afraid you would fall."
I turn my head to look at him in surprise.
"I will not fall. I am an elf, and even if I did I would probably only bounce."
"You would break as badly as the rest of us and you know it. I know you are more surefooted than I can ever imagine but it makes me nervous seeing you there."
I don't understand why he would panic when there is no risk at all but I can see his distress is genuine.
"I will not sit there then." It is a loss but for him I will do it.
"You can still sit there Legolas." He says gently, "Just not as high.....not when I am around to see it."
I turn my head back to the stars and as I do so a firefly catches my interest. It fascinates me, creating glowing patterns in the dark.
"It is beautiful," I say forgetting he most likely has no idea what I speak of. He looks at me then, perplexed but then his face softens with affection.
"Don't ever change Legolas." he says and it is my turn to be confused.
"But I am intensely frustrating!" I say, and if that is how he sees me why does he not wish me to be different.
"Ah....I should not have said that."
Still he confuses me, it is a series of neverending misunderstandings today.
"Why? Not saying it does not make it less true. You are not the first person to tell me this. I am sure you are right."
"It was not you I was frustrated with." He rests his head back on his hands and I notice for the first time how tired he looks. "I had spent my morning in meetings with the most irritating of men. It was them who frustrated me ....not you. But then I wished to talk to you and you were distracted. My anger was misplaced."
"I did not know!" I say, "You did not tell me."
"You were perched at great height making me sick to my stomach just looking at you. I had no chance!"
"It seems we are both at fault then" I sigh.
We lie there in the moonlight side by side, each a mirror of the other.
"Tell me of the stars," he says, "What do you see?"
Oh my stars, they are my sanctuary. They are glorious and alive, they make my soul sing. There is no way I can begin to explain to him the glory that is my stars.
"I wish I could Aragorn, I wish I could make you see what I see."
"I wish I could see it." He says simply.
I remember something then from earlier and turn to him suddenly concerned.
"Are you well? You did not eat."
"I did not eat because I had spent the whole day eating. It was the only way to keep myself awake. I was not hungry. That is the second time you have asked about my health today, why do you dwell on it so?"
"I always dwell on it." I murmer.
"There is no need Legolas. Not yet."
It is yet another thing he will never understand and I feel a rush of melancholy,
"Perhaps we are too different."I say to him.
And he frowns,
"Why do you say that?"
"Because I will never understand you. Today every word you have spoken has been in a language I cannot follow."
"It is only one day Legolas." he smiles, "Tomorrow will likely be a day when you drive me to distraction by knowing each and every thought I have before I have them."
He makes me laugh because it can be exactly like that and it infuriates him. Some days he is an open book which I can read at my leisure.
"Save Arwen no one understands me as well as you."
I think he overstates things but I let it slide, we have challenged each other enough today. I decide to leave well enough alone. And in the end he is right.
It is only one day, and he is still here.
Tomorrow it will be better.
Something different. Because I can.
P.S. All Tolkien's not mine.
P.S. All Tolkien's not mine.
Chapter end notes:
Wrote this a long time ago and wasn't sure what to do with it. Dug it out today and decided to publish or be damned.....sorry...