He came to the river to wash away the dust of the road. He did not expect to find the elf already there. His first reaction was to leave, to turn and walk away, to come back later when he could be on his own but something about the creature before him held him transfixed against his will.
He was so graceful, fragile, and yet at the same time wild and untamed, afternoon sun glinted off the golden mass of his hair as it fell down his back and held Boromir a prisoner in its light, its beauty. He did not understand him.
The elf did not turn, did not pause as he wrung the water from the shirt he was washing in the river.
"Do you see anything of interest then, Man of Gondor?" he asked lightly.
How did he know? How did he know he was here, that it was Boromir who watched him?
"Forgive me. I apologise, I was...."
What was he doing? He found he did not know. How he wished Faramir was here, he could help him communicate with this woodelf, this sprite. They had been on the road but a handful of days and he was no nearer solving the puzzle that was Legolas. He was so..... different..... so unlike anyone, anything, he had known before. Such a complete contrast from even Elrond and his folk, let alone Boromir himself. His little brother would have been fascinated by him. In the end he said what was, at that time, in the forefront of his mind.
"I was thinking how much my brother would love to meet you."
The elf turned round to face him then, dropping his shirt when he stood, and his eyes widened in surprise.
He answered hurriedly, eager not to cause offence, he did not want to make an enemy of this agile warrior.
"I have a brother. He is younger and has ever been fascinated by your people; he grew up devouring all the books he could find in our libraries, of your heroes, Kings and Princes."
"Ah," the elf bent to scoop up his shirt from where it had fallen, beneath the water at his feet, "Those are Elrond's people, not mine. No doubt I would disappoint him."
"I do not think so!"
He said that perhaps, more emphatically than he would like, but he knew his brother. Legolas, and his people, would mesmerise him.
"He is younger then, this brother of yours?"
Legolas looked at him quizzically, with genuine interest he thought.
"Yes, he is younger, intelligent, learned, kind and compassionate, he is everything I am not."
The stare he was fixed with then could not have made him feel more uncomfortable, it was as if Legolas sttripped the meat off his bones as he searched to the heart of his soul.
"You are compassionate too I think," was all he said in the end.
"Faramir should have come here," He did not know why he said it, what Legolas had done to loosen his tongue, the words spilled out of him without thought or intention,
"It should have been him our father sent to Imladris, he is better suited for this job than I."
"Why did your Father send you then?"
Legolas was so blunt, so forthright, he did not mince his words and so he found himself despite all his reservations, telling him.
"He does not see Faramir's talents. He is not fair in his assessment of him. He sees only my strengths and none of my brother's."
The look he recieved in return was a grave one.
"I understand. I too have a brother," Legolas replied after a pause,
and for the first time he looked away, his eyes glancing off Boromir's face and out to the trees.
"He is older............ He was older."
The last was a whisper he had to strain to catch on the breeze.
Boromir seized on Legolas' graveness then with a surge of understanding, did he know what it was for one brother to be pitted against another? For the first time he felt a connection.
"And your father measures you unjustly against him? Favours him in all things always?"
There is horror, indignation and complete lack of understanding in that one word.
"My Father loves us both, no matter our strengths and weaknesses, he sees them all. But my brother is gone and my Father is left with me. I am...... not as suited to the things he needs me to be. I am not a very good eldest son, but now I find myself one. My father.......he adapts."
The smile at the end was a wry one.
"But he loves me for what I am and would not have me change. Well, not much"
Boromir found himself frowning then, he needed to be sure he understood this.
"Your brother is gone?"
The elf turned his back to him, and picking up a rock he threw it, hard, with anger, out into the river. The was rage behind that gesture, so much hidden rage.
"He is dead."
His lilting, singsong voice was flat, expressionless, and so unlike him and Boromir found himself mortified. Why had Aragorn not told him this? Why had he left him unguarded to stumble across this pain?
"Forgive me," he gasped. "I did not realise, I would not have-"
"Would not have spoken of your own brother had you known mine is gone from me, Why?"
"Because it causes you pain!"
Legolas looked over his shoulder at him then and he saw those enigmatic, mystical eyes glinted with what he imagined were unshed tears.
"You should not stop loving your brother because I have lost mine."
"I would not have flaunted him."
He wanted to help but he did not know how, this creature of light should never be burdened with grief.
"I admit it still hurts, I miss him, he was my guiding light, my mentor, as you are to...." Boromir watched as the elf searched his mind for the name, "- to Faramir, I think."
The smile that lit his face when he realised he had found the right name was a brilliant one and Boromir was blinded by it. He could barely move as Legolas gathered his things and came towards him so entranced was he. He startled at the fall of the delicate hand on his shoulder.
"I shall have to make sure he doesn't lose you then, for I would have no one suffer the loss of a brother as I have done." Legolas said seriously, and then he was past him, gone and away.
"The river is all yours Man of Gondor!" the cry came as he disappeared into the trees, out of Boromir's view.
It was as if he had never been there, as if they had never had this conversation, had he imagined it?
He didn't think he had.
The impossibility of it all weighed down upon him. So many lost, all of it on his shoulders. Boromir was just another in the long line of his failures. Why had he not been able to prevent this?
Still there was no time for him to wallow, no time to pause and think. There would be no relief for him, they must be off, for while the hobbits might live he could redeem himself and he would not cease looking.
He looked to the shore where the dwarf knelt beside the boat and could not help his eyes drifting across Boromir as he lay, cold, white, silent. He could not hold his gaze there. It was too much, too painful.
"Where is Legolas?" he called for he had only just noticed his absense. How inattentive was he?
"He has gone to collect stones to steady the boat though I do not think it necessary. He would not listen to reason, there is something strange about him, Aragorn."
Gimli looked at him with expectation, it was written clear across his face.....you understand him, you mend him.....and he sighed. It was the last thing he needed, to deal with the strangeness of wood elves.
"I will track him down then, we do not have time for this."
He had a headache, it throbbed in time with his heart and made chaos of his thoughts, sleep would be good but he could not see any on his horizon. Why did Legolas choose now to indulge in his oddness?
He found him not far away, around the corner, just out of sight, staring into the river as if it's waters somehow contained the answers to all their problems.
He knew Legolas was aware of his presence though he made no indication of it. It was so frustrating at times this deliberate pretence at ignorance.
"Legolas, I do not have time for this. We need to move onwards. What do you do?"
"I grieve for my brother."
The answer surprised him, still Legolas was always surprising him, why should now be any different.
"Boromir? I would not have described him as that. The antagonisim between you has grated and chafed at us for weeks. You did not trust him, I would even go as far as to say you despised him, but now when time presses down upon us you would grieve?"
It was harsh, but then he was tired, bone achingly tired, and not in the mood for elvish misery.
Legolas could be described as light itself, joyous, exhuberant, mischievous, he was all this but there was more to him than that. Aragorn had seen the edge of steel, imperious and intimadating, the Legolas who took no prisoners and showed no mercy, but never before had it been directed towards himself. Not like this, not with such vehemence.
"Do not presume to know me Aragorn for I tell you, you do not!"
The green eyes that usually shone so brightly now flashed with an anger that chilled him. The elf before him could be dangerous, he had always known that, but standing there now that potential was starkly obvious. His voice was cold as ice, he could cut him to shreds with that alone.
Where had this come from?
"I did not despise him. I tried to save him and I have failed. In Gondor, now, a man will grieve the loss of Boromir. The loss of his leadership, his guidance, his love. He will be as bereft and alone as I. It is my brother's loss that breaks me, my own brother. As Boromir's brother will be broken without him. I wished to prevent that, to prevent that man suffering as I have suffered, but I have not."
He was stunned, left speechless, horrified and ashamed. Could he have handled this any worse?...... Have got things any more wrong?
The elf turned away from him then, bent down and gathered up his bundle of stones. He did not look at Aragorn, he did not acknowledge him. His back was unbending, shoulders rigid, fists clenched in anger and Aragorn reached out, grasped his friends arm as he pushed past him and held it tight.
"Let me go. You are right. We do not have time for this, it is self indulgent." the bitterness in that voice of light tore at his heart; created rivers of grief within his soul.
"Why did I not know this Legolas, that you had a brother? How could I not know this?"
A myriad of emotion looked back at him through those ageless eyes, grief, rage, pain immeasurable, he could not begin to read it all. The rough fabric of Legolas' tunic tore against his fingers as with a jerk he pulled his arm free. He was always the stronger, Aragorn could never hope to hold him against his will.
"I have a brother Aragorn. Just because he is gone from me does not mean he is not still mine!"
"Legolas!" He called in desperation after the retreating back, "Why did you not tell me?"
"Why did you not ask?"
The words floated back to him as he was waved off with a desultory hand.
He felt a rush of anger then, at Gandalf, Elrond, his brothers; why did they not tell him this?How could they send him out here missing such essential information?
Legolas was right; why did he not ask?
Later as they sung the lament to the winds he heard the catch in Legolas' voice, it was almost imperceptible but he caught the stumble even before it happened. And so he took that slender hand tight in his, wishing the depth of his sorrow to be known. I am sorry, he said with that grip. Sorry that you grieve, sorry for my foolish words, sorry I did not know this loss.
He would not let him go, would not let this simmer. There was so much going astray but he would make this one thing right.
The city was bustling and alive as it had not been for so long. It felt different, as if it was no longer home, no longer the home he had always known. But perhaps it was not, perhaps instead, it was he himself that had changed. He felt aimless and adrift, as if he was not the Faramir he had always been but someone else entirely.
He missed his brother. He should have been here, leading the defence, welcoming the King Returned as the eldest son, as the Steward. Faramir now found himself Steward but he was not, would never be, in his own mind.
And so he found himself idly wandering amongst the higher reaches of the city, where he and Boromir had played as boys. Looking for his brother, or a part of him, although he knew he was not there.
Instead he found someone completely different.
He turned a corner and there, perched upon the very edge, as precarious as he could be was the new king's elven companion. Beautiful, ethereal, mesmerising he was, and Faramir, as he watched him found himself wondering how he glowed so. It was as if he was lit from within, his spirit so bright it could not be contained but spilled out, into the world. He found himself compelled to stand in the shadows, gazing upon him while he could.
"Do you see anything of interest then, Man of Gondor?" the elf asked lightly, not even turning to see who it was watching him, studying him.
How did he know? How did he know he was here? He had made no noise, he was certain of it.
"Forgive me. I apologise, I -"
He stumbled over his words, embarrassed at being caught spying.
The elf threw his head back then and laughed, a bright, light sparkling sound it was.
"I have had this discussion before!" he exclaimed and turned then, so Faramir could finally see his face., his eyes sparkled with joy....or was it mischief?
"I am sorry?" He wasn't sure what he meant by that for they had never met, he was sure of it, let alone spoken.
The elf leapt down from his position upon the walls, lightly, with agility, and he barely made a sound. Faramir found it so much easier to look at him when he had both feet on the ground. He didn't have to contend then with the nervous fear, no matter how ridiculous, that he may slip and fall.
"I am Legolas," he announced, "and you, I think, are Faramir!"
And he smiled.
At the sight of that smile Faramir was awash with good feeling though he had no idea why, it was as if Legolas had placed a charm upon him somehow. Were the stories of elven magic true then?
"I am Faramir."
The smile then widened, Legolas was pleased, it seemed, that he had known the right name.
"In truth I have been meaning to seek you out before now Faramir," he continued, "but I am ashamed to say I lacked the courage."
"Courage?" That made no sense to him, why would this warrior need courage to see him?
"As you can see I am not very fearsome."
"It was not you that I feared but facing my own failings."
That made even less sense and Faramir did not know how to answer, perhaps he should just ignore it? He breathed a sigh of relief when Legolas himself saved him from answering.
"I knew your brother," he said bluntly, somewhat clumsily, if such a creature could ever be clumsy, and Faramir's heart clenched at the sound of the word.
"I have a brother no longer." he replied without thinking as his thoughts from earlier bubbled to the surface before he could stop them.
"Oh," Legolas reached out with sad eyes and placed his hand gently upon Faramir's chest, "You do. He is still here, in your heart, you will never lose him."
"I would rather I could see him." The words emerged sounding more bitter than he had meant them to, he did not wish to offend but the loss cut deep and so he tried to explain.
"He should be here. I do not know how to do this. I am not meant to do this."
"Ah," the elf grew suddenly pensive then, "They have left us suddenly, learning how to be the elder when we should be the younger. That is hard."
He turned away from Faramir, back towards the walls and lifted his head to search the sky so he could not see his eyes then, could not see the pain he somehow knew must be there.
"I have a brother too you see," his voice so grief-laden it was obvious that brother had been lost.
"He has left me adrift ......as you must be."
And Faramir found himself filled, unexpectedly, with a strange need to comfort, he wished with all his heart for a repeat of that brilliant smile.
"They say you are as a brother to our King."
"No." Legolas shook his head, "Aragorn has his own brothers. He does not need a woodelf as well. Have you met them, the fair and fierce Sons of Elrond?" he asked him.
He had seen them certainly, those stern elven warriors who flanked Aragorn's side, followed his every move and glared at all who approached in warning.
"I have seen them but we have not yet spoken. You are, shall we say, some what more approachable."
He smiled in what he hoped was a friendly manner, squirming as he did so under the elf's gaze. But then that gaze broke and the eyes sparkled, the smile returned, broad and wide for it seemed Legolas was pleased to be described such and his pleasure, as his pain before it, was an all encompassing thing.
He did not know why he felt so joyful at having made this strange being so happy but he did. He did not know why he cared, his emotions this day were a mystery to him and again he wondered at enchantment but he was not an uneducated man who believed in fairy tales about elves casting spells. That was nonsense.
"Perhaps you are right," the elf answered then, "Perhaps I have acquired a human brother on my wanderings." He bent towards Faramir as if sharing a confidence,
"He can act as if he thinks he is older than me also, although he is not at all you know!"
How it had come to it that he should be sharing confidences with this elf, about the King he barely knew, he did not know.
"Still," Legolas said then, softly to himself, "that means I will lose another." his voice so quiet, so nearly inaudible it could almost be imagined he had not said anything at all.
He lifted his head and shook it, as if to shake away the remnants of grief and loss and sadness that still clung to him, and fixed once again his entire focus upon the man beside him.
"We shall be friends then." he announced, as if it was an agreement already decided upon and Faramir was left wondering when they had discussed this for he was sure they had not, it was proving hard to keep up and he had always thought himself quick witted.
He was not about to argue, there was in fact nothing he would like more than to get to know the elf better. It was turning into quite an enlightening afternoon and not at all the one he had thought it would be.
"You will have to let go all those ideas you have from your books though, of Noldor heroes, for I am not like them at all." Legolas was deadly serious as he said this and it was then he found himself finally undone, finally giving way to superstition and rumour.
"How do you know that? How do you know what I have read? Do you read my mind?"
For what else could it be?
The elf erupted in a burst of happy laughter, so bright it was, and infectious, and he doubled up in mirth.
"I am not Galadriel! I cannot read the thoughts of others though I mightily wish I could," his eyes danced with excitement, all of a sudden he was transformed, had he ever been somber?
"Have you heard of Beleg Cúthalion?" The question, out of the blue took Faramir by surprise but at least he could answer it with confidence.
"Beleg Strongbow? Certainly I have heard of him."
"He is one of our heroes. So much more exciting than the Noldor will ever be, with their poetry and everlasting melancholy."
Once again he found himself wanting to please, to say something that would encourage the continuance of this bouyant mood, it was a strange effect but not an unpleasant one.
"I have heard the soldiers saying you are as Beleg to Aragorn's Turin." It was true, he had heard that and he thought Legolas would like it. He was right.
"You have?" He was all enthusiasm and glee as he considered it, pondering on Faramir's words with complete sincerity.
"But I do not think Aragorn would run me through, do you?"
Legolas could not be serious he thought, he did not really sit here and consider the potential for Aragorn to head down a Turin like path of misery. He was gripped by a sudden, most unusual, need to tease.
"Perhaps you should be careful of him in the dark."
There was a pause, a long pause, a pause during which Faramir found himself wondering if this had been a step too far. What was he thinking, suggesting his King could seriously murder his closest friend? Had he lost his mind?
But then, just as he tried to formulate his apology, a surge of uncontrollable, wild laughter broke forth, accompanied by what could only be described as a grin. He had not known until then that elves could grin, could be anything except perfect composure, and he was filled once again by that light, refreshing, sense of wellbeing as his courage returned. This truly was magic. What else could it be?
"How did you know?" he asked before he could change his mind "How did you know what books I had read? If it was not from my thoughts then how else?"
"Your brother told me."
"My brother?" He could not believe that. For why would Boromir, in the midst of such danger, have told Legolas this?
"Because he loved you." Legolas answered the question he had not even asked, "Because you were always in his thoughts and he wished me to know you. He told me you would benefit from meeting me but he was wrong!"
"Wrong?" He already felt blessed by this meeting, Boromir had always known him best, no wonder he had known what a gift, for Faramir, knowing one such as this would be.
Legolas clasped his hand then, in his own hand cool and slender; the touch was a surprise.
"It I who benefits, for I find I like you very much indeed! I will ever be grateful your brother has led me here. Together we can forge our way perhaps, as leaders when we expected not to be, as men of importance and duty when we assumed we would always be free to do our own thing. To fill our brother's shoes as we hold them in our hearts and remember them. What say you?"
He missed his brother as he missed no one else. He had never wanted this, never dreamed of this, but now he had it thrust upon him. Could he be a new Faramir?
The elf smiled upon him eyes alight with anticipation,
He thought it was possible, he saw Faramir's pain, doubt and hesitation and yet he still believed.
"What say I?"
Suddenly he was confident, he was courageous, he was bold. He did not need to pause; he did not need to think.
"Legolas, I say yes."
For those who are not familiar with the story of Beleg and Turin. Quick summary. Beleg was a Sindar elf from Doriath. Turin was a Man with a curse. They were best mates......until Turin accidently killed Beleg with his own sword.....in the dark.....he thought he was an Orc. (We won't get into the plot holes in this story here! )
Anyway it is these two Legolas and Faramir are talking about.
Anyway it is these two Legolas and Faramir are talking about.
I forgot I hadn't published this here and it helps to read it before "The Darkness in You Heart" to understand Legolas and his brother.....and Legolas and Faramir. So here it is, especially for Naledi, my loyal reviewer!