Author's Notes: “De Profundis,” meaning “Out of the Depths,” is the Latin title of an ancient Christian prayer that was and still is said at twilight for the relief of suffering, and this story is my response to the attitude that obscure canon pairings are “highbrow” while well-known pairings are passé. The biggest exceptions to canon here are that my Aragorn resembles movie Aragorn somewhat more so than book Aragorn, and I’ve taken a little liberty with Legolas’ post-war fate. Lastly, major props and lots of cookies to anyone who knows where I got the name of Trystan from and why it’s an appropriate choice for the name of an elf (hint: it’s in literary and linguistic keeping with what Tolkien might have chosen).

Chapter Summary: A little push and a lot of wine loosens Legolas’ tongue as to the secret of his grief, but does Aragorn really want to know?

De Profundis

Chapter 1 - A Twilight’s Tale

By Milady Hawke


“Love,” said the elf lowly in a deep, drawn out tone sickened with contempt. “Humph. Would you like to hear a little story about love?”

Wide-eyed with dismay, Aragorn took mental note of yet another topic of conversation not to be broached with the unusually temperamental elf.

Upon finding Legolas precariously perched on the rail of the balcony outside the elf’s chambers and looking coldly out into the motley-colored veil of twilight spreading softly over Gondor, Aragorn had thanked the Valar that he thought to bring with him a bottle of wine. And then, as he approached his friend with cautiously measured steps, he noted the several bottles already strewn haphazardly about the terrace and the many fragments of what had been bottles. Odd, indeed, that one of the fair folk would imbibe so imprudently. He could count on his hands the number of times he had seen an elf truly drunk, his twin brothers accounting for most.

Though, he bethought, by now nothing should surprise him in Legolas this time of the year. It was again that time when all the world bedecked itself gaily, rejoicing and singing in memory of the victory over great evil. And Gondor added to this joyful noise the remembrance of a king’s coronation and the wedding of his bride, and Legolas came to the festivities from his neighboring elf colony in Ithilien – and withdrew into himself utterly. There was little that Aragorn could say in these summer months that did not seem to displease his friend.

“Legolas,” he had called gently, “come down from your height and deign to have a glass with me. Do not pine for the forest. I am sure you shall soon enough tire of my company and be back in your leafy bowers again.”

Aragorn’s attempt at levity had no apparent effect on the elf’s demeanor, though Legolas did swing his legs around and down to meet the floor, allowing the man to exhale the breath he had not realized he held. Sauntering up slowly, Legolas sank next to Aragorn, drawing his knees up and pressing his back tightly to the wall, his shoulder almost grazing the man’s.

“What shall we drink to?” he had said.

“Let us drink to Love. Tonight it is the tenth anniversary of my wedding,” offered Aragorn, attempting to steer the conversation to light-hearted subjects.

How wrong he had been, judging from the elf’s coldly questioned reply.

Pouring for the two, Aragorn settled back and offered a glass, sickened at heart but eager to take advantage of his friend’s loosened tongue and to hear what might perhaps hold some clue to the secret of Legolas’ grief.

“It is a long, sorry story that may pain you to hear. Are you sure you wish it?”

“I have time enough and interest,” said Aragorn. “Be the story worthy of song?”

“And lament.”

“Is it sublime?”

“It is pathetic.”

“A story of valor?”

“And fear.”


Here, Legolas froze suddenly, deathly still. When he spoke, it was slowly and in a deliberate voice. “Oh, yes. It is of that. And despair.”

“Well, go on then,” the man urged, breaking under the intensity of the elf’s level gaze and looking away to the horizon. “I am riveted.”

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