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Under the Evening Sky
The company rested on a high slope nearing the Misty Mountains, hidden from view by overhanging rock formations and thick bushes. Since the crebain had first flown over them a couple of days ago, they only traveled under the cloak of the night to avoid being seen. Gandalf and Aragorn sat together to the side discussing which route would be best to take to Mordor. Boromir and Legolas listened detachedly to the conversation from behind a tall boulder.
"I’m not sure of this road we’re taking. It doesn’t feel right," Boromir whispered so he wouldn’t be overheard.
"Nothing’s sure on this journey," Legolas responded. "But we must trust Gandalf’s judgment on this. He would not steer us wrong and bring us to peril deliberately."
"I know, but the pass of Caradhras is not to be taken lightly. I have experienced bitter cold and biting wind the like that dwells in those mountains. We would be better prepared to face it, but the hobbits, they don’t know what it’s like. They’re so small; they could easily freeze to death up there."
"You really care about them."
Legolas knew that though he was referring to all the hobbits, two concerned him in particular.
"They had no idea what they were getting into when they signed up for this. Do you remember when they insisted that they be included in the Company? Pippin didn’t even know where we were going."
Legolas laughed lightly at the naiveté of the young hobbit, a happy memory among what promised to be a lot of bad ones. Boromir wasn’t the only one who was worried about the road they were taking to Mordor, Legolas also felt apprehension. A sudden chill that might have been caused by the passing breeze permeated his skin and a dark shadow crept in his mind, foretelling doom to come.
Moria. The dismal name struck fear and dread in the hearts of dwarfs, elves, and men alike. The dwarfs burrowed too deep and disturbed nameless terrors which should have remained buried. Yet even with this knowledge the Company had set their course to the dark mines after Caradhras bested them. Both Legolas and Boromir had firmly opposed that option but the ring bearer had the final word on the matter. Too soon after their arrival at the Doors of Durin did they discover the first of the foul beasts which dwelled there. Only a hasty rescue prevented Frodo from being swallowed by flailing tentacles into the fetid water. In its desire to snatch him once again, the creature had bashed the gates and knocked down the surrounding rock, effectively closing off the entrance and leaving them with no other alternative but to transverse the ominous passage. They wandered far into the heart of the old quarry, ever watchful for any strange presence that might be lurking in the shadows. After several hours of marching over the winding passages and making their way around treacherous pitfalls, Gandalf stopped under a wide arch marked with three different openings. Confused, he looked around him for anything that might betray their whereabouts.
"I have no memory of this place," he said.
The group stopped to take a much-needed rest while Gandalf tried to remember which way was correct. They were so tired that most of them fell asleep as soon as they hit the floor. But Legolas couldn’t sleep. Caves had never been to his liking; the enclosed space, layers of rock all around him, hiding the sky from view, not even knowing if it was night or day, the way the walls that seemed to close in on him, making him feel claustrophobic. And now not only were they in a whole system of them, but there were evil beings hiding in the shadows, waiting for the appropriate time to attack. He felt them even though he couldn’t see them.
The softly- spoken word startled him for a second before he realized to whom the voice belonged to.
"I noticed you couldn’t sleep either," Boromir whispered.
"You seem to be pretty good at telling whether I’m asleep or not," Legolas responded, turning around to face him.
"I pay attention," Boromir answered, smiling. "You breathe differently when you’re asleep. Also, you looked troubled."
"Aren’t we all?"
"Hard not to be. Within the last days we’ve been accosted by spying birds, almost frozen to death and buried in snow, attacked by a water monster, and forced to cross mines which are probably crawling with orcs, not to mention what other foul creatures the dwarfs awoke."
"That does sound rather bleak."
"But you’re not easily fazed. You looked cheery enough on the mountain when you showed off your elvish talents while the rest of us trudged through the snow."
"It’s the mines," Legolas sighed. "I don’t like caves. They’re stuffy and humid and they smell damp. The walls feel like they’re closing in on me. And I can’t see the sky, can’t see the bright stars above and you know how much I like looking at them. There’s no fresh air, and the silence is oppressive, it’s unnatural, although in here sounds other than our own would be a bad sign."
"There is a menacing air about this place. This will not end well. I can feel it in my bones."
They shared a long moment of silence, pondering on the dangers that lay ahead.
"Well," spoke Legolas, getting into as comfortable a position he could get into on the hard stone floor, "we should at least try to get so sleep. It won’t do much good to go into battle yawning."
"I thought you were too tense to sleep."
"Then I’ll try not to be so tense."
There was a brief pause.
"You did me the favor once."
"Go to sleep, Boromir."
"I just want to return the favor."
"No," he emphasized this by turning his back to him. "Gandalf’s sitting right there, he would hear us."
"Not you, you’re always so quiet."
Boromir slid his hand over the elf’s chest. Legolas stopped it before it could go any lower.
"Not now. Later, when we’re alone."
Boromir kissed Legolas’s pale neck.
"Yes. Now go to sleep."
"Can I at least hold you while you fall asleep?"
Legolas smiled and shifted closer to Boromir until his back pressed against his chest. "I would like that."
Legolas fell asleep to the touch of Boromir nuzzling his neck and the comforting presence of his hand holding his.
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