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Under the Evening Sky
They managed to escape the confines of the mines of Moria, but at a terrible price. Gandalf the Grey, their counselor, guide and trusted friend had fallen into shadow, ensnared by the flailing, fire whip of a Balrog and dragged along with it to his doom at the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm. With tears in their eyes but no time to stop and mourn, they pressed on until the danger was far behind them. Now here, in the fair land of Lothlórien, their hearts were relieved for a while by the enchantment that dwelled in every bough and every stone, as well as the gentle words of the Lady Galadriel. But their grief could not be kept at bay for long. The loss of one so dear was irreplaceable, and it weighed heavily on their spirits.
Legolas walked among the regal, tall trees of the Golden Wood, the pale light of the moon that filtered through the foliage illuminating the leaf-strewn path. A refreshing breeze brushed his skin, washing away weariness and sorrow. The splendor and majesty of this land had been recorded in song so that all who were not fortunate enough to see it might try to envision it. But not even the most melodious tune did justice to the magnificence that surrounded him. Golden leaves high on silver branches and upon the verdant ground; smooth, gray columns rising to meet the star-studded sky.
“A Olórin i yáresse
Mentaner i Númeherui”
The solemn Quenya words floated across the forest city. Despite their beauty they caused sadness to bloom back in Legolas’s spirit.
“A lament for Gandalf,” he said, not knowing that he had spoken out loud until Merry did the same.
“What do they say about him?”
Legolas turned to face him.
“I have not the heart to tell you. For me the grief is still too near.”
His soft voice betrayed only a modicum of the dejected emotions he felt. He moved on past where the hobbits settled down to sleep and continued his aimless wanderings, the somber dirge present in his mind. He began to sing along with it in a low voice.
“Mithrandir, Mithrandir, A Randir Vithren
ú-reniathach i amar galen
I reniad lín ne mór…”
The words died on his lips as he heard Aragorn’s voice, followed by Boromir’s upset one.
“I heard a voice inside my head. She spoke of my father and the fall of Gondor.”
Legolas remembered when at their welcome the Lady looked searchingly into each of their eyes. He had not liked Boromir’s reaction. He shook and took halting breaths before turning his gaze downwards. Legolas almost reached out an arm to comfort him but at that moment Galadriel shifted her gaze towards him. He stood straight and held her eyes without flinching, although he feared what she might find and tell him in return. What she had told him wasn’t disheartening nor was it reassuring. Nevertheless, a vague discomfort had been growing in his mind.
Not wanting to eavesdrop on his lover’s private conversations, Legolas turned away to another part of the forest.
Boromir did not speak with Aragorn for long, but in the short time they spent together he sensed that a silent agreement had been reached. The discomfort that he felt around the Ranger since Rivendell when Legolas informed him that he was the heir of Isildur was no longer there. At first he felt threatened by this man who might one day return to Gondor and take the throne, and where would that leave him? But he didn’t fear that fate anymore, he knew Aragorn wasn’t his enemy. Now he was a comrade whom he would gladly welcome to come back with him to Minas Tirith.
After Aragorn left to get some rest Boromir went in search of Legolas. He wasn’t with the group and he couldn’t ask any of them if they knew his whereabouts for they were already asleep. He ventured out to the surrounding woods and looked carefully but found no sign of the blonde elf.
Startled, Boromir jumped slightly and glanced up in the direction from which he heard the voice. He spotted Legolas’s leather boots hanging from a branch above his head and let out a relieved breath.
“I’ve been looking all over the place for you.”
Legolas smiled at the mixture of concern and frustration on the others face.
“I’m sorry if I worried you. I just wanted to be alone for a while, do some thinking. Too much has occurred these last couple of days. Do you want to come up or shall I go down?”
“I’ll come up. It’s not like I haven’t climbed a tree before, used to do it plenty when I was a boy,” he said, gripping the lower branches to hoist himself up. His feet couldn’t get a good grip on the smooth bark, so Legolas grabbed onto his shoulders and helped him lift him up to the branch where he was sitting.
“Of course, that was a long time ago and the trees back home are a little more human friendly. Although I take it forty years isn’t long to your kind.”
A dull ache settled on Legolas’s heart at the reminder that the man who meant more to him most of the people he had known in his long life was a mortal, doomed to die one day and leave him.
“It’s like the flutter of a bird’s wings, it passes before we’re even conscious of it,” he answered, voice tinged with sorrow. “And yet in one instant, one fraction of a second, something can happen and irrevocably change everything.”
“Gandalf’s death is trying on us all. He was our guide and a good friend who died so that we would be able to escape. I deeply regret the bad things I said about his leadership.”
Legolas placed a reassuring hand on Boromir’s thigh which was quickly covered by the human’s own.
“There’s nothing you should feel guilty about. You were merely thinking in the group’s best interest.”
A long silence followed. Their fingers curled on Boromir’s leg and lied intertwined, thumbs absently caressing the other’s skin.
“So many things have happened since we left Rivendell, things I never thought I would live through,” Boromir said. “Climbing Caradhras, going through Moria, coming face to face with a Balrog, a creature I didn’t even know existed, coming here.”
He looked down at their joined hands then lifted his gaze and looked deeply into Legolas’s eyes.
“But the only experience that matters to me is meeting you. For that I would gladly go through Moria and back with only my sword to aid me.”
Legolas felt his heart expand with emotion. He brought Boromir’s hand up to his mouth and reverently kissed it.
“As would I. Simple words fail to express the love that I feel for you.”
Boromir pressed their hands to his chest.
“In a way I don’t regret this ring and the dangerous quest it has forced us to take. It gave a chance to fall in love with you.”
Their lips met in a tender kiss that conveyed the depth of their feelings for each other, and their souls rejoiced at the finding of kindred spirits.
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