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The Gull's Cry
They are safe. After all our hardships we have finally found them. And not only are they unharmed but they are smoking pipe-weed and have just feasted. I am so gladdened by this sight that I let out the first laugh I have emitted since Lothlórien. At first they ignore us and exchange words only with Théoden and Gandalf until Gimli protests about it, then they acknowledge us. He is excited about seeing them, as am I. When Aragorn, Gimli, and I were left alone with the hobbits I demand a full account of what has occurred since we last parted. But that has to wait until we have eaten; Gimli insists and in truth we have not eaten since early morning so a repast is welcome. The hobbits join us. Since first meeting with these creatures I have often marveled at how much they eat despite their small size. They appear healthier than when we saw them last, which does not seem so strange once they say they drank the water of the Ents. Odd songs have been sung regarding those waters.
As soon as they eat they set themselves to smoke some of the of the tobacco they have found. I let them enjoy the rare moments of calm and peace, although my own soul does not share it as much as I would like. The loss of Boromir still weighs heavily on my heart. The story I am so anxiously waiting to hear is not only that of the Ents and their dealings with the orcs, but the circumstances surrounding his death. I need to know how it happened, I need to make sense of the man that I found broken on the ground. I lie still gazing up at the sky with the sun shining on my face, trying to appear composed but I'm sure Aragorn can guess at my real feelings.
After a while in silence I can wait no longer and I sit up.
"Come now!" I say fighting to keep the tension from my voice. " Time wears on, and the mists are blowing away, or would if you strange folk did not wreathe yourselves in smoke. What of the tale?"
"Well, my tale begins with waking up in the dark and finding myself in an orc-camp," said Pippin.
They did some calculations with their fingers and figured it was nine days since the breaking of our fellowship. Nine days since he abandoned this world forever. Nine days. Has it really been so short a time? The many events that have occurred during that time have managed to distract me but could not obliterate the pain of losing him. As they begin the account of Boromir's last battle I unconsciously hold my breath.
"We ran, leading the orcs away from Frodo so he could escape. It was working well until we got to a stone bridge, then we saw more of them coming from in front of us. I was more frightened than I've ever been in my life. I thought for sure our time had come when I saw an orc with an enormous axe towering above our heads ready to come crashing down on us, but Boromir appeared and killed it with its own axe. We backed up to the side while he fought them. They were so many we thought they were going to overcome him, but he drove them back. He blew his horn and we thought for sure someone would come but nobody did."
My heart clenches as I remember the grave call of the horn and my futile attempt to rush to Boromir's aid.
"Then an arrow shot into his shoulder and he dropped to his knees."
My breath catches and I close my eyes. I raise my hand to my own shoulder and clutch the cloth. I can almost feel the pain from the wound he obtained.
"Then another got him in the stomach."
I unconsciously clasp my stomach.
"When the orc shot a third arrow into his chest he couldn't hold out any longer. Frightened, we looked into his eyes and saw that he was defeated. He didn't get up again."
I can imagine him on his knees, gasping for breath, trying not to give in. Oh, Boromir, how you must have suffered. I suffer along with you, I can feel your pain as surely as if the bolts had pierced my own flesh. My chest heaves and I can feel the tears waiting to fall behind my closed eyelids. I feel a firm hand on my arm and I slowly lift my watery eyes to the concerned face I know I will find.
"Are you alright?" Aragorn asks me.
The question is a polite one for he can see clearly my emotional state.
"No," I clear my throat and give a brief glance to the rest of the group, "I am afraid you will have to excuse me, I am going to take a walk."
As I stand up Gimli gives me a kind smile and says, "Take all the time you need."
I try to smile back and I thank him, then I turn around and walk off in no particular direction. I step lightly over the cracked stone and murky puddles, hardly giving them a moments notice. My thoughts are far away from this place with its broken pillars and flooded roads, instead they are in a dense forest were a Gondorian warrior drew his last breath in my arms. Why did things have to happen this way? If only I had not let my guard down, if I had not let you out of my sight. If only I had correctly surmised what threatened us, what threatened you in time I might have prevented this.
I hear cautious steps behind me; Aragorn came to check on me , no doubt. He has been hovering over me these past days, not confining, he has merely been acting as a good friend. His worry for me is not without motive, for I am not sure of myself.
"Legolas," his inquires and he begins to walk at my side, "I know this may sound like a stupid question but how are you, really? How are you dealing with this?"
I take a deep breath before I answer. "How do you expect me to be? I am broken, Aragorn. My soul, my heart, they don't want to continue. Boromir was not the only one who died nine days ago. He took me with him, he took my will to live. I have fulfilled my obligation to him, I have seen the hobbits safe and am assured that they will continue to be for the time being. Now all I want to do is rest. But rest I cannot, not here or any place in Middle Earth."
"I don't to hear you talk that way." He stops me with a hand on my shoulder and gently turns me to face him. "I care about you, Legolas, and I won't have you giving up on yourself this easily."
"But how can I continue here, Aragorn, how can I live without him? I miss him so much."
My voice breaks and a small sob escapes my throat. I shakily wipe the tears that flow down my face. Warm arms encircle me and Aragorn pulls me against his chest. I tense a bit at first, but soon I return the comforting hug, my hands clutching at his clothes.
"It's alright, you can cry if you want to. It might do you good."
I obey him without thinking about it. I let go completely, I no longer seek to keep up an appearance of well-being. Sobs wrack my frame, tears fall heedlessly on Aragorn`s shoulder. I allow all my hurt, all my pain, and my hopelessness to be expressed in those tears. I cry harder and with more anguish than I have ever cried in my life; I feel my heart is about to burst. After a long while the tears subside, yet I still refuse to let go of Aragorn. Throughout all this he has held me silently, rubbing my back soothingly. Finally I lift my head from its recumbent position and draw my arms back.
"Do you feel batter?" he asks.
"A little." In truth I do feel somewhat more relieved, though the hurt is still palpable. "Thank you. You have been a good friend to me."
He smiles warmly at me. "I will always going to be here if you need me. Just do me a favor, don't concede to despair and don't be leaving this world yet. We need you here."
I give him a small smile and I answer honestly. "I will try to, though I do not yet know how."
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