Challenge: the Sea
decription: The Three Hunters are resting from the chase during TTT. Legolas' mind is in unrest.
They sit by the fire, taking in every flare, every curve of the billowing flames perhaps trying to understand its rhythm, or perhaps trying to run away. Little do they know that no solace can be found in those flames; the rhythm is erratic and unstable. I know, for I live these flames, the leaves of the trees, the chill of the morning every moment of my life. Such are the ways of my people. Such are the ways of the immortal.
Now rest comes to us. As I stare out past the trees, I can't help but turn away to look back at my two companions by the fire--the fire they beg to take them away. They seem not to notice the other's presence, nor do they notice mine. Lost in their own thoughts, they have forgotten that doubts are for the weak. They are strong, Aragorn and Gimli. I can see it, even if they cannot, blinded by doubts. Doubts? What can Aragorn possibly be doubting? he believes he is a failure, but by the Vala I know differently. No, if he were a failure we would not be chasing after the Uruks. We would not be finding courage within our hearts when chaos has harshly ripped every shred from us. Boromir is lost to us now, and Aragorn cannot change that. He believes it his own fault the warrior is dead, but Boromir was lost to us long before Amon Hen....
And then there is Gimli. That stout-hearted dwarf! If only he knew how much he meant to me. He is closer to me than any elf ever was, perhaps because of his selflessness. Elves can be the most graceful and marvelous of people, and then they can be righteous and saturated with pride. Gimli sacrifices without hesitation, gives without a second thought, exerts all his strength and continues onward without complaint. Others may say what they will, but my belief will remain firm: that these qualities are present as strong in no other being in Middle-Earth.
Yet beneath his rock outer-layer there is a tenderness I had never known of when I left Rivendell. And Aragorn.... how my opinion of him has changed since I first met him in Mirkwood twenty years ago! I thought him--at first glance--to be a mere warrior, but when first we spoke it seemed as though wisdom poured from his lips. I still find it difficult to believe that one with such radiant qualities as he could be from the line of the traitor Isildur.
Isildur.... I see it in his eyes. That name is a burden of the heaviest rock upon his shoulders, and he bears it quietly, thinking we do not see. Little does he know his eyes betray him. I can see through his mask--what small part of it is left after the events of Amon Hen--into the depths of his soul. The guilt of Isildur does not follow him, nor does it reflect on him, nor is he destined to walk in the shadow of Isildur's mistakes. But these things I cannot make him understand. No, these he must learn on his own. Nothing Gimli or I could say would wipe away that stain.
As I look at each in turn I realize that my thoughts are reflected in their eyes. There is an equilibrium among us I had never seen before; perhaps because it was not there. Elf, man, and dwarf could sit by this fire in silence for the rest of the night, and each would know the others' deepest reflections. Our understanding, our bond gives us strength. Will it be strength enough to save Merry and Pippin, I wonder. Do they wait for us alive somewhere by a fire like this one, striving for warmth?
Warmth.... the warmth of my soul.... the sea....
I see it when I close my eyes. Even as I sleep the flowing waters flash before me. Night after night I have a reoccurring dream, though these past few nights it has grown in intensity. I am standing on a cliff, and far below me are the foamy waters crashing against the rocky hillside. I take in the crisp, clean air and stare out into the vast waters. Suddenly, there is a rasping sound behind me. I slowly turn to look, and a swarm of gulls come at me, forcing me from the cliff. Before I hit the waters I wake. I fear it may be a sign of things to come, but I suppose only time will tell. May whatever stars that control my fate steer me on course. I fear it not, though perhaps I should....