And the sky full of stars: Part V
by: Jen

The week passed. To Legolas it seemed an eternity. Banished to the couch, forced to keep his bandaged foot immobile, he stayed.

During the day he was mostly alone. A few eyes peaked through windows. But even after the first day, that stopped. Elesia was in and out. Long enough to hand him some food and was back out the door. Gimli following along behind her as the villagers reenforced the gates under Gimli's watchful eyes.

At night, Gimli and Elesia would update him on what they'd accomplished during the day. But being able to do little more but listen, Legolas had little advice to offer, only words of encouragement. And even his words of encouragement lacked their usual luster after the third day of being indoors.

On the fourth day, Gimli mentioned his theory of the village trees and how he was certain he had found the Entwives. This news alone was enough to cause Legolas to spring to his feet. Despite all protests from Old Rose, he insisted he was healed and that he would go outside the next day.

The fifth day dawned. Legolas was outside to greet it. All was peaceful. The village was asleep. Under the boughs of the trees he stood as the sunlights first rays peaked through the branches. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, letting the wind caress his cheeks. He listened to the sounds of the trees and walked amongst them. Stopping frequently to run his hand along the bark. Looking up into their leafy branches, he thought that perhaps Gimli was correct. Maybe these were the Entwives that left the Fangorn Forest long ago. He sat in the natural hollows along the base of the trunk and stared up into the branches in a thoughtful silence. Which was how Elesia found him.

"Do all elves wake with the sun?" she asked.

"Only those who have not seen it rise in many days." He said.

"You tire of my hospitality?" she asked, mocking hurt.

"Never." He said. "But I long for a ceiling of endless blue skies by day and stars by night."

They sat in a companionable silence, watching the sun as it rose and the rays as they flickered through the branches above them.

"I have never seen trees of this sort." He said.

"They are a mystery. Many stories have been told about their origins." She said.

"In this age it is a comfort to know that some mysteries are left to be explained and some things of wonder still inhabit the earth, though all else is fading." He said. He rose, turning his attention away from the branches and looked towards the front gates. "In a quieter time, I should like to hear those stories."

"When the orcs are gone." She said. Her tone of voice gave her doubts away, as they walked together towards the gates.

"They will be destroyed." Legolas said. "It will only take some time."

"I believe you." She said.

"But.." Legolas said.

"But it a long way from Gondor and King's have other things to fill their days than being concerned with a handful of orcs leagues away from his throne." She said.

"Aragorn is concerned with all in his kingdom. Not only those nearby. He has traveled far and wide and holds every road traveled and untravelled dear to his heart." Legolas said.

"If that is true then he must be a wise king indeed. For those who came before him gave not a thought to ones so far away." Elesia said. They approached the front gates.

"He will not fail you." He said. "Nor will I.

He said a few words in a language that she could not understand. Then he translated them into the Common Tongue.

"On my honor as son of Thranduil, King of Mirkwood. We will return." He said.

"Your father is a king? So you are a Prince?" she asked.

"In title only, my father will never give up his throne. And I have no desire to take it." He said. "My future lies elsewhere."

Elesia said nothing. There was a sad longing in his eyes. And it seemed to Elesia that in his blue eyes she could see the waves of the endless sea, stretching out before her. But it quickly faded and he shook the feeling away.

"Let us see the gates and I shall see if Gimli is as good with wood as he is with rocks." Legolas said.

He quickly leapt upon to the gates, examining the craftmanship. He could see the extra barriers along every weak spot on the gates. It was reenforced with both rock and wood. Along the top of the gates there was a small space wide enough for one man to stand, many rocks had been gathered. Gimli had constructed weapons to fling the stones long distances. Some stones were coated and wrapped with hay, so that when lit with fire they would burn. It looked strong and the area was well defencible. But with so few to guard it, the fight would be hard should the orcs return.

Elesia joined him on the top of the gates. As if reading his thoughts said, "It will be a hard fight, but we can defend ourselves."

He looked at her for a very long time. She held his gaze.

"I do not doubt it. I should be proud to stand in battle beside you. Though I hope it will not come to that." He said.

"As do I." She said.

They looked out across the empty valley towards the mountains.

| Part VI |
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