Fallen Leafs, Part XIII
by Areli


They reached Fangorn by nightfall.  

Gandalf leapt off his horse and ran into the forest. Legolas stayed next to his horse on the ground just before the forest. Aragorn and Gimli stopped to wait for him. 

"Come Legolas. The horses shall be all right." 

"Yet I don't trust mine. He may be a spy to Saruman." Legolas said worriedly. "It is all right. I shall stay here."  

"I will stay with you." Aragorn said. 

"And I as well."  

Gandalf had been long gone and seemed to have not noticed their absence. 

"Tell us Legolas, what happened?" Aragorn said after a moment.  

Legolas stared up at the full moon and breathed in deeply. 

"Must I tell about it?" he asked.  

"Yes." Gimli said sternly. There was a long moment of silence that seemed to stretch out before them like an endless cloak.  

At long last Legolas spoke, his thoughts collected. 

"Saruman tempted me with the ring. He told me to use it...over and over again...he shouted that I put it on and join them..." 

"At long last I grabbed the ring. Things seemed hopeless for me at the time. That is, until I remembered what Gandalf had told Frodo in the Mines of Moria."  

"What did he say?" Gimli asked.  

"He said that we were to make the best of the time we had. To have hope as I thought of it. So I took the ring and put it on. I was cast into the world of shadows and tried to escape from Isengard but Saruman sensed where I was and knocked me unconsious." 

"I woke up on a torture rack. They wanted to mutilate me into an orc...I was of no more use to them..." 

"At the last moment Saruman told them to stop, that I would die slowly in a cold chamber. And as I was dragged down the halls, I saw that the ring was on a chain around Saruman's neck. In the darkness of the chamber the ring clattered to the ground as Saruman turned. It rolled towards me, as if seeking me." 

"I picked it up shakily and put it into my pocket before it tempted me further yet I didn't feel it's effects any longer. I do not know why...perhaps they have poisoned my body..." 

"That is simply too terrible to comprehend." Aragorn said sadly. He hugged Legolas for a moment. "I am so sorry my friend that we did not come sooner." Legolas smiled slightly. 

"At least you came at all. I am eternally greatful."  

They waited long into the night for Gandalf to return yet he never seemed to. Aragorn and Gimli began to grow drowsy and fell asleep on the ground while Legolas continued to look around at his surroundings, making sure they hadn't been followed and such.  

Gandalf suddenly appeared and stared at Legolas for a moment.  

"What?" Legolas asked. Gandalf continued to stare yet shook his head. 

"No...it is nothing..." he hopped on his horse. "Come, wake the others up, we must ride to Mordor now."  

Legolas shook the two awake and told them of their new destination. They were obviously less than thrilled but knew it to be their duty.  

Together the three rode off through Rohan's fields, directly to Mordor.

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