Title: The Last Journey
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
Era: Fourth Age of the Sun
Genre: AU, Action/Adventure
Rating: M / FRM
Main characters: Aragorn, Celeborn, Elladan, Elrohir, Elrond, Éomer, Erestor, Faramir, Gandalf, Gimli, Glorfindel, Haldir, Legolas, Meriadoc, Nazgûl, Pippin, Thranduil (, OCs).
Pairings: Legolas/OMC (brief Aragorn/Arwen, Éowyn/Faramir)
Summary: After many peaceful years that have followed the war against Sauron, everything changes. Evil returns, striking without warning, and it is stronger than ever before. It is time for the final fight, but who shall achieve victory?
Work in Process.
Warnings: Characters’ death (major, OC), violence, torture, slash, mild sexual content (het and slash), plenty of evil, etc.
The sun was setting behind the western mountains, colouring the sky with red and blue. Aragorn watched silently, Faramir close by his side, neither of them speaking. They wanted to cherish this brief moment as long as it would last; there would be plenty of time for speech later.
Slowly the sun disappeared behind the mountains and only the light of the stars lit the night. The lights from the city glowed dimly in the distance. Where the two men stood, everything was silent, and only the far voices of the people in the lower levels shouting ‘good nights’ broke the serenity of night.
At last Aragorn sighed deeply, raising his head so he could watch the stars above. “So many things have changed, and yet those stars are the very same ones that I watched years ago, sitting by the campfire in the wilderness.” He sighed again. “Though I know I should forget such things, I cannot do it.”
“Surely you don’t have to forget such things, my Lord, but to cherish the memories of your past,” Faramir replied quietly, gazing at the stars as well. “I feel the same longing, more often nowadays: a longing to be out there, far from cities and boring discussions about politics, surrounded by nature and steadfast companions…” Faramir trailed off, waving vaguely with his hand towards the forests on the other side of the river Anduin, which of course could not been seen right now in the darkness, but which both of them knew lay there.
Aragorn stared at the man beside him, a little shocked of the latest statement. He had not thought that Faramir could feel the same longing that he felt, as he was the same man who arranged most of the meetings to his King and was always present in them. But now Aragorn reminded himself of the fact that Faramir had also been a ranger and had lived in the wilderness for long periods of time. “Steadfast companions,” Aragorn echoed at last, “aye, that’s what I miss as well, maybe even more than the feeling of freedom itself. It has been a long time since I have seen any of my companions from those years I yet wasn’t a King. And it grieves my heart that I cannot go to my friends, but they have to come to me in attempt to be in my company.”
“You are a King, my Lord,” Faramir said gently.
“I am, and many times during the last few years I have cursed my blood and heritage, for they have forced me into this situation. In the beginning there was so much to do and repair after Sauron’s destruction, and during those years many of my friends visited me frequently. But now, they have gone to their own roads, and I have to stay here, imprisoned by my crown and my responsibilities.” Aragorn’s last sentence was barely a whisper, and Faramir had to strain his hearing to make out the words.
Faramir didn’t know how to respond to that. After all, Aragorn was right: his friends were on their own ways now, among their own peoples, and Aragorn was bound to stay here. Of course Éomer of Rohan visited them quite often, partly because of his sister Éowyn, who now dwelled with Faramir in Gondor, though she also travelled to Rohan to meet her own people. And Legolas was also a regular visitor, because of the Elven colony he ruled in Ithilien lay close to Minas Tirith, and sometimes Aragorn went himself to Ithilien to visit his friend and to see how the Elves got along. And Gimli the Dwarf, who now ruled in Aglarond, visited often his Elven friend in Ithilien, and generally stayed also in the White City for a while, usually with the Elf. Right now Legolas and Gimli were visiting their own peoples in the north, and Éomer was busy with the matters of his own land. None of them would be expected to come into Gondor for months.
But not being able to see old friends wasn’t the main problem, in the end, and Faramir knew that as well as his Lord. And he truly hoped that he would find some kind of a solution to this obstacle. But that seemed to be a rather difficult task, for they both were needed in Gondor, almost daily.
They started to walk back towards the citadel, both of then in their own thoughts, which in the end weren’t very different from one another. At last Aragorn stopped, waking Faramir abruptly from his own thoughts. “My Lord?” Faramir asked silently, waiting for an answer for such a sudden stop. For a long moment Aragorn was content with only staring at the city, and then he quietly started to speak, voicing the thoughts of both men:
“I really miss those times. I do not desire for war nor death, but the feeling of excitement and freedom. I crave for uncertainty of what lies ahead tomorrow, for now I know exactly what will happen today, tomorrow… gods, I even know what will happen when the next week comes!” Aragorn gasped in anguish. “I feel so empty and useless, like I would have lost something important from the inside of me; something that before was so important that I couldn’t survive without it.”
Faramir smiled, but it was a smile of irony. “An adventure we need, my Lord, and soon, if that can be helped. I wonder if Prince Legolas and Master Gimli could get us into one when they return from their own, for I have herd that they have this amazing skill – especially when they are travelling together – to find adventures even from the most unlikely places.”
Aragorn laughed at this comment, and at last there was no disquietude in his voice. “You are definitely right, my fellow ranger! We need an adventure. Maybe I will speak of this to Legolas and Gimli when they return.”
“If they return. I still find myself wondering at many occasions how they haven’t managed to get each other killed by now.”
They both laughed at this, sharing that opinion fully, and started walking again, their mood much lighter now than few moments before. When they arrived back to the citadel, they went to Aragorn’s study to drink and speak, for they had much to discuss, and they knew that their ladies wouldn’t be waiting for them.
The friendship between Arwen and Éowyn had grown greatly during the last few years, and now that they had that one thing more to discuss about… Both men were definitely happy that the women got along, for they two were after all only men, and could not understand the joy of bearing a child. Now Arwen and Éowyn could speak of these matters as much as they desired, and it seemed that the Ladies took the given opportunity willingly: those two haven’t been seen much apart after Éowyn’s arrival. While the women took care of entertaining each other, their husbands could talk about the matters of Gondor and of their own interests.
Reaching the doors of the citadel and nodding for the saluting guards, the King and the Steward passed inside, not knowing that their so much desired ‘adventure’ was closer than neither of them excepted, and at the same time it would be far more terrible than neither of them would ever wish for…
to be continued…