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.
A company of four creatures arrived to the gates of Minas Tirith, drawing many curious glances at their directions. Not caring about the stares of the Men milling around them, the four arrivals came to the gate of the White City, only to find themselves stopped by a group of guards.
“Lower your hoods, and tell your business,” one of the guards said none too courteously, fingering his weapon with distrust.
The four creatures looked at each other, then at the guards, and then the foremost of them lowered the hood of his cloak to his neck, staring up to the guards from under heavy eyebrows. “The hospitality of Gondor has seemingly lessened since I visited here for the last time,” a low voice stated calmly. “But if you may, I and my companions would wish to be on our way: we are in haste and on an important mission.” As this didn’t make the guards convinced, the short creature took a step forward. “We are on a business of a King,” the low voice said ominously.
One of the guards swallowed, glancing at his companions. “And what may that business be, master Dwarf?”
The Dwarf snorted disapprovingly. “Do you always question your King’s allies like this?”
“Of course not, master Dwarf. Please, you may enter,” said one of the other guards, stepping aside. His comrades also noticed that the Dwarves seemed to be on a grim mood, and as far as their knowledge reached, it is not a wise thing to challenge a Dwarf. And the guards on the last gates would make sure that no irrelevant visitors were allowed in to meet the King.
“Thank you,” said the Dwarf who had been speaking, placing the hood back to his head and then he marched through the gates with his companions.
“Are we indeed on a business of the King?” said a smallest of the group, his voice far more higher than the other’s.
“Hush, young one,” said another one, placing a steady hand upon the smallest’s shoulder. It did not do any good to them to draw more unwanted attention.
“My Lord?” came a hesitant voice from the door of the King’s study, and Aragorn beckoned for the servant to continue, his eyes still glued on a paper before him. “There is a small company of Dwarves waiting for you in a Hall, my liege,” the servant continued. “They insisted to meet you.”
Finally Aragorn looked up from his work, shock upon his face. “Dwarves?” he asked, puzzled.
“Yes, my Lord.”
Putting aside the papers, Aragorn slowly raised from his chair. As to why a company of Dwarves would be in Minas Tirith, he did not know. But I will find out soon, he thought. Not waiting for the servant to follow him, Aragorn strode to the Hall of Kings.
When he reached the great room, he halted, throwing a critical eye over the company which waited him. All four of the Dwarves were hooded – there was no mistake of their race, at least for Aragorn – and one was slightly smaller than the others. All wore worn travel cloaks that hid their features, and it seemed that they still wore their weapons as well.
Aragorn stepped forward, slowly walking to meet the Dwarves. The silent discussion between the four ended immediately, and one of them took a step forward. “About time for you to show up, lad. And what has become to your people? They barely let us in of the gate, without speaking of the trouble we went through before allowed into the citadel.”
Aragorn nearly jumped out of his skin, stopping dead on his tracks. He stared at the Dwarf in front of him, absurd ideas running through his head.
“Oh don’t just stare there. Have you completely forgotten your manners, Aragorn?” the same gruff voice continued, and finally the Dwarf threw the hood down around his neck, revealing a familiar face.
“Gimli son of Glóin! Long have you indeed waited to appear back to the world of living!” Aragorn exclaimed in astonishment.
“Back? I never left, old friend,” Gimli said a little more soberly, bowing at Aragorn. “I believe we have a lot to talk about.”
“Indeed, we have,” Aragorn said, folding his hands across his chest.
After Gimli’s four companions had retired to their rooms, Gimli sat down with Aragorn to speak. They enjoyed a cup of wine in Aragorn’s study, staring at the fire burning in the heart.
“I heard of Arwen. How did such an evil thing happen?” Gimli mused aloud. “You have my deepest sympathy.”
“Thank you, my friend. And as for how it happened, nor why, we haven’t yet found the answer,” Aragorn stated, taking a long drink from his goblet. “But tell me now, how did you survive? We all thought that you died in the battle of Woodland Realm.”
Gimli gave the man a questioning look but knew he wouldn’t get any answers from the man before he had given him some first. “As far as I can remember, the Orcs overcame me, and in the end, they probably tossed me into a river,” the Dwarf began, sorrow in his eyes, and his hand moved to the necklace around his neck. Aragorn saw this but waited, wishing the other first to tell his story. “I was saved by my own people – those who now accompany me. They took me to Erebor, and I was healed there. Against the advises of my father I came here when I felt strong enough, wishing to find out what happened in the world after… The three others of my kin are going to Aglarond, and they refused to try to speak to the Elves of Eryn Lasgalen. I was willing to go alone, but…”
“You came here, of which I am glad,” Aragorn said quietly, leaning forward. “As for the battle…”
“I lost Legolas,” the Dwarf breathed out. “I tried to fight the enemy, but they reached him –”
“Legolas lives, Gimli,” Aragorn stated softly, laying one hand upon Gimli’s shoulder. “He was taken by the Orcs, but he escaped. I was among the group of Men who finally found him – united by Elves from East Lórien. We took Legolas to Rivendell, for his wounds were too bad for me to take care of. Éomer went to help the Elves to the north, but as far as I have heard, his trip wasn’t a complete success.”
“Legolas lives?!” Gimli asked, his eyes shining with an inner light for the first time since he was rescued from the river.
“Yes, and he is quite well. I left him to Rivendell to recover, but he will be fine enough to return soon…” Aragorn went silent, his eyes glancing at the window on the other side of the room. “The Elves are gone. Ithilien is deserted. My people drove them away in false belief that they were involved in Arwen’s death.”
Gimli didn’t say anything for a long while, his brows drawn together. Then he sighed deeply, shaking his head. “Then there is not many reasons for our Elf to stay on these shores, if all his people are leaving.”
Mutely, Aragorn nodded. The Sea’s calling had already awoken in Legolas, and if his people now took the journey over, it was unlikely what the Prince would resist. Again, he wished he had taken Legolas with him when he departed from Rivendell. But if Legolas truly decided to leave, it was his decision, and they all should honour it.
Again, they sat in silence, both in their own, gloomy thoughts.
to be continued…