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.
Gimli wandered through the streets of Minas Tirith, Adír and young Fundal following close behind. A sound of metal ringing against metal filled the air, shouts of Men adding their own essence to the mix.
Faramir walked some distance behind the Dwarves, watching interested how the smaller folk travelled through the streets, searching for a suitable place to do their shopping. They had already passed several smiths – which on Faramir’s opinion would have been quite good – but Gimli and his companions had only given a small glance to those and then continued forward. It seemed that the Dwarves knew what they were looking for. After a while the Dwarves stopped before one smithy, speaking quietly with a bearded man dressed in a worn leather tunic. Then they started to list what they needed.
Somewhat relieved, Faramir lifted his hand to sweep away the sweat covering his forehead. As soon as they were done, Faramir would insist for them to return to the higher levels of the city. How the Dwarves managed to work in their deep, hot chasms all day, he did not know. For him, travelling the streets surrounded by warmth-spreading smithies was enough.
Finally the Dwarves were done, thanking the smith with low bows and then turned to the sweating Steward. The amused glint in Gimli’s eyes didn’t make Faramir feel any better, but it seemed that the Dwarf at least felt slight pity for him. “If you have nothing to do here, we may return back to the palace,” the Dwarf announced, and Faramir actually let out a pleased sigh.
“I am very ready to return,” Faramir answered as courteously as he could.
There came a low chuckle from one of the other Dwarves, but Gimli merely nodded good-naturedly, heading out towards the gate of the second level. After a small while of walk Fundal stopped, looking at the side to a group of people. Adír also halted, motioning the youth to come along. But the youngster refused, looking at Gimli pointedly. Gimli stalked back, one heavy eyebrow arched. Fundal glanced at the Men again, and then leaned closer to Gimli. “They spoke of an Elf. I didn’t hear much, but I am sure they mentioned the word ‘Elf’.”
Gimli looked at the youth, then at the Men some distance away. Only a few of them where from Minas Tirith, it seemed: some were clothed as those who lived in the villages further away in Gondor. Inching a little closer, Gimli strained his hearing, wishing to catch the word that his younger kinsman had. The shouts on the streets made it hard to hear, and Gimli went even closer, at last being able to hear the voices of Men, even if he couldn’t make out the words. Then suddenly a chorus of gasps on the Dwarf’s side made him jump. Gimli looked quickly at his side, finding himself staring at a pair of wide eyes. Two young boys stared at the Dwarf with such interest and awe that Gimli found himself smiling despite the situation. It never stopped to amaze him how the other races reacted when seeing him – especially if he travelled with the Elf.
And speaking of an Elf...
Gimli turned back to the crowd, frowning. If he wished to hear, he would have to go closer.
“Are you truly a Dwarf, mister?” a fearful voice asked beside Gimli, and again he turned to the direction of boys.
“Aye, I am. Gimli, son of Glóin, at your service,” Gimli said and bowed deeply.
“I am Bret, and this is my friend Josh,” said the other boy, seemingly uncertain how he should answer.
“Did you hear anything?” came another young voice from behind Gimli, but it did not, for once, belong to a mannish child.
“Nay, Fundal. Now, go back to Adír and –”
“But I am sure I heard them speak of an Elf,” the youth argued, seemingly unwilling to give up.
“An Elf?” other of the boys asked, taking a tentative step forward.
“Yes, an Elf,” Gimli sighed.
“What do you want to know about the Elf?” the boy who had been named as Josh asked. “I mean, Dwarves and Elves are not... coming along too well, I suppose.”
Gimli couldn’t help but laugh, but soon he controlled himself, his eyes alight with mirth. “Most ones of our races don’t come along with each other, but I am an exception. I have an Elven friend who would be in trouble all the time if I would not be there for him.”
“Oh,” Josh said, then glanced at the Men. A strange expression came over his face as he looked at Gimli again, leaning nearer. “Are you a friend to Elves, then? Or only to one?”
“We come along,” Gimli said hesitantly. “You could call us good friends, perhaps.”
The other boy also came closer, eyeing the older Men. “They say they caught an Elf a night ago,” the boy said, and snorted, looking at Gimli. “Do not believe them, for it is a lie: they did not catch the Elf.”
“Caught an Elf?” Fundal exclaimed, but Gimli’s hand upon his mouth silenced him as the older Dwarf turned his full attention into the boys.
“Why don’t you tell me this from the beginning?”
The boys looked at each other, and then Bret continued. “We were on a field that night – not that we were supposed to be there,” he added guiltily, but then proceeded again. “We saw a group of riders emerge from the forest: a blond one – the Elf, as we later learned – and riders wearing black cloaks.”
“They were frightening,” Josh continued as a shudder ran through his lithe form. “They hunted the pale one, but then one more black rider came, and he caught up with the Elf, and they brought him down...” the boy fell silent, as if he was seeing the events again in his mind.
“At the morning, someone brought the Elf into a village near to ours,” Bret continued, some hint of anger and shame in his voice. “The adults are planning to burn him at sunset today. They claim that he is involved in the death of the Queen, and that he must die.”
Gimli swallowed, trying to control his rising fear desperately. “The Elf, what did he look like?” he spoke out quickly, glancing at the Men still gathered together only few yards away from them. A feel of dread rose in the Dwarf’s mind as he tried to guess what the Men were discussing about. Burning an Elf...
“He had a blond hair, but he was unconscious when we saw him, and he was quite far away...” Bret frowned, trying to remember.
“His horse was black, like those who hunted him, but it seemed to be more elegant in its moves, and quicker too,” Josh added, smiling a little.
“Legolas...” Gimli whispered. It had to be his Elf. No other Elf would do such a ridiculous thing. “Thank you,” he said to the boys and turned to return to the others, but then whipped around again, startling the boys. “Where will this... burning take place?” he questioned, trying to hold his voice even.
“Near the crossing of Erui and Anduin, my lord. You will easily find the place if you ask from Men,” Josh said. “It is not a great village, but –”
“Again, I thank you, young masters. Now, Fundal, hurry!” Gimli said, racing back to the main street where Faramir was waiting with Adír.
“Is aught wrong, Lord Gimli?” Faramir asked, worried look upon his face.
“We must go back to Aragorn at once,” Gimli said as he raced past the Man. “Legolas has again got himself into a trouble,” he murmured. They are going to burn my Elf! Unthinkable stupidity... Oh, let them wait until I get there. Or Aragorn. Yes, Aragorn will be definitely furious.
Not bothering to look if the others followed, Gimli raced through the street as fast as his short feet carried, his mind playing many variations about the moment when Aragorn would hear this new set of bad news…
to be continued…