Story: Journey to Mordor
Chapter II: Parting Ways
Author: Aislynn Crowdaughter
Rated: PG 13 for violence.
Characters: Fellowship, mainly Legolas, Gimli and the Hobbits. Aragorn is just in the first three chapters. Oh, and Oropher may have a guest appearance later!
Pairings: none. This is nonslash. Sorry, folks!
Warnings: AU. Violence. H/C. And Character death!!! I mean it!!!
Feedback: Very welcome. It's what I live for!
Disclaimer: Not mine. Tolkien's. The Movies belong to Peter Jackson. All used without permission and just for fun. I make no money out of this.
Beta: none for this. Sorry! Just me and my spell-checker.
Summary: What if at Amon Hen the Fellowship decided to go to Mordor after all? This starts out Movieverse and turns AU immediately. Boromir lives in this one.
Part II -- Parting Ways
“You don’t understand!” Aragorn said desperately. “We cannot go after Frodo! Not with the Burden he carries!” He bit his lip. “It has taken Boromir once already. It tried to take me. It will try to take us all, one by one, and it may succeed eventually, if we are close enough.”
He looked down, his face pained.
“That is the reason why I let Frodo go. That is the reason why he left. He wished to go alone to save us from it.”
Legolas shook his head. “He is not alone,” he reminded. “He took Sam with him.”
Aragorn nodded. “I know, and I am glad he did. But Sam will not likely try and take the ring from him, or let himself be goaded into fighting his master. We might.”
Legolas locked gazes with him, then, without breaking the gaze, he gave the man a very small but reassuring bow. “Yet you found in you the strength to let him go, Estel,” he said softly.
Aragorn swallowed dryly.
“This time,” he said.
Gimli shook his head.
“Well, while this might be the case, it does not help the problem,” he stated with his gravelly voice. “Sam might prove to be of little help if it comes down to a fight against Mordor's forces. I doubt two little Hobbits alone can last long in an attack.”
“Sam has proven his strength to fight in Moria!” protested Pippin. “He did his part against the Orcs there well enough!"
“So have we just now!” Merry added indignantly.
Aragorn cast an sidelong glance at them.
Legolas shifted the weight of his elven gaze to the two Hobbits.
“Yes you have,” he admitted. “Yet I doubt you would stand a chance against a greater force of Mordor's servants if you were to fight them alone. Especially in their own territory.”
Reasonably, he added: “And as much as I admire Master Samwise’s skill at wielding his frying pans, and Frodo's skill with his little sword, I fear the same is true for them.”
He shook his head. “You will need more help if it comes to a fight in the Dark Lands. You need a bow at your back, and a man's sword before you, and maybe also a Dwarven axe.”
Gimli gave the Elf a sharp look.
“Well spoken, friend,” he agreed. “And that is why we shall not let you go alone, shall we?”
Aragorn was growing desperate.
First Legolas, now Gimli. Couldn’t they understand? The danger was not merely in the forces of the enemy anymore, the greater danger was within! The fewer people the ring had to influence, the safer they all would be.
Defiantly he said: “Just a few hours ago you were not that eager to pass through Emyn Muil and through that swamp, Master Dwarf!”
Gimli shrugged. “That was before Frodo decided to go that way undefended,” he said. “I will not see the fellowship fail because I do not like the path it has to follow.”
Aragorn turned to the Elf. “Legolas!” he said in one last attempt to fend off the imploring disaster. “Just yesterday you said you did not want to go to Mordor. You said you wished to go to Minas Tirith with Boromir. So did Merry and Pippin!”
The Elf looked back at him and they locked gazes again.
“And do you not think,” Aragorn pressed, “that an elven glow might attract the gaze of the enemy if it is seen within his own land? Do you not think that your presence might draw the enemies attention, where two Hobbits alone might pass unnoticed?”
Legolas gave him a hard stare.
“Do you think my presence more prone to draw the enemies eye than the whispers of the ring itself, Dunadan?” he asked sharply, “Or as the presence of Isildur's heir?”
“As much practice as you have at secrecy close to the enemies strongholds, son of Thranduil,” he managed, “still I do not think that the very fires of Mordor are the place for an Elf. I have visited there before; and since Sauron has Easterlings and others in his service, a man may have the chance to go unnoticed there. An Elf will not.”
Legolas hesitated. As little as he liked it, the man had a point.
But then, Merry spoke up.
“Whatever you big people do, we will not let Frodo go into this danger alone. It’s true that we would have liked to see Minas Tirith, but we did not come so far to leave him now. Come Pippin,” he turned to his cousin, “we will take the second boat. If we hurry, we may still catch up with them.”
Legolas turned to them and Aragorn followed his gaze and sighed. They had already started to pack.
Aragorn made a last attempt. “Merry...”
But the Hobbit didn’t heed his voice and simply continued to sort out lembas and other package.
Legolas cocked his head and gave a little smile. “I am afraid my choice is made for me, Aragorn,” he said lightly, “while the idea of seeing your White City of men is a tempting one, and while I agree that I will find it hard to hide from the eyes of the enemy in Mordor, I cannot let Merry and Pippin travel there alone. Solely accompanied by a Dwarf,” he added as if in an afterthought. “They’d never make it!”
Pippin scowled and Gimli gave him a hard look. Merry simply continued to pack.
Aragorn bowed his head.
“I would have loved to have you at my side, mellon-nin,” he said, defeated, “and also I am torn, because I, too, feel the need to follow Frodo and I swore to protect him with my life. But I can’t follow you. I have to stay to see to Boromir. And I almost succumbed to the ring once already. Its call will only grow stronger now. I cannot go that way.”
Legolas nodded. “So this is where our ways must part,” he said.
Aragorn closed his eyes. Then he looked up at the Elf again.
Quietly he said: “I beg of you, be careful! I see danger there, and death. And it is you that I see falling in my dreams. I would not see you fall!”
Legolas looked at him sharply, then he shrugged. “I am a warrior of Greenwood,” he said solemnly, “I do not fear death if it may come to me!”
Aragorn bowed his head again. So this was goodbye, then.
Quietly, he said: “Farewell, mellon-nin. May the Valar protect you.” His voice broke.
Legolas gave him a solemn bow. He knew of Aragorn's gift of foresight and he trusted it. Still, his mind was made up. With dignity he said: “May the Valar give you their blessing and watch over you. Give my best wishes to Arwen.”
Then he smiled mischievously and added: “But Valar willing I will yet make it to your wedding.”
His wedding would also mean his coronation, since Elrond would give his daughter only to him if he became king. Legolas knew that.
“I hope to see you there,” he said, and stood up. He drew the Elf into a warriors embrace. “Until we meet again.”
He nearly choked on the words.
Legolas returned the embrace, then he let him go. He stepped away.
“Now,” he said, shifting his attention to Merry and Pippin again, “since it is settled that we follow Frodo, we have only to decide how Aragorn and Boromir shall make it to their White City." He turned to Aragorn again. "Shall we leave you a boat? Or will you travel on foot? Surely you cannot stay here until Boromir is better. These Uruks will be back.”
Merry and Pippin looked up, obviously startled. Aragorn looked at Legolas with admiration. He could just have embraced him again. With one little question, the elf had taken command of the situation and reminded the Hobbits that they still belonged to a fellowship and all decisions made had to take care of all of them. Legolas had been content to follow the leadership of Gandalf and then Aragorn on this quest so far, but in his own realm he was after all a proven captain, too.
Merry looked at him incredulously. “The boats? But we need them to cross the stream! And the falls...”
“We need only one boat to cross the stream,” he pointed out. “First I could take Gimli and one of you over the stream, then I could come back and get the other one. Aragorn and Boromir could take the other boat to travel down the river to their destination”
“You cannot mean to have them traveling to Minas Tirith by boat! How would you get the boat down the falls?” Gimli said.
Legolas shrugged again. “Aragorn and I could take it down the stairs,” he said, “then we can come back to get Boromir.”
Aragorn added: “Or we can simply send it down the falls of Rauros. These are elven boats. They will not sink. Legolas can go down and catch it with an arrow with rope tied to it.”
The Elf laughed merrily. “A merry hunt that’ll be,” he said, “I always wanted to shoot a boat! However, there is one flaw in your plan, Estel.”
Aragorn looked at him. “So?”
“Our only rope is currently on the way to Mordor in the company of Sam!” the Elf pointed out.
“Do not worry!” Legolas laughed. “I can surely catch your boat just swimming! But first we need to see if the passage down the stairs is still free and if it can be managed by a wounded man. Otherwise, you’d better take the road through Rohan.”
Aragorn nodded. “Take one of the Hobbits with you,” he suggested. “I doubt that a wounded man will be capable to walk every way where an Elf may tread.”
Legolas bowed to him, then made a curtly bow in front of Pippin.
“I ask your company on this mission, Master Peregrin,” he merrily said, “since I know you are nearly as fleet-footed as an Elf, and we two may be back faster than if I took the Dwarf.”
Gimli growled: “And besides this Dwarf may be of use here to defend our wounded comrade and your cousin, while you and the Elf stumble about!”
Legolas straightened in dignity.
“Elves do not ‘stumble’,” He remarked, then whipped around and stalked away to the stairs. Pippin got up. “Nor do Hobbits,” he added, and followed the Elf.
Aragorn looked after them, then shook his head and began to sort through their things to divide their rations.
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It took only an hour until the Elf and the Hobbit were back. Legolas shook his head.
“The passage is clear for only three landings,” he reported. “After that, it becomes impossible to pass for anybody who has not a rope or an Elf's ability to climb. There are a few great trees that fell down on it, and whole landings have broken away. You may be capable to go down there alone, ranger. With Boromir in tow you’ll never make it!”
“And Elves could climb that?” he asked. “There are places where the stairs simply aren’t there! You’d have to be capable to fly to pass down them!”
Aragorn merely nodded. “It is as I have feared, then,” he said. “I had hoped the stairs would still be there, but I feared them gone or blocked. Very well. Then Boromir and I will choose the way through Rohan.”
He had not been idle in the meantime. Their rations were divided, their packages sorted. Boromir had been bedded in a hidden place somewhere nearby with the help of his comrades, a place where Aragorn and he could stay undetected for some days, if their luck held. In a few days, with any luck, Boromir might heal enough to be capable of traveling. The ranger had said his farewells already to Merry and Gimli. All was prepared; he was ready.
Legolas hesitated. “Are you sure?” he asked. “You will have to travel soon. The Uruks will be back. They musn't find you!”
Aragorn cocked a brow. “I will avoid them if I can,” he said. “I am a ranger, remember? I can avoid to be found if I wish. You better take care of yourself, Master Elf! You and your merry company can’t afford discovery as well!”
Legolas cocked a brow in response, but then he merely nodded. He gave a small bow.
“Then we will go, Dunadan,” he said. “Luck on your way! May you have a safe journey!”
Aragorn bowed back. “You, too!” he replied. “I have prepared the packages.”
He stood up and placed a hand on Pippins shoulder, then he took one of the prepared bundles and walked away to the hidden place where they had bedded Boromir. He did not embrace Legolas again. They had said their farewells already. There was nothing he could add to that.
The Elf watched him go. Then he turned back to his three comrades.
“Lead the way, Master Dwarf,” he invited. “I suggest we start our travel then.”
Gimli just growled something unidentifiable as he climbed into the boat.
Aragorn watched them go out of his hiding place in the forest. He had the distinct feeling that he would not see all of them alive again.
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