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I borrow characters and settings from Tolkien, but they are his, not mine. I gain only the enriched imaginative life that I assume he intended me to gain.
Many thanks to Nilmandra for beta reading this chapter.
5. Amdir’s Story
Amdir looked happily at Legolas. “Sinnarn says you are better,” he said. “I am glad. I was worried about you.”
Legolas could not help smiling at Amdir’s good cheer. “I do feel better. I am hoping that Belówen lets me up on crutches sometime soon. I think he would have done so already, if I had not broken my ribs too.” He hesitated. He did not want to embarrass Amdir. “I was sorry to hear that you had been reassigned,” he finally offered sympathetically.
Amdir gave a snort. “Eilian carried on as if Sinnarn and I had done something terrible. So far as I can see, we did not even violate his order that much.”
Legolas regarded him with some dismay. Surely Amdir had been a warrior long enough to know that most officers “carried on” if you violated orders at all. In contrast to Sinnarn, Amdir seemed not at all chastened by the fact that he had been reassigned to the Home Guard.
For a good many years now, Legolas had been trying to act as an older brother to Amdir, one who could give him the kind of attention and guidance that his exceedingly detached parents seemed unable to provide. He had acted partly out of guilt: When he had been almost old enough to start his novice training, Legolas had been present when Turgon, Amdir’s real older brother, was killed by Orcs because he and Legolas had been where they were not supposed to be. Turgon had suggested the unauthorized trip to the forest, true, but Legolas had gone along with it and not stopped him.
And then he had seen Amdir running wild, given license by his parents’ permissiveness, as if they could not be bothered trying to guide their willful younger son any more than they had his brother. Legolas had not always been happy with his own father’s strictness, but as he had grown older, he had come to appreciate the way that the rules that had governed his life had both protected him from danger and nudged him into acceptable behavior.
And guilt had not been the only emotion that led Legolas to try to help Amdir. Turgon had been maddeningly undisciplined, but he had also been an affectionate and loyal friend, who had shared the events of Legolas’s life from a time dating before his mother’s death. Legolas missed him even yet. Turgon had never had a chance to grow into a responsible adult; Legolas was determined that Amdir would. There had been long stretches of time when Legolas had been unable to see Amdir much because he had duties elsewhere, but he had never lost sight of what he believed were his obligations to the young warrior. And he had been glad when they had wound up in the same patrol.
Legolas knew that his family had mixed feelings about his association with Amdir. On one hand, when he had been in the difficult years between childhood and adulthood, they had all spent a fair amount of time urging him to be more responsible, and they could not deny that he had assumed responsibility with Amdir. On the other hand, at different times, his father and brothers had all told him that he could not be Amdir’s father and that the task he was taking on was an impossible one. And sometimes Legolas had to concede that they were right. Like now, for instance. If suffering Eilian’s rage and being sent home had not affected Amdir, then what could Legolas possibly say that might penetrate his thick skull?
Frustrated, Legolas stared at the ceiling for a moment. “What do you mean, you did not violate Eilian’s orders ‘that much’? What made you think you could violate them at all?”
Amdir shrugged impatiently. “I still do not think we did!”
Legolas turned a level gaze on him.
Amdir grimaced. “Well, maybe we did.”
Legolas groaned. He was making no progress with Amdir, he decided. He might as well get on with solving his own problems. As he had when questioning Sinnarn, he considered tactics. “Why not tell me about how you saw the patrol going?” he finally suggested. “I would like to hear your point of view on things.”
Amdir brightened, and Legolas promptly felt guilty. I need to know this, he reminded himself, and I need to know it now. I am not going to be able to fool Adar or Ithilden much longer. “I am glad that someone has finally asked how I saw things,” Amdir prattled happily. “No one ever listens to me.”
Legolas sighed. “Just get on with it,” he said glumly, and Amdir launched into his account of the northern Border Patrol’s trip to the Grey Mountains.
Amdir lay stretched at full length on the branch of a pine tree, watching the small group of Dwarves hurry past beneath him. The Elves had heard the Dwarves coming and slipped silently into hiding. They waited now for the Dwarves to disappear toward the south and for Eilian to sound the signal that they could all resume their search for some clue as to why the Dwarves were on the move.
Given that the northern Border Patrol’s mission was to acquire information about the Dwarves that they had not willingly provided to Thranduil, Eilian had decided that they needed to move in as much secrecy as possible. “Someone might actually think we were spying,” he had said with a straight face as they prepared for the mission. They had therefore come without horses, moving almost as swiftly through the treetops as they could have done on horseback anyway.
It had taken them four days to get from their camp to the foothills of the Grey Mountains, where they now lay hidden watching this group of Dwarves, the second one they had seen today. Until now, they had been moving by night, but having drawn so close to their target, Eilian had today chosen to scout by day, when they would be more likely to see every little sign of the passage of creatures large and small. The gently rising path they were following through the foothills was marked with the passage of dozens of Dwarves, but no sign of what might have caused them to move.
The Dwarves disappeared, and Eilian sounded the signal for them to gather to him. Amdir dropped to the ground and joined the other members of the patrol, who were assembled around their captain.
“I can hear a waterfall back that way,” Eilian indicated. “Fill your water skins, and take some time to rest there and eat the dried food in your packs, but stay out of sight and keep quiet. I want to go forward a little to see what is along this trail. The Dwarves supposedly have settlements all through this area. We may be near one. Galelas, you come with Maltanaur and me.” And having motioned to Lómór to take charge of the patrol, he led the other two Elves into the branches and away north along the path.
Legolas was standing next to Amdir, and Amdir had felt him come alert when it became obvious that Eilian intended to scout ahead and would almost certainly take someone with him, and then had heard him snort softly when Eilian had chosen someone else, particularly when that someone turned out to be Galelas, a warrior who was only a year or two older than Legolas and one whom Eilian seemed to be encouraging. Legolas would like to go, Amdir thought, and felt resentment toward Eilian on Legolas’s behalf. Legolas was a good scout, and Eilian had not let him do any of the forward scouting so far.
Legolas stood looking after Eilian for a moment and then seemed to rouse himself and move with the rest of the patrol deeper into the shadows of the trees. Amdir followed him to the stream that led down from a small but noisy waterfall and crouched beside him to fill his water skin. “It would be nice to swim here,” Amdir said somewhat wistfully, but Legolas only grunted in reply. Amdir looked at him out of the corner of his eye. “Eilian should have taken you with him, not Galelas,” he said.
Legolas did not look at him. “It is Eilian’s choice,” he said steadily, keeping his eyes on the stream. Amdir frowned. Legolas was ordinarily as willing as most warriors were to gripe a little about the vagaries of officers, but Amdir had not yet heard him say anything even the slightest bit critical of Eilian. In Amdir’s opinion, Legolas was entirely too forgiving.
Sinnarn approached on Amdir’s other side. He splashed water from the stream over his face and then sighed. “I wish we could talk to the Dwarves,” he murmured.
Amdir and Legolas both turned to stare at him incredulously. “Why?” Amdir exclaimed, only to have Legolas shush him. They could talk if they did so quietly, but if Lómór thought they were being too noisy, he would order them to silence. Amdir did not much like being silent. “Why?” he repeated more softly.
“My adar says they are interesting,” Sinnarn shrugged.
Amdir turned to look at Legolas, who simply rolled his eyes. His oldest brother’s quirks were not his responsibility. Legolas picked up his water skin and swung up into a nearby tree to be lost to sight immediately. Amdir looked at Sinnarn again. “You were right when you predicted that Eilian would not let us do much. He will not even let Legolas scout, so there is not much hope for us.” Sinnarn nodded in glum agreement, and they too moved into the trees.
Amdir settled comfortably onto a branch, feeling the breeze on his face, laden with the scent of evergreen and something else, something more acrid. He frowned. It smelled like charred wood. There must have been fire in these trees recently. He patted the tree. There is no fire here, he assured it and leaned back to listen to the soothing sound of the waterfall.
No more than an hour had passed when Eilian and his two companions reappeared. Eilian’s and Maltanaur’s faces were controlled, but Galelas looked somber. Eilian motioned them all to him again. “There is a large burned area ahead, surrounding what seems to be an abandoned Dwarf cave,” he told them. “The fire was recent, no more than a month or so ago, I would say.”
Amdir blinked. A forest fire? Could that have been what drove the Dwarves out? He could not see the connection. He had always been taught that Dwarves were indifferent to the presence of trees. He found it incredible, but he believed it was true nonetheless.
“We will move toward the area now,” Eilian told them. “We need to search it and the cave too. I do not think there are any Dwarves about, but keep your eyes open.” He leapt into the trees and, along with the rest of the patrol, Amdir followed him, knowing without being told that they needed to be even more silent than usual in their passage.
As he slid through the branches, Amdir could smell the stench of fire growing stronger, and within what seemed like a short time, Eilian sounded the signal to halt them at the edge of the stand of trees through which they had been passing. Amdir stopped and looked before him. Up the side of the hill they had been climbing stretched a wide patch of burned trees, their leaves and smaller branches gone and only their charred trunks remaining. The ground beneath them was thick with ash. Amdir felt his stomach churn at the sight.
“What is this?” Legolas asked in a hollow voice from next to Amdir. “This does not look like a fire from a lightning strike.”
“I do not know,” Amdir said and flinched to hear that his voice was as tight as Legolas’s.
Eilian was moving through the group, splitting them into pairs and spreading them out to search the burned area. Without waiting for Eilian to tell them, Legolas moved off with Beliond, and Sinnarn joined forces with Nithron, neither of whom had been far from their young charges in any case. Amdir had expected that. Thranduil’s sons and grandson all lived their lives under close guard, even their lives as warriors. Amdir would have hated it and thought that there were times when Legolas and Sinnarn did not much like it either. He found himself paired with Lómór. Of necessity, they dropped to the ground and began searching through the section of ruined trees to which they had been assigned.
They were soon filthy as ash swirled up from the ground, coating their clothes and skin and clogging their nostrils. But they found no sign of Dwarves, other than the occasional half obscured footprint, and no sign of what might have caused the strange fire. When they had finished their search, they joined the other members of the patrol, sheltering silently among some rocks.
Eilian stood on one of the rocks staring intently toward the mouth of the cave that had apparently once housed Dwarves. With Amdir trailing curiously, Lómór approached him to report on their futile search. Eilian heard him out and nodded. “We need to check the inside of the cave,” he said quietly. Several of the Elves near them stirred, including Legolas. Amdir felt a thrill at the idea of searching the cave and he assumed that everyone else did too. The Dwarves seemed to be gone, so the Elves would not have to deal with them, and Amdir could not imagine that he would ever have another chance to see what one of the Dwarves’ combination mine and dwelling places was like.
Eilian scanned the assembled warriors and began to indicate whom he wanted to go with him, for he was certainly going into the cave, Amdir knew. Eilian had been his captain for less than two weeks, but Amdir had already realized that Eilian was not one to pass up a chance for adventure. It would be the patrol’s lieutenant, Lómór, who stayed outside and kept watch with the remainder of the group. This time, Eilian did not select Galelas, but he did not select Amdir or Sinnarn or Legolas either. And this time, Amdir could see Legolas start toward his brother with his mouth opening to protest or perhaps simply to ask. But Beliond laid a restraining hand on his arm, and Legolas stopped with his mouth compressed into a thin line.
Eilian had probably not noticed, for he was already creeping up the slope toward the mouth of the cave, a half dozen or so warriors behind him. The rest of them settled down to wait. Amdir sat next to Sinnarn, who was eyeing Legolas and Beliond. The older warrior had drawn Legolas off to one side and was speaking earnestly into his ear. Legolas jerked his arm out of Beliond’s grasp and came over to sit with Sinnarn and Amdir. With his face closed, he picked up a twig and began jabbing at the rocky ground with it. They all waited in silence for the return of the scouting party.
This time, their wait was long. The afternoon sun had faded and dusk had thickened before Eilian and his companions reappeared. “It is huge and empty,” he told them all, using a normal voice that sounded loud after the silence they had been careful to keep while he was gone. “And I will be hanged if I can see why. The fire is the only odd thing I can see.” Looking frustrated, he rubbed his hand across the back of his neck. Amdir felt a stab of sympathy for him. In the unlikely event that the king had assigned Amdir to lead a patrol to discover something, he would not want to go home empty handed, and he supposed that Eilian did not either.
Eilian motioned them to their feet, and they followed him away from the burned area and back down the slope to where they had waited earlier in the day. He led them a half mile or so further downstream from the waterfall and soon found a small, flat clearing where they could camp in reasonable comfort. “I think we are far enough off the trail that we can have a campfire to cook something hot tonight,” Eilian told them, looking around. “We will put it out afterwards.” Amdir felt a surge of delight at that. He would probably be allowed to cook, and with water from the stream he could turn their dried provisions into a passable stew. Eilian was still issuing orders. “Keep close to camp,” he told them. “We still do not know what we are dealing with. And keep your weapons to hand. We need to be prepared if an unwelcome visitor or two appears.”
All around Amdir, warriors began shedding their packs and starting toward the stream to wash off as much as they could of the filth they had picked up when rooting among the remains of the fire. As Amdir joined them, he happened to glance back and saw that not everyone was intent on washing before they did anything else. Legolas had closed in on Eilian and even though his back was to Amdir, there was something in the stiff line of his spine that told Amdir that Legolas was angry and was letting Eilian know it. Eilian was facing Amdir, and although it was dark enough that it was hard for Amdir to see him clearly, he did not look happy with whatever Legolas was saying. Amdir turned back to the stream. He had absolutely no wish to get involved in a quarrel between the two younger sons of Thranduil. Nothing good could come of that.
By the time Amdir had washed and returned to camp, where he was indeed set to cooking the evening meal, Legolas had disappeared. Amdir was not particularly worried about him. Beliond was gone too, and Amdir doubted very much if Legolas had gone anywhere other than the stream. Amdir worked quickly and intently, doing what he could with the dried foodstuff, and was pleased when his fellow warriors seemed to enjoy the results. Even Legolas took a plateful with some sign of enjoyment, although he ate quickly and then lay down on his blanket with his arm flung over his face. Amdir had noticed that he and Eilian had kept well away from one another during the meal.
Amdir had just finished extinguishing the small cooking fire when Sinnarn appeared next to him looking glum. “Lómór just reminded me that we have to clean up,” he said.
“But I cooked,” Amdir groaned.
“I do not think that matters to Lómór,” Sinnarn answered and began gathering up the patrol’s dirty dishes. With a resigned grimace, Amdir joined him, and they each carted a huge armload of dishes to the stream to be washed.
Amdir plunked his load of dishes in the stream and began pulling them out one by one and wiping them off. “I am sick of washing dishes,” he grumbled.
Sinnarn frowned but instead of responding to Amdir’s complaint, he asked, “Do you know if my uncles are quarreling?”
Amdir made a face. “I think they are. I think that Legolas told Eilian he wanted to do more of the scouting.”
Sinnarn blew out an exasperated breath. “I knew this would happen. Legolas and I both might as well go home for all the good Eilian will let us do here.”
Amdir pulled his last dish from the stream, wiped it, and set it on the pile of clean dishes that teetered precariously on a nearby rock. He contemplated the stack of clean dishes. “We were quick,” he commented. He looked thoughtfully upstream to where, even from this distance, he could hear the waterfall. “As I recall, there was a pool at the base of that waterfall. I think we have time for a quick swim.”
Sinnarn stared at him, open-mouthed. “Are you mad? Eilian would have a fit.”
“Eilian will not know, assuming we are quick enough,” Amdir corrected. “Besides, all he said was to stay close to camp and the waterfall is not far.” He started up the stream, but Sinnarn still hung back. “Come on,” Amdir urged. “I, for one, want to get all of these ashes off my body.” He started walking again, listening for Sinnarn, and smiled to himself when he finally heard the soft sound of his friend trotting after him.
“I am probably going to regret this,” Sinnarn moaned. “But I suppose the worst that can happen is that Eilian can send us home, and I cannot see that that would make much difference anyway, given how little he will let us do.”
Mindful of the need to be quick, Amdir hurried upstream, finally coming in sight of the waterfall. He hastily dropped his weapons, stripped off his clothes, waded into the cold, clean water, and then dove beneath the falls. Water flooded his scalp and flowed over his body, washing away the ashes that had seemingly lodged in every crease and pore. Exhilarated, he rose to the surface and flipped over to float on his back, letting his hair trail in the water. How good it felt to be clean! Sinnarn suddenly surfaced beside him, startling him slightly. The noise of the waterfall had drowned out Sinnarn’s entrance into the stream. He laughed and sent a splash of water toward his friend.
“Surely you do not really regret this, do you?” he called. Sinnarn grimaced but immediately submerged again, enjoying the chance to shed dirt just as much as Amdir had.
Too lazy to dive again, Amdir floated in blissful peace. Sinnarn needed to relax more, he thought. Sinnarn’s family, and in particular his father, put too much pressure on him, so far as Amdir was concerned. Sinnarn was a good warrior, who followed orders in battle well enough. If he sometimes played a little carelessly when he was not in battle, Amdir did not see the crime in it. No one could be serious all the time.
Except perhaps Legolas, he thought, grimacing as he recalled the lecture Legolas had given him after Sinnarn fell from their flet. In many ways, Amdir admired Legolas; he was the best archer Amdir had ever seen, and he was a careful and perceptive scout. Eilian was foolish not to use him more. He underestimated how good a warrior Legolas was. But Legolas was relentlessly earnest about being a warrior. When the patrol was on a mission, he would no more take time to play than he would roam the woods without his bow.
Legolas was usually less serious when they were in camp, though, which was why Amdir had been surprised at how upset he had been about Amdir and Sinnarn wrestling on the flet. Amdir could only assume that Legolas had been thrown off balance by the arrival of his older brother, whom he seemed to admire without question. At least, Amdir amended, Legolas had admired Eilian without question before this mission had started. The angry conversation between the two brothers that Amdir had glimpsed a little while ago suggested that Legolas was less enchanted than he had been by the idea of serving under Eilian.
Sinnarn resurfaced next to him. “We need to go back,” he urged. “We have been away from camp long enough.”
Amdir had turned his head toward Sinnarn, intending to tease him by suggesting that they stay a bit longer, when suddenly a movement on the bank caught his eye. He blinked, scarcely believing what his eyes told him. A Dwarf was in the act of picking up Amdir’s sword from where it lay next to the untidy pile of his shed clothes.
“Hey!” he shouted. “Drop that!” He started swimming hastily toward shore. Next to him, Sinnarn turned, saw the Dwarf, and also let out a wordless cry. The Dwarf spun and disappeared at a run into the underbrush, sword in hand.
With his heart pounding, Amdir scrambled out of the water and into his clothes, Sinnarn right behind him. He grabbed his bow and started up the bank, every nerve concentrated on pursuing the Dwarf and retrieving his weapon.
“Wait!” cried Sinnarn, catching at his sleeve. “We need to tell Eilian.”
“Tell him what?” demanded Amdir. “What we need to do is get my sword back from that Orc-begotten little digger!” He charged into the underbrush and, after a second, he heard Sinnarn following him. The path the Dwarf had taken through the bushes was obvious enough, but within a hundred feet, they came to a place where the Dwarf had veered to one side and evidently clambered up a rocky outcropping. Amdir scaled the rocks only to find a stone plateau and then another rocky slope. Sinnarn arrived at his side, mumbling unhappily under his breath.
“We need to go back, Amdir,” he said, not sounding as if he had much hope.
Amdir ignored him. “Look around!” he urged, frantically searching the ground. “We have to find his trail.” Sinnarn let out an exasperated noise and then evidently gave up the fight. The two of them scanned the hard surface, the darkness slowing their efforts until the moon began to slide over the horizon.
“Here!” cried Sinnarn, pointing to scrapes showing in the dust on the stone. They bent close to the ground, following the tiny traces that showed that the Dwarf had climbed the second slope too. At the top of this slope, they once again had to relocate the trail, and Amdir could feel himself growing tenser with every passing second. Surely the Dwarf was not going to get away with his sword! One part of him burned with anger at the insult, while another part was frantically wondering how he would ever explain the loss to Eilian.
Following a bent blade of grass here and a disturbed pebble there, they made their way quickly and quietly along a narrow opening between two walls of rock and emerged onto a large, grassy area in front of steep cliffs that stretched away on either side of them. Piles of boulders and an occasional stunted tree dotted the area in front of them, and brambles and underbrush grew in a dense array along the edge near the wall. Amdir halted at the sight. Here, he thought with a flush of vengeful glee. The greedy little grubber has gone to ground here. I swear I can smell him.
He signaled to Sinnarn, who nodded, and, bows in hand, they turned right and began a slow search of the underbrush there, searching for where the Dwarf could have hidden. Within a hundred yards, they found it: a tell-tale path of broken branches leading straight toward the cliff. There must be a cave, Amdir thought. He and Sinnarn exchanged glances. Without needing to speak, they began to work their way toward the cliff.
Then Sinnarn halted and put a steadying hand on Amdir’s arm. There against the cliff was a blacker space in the moonlit darkness. And now Amdir could hear minute noises: the murmur of a deep voice and the scrape of a boot on stone. Grimly, Amdir fitted an arrow to his bowstring and flattened himself against one side of the cave entrance. Two yards to his right, he could see Sinnarn taking up the same position. He tipped his head slightly and Sinnarn nodded. Amdir drew in a deep breath and then whistled one of the signals used by Thranduil’s forces.
With a speed and silence that must have made their appearance seem almost magical to those in the cave, the two of them swung through the entrance to stand with arrows pointed at the figures huddled within. For a split second, everyone was frozen in place and then one of the Dwarves started to his feet with Amdir’s sword in his hand.
“Drop it!” Amdir snarled, pointing his arrow straight at the Dwarf holding his weapon, while Sinnarn menaced the others Dwarves. The Dwarf with the sword looked at Amdir and then, even longer, at Sinnarn and dropped the sword with a clang. “Back up,” Amdir ordered, and the Dwarf backed away from the sword. Keeping a careful eye on him, Amdir picked up the sword and put it back in its sheath where it belonged. He heaved an enormous sigh of relief.
“Amdir,” said Sinnarn, and his voice sounded strained. Amdir glanced at him, and Sinnarn motioned with his bow toward the other Dwarves. For the first time, Amdir really looked at them. There were two, sitting close together on the ground. One, like the Dwarf who had taken the sword, looked much as Amdir expected. He was short, thick, and bearded. Amdir’s eyes swept over him to focus on the other Dwarf. For a moment, he could not understand what he was seeing. This Dwarf was thick through the body and legs too, but he was small and his face was beardless. Suddenly Amdir recognized what was in front of him. A child! The third figure in the cave was a child.
As if released from some sort of spell by Amdir’s recognition, the child began to cry, with large, frightened sobs. The Dwarf sitting next to him pulled the child onto his lap and began what were obviously efforts to comfort him, although Amdir could not understand a word the creature was saying. Sinnarn lowered his bow uncertainly, and the Dwarf who was standing started toward them. Startled, Amdir realized that his own bow had dropped too, and he brought his arrow back around to aim at the Dwarf.
The Dwarf snorted scornfully. “I have no weapon,” he said, sarcasm dripping from his voice. “Do you think I might be allowed to comfort my son?”
Amdir licked his lips. The idea of Dwarves having children seemed somehow ludicrous to him. “Why did you take my sword?” he demanded.
“I just told you,” the Dwarf said impatiently, growing bolder by the minute in the face of Sinnarn’s and Amdir’s obvious confusion. “We had to leave our home so suddenly that I had no time to get my axe. I have no weapon.”
It suddenly occurred to Amdir that here was an opportunity to learn why the Dwarves were fleeing the mountains. Eilian had undoubtedly missed them by now, but if Sinnarn and Amdir could take back the information that the patrol was seeking, their absence just might be forgiven.
“Why did you have to leave?” he demanded, aiming his bow straight at the Dwarf’s chest.
The Dwarf looked at him pityingly. “You poor fool,” he said, and Amdir had to give him credit for bravery. “Have you not seen any of the dragons yet?”
From the corner of his eye, Amdir could see Sinnarn’s mouth drop open, and he suddenly realized that his own jaw had fallen too. “Dragons?” he breathed.
“Dragons,” the Dwarf confirmed. “We have sheltered here for the night because that is when they take flight.”
As if evoked by the Dwarf’s words, a rushing sound made itself heard from outside the cave. Indeed, when Amdir thought about it, he had heard the beginnings of this sound a minute or so previous. At its louder arrival though, the child began to cry anew and the Dwarf on the floor held him more tightly, murmuring what were obviously admonitions to hush. Even to Amdir, it was obvious that the child was terrified. The noise had grown to a roar now, and then there was a sound that Amdir not recognize, a blasting sound that was akin to thunder but was not thunder.
“And then,” said Amdir, “you came.” He had been gazing off into space, as if seeing there the scenes he was describing, but now he looked at Legolas again, and he started. “What is the matter?” he asked in alarm.
Legolas stared at him, his heart pounding and his breath coming in gasps. He had wanted to remember what happened. Oh yes, he had wanted to remember. And now he did.
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