<>“Friendship.” Aragorn let the word roll off his tongue as he mulled it over in his mind. What is friendship? How does it form? Why? And what does it take? These questions and more drifted around inside the ranger’s mind. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his companion and trusted friend walking alongside him, his keen elven eyes fixed on the path ahead that wound its way through the trees. There was no tension in the lithe body this day; the elf was free from the strain of war and was letting himself enjoy the returning beauty to the world around him.
The elven prince stopped walking and turned to face the human. “Nothing? I cannot believe that something you have been talking to yourself for over an hour can be counted as nothing. No, it must be something of importance; otherwise, you would not mumble so.”
Aragorn knew that Legolas was waiting for an answer.
Instead of giving
the elf what he wanted, he strode off, calling over his shoulder, “It
something that someone said to me the other day. It made me think.
Nothing to worry
“Elessar Telcontar, you will tell what is on your mind
right the minute or I
shall refuse to take another step with you!” Legolas folded his arms
chest and stood firm, his cerulean blue eyes boring into the stormy
that glared back at him.
Aragorn felt like tying the elf prince to a tree and leaving him there. “It is not a laughing matter,” he growled.
“Oh, I am sure it is. Have you asked Arwen? I am sure she could offer you some excellent advice.”
“So what did you do?”
Aragorn could feel his face getting warm again as he mumbled a reply.
“I am sorry, but I did not quite catch that!” Legolas leaned in towards the man with a mischievous grin.
“I looked it up in a dictionary.”
This time the elf threw back his head and laughed with such mirth it was a surprise that he didn’t collapse onto the ground.
Aragorn, however, was not amused in the slightest. As the elf continued to laugh, the ranger realized how stupid his answer had sounded. Roughly pushing past the elf, he walked deeper into the forest, hoping to put some distance between himself and Legolas as quickly as possible.
Legolas, however, was not at all fazed. He easily caught up with the man and put a hand on his shoulder. “Estel, forgive me. It was wrong of me to laugh. You did not know something, and so you went searching for an answer. There is nothing wrong with that.”
Aragorn swung around to face Legolas. “You don’t
understand, do you?” His voice
rose in level. “I have had the honour of being friends with some of the
loyal, brave and trustworthy people I know. I have been blessed with
friendship of the likes of you, Gimli, Faramir, and many, many more,
and yet I
cannot explain to my own son what friendship is! How do you think that
makes me feel?”
Legolas realised that his friend was truly upset over the whole issue. “Estel, it is alright not to be able to explain something so complex as friendship. It is a truly personal experience that only you can relate to. When Eldarion makes his own friends, he will experience the same and find it equally as hard to explain it.”
Aragorn just stood there, listening to Legolas speak. The lilting voice had a soothing effect on his temper, which had been threatening to break. “Legolas, what is friendship? You have seen many more years than I; surely you know.”
Legolas smiled. “Aye, you are right.” He wrapped an arm around Aragorn’s shoulders and guided him through the trees to a small clearing where a stream gurgled pleasantly. “My dear Estel, you have become so much and you have grown into great man, a leader, a king, a husband and a father.”
“But I still can’t explain friendship!” Aragorn exclaimed in annoyance.
“I was coming to that!” Legolas pushed the man down onto the ground, before folding his legs beneath him as he sat down beside him. “Listen to me. Estel, there are many things in this world today that we cannot find answers for. But let us try and unravel the muddle you seem to have gotten yourself into!”
For a moment Legolas didn’t speak, he just sat there, taking in the beauty of the forest around him. Then, in a low voice, he spoke. “If you look in the dictionary it will tell you that the definition of friendship is a state of being friends – friendly relation or attachment to a person or between persons. That it is an affection arising from mutual esteem and good will. That friendship is friendliness and amity. Am I correct in guessing that is what you found?”
Aragorn nodded. “Yes, but it did not tell me what true friendship is – the bond that has been created between us.”<>
A ghost of a smile tugged at Aragorn’s lips. “Yes,” he whispered, remembering the many times the two of them had found themselves in a life-or-death situation. “You were always there for me.”
Legolas nodded. “As you were for me. Friendship for most people is a combination of affection, loyalty, love, respect, and trust. The general traits of a friendship include similar interests, mutual respect and an attachment to each other, and in order to experience friendship, you need to have true friends.” The elf watched his friend closely. “The emotional safety provided by friendship means not having to weigh your thoughts and measure words. True friendship is when someone knows you better than yourself and takes a position in your best interests in a crisis. Friendship goes beyond just sharing time together, and it is long-lasting. You know this, Estel; deep in your heart, you know this.”<>
Aragorn nodded. “I never realised before how blessed and honoured I am to count you as one of my dearest friends. There were times I was sure I would never survive, were it not for you by my side.”
Legolas smiled. “What would you do without me?” His eyes twinkled with merriment. Then he laughed as Aragorn shoved him, sobering once more. “But be warned – friendship is rarely one-sided, though, for it takes two individuals to negotiate the boundaries in a relationship. A friendship will not survive very long if only one person is making the effort to sustain the relationship without any help or recognition from other. Because it takes both positive and negative experiences to define a personality, it is essential to build your friendships with people who are compatible with you on an emotional basis.”
Aragorn turned his head to look at the elf beside him. “I like to think we have accomplished that in our time together, don’t you?”
Legolas leaned back on his wrists with a soft smile on his face as he gazed up into the canopy of branches above them. “Yes, I think we did.”
For a while the two friends allowed themselves to be immersed in the natural world around them. At first it seemed that the forest was silent, but when their ears became used to the stillness, other sounds were awoken: the sound of the bubbling stream, birds singing their hearts out in the branches, leaves swaying in the light summer’s breeze that drifted among the mighty trees.<>
“Well you literally threw yourself at my feet, did you not?” came the calm answer, although Aragorn was sure the prince was smirking. He had stretched out on the grass beside Legolas and didn’t really feel bothered enough to sit up. He chuckled at the memory of his first encounter with the elf prince – how he had fallen off a cliff on the edge of Mirkwood and had landed almost on top of Legolas, unconscious. “In my defense, I was only twenty.”
“You have no defense! Your father warned you to stay away from the wastelands at night, which you did not heed, instead deciding that you knew better.”
Aragorn kicked out at Legolas. “Well I, for one, am very glad that I did. Otherwise I might have never have met you. Still, I am sure King Thranduil wasn’t very happy about it at the start.”
The prince rolled over onto his stomach. “No, he wasn’t,” he admitted. “My father was worried. He didn’t want me getting hurt, and I can understand that...but he came to trust you in the end.”
“After I saved your royal neck a few times!”
“Not as many times as I had to save your sorry behind! The stories I could tell your brothers!” Legolas then squawked in alarm as the solid mass of Aragorn pinned him down.
“You promised never to tell them!” the ranger hissed indignantly.
“Ugh, get off me, Aragorn!” Legolas easily pushed the man off him and sat up, brushing his tunic down. “No, I have never told them, and I never will. I just said that I had stories they would probably love to hear.”
“Make sure you never do. If I ever hear of it...you’d better run, Legolas Thranduilion!”
Legolas chuckled as he scooted over to the nearest tree and rested his back against it. “Rest assured, Aragorn, your secrets are safe with me.”
Aragorn harrumphed. The silence was broken when the ranger spoke again. “That still doesn’t explain why you befriended me...a human and an elf. Or even how you and Gimli became friends, an elf and a dwarf. It was almost unheard of.”
“Friendship is formed when people can come together, despite their different races or cultures and show respect and loyalty to others. To be able to encourage and love one another for whom they are on the inside, not just their outward appearance.” Legolas took a deep breath before he spoke again. “Before the last battle at the Black Gates, when the Orcs had surrounded us, do you know what Gimli said to me?”<>
Legolas smiled sadly. “He told to me that he never thought he would die fighting side by side with an elf.” He glanced at Aragorn beside him. “I asked him, ‘What about side by side with a friend’?”
“What did he say to that?” Aragorn asked.
Legolas smile grew wider. “He said he could do that. In
that moment I knew I
had found another true friend.”
Aragorn smiled. “Aye, you had. That is some feat for a dwarf to overcome. Not many would have answered as he did, be he dwarf or man.”<>
“How can there be so much hatred and cruelty in this
Aragorn looked up at the elf, his grey eyes now filled with a deep
“What have innocent people done to deserve all…this…?” He swept his
seeking a word his mind could not find. >
“Resentment?” Legolas supplied thoughtfully. >
The man shook his head. “No, it is not. I am sick and
tired of all the
racism that goes on – not just in Gondor, but the whole of Arda. The
the arguing, the petty feelings and despicable attitudes. Why do you
came to Ithilien for a break, Legolas? I had to get away from it all; I
was going to crack!” He balled his hands into fists and pounded them
dirt. “Men who fought side by side during the War now feel they can
arguing with their comrades just because others are of a different
forget so easily what they fought for, why they fought! My own
would not stop passing snide remarks about the Haradrim officials and
customs, the way they dressed, celebrated, spoke. It was so unjust!” >
Aragorn sighed. “You are right, Legolas, as always.” He
cracked a small
smile as the elf got to his feet and offered the man his hand. >
“Come Estel, forgot your troubles. You are here to enjoy
yourself for a
while, not dwell on sadness and distrust. Let go of your burdens for
Aragorn gladly accepted the outstretched hand and allowed the prince to haul him to his feet. Together, the two friends set out back towards the prince’s settlement.<>
Legolas returned the embrace. “You are our Estel, our
hope. I am glad to
call you my friend.” >
They stepped around the base of a huge beech tree, and
the sound of
childish laughter reached their ears. Aragorn’s face split into a huge
his eyes sparkled with joy as he leaned down to catch his young son.
The boy was
racing towards him, followed by Arwen, who was laughing happily. Her
her husband’s as he scooped Eldarion up and flung him up into the air.
elicited a shriek of laughter from the child, and in that moment
what true happiness was.
The former ranger, now the Prince of Ithilien, shrugged
as bad as I thought it would be, but quite different from what I was
Eowyn smiled at the elf. “He is growing so quickly.”
“Children tend to do that, my dear,” Faramir said absently as he watched Aragorn swing Eldarion around until the boy was dizzy, collapsing into his mother’s lap. Éowyn stepped over to Arwen and sat down beside her. The queen immediately reached over and took Elboron, her eyes lighting up at the sight of the small baby.
“Are you enjoying yourself, Gimli?” Legolas asked pleasantly to the dwarf beside him.
Gimli huffed. “I would be, if your silly elves did not stay up half the night singing to the moon! Why anyone would wish to do such a daft thing is beyond me! Gah! Only this morning one asked me if I wanted to be friends! Friends!”
Legolas laughed. “And what did you say?” He crossed his arms over his chest and glanced down at the dwarf.
Gimli scowled. “I said I was already friends with one pointy-eared elvish princeling and that was enough for me. But that I…ah..wouldn’t mind being acquainted with him…or was it a her? ...No, it was definitely a him, I’m sure of that!”
Legolas shook his head fondly as Gmli wandered over to Aragorn. He sighed with content. Yes, it was a good day to be alive. Life was good once more, peace reigned over them once more, and the promise of more to come was eagerly awaited.
“Aragorn seems changed since this morning.” Faramir stepped back over to the elf. “He does not seem as troubled as he was at breakfast.” He raised a questioning eyebrow at Legolas. However, the elf just tapped his nose knowingly.
Faramir shook his head with a grin. “Keep your secrets, then, elf! I for one am glad our king is at last enjoying himself. He was too burdened when he arrived. Now if you'll excuse me, I intend to go and enjoy my wife!”
“Please, do not let me keep you!” Legolas held up his hands, smirking.
Faramir rolled his eyes. “Wait until you are married, elf, with children of your own!”<>
Legolas just smiled. “You will see, Estel – things will
someday. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not the next day, next month or next
but someday in the future, be it near or far, things will work out
will not always be like this. There is still hope.” >
Legolas laughed and allowed the the man to pull his
towards the circle
of friends, bound together by the bonds of friendship, bonds that could
be broken. >