re-set the sails on his latest two-man ship, alone as usual, watching
pleasure as the light faded and let the stars shine over the
ocean. His now distant home
Even home was crowded, although he admitted that was his fault. The many bows and arrows that he had crafted now threatened to leave him no room to sleep in his small cabin. Unsuccessfully, he tried to shut out the reason for such obsessive behavior, the remembrance of the onslaught of the army of Feanor's sons on Avernien. Laiqalasse had run out of arrows and his bow cracked, leaving him with a knife against swords and spears. He had lost little Elrond and Elros, Earendil's sons whom he had been protecting. He shut his eyes: he too was a kinslayer.
In thanks to Gil-galad and Cirdan for refuge on Balar, he and the other few survivors aided in the building of great boats. But they had all been sent home when Cirdan declared the number sufficient, for what mission he did not say, although Laiqalasse knew them fit for war. These days he found pleasure in making and trying out one or two-man sailboats, then traded the old ones for supplies as he thought of a new design. Of course, when he heard any call to help defend Balar, he went immediately, but no Avernien survivor was allowed into battle.
Being lonely was his own fault as well. He feared making deep friendships, remembering many losses, such as the popular Glorfindel to the balrog. The attack by the evil Vala, Morgoth, on Gondolin had destroyed Laiqalasse's friends, family, home, and most of his people. Even of the eight-hundred refugees, only five-hundred had made it to Avernien, the land by the sea. Even these would never have survived the dreadful journey if not for the leadership of the human, Tuor, who had been sent to them by the Vala, Ulmo. The pain had been so great that the group of survivors of Gondolin, the Gondothlim or "Dwellers in Stone" had changed its name to the Lothlim or "People of the Flower". The House of the Tree to which he had belonged had become too small to be a true house, but it existed as long as he did.
The Lothlim built again, hopes rising. Their numbers increased with the addition of the survivors of Doriath, including Elwing who had married their own Earendil. Then their new home in Avernien had been leveled by the sons of Feanor, coveting Elwing's silmaril, and even the Lothlim had no separate existence, assimilated into Cirdan's and Gil-galad's people on the Isle of Balar.
Adding to his personal loss of identity, the Eldar of Gil-galad changed his name from Legolas to Laiqalasse. He allowed himself to think only briefly of Earendil above, who had continued to wear the swan-wing of his father instead of the newer eagle symbol the Lothlim had adopted, refusing to recognize loss. That boy had grown into an excellent lord and fine mariner! Once Laiqalasse had acted as guide for the young Earendil and his human father Tuor. After Tuor left, Laiqalasse followed the lordship of Earendil, and even now Earendil's star guided his ship. Things changed.
But today, with no
else along to consider, Laiqalasse tried
to settle his wanderlust, which he knew to be his desire to find the
home that he could never have, by a longer than usual test trip.
This new sailboat had a deeper keel than the last one, one he hoped to
be good for the ocean rather
than merely pearl-filled shallows. He saw
of Valinor in the distance, but was not yet ready to leave the life of
behind. Too many explorations were left undone and he could not
leave the world to Morgoth's minions unopposed.
No, this time he sailed the phosphorescent water towards Middle-earth,
hoping for a distant glimpse in the coming sunrise of the trees along
the shoreline of the last place where he had been Legolas: Arvernien by
the mouths of the River Sirion, the river that divided the west from
As Laiqalasse neared the farthest point of his planned journey following the star of Earendil, he shivered. The cold breath of Morgoth seemed to reach even this lonely place. Tauntings muttered and boiled in the air, not in Elvish, but in vengeful Black Speech that he could not understand. The vicious tones spoke only one word that he knew, one that filled him with dread, the name of Osse.
That Maia had been a friend to the elves by the shore, a teacher. Yet he had not always been so. His lordship was over the shore waters and of storms, a powerful being who had once turned to Morgoth and the only one known to have returned from him. That was reason enough for the cruel Vala to harass the Maia. But although Osse could be a friend and teacher, the respect of mariners mixed with fear, for when he was in a mood, his storms tore through even the largest fleets of great ships. If Morgoth took this moment to upset Osse, no small boat should remain on the water!
Laiqalasse turned his boat,
the gathering winds in his small sails, and raced for Tol
He knew Osse bore him no malice and noticed him not, and
regret finding his body and the bits of his small ship later.
Laiqalasse would be no less dead.
Why? Why did Morgoth choose to do this? The elf was of no importance, having done nothing of historical significance. The vengeance could not be sought against him, but against the untouchable Earendil! Laiqalasse was one of his few surviving friends. The fallen Vala knew that Laiqalasse had been the scout for the refugees of Gondolin, which had included the remnants of the royal family including young Earendil of the prophecy, he who would reunite the Valar with the free people of Middle-earth against Morgoth. Without the then-Legolas' keen night sight to guide them from Gondolin across the darkness of the plain of Tumladin, they could have all died. And he had continued with them, helping them on the escape to Avernien, fought the forces of the sons of Feanor in the kinslaying that should have destroyed them all, and survived to join the last Elven stronghold. And now Laiqalasse put himself far from help in a convenient location to be murdered. Smart.
Laiqalasse used every trick he knew to slip back to the island before the storm could kill him. The wind fought him but he dared not despair. He used momentum from waves that dropped him several lengths of his small ship. Vicious waves tried to take the paddles, but his ropes kept them.
As the island came close, he felt relief for a moment. But he was on the cliff side. The moaning of the water caves and the slapping of great waters against stone sounded warnings even through the pouring of rain and pounding of thunder. The currents and winds kept his boat from even a beach, most certainly a more distant harbor.
He aimed for the mouth of the widest cliff cave. With luck, he could make it inside without hitting the rocks, then eventually climb through some water-bored tunnel back to the surface. The cave currents drank his boat into the darkness, scraping against rock but not cracking the wood. He drove his paddle deeply into the water, making for a barely seen low ledge.
The return current yanked the ship back towards the opening, shoving it hard against rock. Then the waters pulled inward again, wind adding to the tilt of his boat. He had not seen it upright except briefly when he had first entered the cave. Boulders rolled in the storm, tops of some breaking the surface.
As the small ship crushed between a boulder and the rugged cave side, he leaped onto one of the outcrops, slippery with algae. He tried to catch himself against the slick side of the cave, but water slammed upwards and dragged him down with it. His own ship and the boulders pulled back with him towards the cave mouth, rain drumming across it all. Then the current slammed wood, rock, and elf back inside against the cave. Even the terrible noise of it hurt. Breath forced out of him, he tried to gulp air.
A timber swung, hit by rock and waves, knocking him far under the surface. Red tinted the water as it washed by the elf. Boulders pinned him. In the next pull of the current, the great rocks rolled over him. His blood ran into the
Morgoth did this. He cannot touch Earendil, but attacks his old friends.
It is one of our tasks to turn the cruel deeds of Morgoth into new good.
We shall, my Vaire.
And we will return what was taken. The threads of weaving will not be cut by Morgoth, but woven into new and more beautiful patterns.
Years passed as he grew to young manhood in an unmarred body, once again named Legolas. New friends he made, cherishing them, and he was loved in return. As a Sindarin prince, he learned the art of war, of leadership, of diplomacy, and of caring for the land.
Elrond, son of Earendil, knew that the Valar's choice had been made already by this sending. He only considered for a moment to see why. This youth had exceptional eyes and ears that could warn the Fellowship at a long distance. His woodland speed, secrecy and knowledge of hidden fighting was more important than any great force of arms. The Fellowship already had two excellent swordsmen and could use this skilled archer. He came from the only elf realm not dependent on a Ring, and his life had been spent opposing Sauron in Dol Guldur. And he was a friend to the sons of Elrond.
Aloud, Elrond said, "Legolas shall be for the elves…."