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Three Rings for
Kings under the sky...
The sun peeked lazily between the
clouds, casting its dappled rays down upon the surface of the pond,
making the tops of the waves and ripples glisten as if crusted with
diamonds. Normally the little pond would have been still and
flat, but at the moment the natural serenity of the location was being
happily disrupted by the laughing beings who were enjoying the coolness
of the water on this muggy spring day.
It had rained almost non-stop for the past two and a
half weeks and, although it was cloudy today, the small bit of sunny
respite was a welcome distraction. The lake was three times its normal
size because of the unusually high rainfall, but that only added to the
fun for those who partook of its charms.
Legolas sat on the grassy bank, reclining on one
elbow, the other arm resting on his bent knee and a smile on his face
as he watched the three brothers in the pond romp like children.
The day was hot and the prince’s light blue tunic hung open, wafting
slightly in the faint, infrequent breeze.
Aragorn and Elrohir had ganged up on Elladan and
were trying to dunk him under the water; however, they had to catch him
first. When they finally cornered the elder twin near the bank
where Legolas sat watching them, it was Aragorn who ended up getting
dunked, and a great deal of splashing ensued as the three brothers
thrashed and threw water at one another with mirthful abandon.
Laughing so hard he could barely move, Legolas tried
to scoot back, out of the way of the flying water that was now wetting
him as well.
“Mercy! Mind what you’re doing!” he called out
merrily to the heedless occupants of the pond. “There’s going to
be more water out of the lake than in it when you’re done!”
Wrapping one arm loosely around the light bandage
that wound its way around his ribs, the elf prince tried to stop
laughing, but the brothers were too much fun to watch and he could not
help himself, so he ignored the dull ache in his side. His ribs
and leg had almost healed from his unfortunate encounter with Taradin’s
men not too long ago and even the injury to his arm from his fight with
Hebrilith, the rogue elf that Taradin’s people had in fact mistaken him
for, was almost little more than a memory. However, the wound in
his side, where the dark elf had stabbed the prince when they fought
over Aragorn’s life, had been much more grievous, and healed more
slowly. It was mending well, but still ached sometimes when he
laughed. However, at the moment, Legolas did not particularly
Aragorn’s head popped up out of the water and he
laughed at Legolas’ words. The young ranger too, was nearly
healed of all the ills his encounter with the dark elf had caused and
only a mending scar remained where Hebrilith had put a knife blade
through his shoulder. Eventually that too, would disappear, for
as a tribute to the blood of Westernesse that flowed through the
Dùnadan’s veins, Aragorn healed somewhat swifter than most
mortals, if not quite so swiftly as the elves. Nonetheless,
although Aragorn did not note it, his elder brothers were careful in
their play with him so they did not stress his healing shoulder.
Both Aragorn and Legolas’ wounds were at that stage where they were
nearly well, but still fragile enough to be reopened if enough force
Aragorn shook the water out of his dark, wavy hair,
wiping his eyes and turning away from the wave of water that Elrohir
sent in his direction. The young man retaliated before turning a
flashing, devilish grin towards his laughing friend on the bank.
“Oh you think this is funny do you?”
Aragorn swam over with mischief in his eye.
The pond was deep and the drop from the bank none too gradual, thus he
was able get right up near Legolas and still be in at least four to
five feet of water.
“You know Legolas, you look a little warm. Don’t you
want to come in?” The young man pulled himself up out of the
water and onto the rock ledge above that overlooked the pond, next to
where Legolas was sitting on the grass.
Legolas laughed and shook his head, brushing the
beading water droplets that the brothers’ romp had left him scattered
with off the front of his loose, short-sleeved tunic. “I don’t
think so. You make swimming look like a dangerous pastime!” he
chuckled, pushing Aragorn’s hands lightly away from him.
“I don’t know...” Aragorn shook his head, his
bright, silver eyes twinkling. “Elladan, Elrohir, what do you
think? Don’t you think he looks a little too hot?”
Shouts to the affirmative answered as the brothers
started to swim over.
“Oh no you don’t!” Legolas grinned, playfully
shoving Aragorn back towards the water when the young man reached for
him. “I’m not dressed for it today!”
Aragorn lost his balance a little when Legolas
pushed him and slid on the stones, made slippery by the water that he
had brought up with him. The young ranger half-slid back towards
the water, but didn’t go in, instead his hand slid out from under him
and he clipped his chin on the rock when his head came down. He
didn’t straighten up right away and Legolas moved forward quickly to
check on him.
“Aragorn, are you all-”
Quick as lightning, Aragorn grabbed his friend’s arm
and rolled off the edge, falling down into the water with a splash and
pulling Legolas with him.
Caught completely by surprise, Legolas came up
spluttering and coughing, shaking the water out of his hair and
eyes. Aragorn was laughing so hard he was nearly falling over in
the water. A quick, indignant shove from Legolas turned ‘almost’
into the real thing and Aragorn took a quick trip under the surface
once more, only to come up laughing harder than ever.
Legolas glared at his friend, but Aragorn’s mirth
was infectious and a smile ruined the golden-haired elf’s irritated
persona. “You,” Legolas said threateningly, but with a glimmer in
his eyes, “are going to regret that!”
The prince lunged at his human friend, spraying
water at him and Aragorn only just jumped back in time to escape,
turning and striking out for the middle of the pond as fast as he
could, both of them hindered by their own laughter.
“Uh oh, look out little brother! You’ve done
it now!” Elrohir shouted after them.
“Dunk him, Legolas! He’s got it coming!”
Elladan called out with a grin.
“Hey! I heard that!” Aragorn shot back from a
distance away. Just about then Legolas caught up with him and
tackled the young ranger, easily forcing the human’s head under the
water. Aragorn in turn pulled the prince under with him and they
both came up moments later laughing and spluttering.
“The water’s deep, don’t drown out there!” Elladan
“Yes, we wouldn’t want to have to save you two young
ones again!” Elrohir added
“Who are you calling young?” Legolas shot back with mock
“Hm, we ought to teach them a lesson, Legolas, don’t
you think?” Aragorn egged mischievously.
“Definitely,” Legolas replied with a nod and a wide
grin as the twosome began swimming towards the unsuspecting twins.
“Well, I hope you’re happy,” Legolas shook his head
with a wry grin as he kicked aside his soppy, useless shoes and
stripped off his dripping tunic.
“Very,” Aragorn assured with an unrepentant grin,
toweling his hair off with one end of his own dry shirt before sliding
it back on.
A soft cry of dismay made them both turn and look to
where Elrohir and Elladan were getting dressed nearby.
Elrohir was patting his bare chest in alarm and
Elladan shook his head. “He lost his chain. Silly oaf wore
it swimming and now it’s come off somewhere,” Elladan explained to
Aragorn and Legolas as they came over. Elladan’s sympathetic look
belied his tough words. He knew what that necklace meant to his
brother. He would have been incredibly crushed to lose his own.
Aragorn bit his lip. He knew the chains that
Elladan referred to had been given to the twins by their mother, now
long gone across the sea. The brothers wore them almost
“We’ll find it,” the young ranger assured
quickly. “I’m sure you had it on almost just before we got out,
it has to be near shore here somewhere,” he said optimistically.
They were about to wade back into the water and
search, when Legolas’ voice stopped them. “There it is, I see
it.” The prince was standing on the rock outcropping Aragorn had
pulled him off of earlier and looking down into the water with his
incredibly keen eyes.
Aragorn could only see a flashing twinkle about two
yards offshore, and it was difficult to distinguish it from the natural
sparkle of the sun on the water, but Legolas saw clearly the fine
golden chain lying on the mossy rocks under the transparent surface of
Elladan and Elrohir could not see it from where they
stood and came over to join the other elf.
Legolas hopped lightly off the rocks and down into
the water again. “I’ll get it,” he offered, already wading out
towards the spot. Retrieving the chain, he made his way
back. Tossing the lost article back up to its grateful owner,
Legolas grabbed the edge of the stone ledge and started to pull himself
Suddenly the earth under them trembled slightly, as
if someone had shaken it. Aragorn and the twins stumbled a little
to keep their balance. Elladan grabbed Aragorn’s arm to keep him
Half in the water, half out, the jar caught Legolas
at a bad moment. As he gripped the rock tighter, compensating for
the motion, his injured side, not pleased with how much stress he had
placed upon it in the past several hours, cramped suddenly and Legolas’
arms gave out under the influence of the unexpected spasm.
His hands sliding out from under him, Legolas’ chest
and midsection came down hard upon the rocks, the edge catching him
directly across his healing wound. A sharp stab of pain knifed
through the prince and he fell back into the water.
Distracted by the tremor, Aragorn and the twins
didn’t see what had happened.
It was a good thing the water was shallower near the
bank and Legolas was able to get his feet under himself pretty quickly,
because the pain in his side was sharp and he would not have been able
to swim had the water been any deeper.
“What was that?” Elrohir shook his head, looking
around as he clasped the golden chain back around his neck once more.
Elladan shrugged. “I don’t know. But
it’s past now.”
“Legolas, are you all right?” Aragorn called down
after a few moments, noting that the elf did not come out of the water
immediately. The young ranger was not really concerned because he
did not know yet what had happened.
“Fine,” Legolas stretched the truth slightly.
“Give me a hand up.”
The prince reached up and Aragorn grasped his hand,
helping to pull him up out of the water and onto the bank.
Legolas scrambled up, but did not rise at once. Instead he leaned
sideways on the sun-warmed rock and held his side, trying to catch his
“Legolas, you’re not all right. What happened?”
Elrohir’s face became immediately serious.
Legolas shrugged them off and rose quickly.
“Got caught by the rock edge a little when I fell back in. ‘Tis
Aragorn pulled Legolas’ arm away from his side and
grimaced in alarm. The soaked bandage around the elf’s ribs had a
creeping red stain sprouting on it directly over his healing wound and
the water dripping down the prince’s side below had acquired a
frightening crimson tint.
Aragorn had the now useless bandage unwrapped in a
matter of moments. He bit his lip at what he saw.
“Legolas, the stitches have burst,” Elladan said
quietly as he picked up his still dry tunic and helped Aragorn press it
against the prince’s bleeding side, tying off the re-opened wound.
“I don’t believe the damage goes very deep,” the
dark-haired elf shook his head. “For you are mostly mended.
Likely it is a surface tear only, but we should get it cleaned and
re-dressed as soon as possible all the same. I fear Father’s
going to have to put the stitches back in place.”
Legolas groaned in protest, but the hot poker buried
in his side bid him listen to the other elf. “All right then, but
don’t fuss over it. Estel, stop, leave it alone, I’ll be fine.”
Aragorn stopped checking the bandage at Legolas’
request, but when he straightened up his face held worried guilt.
“Legolas, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have pulled you in there, I wasn’t
Legolas cuffed the young human upside the head
lightly. “Stop. This is not your fault. I should have
been more careful.”
“Blame it on the tremor, my friends, that bit of
ground shaking did no one any good,” Elladan shook his head, lightening
everyone’s mood again as they turned homeward.
“Now there’s a good story, we must remember that. It
was the earthquake’s fault!” Elrohir said cheerfully, offering Legolas
an arm if he needed support, but Legolas politely refused, as he could
manage quite fine on his own.
“As if Father would believe that,” Aragorn rolled
his eyes. “That wasn’t even a proper earthquake.”
“How would you know?” Elrohir elbowed his human
brother. “There hasn’t been an earthquake in these parts in...
well, longer than I can remember.” That of course, was quite
long. “Besides, it was
its fault or Legolas wouldn’t have fallen.”
Aragorn shrugged, but he still felt responsible for
having dragged his friend into the water in the first place.
“There was an earthquake in Mirkwood a long, long
time ago, or so I am told,” Legolas mused, since the subject had come
up. “I was too little to remember it, but they say that one of
the lesser halls collapsed under the strain and it did a good deal of
damage to the houses outside the palace. They say it was a small
one, although I do not know how they could with nothing to compare it
“I wonder what a really big one would feel like?”
Elrohir pondered. “It’s somewhat eerie to feel the earth moving
on its own under your feet like that. It’s not natural.”
“Well let’s hope you never find out!” Elladan
laughed and shook his head. “Honestly, the things you wonder