"Fool of a Took! Put that down!" Gandalf yelled at Pippin, who was waving his staff around saying 'I'm a wizard, I'm a wizard'.
Pippin somberly put down the staff, and walked over to Merry who was waiting by Bill the Pony. Frodo sat on top of Bill, brushing his mane.
"Gandalf's no fun," Pippin said with a giggle.
"If you break it, you have to get him another, you know," Merry replied.
Sam came over with his and Frodo's luggage and set it by Bill.
Sam joined in the conversation with an eager voice.
"What do you think we'll run into on the way?"
"I hear we'll fight Orcs!" Merry said with an excited tone. Pippin put his fists up.
"Well, I'll punch them in the face if they get close to me!" Pippin started hitting the air with his fists pretending to be a famous fighter and warrior. Sam chuckled and turned to Frodo.
"What do you think? Do you want join in the excitement, Master?"
Frodo's face lacked any expression. He stopped brushing Bill and turned toward them. His eyes showed no trace of the enthusiasm the other hobbits had. He said nothing, just looked at them. He turned his head back around to face Bill and continued brushing. Sam cleared his throat regretting he had said anything. He didn't know why Frodo was so depressed, and thought maybe he just had indigestion.
"Did you know an Elf is coming with us?" said Pippin excited about the journey ahead. He was always curious about places and people outside Middle-Earth, especially the Elves.
"No, I didn't," Merry said. "An Elf would be great to have along, but I still wouldn't trade Strider."
"We're not," answered Sam.
"Really? He's coming too?"
"His name is Aragorn, remember? We have to use that name now," said Pippin, feeling proud he had remembered.
"Well what's the Elf's name?" asked Merry
"Leg of Lamb," answered Pippin.
"Fool of a Took," Gandalf mumbled under his breath as he was handing some baggage to Frodo to tie on Bill. "It's Legolas," Gandalf said louder.
"Oh, right...Legolas," Pippin corrected himself.
The four companions were getting ready to leave Rivendell and proceed on their journey, not really aware of the dangers they may face. Pippin, Merry, and Sam were eagerly awaiting to meet their new traveling companions. The hobbits were not told much of them, they only heard rumors. The three hobbits seemed to be the only ones who were excited...
* * * * * *
A rather pale elf sat on the cool grass with his back to a tree. His one knee was bent up to his chin, and his hand was resting on it. A bow and a quiver of arrows were strapped around his right shoulder, and his head was leaning back against the bark. His eyes were closed, letting the wind gently blow his hair over his face; however, he was not smiling. He seemed as if something was bothering him. A few meters away, a dwarf was sitting on an overgrown tree stump with his elbow resting on his axe. His chin was in his palm, and he was watching the Hobbits laugh and speak with joyful tones. He then turned and watched the Elf's expressionless face while the breeze blew through the trees. The dwarf wondered what he was thinking. It was hard to tell from his calm features. He finally broke the silence.
"What are you so calm about, Elf?"
Legolas opened his eyes and glared straight at him.
"I'm listening," he answered.
"To what? To my heart beat growing faster? To Dwarves off somewhere suffering Mordor's wrath? Oh, but you would enjoy listening to that, now wouldn't you?" Gimli said with a growl.
Legolas said nothing. He closed his eyes once more and let a small sigh escape him in the peacefulness of the breeze of Rivendell, which he knew would not last long. Finally Legolas stood up, tightened his quiver of arrows around his shoulder, and walked down the hill towards the lake. He crossed over towards the lake's direction, and passed within sight distance of the hobbits and Gandalf.
"Look! It's another man. I wonder if he's a friend of Stri...uh...I mean Aragorn," said Pippin.
"No, no, he's an elf," Sam said. "Just look at his ears"
"And his hair," said Merry.
"And his eyes," Sam also pointed out.
As Legolas went past them, they could hear him softly mumbling something of an Elven language under his breath.
"Ok....maybe he's an elf," said Pippin.
Gandalf rolled his eyes again. "Fool of a Took," he said.
* * * * * *
Aragorn sat with his back to a tree. His hand was trailing in no particular pattern over the water, causing ripples on the lake surface. His face was stern and grim, deeply thinking about something. His eyes gazed across the water, losing all grip of concentrating on anything; just staring.
Boromir came over and sat beside him, but Aragorn's gaze did not change.
"Well, it looks like I'll be coming along. I Can't believe it. My Father, Denethor, had become rather ill these days, so my place is in Gondor; yet I'm assisting hobbits who wish to destroy something that could be a turning point for us in the war. I'm to be the King of Gondor when my father dies, but I can't help but want to stay in Rivendell a bit longer."
Aragorn made a small grin, too small to be noticed by Boromir, when he mentioned 'becoming King once Denethor died'. Boromir paused, thinking of something he remembered.
"I think I shall miss Arwen while I'm on this journey. I've grown rather fond of her company...When I return I could speak with Elrond and-"
He was interrupted by Aragorn, who's eyes looked towards him.
"Don't toil with people and things that are of no concern to you."
Boromir leaned back slightly.
"Hey, it was only a thought. Why have you been so hostile towards me? Whenever I have tried to speak with you, you ignore me. If you are jealous because I'm to be King, then it's understandable..."
"Pity, yes. Jealous, no," Aragorn answered.
"Pity me? What for?" he asked angrily.
"A fool and his pride are soon disappointed."
With that, Boromir stood up and walked away towards the Hobbits to see if Gandalf had finished loading Bill.
Aragorn did not move from his place leaning against the tree. The sun shone down brightly upon him. He looked toward the sky and closed his eyes, allowing the sun to shine on his face. He breathed out slowly; his features still dismal, and barren of any joyous expression.
Suddenly, someone walked towards the tree at a steady slow pace. Aragorn could tell that whoever was coming towards him was not in a cheerful mood.
"My liege," Legolas said.
"Yes?" Aragorn said with a sigh, still running his finger through the water.
"Aragorn, we are almost ready to leave. Gandalf and the hobbits are already near the Northern wall."
He said nothing, only stared over the water.
"I saw Boromir walk away a few moments ago...He looked rather angry. May I ask what happened?"
Aragorn grinned. "What have I always told you about a fool and his pride, my friend?"
Legolas began to laugh. "So he brought up his 'kingly' future again, has he?"
"Quite so," he answered.
Legolas cocked his head to see his friend's face more clearly.
"Something is bothering you. Is it the journey?"
Aragorn stopped moving his hand through the water, and looked down.
"It's nothing," he answered.
"Whatever you say," Legolas answered, looking very skeptical. "But if you wish to talk, you know where to find me."
After Legolas left, Aragorn stood up. He began to walk away, and then stopped. For a moment, he just stood there. Then, he turned quickly and slammed his fist into the tree, removing some of the bark. A pale hand appeared over the fist of Aragorn.
"The tree did not deserve your wrath," Arwen said sarcastically from behind him. He looked down in sorrow.
"Arwen, I do not go with the Company to be away from you. I want to stay here with you, but I am needed."
He turned to face her, and placed a hand on her cheek, then tenderly kissed her. She started to cry, and threw her arms around him.
"You do what you must," she managed through the tears. She stood back and let go of him. "But now, you must go to them."
She dried her eyes, and he kissed her hand, then looked straight into her eyes.
"I will come back. When I do, I shall marry you," he said, and she smiled.
He slowly wandered in the direction of the Northern wall, and did not look back. He was afraid if he did, his emotions would win over him, and he would not go forward. Arwen stood and watched Aragorn leave, then fell to her knees and covered her eyes.
* * * * * *
"My name is Peregrin, but I'm just called Pippin," he said and held out his hand.
"Gimli," Gimli said and shook his hand.
"Glad to meet you, Gimli," he replied, and then turned to Legolas who also outstretched his hand.
"I'm also glad to meet you, Mr. Leg of Lamb," Pippin said and shook his hand.
The elf pulled back his hand at that instance and looked him up and down, taking his words for an insult. Gandalf, seeing this, ran towards the two and stopped in between them.
"Please pardon the Hobbit, Prince Legolas, son of the King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood, but he is a Fool of a Took and is not well with remembering names. I'm surprised he can remember his own."
Pippin gasped when Gandalf spoke and realized his mistake. He dropped to the ground and began to whine.
"A thousand apologies, Sir Elf. I meant no harm by it. As Gandalf said, I am not very skilled at remembering names!"
Legolas let out a small laugh at Pippin's reaction and smiled.
"No harm done. Come," he said to Pippin and beckoned him to stand again. "Let us assist Gandalf with the baggage."
Pippin grinned happily and went with him and Gandalf back to Elrond's House for more items to load on Bill, who was standing by Merry, Frodo, and Sam.
Gimli snorted as he watched the three walk away. He leaned toward Boromir who was standing near him.
"The Hobbit IS a fool befriending an Elf just like that," Gimli said quietly.
"I have nothing against Elves," Boromir answered. "But Legolas is very different, for he is a considerably close friend of Aragorn. Aragorn is rather mysterious to me. He has many secrets. I do not like the way he keeps everything from me, and knows more about Isildur's Bane than I. It is as if he and the entire Council feels I cannot be trusted...I also do not like the way everyone listens to him.
Gimli chuckled. "Is it wrong a person listens to another?"
"No," Boromir answered. "But everyone listens to him as if he was a man of great importance. I feared his words he said."
"And what words were those?" Gimli asked.
" 'Do you wish for the House of Elendil to return to the Land of Gondor?' I actually feared for my throne when he said them to me. Not any man can do that to someone: strike fear into them like Aragorn did."
Legolas and Merry were coming back to Bill with the last of the baggage. Gandalf came shortly after them with his staff. Elrond was at the Northern Gate with the other of the company. The three arrived, and Elrond began to speak.
"Look not too far ahead, but go now with good hearts. Farewell, and may the blessing of Elves and Men and all the other Free Folk go with you. May the stars shine upon your faces!"
The Company said their individual farewells to Elrond. Legolas was standing apart from them. While the others spoke with Elrond, a different male elf, around Legolas's age, came from the house of Elrond, and walked towards him.
"Goodbye, my friend," Legolas said to the elf, and gave him a slight hug. When he stepped away, the other elf spoke.
"Do not be saddened. You were chosen because both Elrond and Lady Galadriel thought you capable. Think of it as an adventure."
"An adventure..." Legolas said. "I'm dancing in my little pointy shoes."
They both laughed. "I'm sure you are," the other said sarcastically. "But your shoes aren't too little, Legolas."
"And my shoes are not too pointy either, but who's keeping track, right?"
"Right," the other elf said with a laugh. "Listen, take care of yourself. When you come back I expect a full account, my friend."
"Farewell," Legolas said.
With that, he started to turn back towards Elrond and the others when he saw Aragorn staggering toward them. Legolas ran and put his arm around his shoulder for support lest he fall.
"It's alright," Aragorn said. "I'm fine."
"It would seem you are lying to me...again," Legolas said.
Aragorn looked up at his friend and hesitated momentarily. "I'll miss her, Legolas," he said somberly.
"I know," he replied with a sad expression. Aragorn looked back towards where he had just come from. He could not see Arwen, because he was too far off, but he knew she was there. A single tear rolled down his cheek. He shook it off, then turned back around and walked with Legolas down the hill towards the rest of the Company.
While the others said goodbye to Elrond, Glon had come out from the House of Elrond to meet him.
"Farewell, Father," Gimli said.
"My son, I am worried for you. Not so much for the journey; for we are a strong people. I worry most because you have in your Company that Elf, Legolas. Watch your back at all times."
Gimli looked straight into the eyes of his loving father.
"Father, you need not worry about me. I'm not exactly sure what I feel at the moment, but something inside me is telling me this Elf is different."
"He's using that Elf magic of his on you, my Son."
"No," Gimli replied, contemplating. "No, it is not magic. I think it is something different. I feel as if this Elf can be trusted, and possibly I am right in this accusation. But if I am not, I will watch my back. Either way, do not worry yourself with my safety. When I return, I will tell you all about my journey."
Glon breathed out heavily, as if pondering on what Gimli had said.
"Very well, but heed not everything your heart tells you, only the things you are sure about."
"And maybe I am sure about this premonition of non-hostility. Well, at this point I am not sure of much. Yes, I will watch my back. Goodbye, Father."
With that, Glon and Elrond began to walk away and stood from a distance to watch them leave.
"Wait!" Gandalf yelled. "Wait, we cannot leave now! Now, of ALL times!"
"Gandalf, what are you becoming frantic over? Are there black riders about?" Aragorn asked worried.
"My staff!" Gandalf answered hysterically. "Where is my staff? We cannot leave without it!"
Gandalf wandered and looked around frantically, and then out of the corner of his eye noticed a large grin encompassing Pippin's face.
"Peregrin Took..." Gandalf growled.
Pippin grinned again, and darted over behind a tree by Bill. He took from behind it the staff, and foolishly handed it to Gandalf.
"Fool of a Took," he muttered.