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The Assignment by Sivan Shemesh

Yule Exchange Fic 2013

Author name: Sivan Shemesh
Recipient's name: engarion (Eruilsse)
Title: The Assignment
Rating: T
Request: In LOTR, Gimli and Legolas swore to return to Fangorn Forest and the Glittering Caves once more, journeying with each other. Chose one (or both) of these areas and this journey of the two unlikely travelling companions. What do they see? Who do they meet? If possible, work Yuletide into the story, although that's not mandatory. Most of all... have fun.
Author's notes:
Warning: AU, angst, friendship, drama, crossover of sorts...
Beta: Aranel
Summary: If only Legolas knew how to say 'No!'


It was all Aragorn's fault.

Gimli watched how Legolas was flung against the tree trunk and he knew that he would be next.

If only Legolas knew how to say 'No!' they would not have to face these forces of evil. What creature was this? Everything was keeping them from venturing deeper into the forest...


A few weeks ago...</i>

Minas Tirith, Gondor

King Elessar could not have asked for more from his two companions. They had helped to rebuild the city, and even after that, they had remained as very welcomed guests. They helped where they could. The last he heard was that they were busy terrifying the children of Gondor with stories, or as they preferred to put it, making them aware of the horrors of war. In any case, it freed everyone else for other work.

He thought Arwen had been secretly pleased.

But he was king, and he had the omnipotent pile of reports that never diminished. He leaned back in the chair, sighing heavily. While he was being buried alive by all this parchment, his queen was outside with his friends, enjoying the beauty of nature. Just what gave elves this privilege?

The door creaked open, and Aragorn could not help but grin. "Thank you," he greeted his cherished friend who had just entered.

"For what?" Legolas asked.

"For not leaving me here alone with all the reports," the king explained. Was that not obvious enough?

"Do you need some sort of help?" Legolas asked with too innocent a grin. "I'm sure Gimli could accidentally start a fire, and those reports would be gone."

Aragorn grinned. That was too tempting but he raised his hand to decline it.

"What's troubling you about them?" Legolas was trying to be helpful after noting the not too neat stacks of parchment.

"Most of them come from the troops near the Fangorn Forest, a few from Rohan, a few from the Glittering Caves, and the rest from Ithilien," the king replied as though that explained everything.

"And?" Legolas prompted.

Aragorn could see the elf's curiosity materialize very clearly on his face. "Well, let me see," he pulled a pile over and replied, "Fangorn. I actually do not know if I can take that at face value, but every last patrol I sent has been telling me the same thing." He sighed and looked up at Legolas. "They say that Fangorn is haunted."

A strange expression flitted across the elf's visage.

"And Rohan," he continued. "They are having trouble rebuilding the place, shortage of manpower, shortage of materials, everything. The Glittering Caves, cave-in issues. I'd sent some scouts there and now we've to rescue those who had been trapped inside..." Aragorn looked around his table. "Yes, and Ithilien needs some reconstruction."

"That is, my friend, indeed a lot. I can see why you would be very troubled by it," Legolas agreed.

Aragorn had to hide his grin as a thought came to his mind. "Legolas, my dear friend, could you do me a little favor?" he asked.

Legolas raised an eyebrow. "Which should I check?" he asked, as though reading his thoughts.

"Fangorn Forest," Aragorn replied right away. The elf had clearly been dwelling on it but he was being silent now. "Oh, I will give you any city you want when you return; I just need to know if those reports are true!" he added.

Legolas gave him a mirthful smile. "All right then, I will do it," he agreed, rather with a heavy heart, as though there was something he could not pinpoint but it was certainly a bad omen. He continued, "I do wish that I will not find my death in what you assign me to do."

"But you would not be alone," Aragorn reminded him, "You could take Gimli with you."

"That is indeed a wonderful idea; we had both sworn to return to Fangorn Forest and the Glittering Caves." That seemed to cheer him somewhat.

Legolas left to find the dwarf.

The king grinned. He had never thought that Legolas would be that keen on visiting the Glittering Caves. "One thing done," he muttered, stretching in the chair. Perhaps he could allow himself a brief wa-

He hurried outside at once. Gimli was shouting intelligibly and he never knew that Legolas could raise his voice half as much.

"What's going on in here?" Aragorn questioned his friends. Neither was looking particularly pleased.

"I told Gimli of your assignment, and he," Legolas pointed toward the dwarf, "He wishes to go to the Glittering Caves first to rescue those who might be buried inside. But obviously, if– "

Aragorn sighed heavily. When could his friends start acting their age? "Gimli, you can go to the Glittering Caves after the Fangorn Forest. As long as you send word about the reports," he decided for them.

"Fine, I just hope that those reports are bogus." Gimli was not too happy. Neither was Legolas.

"Good, now when were you planning to leave?" Aragorn asked, hiding his grin.

Gimli and Legolas gave him a glare in unison, but said nothing.


Aragorn wished he could have joined them on their journey. There was something in the way the two exchanged nothing more than a gruff greeting that held promise. Legolas took his horse on a long conversation in the trees. Gimli had lodged himself in the cellar as though he would never see the underground again.

What could he say? They were the best of friends. He longed to walk with them, even if it were just to escort them out of the city; he would be whistling without a single care in the world, and if they were not busy glaring daggers at him or at each other, they would probably be pouting or sulking or simply behaving like they children they once were.

Or they could probably have worked very well together to kill him.

Hence, Aragorn returned to his room with a sudden desire to tackle the reports.


"How are we feeling?" Legolas asked. They had slowed down as they neared Fangorn Forest.

"Tall," Gimli replied proudly from his steed.

Legolas laughed. "We are not too far now," he said. "Let's rest before continuing."

"Not too far?" Gimli exclaimed. "What is wrong with your elven sight? The forest is right here!"

"I say we rest anyway," Legolas insisted. "Stories don't start for no reason."

Deep in the forest of Entwood there lived a wizard who had the power to command any animal. They called him the brown wizard. He had a house of such an unwieldy shape that it must have had built itself. It had a life of its own. Every day, he spoke to the animals and they spoke to him. This way, he knew more of the outside world than anyone else of his time. When he wished to travel, he had a sled pulled by the most ferocious creatures. Rabbits, they had seemed, but they were more than that, for no hare could compare with their enormous size and savagery. And yet, they were not savage to him.

One day, he disappeared...

"Bedtime, Legolas..."

"But, nana, ada just started his story!"

"Oh, haven't we rested enough?" Gimli retorted. "There are people dying in the caves."

Without a word, Legolas led the way into the forest.

They rode leisurely in and Gimli seemed rather pleased.

"All right," he concluded. "It's quiet, there's nothing here. We can go now."

"That's it," Legolas said suddenly. "There's nothing here. But no..."

Gimli turned to look at him.

There was a deep guttural growl that made Gimli uneasy at once. Legolas had already nocked an arrow. There was still nothing. Gimli turned, only to see Legolas flung against a tree trunk by...something. Before he could do anything, he was being thrown off the horse. He was in the air. He landed on something. He blinked. He grimaced and scrambled for cover but something threw him up into the air. Was that Legolas on the ground clutching hi- ? Gimli let out a moan of pain as he hit a sturdy tree root.

So it was all Aragorn's fault. And Legolas's. If only the elf knew how to say 'No!'

"There's a house," Gimli called, making for it.

"No!" Legolas shouted.

Gimli stopped, startled at the force of Legolas's objection.

But in any case, it seemed that they had a brief reprieve. "Legolas, what's wrong?" Gimli asked. His friend was rising awkwardly, fear burning on his face.

"Bad things happen there. We should not go in," Legolas replied, his eyes fearful. "Let's send the king our answer and ride to the Glittering Caves."

Gimli could hardly believe what Legolas was saying. Of course he would not object to leaving this place but it was not like Legolas to be this easily terrified.

The elf was limping slightly and Gimli walked over to help him. His ax would give him a trusty third limb. His a– It flew from his grasp. Gimli watched, stunned as it flung itself towards Legolas. The elf ducked in time. Wha–

Gimli was suspended in the air yet again. He flailed around, not at all comfortable. Legolas was not moving. No, he was. He was looking at the house. He was– Was that elf limping his way there? Just what was he doing? Hadn't he just said th– No! What was that herd coming?

"LEGOLAS!!!" he shouted, trying to catch the elf's attention.

They were rabbits, an entire mob of rabbits approaching the path where Legolas seemed so enveloped by his own thoughts to notice.

"LEGOLAS, DANGER!!!" The elf did not seemed to hear.

"Let me down!" he tried calling out to whatever it was that was holding him in the air. "I'm going to kill Aragorn if we survive this," he muttered furiously. He was not too sure if he would rather be eaten alive by those creatures or floating there in the air. But what was certainly worse was that he could not do anything for Legolas.

The elf was being the most stubborn creature ever. Surely he could see the ravening beasts approaching and they had sharp teeth! But he only continued on. He bent over to pick a branch. He found a log. He put something inside it.

"What are you doing? Get out of there!" Gimli was almost screaming.

No, wait. Was he trying to make a fire? Didn't he know how hard it was to start a fire? If he was trying to follow how Aragorn started a fire, that was not going to work out. Obiously. No. No, that was not how you held th–

He heard Legolas's painful cry as the herd rushed at him.

"NO!!!" Gimli shouted. He would do anything to get down. Oh, he would stay at Fangorn for the rest of his life if it meant that Legolas would be safe.

There was a spark.

Legolas was flinging the creatures off and trying to nurse the fire. Gimli wished he could help blow it. He could see the cruel marks on the elf's body. He could hear how the elf sucked in his breath in pain. And yet...

He had made a torch.

Legolas flung it into the open door of the house. Gimli saw how he was curling up defensively in pain, trying to ward off the creatures that were attacking him. He could see the blood spreading across his clothes. What good would it do to burn the house down?

Suddenly, Gimli felt a rush and he fell onto the ground. He could feel the impact against the hard ground. He could not move. For an eternity, he stayed frozen. Then he managed to move a finger, a hand. He turned onto this side. Everything ached. He tried to get up anyway.

He looked around them. It was quiet, as though nothing had happened. There was a faint rustle of leaves and the breeze strengthened him.

"Legolas?" he called. Where was the elf?

The breeze brought the faint smell of burnt wood. His ax was lodged deeply in a thick trunk. He pulled at it with all his might, only to fall backwards onto the ground. At least he had gotten his ax back.

"Legolas, are you all right?"

The dwarf walked deeper into the forest. There was nothing there. No rabbits, no creature of any sort. Nothing but foggy smoke.

Neither was Legolas anywhere to be found.

There was no way that Gimli could be glad that it was over if his best friend found his death.


There was a figure ahead. Gimli rushed over as quickly as his weary body would allow him. Legolas was lying prone on the ground, somewhat awkwardly. He was still bleeding.

"Legolas don't you dare die on me!" Gimli turned the elf around, checking for a pulse. Good. The elf was alive. He tried to blow away the smoke surrounding them to help Legolas breathe. He was not feeling particularly helpful.

Sudenly, he heard a cough. Legolas stirred.

"Legolas!" Gimli could not be more relieved.

"Gimli… how… are… you?" Legolas asked weakly, still struggling to breathe.

"Better than you are, I assume," Gimli replied, giving him a smile.

The smoke was clearing and Gimli could tell that Legolas was regaining his strength.

"My home is closer. There are healers. We can rest there," Legolas said. He had managed to sit up even though Gimli could tell that he was in pain.

"I do not think that I can ride on my horse," Legolas continued.

Gimli looked around them. Their horses were there, just ahead, as though nothing had happened.

"When we send word to that mutual friend of ours, sign it off with my name that I fully intend to kill him as soon as we return," Gimli said. "The stories are certainly true enough for me."

Legolas grinned. "I'll add my name to that."

But for now, they had wounds to heal. And new paths to travel.

Gimli helped his friend rise from the ground. "What happened exactly with the house?" he asked.

"That's an entire story," Legolas replied. "It seems that all this might have something to do with the spirit of the Brown Wizard that is intimately related to the house."

"The Brown Wizard Radagast?" Gimli asked.

Legolas did not reply and Gimli let it pass. He would find out more along the way. Or in Legolas's homeland. Then a thought occurred to him. "Do you think it is a good time for me to meet your father?"

"Why not?" Legolas replied and then he added, "The war is over, times have changed. Alliances can be forged from what had once been broken."

"Are you certain that it is a good idea?" Gimli asked, not knowing what he should expect from the Elvenking.

Legolas laughed tauntingly. "Why Gimli? Is that fear I hear in your voice?"

The End?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 1st, 2014 06:31 pm (UTC)
This was really cute and I thank you for writing it for me. The interactions between Legolas and Gimli are well done, the frustration that Aragorn feels with the administration of his realm also rings quite true.

I admit to a bit of confusion when they are checking out Fangorn but finding things reminding them of Radagast, a wizard who lives hundreds of miles away in the Greenwood, but I just rode along with the ride and found it very enjoyable in the end.

Thanks again. Have a great new year.

- Erulisse (one L)
Jan. 1st, 2014 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading it, glad that you love it, and after all it's AU.

I have the sequel still in writing though.

*Hugs & Kisses*

Have a great day/night and keep smiling,

Sivan Shemesh
Jan. 2nd, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
OK, this was really different! I hope all goes well with the meeting!
Jan. 11th, 2014 08:59 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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