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On Sleepless Roads
Elenlôm Elfstar
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Haelanna ran into Legolas’ open arms and embraced her friend tightly, not caring that his clothes and everything else on him were covered in mud, gore, and filth. All Haelanna cared about was the fact that he was alive, that he had survived the battle of Helm’s Deep.

Legolas held Haelanna close, trying to stall the moment which he knew would come soon. He didn’t worry about his grimy, filthy garments soiling her soft leather breeches and white linen shirt. Legolas just held her, wishing that this moment could just stretch on and on, preventing the next one from coming.

But the Elf’s wishes were futile and in vain. Haelanna drew away from him a minute later and, still within the circle of his arms, looked up at him. She reached up to rub a bit of dirt off his nose. Her hand stopped when she saw his eyes, which registered deep grief, sorrow, loss, and a vast emptiness. Those emotions registering in his midnight-blue eyes were a far cry from what could usually be seen there.

“Where’s Haldir?” Haelanna asked, deciding not to worry about the feelings she saw in his eyes. Surely the mention of Haldir would lift Legolas’ spirits. Haldir, after all, was a good friend to Legolas as well. “I’ve been waiting here for an hour, but I haven’t seen him yet.”

Instead of cheering him up, the mention of Haelanna’s twin only made Legolas look even sadder. His shoulders slumped visibly and his eyes filled with even more grief. He took Haelanna’s hands in his and led her to a vacant bench. Besides them, the only other things on the bench were a scarlet cloak and a sheathed sword. Haelanna, however, did not notice them; she was still searching Legolas’ face for a clue to his unhappiness.

“Legolas?” she asked softly, pushing a stray lock of flaxen hair away from his face. “Legolas, what is it?” Her dark mahogany eyes searched his face.

Legolas took a deep breath and said, “Haelanna, Haldir isn’t coming back. He was slain
by an Uruk-Hai on the rampart of the left wall. The Uruk-Hai ran him through from behind, when Haldir’s cloak whipped around to show a gap in the laces.”

Haelanna stared at him, trying to register what Legolas was saying.

“I came too late,” Legolas continued. “Aragorn had already laid him down. I knew you would want something of his to hold onto, so I took these back with me.” He turned around and picked up the cloak and sword.

Haelanna took them, her body beginning to go numb from shock.

“I’m so sorry,” Legolas said softly, cupping her cheek. “I’m sorry for not being there, like I told you I would. It’s my fault.”

“He promised me,” Haelanna whispered, more to herself than to Legolas. “He promised me we’d leave together. We came together, we leave together; that’s what Haldir always said…” Her voice trailed off as tears began to stream down her cheeks. She buried her face in Haldir’s cloak, breathing in the familiar smell of her twin brother. Haelanna clutched her brother’s mantle and brand as she cried, but she cried softly.
Legolas gathered her into his arms and rocked her like a little child. He said nothing, just rocked her and stroked her hair. For a few minutes Haelanna leaned against him, drawing some comfort from the protective bounds of his arms around her.

Suddenly, Haelanna pulled away. “Thank you for telling me,” she choked out. Then she kissed Legolas’ cheek and rose.

Before Legolas could say anything, Haelanna was running down the crowded corridor. People moved aside respectfully, recognizing her distress. Legolas remained rooted where he was, staring after her as tears began to blur his vision. He put his head in his arms and felt the tears soak through his bloodstained sleeves.

Haelanna ran on and on, not knowing where she was going. It was only when she hit a railing that she stopped, her entire body shaking as her sobs came out. Haelanna leaned over the rail, choking on her sorrow. She gripped all she had left of Haldir, her fingers not feeling the silky cloth of his cloak or the cold metal hilt of his sword. He’d never wear or hold them again, never ride off into battle with his scarlet cape catching in the breeze like a banner and his sword held high like a standard.

Haelanna was oblivious to the sympathetic and knowing looks the people around her gave her. All she saw was a gray fog before her, and she knew what the mists meant.

Before her, she saw Haldir, dressed in his everyday clothes of silver-gray and forest green. He had his other sword in hand and his bow and quiver were strapped to his back. Right before he disappeared onto the shadowy paths of the Fey of Sorrow, Haldir turned around.

Haldir lifted his sword in salute and his voice rang into her mind. “I love you, little sister.”

And with that, he walked away, leaving her behind. She continued to cry as he faded away…

….Faded while on sleepless roads.

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