Characters: Faramir, Legolas
Disclaimer: All of Middle Earth is from the hand of Tolkien. I own nothing. I make no profit from the ficlet.
So I was working on finishing B2MEM stuff, because it's been a month and I should get on that. And then this decided to blindeside me, just in time for Earth Day. So this is being posted first. :) Happy Earth Day (one day late).
He had seen much destruction, yet the smell of charred earth never failed to clench Legolas’ stomach. Now he looked out at the carnage, the forest torn and blackened by flame. This wanton, senseless death of the very land, this was the mark of their enemy. There was no need for such cruelty, the orcs razed the earth for spite.
Yet it would not remain. Legolas raised his head, looking out at the barren wound. They had won. And he would see this land healed.
Soft footsteps, quiet in the hush of the dead, called the elf’s eyes. Ithilien’s prince stopped far out in the darkened scar, looking about him with an expression of grief that struck the elf as far older than the man who bore it. As Legolas watched, Faramir knelt amid the scorched trunks, taking a handful of ash from the earth, trailing the cold fire-memory through his fingers. Closing his eyes, Faramir brought his closed fist to his brow, then his lips, a gesture of grief and love Legolas had seen once before.
Cradling a seedling in his hand, Legolas walked through the dead trees to his friend.
For a time Faramir did not stir, though Legolas knew he had heard him come. Finally, with a gentle sigh, he looked up, and Legolas saw the flickering embers of many fires in his grey eyes, the ashes of many dead. Faramir’s brow was marked with cinders, his eyes with quiet sorrow.
“Tell me that these lands will be green again, Legolas,” Faramir murmured, looking out at the scorched skeleton of the forest around them. Elves saw with old eyes, and yet it seemed to Legolas that Faramir saw even as he did not, far beyond the ash of the trees, the pain and anguish of the enemy. Grief darkened his heart, yes, and weariness, too, but it was tempered by ancient resolve, far older than even Legolas could know, the will to build, and to live, and to reclaim that which had been destroyed.
Like the earth, Legolas thought, looking at the ash in Faramir’s hand.
Faramir looked up at him, waiting. Legolas smiled. “They will be more beautiful than you can imagine,” he promised, offering the seedling.
Faramir smiled as he reached out to take it. Legolas knew that Gandalf called him a dreamer for a reason. There was a great deal Ithilien’s prince could hope for her. Still, Legolas fully intended to keep his promise.
Faramir’s expression softened as he looked at the newborn tree cradled in his hands. Kneeling there among the ashes, he bowed his head. Only elvish ears could have heard his whisper into the green leaves. “For both of you.”
Kissing the new tree in blessing, Faramir laid the seedling in the earth, digging with his hands through the top coating of mixed ash and dust, the memory of death, to the dark soil beneath, where life endured still.
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