When all other Lights go out

B2MeM 2013 Day Six B2MeM 2013 Day One--Friendship B2MeM 2013 Day Six


When all other Lights go Out

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

B2MeM Challenge: Friendship

"It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,

Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.

It lies behind stars and under hills,

And empty holes it fills.

It comes first and follows after,

Ends life, kills laughter."

Format: Ficlet

Genre: friendship, angst, h/c

Rating: PG

Warnings: none

Characters: Aragorn, Faramir, Legolas, Gimli

Pairings: none

Summary: A hunting trip goes awry.

With thanks to Raksha

Disclaimer: The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate. No profit has been, nor will be made from this story.

Dedicated to Cairistiona and Ellynn Ithilwen on the occasion of their birthdays.

“Fossils are fascinating,” said Aragorn. “I love the shape of these ammonites. It amazes me to think they existed so long before Men. I wonder if I could remove one without breaking it to take to show to Eldarion.” He took out his pocket- knife and started chipping at the rock face.

“Eldarion would marvel at so ancient a creature, I am certain. I will just tell the others we will catch up with them in a few moments,” said Faramir. The King and Steward were enjoying a short respite from their duties on a hunting trip. Gimli was in Ithilien visiting Legolas and the King and Steward had invited the Elf and the Dwarf to join them. There had been little hunting but a great deal of exploring the countryside and enjoying one another’s companionship. Aragorn’s keen eyes had espied the ammonites at the mouth of a cave in the rock face and the two friends had lingered behind to examine them.

“I do not think they will hear you calling,” said Aragorn and grinned. Above him on the hillside, the Elf and Dwarf were engaged in a yodelling contest. Their calls echoed around the rocky pass. “I wish they had never heard those goatherds from Khand giving a demonstration of their yodelling skills. Now each is determined to outdo the other in demonstrating how well they have mastered the art!”

“They will scare every living thing for miles around if they continue to make such a noise,” said Faramir. “I will suggest that…” He was interrupted by a sudden ominous rumbling. “Look out!” he cried. He dashed inside the cave, pushing Aragorn inside with him. Seconds later, an avalanche came tumbling down, the rocks cascading where the two men had been standing and filling the cave mouth with boulders.

After a few moments, which seemed like hours, Aragorn called out. “Faramir!”

“I am here, mellon nîn.” Faramir crawled over the debris in the direction of Aragorn’s voice. It was pitch black in the cave now and the rocks across the entrance blocked out every glimmer of light.

“The yodelling must have triggered the avalanche,” said Faramir. “I hope Legolas and Gimli are not hurt.”

“I think they were higher up the mountain and out of harm’s way,” said Aragorn. "They must have dislodged a boulder as they climbed. The Elves told me that sound could not cause a rock fall, not even such a cacophony as they were making.”

“I suppose that makes sense,” Faramir replied. “Otherwise the goatherds would endanger their lives with their traditional calls.”

There was silence for a few moments.

“We are trapped here, said Aragorn." He struggled to disguise the slight tremor in his voice.

Faramir reached out in the darkness for Aragorn’s hand. It was shaking slightly. Faramir grasped it tightly. “Have no fear, mellon nîn,” he said. “They will rescue us soon.”

Aragorn gave a deep sigh. “You know me too well, ion nîn. I like dark or enclosed places not at all. In Moria , the Hobbits’ courage put me to shame!”

“You have known even worse dark places since,” said Faramir. “It is no shame to be afraid. The Hobbits speak only of how you comforted them. I am certain they never knew of your fear.”

Aragorn’s only reply was to press Faramir’s hand more tightly. He coughed as the dust irritated his lungs.

“You need a drink to soothe your throat. Do you have your water skin?” asked Faramir.

“I do, but I must save it in case we are trapped for a long time.”

“Have some of mine,” said Faramir, fumbling for his own water skin in the darkness.

“You will have need of it for yourself. We might be here for some time.”

Faramir found his water skin, uncorked it and held it out in the direction of Aragorn’s voice. “I insist,” he said firmly.

Aragorn drank, albeit sparingly.

“Let us try to find a way out instead of just sitting here,” said Faramir.

The two men got to their feet and pushed against the rocks until their hands bled, vainly trying to move them.

“It is hopeless,” said Aragorn. “We might only bring more rock down and we are using up all the air in here.” He flopped to the ground, dejection evident in his tone.

“Legolas and Gimli will rescue us soon,” said Faramir.

“While we, two of Gondor’s finest warriors sit like rats in a trap!” said Aragorn bitterly. “What if they too are trapped by the rock fall, or worse?”

“I feel certain they will find us,” said Faramir. “And should they fail, our ladies will send out search parties when we fail to return.”

“That could take hours or even days,” Aragorn said morosely.

Silence fell, broken only by the sound of Aragorn’s laboured breathing. Faramir draped a comforting arm round the King’s shoulders. “I know how we might pass the time,” he said after a long pause. “We could play Bilbo’s riddle game. Frodo told me about it. It should help the waiting to pass more pleasantly. I will begin.

It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.

“Darkness,” Aragorn replied grimly. “The darkness which now surrounds us and surrounded Bilbo too under the mountains. You should not be trapped here too, ion nîn, you were far away enough from the cave mouth when the rocks began to fall. Why did you not jump clear?”

“Because you, my friend were in danger,” said Faramir. “I would not leave you. You once rescued me from the darkness too and I do not forget.”

“A true friend is like a light that burns still when all other lights go out,” said Aragorn.

Faramir squeezed the King’s hand again. “It is your turn to ask a riddle,” he said after a few minutes’ silence.

“Very well,” said Aragorn. “Voiceless it cries….”

He was interrupted by cries from outside. “Aragorn, Faramir!”

“We are both here and unhurt,” Aragorn shouted in reply.

“We will soon have you out of there,” cried Gimli’s voice. “These stones are easy work for a stout Dwarf.”

“And easier work still for a strong Elf!” Legolas retorted. “Stay clear while we free you!”

Faramir and Aragorn moved back further into the cave. They could only listen to the sounds outside and wait patiently.

Then there was a crash as the largest of the rocks was moved aside. Sunlight flooded into the cave, banishing the darkness. Never had daylight seemed so fair as it did when the two friends stumbled forth from their prison. They gratefully expressed their thanks to their rescuers.

“Are you well,” Legolas asked anxiously as he studied the two dust covered figures. Aragorn had started to cough again and Faramir was sneezing.

“We will be well enough once we get away from here and the breeze blows the dust away,” said Aragorn.

“We can resume our yodelling contest on the way down the mountain,” said Gimli.

“I do have rather a headache from being inside the stuffy cave,” said Aragorn, exchanging a covert glance with Faramir.

“So do I,” said the Steward.

“No matter,” said Gimli. “I am certain I beat the Elf hands down!”

“No matter, I shall triumph next time,” said Legolas.

“I only hope we are out of earshot,” Aragorn whispered to Faramir, but he was smiling.

A/n. The riddles are taken directly from “The Hobbit” by Tolkien. This is a revised version of a story I wrote for BTME13.

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