DISCLAIMER: I do not own The Lord of the Rings; all rights to J.R.R. Tolkien!! Any quotes from the movies/books are not mine either!

Aragorn had been waiting for this day for a long time. The day when he and his two best friends, Legolas and Faramir, would go on a hunting trip together. He was planning on being away for at least a week. All the stress and responsibilities of being king over Gondor had finally gotten to him, and he needed a vacation. He had gotten everything ready. He had packed his saddlebag full of food and water, and was dressed in his old ranger’s gear with his bow, quiver, sword, and the small hunting knife Galadriel had given him snapped securely in his sheath.

He left his room and strode quickly down the hallway towards the door. He wanted to get out as soon as he could and meet up with his friends at the edge of the forest. He picked his pace up to a jog and made it out to the stables in a matter of minutes. He nodded to the guards as he passed, and they bowed. Sliding the latch on his horse’s stall, he led him out into the aisle.

“A, Brego,” he greeted his companion in elvish. He strapped the saddle on and attached the saddlebag. He placed his sword underneath the saddle in the special sheath the elven smiths had attached to the saddle blanket. He left his bow and quiver on his back. He quickly adjusted the bridle on his dark brown horse and mounted. As he trotted out of the stable, one of the guards waved reverently, and the other called to him.

“The Lord Elrond says he will be here when you return in one week.”

Aragorn nodded in acknowledgement and made his way to the edge of the forest near Minas Tirith. When he made it to the forest, he saw that Legolas was already there waiting for him.

“Legolas!” he called.

“Aragorn! I am glad to see that you are finally here.” Legolas nudged his milky white horse forward to greet him.

“Where is Faramir?” Aragorn asked.

“Late, as usual,” the elf responded. His blue eyes shone in the early morning sunlight and his long, blond hair was neatly arranged hanging over his shoulders and falling down his back. He, too, was wearing the same clothes he had worn when they were a part of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Suddenly hoof beats sounded across the land, and they looked up. Faramir was coming at them at a dead gallop. Aragorn squinted to see what the problem was, but Legolas told him before he could figure it out.

“There is someone else with him.”

Aragorn could just make out another rider on the horizon. The rider was a woman with wavy, blond hair and was sitting atop a beautiful chestnut mare. As the pair approached, it was clear that Faramir was the faster. He made it to the two men first. He reined in his horse just in front of Aragorn and pushed a piece of auburn hair out of his sparkling blue eyes. The woman reached them next and Aragorn realized it was Éowyn, Faramir’s sweetheart.

Aragorn gave Faramir a pointed glare. It’s not that he disliked Éowyn, it was just that this was just supposed to be the three of them.

“All right, Éowyn,” Faramir said, turning to face her. “I won.”

“That’s not fair,” she said with a laugh. “You cheated.”

“I did not!” he said indignantly.

She laughed loudly and gave him a playful punch in the arm. “Be careful, Faramir.” She leaned over and kissed him lightly on the cheek, then turned and cantered off back to Minas Tirith still laughing.

Legolas gave him a questioning look.

“She insisted we race, even though I told her I always win.” He patted his horse’s sweaty neck and smiled smugly.

Legolas rolled his eyes and kicked his horse into a soft walk towards the woods. Aragorn and Faramir fell into line side by side with him.

“So,” Faramir said, turning to Aragorn. “You told me we were going hunting, but you never told me what we’re hunting.”

Legolas and Aragorn exchanged a glance, then Aragorn smiled at Faramir. “Orc.”

“Orc?” Faramir gave a confused laugh. “I thought we killed them all.”

“Not all of them,” Legolas said. “Lady Galadriel sent word saying they had been picking up Orc trails near Loríen recently. She wanted us to help them with it.” He looked at Aragorn. “We do have a ranger with us.”

“Why can’t they do it?” Faramir asked realistically.

“Well…” Legolas hesitated. “After Helm’s Deep…there’s not many left to do the job.” He looked away.

“Oh,” Faramir said. They both knew the death toll of the Lothlorien elves at the Battle of Helm’s Deep hit Legolas hard, so most of the time they tried to avoid the subject.

The woods were alive with larks singing in the trees and animals skittering out of the way of the three slow moving horses. Shrubs and trees lined the small path through the forest, and they often had to get off the path because it was so overgrown; there were other places that they could get through easier.

They walked until sunset, then decided to set up camp near a clump of close-growing trees. They laid their cloaks down on the ground to sleep on and arranged blankets on each one. Faramir went to find wood for a fire and Legolas sat down on the thick, green grass and stared up at the enormous trees.

“It is good to finally be out in the woods again,” Legolas sighed. He ran his fingertips over the rough bark of a tree and stood. He strode quietly over to Aragorn, who was giving Brego a juicy, red apple. He patted his own horse on the neck and said to Aragorn, “Don’t you enjoy being in the forest again, Estel?”

“Yes, I do. It reminds me of my days being a Ranger.” He wandered away from the horses and stood in the middle of their small campsite.

“Something is bothering you, Aragorn. What is it?” Legolas said gently, standing beside him.

“It is nothing, Legolas.” He turned to face the elf. “A mere worry.”

Legolas opened his mouth to speak, but at that moment the unmistakable sound of Boromir’s horn sliced through the warm air. Aragorn heart stopped, remembering what had happened to Boromir when he blew that horn almost two years ago. Faramir had pieced the two halves together and added it to his collection of armor and weapons. A seed of dread was planted inside of Aragorn’s heart as he heard the horn blare again, and Legolas muttered his thoughts. “Faramir, he is in trouble.” Aragorn started towards his horse, but a loud, crashing sound spooked him. All three of the horses ripped their reins out of the neat knots the men had tied and ran off into the forbidding woods.

“Brego!” Aragorn shouted, trying to get his horse back.

“We have to get to Faramir.” Legolas said, snapping back the Ranger’s attention. He gave a quick nod and they both ran at full speed in the direction the young steward had gone. The terrifying sounds of the horn echoed through the silent, dark woods, making the two only run faster. Suddenly it stopped and a thud resounded through the dark. They didn’t slow their pace. They suddenly came to a small clearing, the edges thick with trees and shrubbery, but the middle was completely clear. They stopped before walking any closer and examined their surroundings. Anything could be lurking in the darkness around them, and whatever it was had attacked Faramir.

“Aragorn.” He followed the elf’s gaze and saw a figure lying the middle of the clearing, Faramir’s horn right beside it and his sword on the other side. Legolas took a cautious step forward, and Aragorn took another.

“Watch my back.” Aragorn said, silently drawing his sword. He crept out into the clearing and glanced over his shoulder to see Legolas with an arrow strung in his bow, ready for anything. As Aragorn got closer, he realized the man lying before him was not dead, just barely breathing. With another step forward, Aragorn’s breath caught and he rushed forward towards the injured figure. No, don’t let it be him. Do not let it be Faramir. He almost burst into tears when he turned the lump over on its back and recognized the cold, pale face. No. It can’t be. He quickly checked the fallen steward’s pulse and found that it beat irregularly and faintly. A gash ran from his temple all the way down to his chin and curved cruelly up and around his lips. His left arm was bruised and laying at an odd angle, and the worst injury was the arrow sticking out of his chest.

“Legolas!” Aragorn called, not caring about the danger in shouting aloud. No, I already lost Boromir, not him. Please, Eru, not Faramir. When Legolas joined Aragorn by Faramir’s side, the Ranger was desperately trying to choke back tears. “He’s almost dead.”

Legolas looked solemn and disbelieving. The moonlight glanced off his shiny blue eyes and showed sadness and fear. “We need to get him back to Minas Tirith.” Aragorn nodded and started to lift the man from the ground when a crunch made him jerk his head up and set Faramir back down.

“What was that?”

“Nad no ennas,” Legolas said quietly. He pulled his bowstring back and aimed it in the direction the sound had come from. A sudden flash of moonlight reflecting off metal sent the arrow flying, and they could both here it hit something. They waited for a few seconds, then an Orc with an arrow sticking out of its chest fell face forward out of the woods.

I hope everyone liked it! Sorry if you got confused with his thoughts, I couldn’t get them in italics. 😀

Ro 😀

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