Coming back to himself, Legolas opened his eyes and started across the courtyard. Skipping lightly down the stairs, the elf walked across the bridge over the Forest River and started down the path into the dense woods. As he followed the convoluted route, the king’s son halted briefly to whisper a greeting to the trees, before he allowed his senses to reach out for whom he sought.
Engulfed in the dim light of the great forest, Legolas paused, his eyes narrowing at the bend in the trail before him. A small smile creased his features as he slowly followed the path’s turn. He stopped, his gaze fixed on the tall, strong back of an elf a short distance away.
Without turning, the elf called out a greeting. “Aur maer, ion nín.”
Legolas smiled and slowly approached. “Good morning to you too, Father.”
Thranduil turned, a warm expression dominating his features. “It’s early to be out, even for you.”
“Alagos wished to start out at first light, but I wanted to speak with you first.” His voice was even, yet it still held a hint of uncertainty to it.
Thranduil nodded, his gaze passing completely over his son from bottom to top. The king’s eyes narrowed at the ivory handled knife sheathed between the elf’s back and his quiver. “That is new.”
Legolas took a step away from his father, reached behind and easily pulled the knife over his shoulder in one smooth motion. Flipping the blade in his hand, he presented it to Thranduil hilt first.
Thranduil took the proffered knife, nodding in appreciation at the craftsmanship. “It’s exquisite,” he eyed the delicate engravings on the blade for a moment before he rolled it in his hand experimentally, testing the weight, “and perfectly balanced.”
Legolas nodded. “Celeduil gave it to me last night.” His smile widened. “My elder brother has your eye for weapons, father.”
Thranduil’s quiet grunt of acknowledgement was not lost on his son. A strong and true leader of his people, Thranduil was never one to accept compliments gracefully, a fact Legolas was well aware of. Legolas accepted back the knife and silently sheathed it before allowing his gaze to settle on his father. Given the hard task of protecting his people from the constant threat of evil, necessity dictated that Thranduil be a strong and practical elf, capable of making any decision, no matter how hard, to protect his realm. But underneath the tough exterior, the grace and beauty of the Eldar was strong in the Greenwood king, especially where his family was concerned.
Thranduil stared evenly back, meeting his son’s piercing gaze for a moment, before turning away. “When do you leave?”
Legolas stared out into the woods, drawing on their serenity to quell his nervousness. “Within the hour.”
The king nodded. “The road you take is a dangerous one. Evil grows strong in the south.”
“I know, ada,” Legolas agreed, “but that is where I’m needed. The southern force has been…depleted of late.“
“Depleted,” Thranduil repeated, “four families are mourning what you call depletions.” The king paused, turning caring eyes on Legolas. “It seems only yesterday I was bouncing you on my knee, ion nín. Now you leave on your first scouting mission outside our realm.” He smiled faintly. “Where does the time go?”
Legolas sighed. “I’m no longer a novice, Father. It is my duty.”
Thranduil’s eyes hardened slightly. “You need not speak of duty to me, Legolas, I know all too well where your responsibilities lie.”
Legolas lowered his head. “Goheno nín, adar. I only meant I am ready for this.”
Thranduil waved off the apology and stared out into the woods, his gaze distant. “Through the long years I’ve seen many young warriors who felt as you do. They never returned home.” Thranduil inhaled sharply, the muscles in his jaw clenching as tried to force an iron will over his emotions. “Do not be one of them, Legolas.” He whispered before turning, painful emotions bare on his face, despite his will to control it. He reached up, laying a tender hand on Legolas’ cheek. “Come back to me, Calenlass. I could not bear it otherwise.”
Legolas nodded, his own throat tight at his father’s confession. He swallowed hard, finding his voice. “I will, father, I promise.”
Thranduil pulled his son into an embrace, his strong hands gently cradling the back of Legolas’ head. “Belain berio le, Legolas.” After a moment, he stepped back, removing himself to an arm’s length from his son.
Legolas held his father’s gaze. “Estelio nín, adar. I will come back.”
Thranduil nodded slightly. “I do trust you, Legolas.” He cleared his throat, regaining his composure. “Come, Alagos will be irritated if you are late.” Without another word, Thranduil stepped around his son and started down the elf path, back toward the Halls.
Legolas paused for a moment, watching his father. A small smile crept onto his face as he watched the retreating back of the king. Taking a last look around at the forest, Legolas hurried down the path to meet his fate, wherever it may lie.
Minuial = “First twilight” (dawn); Sindarin
ion nín= “my son”; Sindarin
Goheno nín = “forgive me”; Sindarin
Calenlass = Greenleaf
Belain berio le = “ May the Valar protect you”’; Sindarin
Estelio nín = “Trust me”; Sindarin
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.