2. Secret Alliances
"Thank you for the warning, Estel. However, we have spent enough of this night speaking of today's Council…Go; find Arwen before she thinks I've stolen all of your time! We will have time to speak anon – enjoy the light of the stars and what ever peace you may find this night." With that said Legolas firmly pushed his startled friend out of the door and shut it before he had time to protest.Chuckling softly to himself, he turned towards the open balcony of his chambers and slowly wandered along the intricately carved railing. Troubled blue eyes turned upward, seeking and finding solace in the beauty and tranquility of the starlit night. After a few moments contemplation, he finally cast out a silent prayer, 'Ai Elbereth, if I am indeed chosen for this quest, grant me the strength to see it through AND explain why I must do this to my Adar. I fear for him in these darkening days, although the necessity of this mission is just, I still feel as if I am abandoning him, our people, and my beloved woods…'
How long he stood thus he did not know (nor did he care), until his revere was suddenly broken by a muffled giggle drifting up from directly below. Glancing down, he saw two of the Ring-bearer's companions moving with surprising stealth below him...and completely unaware of the instantly curious elf above.The first one whipped around, placed a small hand over the other one's mouth, and whispered frantically, "Pippin, shush or someone will catch us before we can find the kitchens - again!"
With a slight nod behind the hand over his mouth, the one that was apparently Pippin stepped back and whispered back in exasperation, "But Merry, what if we do get caught once we do find it again tonight? They have turned us out three times already this evening and I'm just famished!"
"I know Pip, but we'll have to think of something…maybe they will all be listening to the stories in that one big hall, you know the one with the fire, and no one would be there to notice us nick a bit of food."Poor Pippin's stomach chose that moment to loosen a rather large growl, which was quickly answered by one from Merry's. Such a loud sound coming from such small creatures, combined with their forlorn expressions, caused Legolas to burst into quiet laughter.
I could help them…besides, this might be fun. I haven't been caught sneaking into the kitchens in a very long time! With that thought, Legolas swiftly leapt over the balcony rail and landed directly in front of the two hobbits, all the while keeping as stern of expression on his face as he could manage.
Two sets of eyes rounded and two jaws dropped simultaneously in shock as they stared up at this rather intimidating looking elf. The one called Merry blinked, blinked again, then turned angrily to Pippin and stated accusingly, "I told you to be quite!"
Then this elf did something they did not expect – he burst into laughter so melodious and deep that he doubled over and placed his hands on his knees for support!
Pippin recovered from this new shock first, crossed his arms over his chest, and in a voice dripping reproach, demanded "And just what is so amusing about two poor, lost, hungry hobbits? Did you feel as if scaring the wits out of us would add to your enjoyment of our dire situation?"
With a shake of his golden head, Legolas knelt down in front of them, placed his right hand over his heart, and with no trace of the simple delight he felt stated solemnly, "Quite the contrary, actually. I simply overheard your predicament and felt I should offer my services, such as they are, to help you in your mission." Then a decidedly wicked grin broke out to accompany the mischievous look that suddenly appeared in his eyes as he continued, "Besides it has been quite a few years since they've caught me sneaking in there and I can't let them think I've gone soft!"
Immediately recognizing a kindred spirit, both hobbits dissolved into fits of giggles and were swiftly joined by this wayward elf. Smiling softly, Legolas stood, offered a graceful bow, "Legolas, son of Thranduil, at your service."
Merry offered his own bow, raised back up and pointed first to himself then to his companion, "Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took at yours!"
With an impish grin, Pippin added, "But seeing as you are now our co-conspirator, you can call us Pippin and Merry." With that he slapped his hands together, rubbed them vigorously, and demanded, "Right then, lets nick us a bit of food!"Although their mission had just been accomplished, it seemed to Legolas that he had barely gotten in a bite from their extravagant bounty before the only thing left was the wine and ale. The two lively hobbits sat picnic style on Legolas' balcony and effortlessly strengthened the tenuous ties of friendship they had started as they talked, laughed, and regaled Legolas with renditions of their favorite drinking songs well into the night. Towards the end, they were halfway through teaching Legolas a song that warned about the dangers of making ale from honey, when realization hit Legolas like a fallen tree limb – This happiness, this innocent love for life, these hobbits; THEY bring everything into sharp relief for me. They exemplify everything I hold dear…everything I want to protect…and I am more determined, more focused, now to do just that. Adar will understand my need to do this – eventually – and I feel as if the memory of this night can be a source of strength for me in the days to come. They, and all those like them, do not deserve to be lost to shadow, nor my people to continue to be surrounded by it. Hannon Le, Elbereth, for helping me to see this truth.
All of these thoughts made a sudden and profound impact on his determination to perform the upcoming quest, but not once did he let these two young, lighthearted hobbits see how deeply moved by them he had become.After finally bidding the two hobbits goodnight, Legolas slowly made his way to the far edge of his balcony and gazed up into his favorite tree. With a light leap across to a nearby limb, he then climbed effortlessly up into its familiar embrace, as he reflected on the curious night he had spent with Merry and Pippin. Their silly antics, combined with their obvious love for each other, had a rather curious effect on him. He was lifted beyond measure by the pure joy they held for life, yet they made him terribly homesick at the same time. A soft smile of remembrance lit his face as he recalled just how much food the two had managed to not only carry out of the kitchens, but then actually consume! 'How do they stay so small? I could not hope to eat all of that in several days, much less one 'late-night snack' as they called it.' With a final shake of his head, he settled back more comfortably and let the tree's song flow through him and quite his overactive thoughts. He stayed thus until the first rays began to lighten the sky and the birdsong heralded in the new day.
Finally realizing it was time to go, he slipped silently down the tree, landed lightly on the ground, and placed one hand gently on the tree trunk in farewell before turning to make his way back to his chamber where he would prepare to receive a solemn pair of visitors.
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.