1. A Wild Goose Chase
"Legolas!" cried King Thranduil, as he walked into his son’s room, only to discover that his ten-year-old Elfling was covered in... well, Thranduil wasn’t sure what his son was covered in, but it was messy. "What did you do?" He looked over at Legolas' nurse, Calle. "What did you let him do?"
Calle looked up in shock. "Oh, My Lord!" she stumbled, "Ai, ah, we were just…"
"Ada! Ada, look! I made a picture!" Legolas proudly held up a big sheet of paper, one that had some paint marks on it. It looked like it could be an elf, or maybe a horse… or was it a tree? It was green... No, it was most certainly a horse, thought Thranduil. "It's you Ada, see?"
"Wonderful!" Thranduil praised. It seemed that little son was covered in paint, and if so, he was in trouble. The King tried to get to the other side of the room, without looking like he was trying to get to the other side of the room, before... too late. A sticky little elf had clamped his arms around his Ada’s waist, leaving a big sticky mess on his Adar’s robes.
Calle winced in dismay. "He did get a small bit messy, King Thranduil."
"It would seem," replied the King, "that I have gotten a small bit messy as well." He sighed despondently, looking down at the small handprints on his nice robes. "Oh, Legolas. It seems we both need a bath now."
This turned out to be the wrong thing to say. The blond Elfling's eyes widened in terror.
"Bath?" Legolas squeaked, "No! No bath!"
"Oh, dear," muttered the King, "Calle, could you help me..."
But Calle was already moving past him and out of the room. "Oh, I've just remembered!" she said in a falsely bright tone, "I need to go down to the laundry and pick up some of Legolas' tunics that Tauralmie promised to clean… You will be able to manage until I come back, won't you, My Lord? Why, you could even give Legolas his bath yourself!"
Thranduil growled as he watched her all but flee from the room. It was so hard to find reliable help these days. Really, just because Legolas did not like to take baths… Ah, speaking of which, he had better call for help before it was too late. "Erunyauve!" the King cried.
But it was, indeed, too late. The little elf had taken off, dodging past his growling father and into the hallway beyond the room.
"Erunyauve!" cried Thranduil again, looking frantically around as his wife walked sedately into the room.
She looked at him calmly, taking in her husband's paint splattered appearance. "Yes, dear?"
"Your son has decided that he does not want a bath." Thranduil grumped.
"Ah." Erunyauve nodded sagely. "Well, best to go get him. But after, Thranduil, you will need a bath as well."
Thranduil sighed. "Yes, I know. But that it not the issue. The issue is, where did he go?
"I don’t know, but," his wife pointed out a line of handprints trailing down the wall, "I believe we can find out."
Legolas giggled as he ran down the hall, letting his messy hands trace along the surface of the stone wall. His Ada wouldn’t catch him! He wouldn’t be getting a bath today. ‘Or any day!’ he thought to himself. ‘I shall fight with my sword against the evils of the bath!’
These thoughts, inevitably, brought Legolas’s contemplations to his small training sword which he used to fight ‘spiders’, ‘trolls’, ‘orcs’, and baths. If he was to properly fight off his evil bath, then Legolas would need his sword. He made a quick turn down the hallway leading to the armory.
"I wonder," mused Thranduil, "if Legolas realizes that he's leading us straight to him?"
"I doubt it," his wife answered.
"I believe you are right. Where do you suppose he’s going?"
Erunyauve blinked as she saw the paint streaks take a sharp turn. "It would seem as though he is heading for the armory."
"Oh, no," Thranduil groaned. He took off running, only to be hailed by the Royal Chef, Tauro.
"King Thranduil!" he said cheerily. "You seem to be in a hurry. Well, I shan't take up much of your time. I would just like to know what you wish to be served for dinner tonight. Ai, and there are so many lovely choices. Why, the hunting party just came back with the most delicious looking venison, and of course Indil could bake just the most lovely herb bread to go with it, but I wonder if…"
Thranduil snarled to himself. It would just have to be Tauro. He would never get a word in edgewise. Tauro could talk far more then was good for him. "Tauro..."
"…but I do not know whether we have a sufficient supply of cheeses…"
"Ai! And alas, for we do not have fresh apples, I do so detest these cold months…"
"…but I believe that… Oh, yes, My Lord?"
"Tauro, perhaps we may discuss this a bit later." He glared at Erunyauve who had stood quietly by and done nothing to help him. "My wife and I are in a rather large hurry and we must go."
"Oh, of course, My Lord! I am being rather rude. Please, go, I shall come find you later."
Thranduil sighed in annoyance. If Tauro were not so dense, he would be insulted that Tauro had given him permission to leave. Ah, well.
"Thank you, Tauro," Thranduil said, as he grabbed Erunyauve's hand and dragged her off, running. They would never catch up to Legolas at this rate.
Legolas admired himself in the armory room mirror. He did certainly look kingly with his sword by his side!
"I will be a good king." Legolas told his mirror self, grinning in delight as the mirror mouthed the flattering words back to him.
"I will be such a good king that I should be king now!" The little Elf’s blue eyes widened. "Maybe I will be such a good king that I am king, but no one told me!"
Yes. That was obviously the truth. Well, if Legolas was going to be a king, he would need kingly robes. He headed towards the royal chambers.
Thranduil attempted to catch his breath as he looked around the armory room in a panic. It was devoid of small children, impaled on a sword or otherwise.
Erunyauve yawned as she strode into the room, scanning around.
"Oh, look dearest, Legolas took his sword."
"So what you’re saying is that be have a paint covered Elfling running around, with a training sword?"
"One who seems," Erunyauve glanced at the streaks of paint on the walls, "to be heading towards our chambers."
Thranduil blinked in horror. He was just about to dash off, hoping to catch Legolas before he made it that far, when he was interrupted by a few of his scouts striding into the room.
Mapalon, their leader, was delighted to see the King. "My Lord! I am glad to see you." He looked meaningful at his fellow elves. "My party and I are leaving rather soon to see about these spiders that are said to be menacing the Old Forest Road, as commanded by Lord Kemmotar. Indeed, we are just gathering our arms now." The elves surrounding him nodded in affirmation.
"That is well, Mapalon, for I had planned to speak with Kemmotar today about that very problem. I wish you well. But I must be going now, I am…"
"Ah, just another moment of your time, My Lord. My men and I wished to know if it is perhaps possible for us to strike further on into the forest then was ordered by Lord Kemmotar. We have asked him for permission to do this, but he believes that it is not needed. We," and here all of the elves surrounding Mapalon nodded, "feel that going father into the forest may be of some use, for there have been rumors of orcish colonies that exist further on in that part of the woods. If you would but permit us, we could see if these rumors have any substance."
Thranduil felt the beginnings of a headache coming on. It was, more then likely, too late to save his bedchamber by now, for Legolas had a headstart. "Very well, Mapalon, if that is what you and your party wish. I shall inform Kemmotar that I have allowed this."
Mapalon and the other elves bowed. "My Lord, My Lady," they said as Thranduil dashed from the room, with Erunyauve following sedately behind.
Legolas was distraught. He couldn’t find his Ada’s kingly robes anywhere! He had even dumped out all the drawers, but there were not any kingly robes to be found.
However, there was still one place left to look. The closet! Legolas skipped over to the bed, hopped on top of it, and jumped and rolled his way to the other side. He threw himself off and reached the closet door.
His mission was successful! Here they were. They were… well, a little big, but he’d grow into them.
He tugged the robe down from where it was hung and then climbed, with great difficulty, into it and tied it shut. The robes pooled around his feet, and he could barely hold his sword for the sleeves reached the floor. He hung his sword from the belt and hopped, tripping all the way, over to the mirror.
Yes. Definitely too big. Well, he was King now, so there wouldn’t be any problem ordering the tailor to make him better ones. But there was something missing from his reflection…
A crown! Legolas knew that only the shiniest, bestest crown possible would work. And he knew just where to get one- the treasure room.
Off he went, tripping down the hallway.
Thranduil stared in horror at the bedchamber he shared with his wife. It was utterly wrecked. All his and his wife’s clothes were lumped in piles over the floor. The drawers had been pulled out of the dresser... and were those streaks of paint on his extremely well crafted and ancient bedspread?
Ai, but that child was in so much trouble.
"Hmmmmm." muttered Erunyauve, walking into the room. "Well, this will take quite some time to clean up."
Thranduil didn’t answer- he was still attempting to breathe without seeing red.
Erunyauve meandered into the hallway, and then stuck her head back in through the door. "This is interesting," she said.
"Legolas seems to be heading in the direction of the treasure room."
Thranduil thought he might cry. Leaving Erunyauve behind, Thranduil rushed in the direction of the treasure room. He had only gotten a few steps, however, before he bumped headlong into his guard, Hirduiborn.
"Ah, My Lord," Hirduiborn said from his position where he had been knocked to the ground, "I was just coming to find you. Prince Legolas seems to have decided that he is, in fact, King Legolas, and he has taken over the treasure room."
"And you did not think to maybe, just perhaps, stop him?!"
Hirduiborn wrinkled his nose. "With all due respect, King Thranduil, I don’t believe that this is my problem to take care of."
Growling, Thranduil picked himself off of Hirduiborn and continued on his mad dash to the treasure room. He would take care of that impertinent guard later.
"Well, hmm… I think... Arrgh!" A little voice growled.
Legolas was frustrated. There were too many crowns! He didn’t know which one was the best one.
And it certainly didn’t help that the mean guard, Hirduiborn, had tried to make him leave the treasure room. Humph, Legolas snorted in disbelief, as if Hirduiborn had the right to order the king around! Well, Legolas had certainly set him straight. Loudly.
Legolas grinned in triumph. It was obvious that Hirduiborn had been utterly terrified, because after Legolas had let him know just who was boss around here, he had run away. Or maybe walked quickly away… or maybe sauntered away while muttering that taking care of little spoiled heirs wasn’t his job, and the King could deal with this all by himself.
Legolas wasn’t sure what Hirduiborn wanted him to deal with, but he was sure that he would figure it out eventually. Anyway, there were more pressing problems… Which crown?
Legolas eyed them appraisingly, stroking his finger on his chin. Well, he rather liked… No. But the gold one was… No, not shiny enough… Yes! The one with mithril and pearls, definitely. That one was shiny! Yes. He liked that one very much. Yes, indeed.
Legolas reached out, and picked it up. He almost fell flat onto his face… it was heavy! Slowly he mastered himself, and stuck the crown on his head.
It went down to his nose, and the spikes were in front of his eyes. Far too big. But it was the bestest crown, and a good king could not have less then the best!
Legolas struggled with his robes and sword and crown over to another mirror. It was hard for him to see because of the crown, but he just knew that he looked like a true king! There was only one place for him left to go now- to the throne room, to assume the kingship!
He only bumped into a few walls on the way there. Legolas was proud of himself.
King Thranduil thought he would collapse in hysterics when he saw the little paint fingerprints splattered all over his favorite crowns.
He bunched his hands into fists and stared at his Queen, who had just arrived in the room. "Your son," he glared, "is in so much trouble that I can't even begin to imagine myself imagining the punishment I will inflict upon..."
"There, there," said Erunyauve serenely, patting his shoulder. "They can be cleaned. No harm done. Anyway, our task is nearly finished, I think." She looked appraisingly at the paint streaks that still lined the walls, though they were becoming less noticeable. The paint seemed to be drying. "Our son seems to be heading towards the throne room."
"Prince Legolas?" The King’s advisor, Unduion, blinked in shock.
"King Legolas to you!" Legolas scowled at him. "I have decided that I am old enough to be the King now, and I am taking the throne!"
Unduion didn’t reply. He was speechless.
It took Legolas a few tries to get himself, with his load, onto the throne. When he had succeeded, he stood up on the chair and looked at Unduion.
"Counselor!" Legolas said in a deep voice that sounded ridiculous, "Send for the Royal Tailor at once!"
Unduion opened his mouth, but all that came out was a strangled whimper. "Ai, Prin… um, I mean, My Lord…"
Luckily, just at that moment, Thranduil came bursting through the doors.
Legolas squealed, looking though the spikes of his crown at his father. He drew his sword with a flourish.
"Nay, foul beast!" he shrieked, "I shall fight you to the death, evil bath-bringer! I am King now, and you are banished!"
Thranduil blinked in shock at his son, who was wearing his purple robes, with his nicest crown, which had fallen over Legolas’s eyes. Legolas was all but invisible beneath the fine array of garments. ‘Did my son just banish me?’ Thranduil wondered incredulously.
He tried to be calm, and failed rather miserably. "Legolas! You are in so much troub…"
Erunyauve interrupted him. "Legolas, dear?"
"If you promise to take a bath, I’ll give you a slice of cake."
Legolas blinked, his little face screwing up in thought. "A maple cake?"
Legolas bit his lip, thinking a bit more, and then grinned happily at his Nana. "All right!"
Thranduil stared as his son, his son whom he had meant to punish, was borne away by his smiling mother.
Ah, well. There wasn’t that much harm done. The whole incident had been rather amusing, really. It would make a good story for festivals to come. 'And perhaps,' thought Thranduil, grinning evilly, 'if Legolas happens to be extremely embarrassed by these stories in festivals to come… Well, that would not be my fault, would it?'
A throat cleared behind him, and Thranduil whirled around to see his advisor staring at him.
"My Lord," Unduion ventured, "speaking of baths…" He looked meaningfully at Thranduil’s present mussed and paint-splattered state.
Thranduil blinked and looked down at himself. Sighing, he turned around and marched off for his bath.
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.