"Legolas, I have known you for far too long for you to keep this from me," said Aragorn. "Surely, after all we have been through - all we have seen and done together - one story is not going to come between us?"
"Don't call me 'surely'," quipped the Prince.
"Come, come, Legolas. We are all friends here. What is one more misadventure between us?" asked Imrahil, to which Faramir added "it is not as though we haven't all suffered some indiscretion. Just look at Éomer." This earned a most colourful scowl from Éomer, while Aragorn merely chuckled softly. Théodred just stood quietly behind the three, remaining totally overlooked, as usual.
Recovering from his scowl, Éomer said "We ALL of us have past mistakes or misdeeds that we regret. Yet they are long since past. The ages have all dwindled to nothing. Mortals and immortals are reunited. Surel...sorry... Certainly our lives in Middle Earth are nothing more than memory. Why not then revel in our memories, laugh at our foibles..." ("Foibles?" mouthed Faramir to Aragorn, who merely shrugged, and turned as a sudden, amused cough spurted out of Imrahil) "and enjoy the good company, food and drink that has here been provided?"
"Here, here!" King, Prince and Steward raised their glasses, as Éomer handed a glass to Legolas and sipped readily of his wine.
Legolas sniffed at the wine suspiciously, before balancing it on fast-moving tray of glasses that passed him on its way round the Hall. He briefly considered the fleeing tray moving at waist height. It appeared almost to float upon a stout pair of unshod feet. Legolas let the seemingly unimportant matter go. Turning back to the royal ensemble, he said, simply, "No."
"Oh, come now. After all we have given between us? After all the help Imrahil and I gave you in Ithilien when you were establishing that colony?" implored Faramir.
"After I GAVE you Ithilien to establish that colony?" added Aragorn.
"Come now, gentlemen. It is most unbecoming to barter on past deeds. Especially when such deeds are an eternity ago. No, we must consider this more properly. Instead of reminding of past favours, we should be offering new favours to remind Legolas of our friendship. Come, friend. Surely...sorry. Perhaps I might entice the tale from you with that stallion you have been eyeing of late?"
Legolas quirked eyebrows in an almost comical imitation of his sire, and asked "You mean the one that belongs to Oromë?"
Éomer's face paled noticeably. "You mean that one is Oromë's mount? Erm, yes, well I am sure I could convince him to trade...err, maybe not. But I'm certain he must have other, similarly admirable mounts that I might obtain for you. If not, maybe I could offer you something else?"
"My discussions with your sister have taught me many things of you, Éomer..." It would have been impossible for the king of Rohan's face to become more pale. "But trying to bribe me with something that belongs solely to the Valar would have seemed quite beneath you. Then again, she did mention an occasion where you attempted to bribe her with the Sceptre of Annúminas to dissuade her from travelling to Gondor, for fear that she would meet a man that caught her fancy there."
Aragorn took on a rather dark look, saying "Oh, you did, did you?" Faramir looked positively scandalized. Théodred smirked cautiously, then thought better of it and continued to stand unnoticed.
However, Legolas was far from finished. He rounded on Aragorn, Imrahil and Faramir, saying "As for the aid gathered in Ithilien, and indeed being granted Ithilien in the first place, I thought that you two benefited quite well from that little venture. After all, Gondor gained in tax, military skills and teachings from the remaining elves of Ennor - not to mention all the agricultural goods produced from a land that would otherwise have remained fallow for many a year. And Emyn Arnen gained considerable protection from close proximity to the colony. Whereas I am sure Dol Amroth benefited most keenly from the products of our orchards. I have on occasion heard that our vintage was most favoured at the table of Imrahil. But perhaps I was mistaken. Perhaps the establishment of the colony was for more *altruistic * purposes. " Aragorn slouched somewhat, his earlier demeanour obviously deflated, while Faramir suddenly noticed the engrossing pattern that had been scuffed into the floor. Imrahil, on the other hand had become most intrigued by the walls.
With that, Legolas took his leave of the kings, princes and steward and headed for a small gap in the gathering crowds towards the East. Before he had taken more than three strides from their company, however, he felt a gentle hand placed on his shoulder. A moment thereafter, Théodred caught up to him, standing just to Legolas' side.
"Sir, I know we have had no cause to meet. If you would but hear me on a matter that is of considerable importance to me?"
Legolas was struck by a sudden sympathy for this Rohirrim Prince. Soft-spoken, Théodred's voice was nonetheless edged with a strength and vigour that belied any notion of timidity. Legolas heard in that voice a timbre of hidden boldness, and a wisdom that had been silenced too early in the young man's time on Middle Earth. Elf turned to man with compassion. "Of what would you ask me, sir?"
"Look, Legolas, from one Prince to another, can't you do me a favour? See this from my perspective. My only claim to favour in the weavings of Vairë is that I died with honour defending the Mark. Not that that isn't a great honour, one I would gladly repeat. But really, it's not very fair. I mean, I don't even get more than a few mentions in all the chronicles of Arda. But if I could get you to tell us this one tale, then my name and my relationship with my forebears could be amended. Otherwise, I face an eternity of 'This is Théodred, my son. Yes, Théodred. Yes, I had a son. He's the one who didn't do anything.' Honestly, can you imagine the torment of it all? No, I don't suppose you could. You're one of the Nine Walkers, after all. Your forebears all proclaim their kinship with you proudly, without any explanations or concessions or qualifications. But Please?!? I'll beg, if I must (it's not as if my name can be dragged any lower than oblivion)."
"I'm sorry Prince Théodred, but you know not what you ask of me. It is no small matter. The consequences of such a revalation would be most dire. Indeed, it seems the matter has now grown in proportion since that accursed dwarf let his tongue slip. It could be used against me throughout eternity. I would never escape. I sympathise, but you ask for your freedom from torment at too high a cost."
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.