The Prince of Eryn Galen threw open the door to his bedchamber. The earthen colours that rose to greet him made him feel at ease instantly. His keen Elven senses detected a fine layer of dust present. He had been gone for a week, and already it had been enough time for Esendri to neglect his duties.
Legolas took off his weapons, and flung them onto the floor. Esendri would have to pick them up later. He needed the rest badly. He sunk into the rich sheets, and let the softness and warmth overcome his being. His tired muscles began to relax as his open eyes fixed on the beautiful images that were playing out on the ceiling.
He was one of the lucky few that had a Mirror of Jalkren. Built with an ancient and forgotten magic, it drew on the thoughts and memories of its owner, sifting through them, picking out the most beautiful and beloved. These images were displayed on the Mirror, as the owner slept with his eyes open. Focusing on the things of beauty and magnificence. It was particularly useful after a long journey, when one was tired, both emotionally and physically. It kept disillusionment at bay. The effect on the subconscious form was powerful, easing the burden of the immortals, aiding in their recollections of love and beauty.
The bed was infused with an Elvish herb called Isinlar, that Legolas was partial to. It calmed the mind and banished worries. Prolonged exposure to it helped improve on iron resolve and sharp wit. Once abundant in Middle Earth, it was all but destroyed by the Great Darkness. Now, it only remained in the royal gardens of Eryn Galen, forgotten by all. Legolas credited his skills entirely to the herb, but others knew better.
As the herb and the mirror worked to heal his tired body and mind, Legolas emptied his thoughts of past events. Slowly, the tension began to drain from him, and he passed into sleep.
The prince lay there, deep in slumber. He did not stir as Esendri crept into the room, picking up the castaway weapons. Neither did he flinch as his soft footwear was pulled off, supple light shoes made from specially toughened leather, which enabled him to fly across snow without leaving as much as a mark. Unlike boots, the shoes made little noise when walking through a forest. It enabled him to track well in the forest. They were caked with the mud and dampness from the earth on which he had travelled.
The servant pulled off his master's clothes and replaced them with a loose sleeping robe. The dirty clothes were carefully bundled and left in a pile. Using a fine brush, he dusted the surfaces in the room carefully. As the brush swept over the dust, it caused the fine particles to stick to its bristles. It was made from the fibres of Gildrad, a plant that served many purposes, including its extreme usefulness in making boats. The fibres were waterproof, and Elves used them in the making of their sea-faring vessels.
He then covered the prince in a rich duvet of the purest silk. It would keep one cool during hot days, and warm through the coldest winters. Legolas stirred briefly, but did not awake from the intrusion. Esendri was concerned. He had never seen his friend slumber so deeply. He would be awake usually at the slightest obtrusion. Knife at the ready. Now, he was still unconscious to the world, after all the attention lavished on him.
After he finished, the slight Elf left the room, quiet as a cat, the ball of clothes under his arm. The windows were still open, light satin curtains billowing with the breeze that perforated the room. Odd expressions found their way onto the face of Esendri. He turned and glanced upon the slumbering form before shutting the door silently, his olfactory senses still thrilled by the mixed smell of the Isinlar herb coupled with the sweet, musty scent of the earth.
The night sounds gradually evaporated as the sun's rays settled once again upon the waking earth. The chirping of crickets gave way to birdsong. Flowers opened their petals, a full bloom to greet the welcome warmth. Dew on the blades of grass evaporated as the orb in the sky drew higher overhead.
Legolas jolted awake with a start. He sat up, struggling from under his sheets. The sleep from his eyes had not yet dissipated, and he sat there for a brief moment, disorientated. His sluggish mind strained to recall past events as he took in his fresh clothes and clean room.
The door opened, and Esendri slid in, a broad, cheerful grin on his face. He carried a breakfast tray, filled with fruit and oats. Silvan Elves did not eat meat, surviving instead on food offered by the trees themselves, and feywine. Close to the earth, they did not hunt as some of their kindred did.
"I have never seen you sleep like that, Legolas," Esendri said.
Colour rushed up to the cheeks of the Elvish prince. It was indeed unlike him to be so disorientated, for he usually had his senses on full alert.
Smiling weakly, he reached over and took a fruit and started eating. The hunger that was so far suppressed by fatigue appeared with a vengeance. He scoffed the fruit down ungraciously and reached for the bowl of oats. Esendri suppressed a laugh, and sat down upon the side of the bed.
"Careful, my fair prince, for you may choke yourself to death."
Legolas glared at him between mouthfuls, and took a long swig out of the silver goblet placed at his bedside. The wine warmed his throat as it slid down, bringing colour to his pallid face.
"A little early for wine?"
When Esendri saw that his master was still bleary-eyed, he set down the breakfast tray and left the room, before reappearing with a silver basin.
"A wash of your face will surely chase the sleep from your eyes."
Legolas did as told obediently, and was rewarded by refreshing coolness on still sleepy skin. His senses started to alert again, and he looked at Esendri once more, questions in his eyes.
"Master, you slept right through everything. You slumbered and failed to even flinch when I came in." Esendri's voice was mixed with amusement and worry. " I have never seen you like this before. And you promised to tell me everything!"
The prince nodded. He had no intention breaking his word, and so he began, albeit with initial hesitation. Once the first awkward words came out, there was no stopping them. He spoke of his brother's leaving, the effect it had on his father. His father's new dependence on him, the younger son. His unwillingness to accept it, the burden he had to bear. The possibility of succeeding his father should a decision be made to leave for Valinor. His lyrical voice was low and sad. It tore at Esendri's emotions, almost too much for him to bear.
He paused for a while, looking searchingly at his friend. He felt insecure, afraid, alone. Esendri nodded encouragingly, and placed a hand on his shoulder. The prince continued. Speaking of how his father had revealed to him the threat to Eryn Galen, how he had been sent to find out more, how he had been forced to keep silent about it. The loneliness was growing too much for him to bear. Forced isolation from his friends was the thing he feared most, but he was forced to turn away from himself.
Yet, he knew that all this was unavoidable, for the nature of the threat and the seriousness was still to be determined. He spoke of the dark creature he had tracked for a week, of the clearing and the Orc attack.
Esendri listened patiently. It came as a surprise to him. Careful not to show his emotions, he let his master finish. He now understood the cause of his master's sadness and conflict. It was enough to tear one apart. Especially for one as accustomed to a light hearted and untroubled existence as the younger son of the King.
Finally, when Legolas had talked himself out, Esendri spoke. "Master, I am honoured that you have chosen to tell me this. I would ask to go along with you on your journeys, if the King permits. However, if you fear his anger, I will pretend none of this ever passed through your lips."
Warmth and appreciation filled the fairer Elf. Esendri was a good friend. He already felt better, having laid his soul bare in front of the other. Keeping secrets was not one thing he favoured, but there were more pressing matters at hand.
"Thank you, Esendri. I will never know a friend as good as you. Do not worry yourself about my father. There are things I have to attend to."
Esendri nodded, sprinting out of the room, returning with fresh clothes.
"A bath is in order for you, Legolas. You have the name of a prince to live up to now, do you not?"
Legolas smiled and nodded, and allowed himself to be coddled into the tub of warm water that his servant had so carefully prepared for him.
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.