10. Pretty in Pink
“No, Father! Please! Don’t make me wear that! I can’t wear that!”
The softer voice of the king was muffled and they couldn’t hear his words, but they could hear his son’s.
“I swear I will never do anything like that again. Please, Ada! Please!”
The hunters glanced at one another wondering what was happening now. Silence fell and they looked toward the palace. A few minutes later they could hear voices again.
“You seem to enjoy sparkly things, nin ion. [my son] I felt it appropriate to give you some of your own.”
“Please, Ada. Please don’t make me –“
“Ah ah ah.” Thranduil was shaking his finger back and forth. “You better get used to it, unless you can stop some of these pranks.”
“No, Legolas. You carry things too far and must be stopped. I think this will do it nicely.”
“Father, I won’t – “
“Yes. I am certain that you won’t.”
The two rounded the corner and the hunters gasped, then fell into convulsions of laughter.
Their prince stood at his father’s side, face red and scowling. Instead of his hunting leathers, so gratefully donned when they had returned to the palace, he wore a flowing tunic with billowing sleeves a slender belt of silver encircled his waist. Small glittery gems sparked on belt and on the high collar that fastened about his throat. It seemed to be strangling him. The shirt was a brilliant shade of pink. On his head was an ornate silver circlet shaped into flowers and leaves, gems sparkling there as well in shades of green and red and pink.
Tanglinna smirked and bowed to the king.
“Your Majesty,” he began. “I believe the Dwarves will see us coming many a mile off.”
Thranduil surveyed his handiwork, knowing he couldn’t have thought of a more brilliant revenge.
“Yes. He is rather a striking figure. Quite pretty really.”
Legolas’ hand clenched on his bow, but he said nothing.
: Perhaps he is learning. : Thranduil thought with a wry smile.
“I thought that you found that particular circlet in questionable taste, your Majesty.” Aradoltha, one of the hunters said, with a smile.
“I do. In questionable taste, like some of my son’s pranks.”
“ He can’t get much redder.” Brethil whispered to Tavor.
“No. I just hope that – “
Thranduil turned to them.
“And you may thank Tavor for the choice of color, Legolas.” He said, surveying the young Elf usually so sure of himself.
Legolas rounded on his friend, eyes narrowed.
“I…I never…Legolas, you know I wouldn’t….”
“I do believe,” Tanglinna drawled. “that I heard words to the effect that “It could be pink.” Or am I mistaken.”
Tavor stared at him open mouthed.
“He said that the green outfit could be worse if it were pink.” Brethil said, nudging his friend. “Don’t you remember?”
“Worse? Didn’t you like the green one?” Thranduil asked.
Legolas swallowed. Why was he being tortured like this?
“What? I didn’t hear you.”
“Yes. I…I liked the green outfit.”
“Oh?” Thranduil said with a grin. “Then you want a pink outfit just like the green one?”
Legolas turned to him and hastily wiped the grimace from his face and swallowed the words that rose in his throat.
“No, father. I don’t…Thank you.”
“Truly? Too bad, I think it could be quite fetching.”
“Where is that, er, enchanting outfit, Prince Legolas?” he asked, enjoying this very much. “I was hoping to see it on you again.”
Legolas’ eyes widened, and he glanced at Tavor and Brethil before he could stop himself.
“He – uh – he gave it to my sister.” Tavor said hastily. “Yes. That is it. My sister. She really, uh, appreciates it. Quite…er…enchanted really.”
Thranduil raised one eyebrow, but one look at his suffering son stopped him from saying anything further.
“I see…Well, go hunt some Dwarves, why don’t you. How many did you say there were, Brethil?”
“Fourt-uh-I…I don’t recall.” He looked up at Tavor who smiled tightly.
: Ah, dear. He is learning as well. : Thranduil thought. : We shall have to remedy that at some point. Can’t have that one learning to be discreet. Not after all the work I have put into him. :
He watched as they strode away, Tavor and Brethil immediately moving along side his son. He smiled imagining what they three were saying. He saw Legolas turn and glance backwards with a guilty expression on his face. Thranduil shook his head.
: You should at least wait until you are out of sight before you talk about me. :
“I can be rather a mean fellow.” He said, grinning as he walked down a path lined with ferns.
There was a sudden shriek from the kitchen garden and he hurried down the path to see a maiden with a basket of spilled herbs and late vegetables at her feet. A large spider was weaving slightly before her, a rather blank expression on its face.
But what caught Thranduil’s attention was the sparkling necklace around its furry neck. His eyes widened as he stared at the rather benign looking spider.
“Where are the three masters?” it hissed, bowing awkwardly on its long hairy legs. “I wanted to show them this pretty sparkly thing. Though I don’t remember where I got it.”
“Little Greenleaf!!” He yelled, causing the maiden and the spider to jump in surprise. He whirled about hurrying away to count his necklaces.
The small band of hunters walked lightly through the forest, laughing and singing merrily. All except the three at the back: the youngest one looking worried and tugging on his braids while darting glances at the other two; the eldest, usually so smooth and glib, was silent, his brow furrowed as he fought to think of something to say; and the last, his face looking so like his father’s when in high dudgeon that Tanglinna could barely control his own hoot of laughter.
“Legolas, I am so sorry.” Brethil began. “I knew we shouldn’t have gone so far with these…uh…pranks. But the two of you just won’t stop.”
Tavor turned to sneer at him.
“It is your mouth that got us into trouble this time, Brethil. And those Dwarves-“
“You should have let me give them some food.”
“Brethil, sometimes you really –“
“You never listen to me and now look at him! This is all your fault!”
“It is not. If you could have –“
“Will you both shut up.” Legolas hissed at them. “You are not making this any easier.”
They both turned to look at him, his blue eyes sparkling darkly, his face no longer red but the fair cheeks still flushed above the glittering gem encrusted collar.
Tavor raised one eyebrow, eyes widening in assessment and looked at Brethil, who suddenly felt his lips twitch.
“Well, if it is any consolation, Legolas,” Tavor began seeing Brethil’s face contort as he tried to control his own laughter. “You look very pretty in pink.”
The two burst out laughing and sprinted away. Legolas lips pulled back in a snarl, and with a quick glance at Tanglinna, he thrust his bow at Aradoltha, and ran after them.
“Here we go again.” Ryn said with a shake of his fair head, green eyes alight with amusement.
“They will never learn.” Aradoltha commented, with a grin.
“Then I suspect that we will be seeing that rather fetching ensemble quite a bit on our prince.” Sern laughed.
“It is a good color on him.” Amdir said with a slight smirk.
“Perhaps all the Dwarves will fall in love with him and come along quietly.” A young Elf named Meren said.
Tanglinna said nothing, staring after the three, his eyes bright. He was enjoying these little games quite a lot and hoped they would continue for some time. There were very few that had ever managed to ruffle his king’s feathers the way those three did. And Thranduil the wise and good needed his feathers ruffled on occasion.
“Come.” He murmured at last. “We need to stop them before they scare the Dwarves away before we can catch them. The king would not be pleased if they escaped us. And I don’t think we would look nearly so good in pink as our prince.”
The hunters trotted through the silent trees, which rang with their mirth and laughter.
Bilbo and the Dwarves trudged heavily through the forest each lost in his own thoughts of hunger and thirst and weariness. The muted shadows of evening were falling and they had been walking – :Staggering. : Bilbo thought with a sigh. – through the woods in their last attempt to be free of it.
“I don’t think we shall ever see the end of this forest.” Ori moaned. “We’ll die here forgotten by everyone.”
“I wonder what Gandalf will think when we don’t come out.” Bifur said quietly.
“I suspect he will feel guilty for not coming with us. Why did he send us through here alone?” Bofur countered. “He’s a Wizard, didn’t he know what would befall us?”
“Maybe he thought the Elves would help us if we needed it. Dratted Elves.” Dwalin muttered.
“This is all their fault. They should have fed us.” Nori said, scratching his yellow beard.
“The Elf maiden would have helped us if they hadn’t whisked her away so quickly.” Gloin said, his hand going to touch the spot above his heart where lay the Elf maiden’s hair and crushed flowers.
The others turned to stare at him.
“You are quite pathetic.” Dori said, with as much of a grin as he could muster.
As they moved along following Bilbo who was lost deep in his food litany, Balin moved to join Gloin.
“I have been thinking.” He began hesitantly with a glance at the others. “The Elf maiden in sparkly green was rather wondrous to behold.” His eyes gleamed with a soft light as he remembered the maiden. “Fair as a rose in May.” He sighed.
Gloin gazed at him in wonder, thinking perhaps he should share his few treasured strands of golden hair. But, no, he decided. He couldn’t bear to part with them.
The others turned to look at the two.
Kili laughed at them and turned to Fili.
“Can you believe them? In love with an Elf.”
Fili stared at him and blinked.
“She was rather pretty.” He stammered. “In an Elvish sort of way.” He added hastily.
The others laughed, momentarily forgetting their woes, which were manifold and overwhelming. It felt good to think of something other than parched throats, pinched stomachs, being lost, and without Thorin.
“Her hair was rather beautiful.” Dori admitted reluctantly. “Rather like spun gold.”
“Just as I said.” Gloin declared with a smile, warming to this subject readily.
“I am sure she smelled rather nice. Unlike us.” Nori grimaced as he lifted his arm. “Probably sweet as honeysuckle.”
“Roses.” Balin said. “She must smell of fresh pink roses kissed with dew.”
Again they all turned to him. He was becoming quite a poet.
“That was a really nice outfit. I should rather like one like it.”
Now they all turned to stare at Oin who had a dreamy expression on his face.
“Or not.” He said quietly, quailing beneath their scrutiny.
Bilbo kept his thoughts to himself, for his sharp eyes had detected something the Dwarves hadn’t noticed. Their Elf maiden was an Elf male. The manner of dress was masculine, though somewhat frilly and fluffy. But they were Elves after all. He didn’t wish to ruin their fantasy though, so he let them jabber on about the fair as a rose maiden in sparkly green and smiled to himself. At least they weren’t complaining. And it didn’t matter, since they would probably never see “her” again.
It was then that torches suddenly flared around them, just as they had in the clearings before during the Elves’ feasts. Elves jumped out before them, spears leveled at the Dwarves, bows held ready, arrow points gleaming in the firelight. Bilbo gasped and slipped on his ring and silently moved to one side away from the others, who had plopped to the ground.
“You are coming with us, Dwarves.” Tanglinna told them, eyes narrowed. “The king would have a word with you.”
The Dwarves stared wordless up at him. He looked so fierce that they wouldn’t have tried to fight even if they weren’t so starved and tired. Bright Elvish eyes glittered all about them, their muted brown and green clothing blending with the surroundings. All but one.
Gloin gasped and clutched his heart. Ah! The fair one was here! But why did she travel with such savage warriors? Were they her protectors?
Balin’s eyes had traveled to her as well. He smiled and sighed.
“A fair pink rose kissed by the dew.” He murmured.
All the Dwarves had noticed her, it was impossible not to dressed in such a bright color and looking so fetching standing there with a bow.
“A Warrior Maiden.” Dori whispered, feeling a thrill of excitement.
“Silence, Dwarves.” Tanglinna hissed at them, motioning for Aradoltha and Ryn to bind their wrists and put them into a long straggling line.
“Twelve of them, Tanglinna.” Meren said, after counting them.
“Twelve?” He shot a glance at Tavor, Legolas, and Brethil. He knew one sat in the dungeons already, but Brethil had said –or almost said – fourteen. He gazed about the clearing, causing Bilbo to quake with apprehension. But his eyes passed over the Hobbit. The Master Archer shook his head. “Let’s get them back.”
“That was awfully easy.” Brethil said quietly, as they walked beside the line of Dwarves.
“Almost too easy.” Tavor commented staring at the Dwarves in wonder. “I at least expected some resistance.”
“They are tired and hungry. That is all.” Legolas said, his eyes on the Dwarves. Were they staring at him? He felt a flush creep up his neck. : You shouldn’t embarrass me in front of the Dwarves this way. : he thought angrily at his father. He looked hastily away.
Tavor had noticed the undue amount of attention that Legolas was receiving from the small captives. But then he realized they were not looking at him in amusement. Could it be…admiration? He scrutinized their faces and saw that yes, indeed, it was admiration and - he nearly laughed out loud – infatuation.
“Legolas, those Dwarves are staring at you.” Brethil said, his face puzzled.
“It’s this stupid outfit. I can’t wait to throw it to the spiders.”
“’Tis not the outfit, my prince. But the one in the outfit that draws their attention.”
“What are you talking about, Tavor?”
“Look again at them. They are…how shall I put this…The Dwarves appear to be in love with you.”
Legolas wheeled on him, gazing at him, waiting to see the jest in his eyes. But then he looked to the Dwarves. Several of them were staring unabashedly at him, dark eyes filled with – He gulped. Then one with a dirty white hood bowed his head, touching his hand to his heart and smiled. Another one, somewhat larger than the others with a purple hood trailing down his back, grinned and flexed his muscles as well as he could in his bonds. Yet another seemed to be whispering something about pink roses.
Legolas’ mouth fell open and he staggered backwards, nearly bowling poor old Bilbo over as he followed them as silently as a mouse.
Brethil started to giggle, which only drew the attention of the others.
Tanglinna glanced sharply at Tavor who raised one eyebrow.
“They find the Princess of Mirkwood rather pretty in pink.” He said in Sindarin, knowing the Dwarves couldn’t understand him.
A wicked grin flashed across the older Elf’s face. Thranduil would get a kick out of this. Or perhaps he would regret that he had made his youngest son dress in such a manner. If he laughed or admitted that he had gone too far with this himself it wouldn’t matter. Either way it would be fun to tell him.
The Dwarves knew that something amused the Elves as they all burst out laughing and singing songs.
: They must be singing about the maiden. For she blushes so prettily. Ah, : he smiled, feeling his heart swell even more. : She is modest as well as beautiful.
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.