16. The Morning After
"What are you two doing here?" He grumped, scowling as he staggered slightly to pour cool water from a silver pitcher into a large bowl on the dresser.
The two exchanged cautious glances.
"How.how are you feeling?" Brethil asked, his pale grey eyes wide with concern.
"Horrible." Mirkwood's prince growled and splashed water on his face.
"We should have taken out the mirror!" Brethil hissed, suddenly aware of the silvered glass on the dresser.
"Shut up, Brethil." Tavor hissed back, thumping him on the arm.
Legolas turned to them, his eyes narrowed in anger.
"Will you both shut up!" He snapped and reached for the soft towel.
His friends glanced at one another again, both looking rather distressed.
"I told you that you made it too strong!" Brethil accused a little too loudly.
Legolas turned to glare at Tavor.
"What did you do to me?" His voice was low and full of menace. He dropped the towel back to the dresser.
Tavor's eyes widened and he took a step back.
"Well, you see, it wasn't really my idea. Actually Tanglinna rather suggested it."
Legolas advanced on him slowly, teeth bared in a feral snarl.
"Legolas! Wait! It was for your own good! Please, I was just doing it to help you!" Tavor backed away, hands held imploringly in front of him.
"What did you do to me?"
"It was just Vandal Root tea. Truly. To help you sleep! Please!"
Legolas hands loosened and he frowned. He sighed and ran a hand over his hair.
"Why did you give me Vandal Root tea? I wasn't ill, was I?"
Tavor glanced at Brethil.
"Well, not exactly. You see -"
"Shut up, Brethil." Tavor interjected quickly. "You weren't sick, Legolas. The effects should wear off soon. Why don't you come with us to breakfast?"
Legolas blinked and grimaced again. He hated the way it felt when Vandal Root wore off. And he was hungry, so he moved back to the dresser.
"That sounds good." He began to rummage through his clothing.
"You see, Tavor. He didn't even notice."
Legolas turned back to them, a shirt dangling from one hand.
"Notice what?" The dangerous note was back in his voice.
Tavor shut his eyes and shook his head. Would this never end?!
Brethil stood with his mouth slack, blinking rapidly.
"Um.that is.You look fine really. You can hardly tell! Truly, it is hardly noticeable at all! And you don't look so much like a pretty princess."
"Brethil! Will you never shut up!" Tavor rounded on him and stared at him in stunned disbelief. "You just don't know when to stop, do you!"
"What are you talking about?" Legolas demanded, his anger rising once again. "What do you mean it is hardly noticeable? What is hardly noticeable? And I don't look like a princess!" He spun and went to the mirror and stared at his reflection to see what was amiss. His face seemed a bit peaked, but that was the tea. His eyes seemed a bit vacant, but again the tea. He shook his head. There were no marks of any kind marring his fair face, so what did they mean? He was about to turn back to them, certain they were playing some sort of trick on him, when he saw it.
On the left side of his head, hair stuck out at an odd angle. His eyes widened in horror and he leaned against the dresser, his face almost touching the mirror's cold surface. He was breathing harshly through his mouth, trembling fingers reaching up to touch the shorn hairs.
"No.no." he murmured, looking in shock at what he saw. His warrior left warrior braid was gone! "nonononononono....."
"He's seen it." Brethil said quietly, a look of concerned distress on his fair face.
"He wouldn't have if you had kept quiet!"
"It isn't my fault he cut it off!"
Legolas turned to regard them, eyes huge.
"What did you say?"
"Don't you remember, Legolas?" Brethil said. "You cut it off and gave it to that Dwarf."
As many shrieks and bellows as had rung in the Hall of King Thranduil over the ages, very few ever impressed his subjects. But for many years to come they would remember the cries this day. As Legolas yelled in disbelief and mortification at one end of the Hall, King Thranduil looked in his own mirror and his own scream shoke the very foundations of Gladaran Thamas.
Legolas was staring into the mirror trying not to cry. His fingers were tangled in the short, mutilated strands of blonde hair, his eyes forlorn.
"I would not have done this." He repeated for the hundredth time. "I would not do this. I would not cut off my braid. I would not cut off my braid!"
Tavor felt highly uncomfortable with the entire situation and didn't know what to do. Brethil had joined Legolas at the dresser, a comforting hand laid on his shoulder.
"It will grow out in time, Legolas. It is hair after all. You look fine. No one will notice. Or not very much. They will pretend they don't notice anyway. They may stare at first, but then they will pretend not to see it."
"Shut up, Brethil!" Tavor exclaimed, staring at him in sheer disbelief.
"What is the problem, Tavor? I am trying to comfort him. He was very stupid last night and needs a friend who understands."
"You understand being stupid very well, Brethil. Of that I am certain."
Legolas raised stricken eyes to his friends.
"What else did I do?" He asked, distress biting through him once more. "It can't be worse than this!" He turned to the mirror once more, praying to Elbereth that his reflection would have changed from what it was just seconds ago. "My braid." He moaned. "My Warrior Braid. What have I done!" He had been so proud the day he had received his Warrior's braids and had felt his child's intricate braid being loosed for the last time. "I would not have done this."
"Well, you can think of it this way, Legolas." Brethil said, comfortingly patting his shoulder. "You made that Dwarf very happy."
Legolas turned to look at him.
"What? The Dwarf?" Then slowly Brethil's earlier words surfaced: "Don't you remember, Legolas? You cut it off and gave it to that Dwarf." The Elf prince felt all the air squeeze from his lungs. "I.I gave it to a Dwarf?"
"Yes. Don't you recall? The one who thought you were a princess. You thought it was rather funny at the time." Brethil smiled, remembering what Cuil and Calenthar had told them of the strange night below the Hall. "Cuil said you laughed quite a lot and thought the Dwarf had a golden tongue and was quite a sweet thing. You even sang together. I wish I had heard you."
With every word that passed from Brethil's lips Legolas felt himself loosing touch with reality. This was impossible.
"That cannot be true." He murmured, trying to convince himself of that. But the snatches from his "dreams" kept trickling into his memory. "Legolas the Sparkly Green." He whispered, the words catching in his throat. He shook his head, denying what he now knew was not dream stuff, but memories. "No. It cannot be true. It cannot."
"Are you remembering it now? Well, we were coming to aid you when we heard that your father yelled at you. But I.um.guess." He glanced at Tavor as he remembered uncomfortably their part in this. "We should have stayed home. When I ran into your father and he nearly fell, well.Tavor nearly died. He said his heart stopped. And well, the look on your father's face nearly killed me as well. He was so angry and when you sliced off your braid." He shook his head and laughed slightly. "I wonder what your father is going to do to us."
Legolas barely heard him as he stared at his forlorn reflection.
As if on cue the door slammed open and Thranduil entered. His magnificent eyes were bright with great anger and indignation. His fists were clenched tightly at his side, his golden hair in glorious disarray.
:I will die this time: Tavor thought, his eyes wide. :I will really die this time. I wonder what that feels like? It can't be any worse than what I am feeling now. I have never felt worse than this. Never in my life. It must be rather nice in the Halls of Mandos. Nice and quiet. Not like here at all. Perhaps it will be nice to die:
"Stop looking in that mirror, little Greenleaf!" Thranduil ordered.
"But Father, I look - "
"AND HOW DO I LOOK!!" He roared.
Legolas turned to look at his father. His mouth dropped open and he blinked rapidly several times. Thranduil's handsome face had been rather skillfully made up, his cheeks touched with red, the eyelids a rich blue. His lips were painted a deep crimson. He looked rather beautiful in an overdone sort of way.
"You.you." Legolas began, his hair forgotten for the moment.
"I WHAT?!" Thranduil growled loudly.
Legolas' voice when it finally dislodged from his throat was small and tremulous.
"You look like a princess?"
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.