28. What is Missing?
There was a knock at the door and Thranduil turned to see Tanglinna peering around it cautiously.
"Ah! There you are!" The king exclaimed. "Is Legolas with you?"
"Yes, your Majesty. He is."
The Master Archer pulled the rather reluctant younger Elf into the room with a stern glance and pushed him toward his father.
"Legolas, what have you done now?" Thranduil asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
If the prince hadn't been so worried he might have noticed the amused twinkle in his father's eyes. But he swallowed nervously. All the things that Tavor, Brethil, Tanglinna, Bilbo, and yes, even Gwibess had told him - they had finally managed to squeeze her in through the window - swirled in his head, which already felt very odd. Unfortunately they had told him all the things that he should NOT tell the king.
"Why are you telling me this?" He had asked, a panicked note in his voice. "If you don't want me to tell him, then why tell ME?"
They had tried to reassure him that all would be well, and Tanglinna had told Brethil to shut up several times, but Legolas knew it wouldn't be well. He was overloaded with information that he did not want, and he couldn't remember on his own. Thus it was that he stared up at his father, with a helpless, slightly dazed look on his face.
"What have I been up to?" He asked, blinking several times. What hadn't he done now? From what they had told him, there wasn't much he hadn't done lately. He glanced nervously at Tanglinna hoping the Master Archer would rescue him, but Tanglinna looked pointedly away from him, effectively telling him he was on his own.
"I - I - nothing. Why?"
"It seems that something is missing." Thranduil said, lifting one brow.
"Something is missing?" The prince looked again at the archer who seemed engrossed with the ceiling. Legolas blinked again and frowned. Surely it was something they had told him about. He searched his mind and found there were several things that could be considered missing. The last one mentioned by Brethil came to mind. He cleared his throat, which sent sudden shudders down Tanglinna's spine. "Do you mean.Celeb Baudh?"
"No!" Tanglinna hissed, glaring at him. Then he felt the king's gaze on him and turned to see Thranduil's eyes fixed on him. He smiled weakly and shrugged, looking up at the ceiling once again and began to offer supplications to Elbereth. Why had he thrown that circlet into Morn Nen in the first place? How could he possibly have thought it was a good idea? Ai, sweet Elbereth, none of them was going to survive this!
"Celeb Baudh?" Thranduil repeated, his blue gaze moving to Legolas. "What do you mean?"
Legolas' gaze shifted from one to the other. That had obviously not been the one to mention.
"Nothing - Um - Then you mean -" he glanced at Tanglinna once more.
"Stop that!" Thranduil barked, feeling the bad mood coming on him full force. "Answer my question and look at ME when you do it!"
"Um - then you mean -" He turned back to his father, reaching back to one of the first things they had told him. "The boat?"
Thranduil's eyes narrowed.
"The boat on Morn Nen that Tavor, Brethil, and I use sometimes." Suddenly he gasped. "I didn't mean to say Morn Nen!" He choked, his eyes widening. "Forget I said Morn Nen! No! No! I don't mean, "forget", I mean -"
"Shut up, Prince Legolas!" Tanglinna hissed, his hands clenching on his tunic.
"What is going on?" The king demanded. His head felt very, very strange suddenly and he didn't like it. No, he didn't like it at all.
Legolas frowned again, feeling panic rising in him. What was wrong with him? Why couldn't he think of what his father meant and simply tell him what he wanted to hear?
"I - I meant the spiders? They are missing? Right? The ones that -er - painted your face? Right?" He glanced at Tanglinna to verify this statement, but the archer was muttering something under his breath. "Or was it that they stole the jewels and - and - your - robes?" He finished, his voice dying away to a whisper. "No," he continued heedlessly as his father's eyes widened, his face suffused with color. "I can see that is not it. Then you mean -"
"WHAT IS GOING ON??!!"
"I - I - I don't know! Oh, Adar I am so sorry, but I "don't" know what is going on!" Legolas buried his head in his hands, fingers digging into his hair.
Thranduil, placed his hands on his temples, willing himself to calmness. Something very strange was going on of that he was certain. He took a deep breath.
"I simply meant where is the green outfit?" He said, trying to be patient.
"Green outfit?" Legolas drew a shaky breath and looked up. Green outfit. He could do this. He really could.
"The green outfit?" He nodded. They had mentioned a green outfit. "The sparkly green one?" He smiled, feeling that he had finally gotten the answer right.
"It wasn't sparkly green." Thranduil said, his eyes going to the archer, and Tanglinna knew his time on Arda was running short. "It was a shimmery green, not sparkly."
"The green outfit," Legolas murmured. "But "not" the sparkly green one. Just the shimmery green one. Yes -well-" Something pricked in his mind, something one of them had said not to mention. "The one - the one I was wearing when - " He shook his head, everything he had been told in such a rush earlier had jumbled all together.
"You haven't worn it yet, little Greenleaf," Thranduil said with a frown. "Or have you?"
Tanglinna swallowed nervously, glancing from the king to his son.
~This cannot be happening! This cannot be happening. Just when I thought everything would be better, it is getting worse!~
Legolas' eyes shot to him, full of trepidation.
"Did I wear it?" He asked the archer. "Or didn't I?"
Thranduil's eyes narrowed. Something was going on. He knew it. He folded his arms about his chest and cocked his head on one side, his nostrils flared as he drew a deep breath.
"You were going to say what, Tanglinna?" He growled.
~Why did I have to be the one to escort him here? Why didn't I just send someone else - anyone else! ~ He thought frantically. He could picture himself polishing jewels for the next one thousand years in the kings gem room. It was not a pleasant thought. He frowned. He wished he "were" in the gem room polishing jewels right now actually!
"I was not going to say anything, your Majesty. Nothing at all."
~Father isn't supposed to remember either! ~ Legolas told himself, trying to find any reassurance that he could. ~Why does he remember the green outfit - the "shimmery" green outfit if I cannot? If I can just keep from saying anything that I don't remember - that I am not supposed to say - ~ He cut the thought off as it didn't sound right and it made his head feel rather strange and light. He swallowed and glanced at Tanglinna, whose face was inscrutable as always. He had already said too many things that he didn't remember and was not supposed to say.
Thranduil looked down at him, a look of great annoyance on his face.
"Where is your green outfit?" He repeated, trying to calm himself. He would not allow them to upset him any more. He was in control. He was the king!
"Green outfit." Legolas gaze swept to Tanglinna, he felt exhausted.
"The one for the Autumn Feast, my prince. The shimmery one," the archer prompted hastily, not looking at the king. No, not looking at the king at all.
Legolas blinked. Why couldn't he remember the shimmery green outfit if his father did? All he could recall was the sparkly green one they had told him about, but his father didn't mean that one.
"Oh? - Yes! I - Where is it?" He looked from Thranduil to Tanglinna once more. His brows knit in concentration. ~I can do this. I can do this!~
Thranduil glared at him and shook his head.
"What have you done now, little Greenleaf?" He asked again, repeating the original question that had started all this nonsense.
"Done? Nothing that I can remember." He answered honestly and then grinned. ~What a clever answer~, he thought, perhaps he could get through this after all. Why hadn't he said this earlier and saved himself all this trouble? ~I can do this!~ He thought triumphantly. ~Yes, I can!~
Thranduil shook his head. It really didn't matter where the green outfit was. It really didn't matter and besides, he needed to lie down.
"A new one is being made for you. Just - just make certain that it doesn't disappear before tomorrow evening."
"The Feast, little Greenleaf."
"Oh, yes - the feast! Well - well - I will be there? Again?" He glanced Tanglinna, who shook his head and sighed.
~Again?~ Thranduil thought with a start. ~No - no. I will not even ask.~
"Is there anything further that you need from him, your Majesty?" The archer asked, wanting to hustle the prince from the room as quickly as possible.
"Yes - just - just go away both of you." His hand moved to his temples. "To think I felt so good earlier. I need some tea. Strong tea."
Tanglinna grabbed Legolas arm and was about to haul him from the room when Thranduil turned to them, his eyes weary.
"Legolas, please do not -" the words died in his throat. His mouth fell open in surprise and he scowled, leaning forward. "What happened to your hair?!"
"What?" Legolas frowned. "Nothing." His hands moved upward.
"Oh, no." Tanglinna breathed and wondered if they would notice if he ran from the room, ears covered, shrieking like a certain blonde beast that he knew only too well.
"Your left warrior braid! Where is it!" Thranduil moved across the space between them and cupped his son's chin in his hand, tilting his head to the right. A braid had been made somewhat further back on his son's head than normal, but the short tufts of hair stuck out at angles from his face. He frowned. "What happened?! It looks as if it has been cut off!"
Legolas fingers found their way to the spot and jerked the short hair. A look of horror spread over his face. Brethil's words flitted through his mind: "Keep him away from the mirror!" He gulped for breathe and pulled away from his father and ran to stare into the silvered glass.
"No.no." he murmured, looking in shock at what he saw. His left warrior braid was gone! "nonononononono......."
"He has seen it," he muttered, reaching up to cover his ears as a shriek filled the air, shaking the palace to its very foundations. The young blonde beast was nearly as loud as the father.
In Legolas' room Tavor, Brethil, Bilbo, and Gwibess looked at one another and shook their heads in pity and sympathy.
"He has seen it," they all murmured. "Poor Legolas!"
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.