Light and Darkness: 6. Chapter Five

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6. Chapter Five

Cerveth woke an hour before dawn and untangled himself from Aiglin's arms, yawning hugely.  Standing up, he knocked over and broke a glass of wine and tripping over it, put his hand on the splintered glass.

Aiglin woke to find him picking the bloody shards out of the palm of his hand.

'How will I use my weapons today?  They'll think I did this to avoid my duty,' he was saying mournfully to himself.

'Let me see,' said Aiglin, taking his hand.  The wound was not deep, and all but one of the splinters of glass were small.  Aiglin reached for his pack and took out a small bottle of clear liquid which he used to clean Cerveth's hand.  Cerveth jumped and twitched as the liquid stung him.

'Talk about something, so that you'll forget the pain,' said Aiglin.

'You talk to me,' said Cerveth.  'I meant to ask you yesterday, what's happened to your hair?'

For a second Aiglin's hand stopped moving, then went on as usual.

'It was for Celinn,' he said lightly.  'Last year in a fight an enemy cut his hair, and all those in our company did the same so he wouldn't be alone with it.'

'What enemy?  Where did it happen?' demanded Cerveth.

'Outside Lorien.  It was a band of men who had been harassing those who lived along Anduin.  But it's over now.'

'A band of men?  Here they talk often of the man and woman Legolas brought home years ago after they were ambushed by orcs.  But they fled and were never seen again,' said Cerveth.

Aiglin seemed not to hear him.  'There, the wound is clean,' he said.  'Cerveth, you never used to be so clumsy when you were captain.'

'I've lost all my skills,' said Cerveth sadly.  'It's the grief of being far from home.  Haldir would never make me captain now.'

'If he and Celinn wake early enough, Gwirith can work on it a little.  He's a healer.'

'I thought he was a warrior,' said Cerveth.

'So he is, and a bowmaker and fletcher, but he's a healer as well.'

'Why don't he and Celinn share your dwelling?  There's enough room.'

'They wish to have a little privacy.'

'What for?'

'Their binding was only three months ago.'

'Celinn and Gwirith are bound?  But Gwirith wasn't even in Lorien two years ago when I was there.  They can scarcely know each other!'

'So it might appear, but their love is deep and sure, Cerveth.  Much has happened to test it, and it has never wavered.'

For once Cerveth was silent, his injured hand lying upturned and half-curled on his upraised knee.  Luinil came into the room then, already dressed, and Gwirith and Celinn appeared in the doorway.  Cerveth stood up.

'Forgive me, Celinn, I didn't know that you and Gwirith were bound.  I wish you both the joy of your binding,' he said, and kissed them both on the cheek. 

Then Cerveth prepared himself hastily for his duty, and Gwirith was able to work a few minutes' healing on his injured hand, so that the wounds were nearly closed by the time they began to walk towards the stone gates.

As they passed Legolas' dwelling he came out and greeted them, dressed in the soft greens and browns of the forest, but with dark shadows under his eyes.  Although he smiled and was lively as before, it looked as if he had hardly slept.

'My father will be free at noon if you wish to speak to him then,' he said.  'I will leave you to give Haldir the news.' 

***

'All my people know where the treasure is kept,' said Thranduil to Celinn, walking swiftly through the wide passageways of his palace, holding up a torch to illuminate the way.  'It belongs to all of us, not only to my house.'

There was no guard at the door, but the lock was large and ornate and opened by a key which Thranduil had to hunt for on his belt while Haldir held the torch.  The door opened smoothly and they went in and shut it behind them.  The room was divided into many chambers, and on tables and shelves made of polished wood, the treasures of Mirkwood were displayed: decorated war gear, swords and shields and helms made of fragrant wood with bosses of jet and amber; jewels for the body: beautifully-made torques and rings, for the fingers, the ears, the arm; cups and bowls and jugs of mithril and gold and bronze studded with gems and decorated with enamels in all colours; wooden chests full of coins of all sizes and shapes; and many other objects also.

'These are the oldest,' said Thranduil, indicating a large round shield of iron and red embossed leather, decorated with gold, mithril and turquoise, and a well-used sword of matching design.  'I brought them with me when I left Doriath.  Apart from this…'  He indicated a small drinking cup of polished and folded gold. '…that is all I have left from that time.  When I think of Menegroth and its splendours, my heart yearns to remake them here; but then I remember how Doriath fell, and it seems the simplicity of Mirkwood is more wholesome.'  He looked past them, and went on talking as if to himself. 

'I remember the beeches of Orome that Thingol had had carved out of stone and lit by lanterns of gold; and the fountains of silver and basins of marble and the floors of many-coloured stones, and the carved figures of beasts and birds that ran upon the walls or climbed upon the pillars, or peered among the branches entwined with many flowers.  But I have no wife to weave the hangings which would show the deeds of the Valar and the story of Arda from the beginning, and the foretelling of the things that are yet to be, as Melian did for Thingol.  My sister wished to do me this service, but I refused it, for it seemed to me that letting her take my wife's place in this was somehow disloyal, and belittled my loss; and when my grief became less sharp, it was not then the time for weaving pictures of the past, when surviving the present had become so urgent.'

He turned to them, and saw his grief mirrored on their faces.

'You have both known pain, I can see it in you,' he said.  'But we go on, do we not?  Duty is our compass, when all else seems dark and pathless around us.'

Neither Celinn nor Haldir spoke, but deep underground in the muted air of Thranduil's treasury, they saw a side of him that he rarely showed, and Haldir, whose task it was to forge an alliance with him, felt his own heart was in it for the first time.

'And what are these?' asked Celinn, picking up a pair of belts made of linked mithril circles, to lighten the mood.

'These have been made in the last years by the dwarves of Erebor.'

'Dwarvish work?' said Haldir in surprise.  'But I thought…'

'You thought Thranduil dealt with no-one and sat on his hoard of treasure like Smaug himself, I venture.'

At that even cool Haldir blushed.

'Of course not, Sir…'

'I have learnt much in the last years, Haldir of Lorien,' he said, 'even if I'm not yet ready to treat with a daughter of the Noldor, or a fosterling of the sons of Feanor.  I have dealt for a long time with the men of Dale, and I value the craftsmanship of the Naugrim, although I don't make the mistake Thingol did of letting them through my doors.'

'But you will not ally with your own kind?' said Celinn, in an impassive, interested voice.

'After what I have seen, it's my own kind I fear the most,' said Thranduil quietly.  'The pride and greed of the elves has marred their beauty and their gifts.  If it were not for that, you wouldn't be here, coming to sue for an alliance because of the waking of the One Ring, for such a ring would have had nothing to control had it not been for the pride of Celebrimbor and the Gwaith-i-Mirdain, who made the Nine and the Seven and the Three.'

'The elves didn't make the One,' said Haldir, anger beginning to simmer below his suave exterior.  'Nor did they know the other rings would be used for evil.'

'Gil-galad and Elrond turned Annatar away.  It was the Noldor of Eregion who welcomed him.'

'Galadriel suspected him from the first,' insisted Haldir.

'But she took the ring Celebrimbor made, and even when he told her of the One, they couldn't find the strength to destroy the Three,' said Thranduil heavily.

'The Three are rings of preservation, Sir.  Sauron had no hand in their making.  They protect Lorien and Imladris; they allow us to keep in being those good things which the elves have given to Arda, and which otherwise would fade and be lost.'

Thranduil stretched out his arms and pushed both hands through his hair, sighing deeply.  He looked very tired.

'But are they worth keeping if they can only be kept through magic, Haldir?' he whispered.

Haldir stared at him, two bright spots of colour on his cheeks, as if he had uttered a blasphemy.  Celinn casually moved closer to him and rested a hand lightly on his back, fearing he might be about to say or do something which would make all treating impossible.  At his touch Haldir started slightly, but for a moment he leaned back against Celinn's hand as if he valued the stability it offered.

Thranduil gazed at them both, aware of Haldir's emotion.

'Do you see now why an alliance is so unlikely, Guardian of Lorien?  On this crucial point, Galadriel and I are as far apart as Arda and Valinor.  How can I give away my sovereignty to one whose methods are so alien to my own?'

'Sir, you wrong Galadriel if you speak of her in this way,' said Haldir, barely able to keep his temper.  'She rules her realm with love and wisdom, and would never do anything to risk the wellbeing of her people.  Her ring protects us.  Say you she should cast it away, and let our enemies march into Caras Galadhon, because you do not like the story of the past?'

Slowly Thranduil took three paces forward so that his face and Haldir's were only inches apart.

'I am not accustomed to being spoken to in this way, Haldir of Lorien,' he said with dangerous quiet.  'I know your loyalty for the Lady drives you, and so I am prepared to disregard your insolence if you withdraw your disrespectful words immediately.'

'Withdraw them?' said Haldir scornfully, almost laughing in disbelief.  'But they're the truth, Thranduil!  You barricade yourself into your caves and you refuse every offer of help we give you, and then you insult the Lady for doing the same as you are: protecting her people.'

'Haldir, enough…' said Celinn desperately, but Haldir took no heed.

'When are you going to stop living in the past, Thranduil?' he went on furiously.  'Doriath was a long time ago, and so was Dagorlad!  And while you block every attempt of Lorien's to work with you, we live within sight of Dol Guldur, desperate to find a way to destroy it.  Will you wait until the enemy is at the gates of your palace to see that we must unite or go down into the darkness?  Truly the dangerous pride of Oropher is reborn in you!'

Thranduil cried out hoarsely, his eyes blazing with anger, and at once his hand was searching blindly for his sword.  Haldir lurched forward and they collided, both breathing hard, but before the King's sword was halfway out of its scabbard Celinn had put himself between them.

'And yet in the end we are all kin, are we not?' he said.  'And it is kin who fight the most bitterly.'

Thranduil's eyes were almost black with rage as he stared at Haldir over Celinn's shoulder.  The air quivered between them and for a moment Celinn felt dizzy.

It was Thranduil who stepped back first.  His sword slid back into its scabbard with a harsh rasp of steel.

'Celinn is right,' he said tightly, his cloak making a little draught as he turned away to look fixedly at a miniature in a tiny gold frame.  'We are kin.  But sometimes kin are the last with which we should make alliance.  I am sorry if you have travelled so far for nothing, but I can't consent to what you ask.  Stay in Mirkwood as long as you wish, though I advise you to leave in time to avoid the snows.'

Hearing their dismissal, Haldir and Celinn bowed to Thranduil's rigid back and left the room, stunned by the sudden ending to their negotiations.  Celinn felt a low flame of anger deep in his gut.  Following Haldir's tall figure through the winding passageways, he was silent at first, but when Haldir reached the door of his chamber, he said,

'What in the name of Elbereth possessed you, Haldir?  You who are known for your skills of peacemaking, never have I heard you speak so wildly!  You put us in an impossible position!'

'I will speak to you later,' said Haldir curtly, going into his room and beginning to shut the door, but Celinn said,

'No, you'll speak to me now,' and came into the room, closing the door behind him. 

In the darkness Celinn heard Haldir give a sigh of irritation but he quickly lit the lamp and began to pace restlessly up and down the small room.

'What are we going to do now?' said Celinn, leaning back against the door and watching him.

'What he said.  Go home.  Do you know, Celinn, I never really believed in this alliance, even though Galadriel wanted it so badly.  Oh, there was a moment when he seemed to be less intransigent than I had thought, but after what he said about the Three, I realised that was just an illusion.' 

He stopped pacing and picked up his travelling bag which had not even been unpacked.

'If you go and tell the others, we could leave in a few hours.  The King will be only too pleased to see the back of us.'

'Haldir!' said Celinn.  'What are you saying?  We can't leave, not with things as they are, worse even than when we arrived here.  What would the Lady think?'

'He insulted her,' said Haldir, almost growling with anger.  'Would she expect us to speak sweetly to him after what he said?'

'And you insulted him, Haldir.  You're lucky he didn't order you to spend a ten-year here as Cerveth must.'

Haldir's self-control broke and, flinging his travelling bag on the floor he seized Celinn by the shoulders.

'How dare you speak to me like that?' he shouted.  'Have you forgotten I'm your commander?  You swore an oath of loyalty to me, Celinn, on the day of your braiding.  Don't hold it in contempt or it is you who will find yourself in exile!'

Celinn struggled against him, finally managing to free himself.  They stared at each other, angry and shocked.

'Haldir,' said Celinn at last, his voice less than steady.  'Something is troubling you.  You are not yourself.'

'Get out,' said Haldir, taking hold of Celinn's arm and wrenching open the door.

Celinn opened his mouth to protest, but something in Haldir's eyes stopped him.  He crossed the threshold and the heavy door crashed shut behind him.

Inside Haldir stood motionless, staring unseeing at the carved wood.  After a long while he turned and began blindly to gather up his belongings from where they had fallen when he had flung his travelling bag on the floor.  He was reaching for the last thing when he saw something glinting in the light under the chair in the corner of the room.  Kneeling down and stretching out his hand for it, he felt his fingers close on a flat ridged object, cold to the touch.  Drawing it out, he opened his hand and looked at it.

It was an enamelled pin, similar to Thranduil's, in the shape of a beech leaf, but it was of the shining clear fresh green it would be on the day it first unfurled in early spring.  Haldir stared at it, white-faced, then closed his hand on it so hard that the edges pressed painfully into his palm.  It was years since he had last seen it.  He remembered the day it had been given to him, and how he had pushed it right down to the bottom of his pack.  It must have worked its way into the lining and he had mercifully forgotten all about it.  Kneeling hunched over in the silent underground room, Haldir was aware of a devastating feeling of loss, but he gritted his teeth hard and squeezed his eyes tightly shut, and not a single tear escaped on to his burning face.

***

'Ada?' said Legolas softly, pushing open the door of the bath chamber.  He could see Thranduil's golden head resting on the edge of the sunken bathing pool, and one arm was stretched out, fingers loose, on the decorated stone of the pool's rim.  A tall wrought iron stand bearing several white candles stood in the corner of the room.

'Mmm?' said Thranduil, eyes closed.  'Legolas, is that you?  Why are you up so late?'

Legolas came in and closed the door to conserve the steamy heat of the place.  Still after all these years he marvelled at the cunning design of the bath chamber.  The water came in through a carved channel diverted from a loop of the Forest River which ran underneath the palace, and was heated by an underground furnace before being piped into the King's bath.

'I need to speak to you, Ada,' he said, sitting down on the edge of the pool, feeling a mist of sweat forming on his face from the steam that rose from the water. 

'Get in if you want,' said Thranduil, not opening his eyes.  It looked as if he had been half asleep.

Pushing back the sleeve of his loose linen shirt, Legolas dipped his hand into the fragrant water and swirled a pattern in the sweet oil which floated on the surface, something he had loved to do since he was an elfling.

'I've already bathed,' said Legolas.  'In fact I went to bed and lay in the dark, but I couldn't sleep, so I got up again and came to find you.  I don't suppose you've slept yet, Ada, have you?'

'Maybe for a few minutes when I first got into the water,' said Thranduil, wiping his face with his hand and shifting round so that he could look at his son.  'So what is disturbing your sleep, my dear?'

Legolas hesitated, uncertain where to start.  'Ada, it's difficult for me to speak of it,' he said, low-voiced.  'It's something on which we've disagreed.'

Thranduil stifled a sigh.  'Tell me quickly,' he said, 'and then I can go back to whatever dream I was enjoying just before you came in.'

Legolas looked at him, torn between the exhaustion etched on his father's face and a conversation he had had a few hours earlier with Celinn.

'Ada,' he said, 'let the Galadhrim speak to you again.  Haldir is not himself, he didn't mean to offend you.  Please, for my sake.  And…for the sake of Mirkwood.'

Thranduil's brows hunched down over eyes gone the colour of the sky just before thunder.  His face seemed to age suddenly, and even his deep weariness could not quite mask his heavy anger.

'Indeed, Haldir is not himself.  Have you any idea how he spoke to me, Legolas?' he said, his voice soft and dangerous.  'Do you know, my son, he pushed me so close to the edge that if Celinn hadn't put himself between us, I might have drawn my sword and killed him.'

Legolas let out his breath in a sharp gasp, but he said nothing, unable to take his eyes from his father's face.

'And now you ask me to give him another audience?'  Thranduil laughed, but the sound was without mirth.  'He should be languishing in the cells tonight without food or water, pondering on exactly how he'll crawl to me on his knees and beg my forgiveness; and instead he's enjoying my hospitality, free from censure.  And now you've come to plead on his behalf.  What is there between you and these Galadhrim, Legolas?  Would you choose their part even against your own father?'

'Ada,' said Legolas, 'I'm not against you, and never could be.  Ada, don't turn away.  I can bear the sight of your anger.'

Thranduil turned slowly to him and they stared at each other.  The air vibrated between them.

'I hope you can, my son,' said Thranduil, 'because it makes me very angry indeed to hear you ask me to do this for the sake of Mirkwood.'

'Adar, in the name of Elbereth, spare me!' said Legolas, suddenly exasperated.  'Every single time we cover the same ground: I suggest that isolation is not the only policy, and at once you believe that I'm against you.  Is that what you wish for in me?  That I'll obey you without question, and will be so crushed by your anger that I'll never dare raise any subject which might offend your sensibilities?'

'How dare you suggest such a thing?' shouted Thranduil.  'I've brought you up to have a mind of your own, and I expect you to use it!'

'But not if it contradicts your own deeply-held beliefs,' flashed back Legolas.  'Or should I say prejudices,' he murmured, just loud enough for his father to hear.

Thranduil reared up out of the bath, sending water everywhere and soaking Legolas' clothes.

'Get out of here, you impudent child!' he shouted. 

Legolas sat impassively on the side of the bath, looking up calmly at his father's dripping figure.

'Shall I fetch your dressing-gown?' he said quietly.

Thranduil stepped out of the bath and striding across the room, snatched up the robe of dark green silk that was draped across a wicker chair and pulled it on.  He turned, hands on his hips.

'Are you still here?' he said, soft and menacing.

'Yes, I am, and I'm not going anywhere until you've listened to what I have to say,' said Legolas.  'You might frighten Galion and the others with your temper, Adar, but it doesn't work on me any more.'

Thranduil stood motionless, his eyes blazing with anger, water streaming from his wet hair and beginning to stain the shoulders of his dressing-gown almost to black.  At last he gave a deep sigh.

'Legolas, I don't want to fight with you,' he said, 'but this is something on which I can't give way.'

'Then it is time you learnt how to,' said Legolas quietly, 'for in this matter you are surely mistaken.'

In the moments that followed, both Thranduil and his son felt strangely disorientated, as if something had shifted in the energy between them.  Thranduil sat down suddenly in the chair.

'What is it you want to say to me, Legolas?' he said, his voice heavy with exhaustion.

Legolas felt his shoulders sag a little with tiredness.  Suddenly aware of how uncomfortable he was, he put out his hand and tugged his clinging wet shirt away from his chest.

'Ada, we can't simply send them away.  We need them as much as they need us.  Do you think Mirkwood can stand alone against the darkness that is coming?'

'Standing alone is our greatest safety, Legolas.  Haven't I taught you that all these long years?'

'Maybe that was true once, Ada, after Doriath; even after Dagorlad and in the years that followed, but it isn't true any more.  We're too few now, and the danger too great.  And you yourself have changed.  In the year the dragon was killed, we went into battle with Men and with Dwarves.  You went to the aid of the Lake people; you helped them rebuild their shattered town.  You forgave the perian who trespassed in our lands.  Already you have turned aside from my grandfather's policy of standing alone.  It is such a little step to turn again to those of our own kind.'

'But that would be the most dangerous step, Legolas.  My son, we cannot treat with Galadriel: she is ambitious; and she is Noldor.  She will bring their doom down on to our heads.'

'You judge her too harshly, Adar, you always have.  And in any case, Celeborn and most of the Galadhrim are not Noldor.  Whatever you think of Galadriel, what we face now is a different doom from the Curse that befell the Noldor so long ago.  It belongs to all of us, not only to them.  And we'll only defeat it if we stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and forget the past.'

Thranduil dropped his head into his hands, his voice coming muffled through his fingers. 'Forget the past…is that what you think we must do?  Without the past, what are we?'

'Adar, we only need forget the evils of the past, not the good, not our ancestors, our loved ones…and we too have something to give to the story of Middle Earth.  Surely we are more than just the children and grandchildren of our forebears?'

Thranduil gave a shuddering sigh and sat up, looking his son full in the face.

'And did you learn all this from Haldir?' he said.

Legolas returned his look steadily.  'Haldir doesn't know I'm speaking to you.  In fact he's scarcely said a word to me since the day he arrived.'

'So it was Celinn who sought to make peace between us.'

Legolas nodded.  He pulled again at his wet clothes which had moulded themselves uncomfortably to his body, and he felt something in the pocket of his loose trousers.  Drawing it out, he saw it was the velvet bag Celinn had given him.

Thranduil knelt down beside him and taking the bag, spilt the pearl out on to his palm, his face darkening with grief.

'By Elbereth, we should have killed that man the first day he came to Mirkwood,' he said bitterly.

'Who, Aragorn?  He's never been here!' said Legolas.

'No, my son.  The man who killed Surindel.'

'When was he ever in Mirkwood?  I've never even heard his name before,' said Legolas.

'He had a different name then.  Galadriel sent me the news.'

'Let me see it,' said Legolas, beginning to get to his feet.  'Where's the scroll?'

'Son, it's late,' said Thranduil dismissively.  'Leave it till the morrow.'

Something in his voice made Legolas pause.

'What's the matter, Ada?  Who was this man?' he said.

'Legolas, please, we're both tired; go to bed now.'

'What are you keeping from me?' demanded Legolas.

Thranduil would not meet his eyes.  At last he got up and fetched the scroll from the inner pocket of his tunic and handed it to Legolas without a word.

For no reason that he could comprehend, Legolas found that his hands were shaking as he undid the linen tie and unrolled the narrow parchment.  He read slowly down the page, going back several times to re-read what his mind had failed to grasp the first time round.  When he was nearly at the end Celinn's name leapt out at him and he read the few sentences which followed.

Legolas felt the room spin round once and for an instant there was darkness before his eyes.  Then his father's hands were on his shoulders, holding him firm.

'Legolas, my son, look at me…all is well, my dear,' Thranduil's voice was saying.

Legolas took a deep breath and the ringing in his ears began to subside, and he realised that he was on his knees, and that Thranduil was splashing water on to his face.

'Ada…' he said, and then his head cleared.  'Ada, I'm well, you can let me go.'

Slowly Thranduil released him.  'Legolas, you've had a shock.  I'll send for a cordial for you.'

'No, Ada,' said Legolas, surprised at how distant his voice sounded.  'I don't want a cordial.  I want to know how Celinn survived.'

Thranduil sat down in his chair, his elbows on his knees.

'She didn't tell me that part,' he said.  'Only that it took a long time.'

There was a long silence, and then Legolas said,

'So that's why Celinn wouldn't let Haldir speak before you: because it was my fault, Ada.  If I hadn't brought Madoc back to Mirkwood, he could never had become Adanwath, never come to hate elves as he did;  Surindel might be living still, and Celinn…Ada, did you read what he did to Celinn?  How he…I can't even say what he did to him.  Now I understand about their hair…they wouldn't tell me why they had cut their hair, although I asked them.  And that scar on Celinn's cheek, that must have happened then…'

Suddenly he was breathing fast, his eyes wide with panic.  'Ada, it was my fault.  What shall I do?  I never knew he would do so much harm.  Ada, it was all my fault.'

Thranduil pulled Legolas into his arms and held him tightly, murmuring softly with his lips close to his ear.  The years fell away and they were Adar and elfling again, Thranduil comforting his young son who had woken trembling from a nightmare.

'It wasn't your fault, my child, my dearest child.  You did what your heart told you to do, sweeting.  You meant no harm,' said Thranduil.  'It's finished now, my son.  Don't blame yourself.  Don't blame yourself.'

 At last Legolas pulled away from his father's arms.  He wiped his pale face and smoothed his disarranged hair with both hands.

'Ada, I'm sorry,' he said.  'I lost my courage.  An elfling on the first day of his warrior training would have behaved better than I just did.'

Thranduil shook his head.  'Don't judge yourself so harshly, Legolas,' he said.  'There's no shame in being moved by the news you've just read.  I was moved myself.  But remember that you couldn't have known that matters would unfold as they did.'

'Adar, you were furious with me for bringing Madoc back after the orc raid!  You told me I should have left him to fend for himself in the Wild, and I wish I'd listened to you!'

'Even so,' said Thranduil, 'we can't know the outcome of every choice we make.  Don't try to convince yourself that there was a sure way to avert this catastrophe, because that will only lead you to madness.  And remember that the evil was chosen by the man, Madoc, who called himself Adanwath, and not by you, my dear child.'

'Nevertheless, I have a debt to pay.  I can never make amends with Surindel, but at least I can do something for Celinn.  Please, Ada,' said Legolas humbly, 'about the Galadhrim.  One more meeting, and after that I won't speak of it again.'

Thranduil sighed deeply.  'If it will make you happy, Legolas,' he said wearily, 'then I'll gave them another audience.  But this will be the last.'

'Yes, Ada, thank you.'  Slowly Legolas got to his feet.  'I'll leave you now.  I'm sorry I disturbed your bath.'

'Legolas…'

Thranduil's son turned to him, his beauty mirroring his father's.

'My son, this isn't a night to sleep alone.  Is there anyone…'

'Goodnight, father,' said Legolas quietly, shutting the door behind him.

*******

Author's Notes

1.         References to Menegroth taken from The Silmarillion  p109 ff  George Allen and Unwin (1979)


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.

Story Information

Author: erynhith

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: General

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 06/28/06

Original Post: 05/05/06

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