"I saw him leaving by way of the main gate with his bow and quiver. Most likely he's gone to the fields to practice." She paused and then added, "He did not look happy."
"Ah," Elladan said, "could you point us in the right direction then? We have some news that may alter his mood."
Ninde nodded and led them out of the magnificent gates of Thranduil's palace and down the steps. She stood at the stone bridge and pointed across the rushing river toward a path that disappeared into the woods. Raising her voice over the river's roar, she said, "Follow that until it forks, take the path to the right. Keep going, you'll come across it."
Elrohir pressed her hands between his. She gave him a coy smile, turned, and disappeared back into the cavern.
His brother looked up at the sky, freshly washed a cornflower blue by the rain the previous night, then turned to Elrohir. "If we were traveling west, this would be the last view of the sky for over one hundred miles," he stated.
"Indeed," said Elrohir. "I love forests, but not this one. Too quickly it becomes our worst nightmare."
"Yes, but where Thranduil maintains his realm, you can see the echo of the beauty it once was," said Elladan. "Let's go."
They walked over the bridge and followed a broad trail that soon plunged under the arching canopy of the immense trees. The light became a deep, diffused green with, here and there, a stab of gold slanting down. Dimly, Elrohir could hear the trees whispering, and in the distance, he felt the black thoughts of many more. He shivered. Maybe it was just as well they were going to return the long way. But what awaited them in Ered Mithrin was worse. Like a touch of slimy iron, Elrohir remembered the feel of the dragon's mind brushing his, how he almost lost control of his will to her. He caught his brother glancing at him, as if he guessed the content of Elrohir's thoughts. Elladan slid an arm around his twin's waist and gave him a quick squeeze before striding ahead.
After about a mile the light grew brighter. They took a smaller path that branched to the right and emerged into a large clearing of cropped green grass, blinking in the sudden sunshine. Several hundred yards off they saw the object of their search.
Legolas stood with his back to them, bright hair glinting like a golden coin. With a smooth flowing motion born of skill and long practice, he reached back to his quiver for an arrow, notched it, sighted briefly, and let it fly. It cut the air with a whistled scream and landed with a solid thud in the target's bullseye amidst a cluster of arrows like a hedgehog's back. He pulled another one and released it, with the same deadly precision.
Elrohir found his breath catching in his throat at the prince's skill. Here was a formidable warrior; one who could aid them in their quest for the dragon. How right they had been to coax the king into letting Legolas go with them. He grinned at his brother as they slowly crept up behind the prince.
"I can sense you," Legolas called, without even turning around. "Why did you bother to come to see me?"
"Because we are leaving tomorrow," Elladan said. They drew next to the prince who finally turned, his gaze meeting theirs, his brow furrowed.
"I know," Legolas said. "It's all the over the palace. I gather my father's little trick with the fire lizards has succeeded in chasing Náin off, finally. And I hear you're to go with the dwarves to Ered Mithrin."
"News travels quickly," said Elrohir.
"Yes," said Legolas. "Now if you'll excuse me." He pulled another arrow and let it go with a savage swish. It exploded on contact with the iron frame of the target.
Elrohir put a hand gently on his shoulder and Legolas whirled with an expression of annoyance.
"I am wondering," Elrohir said, "if you know so much, why are you wasting your time out here destroying perfectly good arrows when you should be . . . ," he paused for effect, "packing."
"What?" Legolas's mouth dropped open. He looked from one twin to the other.
"You should be packing," repeated Elladan, "for a trip to the north. Be sure to bring some warm things. A good fur-lined cloak comes in handy."
Legolas's face lit up. "Do you mean I'm going with you? My father relented? I can't believe it!"
"Believe it, mellon nîn," laughed Elrohir. "Thranduil agreed finally that it was a good idea, with some, er, persuasion on our part."
Legolas set down his bow and grabbed Elrohir in a hug, then swept an arm out to include Elladan. "Oh, my dear friends," he cried. "I'm so sorry I doubted you. This is the best news I've had in an age. How can I ever repay you?"
Elrohir laughed, pleased at the delight shining on Legolas's face. "How can you repay us? Uh, well, now that you mention it . . . . " The twin chuckled.
Legolas stepped back and looked at him, eyes crinkled in amusement. "Let me guess," he said.
"Well, it has been a whole seven hours since we were together," said Elladan.
"And we find ourselves quite hungry again," said Elrohir. He ran a tongue along his lips.
"I don't think I've recovered yet from last night," Legolas said, "if this is any indication of how things will go on our trip . . . . "
"There is rarely time for such pleasant activities on an expedition like that," said Elladan. "And you may be thanking us now, but you might be cursing us when you are sitting miserable in a cold camp, freezing rain dripping down your collar."
"No, I won't, I promise," Legolas said happily. Then he paused and his face grew somber. "And what about that other matter, the fact that my father knows about your relationship?"
Elrohir stared into those breath-taking, jewel-blue eyes. "We had to resort to a little subterfuge, meleth," he said.
Legolas turned to look at Elladan. The older twin nodded. "He no longer remembers our encounter. It would be well not to say anything that would reawaken the memory. In addition, Legolas, I believe he will think your going on this expedition is his idea."
Legolas nodded. "Understood. I won't inquire further." He grinned. "You two are dangerous. Remind me not to get on your wrong side."
"Oh, what side would you like to be on?" Elrohir asked, knocking his hip gently against the prince.
Legolas grinned. "One on each side is quite satisfactory," he said. "And almost more than I can handle."
Elrohir bent forward and kissed the prince, feeling those soft lips melting into his own, as he wrapped his arms around Legolas's back. He trailed kisses over to Legolas's ear and ran his tongue around the curl along the edge, thrilling at the shudder that passed through the prince. What a luscious elf! Elladan began nuzzling the other side of Legolas's neck. Elrohir could hear the prince's breathing quicken.
"I know a place not too far from here," Legolas said huskily, "where we won't be disturbed."
Thranduil awoke and half sat up, feeling dazed, but very relaxed. He passed a hand over his brow. What was he doing sleeping on the couch in his library? Oh yes, he had lain down after the meeting this morning. He must have been exhausted. He remembered seeing Náin and the twins leaving with Talagan. Or no, he didn't specifically remember the twins leaving, but they must have done so.
He needed to get up and help with the preparations to send Náin and his dwarves home. An image of the dwarf king floated into his mind. He would be so grateful to finally see him disappearing off in the distance. Maybe. Valar's vagaries, maybe he was actually getting used to the dwarf nuisance.
The king began to feel an ache in his groin that rapidly grew to a fiery, unrequited feeling as if he'd been having erotic dreams all night. He felt his member swelling against the material in his leggings.
This is the result, he thought, of waiting far too long since he'd last indulged himself. He had been occupied with other things and opportunities were few and far between. Elrond's twin sons flashed in his mind and his cock twitched. He imagined that he was grabbing one of them by the hips, he thought it was the younger one, and thrusting into him deeply. It felt good. He thought he must have dreamed about them, but it seemed so real. Oh yes, he would love to plunge himself into those two. It would serve them right. For what? Something they had done irritated him, but now that he tried to remember, it seemed vague, like a squirrel slipping behind the bole of a tree.
Instead, he realized how beautiful he found them, how admirable, so skilled in battle. He recalled the rush he felt during the contest last night as he watched the overhead sweep of the sword in Elladan's powerful arms. He remembered the two of them coming into his hall several days before and moving Elrohir's cape aside to reveal that slim, muscle-sculpted chest. His cock throbbed.
Thranduil licked his lips, then sat up, and discovered his member at a painful angle; he reached down to adjust it and found his hand lingering. Perhaps he had better go to his room and deal with this inconvenience, so he could get on to more important matters.
He started to get up. There was something else. Legolas. He was sending his son on this expedition. He wondered when the idea had occurred to him, but he knew it was right. It was time that the elfling began to get a wider experience of the world. The darkness was coming. He knew that. The prince should be prepared. He had made sure that the young one had been thoroughly trained, like a sword honed to a sharp point. His skill in battle the other night was proof of the results of the training. Too bad he'd had to send away the best weapons trainer he had. Curse that Táro for taking liberties as he shouldn't have.
But he couldn't protect his son forever by keeping him here; Legolas was getting restless. With a brief swell of pride, he realized that the young elf was bold and courageous and would never be content to stay confined to Mirkwood. But something was hovering on the edge of his awareness, some doubt about this course of action. No matter, he had made up his mind.
His thought jumped to Talagan. He needed to find him, get his help with the preparations, and summon his youngest son to tell him his decision.
Then the king was almost bowled over by the ache between his legs. Curse of Mandos, why was his body betraying him? Better get this over with.
An hour later, Thranduil sat in a hot bath seething with frustration, his forearm sore. He had been unable to relieve his misery and now he was in some pain. In addition, as he worked on himself, Náin's face kept appearing, unbidden. It repulsed him and yet held a strange allure he'd never considered before.
I must be going mad, he thought, or this is a terrible dream. He smacked his fist into the water, sending a splash onto the floor.
There was a gentle knock on the door. It must be Talagan. "Just a minute," he called and got out of the tub, wrapping a robe about himself. Talagan had seen him naked before, but not in his current state.
The seneschal came in, followed by a young elf carrying a lunch tray that he set on the table. Talagan dismissed him and walked over to the king, who was pacing back and forth.
Thranduil waved a hand at him. "I'm not hungry," he growled.
"My Lord, you haven't eaten since last night." Talagan rubbed his chin. "And may I say you seem particularly . . . agitated. Is there anything wrong?"
"Wrong," shouted Thranduil, then he softened his voice. "No, no, of course not." He stared at his seneschal's thin features, thinking that he'd never noticed that Talagan had rather attractive eyes. He passed a hand over his forehead. He was not himself. Usually he was in control and now his emotions were threatening to get the better of him.
"How go Náin's preparations to leave?" the king asked. "And that of my squad of warriors?"
"All is well, my Lord," said Talagan. "They are at the provisioner's getting supplies for the trip. I am sure they will be able to leave tomorrow." He smiled. "I imagine you'll be pleased to see them go."
"Yes," the king said absently. "But I should like to see Náin again, before they depart."
"I doubt he will slip off without saying farewell," Talagan said cheerfully.
"No, I imagine not." Thranduil looked at the lunch tray and picked up the bottle of wine sitting on it, poured a glass, then turned to Talagan.
"Would you care to join me?" He raised the glass invitingly.
"In celebration of our guests' imminent departure."
"Ah, all right, then." Talagan came forward uncertainly.
"It has occurred to me that I didn't thank you for your help the other night. I know it was an unpleasant task," Thranduil said. He handed the seneschal the glass and his hand lingered on the other's for a moment. He heard Talagan's breath hiss inward.
"Unpleasant it was, but there is no need to thank me, Sire. I have always tried to serve you to the best of my ability."
"Indeed you have." Thranduil poured himself a glass and raised it. "A chuil*," he said, and drained it.
"A chuil," Talagan replied as he took a large gulp.
Thranduil laid a hand on his arm. "How long have you served me, Talagan?" he said.
"I have lost count, my Lord. Well over one thousand years."
"And in all that time we have never just sat and talked about things that matter."
"Is there something wrong?" Talagan asked softly. He looked down at the hand that gripped his arm like a vise.
"No, nothing wrong. It was a thought, that's all." The king removed his hand and resumed his pacing.
Thranduil could feel the need rising in his loins, a sudden desire to ravish his seneschal almost overpowering him. He stopped in front of Talagan, then leaned forward and planted a kiss on the seneschal's brow. The look of surprise and consternation that passed over the elf's face caused the king to smile in amusement.
Talagan stepped back, blushing. "Your thanks is appreciated, my Lord. I think I'd better continue working on preparations for Náin's departure." He turned to go.
"Talagan," the king said.
"What?" Talagan was wide-eyed.
An image flashed through Thranduil's head of Talagan bent over before him as the king buried himself in those slim buttocks and listened to his seneschal's cries of pain and lust. Thranduil sighed as he mastered himself. No, this was not right, he thought. He couldn't possibly do that to his trusted and loyal friend. He resumed pacing.
"My Lord?" Talagan asked.
"Never mind. I think I will go oversee the preparations, myself."
"Very good." Talagan inclined his head. "Will you need anything else?"
"Summon Legolas. I need to speak to him."
"He isn't in the palace," Talagan said. "We think he went to the practice fields. I can send someone after him if you like."
"No, it can wait for a bit. Send someone after him if he hasn't returned in a couple of hours."
Talagan nodded, hesitated briefly, looked hard at his king, then fled the room.
*a chuil - to life
Legolas threw his head back against the smooth bark, inhaling the rich earthy smell of loam and moss. Overhead towered the walls of the dead beech tree into which they had crawled. He could see a circular patch of blue sky high above. A shaft of sunlight angled down, dappling the enclosed space within the hollow tree, a secret place, one of his favorite escapes. It had been a long time since he had crawled into the protected shelter to indulge in sensuality or to dream of future possibilities. And now that future had found him.
A low moan escaped the prince as he spread his legs further apart, reaching down and grasping behind his knees, flexing his hips. He lowered his eyes to watch the head of thick, glossy black hair moving slowly back and forth, the wet heat of that skilled mouth engulfing his aching flesh. He felt a tongue curling around him, sliding, then flicking across the sensitive tip, and then that mouth plunging down over him again, sucking gently, the pace slowly increasing, building . . . .
"Ah gods!" he crooned, closing his eyes, and giving himself over to the throbbing between his legs.
"I think the prince likes your mouth, brother," a silky tenor voice purred in his ear. The sensuous sound of it sent a ripple of longing through Legolas. Sword-callused finger tips drifted across his chest, playing with his nipples and then gently pinching them. A tongue lapped at one, lips gathered the bud, sucking softly. Jolts of pleasure swelled outward from the prince's chest to join the sensation building in his loins.
This time he had asked them not to do it, not to make the mind connection. To Elrohir's arched eyebrow, he'd said, "I need to know that you want me for my own sake. That I'm not just a conduit for your desire for each other. Just this once."
"Whatever you wish, meleth," Elrohir had said in a tone that had gone straight to the prince's groin. Elladan had grinned and then lowered himself to lie flat on the leafy carpet.
The mouth left his chest and then closed on the prince's own mouth: soft, supple lips repeatedly kissing, sending soothing waves of affection, one hand cradling his cheek. How wonderful to feel so completely desired.
Legolas reached down, sliding his fingers across smooth, bare skin, over the indentation of the twin's navel, dipping below that and twining in the silky, dark hair, grasping, gently pulling, his wrist knocking against the hard column of flesh. The twin moaned into his mouth as the prince wrapped his hand around that shaft, playing with it.
The twin's lips fastened onto his harder now, the clever tongue surging in and out, fucking his mouth, with the same rhythm as the mouth enveloping his cock. And Legolas was murmuring again, an anguished mmmm sound. He shifted on the damp moss as hands slid under his rear, lifting him up, and that furnace of a mouth working on his shaft moved him inexorably toward rapture.
A slick finger probed his opening, pushing all the way in and then crooking around and brushing, oh gods, that sensitive spot deep within. Again and again.
The build was complete now. He stood at the brink. There was a moment of ecstatic, suspended time. Now all was exploding within him, a shower of fireflies whirling by as he pulsed into that heat. He was wriggling and crying with abandon as the mouths on both ends of his body continued kissing, kissing him.
The prince sank into a state of blissful contentment, hovering there for many long minutes. He could feel the twins wrapping him in layers of affection and their, as yet, unsated desire.
Finally, he opened his eyes to find Elrohir staring at him with those uncanny, wolf-like grey eyes, bright with amusement. Legolas thought he could look at that face forever and not grow tired of its pleasing contours: the strong jaw and nose, the sculpted cheekbones, sinuous lips. So beautiful. The prince stroked a finger along the curve of the twin's chin and the peredhel smiled, tilting his head. A tiny sunbeam lit the diamond in his left ear turning it into a drop of fire.
Elrohir sat back and Legolas glanced down between his legs just as Elladan raised his head, licking his lips. "Delicious, pen vain," he said. "I could do that all day."
"Liquid lunch," laughed Elrohir, smoothing the hair away from Legolas's face. "Are you coming back to us now, meleth?"
"Then you need to do something about this." Elrohir closed Legolas's hand about his throbbing shaft and moved the hand up and down.
The prince laughed. "What would you like this time?"
"Turn over. I want that sweet ass of yours."
"Again?" Legolas groaned.
"You two truly will kill me before the day is out," sighed Legolas.
"Oh, but what a glorious death!" laughed Elladan. "Roll over."
It was late afternoon when Legolas entered the study. The king looked up from the scroll he was attempting to read. He realized he had never seen his youngest son so relaxed and happy, and wondered briefly at the cause. The king, on the other hand, had never felt so frustrated and unfulfilled in all his life.
"You summoned me, Father?" Legolas asked.
"You took your sweet time in coming, ion nîn," Thranduil growled.
Legolas casually leaned on the desk. "My apologies. I was out practicing with my bow and did not know you had called for me."
Thranduil narrowed his eyes and Legolas stood up straight and composed his face.
"I have decided to let you go on this expedition to the north. I think it will be a good experience for you," Thranduil said curtly.
Thranduil wasn't prepared for Legolas's reaction. The prince's face split in a huge grin and he bent over and embraced his father in a strangling hug. "Thank you, Father," he cried. "You don't know what this means to me!"
Thranduil felt a rush of affection and a pricking of moisture at his eyes. Slowly he closed his arms about his son, returning the embrace. What in the Valar's name was wrong? The king hadn't felt this wrought-up in years. He pulled back, still clasping Legolas's upper arms.
"I haven't made this decision easily," the king said. "Take care of yourself and make me proud."
"I will. Don't worry, Father. I'd better go and start packing."
And then he was gone, without even being dismissed, the door closing lightly behind him.
Thranduil sighed heavily. Well, that was done. Perhaps he had waited too long to let Legolas try his wings outside the borders of his realm. He had not realized how much the prince had craved freedom.
Now to the business at hand and another banquet with Náin to get through tonight. A final one, thank the Valar, and then he could have his evenings undisturbed by singing, belching dwarves. Yet there was something, something he needed from Náin. He couldn't put his finger on it. An image of the dwarf king's thick lips floated into his consciousness. Thranduil felt repulsed and strangely attracted at the same time. He flung a pile of scrolls at the wall.
meldis nîn - my friend (feminine)
pen vain - beautiful one
meleth - love
ion nîn - my son
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.