7. Chapter 6 - The Bitter Proposal
Lothestel woke up with a sense of dread over her being. She had cried all through the night and she herself was not aware of the time she finally succumbed to fatigue and finally fell asleep. She sat up at the edge of her bed staring into the mirror in front of her. She felt weak, pathetic even. She was the princess of Mirkwood and Haldir chose that Elwen. She felt even worse for letting herself be utterly effected by his wrong decision. So be it! If Haldir wishes to spend his lifetime with her, I wish her all the luck in this world, she thought to herself.
A small knock on her door startled her. She straightened herself out and proceeded to the door. It was Nyonna but her brother Legolas was nowhere in sight. Lothestel smiled at her old friend and inquired about her brother, "Good morning, Nyonna. Where is Legolas? I do not see him with you."
Nyonna gave her good friend a hug and replied with an answer, "He is not here today, Lothestel. He was summoned to the palace to have a word with Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. May I come in?"
Lothestel shook her head, "Of course! Where are my manners? Come in! Forgive my appearance. I did not sleep well last night."
Nyonna looked at the princess with gentle eyes, "Are you not well? What is it Lothestel? Something has been bothering you for the past few weeks I see. Will you not tell me?"
Lothestel pretended to laugh only to have it sound too pretentious, "Do not worry for me, Nyonna. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me."
Nyonna reached out and touched her hand, "If you have anything on your mind my dear, you know I am here for you. I always will be..."
Lothestel gave her a weak smile before continuing, "Have you had your breakfast yet? Join me will you? I do not feel like eating alone today..."
Nyonna smiled and patted Lothestel's hand, "Of course. I would be delighted to join you..."
Legolas walked at a leisurely pace to the palace. He was surprised to be summoned to the palace at such a time. It was still very early but he did not mind. He had always loved waking up to the sounds and sights of Caras Galadhon. There was a spring in his steps for he had completed his mission, to finalize the treaty. His father, King Thranduil would be so proud. With the discussion of the treaty almost coming to an end, Legolas was beginning to make plans on how he and Nyonna together with his sister would spend the rest of their days here. There was a special place he wanted to take Nyonna to, a forest clearing near the Garden of Memories where the Anduin flowed strong and the wind blew soft. He wanted to have a quiet day with his beloved and then perhaps challenge Lothestel and Haldir to a horse race. Yes, their time here will be spent well indeed.
The golden palace was already visible from where he was walking and soon he was at the front steps of the palace. Faelon immediately showed him to the gardens where Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn were waiting. When Legolas walked in there was an air of excitement and nervousness. He looked at the lord and lady. Both had smiles on their faces like they were hiding something from him. He smiled in return and bowed before the great rulers, "Good morning, my lord and my lady. It is good to see you this morning."
Lord Celeborn rose from his chair to properly welcome the young prince, "Welcome Legolas! Come, have a seat and join us for a lovely Lorien breakfast."
Legolas bowed again and took his seat next to Lord Celeborn, "You look well today my lord and my lady, you look as radiant as ever. Thank you for having me over this morning."
Lady Galadriel smiled at the young prince and gently touched his hand, "It is our pleasure, Legolas. We do have an important matter we wish to discuss with you. But before we get into it, mint tea?"
Legolas was intrigued by what Lady Galadriel had spoken but as his father taught him, all in due time, "Yes, please."
It was Lord Celeborn who addressed the issue, "Legolas, I for one am pleased that this treaty will strengthen the bonds between our two kingdoms. But, as my lady and I have discussed the night before, we wish to further strengthen the bonds that we have."
Legolas did not quite understand, "What may I ask, my lord, do you mean by further strengthening the bonds between our two kingdoms? What could be stronger than the forces we have between us now? Why, the only thing that could make this bond stronger would be marriage."
Lady Galadriel smiled. Legolas was indeed a very smart prince, "Yes, it seems you are not mistaken Legolas. Marriage is the ultimate bonding between our two kingdoms."
Legolas' heart was now thumping. He was the crown prince. The only marriage that would solidify the political agreement they had was by his marriage. Legolas dared to ask, "Marriage? Who and with whom? You have no other child my lord, my lady and I... I..."
Lord Celeborn laughed heartily, "No dear! My dear child! Not your marriage! By the looks of it, I think the prince has his sights set on an elleth. It is true that I and Galadriel have no other children but after all these years we have come to love three outstanding ellyn as our sons. It is our wishes to have Haldir take your sister, Princess Lothestel as his wife."
Legolas was tongue tied. For once in his life he did not know what to say and how to react. Lothestel and Haldir? That will not be an equation to a happy marriage. It was a recipe for disaster. The two of them cannot stand to be in each other's presence for two seconds and now they were to be together for an eternity?
Lady Galadriel sensed Legolas' apprehension, "What is the matter Legolas? You do not approve of this proposal?"
Legolas shook his head, "No, my lady... It is just... Lothestel and Haldir do not get along well and I cannot make this decision on her behalf. I must seek my father's council and his approval. I must also ask Lothestel about her decision."
Lord Celeborn nodded, "Yes that would be wise. But let it be known Legolas, we do hope that this marriage will happen. It will strengthen the ties we have. Even more, Haldir is a good ellon. He will be a good match for your sister. Send a letter to your father and speak to your sister. Now, with that matter out of the way, let us really enjoy breakfast!"
Haldir was on leave for the day from his duties. He wanted to spend some time with Legolas and the others. He was still at home when a sentinel came bearing news. He was summoned by Lord Celeborn to the palace immediately. He adorned his warden uniform thinking that it could be a call to duty. He made his way as fast as he could to the palace and once there he was shown into Lord Celeborn's study.
He entered the room only to find it empty. Lord Celeborn must be on his way, he thought. Just moments later the door burst open and in came Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. Haldir stood up and greeted them properly, "My lord, my lady. Good morning."
Lord Celeborn gestured to Haldir to take a seat as he and Galadriel did so. After settling down he looked at the Marchwarden, "Why are you dressed in your warden attire Haldir? Is it not your day off today?"
Haldir bore a confused expression, "My lord, I was under the impression that I was summoned here for duty?"
Lord Celeborn smiled, "Every bit the excited warrior like the first day he joined the wardens. Haldir, we summoned you for another reason. It is in a way, a duty but not of military nature."
Haldir looked at the two beings in front of him. Haldir was getting anxious and all he wanted was for lord Celeborn to spit it out, "My lord, if you do not mind, please... What is the matter?"
Looking at his uneasiness, Galadriel finally spoke, "Haldir, child... Tell me. What do you think of Lothestel?"
"Lothestel? Legolas' little sister?" he asked again for fear of hearing something different.
Lord Celeborn laughed, "I know you have extraordinary hearing to have heard that. Yes, Lothestel, princess of Mirkwood..."
Haldir took a deep breath. Where to begin, he thought to himself. He was being cautious with his words and thoughts but was caught red handed when Lady Galadriel spoke inside his mind, "Do not hesitate, Haldir. We merely want to know what you think of her."
Haldir looked up and spoke, "Lothestel is a... feisty elleth. She has a strong mind but stubborn as well. She doesn't listen to anyone else and takes charge of things. I find her... challenging..."
Galadriel smiled, "She sounds exactly like you!"
Haldir opened his mouth to protest but decided against it. He needed to know the real reason he was here, "My lady, and my lord, why was I summoned here today?"
Lord Celeborn sat his wine goblet down and looked at the Marchwarden, "My wife and I have decided that if we want lasting friendship and diplomacy with Mirkwood, a royal marriage must take place. A marriage between the offspring of our two nations would forever bond us. With that, we both think it is a good proposition to have you marry Lothestel."
The words marry and Lothestel floated in and out of his hearing. He must have heard wrong. Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel would never want him to marry that spiteful elleth! No, he must be too weary to be thinking straight. Haldir looked at them both again, "I beg your pardon? You lost me at a marriage between offspring..."
Lord Celeborn was beginning to lose his patience, "Come now Haldir! Pay attention! We think it is best that you accept this arrangement. Legolas will be writing to his father today and if we do get his approval, which I am sure we will, there will be a marriage between the two of you."
Lady Galadriel stood up and held Lord Celeborn's arm, "My dear... One moment, please. Haldir, do you not agree with this arrangement?"
Haldir was speechless. It was a duty but at such a steep price. Marrying Lothestel? No one will be happy with this marriage. How can he be with someone with such anger and hatred inside her? What about Elwen? No, they were not betrothed but he had promised her his affections. What will happen then?
Haldir looked at Lady Galadriel, "It is not that my lady. Lothestel and I are not exactly friends. She hates me and I cannot say I adore her... She will not agree to this."
Lady Galadriel walked up where Haldir was sitting, "Time will change everything. In time, the both of you will learn to love each other. As did all those who had their marriages arranged. We are merely asking. We would still have to wait for Thranduil's answer. If luck was on your side, you do not have to marry her but if luck was on our side, we do hope, my dear, you will put what is best for our realms above all else..."
Legolas sat in his room watching the sunrise. The last few days were spent avoiding both Haldir and Lothestel. He had not spoken to his sister about the marriage arrangement since he wanted to inform his father first. As soon as he had the talk with Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel, he immediately wrote a letter to his father. It had been five days since and he was expecting the reply sometime tomorrow.
A knock on the door made Legolas turned around. A smile formed on his face as he watched Nyonna step inside, "Good evening, my love. Did I disturb you?"
Legolas stood up and crossed the room in a few strides. Before she knew it, he held her in his arms and kissed her passionately. After a few ardent moments, Legolas released her and caressed her beautiful hair, "No, you did not my dear. I was thinking about you."
Nyonna giggled, "You were? What were you thinking about?"
Legolas smirked, "What did you think?"
Legolas pulled her closer to his body yet again but Nyonna gently pushed him away, "As much as I want to be with you right now my love, it is bright daylight and someone will be suspicious if we lock ourselves in this room."
Legolas laughed and reached behind Nyonna. With one swift motion, he shut the doors to his room and smiled slyly to the trembling elleth before him, "Now they would think that Prince Legolas is still sleeping." He brought his face closer to hers and caught her ruby lips with his own.
Nyonna was gladdened by this show of affection. Legolas had been aloof these few days and she could not get him to tell her what was bothering him. Their kisses grew more hungry and passionate as Legolas gently pushed her back to his bed. He gently lifted her lithe body and placed her between the covers. His eyes bored deep into her soul as he gazed upon her beautiful face. Nyonna reached out and caressed his handsome face and brought her lips upon his again.
Both did not realize when their clothes came off but now skin was touching skin and their fervour was heightened by the feel of each other's body. Legolas' expert fingers played with the rosy buds on her chest and they stood proud, demanding more attention. He obliged when his soft lips encased the rosy tips. Nyonna moaned and arched her back as pleasure surged through her body. There was urgency in their lovemaking today. Both have been apart for too long and their bodies demanded release.
Legolas lifted himself in between her smooth legs and with one strong move, they were one. Nyonna's eyes fluttered at the contact and her heart soared. With each rhythmic movement, the pleasure inside them began to mount. Legolas kissed the love of his life as he gazed into her eyes, anticipating her respond. Her moans and cries fuelled him and he moved faster and faster... Until, they both reached the explosive end and lay worn out from their lovemaking. With still trembling fingers, Nyonna reached out to Legolas and caressed his long silky hair. She looked deep into his eyes and whispered softly, "I love you..."
Legolas smiled and kissed her tenderly, "And I, you..."
The sound of a knock cut short their affectionate display. Legolas rose from bed and dressed himself while Nyonna made her way into the bathroom, not wanting to create a scandal for the both of them. Lothestel still had no knowledge of them being betrothed and she certainly did not want her to find out this way.
Legolas opened the door and saw the young sentinel he sent out days ago with the letter to his father. It seemed he had replied. He thanked the young ellon and returned to his writing table. He took a deep breath and tore open the letter. Carefully, he read the content of the letter...
My son, I am heartened to have received your letter. I was beginning to worry since I did not receive any news from you after you left Mirkwood. I am proud of you for finalizing the treaty. Well done my son! You will make a fine king one day.
I was rendered unprepared by the news that came next in your letter. A wedding proposal for Lothestel? As your letter stated it would be the best way to further strengthen the bonds between our realms. I would have much preferred it be your marriage but since Galadriel and Celeborn have no other daughter, Lothestel's marriage seemed prudent. I give my consent and blessings. I have always loved Haldir as if he was my own and I feel he would be a wondrous addition to the family.
As for you worrying your sister might not agree, talk to her. Tell her I approve and remind her of her duties as a princess. I leave you in charge of the preparations as it will take me another week before I can travel to Lorien. There are pressing matters here in Mirkwood. Take care my son and a wedding is a change that we all welcome.
Legolas folded the letter neatly and placed it on the table. He was torn. He knew Lothestel would never agree and the only way to get her to say yes to the marriage was lying. Legolas could never do that to his sister. But how to get her to agree to the proposal?
Nyonna came up behind Legolas and placed a hand on his shoulder, "What is the matter my love?"
Legolas sighed. It was time for Nyonna to know the truth...
The breeze of the evening softly caressed Lothestel's cheeks. Tears fell from her eyes as she walked near the Gardens of Memories. She had decided that Haldir will not be the reason for her tears but somehow her heart just would not listen to her head. As she was walking, she heard the leaves rustling. Someone was following her and she quickened her pace. It was not long before a strong hand held hers causing her to stop, "Lothestel..."
She pushed the hand away fast and without looking she turned around and struck the ellon behind her. The ellon fell to the ground groaning in pain when finally she realized she had just struck her own brother, "Legolas! Eru! Forgive me... I thought you were..."
"Haldir... I know..." Legolas said still rubbing his chin. "You have one strong punch dear sister."
Lothestel laughed, "Forgive me. I did not mean to strike you. Is there something you wanted to speak to me about? You searched for me all the way out here..."
Legolas stood up straightening his tunic. He looked at Lothestel, not knowing how to approach the subject, "There has been a proposal..."
Lothestel frowned, not fully understanding what Legolas meant, "Proposal? Of what?"
Legolas took a deep breath, "Of marriage..."
Lothestel turned around immediately, "Marriage? MY marriage?"
"Yes, your marriage. A few days back Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel approached me with the proposal. They think it prudent to strengthen the bonds between our lands with the sanctity of marriage. Since they have no other children, they proposed your marriage with the Marchwarden of Lorien," Legolas explained.
Lothestel pondered, "The Marchwarden? Who is he? I have not met this ellon before... Did you talk to father?"
Legolas nodded, "Yes and he approves. It is his wish that you accept this proposal. He knows the Marchwarden well and believes him to be a suitable match for you. Dear sister, I will not have you decide right now. Take your time and I will come for the answer soon."
Lothestel heard Legolas retreat and made his way up the pathway. A series of images flashed in front of her eyes; the image of Haldir with Elwen and the image of when he refused to make love to her. She heard his voice in her head telling her that he had someone waiting for him in Lorien and he chose Elwen over her. Why would she say no to the proposal? What is there left for her in waiting for Haldir? Might as well do her duty as the princess of Mirkwood rather than wait around for someone who does not appreciate her.
Legolas turned around to see his sister walking towards her, "What is it Lothestel?"
"Tell the lord and lady I accept..." Lothestel replied calmly.
Legolas was taken aback. It was not his intention to withhold information from her about Haldir. He was hoping she would inquire more about the Marchwarden before saying yes, "Lothestel, you do not even know who the Marchwarden really is."
Lothestel shook her head, "I do not need to. If father approves and you agree, it is good enough for me. I have no one in my life right now Legolas and if by this marriage our realms could be kept safe, then I heartily accept the proposal. You may want to inform the lord and lady as soon as possible. If it is probable, I would like to have the wedding as soon as possible."
Legolas could not let her go through with this, not without telling her the whole truth, "Lothestel, do not make hasty judgements. You should know that Haldir..."
Lothestel held her hand up, "Haldir is with Elwen. No use talking about him now. If you will excuse me brother, I am wearied. I think I will return to my quarters now. I will see you soon at dinner."
Legolas watched as his sister disappeared behind a corner. How he regretted withholding the most crucial information from her, that Haldir was the Marchwarden...
Haldir lay on his bed thinking about the conversation he had with Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel a few days ago. He had asked some time to think about his decision and now with news that King Thranduil had approved he was certain that saying yes to the proposal was the right thing to do. He would be doing Lorien a great service by ensuring that the two greatest elven realm coexisted harmoniously.
His peaceful evening was interrupted when his brother, Orophin came knocking on his door, "Haldir! Come quick! Orcs are nearing the northern borders!"
Haldir stood up and quickly grabbed his bow, "Lead the way!"
Lady Galadriel stood on the terrace overlooking Lorien. She felt peace in her heart and joy for the news of an impending marriage was spreading throughout the land. She was grateful for Thranduil's answer and his blessings for the wedding. She had just returned from an audience with Faelon discussing the matters of preparations to receive the Mirkwood assemblage when they arrive next week. A pair of gentle arms snaked around her waist and a soft gentle kiss was placed upon her shoulder, "My husband..."
"My wife... Tell me, what are you thinking?" Lord Celeborn inquired of his wife.
Lady Galadriel shook her head, "Nothing of great importance. I feel at peace. The happy news seems to radiate throughout Lorien and the trees bristle and sway happily. Lorien is jubilant and so am I."
Lord Celeborn nodded, "Yes, I am pleased that Thranduil has given his consent, even more now that the princess had agreed to the wedding. I long to hear her tell us of her decision during dinner, which we should be heading to if we are to receive our honourable guests."
Lady Galadriel laughed, "You are right my dear. We should head to the dining hall immediately." The two walked hand in hand together whispering sweet words and loving glances.
A few moments later, the maid announced the arrival of Prince Legolas and Princess Lothestel of Mirkwood and Nyonna together with them. Lady Galadriel exchanged warm embrace with the three of them and planting a kiss on Lothestel's forehead. The rest of them were seated soon after.
Lord Celeborn looked at Lothestel with a generous smile on his face, "I cannot express how delighted I am at your decision. This marriage will help keep the bond between our two realms strong."
Lothestel only smiled. She had nothing to say. Her heart ached but she knew it was the right decision. She was the princess with royal responsibilities. This was one of them. Who knows perhaps the Marchwarden could be the ellon that will love and cherish her for eternity.
Lady Galadriel seemed pleased by what she felt radiating from Lothestel, a sense of pride and honour to be fulfilling her duty as the princess. In time, she would come to love as well. She looked at her guests and announced, "Haldir will be late it seems. He was called off to duty this evening. Orcs were attacking the northern borders."
Legolas was concerned, "Is everything well my lord, my lady?"
Lord Celeborn raised his hand, "Everything is well. There is nothing Haldir cannot handle. After all his position requires the skills he has."
Haldir? Why was Haldir invited to this dinner? Lothestel was surprised at how highly Lord Celeborn thought of Haldir. He was only a simple warden after all. It is true then, the lord and lady of Lorien had hearts of gold. Lothestel was feeling slightly uneasy with the notion of having Haldir join them. Why was the Marchwarden not here? He should at least meet his betrothed before the wedding took place. Lothestel would at least want some time alone to get to know this mysterious ellon. After all, he was to be her husband.
A few hours passed by. The small company was enjoying dessert with hearty conversation and joyful laughs. Lothestel felt happy for the first time since arriving in Lorien. It was not long when the maid came to the hall announcing the arrival of the Marchwarden, "My lords and ladies, the Marchwarden is here."
Lord Celeborn beamed, "Ah, bring him in. He is late but better late than never. At least he will be able to meet his betrothed tonight."
Lothestel stood up straightening her dress and hair. She looked at the doorway, hoping to see the ellon she would marry very soon. Her heart was thumping hard in her chest and she could hear heavy footsteps coming towards the doorway. She smiled sweetly hoping to make a good first impression. But her smile quickly died when none other than Haldir walked through the doors!
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.