10. Legolas' Secret
Chapter 10 - Legolas' Secret
Rhavaniel fell into a silent existence as she once again settled into palace life. Although the nobles were not clueless to the happenings outside, they chose to leave that side of matters to the warriors, trusting that they would defend the heart of Mirkwood. This weighed heavily on her heart. She should be one of those laying down their life and not here acting as if life goes on. That was all taken away from her though. Now she attended classes on court life. Weighing her options, Rhavaniel chose a career that would most represent her personality. She would become an negotiator. She already had the strong will and the boldness to deal with those who might be unreasonable. This would allow her wildness to show through at times of need. She also hoped it would lead to the chance to journey out from her home, in search of new treaties and bargaining contracts. One way or another, she would not let herself become bound to these stone walls.
Her classmates, on the other hand, gave her a wide berth. Rumors spread of the reason why she was released from her guard duties. Some say she was too defiant for such military life. Obviously, these people did not know her well. She had always been a perfect example of one who follows rules.
Some said she took her mother's death quite hard and had lost the will to continue on. This, of course was total opposite of her true feelings. Her own father could account for that. There was still a lust for war that raged within her, wanting to do harm to those that destroyed her family. Had she been given the chance, she could have been unstoppable when facing the enemy.
Then there were some, very few, who thought she had become romantically involved with one she had no business being involved with. No one name was used but she heard what they said about it possibly being a Captain. Maybe even the Prince himself. They said she did this only to further her ranking or land the best position as a guard to the royal family. This was absurd. Still, she wondered if someone had seen the kiss she shared with Legolas that day on the archery field. 'All the better reason to stay away from him', she thought to herself. She did not need that kind of unwanted attention, though she often thought about Legolas. They had hardly spoken a word since that fateful day their mothers died. The pain was too great and he only reminded her of that awful time. It was sad to admit, but it was true.
* * *
Rhavaniel was studying in the library one afternoon when she was approached by none other than Valisilwen. It had been many years since she last spoke to the fair elleth. She pretended not to see her at first, keeping her head buried in a book about weapons. Her warrior spirit may be hidden but it was still strong.
"Hello Rhavaniel. May I join you?" Valisilwen said in her sweetest voice.
"Of course, please sit down." Rhavaniel gestured to the seat next to her on the couch.
"I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. Your mother was a wonderful elleth. She did not deserve this." The fair feminine elf was being very open and honest. Rhavaniel thought she was not at all what she expected her to be, selfish and arrogant like some.
"Thank you Valisilwen. That means a lot to me. It has been tough but I am tougher." she laughed to herself.
Valisilwen got up. "Well, if there is ever anything I can do, please do not hesitate."
Rhavaniel smiled. "I will remember your kind words."
Valisilwen started to leave but turned back abruptly. "You know, Legolas and I… we never… well…"
"Why should I care about what transpired between you and the Prince?" Rhavaniel said confused.
"I remember the look in your eyes when I approached the two of you at his begetting day dance. I know you have feelings for him. I was foolish back then. I was not at all interested in the Prince but wanted to get closer to his friend."
"Ah yes, Arandorion. I remember quite well. You are with him still I presume?" Rhavaniel asked.
Valisilwen smiled wide. "Yes. He is courting me and I hope he will ask for a binding in the near future. He is the reason I gave up border life. Besides, it just wasn't for me. It is a hard life and I do not think I am cut out for such."
Rhavaniel thought about this. She never thought she was either. Seems she might have only done it to meet Arandorion. "You two fit well together and I hope you will have many years of happiness. And you should know that I never held any ill feelings towards you. Thank you for being honest."
Valisilwen nodded and smiled to Rhavaniel before leaving the library. It was good to make amends with one another. Maybe they would even strike up a friendship between them, now that Rhavaniel was ordered to live and work inside the palace.
* * *
One bright spring morning, Legolas was headed to visit his mother's grave. With him he carried a bouquet of flowers to decorate her resting sight. He went there as often as he could spare. It helped to ease his troubled mind as he would sit and talk to her. Palace life had been hard on him, especially when he heard of an outbreak on the borders. The guilt of not being there to help fight was tearing him up inside. His friends and comrades were fighting to protect him when he should be there fighting alongside them, protecting them. He felt restless that his talents were being wasted as he strolled through the palace halls.
Every so often, he would see Rhavaniel across the way. He wanted to approach her, ask her how she was, but he knew of her reserve. The few times they made eye contact, he saw nothing but pain in their depths. He could not bear the thought that his mere presence hurt her and brought up so many unkind memories. He desperately wanted to fix this problem, but he didn't know how.
As he approached his mother's grave, he heard another voice speaking to a lost loved one. Quietly he looked around and saw Rhavaniel sitting on a stone bench next to her mother's grave. Obviously, she conversed much the same way he did. His elvish ears picked up a word here or a whimper there. It seems she was very unhappy with her life. Legolas never understood why her father pulled her from the guard. She was an excellent fighter. It seemed two warrior's abilities were being stifled. What a waste he thought to himself.
As he watched Rhavaniel, old feelings stirred in his heart. There had been something between them, even if only for a brief moment in time. Legolas decided today was as good a day as any to strike up a friendship with her once more. If she turned him away, well, he could handle that too. After all, they had spent most of their lives competing and disliking each other.
"Hello Rhavaniel." Legolas said as he moved to stand next to her.
Without looking at him she spoke. "Hello Prince Legolas." she said in a lifeless voice.
He found it odd for her to address him as such. She almost sounded like one who had been brainwashed to respond in a certain way.
"Prince Legolas? Since when do you address me so? What happened to 'Go away Thranduilion.'" he said mocking her.
"'Tis not proper etiquette to speak to one of the royal family as such." she answered.
Legolas could not help but notice how empty she sounded. She was naught but a shell of her former self. This just would not do. "What has happened to you Rhavaniel? Where is that warrior spirit I have become so accustomed to?"
"That is not my life now. None of this is my life. I am living someone else's life, forced to become something I am not. I am outnumbered. I have no fight left." she answered and a single tear escaped the corner of her eye.
Legolas looked at her. This was wrong. It was like watching a caged animal lose its will to fight. It was at that moment that Legolas knew what he must do. He grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her to face him. There was no light in her eyes, no fighting spirit. "That's it. I'm taking a chance by doing this but I must do something. Rhavaniel, I want you to come with me. There is something I need you to see. I have kept it a secret. No one knows about it but me. I trust you and I want you to share this with me. Will you come?"
She looked up into the Princes eyes and noticed a bit of excitement in them. What was he hiding? He wasn't trying to trick her was he? "What are you up to Thranduilion?" she said with a little more life. Legolas managed to make her remember her warrior spirit, if only a small bit of it.
Legolas gave her a crooked grin and raised an eyebrow, falling back into his old ways that he knew drove her mad. "I will not tell you. You must come with me if you want to see."
"Fine." she sighed, still defeated and thinking it couldn't be any worse than what she had now. He was probably going to gloat about something. Still it would be worth the change in scenery.
They turned to leave but Legolas stopped when he realized he still held the flowers in his hand. He walked to Faelwen's resting place and got down on one knee, placing the flowers on the grave. "I promise you, I will bring her back." he whispered. "The warrior spirit is still strong within her."
Rhavaniel couldn't hear what he said but she was moved by his gesture. It put a smile on her face, something no one else had done in a long while.
They walked along until they came to the gate. Antien was on duty today and he smiled at the Prince. "Le suilad my Prince." he called as he noticed who walked with him. He jumped down from his post at the wall and ran to her. "Rhavaniel, oh how I have missed you. Why have you not visited me before now? There is so much to tell you." he said glancing at Legolas. Then he whispered in her ear. "I cannot tell you this news now. There are too many ears to hear."
Rhavaniel knew this could only be about his lover, Glandur and it peaked her curiosity. "You will have to tell me later Antien. I am with the Prince this moment but I promise to visit." she said and winked.
The gates swung open and Legolas escorted Rhavaniel out away from the confining walls of the palace. She already felt much stronger being out amongst the 'free trees' as she liked to call them. Those were the trees which grew outside of the palace barrier. To her, their song was much different than the ones on the inside. They were wilder, more free, much like her.
Legolas noticed the change in her right away and he knew he made the right decision. As they walked along to the east, he laughed.
"What's so funny?" she asked noticing a change in the Prince.
"Oh nothing. Your friend Antien seems happy. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it is love."
"I think you may be right. He is the most cheerful I have ever seen him." she answered.
"Glandur is lucky to have met such a brave warrior." Legolas said, taking her by surprise.
"Of what do you speak?" she said mocking surprise.
"Come now. Do not think I am blind to all that goes on in my realm. I have seen the way they talk to each other and the glances shared between them. It is love. Don't worry, their secret is safe with me. Actually, I do not know why they hide their feelings. I think they are both made for each other." Legolas said.
Rhavaniel merely smiled. "Sometimes you surprise me."
They walked through a garden and a patch of close growing trees before they halted. Legolas looked around to make sure no one followed them. Then he took her hand and smiled to her. "We are here. Now close your eyes."
Rhavaniel gave him a curious look but she did as he asked. He pulled her into the trees and then out. "Alright, you may look."
Rhavaniel opened her eyes to find she was standing in a glade which was set up as a practice field. "Legolas, what is this place?"
"This is my personal field. I come here to relieve my anger or get my thoughts straight. Sometimes I even practice." he laughed. "And now I want to share it with you. When I looked into your eyes, there was something missing. You mustn't forget who you really are. Your talents are being wasted in court. If it were up to me, I would not have you hidden away behind the stone walls of my father's home. I just knew I had to intervene somehow."
"Legolas, this is wonderful, but I have not used my skills in a very long time." she said.
"Do you not carry any weapon on you at all?" he asked, surprised to think that she relinquished everything to the Captain.
Without saying a word, Rhavaniel went to a tree stump and put her foot on it. Legolas watched her curiously as she slowly eased the long skirt of her dress up, exposing the smooth skin of her long shapely leg. His heart pound and his lips separated as he watched her unveil her ivory flesh. She moved slowly and deliberately, as if toying with his desires. Soon, the dress came up enough to expose a belt attached to her thigh, which housed a small dagger. It was dull in color. The handle was well worn and it looked very old. She unsheathed it from its holder and lowered her dress back down. Legolas couldn't ignore his disappointment.
"This is all I have now. My mother gave it to me when I was just an elfling, the day I decided to be a guard. It was only meant for practice though. It's not even sharp."
Legolas walked to her and took the dagger in his hands, examining every part of it. "It is a treasure." he said smiling. "And it will do for now. Come, let us see what you remember."
He led her to the middle of the glade and they took their battle positions as they once did so long ago. The fight commenced as they twirled about each other, jumping and rolling. In the end, Legolas took her over and pinned her to the ground. "You still have that same spirit but it is restrained. Come on Rhavaniel, fight with me as you once did. Hold nothing back. Do you remember how it felt to let go? Be who you were meant to be." he said, pushing her on.
He was caught off guard when Rhavaniel flipped him from her body and jumped to her feet in one swift move. "You asked for it Thranduilion." she growled. Again the battle commenced. They fought long and hard until finally, she caught him in a head lock, bringing them both to the ground. They were both a sweaty mess, panting and trying to catch their breath.
Legolas lost once again. "Game over." he said before she had a chance to. Rhavaniel laughed as she remembered their past battles and how they loathed one another. Things had changed a great deal since then. She saw Legolas in a whole new light. He was much different than he used to be. Something sparked within her. She could not deny that she felt something for the Prince. The fact that he brought her here and shared his secret, made those feeling come out even more.
The warriors got up, dusted themselves off and looked at each other. "Not bad for an elleth." he said.
"Not bad for an elleth in a dress." Rhavaniel said and they laughed. As they did, their eyes met and the laughter slowly died. Legolas brought his hand up and wiped some dirt from the side of her face. His touch sent a shiver down her spine. She found she could resist no longer and grabbed him by the back of the head, lowering his lips to hers and kissing him roughly. Legolas, though surprised by the movement, did not resist and kissed her back with a passion he had never shown before. Tongues explored and danced as they had once before. Legolas' curious hands ran up along her sides and just as he was about to feel the softness of her breasts, Rhavaniel pushed on his chest, nearly knocking him to the ground.
"You must stop, Legolas." she said, lips swollen and breathing heavily.
He knew what she meant. Neither one had reached their maturity yet and it was forbidden to do anything so rash before that time. "I am sorry. I… you feel so… I'm sorry." he stuttered.
Rhavaniel smiled. "It is alright. I am not mad. The feeling is mutual. But you know we mustn't."
"Yes." he said, defeated.
Rhavaniel took his hand in hers. "But there is nothing said about kissing and kissing only, Thranduilion." she teased and once again brought him low, tasting his lips, this time slowly and not so rough. She felt him smile as they kissed. So the Prince was interested after all. It was the best day either one had in a very long time.