11. The Prince's Best Day
Chapter 11 – The Prince's Best Day
After showing Rhavaniel his secret spot, Legolas took her there often. He began teaching her the skills of an archer. She was quite rusty at first, but soon she caught on. She could never have asked for a better instructor. Legolas knew his art inside and out. Then one day, he showed up with a different bow. Rhavaniel looked at him queerly.
"That looks a little shorter than your other bow Legolas." she laughed.
"That's because this is not my bow. It is yours." he said wearing a big smile and handing her the new weapon.
She took it in her hands. Legolas observed how delicately she examined it, running her slender fingers along its length, caressing it carefully. "It is absolutely beautiful." she said in awe of its design and weightlessness.
"It belonged to my mother when she was very young." he whispered. "Before she met my father, she was going to join the guards. It was something she'd always dreamt of. Then she met my Adar and fell in love. She gave up her dreams to be with him. I think this is why she became such good friends with you mother. She fulfilled her dream of becoming a royal guard and my mother lived vicariously through her."
Rhavaniel was mesmerized by this story. She looked at the bow again. "Legolas, this was your mother's. It is very special. I cannot accept this."
"No. You take it. I think she saw you as the daughter she never had. She would have wanted you to take it. Put it back into use." he said.
"I'm afraid it will not get much use in my keep. I am no longer a guardsman, Legolas. This fine weapon would be wasted on me." her voice fell with disappointment.
"I could change that. I have beaten my Adar down with constant nagging. He is willing to let me go back on patrol as long as I keep my identity a secret." He went to Rhavaniel and took her hands in his. "I want you to fight alongside me. I am charged when you are near me. Together, we could be unstoppable."
Rhavaniel just shook her head. It sounded impossible. "But how Legolas? Everyone will know who I am."
"I don't know." he said disappointed he hadn't thought of this yet. Then a fiendish smile appeared. "Disguise yourself to look like an ellon. Keep your hood up. Braid your hair back. I will teach you how to carry yourself and look more masculine." Half joking, half serious he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, kissing her.
Rhavaniel laughed when he released her. "And what will your company think when the Prince of Mirkwood is caught kissing one of his comrades?"
Legolas laughed from deep down. "Well, if Antien and Glandur can do it…"
"You are incorrigible, Thranduilion." she said, blushing and hitting him on the arm.
"We can do this Rhavaniel. You already have the respect of the guard. They have seen you fight. They have seen your accomplishments. You have already earned their respect. As a matter of fact, many think it is a shame you are kept at the palace now. Besides, I will be by your side every moment. Nothing will happen to you."
Rhavaniel took his face in her hands and looked deep into his blue eyes. "I cannot accept your offer. I would be going against my father's wishes. Besides, if I were to take up my guard duties again, I would want to do it on my own. I understand you wanting to protect me, but you would not be doing your job. I want to fight Legolas. I really do, but it must be on my own terms. And right now, I do not have that freedom. My mother's death took its toll on my father. I do not want to cause him anymore pain by worrying him. I'm sorry Legolas. I must continue on at the palace. My position as a negotiator is about to be fulfilled. Perhaps I can help our people in a different way, though my heart says otherwise. It is what I must do for now."
Legolas knew how badly she wanted the chance to fight amongst the warriors, but he could never imagine how much it hurt her to turn him down. Still, she held her composure and remained strong in Legolas' presence, never faltering.
"Alright then. I will not force you to do anything you are not willing to do freely." He smiled and kissed her forehead but she could feel his disappointment.
"We still have this though." she said gesturing to the practice field.
"As often as I can spare." he answered. "Now, let's get started."
They fired quite a few arrows. Rhavaniel broke in her new bow quickly. Legolas watched her from the corner of his eye. Her movements were graceful. She was a thing of beauty when she was like this. His feelings towards her increased with every moment they shared together. He wondered if she felt the same.
"Rhavaniel, I have something to ask you." he said while they were taking a break.
She wiped her face and sat down on the log where he was sitting. "What is it Legolas?" she said.
"Soon it will be our begetting day, but more importantly, I will reach my maturity. I would greatly like to share this day with you. What would you say to being my partner at the celebration?"
Rhavaniel raised an eyebrow. "It is my begetting day also. Perhaps I have plans. Perhaps I have a partner of my own on that day."
Legolas liked when she played hard to get. He knew there was no one else or she would not share kisses with him. He would play along anyways. "A duel then?"
"Best out of ten?" she asked, raising her bow and ready to accept the challenge.
"I win, you are my date." he responded.
"I win, I find my own date." she countered. "Agreed?"
"Agreed." he answered.
The competition began. Arrows flew down the field, each one hitting its mark. This time it came down to Legolas' last shot. He lined up the shaft of his arrow and concentrated harder than he ever had before. He loosed the arrow and it hit dead center. "Game over. You will accompany me to my maturity celebration."
"Don't gloat Thranduilion. It is not very becoming." she laughed.
Legolas merely laughed and went to retrieve both their arrows. This was a good day. His long awaited day would come soon and the most beautiful and fierce elleth in Mirkwood would be by his side.
* * *
A few months later, it was the day of the celebration. Legolas was very excited to have reached such an important day. It was a blessing to be able to spread some cheer for once. Lately, the borders were being tested by the enemy on a regular basis. Tonight, nothing would stand in their way.
King Thranduil called for only the best of everything for his son's most important day. The best wine was brought up from the cellars. Hunters brought back the biggest wild boar and venison that would suffice for such an occasion. The grand hall was decorated with flowered garland and lanterns. The tables were set. Every elf in Mirkwood was invited and it seemed that everyone would come. It was very important to see their Prince celebrate such a paramount event and all wondered who would accompany him.
Rhavaniel sat in her room, looking in her mirror. Once again, she was trying to tame her wild golden waves but her hair would not cooperate. She thought of the last time she was in such a predicament. Back then, her mother was there to help. Now she sat alone, looking into the mirror and wondering how she would do this on her own. There was a light tap on her door and her father strolled in.
"You look absolutely beautiful sell nin. Your mother would be so proud. The Prince is quite a catch." he said looking at his daughter.
"There is nothing much to read into it Ada. Legolas and I are friends but nothing more." she said as she tried to fix her unruly hair.
"I think more than friendship is at work here. I have seen the way he looks at you when you are not watching. He cares for you Rhavaniel."
She couldn't help but smile. She had felt his eyes upon her more than once. "But he has professed nothing yet."
"That is because you are both still so young. Give it time sell nin. I have no doubt that you will one day become a princess."
Rhavaniel blushed to hear her father say this. "It is just a party Ada. One day at a time. There is no telling what the future holds."
"Alright, one day at a time. And today is your day as much as it is Legolas'." Gondien said as he pulled out a bouquet of flowers. "Happy begetting day Rhavaniel."
She took the flowers, set them aside and hugged her father. "I love you Ada."
"And I love you hennen." he answered. "Now, what about your hair?"
"Mother was always better at this than me." she said with faint sadness in her voice.
Just then there was another knock at the door. One of the maids was coming to make sure everything was alright. Gondien smiled to her. "I believe we could use your help. Do you know anything about hair?"
She smiled, happy to help. "My own daughter has hair very much the same as yours my lady. I will have you looking presentable in no time."
"Thank you so much." Rhavaniel said to the maid as she began brushing her hair. In no time at all it was done, she was dressed and it was almost time to head off to the grand hall where Legolas was waiting for her.
* * *
Once again, Rhavaniel approached the wooden doors. The guards opened them and she stepped through. Unlike the last time, Legolas was standing right there, ready to escort her in. She noticed how handsome he looked in his dark green robes, silver tunic and of course, his princely circlet adorning his head. His hair was straight and smooth. His eyes were bright and sparkling. He was a sight to behold. He held out his arm and she gracefully accepted it. They walked in arm in arm and all eyes were upon them. The Mirkwood elves were happy to see the Prince with such a wondrous creature on his arm. Many wondered if the Prince had indeed found his match.
It was a joyous night as Thranduil formally announced his son's maturity. From here on out, every elf would anxiously wait for their Prince to take a Princess and it seemed he may have already found her. No one could deny the fact that Legolas and Rhavaniel made a wonderful couple. They saw the looks the couple gave each or how he would go nowhere without her by his side. Many thought it was a match made in heaven, even those who knew the couple personally.
Rhavaniel was taking a break, enjoying some time with her ex-guardsmen. Many she had not seen in quite a while.
"How goes life in the court Rhavaniel." Antien asked when they finally had a moment alone.
"Time passes slowly." she answered.
"And what is this? You… with the Prince? But I thought he was selfish and arrogant and…"
"Now Antien that is no way to speak of the royal family. Besides, nothing serious has transpired between us. I think it is just curiosity."
Antien smiled in that way that told her he didn't believe a word she was saying. He chose to drop the matter. "I miss you my friend. We all miss you and wish you were still with us."
"So do I Antien. But this is where I am needed. Actually, it is not as bad as it might seem. I have met many interesting people, the latest being a group of dwarves. It is a shame really, that the King imprisoned them. They seemed quite honest to me."
"Then you haven't heard what happened recently?" Antien asked curiously.
"No, do tell. Have they been released?"
"Quite the opposite. They managed to escape. It is a mystery really. It seems someone freed them from their cells, but who we cannot say."
Rhavaniel smiled. "Well I for one am glad to hear this. I did not think they deserved such punishment. They were lost and hungry. I did not think they were harassing our people in the woods. I thought they were looking for help. Still, no one can go against the King."
As Rhavaniel and Antien were catching up with one another, Legolas strolled up. "It is good to see you again Antien. I was wondering if I might steal your company from you. We have hardly spent a moment together this night."
Antien stood and smiled. 'By all means, be with your lady." Then he whispered in Legolas' ear. "You are very lucky to have caught her attention my Prince."
"I agree Antien. I am the luckiest ellon in Middle Earth this night." He said this so that Rhavaniel heard and smiled as he saw her blush.
"Come with me. I believe we could use a break from this celebration. Care to join me for a walk?"
Rhavaniel stood looking at Legolas. "I would be honored my Prince." she answered with gracious etiquette. She took Legolas' arm and he led her out the door and towards the gardens. They found a quiet spot far from any others. Legolas made a bold move and cornered her against a tree. He kissed her passionately, not giving her any time to refuse him. She responded equally and his heart beat raced.
"Rhavaniel, you have made me so happy. I am very drawn to you. You make me feel like none has ever made me feel before." he said then captured her full lips once more.
Her hands moved to the back of his neck as she pulled him closer. Their bodies contoured to each other. Legolas felt something deep within his core stir. He had waited so long for this day to arrive. He was finally at an age when he was allowed to explore his love. He wanted her, had wanted her for many years now. He felt he could wait no longer. There was no one else in his eyes.
Rhavaniel let herself become swept away as Legolas' lips moved to her neck and further down her shoulders. His kisses were warm and seductive. She could easily be overcome by his ministrations. His hands moved up along her sides, fingers grazing the curve of her breasts. She did not resist him. When would she stop him from going further? It was becoming harder to resist.
Legolas was losing himself. She was not resisting his movements. Hungry for more, the palms of his hands ran along the top of her cleavage and then covered her breasts completely. This was more than he could ask for. He gently squeezed her firm globes and let out a sigh. "Oh Rhavaniel." he moaned.
"Legolas, I… I want…" She was about to let him take her away when there was a rustling of some nearby bushes. They both stopped abruptly to listen to the intruders.
"I could not stand one more minute away from you. You look so handsome tonight Glandur." It was Antien.
"You have no idea how I wanted to take you by the arm and lead you into the hall. Why must we hide our love any longer? It is not fair. I want to tell the world of my love for you." Glandur answered.
Legolas and Rhavaniel smiled and tried to stifle a giggle. They stayed put, afraid to interrupt the couple.
"Then let us not hide it any longer my love." Antien said. "Let us claim our love right here, on this night. Glandur, I freely give you my soul. Bind to me this evening so that our love may be blessed by the Valar. I love you and I want to be with you for all eternity."
"Yes Antien. I give you my soul to treasure for always and I take yours in return, if you will have me. I love you now and I will love you forever." Glandur answered.
"We must leave Legolas. This is a very private moment for them. Let us not ruin it." Rhavaniel whispered as she tugged on his arm.
"I agree. Let us hurry before we are caught." he answered and they quietly slipped out of the garden and back to the hall.
As they ran up the steps, they were laughing and out of breath. Legolas stopped her and gathered her up in his strong arms. He brought her head to his and kissed her deeply. Then he looked into her dark blue eyes, searching for something until he found the sparkle he'd been looking for. "Rhavaniel, I promise you that I will wait for you until you reach your maturity. You were my first crush, my first kiss and…" Here, Legolas blushed from his cheeks to the tips of his ears. "Well I hope to have many firsts with you."
Rhavaniel was taken aback by his confession. She knew they liked each other but was unsure of how much or how far he was willing to take things. Their lives got off to a rocky start. There was always room to fall back into their old ways. To be with Legolas would mean to do the one thing she said she would not do, fall in love with and maybe marry royalty. It would mean there would be no chance at all for her to complete her lifelong goal. Of course, right now she was stuck in palace life, but that did not mean times would change and her father would allow her to participate. As she searched Legolas' eyes, she saw his genuine hope that she wanted this too. She was unsure of what she wanted at the moment, but this was his maturity day. She would not spoil his dreams this night, if ever.
"We will see Thranduilion." Then she laughed. "We must first see if you are worthy of the future head negotiator." she teased.
"You dream big." he countered.
"Always." she answered.