12. Letting Go
Chapter 12 – Letting Go
Quite a few years had passed. Rhavaniel graduated to a negotiator position, though not at the head. She took on smaller problems as they came up. But now, every court administrator was needed as a war broke out. It seemed the Dwarves who escaped the dungeons were not as innocent as she thought. A siege broke out upon the Lonely Mountain and the Dwarves seemed to be the cause. Thranduil himself chose to leave his throne and lead Mirkwood's elvish army forth. It became known as the Battle of the Five Armies. Elves, Men and Dwarves went up against goblins and wargs. The enemy was defeated and a dragon slain. But it was the treasure found in the dragon's lair that became the real problem. Rhavaniel along with other court members were sent forth to help sort things out. When Legolas heard about this, he decided to accompany her against his father's wishes that he remain in Mirkwood in the King's absence.
"I do not need your protection Thranduilion. I am very capable of watching my own back." she argued with him.
"It is a dangerous place outside of our protected woods. I will not have you risk your life for the likes of Dwarves. They care about nothing but themselves." Legolas countered.
Rhavaniel got up close to him, unafraid of his bullying. "And what of you? Your position is to take charge while the King is away. Would you risk leaving Mirkwood unprotected just to keep me safe? Would you forfeit the lives of many to protect the life of one? I thought I knew you better than that. Besides, I do not need your protection. I can fend for myself."
Legolas was furious. He glared at her through the slits of his eyes. "You are the most stubborn elleth I have ever met. Since the day you were born, you have been like a burden to me." He turned from her knowing his words were harsh.
"Is that so? Well, I was not a burden to you the other night when your hands roamed where they were not welcomed." Rhavaniel knew she was irritating him, but she did not care. He started this fight and she would not let him have the last word.
Legolas spun back around and grabbed her arms, holding her in his tight grasp. "As I recall, you had been quite welcoming as you did not resist. I was the one who stopped before we went too far."
She squint her eyes and captured his with a cold glare. "And it will be a cold day in Mordor before you are welcomed anywhere near my flesh again Thranduilion. I do not need you on this journey. I do not need you at all. You are still just as arrogant and selfish a Prince as you were when we were elflings." With that, Rhavaniel spun on her heal and left Legolas alone in the hall to ponder his thoughts. There was only one thing left to do that might make her change her mind.
"How about a duel then?" he yelled before she disappeared around the corner. "Best out of ten. I win, I go. You win, I stay." That usually did the trick.
Rhavaniel stood still and without turning to him she answered. "Not this time Thranduilion. I am leaving by orders of the King. You are not wanted. I have nothing else to say." She vanished around the corner.
Legolas stormed off, needing fresh air, and headed for the main gate. Some quiet time in the garden would calm his nerves. He came upon Antien as he was on guard that day. "Ah Prince Legolas, out for a stroll?"
"Hello Antien. Yes, I just need to clear my head." he said still fuming from his recent argument.
"Rhavaniel again?" Antien couldn't help but notice how these two seemed to be at each other's throats more than usual.
"She truly is my bane, Antien." Legolas spat.
"Yes, she can be quite thickheaded. Honestly, I do not see how you two have managed not to stick one another with an arrow." Antien said.
"Well, I would not go so far as to refer to such violence. I would never wish harm to come to her." Legolas mentioned.
"I see my lord. But when you try to keep her from doing her job, you might as well injure her for I know it is a detriment to her heart. Let her do what she must. Already her dreams have been taken from her. She has found contentment with the court. It is all she has. You cannot tame one as wild as Rhavaniel." Antien said, trying to convince the Prince.
"I know you are right. It is this wildness which draws me to her. Still, I cannot help but fear for her safety. These are dire times and if something were to happen to her, I… well…" Legolas would not say anything more.
Antien smiled. "Just give her the freedom she needs. All will be well Prince Legolas. I have an ability to sense such things."
Legolas felt more at ease and smiled to Antien. "You are a good friend."
* * *
The next day, Legolas went to Rhavaniel's home, hoping to apologize for his crude behavior. He knocked on her door but there was no answer. He stood there a moment and started to knock again when a maid passed by.
"If you are looking for the lady Rhavaniel, you won't find her I'm afraid." she said in a mousy voice.
"Do you know where she might be?" he asked.
The maid smiled shyly as she dared to look at the handsome Prince. "She has left already. A small company set out ahead of the others and she chose to go with them."
Legolas' eyes went from her door down to the floor. This was not how he wanted them to part. The maid saw the sorrow on his fair face and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. "The rest have not gone yet. Would you like me to send word with them for the lady?"
Legolas shook his head. "No. We have nothing else to say to each other." he whispered.
"Very well my lord." said the maid, but just as she was about to turn from him, she stopped. "Lady Rhavaniel is strong my lord. I have confidence she will return unharmed."
"Yes." he said forcing a smile. "Somehow I know she will be fine."
He knew in his mind that she would alright, but in his heart he wanted her locked away from the rest of the world. He had told her this once but in not so many words. It began their recent arguments. The thought of Rhavaniel being out there without his protection did not sit well. He wanted to be by her side, watching over her. She was special to him and this was how he showed his affection. He knew she would protest but he would still be there for her. She could not stop him. Again, it was these thoughts that angered her, stubborn elleth.
* * *
A few months had passed now. Word reached Mirkwood that the elves were successful. The enemy was destroyed and long lost treasure had been rightfully returned. The company would arrive within the day. Legolas anxiously awaited Rhavaniel's return. The way they parted left a bitter taste in his mouth. He hoped she was still not upset with him. He needed to apologize and set thing right. During their separation he came to understand his feelings better. When she was not near, he missed her terribly and that could only mean one thing. Legolas was in love. Now, he wondered if Rhavaniel returned those same feelings for him.
He went to the garden and carefully picked all her favorite flowers. He gave them to the maid who he spoke to the morning she left and had her place them in Rhavaniel's room. He also made sure her living quarters were prepared for her arrival. There was no doubt she would be tired and in need of some well-earned rest. Legolas ordered that a bath be drawn for her later and that she be pampered like royalty. This was the least he could do for even if she did not want to see him, she would at least know he cared about her comfort and well-being.
Finally, the company began to show. Thranduil along with his head advisors came first through the gates. Legolas was relieved to see his father escaped injury. He approached the mighty king and greeted him properly.
"There has been no trouble while you were away Adar. All has been quiet, even in the south." Legolas reported.
"You have done well ion nin." Thranduil said. However, he noticed that Legolas was looking past him. "She is fine. She will be along shortly."
Legolas smiled. "Is it that obvious? I was so worried for her."
"You should not have been. Rhavaniel held her own. She was there when she was needed and fought bravely. It is a shame she does not join the guard once again."
"What do you mean, she fought bravely?" Legolas asked.
"Just that my son. Every elf was needed and her warrior skills are not lacking, especially for one who is assigned to the court. Tell me Legolas, did you have something to do with that?" Thranduil asked, cocking an eyebrow.
"I suppose you could say that." Legolas answered with a mischievous look.
"Well done. She slew many goblins with nothing more than her dagger. Long has it been since I have witnessed such skill, besides you of course. You would make a deadly pair should you ever fight together." Thranduil then went on towards the castle, leaving Legolas where he stood.
Legolas watched as other riders came in through the gate. Finally, surrounded by a group of her peers, his eyes laid upon the stunning elleth. She sat tall and proud on her black steed. Her fair skin and golden hair was a contrast to the jet black horse she rode on. Rhavaniel looked every bit the warrior as she was still dressed in her riding gear. Legolas had never been so proud.
Finally, Rhavaniel's sight fell upon Legolas. She couldn't help but notice how worried he looked. She knew they did not part on the best of terms, but this was how it must be. If Legolas was going to see her for what she was, he needed to be left alone to think about his comments. Seeing his unease made her realize that he was truly concerned for her.
Rhavaniel left Mirkwood as a negotiator but returned with the respect of her fellow warriors. She was asked to fight alongside those she trained with, the same ones who moved on while she was forced to give up her dreams. Any rumors of her absence from the guard were erased from everyone's minds.
"I would be proud to have you fight beside me any time Rhavaniel." said her former captain Suiauthon. "Are you sure you will not give up the palace and join the guard? Your talents surely could be used."
"I mustn't go against my father's wishes Captain." she said then smiled. "Though I would not mind my father to hear your kind words, if you should come across him at the borders."
Suiauthon's stone features softened for the first time that she could remember. "I would be happy to tell him your tale. I may be out of place to say this, but should you ever decide to take this next step and Mirkwood will not have you, there is always room in Lothlorien for one more such as yourself." The Captain laughed at her shocked expression. Before he could say anything more, he looked over his shoulder. "It seems there is someone else anxious to speak with you." he said referring to Legolas who was patiently waiting his turn. "I take my leave lady Rhavaniel."
Rhavaniel bowed to Suiauthon and he respectfully answered the same. He had implanted a thought within her mind. Surely, she could not leave her home just to experience the rush of battle once more. She shook the thought from her mind then slowly strolled over to where Legolas stood, looking uncertain. They came face to face and just looked at each other.
"Hello Rhavaniel." he finally said, his voice sounding a bit unsure.
"Hello Prince Legolas." she answered.
He could tell by how she addressed him that she was still a little apprehensive about their meeting.
"So you were successful in more ways than one I hear."
"Yes. Every elf trained for war was needed to fight and so I did my duty."
"And how was it?" Legolas asked.
Rhavaniel slowly let a smile spread across her face. "It was exciting. It was dangerous. It was… It was intoxicating." she boasted. "I have never felt so free. No laws, no rules, just raw adrenaline. Every nerve in my body was alive. It was otherworldly as I almost felt as if I had floated from my earthbound body. My soul was singing. I was so in tune to ever emotion, every feeling. Legolas, I made my first kill, a goblin. It was him or I and I knew I was not going to die that day. I have tasted the lust for battle. I have smelled the blood of my enemy. I crave the kill and it has enlightened me."
Legolas did not expect this answer from her. She had changed. There was a new passion born in her eyes as she spoke of spilling blood. "I don't think I have ever heard someone explain it quite like you before. You have a natural talent Rhavaniel. Not even when we spar are you this alive."
He watched her carefully as she seemed to be reliving the experience. Legolas could not help but notice her excitement. He wondered how she could enjoy it. He himself would fight and kill every orc or goblin, but with sorrow deep within his heart. He found no delight in extinguishing another's life force. Yet he knew the enemy felt no compassion. To Legolas, it was a matter of life or death… his life and the other's death. Still, he would find himself saying a quiet prayer for his fallen enemy, hoping they finally found some peace in the afterlife. It was all he could hope for.
Rhavaniel shook her head and the light in her eyes extinguished slightly. "Unfortunately, my father will never agree to let me join the guard again. I am his link to this world now that my mother is gone. Should something happen to me, he will surely fade. I do not want to be responsible for his suffering."
Legolas took a step closer to her. "Your place is in the court now and it could also be by my side." he whispered. "I missed you and worried for you."
She felt his warm breath on her skin and closed her eyes. She had missed him dearly but could not bring herself to admit it. His words sat heavy on her heart as he seemed to agree with her father. She actually took a step away from him. This did not go unnoticed by the Prince. She had changed. She had matured and he was not sure her feelings for him were still there. Were they growing apart?
"Rhavaniel." said a deep but concerned voice interrupting this awkward moment. She spun around to see her father approaching her. "Rhavaniel, you don't know how glad I am to see your safe return." Gondien said as he embraced his daughter. "Never have I been so worried for someone, but you are home now. Come, I have had a meal prepared for us both so that we may spend some time together."
Rhavaniel nodded. "I will be along in a moment Ada." She watched him head for the palace and turned back to Legolas. "I must go. Maybe we can meet later this evening. I would like to know what has happened in the courts while I've been away."
This was not what Legolas wanted to do once they had a moment alone, but he would not argue. "Very well, after the evening meal then." he said and bowed. She was walking away when Legolas spoke once more. "I missed you Rhavaniel."
She stopped and turned towards him. "And I you." she simply said then made her way to her palace home, her heart heavy with uncertainty.
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.