1. A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes
"Come, little one, we must finish quickly now, your ada will be along soon to tuck you in." Rhenneth drew her towel-wrapped charge from the steamy bathing chamber into the fire-warmed room, boosting him up on the high stool they used for this nightly ritual and plucked up the comb from the nearby dressing table. This was the only way to tame the fly-away hair, wet, right out of the bath, and she set to immediately, humming under her breath as she drew the comb through the silky strands. This duty was no hardship, but she was impatient to get the elfling to bed tonight.
"What is that song?" Legolas twisted unexpectedly upon the stool. "Ow."
"If you do not like your hair pulled, Master Legolas, then you well know you must sit still." Rhenneth tapped the comb on the top of the blond head playfully. "And you are about to lose your modesty, good sir."
Legolas twitched himself straight on the stool, as he really did not like having his hair pulled. "What are you singing?" he asked again, small hands grappling with the unwieldy folds of the large enveloping towel. He was no longer a baby to be gadding about in the altogether, but neither was he so far removed from the freedom of unabashed nakedness to care over much about exposure. "I do not recognize the tune."
"It is a very old song I learned from my mother, about dreams and desires." Rhenneth traded the elk-horn comb for strands of wet hair and began to plait. She loved this time they spent together every evening, but the very air was redolent with the evening's festivities and she was anxious to be off among the other young elves making merry. "It is a song of Mettarë." Tying off the night braid with a strip of dyed leather - since the prince no longer allowed ribbons in his hair - she slipped her hands under his arms, and, drawing him back against her chest, twirled them both in a wide circle.
"Aren't you excited about Mettarë?" Rhenneth whirled them across the forest-green rug warming the vast quantity of cold stone floor between the hearth and the big bed, snatching a nightshirt from a wall hook as they passed, before setting the solemn prince on his feet.
The freshly-bathed and fed elfling wrapped both hands in a fold of the quilt as he swayed. He was more anxious than excited about the mid-winter celebrations, but he could not tell Rhenneth that, so he only nodded as he allowed her to thread his arms into the night shirt, then climbed, unaided, up over the edge to slide between the newly warmed sheets.
Legolas snuggled into the little nest his body made in the feather mattress and allowed Rhenneth to pull up the coverlet strewn with innumerable glossy green leaves sewn so that many edges brushed against his hands when he ran them over its softness. The bed had only recently been moved into his room and he liked this new addition very much, for it meant his tall-as-an-oak-tree ada could fold his large frame between the head and foot boards. His old bed had been too small to accommodate even his naneth's petite form, though she had never let that discommode her.
"You will stay until ada comes?" he asked quietly.
"Of course, sweeting."
"I know you want to go to the hall."
It was not an accusation, merely a statement of fact, and Rhenneth accepted it as such. "Aye, I do, I love Mettarë and look forward to it every year," she said, her smile conveying both joy and tenderness. "But I would not leave before your ada comes."
The nursemaid leaned down to kiss away the furrows that had formed on the small brow. "You are welcome, little one." Not even the lure of the singing that came faintly down the corridors could tempt her from her post before Thranduil arrived.
Legolas never spoke of his fear, but the imprint of it had etched itself deeply into the beautiful little face, leaving the features drawn and haggard in a way no child should ever have to experience.
Rhenneth perched on the edge of the bed and reached to smooth back the short, wispy hairs that ever escaped the loose night braid. "Turn over, hên, and I will rub your back."
Wide green eyes turned up, blinking owlishly. "No. I will wait for Ada. I do not wish to take the dream paths yet."
Bedtime had been his favorite time of day, for there had always been stories and songs before an enchanted reverie had loosed the earthly bonds of his fëa. No more though; not since his naneth's voice had ceased to be heard within or without.
The darkness of night now loomed like a devouring warg, following him into a reverie his small body could neither resist nor defeat. He had tried; oh how he had tried, in those early days, to avoid the dream paths. But the enemy had come anyway, stealing through his defenses to breathe upon him the cold mist that lulled the senses and crippled the will, dragging him down into a reverie that had been more restive than restful.
It had never been that way before … before his naneth had gone away. Not even friendly night shadows had darkened the room since she had poured out light and joy in abundance, saturating any chamber she had graced with an essence so pure shadow could not form, nor evil lurk with her radius.
Now bedtime was thing to be dreaded. Legolas missed the rituals with his mother more than he could express. Missed desperately that magical hour spent in the ancient swan rocker or under the tented covers of the small bed where his naneth had taken him on imaginary adventures all over Arda. He missed those voyages almost as much as he missed the ethereal presence that had lived inside him. He could not explain to his ada or Rhenneth that he was cold inside all the time now, that there was a chill in that empty space; one that lived and breathed.
Rhenneth straightened, carefully tucking away the sigh that wanted to escape. She had known the elfling before the loss of his mother, and mourned the devastating quenching of the bright, inquisitive spirit that had forfeit – overnight - the passion and joy of childhood, leaving behind a morose, blighted fëa, stunted with trepidation and longing.
Legolas had been a handful, the bane of his caretakers, though the most joyful bane any had ever undertaken to manage – before his mother's passing. Now, all the adults agreed, he was the most obedient child ever to walk on Arda Marred. The mischievous, always dancing little elfling might never have existed.
"As you will," Rhenneth replied eventually, a little surprised by the fleeting mulish look her delayed response evoked. A look so like his mother had worn when thwarted, it momentarily snatched her breath away. She leaned forward again and tucked the coverlet close around the slender shoulders. "Be sure and tell your ada your secret Mettarë wish," she said gaily, deliberately setting aside her own grief at the changes wrought so indelibly in the young prince. "Remember, you may only tell one person or it will not come true. But you can trust your adar; he is a very good secret keeper."
They had spoken often of Legolas' wish over the last several days, though he had held it as a closely guarded secret. Rhenneth believed the king was quite anxious to see the wish was met if at all possible.
It was the eve of Mettarë, Legolas knew, letting a memory or two slip through the tiny crack in his stoic façade. A festive air of bedlam had been creeping about the palace for many days now. But the activity had increased tenfold today, as his father's retainers had bustled in and out trailing long swathes of woven greenery like living scarves. Everywhere the palace hangings were draped with holly and ivy, the chandeliers bore swags of evergreen, and branching candle sticks nestled in beds of white-berried mistletoe. The smell of the winter forest, lightly overlaid with the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger wafting from the kitchens, permeated every nook and cranny of the palace. Familiar smells because previously he had spent many happy hours in those kitchens, standing on a stool inside his mother's arms, helping to stir, or pour, or taste. He had not gone near the kitchens this Mettarë, nor allowed himself to be coaxed into joining any of the many contingents of elder elflings dispatched to gather the greens that decorated the halls.
"Naneth told me secrets are not secrets anymore if you share them." Legolas tucked his hands under the pillow. "That we must hold them in our heart and only tell the Rodyn. She said if they believe your secret wish is worthy, they will sing it into being for you."
"I am sure that is true, for your mother would never have told you anything that was not, but sometimes even mothers tell little funnies they do not intend to be taken seriously."
The grave little face regarded the nursemaid with disapproval. "Not my naneth. She always told me if I did not understand the fun."
Rhenneth knew herself beaten and chose not to be drawn further. "Then I suggest you tell your ada what your naneth told you about secrets, for I know he is longing to know your secret wish. And sometimes a very powerful ada like yours can add their appeal to the Rodyn and sway their judgments," she added serenely, leaning down to kiss the elfling once more.
Legolas was a child of the light. The tender young fëa had stretched ever toward illumination, fed hungrily on the shining brightness of his mother's unquenchable spirit, soaked up the bountiful affection in which she had enfolded him. Rhenneth's own closely-held Mettarë wish was that this child would know again the joy of living – before the blight permanently warped the elfling's song .
"What's this? What service may I offer the Rodyn on your behalf my little green leaf?" Thranduil boomed, having paused behind the half-closed door to listen to the childish piping of his son's voice. He entered and crossed the room now, dismissing the nursemaid with a graceful wave of his be-ringed hand. "I have left our guests well on their way to diminishing the last delivery of Dorwinion; they will not miss my absence. You may attend in the Great Hall as long as you desire, Rhenneth. But do ask them to keep it down to a dull roar. It does not require elven hearing to assess the jollity of the merry making."
"Aye, my lord." Rhenneth rose and spread her kirtle, gracefully offering a full-court reverence. "If I must stand upon one of the tables, I will endeavor to make your will known to your subjects." Dimples flashed in the demure smile she offered as her monarch took her hand, drawing her up from the deep obeisance.
Thranduil's face reflected the shared amusement as he raised and kissed the backs of the fingers he held. "I will not hold you accountable should you fail in your duties, Mistress Rhenneth."
"I thank you, my lord," she replied with a rich laugh, the smile spreading to cover her face as she withdrew her hand and skipped lightly toward the open chamber door. "Both for the evening's pleasure and your gracious tolerance. Good night, Legolas. Sweet dreams, my love."
Thranduil watched her go, appreciating the lithe loveliness and youthful spring in the quick step. There was nothing in his gaze beyond appreciation though; his wife was barely three season's gone and he mourned her with the same intensity as his son. He was young still, as accounted in elven age, but his youth, like his son's joy, had been sapped by the staggering loss of such an integral part of their wholeness.
In the past, as often as his responsibilities had allowed, he had joined his wife and son in this suite of chambers, carved into the side of the mountain long before Legolas' birth, in hopes of just such a blessed event. His wife had begun lessons with their child whilst still in the womb, telling him the stories of their people, of Cuivëar and the awakening, of life beneath a sunless sky where the stars had been the tutors of the Firstborn. Of the Teleri who had chosen the deep woods and forests sown by Yavanna, over a home in Valinor.
With Legolas' birth, it had become a nightly ritual, though Thranduil had been unable to share the routine as often as he would have liked. Under his wife's joyful tutelage, their son had blossomed, and by his third year, Legolas had been charming the entire palace citizenry with his historical recitations. He had inherited his mother's gift for storytelling, and his diminutive stature and adroitness with oratorical language – especially in combination with the conjoined genes of his parentage – had made him master of any audience. And he had reveled in the attention.
Now the child rarely spoke at all.
Thranduil shook off the momentary displacement and moved to perch on the bedside, smiling down at his son. "For what do you wish me to importune the Rodyn on your behalf?" he repeated, bending to kiss the spot just between the arched, golden eyebrows; just where Rhenneth had kissed, since they were squinched again.
These days, bedtime was scribed into the scheduling journal his seneschal wielded. No matter what important guests visited the realm, no matter what business was at hand, at twilight the king tabled the affairs of the day in order to attend upon his son. And as he shed his regal raiment, so also he shed his sovereign duties so that by the time he reached the chamber deep within the fortress, he had doffed the mantle of kingship and donned the cloak of fatherhood.
"Legolas?" he inquired again. He reached to gather the small body into his arms, to repair to the ancient swan rocker. He had observed that its fanciful carved embrace and gentle motion often succored his troubled child when nothing else could penetrate the walls behind which his son had hidden himself.
The elfling scooted away, out of arm's reach, though he lifted leaf-green eyes to his father's face searchingly.
This hour before reverie was no longer a time of stories and little staged dramas. It was as if, for both of them, all the legends lay buried with the treasure of their hearts. Instead of chronicles and shadow plays upon the walls where beautifully carven and painted forest animals cavorted together in peace and harmony, they sat often before the deep, stone hearth, staring into the flickering flames, just rocking.
"Legolas?" Thranduil said again, employing the same tone of inquiry with which his son had inflected his favorite title. On the day his child had been conceived, the king would have ceded his realm to any, and believed the exchange well made, in order to bear the designation of ada. "You do not wish to rock tonight?"
A slow, sleepy blink preceded an equally slow shake of the small, blond head. "Rhenneth offered to rub my back, but I did not want to drift into reverie before you arrived."
"You sly thing." Thranduil poked a gentle finger at the blanket-covered ribs. "So you expect me to do her job and rub your back now?"
"Will you sing to me while you rub my back?" the scamp asked impudently, certain of his victory. Legolas inch-wormed his way back over to his father and turned over.
There was not an ounce of guile in the child, though he could be tenacious when he wanted something. It had been far too long since that tenacity had shown itself so plainly.
"I will rub your back, but there are no songs in me tonight."
Sometimes the king sang, though never the songs and ballads of his wife. His songs were funny little ditties made up on the spot to bring a smile or charm a giggle out of the child. He did not know these little impromptu concerts drew his most loyal retainers from all over the palace. The music rarely lasted long and by the time Thranduil tiptoed out, leaving Legolas in deep reverie, his folk had melted away to their various duties, their hearts lightened just in hearing the lilting baritone uplifted to amuse the quiet little princeling.
"How was your day, my son?" Thranduil bent a knee upon the coverlet, turning so he could more easily massage the small back presented for the treat. "I heard you were in the stables learning to curry that shaggy little pony of yours. It will not be long before you will be in need of a new mount. I swear you are growing by the hour, my little leaf. Soon you will be tall as a beech tree."
Legolas waited patiently throughout this spill of words, knowing it was his father's way of initiating discourse. "It was fine." But he had an agenda tonight and no intention of being drawn into commonplace converse. "Ada, does Rhenneth speak true? If I tell you my Mettarë wish, will you implore the Rodyn for me?"
Thranduil, who implored the Rodyn only profanely, raised an eyebrow, thankful the elfling did not watch his visage like the fledgling hawk the child occasionally resembled. "Ahhh, Legolas, my power is not so vast or broad as to know the Rodyn personally. But for you, I would beg for anything you wish."
An anxious eye was turned up to him. Thranduil smiled, hoping he had kept the edge out of his voice. While it was true – he would implore the Rodyn if his son asked it of him – he doubted any request from one such as he, would be looked upon with favor.
"Mayhap it is your wish as well and you have already entreated on our behalf."
"I cannot know unless you tell me your wish, eh? It sounds serious." Thranduil widened the circular motion of his hand, noting, in a detached manner, that the little back was not even as wide as his palm from wrist to fingertips. "Suppose you tell me your wish and we will see if the Rodyn will bend their will in our direction."
He had hoped Legolas' wish might be something he could manage, perhaps with a little help from Mithrandir, who had been purposely invited to the celebrations. But the child had been as closed as a new acorn, not even sharing it with Rhenneth. It had been a forlorn hope from the beginning, since Mirkwood's king had never believed in Mettarë wishes, but he had been willing to suspend disbelief on behalf of his child.
Now that the moment was upon on him, Legolas could not decide if sharing his wish would truly help him, or if the Rodyn would be angry if he spoke of it to someone else, and tune their voices to sing elsewhere.
His father was a very powerful elf, though; the king of an entire realm. Surely there must be some merit in a request from such an important person. Legolas reached a trembling hand to grasp the sleeve of the velvet tunic; he needed something to hold on to.
"I know naneth is dead, that her fëa has gone to the Halls of Mandos and that she must be judged there. But, Ada, do you not think by now, this is accomplished? That she has been judged and reborn? I have wished with all my heart that the Rodyn would send her back to us. I have asked every day since she left us. And Rhenneth says all right-hearted wishes must be met on Mettarë." There was a long silence, then on a small, choked sob, the elfling added despairingly, "But I do not know if my heart is right."
Fury, bright as a new-forged weapon, struck sharp and deep, the anger barely contained within the king's tall frame. Forcing control of appendages that trembled with rage, Thranduil plucked his child from the bed, but he could not force words past the obstruction lodged in his throat. He settled for wrapping his son snugly against his chest and began to rock them both from side to side.
When he could speak again, he growled softly, "If any in the elven realms have a right heart, it is you, Legolas." While his skin did not feel the hot splash of Legolas' tears upon the sleeve of his tunic, each drop scalded his heart.
The elfling had shed no tears in the long cycles of the moon since his mother's death, nor had he ever used the word dead. She was gone, or away; occasionally lost and trying to find her way home, but never dead.
Cursing the Rodyn with silent fervor, Thranduil bent to press kisses on the golden crown so alike to his own. The Rodyn were useless; less than useless as far as he was concerned. Their interference was precisely calculated to benefit their own ends – had not the elves of Cuiviénen been coaxed to Valinor to bear the Ainur company in their binding to this world? Had the Rodyn not, in their great and almighty wisdom, loosed upon this same world the scourge of Morgoth and the spawn that had followed in his dark footsteps ever after? Thranduil was certain, if he bent his mind to the task, he could come up with many more instances of the Rodyn's feckless meddling.
That Legolas thought himself unworthy was beyond bearing. An internal keening beat upon the walls of Thranduil's breast, attempting to tear free. In direct opposition, he hammered his will into submission and, cradling the sobbing child like an infant, crooned soft nonsense into the tiny, gently-tapering ear closest to his lips. Liberally asserting the rightness of his son's heart, and encouraging the assuaging properties of those tears.
"Will you ask them too, Ada?" a small, still hiccupping voice asked tentatively, some unnumbered tears and heartbeats later. "Will you ask the Rodyn to send her back to us?"
Thranduil stilled, aware of every inch of the small elfling pressed against him, of each fragile breath the child drew, of the slight, involuntary twitching companioning the fear he sensed beginning to flow. Making a conscious effort to relax, he ran a gentle hand over the small head.
"It is my dearest wish as well, Legolas." It was no lie, though it skirted the terms of Legolas' question. "Do you remember naneth telling you that it is often thousands of years before an elf's fëa is rehoused? And that most reborn souls return to Valinor, to live among the Rodyn?"
"Aye. But it has been thousands of years, has it not, Ada? And not all the reborn go to Valinor." Legolas, securely held in his father's arms, made a valiant effort to quench the hated tears. "Both you and naneth have spoken of the thousands of souls lost in the War of Wrath alone." He had been contemplating his wish for much longer than Rhenneth or his father knew. "Surely they would not miss naneth if all the rehoused fëa gone before now, live among the Singers."
Thranduil made no attempt to refute the logic. "It is true that elven time is a fluid thing, my son," he said very gently, "but though it seems like thousands of years to us, it has really only been but a few cycles of the moon." He would have gladly brought to bear his impressive skills in the arena of facile speech, but it would not answer in this situation. He was a parent with a broken child. The mending could not be accomplished in a day or a month, perhaps not even in a thousand years, though he prayed with all his might that Ilúvatar, in his mercy, would not allow his child to suffer that long. "We should think rather of the joyous reunion we will have at the end of the voyage all elves eventually set out upon." And he would not give his son false hope.
"If naneth has a choice, she will be with us again soon. Surely they will not keep her against her will," Legolas put forth in a still wobbly voice. "They cannot hold her like an elf trapped in Dol Guldur," he asserted more strongly, though it was followed immediately by a very small, "can they?"
"I do not know, Legolas, I cannot answer your questions, for none who have journeyed to Valinor, or the Halls of Mandos, have ever returned to Middle-earth, save the Balrog Slayer. But what is this talk of Dol Guldur? What do you know of the tower? Who has been telling you such tales?"
"Are they tales? Like naneth used to tell?" Legolas wiped his nose on the sleeve of his nightshirt and wriggled upright, then snuggled down again so his ear rested against his father's strongly beating heart. The sound always warmed that cold place inside him, though the warmth never lasted longer than an echo once the reverberation was gone. "Of days long ago, before the sun shone and there was no day or night?"
"No, they are not," Thranduil said flatly. "Tales of Dol Guldur are not for young ears and I will ask again where you have heard them." His tone brooked no argument.
"I have heard the scouts in the stables and sometimes the patrols as they are returning."
Sighing, Thranduil kissed the golden head again. "I suppose I cannot forbid you the stables, nor forbid the scouts and patrols to talk amongst themselves, now can I?" Once more, he began to rock slowly from side to side. "You understand the tower is well south of here, a long way from our home?"
"Many days ride. Our patrols are always gone at least one cycle of the moon in order to go and scout the area around the tower and come home."
"Naneth is not in that tower is she, Ada?"
"Legolas, where did you get the idea your naneth might be in that tower?"
The little head turned so the expressive face was buried in the dark blue velvet of his father's tunic.
"Come." Thranduil tucked a finger under the stubborn chin, raising it gently so Legolas would meet his eyes. "Never mind; it does not matter where the idea came from. I can assure you your naneth is not in the tower of Dol Guldur. Perhaps she is in Valinor already, and I will add my pleas to yours, little leaf, and beg that the Rodyn send her back to us. Quickly. But I cannot guarantee success."
"Thank you, Ada." Legolas sighed as if the weight of the world had been lifted from his slight shoulders.
Thranduil merely kissed his child again and rose to move to the rocker. Perhaps it would soothe them both this night.
The Fëanorian lamps Mithrandir had fetched for them from Imladris had faded to little more than the faint glow of a new moon when the elfling stirred again.
"I am ready for reverie now," he yawned, rubbing at his bleary eyes with both fists.
Obligingly, Thranduil carried his son back over to the big bed and Legolas allowed himself to be tucked in like a baby. Only his ada was allowed to treat him thus anymore; all others were required to acknowledge his new self-possession and admit his independence. A privilege that, as prince of the realm, he exploited ruthlessly.
"Will you sing me naneth's song about the stars and the water?" The elfling yawned again, his eyelids already drooping to half-mast.
"I do not know it." Thranduil reseated himself on the side of the bed. "And I told you, Legolas, there are no songs in me tonight. Slide over and I will lie down with you until Rhenneth returns. Then I must return to our guests."
Legolas ignored both the denial of a song and the mention of Rhenneth. "Yes you do, naneth told me you taught it to her." The prince slid over, lifting the covers, then scooted back again and made himself comfortable as his father's arms encircled him once more.
"I taught your mother no songs, child."
"She said you did," the little one insisted in a muffled voice. "You know, about the elves awakening under the stars by the water."
"Oh." Thranduil could not have been more foundered if he had been gut-kicked by his horse. It was true; he had sung that song to his betrothed many times, though never with the intent of teaching it to her. It was in an ancient form that enhanced the magic of the tune and the words, allowing a subtle softening of will in both the singer and the hearer. "It has been a long time since I thought of that song, but I will try. I will not be as good at it as your naneth."
"I know," Legolas said, accepting the confession without judgment. "Ada, do you think the Rodyn will let naneth come home?"
Thranduil struggled to frame an honest answer, untainted by the bitterness he struggled with himself. "No, Legolas, I do not believe your naneth will be restored to us. No one knows why Lord Glorfindel was sent back. I do not think he knows himself, though he has been a great asset in the wars against Morgoth, and now Sauron. Perhaps his return serves some higher purpose we are not given to understand."
"Your naneth was no great warrior. She had no grand skills that the Rodyn would count as reason to allow her return. They are …" He bit back inappropriate words. "They are concerned with the big picture, the fate of us all, rather than individuals. I know that is hard to understand. She was our world, our fate, and to lose her so suddenly has a left a terrible rent upon our fëar. There is no consolation, no solace in knowing that she is in a place far better than this. A place all elves long for eventually, for that desire is stitched into our fëa from our birth." He got the words out without choking on them, though someone had forgotten to stitch that longing into his own soul, nor did he believe Valinor to be a better place. "She is home now, waiting patiently for us to join her, though that may not be for many long ages to come."
Legolas' interpretation was probably closer to reality, Thranduil thought privately. If his wife had already been reborn, she would not be patiently waiting. She would be striding across the land, demanding loudly to be returned to her family, to be given a ship and a crew to take her home to Middle-earth, a horse to return her to Mirkwood where the fight just to live in peace and harmony with nature had been carried almost to their doorstep by the necromancer.
Aye, his son had the right of it; she would not be patiently waiting for them to join her in some far distant millennia.
His voice faltering at first, then gathering strength, Thranduil began to croon the ancient lullaby. Like the waters the words and melody evoked, flowing beneath the stars of Cuiviénen, the enchanted notes poured pristine and true from his throat. Now soft as a merry rill trickling over rock and stone, now strong as the River Running, sweeping away all vestiges of sorrow and sadness; the song carried them both far away from the fire lit bedchamber, past the borders of wakefulness and beyond the counting of even elven time.
Reality eddied, the edges shimmering as an enchanted reverie stole into the room, further feathering the boundaries between here … and there.
Born on the wings of one small elf's longing for the warmth and security of his mother's joy, the distance between them melted away like the fangs of winter unhinged by the warmth of spring sunshine.
The weightless burden enfolded in Thranduil's arms slid effortlessly from his grasp. And as through a veil, he watched as his barefoot elfling sped like an arrow, golden mane streaming out behind the child so swift was his passage, into his mother's open arms. For of a surety, it was his mother who caught him up and whirled with him held high above her head, their jubilant laughter thrumming through the pure notes of the great Song.
Resonating overtones plucked new chords in the bass clef, deepening and broadening the scope and texture of the dream as the music soared. Thranduil accepted the gift, and his relegation to the status of viewer only, with an open heart. And counted himself fortunate to be allowed to watch, even unseen.
He would go down on his knees, offer any fealty the Rodyn demanded, willingly make any sacrifice required, tender whatever obeisance they commanded in thankfulness for this gift to his son.
"That will not be required of you," a familiar voice chuckled softly. "The child's faith needed no augmenting."
A bright spirit hovered near. Thranduil, in his dream state, could just make out a pair of brilliant blue eyes that he somehow knew held a smile.
"Mithrander," he murmured. "I did not expect this."
"In point of fact, you expected nothing."
"That is true. You have my thanks."
"And I will be happy to convey them to the interested parties; however, this is not of my doing."
"I am sure Legolas will tell you all about it in the morning. Rest well, old friend, and do not think to join us again this night. He will need your anchor to hold him in this world, for he is already nearly as much spirit as she."
The luminescence faded slowly.
Thranduil resumed his song, though he hummed now as he beheld his wife and son dancing in a meadow of jewel-toned wild flowers set against a back drop of a wide, green country brightening under a swift sunrise.
fëa – soul hên – child Rodyn – Valar Ada – daddy Naneth – mother
Ilúvatar – God
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