7. Chapter 7
The Woodland Halls
"I think I have eaten more than my fill..." Legolas stated, as he let out a puff of breath from fullness. "And thus I think I shall retire early."
"Exerted yourself a little too much today, have you Legolas?" His father asked smoothly, masking his teasing grin with his wine glass. A bright crimson blush crossed Legolas's face then, Adlanniel too flushed red and let out a little nervous laugh.
"Ada, I thought we were finished with satire for the day..." Legolas frowned.
"Satire?" Thranduil asked innocently. "What in the name of Arda are you speaking about?"
Legolas groaned with exasperation and rolled his eyes, turning to his beloved as he did so.
"Meleth nin, what may be your decision for this evening?" He asked her sweetly.
"I think I shall remain here for a little while longer. I am enjoying this delicious wine a little more than I should."
Legolas smiled at her and nodded as he walked over to her to kiss her softly on the cheek. "Then I will take my leave." He gently stroked the back of Adlanniel's head with affection.
"Ada, do not let her drink too much. Quel du."
"Of course. Quel kaima, iôn." His father replied.
"Quel du, Mel nin." Adlanniel added as she stroked his cheek lovingly before he made his leave.
"I apologise for the torment my dear." Thranduil began as he stood. "But I can not help but tease Legolas at times. He is so very amusing when flustered."
Adlanniel chuckled with amusement as she too stood from her oaken chair. "Its all in jest." She smiled.
"Care to join me for some more wine on the terraces overlooking the river? It is warm out this night, perfect for viewing the stars in the clear sky."
Since arriving in the Woodland Realm only a season past, Adlanniel had never really had the opportunity to sit alone with the king to converse, to truly absorb his wisdom, knowledge and stories of old. She would not dare to miss any opportunity to do so.
"It would delight me to do so, heruamin."
Thranduil held out his arm courteously, and linking hers with his Thranduil proceeded to lead Adlanniel to the terraces.
A light, warm breeze brushed their faces as Thranduil opened the doors for them. Lanterns were lit, and a table set out with a pitcher of wine, crystal glasses and a platter of delicately arranged fruits had already been prepared for their arrival.
The sheer curtains that hung from the capitals of the intricately designed columns fluttered like butterfly wings as the two Elves seated themselves on the cushioned sofas parallel from each other.
"Tonight is truly a beautiful one, is it not my Lady? We are even blessed with a full moon." Thranduil began as he poured Adlanniel her wine and passed it to her.
"Indeed it is, my lord. The stars blanket the sky, and illuminate the river, the mountains and the tree tops. I have not yet seen this view at night. It is indeed wonderful, just like Imladris is at nightfall."
Thranduil smiled and nodded in agreement as he lent back against the soft pillows.
"I hope your stay here in this realm has been a pleasant one thus far."
"It has been, heruamin. Your household outdoes itself once more. Ever since I was a small Elfling I have delighted in coming here. Your hospitality always makes me feel like I am at home."
"And it will be formally soon." Thranduil added. "For soon you will hold the title of 'Arwen en Tawarwaith.'" He beamed proudly, as he raised his glass to her. Adlanniel blushed and too raised her glass.
"A title I shall be truly honored to hold." She repled. However, suddenly she felt a pang of sadness, a sadness as she came to realize that she would have to leave her beloved Imladris for the home of her husband, as was custom when intermarrying with a different realm. It did not bother her so much, but she knew she would miss the valley and her family.
Thranduil sensed her anguish, though only very brief and so smiled at her softly and reassuringly.
"You will be more than welcome to visit Imladris and your family as often as you please, and they too may visit you here in this realm whenever you wish."
"Thank you kindly, my great king. It is never easy leaving one's home, no matter what circumstance."
"Indeed." Thranduil agreed as he looked over the view briefly, before looking back over to Adlanniel who now too was gazing over the view below.
The glow of the moon and lanters accentuated the softness of her face, making her eyes sparkle with luster and her hair, though ebony in colour, glimmer as the breeze made it flutter from time to time. She had the likeness of her mother Celebrían, and through this she was a beauty to trump all beauties, even those whose allure throughout history had been legendary.
Adlanniel, noticing the king's gaze upon her, turned to look at him. "Is something the matter, my king?" She asked curiously.
"Oh, no my dear. I was just reminiscing about thoughts of old."
"Please tell me." Adlanniel urged, curious to know if the king's current thoughts were the same as earlier that evening, when he had looked sadly down upon her from his throne.
"Do not take me as being encroaching or crass Adlanniel..." He began cautiously. "But I was thinking of how your beauty reminded me of one I had once loved."
"Your wife?" Adlanniel asked almost immediately, eager to know more and not at all feeling taken aback by the king's reference to herself. However, Thranduil shook his head. This did indeed surprise Adlanniel, for it was very unusual for an Elf to love more than once in their eternity.
"No." He replied simply, as he took in a long draft of wine, looking back over to the view, contemplating if he should elaborate. But he knew Adlanniel's now apparent curiosity would make her push for more information. Whether or not he would give it to her he was still deciding, for these were old memories; private memories that not even his son knew about.
"May I ask who this maiden was?" Adlanniel broke the silence after a moment.
"Just someone I had known when I resided in Lindon all that time ago." He replied, sighing at her memory.
"Would I know of her?"
"Perhaps..." Thranduil replied simply, not wanting to reveal his lost love's identity, as that was a memory only he wished to know of. Adlanniel, acknowledging the hint as to not pry further on the identity of this secret Elf maiden, decided to try instead to gain other information about her.
"Will you tell me how you met her? What was the extent of your love?"
Thranduil smiled then, knowing that he undoubtedly had fueled Adlanniel's youthful curiosity, and would not be able to reverse from it.
"She was from Harlindon, when I had resided in Lindon..." He reminisced.
"Harlindon is where my grandfather, Celeborn, had once ruled." Adlanniel added. Thranduil nodded in confirmation.
"Yes." He replied. "I am sure you know much about the history of those days, so I will not talk about that." He took another sip of wine before continuing. "Both she and I were youthful then, perhaps just as young as you and Legolas are now....and just as brash." He added almost teasingly. "Our love had been deep and passionate Adlanniel, perhaps to the same intensity as both you and Legolas." He paused for a brief moment, before letting out a doleful sigh. "Though our love was doomed from the start."
"Why?" Asked Adlanniel sympathetically, elongating herself along the couch.
"Both her and I had also participated in secret liaisons, of which, during one time we were caught by a very loyal servant of her household who did not hesitate to notify her parents." He sighed again as he set his glass upon the table. "The consequences we suffered for it were dire. Her mother especially, forbade us to see each other again, and my father severely punished me for my indiscretion. Thus why I had warned both you and Legolas to be careful of your actions."
"A warning I now understand the basis of." Adlanniel said. "But why were you punished, my lord? Is it not Elven custom for us to marry whoever we please?"
"It is, but during that age, one's family greatly influenced who one was to marry; Often making the actual decision. Life was very strict in those days."
"Please tell me what happened." Adlanniel's voice saddened.
"Well, we had begged our parents to let us wed, but her mother outright refused. Of course, she did not want such a brazen, reckless, unwise and battle-ready Elf as myself to marry her beloved daughter. Apparently I had been a bad influence."
"Surely, you were not all those things."
"Alas, I was generally at that time Adlanniel. She was soon to move away from that area, perhaps as a consequence of our actions. For a while we managed to exchanged secret letters of love and affection to each other through one of her close servants. But as time went by they became fewer and fewer in frequency. Eventually we both met those we were to wed, and our love for each other faded into a distant memory."
"Has it really faded into memory?" Adlanniel asked. If the king's love had truly been as strong as he had said, as strong as the love both her and Legolas held for each other, she could not believe it possible to simply allow such admiration to fade away. Even after meeting another she could not understand how it could be possible. But yet, she herself had never loved another so she could not judge.
Thranduil smiled reassuringly, not at all displeased at her doubt. "Yes, Adlanniel. For a long time I had thought I could not love another, that is, until I met Legolas's mother; My wife. She taught me to love again."
"You were able to be happy again."
"For a time, yes. But in my long years I have learnt to accept loss in both love and death. I have Legolas, and soon your family will be part of mine. I can not ask for more." He smiled warmly as he began to stand.
"Now shall we retire? It will be morning before we know it and Legolas forbade me to allow you to drink too much wine."
Adlanniel laughed sweetly at this remark and nodded, taking another few grapes from the platter before she too stood.
"I think it wise to not disobey orders again. Do you agree?" She asked in jest.
Thranduil nodded in agreement and laughed also. "Indeed, I can not imagine what consequences we would suffer at the hands of the mighty Woodland Prince."
And with that the pair exited the terrace, enjoying the humour they had both created at the prince's expense.
Elvish - English translations
Arda = the world
Ada = father
Meleth nin = My love
Mel nin = My beloved
Quel du = goodnight
Quel kaima, iôn = sleep well, son
Heruamin = My lord
Arwen en Tawarwaith = Lady of the Woodland Elves.
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.