She's the oldest of her father's children, and his only daughter. She would never be ruler in Mirkwood, and she's glad for that. Had been more than happy when Thranduil had made it clear he intended for her youngest brother to take the crown and throne when he was dead or abdicated. When her father returns from Erebor with her brother's body carried on a bier behind him, she doesn't quite understand why it feels like ice has been poured into her veins.
Death is something that she knows will cut deep, because it happens so rarely - her grandfather fallen in battle just as her youngest brother has - but this feels like something different from the grief of previous losses. She stays close to Thranduil as the tomb is carved from the bedrock below, helping to prepare her brother's body to be laid within the stone.
It would never be left to anyone else, no more than her mother's body had. Her and her father and her other two brothers. When they follow their father down to the tombs, even they can't quite shake the sense that Legolas is merely sleeping and will wake if they wait long enough. There will be no waking their youngest brother, and there will be no end to the grief their father feels.
She thinks Thranduil has the same ice in his veins, that slowly destroys them from the inside out, while her living brothers do not understand. They don't know how to return the familiar fire to the shared blood of father and daughter, the sunlight against dying leaves rather than the frost and dark of winter.
Leaning against her father's throne one night, when the feasting and music has long since ended around them, she whispers in the dark, "Where did this ice come from, ada?"
It's a long moment before she feels Thranduil's hand come to rest on her head, long fingers stroking through silver hair. Icicles through frost, she thinks idly, the image bringing a momentary twist of smile to her face. He doesn't speak immediately, just sits there as if they were in the royal rooms, and she just a young elleth again, looking to her father for comfort.
"The taint still runs beneath the roots of the forest, darkness and cold." Thranduil's voice is soft, almost too much so for her to hear. "It poisons land and stream, forest and King."
Reaching up, she twines her fingers through Thranduil's, holding tight. His fingers feel no colder or warmer than her own, though her brothers have muttered about her deliberately finding water to cool her hands, as if she desires to be ice. To feel the creeping shadow hollowing her out.
"Will we ever be rid of it?" She doesn't want the crown or throne, but neither of her brothers feel the ice strangling the Woodland Realm, so how can it fall to them?
"Perhaps." Thranduil doesn't sound as if he has great hope of that, and she leans in to press a kiss to his hand before letting go. Remaining quiet and still as they wait out the long hours of the night in the hollow shadows of the Hall.
Notes: Since there is nothing that I am aware of that says Legolas is an only child, I went with the idea that he was the youngest - in this case, of three boys and a girl - and there's enough time between each of them that they're effectively only children, the older siblings having all been adults before the next one was conceived and born. The daughter is the oldest (and at the time I wrote this, I hadn't yet found a name for her), and she's always been glad she's female, as it (technically) excludes her from succession.
When Thranduil goes off to attend Elrond's council, he will leave his daughter as regent until he returns, because she, like Legolas, is able to get a sense of the health of the forest around her.
iklalkheled = ice
elleth = elf-maiden
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