Who can hear the steps of an Elf that
are lighter than summer breeze in green boughs? - Another Elf.
Who would watch the steps of a son
coming home from perilous journey? - His father.
Elves are heedless of time, and
passing years are little more for them than ripples in a swift forest stream.
Yet Thranduil was counting days. And hours. And minutes.
Ever since messengers of Elrond had
brought tidings that the great Quest was over, and the Enemy was no more, ever
since his and Celeborns armies had cleansed the Forest and Galadriel threw down
the walls of Dol Guldur (he had to endure her presence), ever since Mirkwood had
once again been renamed Eryn Lasgalen, Greenwood the Great, he was
counting days. And he was waiting. For his son to return.
Of course, he had recognised his
steps, swift and untiring. Of course, he had recognised his voice, as clear and
soft as ever. But why, in the name of Elbereth, was his son speaking Westron?
The doors opened and a door-warden
came in beaming with joy. The prince is coming back, Lord! he announced bowing
to the king. Thranduil knew it long ere the Elf opened his mouth.
The king sprang to his feet. He did
not care about the ancient custom of the Elves, he simply wanted to rush through
the door, to see his son, speak to him, embrace him
Thranduil was too slow. The prince
was already in his fathers chamber standing by the door, as if waiting for
something. The wardens withdrew closing the doors behind them, leaving the
father and the son alone.
Verily my heart was rejoiced to
see my father and lord, said Legolas bowing low - ever courteous, ever remote.
Thranduil cursed himself: he might give his son this simple name in a Woodland
tongue, but from the days of his birth Legolas was taught to talk to his father
in the manner of Doriath. And quick and intelligent as he was, he never needed
to be told anything twice.
Thranduil suppressed his annoyance;
it was easily overcome with joy his son was safe at home at last! He could
never quite forgive Elrond for sending Legolas on this hopeless, fatal quest.
Truly, the prince of the Wood-elves was the best archer of Mirkwood, and one of
the very best in the whole Middle-earth, he was keen-sighted, calm and loyal,
but he was still young in the reckoning of Elves, he could not measure up to the
glorious Glorfindel, his skills were needed at home, and Elrond simply spared
the mighty elf-lords of his household, and his own two sons.
Well, thought Thranduil, the idea
might be unjust. Elrond Halfelven was shrewd and far wiser than most of the
Eldar in the matters concerning Men as well as other races. So, the Fellowship
of the Ring, the Nine Walkers a Maia (oh yes, one need not be of Aman to
understand that Mithrandir was not a weary old man), a Man (two at first,
both Dúnedain, both of royal blood), four Hobbits and a Dwarf. A Dwarf! By
Elbereth, not many Elves in Middle-earth would be able simply to withstand such
Legolas was still standing by the
door politely awaiting his fathers questions. Thranduil thought that his son
must be deadly tired after the quest, the war, the journey He had not been
hurt, perchance? What kept him so long on his way home?
My heart is glad to see my son
beside me, safe and victorious, the king said at last. The moment when he could
simply hold Legolas in his arms had been lost. You are in no haste to show
fatherly feelings, he scorned himself. So he simply took his sons hand and led
him to the chairs by the hearth. They sat down.
Thranduil looked at his son
closely. Of course, he did not change, the mere thought was ridiculous.
He had been away for less than a year, not enough even for a mortal to have
changed, and yet This grey cloak, clasped at the throat with green brooch the
work of Lórien, Galadriel herself had woven the web, in Middle-earth her craft
was unrivalled. Well, if the whole Company received the gifts, he had to accept
it also... And the bow and the quiver that he carefully put on the floor beside
his chair The bow was really big, six feet, almost as tall as Legolas himself.
The king grinned. In the slender hands of his son this weapon was deadly and
Galadriel knew it.
Thranduil shuddered. What else did
Galadriel know? Alas, too much. What could she tell to his son, what did she
tell? Fear not, she gave her word to keep her knowledge secret, even if Legolas
would ask her directly. At the least one could be certain that the haughty
Noldorin princess would keep her promise. Ever.
The silence was becoming
unsettling. O fair Elbereth, he has changed! As long as his father could
remember, Legolas was quiet and reserved, keeping his feelings for himself, but
Thranduil was able to guess his thoughts more or less. Even now the king had
no need to look in the eyes of his son to understand that he was not simply
tired. He was disturbed. And very sad.
Oh, the sadness of the Elves! Of
course, the Exiles had too many reasons to be sad. Well, things that had
befallen them were horrible indeed, but in the name of justice it was partly
their own fault. Nobody dragged them to Aman in the first place. They could have
stayed as Thingol and his people did. And then nobody dragged them out of Aman,
save the fell Fёanor and his fell sons. Yes, their sufferings in Middle-earth
were great. But were not the Sindar suffering just as much? Thingol desired no
harm, he was the most fair and the least arrogant of all the Elven-princes in
Middle-earth, and what was his end? Killed by the dwarves in his own halls, the
same dwarves that the Noldor afterwards befriended! And the kinslayings?! Curse
Fёanor, but the whole house of Finwё was not much better!
And now he can see the same sadness
in the eyes of his only son. Curse them all! Has he journeyed to the sea? Has he
No, it was no good. For too long
Thranduil has been anticipating this meeting, savouring in his mind every minute
of it. He will not surrender to the misgivings of his heart; will not abide this
joy being taken from him. They shall not speak now, when Legolas is so weary. He
must eat and then he must rest. Tonight there will be time for feast and
merrymaking. And then they shall speak. Father and son. Alone.
Legolas threw the comb on the floor
and cursed. Of course, the hair was tangled and his fine-tooth comb was tearing
at rather than separating hairs. Yet it was his fault, partially. He had been
soaking in the bath, in the warm, fragrant water for nearly two hours a
pleasure almost forgotten and therefore all the more keen. When he forced
himself to get out at last, he was so tired that he barely had the strength to
dry the hair, and of course, it was still damp as he fell asleep on the couch.
He did not even bother to dress it was so warm in his rooms, so perfectly
safe He took some pain to wrap a drying-cloth around his waist, though as was
the way with Elves Legolas could barely abide nudity and would never stay
completely naked even in the privacy of his own bedroom.
Now he was dressed as he stood
before the mirror fighting his long hair. His garments were simple but
beautiful, fit for an elven-prince alone in his chamber a knee-long robe of
creamy silk, unadorned save for the delicate silver embroidery on the wide
sleeves, and tight brown breeches going slightly over the knees, slit at the
He looked at his reflection, sighed
and picked up the comb. Well, he had to endure that, too This time he will be
smarter. Comb in his right hand, with his left he tightly held the hair at the
neck, his long fingers closing at the wisp with some difficulty.
Now it was better. He did not feel
the pain as the comb tore at his locks and heedless of the hairs in the
comb-teeth (enough to make a mortal woman swoon in envy) he managed the hairdo
sooner than he feared he would have to.
Another glance in the mirror
Legolas was not vain, Elves seldom are, at least as the looks are concerned.
Physical perfection was a norm; the way the other races looked well, among Men
one could meet beautiful beings. Sometimes. And they do become old so soon
Legolas considered his reflection not because he deemed himself fair (though
he was, even by the reckoning of Elves) but because he never understood the
embarrassment of Men should they meet him.
Yes, he was rather tall, slightly
over six feet. Nothing to marvel at Aragorn and Éomer were taller, to name
just a few Long-limbed, straight and slender any Elf would look the same. His
face Delicate yet strong features were usual for his kindred, as well as clear
grey eyes (though his eyes were a bit bigger and a bit brighter than was
his kins wont). Fair skin Long thick hair, curse it He shook his head, and
the lush waves rolled down to the shoulder blades. And they were dark, almost
By Elbereth, nothing unusual! Any
Exile would look like this. But he was not of the Exiles; his people ever abode
in Middle-earth. He was a Sinda, a kinsman, though distant, of Elu Thingol, and
of more close kinship to Celeborn of Lórien His father was golden-haired; many
of the Sindarin princes had silver locks Well, at the moment it did not
matter Tonight he will know the answer to this small riddle. And to a few
Strange are the ways of Men
Legolas sat in the chair by the hearth and stretched his long legs. Like
Aragorn. Strider, Telcontar Aragorn was fostered in the House of Elrond, he
spoke Sindarin as fluently as Westron, and he was also learned in the Ancient
Speech. If he desired an elvish name why would not keep Elessar that was
foretold to him? Why Telcontar, if he did not wish to be called Strider, in the
tongue of his people? Men are incredible. Only Men would call him Legolas
Yes, Men are incredible. And
fascinating. The coming age is the age of Men, the Elves must depart. The lady
Galadriel was right there is no place for them in Middle-earth any longer. He,
too, will follow his people to the Uttermost West. Alone, if the fate deem so
and none of the Wood-elves wish to come with him. Father He would almost
certainly stay. This decision will be a heavy blow to his heart Has he, Legolas,
the elf-prince of Mirkwood, the kings only son and heir any right to treat his
father like this?
Yet he is not departing tomorrow.
Not even the next year, by the reckoning of Men. Legolas shook his head with a
wry smile. No good trying to deceive himself. He would leave Mirkwood as soon as
he could, taking all the Wood-elves with him, those that were willing. To
Ithilien. Eventually, to the Blessed Realm. But first to the kingdom of Aragorn.
No good trying to deceive himself.
How could he be willing to abandon his father for this Man, be he the heir of
all kings of Elves and Men ever ruling in Middle-earth? More than that, he is
also willing to postpone his own departure. At the least, while Aragorn lives.
But what of his loyalty? Never before has he been unfaithful.
Well, his heart speaks clearly now.
He has not yet beheld the sea, but now, when the Enemy is no more, the journeys
are easy and pleasant. Especially in Gondor, the fair kingdom of Aragorn. As
soon as he comes back to Ithilien, he will travel to Dol Amroth. Only to look at
the sea. Then he would return, to Ithilien, to the fair Minas Tirith. He has
promised help to his friend, and it is his duty to see that the capital of
Gondor becomes the most beautiful city in Middle-earth. Fair is the White tree
in the court by the fountain, but this is not enough. They need more trees that
stay in bloom the year round, and birds that sing sweet songs among the boughs,
and fountains to freshen up the air when the fragrance of innumerable flowers
becomes so strong. This will be the gift from the Elves of Mirkwood to the
people of Gondor. The gift from Legolas to Aragorn, his friend.
By the sweet waters of Cuiviénen!
He is sitting here, musing on loyalty and on his friend that is many leagues
away, and he has completely forgotten his friend that is near! Legolas leaped to
his feet and rushed out of the room. Poor Gimli, he must feel very lonely.
Nobody would dare to treat the friend of the prince badly or even cast a dark
glance on him, be he a Dwarf, but very few of the Wood-elves could speak Westron.
He opened the door of a fair
chamber across the corridor from his own bedroom and entered quietly. His
graceful movements were absolutely noiseless, and his bare feet hardly touched
the carpets spread on the marble floors. Legolas laughed to himself, recalling
poor Frodo, the hobbit was ever amazed to see him walk suspecting his light
shoes in some wizardry. It was a pity that he never had a chance to show Frodo
how an Elf could walk in the air that is, on the tip of his toes. The
illusion, though, was almost complete. But it had been too cold and too unclean
to run unshod an elf is not a hobbit.
There was no need to worry. Gimli
was still sleeping fitfully after the meal they had had together. Legolas came
closer and stood for a while looking at his friend. Of course, he would sleep.
The Dwarf was very weary. From the borders of Mirkwood they rode almost without
rest, for the heart of Legolas longed for the halls of his father And who was
singing to Gimli when he went to bed? You forget your own skills, Legolas.
Verily, you can more than to calm down frightened horses.
He returned to his bedroom and sat
down in the same chair again. He was at home and now he would be at peace, for a
while. He was still very tired, unusual for an Elf. The quest was arduous; his
body could endure almost any weariness should he have peace of mind. Yet it was
the peace of mind they lacked on that journey. Legolas was not afraid, not for
himself Elves are valiant. Only once during the whole journey he became really
frightened (and really ashamed afterwards, though nobody noticed his fear or so
it seemed). But anxiety was ever haunting him, taking his breath, clasping his
heart in icy claws Frodo and Sam alone in Mordor. The pictures were ever
before his eyes - the two hobbits, captured and tormented in the Dark Tower. Or
lying motionless somewhere in the terrible barren plain two small brown
figures, dying of weariness, thirst and hunger.
Enough! The quest is over, and the
Enemy is no more. Frodo and Sam be praised with great praise! Truly, that was
the deed most noble and valiant. He had already started making a song about it.
Tonight, at the merrymaking after the feast, he would probably sing it.
Yet his own part in this quest was
very small. He was representing the Elves. Legolas laughed again. Had he not
failed with his task, he would have never been in Imladris the night before the
Yes, Gollum was his charge. And by
his orders they let that wretched creature out of the dungeons. And it was no
excuse that he himself was not there when his escape was contrived. Yes, he was
fighting the Orcs that night, they were many and his command and his skills of
an archer were needed. And yet As soon as it had been reported to him that
Gollum refused to climb back from that accursed tree, he should have gone there
himself, climbed after and dragged the wretch down. Yet he let the matter be.
Gollum escaped, with the evil help from Mordor. And they failed to track him.
There was nothing left than to go
to Imladris, ashamed, and confess. His father was against his going. Had he any
foreboding? It was difficult to say, for his father had many strange powers.
But he insisted, rightly so, and the king had to permit his journey.
It was not for the first time for
him to go as an ambassador of Thranduil, although to Lothlorien and the Havens,
south of Mirkwood, and west of Imladris, his father forbade him to travel. Well,
tonight he will know the reason of it.
So he came to the Council and had
to confess. It was a great shame; he dared barely to glance at Mithrandir and
Aragorn. But he became quite amazed when after the Council Elrond came up to him
and courteously asked him for a private converse...
Save Elrond and himself, there was
only Glorfindel present. They looked at him for a while and were silent. At
length Elrond spoke and Legolas could hardly believe his ears. The Lord of
Imladris was asking if he would join the Quest. For the Elves.
Of course, it was an honour to him,
so he told them. Of course he would follow the Ring-bearer not only to the
mountain-passes. He would go to Mordor if so lies the way. Even if he is bound
by no oath. But and he looked straight at Glorfindel his power was yet
small. One thing he could do, though if there is need to die performing the
quest, he would.
There was silence again, and
Glorfindel cast down his proud eyes. Then the elf-lord spoke, very slowly.
Verily my power is stronger than
yours, Legolas. Yet in this Quest I cannot avail. On the contrary my presence
would reveal all to the Enemy. And I lack the skills that you possess.
He failed to comprehend. What was
Glorfindel talking about? Elrond sensed his bewilderment and explained.
This Quest is no warfare, Legolas.
Our hope, small as it is, lies in speed and secrecy. You are one of the best
archers in Middle-earth, and your eyes are keener than those of any other Elf.
And yet that is not of the gravest import. There will be different peoples in
the Company. A hobbit, the Ring-bearer, probably, one more. They are strange
people. They can be stout and valiant, but their courage kindles slowly. Oft are
they timid and shy.
Then there is a man, Boromir, and
Gimli the Dwarf. Both are proud and obstinate. And there is Mithrandir, the
great wizard but quick to anger. You are the only one among the Elves known to
me that could find your way with them all together. For you are generous and
light of heart, and true to your friends...
That was more for Legolas than he
could bear. He blushed and bowed low. Blushing is not common with Elves, and it
is not what Men would call colour. He fell silent for a while. Then he looked at
Elrond and Glorfindel in turn.
He thanked them graciously for
their kind words. He was grateful indeed, not oft would such things come to his
ears his father was quick to scorn and slow to praise. Yet their own task was
not much easier, nonetheless. Should the quest fail as it almost inevitably
would and the Shadow will cover Middle-earth. Then the Elves must fly those
who can fighting their way to the Havens through the hosts of the fell
creatures of Mordor, perchance against the Enemy himself. Then a few must stay
and withstand the tide so that the others could escape. It will be Glorfindel.
And Elrond. And his sons.
They accepted his gratitude and bowed
in return. Then they talked of other matters. Elves do not thrive on empty
speech - Elrond and Glorfindel instructed him, for the Lord of Imladris had
misgivings concerning the road they might choose...
Glorfindel told of himself,
reluctantly the fall of Gondolin, the last combat with the Balrog. Legolas
knew the tale, of course, but the elf-lord described the evil being very vividly
to him. Elrond hinted that not all the Balrogs had perished in the ruinous wars
of the Elder Days
Yes, the Balrog. They did meet the
evil spirit in Moria and he lost his heart. He recognised the thing directly and
became stiff with dread: all too well he remembered the drawn face of Glorfindel,
the pain in his eyes, the trembling of his voice
And he failed to shoot at the
Balrog. He did not even try to bend his bow, leaving Mithrandir hold the bridge
alone! Afterwards he was long ashamed of himself; that was why he did not stay
with his comrades in Lórien. Of course, his heart desired the company of his own
kin, brief as it had to be, and he was delighted to learn the ways of the
Galadhrim. And to hold converse with the Lady and the Lord Yet he could not
look in the eyes of his companions, could not hear their words of lamentation.
They were all mourning Mithrandir
Well, enough for the sad memories!
He still has a task at hand The Lay of Frodo the Valiant and Samwise the
Faithful must be ready ere tonight. Legolas sat for a while musing on what he
would desire most at the merrymaking to listen or to sing himself. Then he
smiled verily he would have to do both, whatever his wish might be. He would
be praised, of course, and Gimli also, and all their comrades. And there would
be Lindor, the kings minstrel, to sing the words of praise. One must admit that
Lindor was a good minstrel, and his voice was uncommonly sweet, but he was no
Daeron, whatever he fancied. And he was jealous of his art, and always ready to
compete. Well, all the better Legolaswill sing about the deeds of
his friends tonight.
He rose and went to the next room,
his study. If he was going to sing tonight, he must complete his lay. He could
improvise, though, when it was necessary. The Lament of Boromir It was good, he
was in the right mood that day exhilarated after the hunt and stricken with
grief at his companions fall. And the hobbits had been captured Inspiration
for a good song oft comes with pain
Legolas lit candles at the desk. It
was very tidy he had not touched it for so long Yet everything was made ready
for him the pile of paper sheets, as he liked, creamy-white, rather thick.
Fresh ink in the pot. Pens and brushes neatly arranged beside. He had been long
He sat down, drew a sheet of paper
closer and picked up a thin brush he did not like pens save for drawing. He
was quiet for a while, deliberating. Should he use the ann-thennath, the
classical mode, loved by the Elves? He used to be quite good at it. Yet he was
reluctant to use it now, it seemed strangely unfitting. The days of glory of the
Eldar are gone No, he would write his lay in the mode of Men, unsophisticated
as some might deem it. And it will be the tale of hobbits.
He was soon ready with the verses,
counting syllables and lines and making the rhymes with the elaborate skill of
talent shaped by long practice. The melody came by itself He took his harp and
carefully run his long fingers across the strings. The harp was tuned up; it had
been waiting for him also...
Legolas started playing.
Elbereth Gilthoniel, it was false, unbearably false! One could hardly
believe that the fingers of an Elf could bring to life such terrible,
disharmonious sounds. What was wrong? Of course, his hands were on the string of
his bow rather than on the string of a harp during the last year, but the time
was too short for him to loose all his skills. And in Minas Tirith Aragorn and
the Queen Arwen asked him to sing, and they were glad to hear him play Yes, now
he understands His heart is troubled, he has no peace of mind, and his hand is
not steady. Well, he must calm down. He would sing many songs tonight. And he
would speak with his father And soon he must change for the feast. Tonight all
the eyes will be on him.
Fair and starry was the night of
the early autumn. The bright fire was still burning merrily in the Glade of
Songs, where the Wood-elves would share the moments of joy. Let Elrond stay in
his Hall of Fire, the people of Thranduil will not sing in caves! Their clear
voices sound sweeter among the trees under the bright stars!
The night grew old and the dawn
drew nigh. All the Elves were gone save two two figures sitting by the fire,
light shimmering in their bright eyes.
Thranduil looked at his son.
Tonight the heart of the king was filled with pride as he watched him - so calm,
so gracious, so fair Legolas was clad in the fashion of Mirkwood, green and
brown. Green tunic, the colour of newly opened beech leaves, slit at the chest
and laced with silver string. Hemmed with gold and silver and stud with pearls
round the collar Strings of pearls were shining in his dark hair Rings on his
fingers were glittering white, green and blue
The prince of the Wood-elves is
loved by his people, and rightfully so. Thranduil saw that his son was in a rare
mood verily Legolas was spreading joy around him. He politely talked to his
father answering his questions; joked with the Dwarf (cushions were piled high
in his chair); spoke with the kings counsellors sitting around them.
...Gimli was eating and drinking to
his hearts content. The Wood-elves proved much better hosts than he expected
from Gloins tale. Though few of them spoke Westron, they were kind to him,
smiling and cheering. Besides, those sitting at the kings table knew the Common
Speech and he could converse with his neighbours. The food was exquisite, and
the wine even better. Thranduil knew how to please his guests when he was in the
mood to do so.
And more pleasure was yet to come.
Aye, who can say that merrymaking in the elvish fashion all these endless
songs - is a pleasure for a Dwarf, but to share the company of his friend Gimli
would endure hours of elvish songs. Probably, even days. The Dwarf grinned. He
would love dearly to hear Legolas sing.
He caught the glance of Thranduil.
The king was smiling at him, benevolently, and raising his bowl. Gimli bowed
low. In the name of justice, the king of the Wood-elves appeared far more
pleasant than his reputation among the folk of the Mountain made him. But he was
the father of Legolas, after all
O fair Elbereth, this friendship is
incredible, thought Thranduil. Yet the Dwarf is really fast with his son, so
much is obvious. The king moved uneasily, recalling the name his son got from
his mother Legolas never knew that he had also an amilesse tercenye, a
name of foreboding. Verily the foresight had been keen.
This is not the time for dark
thoughts! The king was enjoying the feast, the presence of his son (even if he
had to endure the Dwarf), and more pleasure was yet to come. Thranduil was
looking forward to the merrymaking. Truly, Lindor was a good minstrel yet
Legolas, in his best moments, would probably surpass him.
...It was over now, the feast and
the merrymaking. The strange lay that his son was singing The verses were very
simple, sounding Mannish. But not unpleasant, not in the least On the contrary
they seemed very fitting And suddenly he was made to see them two small
figures, stumbling on weary feet, supporting each other, alone in the Land of
Shadow He perceived their feelings they were almost consumed with terror,
bent under the Burden, yet they came very slowly but ever closer to the enormous
mass of Orodruin
The Quest has changed his son. He
became wiser probably, more powerful and sad. So much alike his mother It was
Since the very first moment he met
her, the bittersweet anguish of love ever abode in his heart. But why, o fair
Elbereth, should the bitterness grow and the sweetness diminish as long years
were passing by in the swift stream of time? It was beyond his strength to stop
loving her... And beyond his strength to forgive
Sometimes it was a torment to look
at the fair face of his son. Their son. Her son. Legolas likeness to his mother
had always been striking. A mother that he had never known Yet while this
resemblance was limited to the looks, Thranduil could endure it. But to see him
now so much alike his mother in his bearing
I desired long to speak to my
father, said Legolas quietly. I am asking the leave now.
The king started awakening from
reverie. Speak, Legolas, and I shall listen gladly to your words.
Legolas was amazed. Since early
childhood he was accustomed to speak and to be spoken to in a very formal way.
And the words of his father, ever courteous were often cold, sometimes scornful.
Only rarely was he called by name And he could hardly remember that his father
was glad to listen to him
Could it be that his father was
missing him? Of course, their realm had had to withstand a few bitter assaults
from the Enemy and his presence had been required But the Enemy is no more He
is determined and he must speak openly
I shall ask leave from my father and
lord, he continued in his soft, clear voice, for myself to depart from our
realm and to move south, together with those of our people that are willing.
Why is it so? The king was
genuinely surprised. And whither are you going?
To Ithilien, lord. The fair land
north of Ethir Anduin
I know where Ithilien lies,
Thranduil became suddenly annoyed and was not going to conceal it. This is a
strange wish of yours. Why should you depart from home? I deemed your quest was
I am bound by promise to return
and to bring aid. An answer as short as incomprehensible.
A promise? To whom? And what aid
are you talking about?
Aragorn Elessar, the Elf-friend,
and the king of Men in the realm of Gondor is expecting me to return. His
capital had suffered grievous harm in the war. My desire is that the people of
the Wood could heal the wounds of this fair land and make Minas Tirith the city
most beautiful and blessed in Middle-earth. Gimli the Dwarf and his people would
The Dwarf! The Dwarf and the Man
are taking his son from him! Never! As long as Thranduil is the King of the
Wood, he will never grant his permission. And yet He knows his son well enough
He feels it in his heart this strange request is only a beginning
I deem your wish odd, yet I must
think Is there anything else that you desire?
Yes, lord, and in this matter it
is beyond your power to grant permission or deny. I am sailing West
This is how it feels to be stabbed in the heart So he has lived to hear these
words again! And Legolas is serious; indeed, grave and sad. The yearning for
the Sea In his heart it must be especially strong
How has it befallen you? A
I was warned by the Lady Galadriel
not to come near the Sea. And beware the voices of the gulls Yet the paths of
war brought me nigh Ethir Anduin And I beheld the gulls, and heard their
wailing voices. Alas, my heart has no peace any more. I must sail.
There is nothing more to say. His
son cannot be dissuaded. No Elf can be dissuaded that has heard the call of the
Sea The best plans would eventually go amiss His son has journeyed to Lórien
And to the Sea And he will travel beyond it
When are you departing? The voice
of the king became strangely monotonous.
I shall dwell in Middle-earth as
long as my friends live.
His friends? Oh yes, the Man and
the Dwarf. The elven-prince will abide in the land of Men nigh the Dwarves
Legolas will forsake his father for those two
You are granted my permission. You
may leave Greenwood at the time of your choice and take those that would
Verily my gratitude knows no
measure. Yet my heart is heavy for I am parting from my father and lord. Would
you not follow me to the Blessed Realm?
Never! Thranduil almost shouted.
Legolas stared at him, amazed, then looked down. The king bowed his head. He was
very weary and he foreboded that the worst was still to come.
Suddenly the prince looked straight
in the eyes of his father. Forgive me, lord, but this I must know ere I depart
Since my first days of life no Wood-elf has ever spoken the name of their Queen.
Now I desire to know the reason of it. What has befallen your wife and my
So, the minute is come Thranduils
bleeding heart cried for mercy, but the voice of the king was clear, cold and
She had fled forgetting her duty
of mother, wife and queen. You were but a few months old when she forsook you
and sailed. That was a treachery that I found hard to forgive, and the people of
my realm would not forget easily. Yet everyone had pity for you and you were
spared the knowledge of your mothers disgrace.
Who was she?
(He is persistent. Could it be that
he is perceiving the truth?! Has Galadriel broken her word?!)
An Exile. (I will tell no more.)
Legolas sprang lightly to his feet.
He bowed low and disappeared without a glance or a word. His father kept sitting
by the fire. Alone.