Chapter 1

"If I was fortunate enough to have such a beautiful creature in my company, I would not think it wise to stray so far into danger" purred the Elven King, his eyes burning into you, taking in your soaking silk dress that was now see-through from your fall into the river.

You silently curse your blushing cheeks. He glances back to your oldest and closest friend Tarron, scowling at him intensely – it almost seemed as though he didn't appreciate the way he'd formed a barrier between himself and you. After being captured not 3 days ago for being dared to enter the elven halls in disguise, to your surprise, instead of being locked away in the dungeons, both of you were made guests. However, your best friend was set against it being weird, he said the only reason that the both of you were allowed to stay here was because the King 'fancied' you; for the latter statement Tarron received a blow to the balls, you disliked the attention and being an awkward soul at the best of times, any hypothetical male advances really made you feel uncomfortable. But here and now you are faced with a real problem, this was the second time King Thranduil had come to your aid - in all fairness, the first time involved you losing your clothes (and your dignity) after taking a bath made by his servants, only for the King to offer you a choice of the finest dresses made by the royal dressmaker. Yet Tarron argued that you were in no real danger, unless of course you fell over onto a sharp object, but you begged to differ. Complete nudity in a stranger's home wasn't something you felt ok with. In fact, you hated it. You thanked God it was Elora, your attributed maid, and not the King himself who found you nude. Ah, the shame.

And now, realising the King's guards had surrounded you and Tarron, all eyes boring into your…well, what should have been a beautiful, floor length dress, decorated with silver crystals and white lace, was now a ripped, battered, brown piece of ragged cloth - you wanted to curl up and die. Shortly after Tarron had suggested taking a walk outside the King's halls, you had both found yourselves in the middle of an orc pack. The King had initially informed you that no-one was allowed to leave the halls when you were first brought to him, you had frequently heard of stories about dark things that lurked in the Forest of Mirkwood and truthfully, if it wasn't for Tarron practically dragging you out, none of this would have happened. The shade created by the trees that hung over the edge of the riverbank framed where you stand, opposite the King's wrath. It makes you shiver. You loathe the cold, and now, you loathe Tarron.

Having just slaughtered the pack of orcs who drove you into the river, Thranduil's sword is dripping with blood as he effortlessly slides it back into the scabbard next to his left hip. Neither you nor Tarron make a sound. Whispers of the King's temper had made their way round the chambers and you knew that the servants seldom dared look the King in the eye for fear of being scolded, even if he had let you both stay in his halls, you had barely seen him, or his temper. Being cautious not to enrage him, you avoid eye contact and shuffle behind Tarron, suddenly thankful for his height. You aren't small, but being the only human present, it made you feel vulnerable. The village you grew up in was far from these lands and years ago your family had found Tarron abandoned in the corn fields your father worked in. Your mother couldn't handle looking after another child, instead, her sister took him in and raised Tarron as her own son. As an elf growing up in a village full of men, it was difficult for him to make friends, but somehow, you had always been drawn to him. He isn't overly tall, but tall enough. His nose is thin yet defined, as are his cheeks, and clothed in a grey tunic paired with muddy brown trousers, he looks pretty rough. His hair is light brown, speckled with dirt that appeared to look like highlights, and his round hazel eyes are small, but big enough to convey what they wanted, and right now, they are doubled in size. Placing your right hand on the small of Tarron's back for support, you feel him shake, never had you known him to be scared. His adventurous ways always had you in trouble, but this is different. This is royal trouble, and you don't like it one bit.

"Did I not tell you to stay inside the halls?"

No-one answers.

"Did I not stress how important it was that no-one leaves without my consent?"

You shiver for a second time, involuntarily and catch his eye from behind Tarron's shoulder.

"Am I to take it, that no-one here can speak?"

Suddenly, you feel your hand on Tarron's back rise as he attempts to talk. His lungs fill with air and his mouth widens, but he hasn't the courage to reply. Instead, the King lunges forward, taking both of you off-guard and stops centimetres away from Tarron's face. You lower your head, trying as best you can to be invisible, but he pushes Tarron to the side with one arm and grabs your wrist with the other.

"A King requires an answer" he whispers into your ear with a smirk.

His breath is ice on your neck and the air is so thick with tension you feel faint, but the freezing droplets of water on your skin keep you from keeling over. His unfaltering eye contact is killing you.

"I…yes, my King"

You finally answer him, after a painstakingly long wait. Out the corner of your eye you can see Tarron, his eyes glued to the floor as the King draws back his hand from your wrist and takes a further look at you, eyes roaming over your drenched attire.

"Well, it appears you can speak… perhaps you will be able to explain yourself better in front of my court, as to why you found it necessary to disobey my commands?" he growls.

You throw a look to Tarron to see if he is going to dissuade the King, but it's a loss. You begin to wonder why he's so angry. Dripping wet, you stand there helpless, exhausted and humiliated.

"Please, my K..King..I..we are truly sorry…" you reply, spluttering your words out before another shiver sets in.

His gaze never leaves you as he flicks his wrist, signalling for two guards to wrap you in a deep red blanket, you sigh at the instant warmth it creates and glance over to Tarron, who is holding a blanket similar to yours. As they begin to march you and both back to the Woodland King's halls, you look over your shoulder to see the King watching you as you go. He is standing there, arms folded as his lips curl into a sinister smile, his long silver hair whipping around in the wind. His intimidating glare makes you turn back.

You feel a wave of anxiety wash over you and the realisation that you might be stuck here for quite some time…and not as a guest.