Author's Note: We've hit page one hundred everyone! parties Thanks for sticking through the sporadic updates, which probably won't get any better seeing as how school starts in a few weeks. Please feel free to e-mail me to remind me to write, update, and more importantly, with ideas for the story! What do you want to see in the future of this story? Anything you want Alagi to learn/see/hear/witness/experience? Let me know!
I get most of my information for Elrohir and Elladan from here: http/ It's a nice, easy to read layout of the twins, and I hope you'll visit it!
The Elvish I have is courtesy of the website Ardalambion at: http/www.uib.no/People/hnohf/. The list I use is the Quenya Wordlist. I slapped two nouns/adjectives together to get names such as Isquamir and Alta-Alda.
Oh yes, and the extensive history I researched for this chapter is courtesy of How accurate the information is I can only hope, but I believe it is the correct version. If not, forgive me, but I have not read The Silmarillion and don't plan to in the near future. It's just too long!
Have a fun summer everyone!
Disclaimer: The Mirkwood Elves shot the disclaimer on a hunting spree for Gollum.
Chapter Thirteen: History
After the twins left, I was on my own. Left with no one, I wandered around Thranduil's castle. Used to the pleasant hellos and kind nods from Rivendell it was unnerving to walk down the darker hallways of Mirkwood and receive nothing but hostile glances. From the outside, Thranduil's castle has two large towers in the front and two in the back of the castle.
Finding nothing but stone and cold morning sunlight from broad, half-covered windows, I followed the hallways up a flight of staircases, noticing that everything was still clean and slightly damp. Every twenty or something stairs there was a slight crack to let sunlight in farther up the wall.
At the top of the staircase was an old door, carved of green wood and covered with Elvish ruins choked with dust. There was a ring to serve as a doorknob, but when I pulled the door, it opened with a silent efficiency that belayed its decrepit appearance.
A blast of morning wind hit me in the face as the door opened. The tower ended in a balcony where a lone Elf stood, his head covered with a dark blue cloak.
He turned when the door opened and a brief look of confusion crossed his features. "Who are you?" The Elf had a squarer face than Eressëa, and light grey eyes like a sword in the sun.
"I-I'm Alagi," I stammered. Just to be on the safe side, I bowed slightly in case who ever I was talking with was higher than the guard status he appeared to be. "I was just following the stairs to see where they go..."
The Elf didn't look interested past my name and turned back to the forest. I scooted to the other side of the balcony and looked out at the forest. The trees didn't look as skeletal and dead as they had before. I could see what Elladan meant by the "outer rim". Lines of brown and black trees were in the distance while trees that were red and gold with autumn surrounded the castle.
"So the inner rim are the trees by the castle, right?" I asked the Elf before I remembered I wasn't talking to anyone I actually knew.
To my surprise, the Elf responded. "That is one way of saying it." From the voice, I figured the Elf was male.
"What's another way of saying it?" I asked.
The Elf looked over at me, then answered; "The trees that still bear color and fruit are untainted by the evil that infects the rest of the wood."
"Evil?" I was puzzled until I remembered Bilbo's story. "Oh! You mean the spiders, right?" When the Elf didn't say anything, I went on. "A man on the river talked about lights in the forest, but if I remember from Bilbo's story, the lights were from you guys."
I think it was the name Bilbo that caught the Elf's attention. "Bilbo? The hobbit, Bilbo Baggins?"
I was pleasantly surprised. "You know him?"
The Elf shook his head. "I have only heard of him."
"He's awesome," I smiled.
That sentence earned me a full out stare from the Elf. "Awesome?"
I had forgotten about the slang rule. "I'm sorry. It's a word I use that means 'really good'. What I meant to say is Bilbo is a very nice person." The Elf continued to stare at me and I felt like I was being criticized again.
I just smiled politely and thought in my head, Why am I constantly getting criticized? I've done nothing to make anyone suspicious of me for anything!
Looking up, I could see the top of the tower, where a long metal rod stood up about three feet from the tip. Wondering if I could see all the way to Beorn, I undid my cloak and stepped over the railing. Wind whistled past my ears as my wings spread, and with a great jerk of muscle, I was going up instead of down.
Grabbing hold of the rod, I balanced myself on the roof and looked around. Far, far off in the distance was a small blob on the edge of the forest, what I took to be Beorn. It was a clear day and I could see the Old Ford river, winking in the rising sunlight. The trees of the inner rim spread farther than I had thought, their colors of red, gold, yellow, and brown flowing like water in the wind. This high up, there didn't seem to be any evil in the woods.
Looking back down at the Elf below, I grinned. "If there's any evil present, you can't see it this morning!"
The Elf looked up at me, intrigue in his eyes. "So you are the winged one from Rivendell."
I floated back down gently and frowned slightly. "I guess word travels fast."
The Elf shook his head. "Few know."
I shrugged and repinned my cloak. "I'm sure they'll all find out eventually."
The Elf raised an eyebrow. "Then why the cloak?"
I broke off I contact with the Elf and didn't answer, only scuffing a foot against the ground. Knowing I should answer, I just shrugged. What I wanted to say was I didn't want anymore hostility because of my wings than I was already receiving, but I didn't dare insult the Elf.
The Elf blinked leisurely, then said just as slowly, "Always speak your mind, young one."
The nickname irked me, so I went ahead and said it. "I'm already met with enough hostility, why add more to the mistrust?"
Those light grey eyes didn't waver as they looked directly into my blue eyes. "Then earn the trust."
"How?" I asked, unsure of what else to say.
"Be yourself," the Elf said with a gesture to me. "You will have nothing to fear if you harbor nothing to hide."
I rubbed my arms and looked at the ground. "Easier said than done. I don't think I can be myself. I'm surrounded by people who never make a mistake, and I'm not perfect!"
The Elf nodded smoothly. "Elves themselves are not always as perfect as you think. They are simply themselves, and are confident enough to not show that they have made an error."
I shrugged. This guy was making me nervous, with his talk of confidence and being yourself. In fact, the speech reminded me of-
"Why do normal people hate mutants, daddy?"
"Well, normal people don't understand mutants, and people fear what they don't understand. Many people think we want to use our powers for evil, and they judge us before they get to know us."
"But why daddy? I don't see why they don't be our friends and find out for themselves."
"It isn't that simply, sweetie. See, people make opinions first then make their friends off of opinions."
"Then how do I make friends?"
"Be yourself. You can't do anything about your powers, but you can do something about how you act. People like outgoing, friendly, sweet, kind people."
"Like the one guy who helped the one person with their groceries at the store! Right daddy?"
"Yes, just like that sweetie! If you be yourself, people someday may look past your powers and see the beautiful personality you have. Even if people dislike you because of your wings, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are you, not trying to be something you're not."
"Mmmm…does that mean the kids at school will still play with me when I'm older?"
"I don't know, angel, but it's time for bed. I'll send mom up to tuck you in, ok?"
I jerked out of the flashback and for a second, I didn't know where I was. I looked over at the Elf, who was staring at me as if he had asked me something. "I'm sorry, did you say something?"
The Elf's facial features didn't change from the neutral expression. "Yes, but you seemed to become lost in a thought."
I looked away as I answered, "Sometimes I get flashbacks of my old life."
This time the Elf showed his intrigue. "Old life?"
"Yes, I don't remember much about where I'm originally from," I explained, before remembering Elrohir's words. I shut up and stared out at the forest.
"You do not wish to speak of this matter," the Elf said, in more of a comment than question.
I nodded and turned to leave before remembering my manners. Turning back to the Elf, I bowed again. "Thank you for your time, sir. You have been excellent company."
The Elf made no move to stop me as I left, and as I closed the door, I realized that I had no idea who I had been talking to. I just revealed a bunch of mushy gushy stuff about myself to someone I don't know! I don't even know his name, or if he's a guard or servant or, whatever! Maybe I won't run into him again. It was so odd though…I felt as if I needed to defend myself, as if he was criticizing me for no reason!
Stepping carefully down the steep stairs, I emerged back into a main hallway and found my way to the eating hall. It was lunch, and I ate alone, sitting under a window and thinking about when was the last time I ate alone. I couldn't remember when. The only thing I accomplished was a twanging feeling of disappointment in Mirkwood.
While I as attempting to find my way back to my room a guard rushed up to me. I knew it was a guard because his bow, quiver, and a long handled knife were strapped to his back. He had dull goldenrod hair and dark grey eyes, almost black, and his mouth seemed to be permanently pasted in a straight line.
"The King sends for you. I am to bring you to him." With that, the Elf started at a fast walk.
I had to jog to catch up to him. "Why is he sending for me?"
The Elf gave me a disapproving glance over his shoulder. "I would not know the King's business."
I blushed as I realized he was right. Hoping to slide past the embarrassment, I asked, "Where are we going?"
"The gardens," the Elf replied curtly. His weapons chinked as he opened a door and led the way through a covered walkway. It led to a large garden, if you can call it that. The garden was mostly trees, with some shoots of dying flowers and a fountain in the middle of an artificial clearing.
Around the white marble fountain was the King, the Prince, two guards, and three strange Elves, one in a long dark grey robe, one in an even longer silver robe, and the other dressed in simple grey and white with a silver band on his head.
The guard in front of me bowed gracefully about ten feet from the party. "Your majesty."
Thranduil looked up and nodded at the guard. "Thank you. You are dismissed." The King waved a hand at the other two guards, who both bowed and left. The two Elves in long robes left as well, giving a slow military bow of their head before leaving.
I bowed low as I addressed the King. "Your majesty, you called for me?"
The King didn't smile. "Yes. I have completed the response to Master Elrond."
"I will set off whenever you wish, your majesty," I said. It would be great to be back in Rivendell again!
"Tomorrow, at first light, will give you enough time to rest, correct?" the King asked.
I nodded. "Yes, your majesty. That will work."
The King stared at me. "Then tomorrow it is."
I smiled politely and bowed. I didn't know what to do. "Is that all, your majesty?"
"Tell me, what do you think of Mirkwood?" the King asked.
I was caught! While the grounds were beautiful, Mirkwood was less friendly and darker than Rivendell. I was silent trying to think of something positive to say when the conversation from earlier today came to my mind. Be myself..
"Your majesty," I started slowly. "I find Mirkwood to be a truly distinguished place."
Thranduil raised an eyebrow. "How so?"
"It is a, rememborale, place that can survive in such darkness," I said carefully. "I am truly dazzled by the beauty of the inner realm of Mirkwood, your majesty."
I gave a smile, and I knew, at least I knew, that I was telling my honest opinion. It is hard to imagine, with all the horrible stories of deadly, fatal things in the forest that Thranduil's castle and the Elves here could live in such beauty and quiet.
I don't know if my eyes deceived me, but I could have sword I saw the King nod his head. Either way, he turned away from me and said, "The message is in your room."
I took this as my dismissal, and I bowed low again before leaving. I wandered back into the halls of Mirkwood and realized that I still didn't know where I was. I'm hating Mirkwood more by the second. Thranduil is a cold, cold man and if someone doesn't talk to me soon, I'm going to scream! Why couldn't we come to Mirkwood at a reasonable time of day, when I wasn't half-asleep and couldn't remember where I was going?
I wasn't exactly sure if I would have remembered where I was going in the first place but I needed something to take my frustration and disappointment on, so the trip here seemed like a great thing to blame. Deciding that retracing my steps would be best, I easily found the front gate and started back, being sure to remember where I was going. Within twenty minutes I had found my room, recognizing it only because it had my saddlebags on the ground. On the desk was a white-grey scroll, tied with what looked like a vine and I could see a green seal on the string.
Now I had something to do, pack! I as unsure what to do with my wet clothes, so taking the second bag I had, I crumpled up the clothes guiltily and stuffed them in the bag. Dumping out the first bag, the wet clothes found a place at the bottom. The only thing I had that would protect the scroll from the wet clothes was the cloak I was wearing, and I was hesitant to pack it up, despite reminders of today's earlier conversation ringing in my head.
I yawned. Maybe I'll just close my eyes for a minute. Closing the door I pushed my stuff in a neat pile and put my cloak on top of that before flopping unceremoniously onto the bed.
My wings twitched as I sighed and my thoughts wandered back to my vision of my super speed flight. What did I do? I did something funny with my shoulders, then my wings kind of jerked, and I was thinking about…getting through the course…
I woke up to someone knocking at my door, and I was still yawning as I opened the door. Outside was an amused Elf Prince.
"Greetings, Alagi," Legolas said politely. "I'm sorry to disturb you, but I was not confident you knew your way around the castle. Would you allow me to give you a tour?"
I smiled, then remembered my manners and gave a still formal, but only half-bow. "Thank you, your majesty. I am deeply honored by your presence and your kindness."
Legolas gave a merry chuckle. "Thank you, and your welcome, but please, call me Legolas. The formalities get tiring after hearing them so often." The Elf flashed a charming white grin.
I couldn't help but smile back. "That sounds awesome. Just a sec…" I grabbed my cloak and looked at Legolas's face, realizing that I had used slang again. Legolas didn't say anything, just had a pleasant look on his face, so I had to say it. "You're the first person to not ask what the word 'awesome' means."
The Elf Prince gave a mischievous grin. "I have heard the term before."
"Oh, from that one guy, in the dark blue cloak," I said without thinking.
To my surprise, Legolas nodded. "Yes, my brother, Isquamir."
That was a jolt to my mind. "Brother?" Remembering my first impression of him, I felt my cheeks flush, and at an inquisitive smile from Legolas, I elaborated. "I thought he was a guard."
This comment amused Legolas. "Yes, he does give off the appearance of one. He prefers to blend into the scene as an observer. Many say he has a gift for reading people."
"Reading minds or reading emotions?" I asked. Something about reading minds seemed familiar.
"Emotions, actions, most anything about a person," Legolas said. "He is tuned into the meaning of hidden actions but he is no mind reader. That is a feat Lady Galadriel is famous for."
Great, another name to remember. "Lady Galadriel?"
"Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn of Lothlorien," Legolas spouted automatically. "I'm sure you will meet them at some point in the future."
If Galadriel can read minds, why would she need me? Unless it's short distance telepathy. "I'm sure I will."
Legolas had led me to the front gate, and it is here that he stopped. "As you have already seen, this is the front gate of Mirkwood. Down the hall to the immediate left are guard and servant quarters, while the second left contains the guest quarters. Much of the first floor is for show, containing the library and doors to the gardens. One level below are the dungeons and storage areas while the levels above consist of living quarters, work areas, and chambers for miscellaneous uses."
I smiled at the mention of storage. "Storage wouldn't happen to include wine barrels, would it?"
Legolas glanced at me, puzzled. "Yes, it would. Why do you ask?"
I laughed. "Bilbo's story of course!"
The Prince joined in with his twinkling chuckle. "Of course! I must confess Bilbo's story is not told often here."
"I'd hazard that the reason for that is he managed to escape with twelve dwarfs," I said lightly.
Legolas didn't say anything and I gathered that I had hit a sore note with the Elf, especially as his twinkling smile died abruptly and a look of deep loathing filled his eyes. The thought struck me that I should know what I said wrong and I felt the need to apologize. "I'm sorry, Legolas. I didn't mean to offend you."
The Prince sighed. "I gather you have not learned of the conflict between the Elves and Dwarves?"
I frowned slightly, remembering Arwen talking faintly of some war or another. "If I did I don't remember. There were several lessons on different wars and political conflicts."
Legolas didn't answer, only led me through an open doorway and by that action neatly changed the subject. The doorway led out to the inner woods, where the leaves crunched under my boots. The ground sloped slightly as we walked, the wind having died down some time ago, leaving the woods still and serene.
"Long ago, when the Valar created this land, Eru Ilúvatar planned to people to live on this land. The first beings created were those of the Elven race, then men, and these races were destined to have this earth." Legolas spoke smoothly, rapidly becoming as lost as I in the story. "Yet another being, Aulë the Smith, who created the mountains and the continents, had become impatient for the appearance of the Children of Ilúvatar, so he created his own race, the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves, the first of the Dwarven people. Ilúvatar was not pleased, as Aulë did not have the power to grant life, for that was Ilúvatar's power alone. Aulë repented his mistake and offered his creation to Ilúvatar, who accepted, and kept the Dwarves asleep until the first appearance of Elves. For many years, Dwarves and Elves lived in peace, until the Sindarin King of old, Elu Thingol, gained possession of a Silmaril as a bride-price for his daughter. Thingol had the Silmaril placed in a necklace by the Dwarves, but the Dwarves became obsessed with the necklace and slew Thingol, forever scattering the Sindarin people. Since then, the Elves and the Dwarves have been enemies."
I was silent. Most of it was confusing, like who the heck was Ilúvatar and the Valar, and what was a Silmaril, but I did understand the basic gist of it. The Dwarves had gotten greedy and had tried to take away Thingol's treasure. I looked over at Legolas, to ask questions, but he had a far away look, so I said nothing.
We kept walking in silence as I struggled to sort out the mess of history just thrown at me when Legolas stopped. "In Mirkwood, there is another old tale that dates back to when the first Elves came to live in the Northern part of this forest. The Silvan Elves came to this place the first night they came here"
I looked around. 'Here' was a small clearing with a single tree in the center. The tree was thick, still covered with most of its leaves, and tall, reaching just a little farther than the normal canopy.
Legolas continued. "Here, the first held conference, wondering whether they should continue Northward or stay. They sat under this tree for three days before they reached a consensus to stay. Now we use this area for conferences such as they held. Many say that this tree now represents the spirit of Mirkwood, and when the kingdom has regained it's full glory, the tree will come alive with flowers. We call this tree Alta-Alda1, in your tongue, it simply means the "great tree", for it is the strongest in the forest."
The tree was old and seemed different than the rest of the trees merely because it had lights strung on the rim and more leaves than the rest of the forest combined. I didn't voice my observations though, as this area did seem to be sacred, so I just looked on in polite interest. I was far more interested in the story with the Dwarves.
"Legolas, you mentioned a Silmaril," I finally asked, the question burning in my mind. "What is it?"
"There are three Silmaril's," Legolas explained patiently. "The Silmaril's are three crystals that give light to the Two Trees of Valinor." He must have seen my lost expression as he explained further. "Valinor is the land where the Elves are destined to go to live when the Realm of the Elves is over. It is a sacred land that only the first born may set foot on, and is across the sea. Two trees stand in this land and give light, or did give light. The three Silmarils are said to have helped give light to the land, and all three contain light from the Two Trees."
"So they're basically crystals that give off sacred light?" I asked.
Legolas nodded. "In a simplified answer, yes."
"What happened to Thingol's Silmaril?"
"It was lost," was all Legolas would say, though I tried to badger more details out of him. All the Elf Prince would do is stare at the tree. "I believe it is close to midday meal, Alagi. Let us start back."
I got no more answers about the Silmaril from Legolas or of Thingol, so I made a mental note to ask Lindir or Glorfindel about the topic.
Legolas became warmer and more inclined to talk after entering the castle. Elves we passed stared at me as I walked side by side with the Elf Prince, and I realized that being seen with Legolas was elevating my status and, hopefully, the level of respect I would receive.
"It is starting to get warmer, would you like to put your cloak in your room?" Legolas asked in a offhanded way as we turned a corner.
I thought for a minute, the conversation with Isquamir surfacing in my mind. "Yes, I guess so." I found that we were right by my room, and I had to wonder if this was planned or not. All the same, I put my cloak on the bed and closed the door as I came out.
With a grin, Legolas walked with me to the banquet hall, where I hesitated, took a breath, then stepped in. The long tables were rapidly filling, guards at one end and the more noble, higher Elves at another. I hesitated again. I didn't want to follow Legolas and get turned away because I was supposed to sit somewhere else.
A familiar, quiet voice behind me startled me. "It is good to see you again." I turned to find Isquamir, the blue hood down to reveal shining blonde hair like Legolas's. His thin mouth was in a slight smile.
I gave a half bow. "Prince Isquamir."
Isquamir waved off my bow. "I see you have been talking to my younger brother. Please, simply Isquamir."
I thought Isquamir was upset that I knew his name, but he gave no indication that he was upset, so I shook it off as something perceived. "I'm sorry I did not know who you were when we first met and that I didn't introduce myself. I'm Alagi."
Isquamir shook his head. "Think no more of it. I understand." Legolas came in at this time, and Isquamir shifted his attention. "Brother, where have you been all morning?"
"I was showing Alagi the castle," Legolas said, grasping Isquamir on his right forearm with his right hand.
Isquamir repeated the gesture. "I see." He turned to me. "How did you find the realm?"
"I saw that there was more than meets the eye," I answered.
Isquamir nodded. "Indeed there is." Elves started carrying food out, and Isquamir turned to me. "Come, join us for the midday meal."
I joined the two brothers at the higher end of the table, where other Elves in long, grey robes say, all talking in Elvish and moving with slow, deliberate movements. I sat next to Isquamir, and the Elves stopped talking momentarily.
Leoglas said something in Elvish, and I was able to catch Rivendell, messenger, and friend. The Elf across from me spoke. "You are the one the King speaks of, the seldë rámainen2."
I didn't know what the last phrase meant, but suddenly it was being murmured around the table. I nodded, not sure of the Elf's title. The Elf's face didn't change from neutral, but his eyes didn't seem cold or criticizing.
The rest of lunch was in Elvish, and though I understood parts of it, I wasn't inclined to follow anything, so I sat in silence and filled in gaps of conversation in my head with what I thought they should be saying.
After lunch, still feeling tired, I went to sleep in my room, waking up way after dark. Blundering around, repacking my stuff and managing to run into the limited amount of furniture in the room with both shins and my wings. Wrapping the scroll in my cloak, I placed it in the saddlebag and buckled it closed.
On the desk was a map of Middle-Earth, complete with small print. But I smiled at the quick note on the map, which read, Alagi, A map to guide you safely home. Take care, and give my regards to Elrond. - Legolas
My stomach growled and I decided to stroll to the eating area and see if there was any fruit out or something to snack on.
Sitting at one table with a single candle was Isquamir. I was about to approach him when I noticed he was writing slowly on a large piece of parchment. He seemed to be concentrating intensely, but as I saw a bowl of some gold looking apples, I made sure I walked heavily into the large hall.
Isquamir looked up quickly, the first time I had ever seen an Elf startled, and a blank piece of parchment was neatly slipped over the one he had been writing on. "Good evening Alagi."
"Is it still evening, or early morning?" I asked, cautiously sitting across from the Elf as I took an apple. Isquamir shifted uncomfortably, so I made up my mind to make the talk quick. "I just wanted to get an apple to snack on, maybe one for the road."
The Prince nodded. "They are a unique variety of apple, found only in Mirkwood. This is the last of the season." As I hurried to put back the second one I had taken, Isquamir added, "No, feel free to take it! Most of us have had our fill."
I smiled, "Thanks." I shifted, took a bite of apple, swallowed, then asked, "Whatcha doin'? Drawing?"
I knew then that I had made a mistake as Isqaumir seemed to stiffen and he turned from me. "No."
I got up. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-I shouldn't have pried. How long until dawn?"
"One hour," Isquamir replied.
I nodded. "Thank you for your kindness and hospitality yesterday and today. I hope to see you again when I come back." I thought, then added. "If I come back."
"Why would you not come back?"
I shrugged. "You never know. Thanks again though." I gave the Prince what I thought of as one of my most dazzling smiles, then left.
What could he have been writing? I know Elves scribe books sometimes, but I don't think someone who is a Prince would, especially since he didn't have a book in front of him. I don't think even Elves have that good of a memory! I shouldn't have asked, but I was just so curious! I feel bad now, I shouldn't have asked…But what was he doing? Writing a book? A letter? Just writing?
Maybe he's writing a journal. What would an Elf write about in a journal? If they've lived for thousands of years, wouldn't they have already thought of any insightful or wise thought they would need? I know people keep on learning, even when they're old, but what about Elves? They never die!
Wouldn't they get bored sitting around for thousands and thousands of years? I mean, if they keep journals, would they have days where they have nothing to write? I'm sure they all have something to think about, Elves always seem to pensive, but what do they think about?
I went to my room, took a last look for loose items, then secured my saddlebag over my shoulder and neck then headed for a tower. As I climbed, the sky started to turn blue, then grey, and when I was at the top, the grey was brightening. A lone guard stood in the incoming morning light, and only gave me a quick, perturbed glance.
Glancing at the map, then at the terrain, I could make out the mountains, so I decided to head out. Tucking the map into a dry spot in my saddlebag, I stepped over the ledge and took off. I didn't look back at Mirkwood. Why should I, when all I had been met with was hostility? Besides the two Princes of course…
1 great tree
2 girl with wings
Alta-Alda great tree