I neither own nor created Middle Earth, Greenwood the Great, King Thranduil, Legolas, nor the Silvans elves. Tolkien did, and I am extremely grateful to him for doing so. I did create Rhovamil, her mother Lathwinn the Great, and Mellolaes the nurse.
This story is for entertainment purposes only, so please read and be entertained. :)
Mellolaes picked up her skirts and dashed after her charge. Rhovamil pulled farther away with every stride. The nurse growled. "Stupid skirt!" How did anyone expect her to keep up with the queen's daughter?
Rhovamil halted at the oak's base, and then scrambled up its trunk like she had claws. Mellolaes came to the base of the tree herself and looked up. The lowest branches bore many leaves, but no elflings.
The nurse looked around. This tree stood apart. The forest surrounding the palace gardens and greens was too far away from this oak for a "grown" elf to leap from its longest branch and land anywhere but the ground.
Mellolaes turned, sat, and leaned back into the trunk. She let her head fall back against the bark and closed her eyes. A breeze rustled the leaves above her. In the forest, waking birds called out morning greetings. Bow-strings twanged from the true training yards. Then, another sound cut through these. Elfling sobs drifted down to Mellolaes.
The nurse rose to her feet and climbed. The elleth's eyebrows rose as the sobs drew her higher and higher. Her head emerged above the canopy. Mellolaes spied her charge on the top branch.
The nurse sighed. Then she climbed over to sit on a branch just below the elfing's. The elleth swallowed her mother's instinct to cuddle the crying child. Instead, she set her gaze upon Rhovamil before squinting and tilting her head. "What are you afraid of, my love?"
The elfing sprang up. She glared at her nurse, raised her chin, and stomped a foot. "I am not afraid of anything! My nanneth's never afraid! I will never be afraid of anything either!"
Mellolaes' eyebrows rose slowly, and she spoke just as slowly. "So much anger must come from fear. Think on your feelings for a moment, Rhovamil."
The elfling froze. Her face went blank as she stared at her nurse. Rhovamil sniffed. Mellolaes reached out and laid a hand upon her charge's shoulder. The elleth's gaze softened. "Come now. Tell Mella, Rhovamil. What is it my brave elfling afraid of?"
"I'm not the best!" The tiny archer hung her head in shame. As they lowered, her eyelashes sparkled with drops like dew. She whispered, "I will never be the best … Nanneth, and Legolas, and everyone else will always be better than me, because they were born earlier and have practiced more. I was born too late … I shall always be worst."
Mellolaes cocked her head in one direction and then the other. A grin flashed over her face. "Rhovamil, did you know I'm a terrible archer?"
The elfling's head shot up. Wide-open eyes stared before blinking. "Huh?"
Mellolaes chuckled. She leaned forward and rose a bit from her branch. Her face neared Rhovamil's as they stared into each other's eyes. "I am a wonderful candy-maker, a decent healer, and I believe I'm a pretty good nurse ... Do you think so?"
Rhovamil eyes widened further still. She bobbed her head. "Oh yes! Oh yes! But what about your archery?"
Mellolaes shrugged. "I'm not so good at archery, Rhovi. I never have been. I likely never will be. Even my younger cousins are better archers than I."
Rhovamil's mouth fell open. "No!"
Mellolaes continued to grin, but her eyes narrowed. "Have I ever lied to you?"
Rhovamil's mouth snapped shut. Then its corners turned down as she squinted. Her hands went to her hips. "But what good is a Silvan elf who is not a great archer?"
Mellolaes' jaw dropped. "Rhovamil Lathwinnian! Are you saying I'm not good for anything! Would you truly like me better if I was a great archer and horrible candy-maker?!"
Rhovamil's hands snapped over her lips. She froze. Her eyes glazed over as she imagined popping her nurse's honey-coated nuts and berries into her mouth and tasting … sourness. Her hands flew away from her mouth. "NO!"
Mellolaes' smile turned smug as she shook her head raised head. "I thought not. Now, you don't have the patience for candy-making do you?"
Rhovamil tucked her chin in. One foot went behind the other while her hands folded themselves behind her back. The elfling looked up from beneath long lashes and shook her head.
Mellolaes smiled. "Now then, you might never out-aim your nanneth. Maybe you will never out-aim your brother, but you might become a better archer than your nurse. You might make a fine archer indeed, great enough to make your whole family and kingdom proud." Mellolaes spread her arms open. "Wouldn't you like to try to do so, my love?"
Rhovamil lifted her head, grinned, and nodded. Then she fell into her nurse's arms. Mellolaes carried her charge down the tree. Legolas approached them as they reached the ground.
As Rhovamil's toes touched the grass, Legolas' knelt on one knee before her. The elf's deep, brown eyes gazed into matching ones. "Rhovamil, forgive me for the words I spoke to you. I did not think on them long enough nor speak them kindly. Forgive me. I shall try to become a better teacher for you."
Rhovamil fell forward to wrap her arms around Legolas' neck. Her brother stiffened. He looked up at Mellolaes. She chuckled into his widened eyes. The ellon's brow furrowed. Then he lowered his gaze, swallowed a sigh, and wrapped his arms around his sister in return with a slight smile.
Ladies, especially small, Silvan ladies, were difficult to comprehend. He had tackled friends and siblings who'd laughed at his poor shots when he was small. Then he'd forgiven them.
Rhovamil spoke into Legolas' hair. "I love you big-brother."
Legolas sighed, gave a small grin, and rubbed her back. "I love you also, sister."
Then he stood up. Rhovamil grabbed his hand and grinned up at him. Legolas' brows rose, but he grinned back and squeezed her hand in return. Then the elf looked and nodded in the direction they had come from. "Let us return to the range and practice till noon. I shall have you as great an archer as I in so little time, all will be in awe of us."
Rhovamil leapt up raising her bow into the sky. "Yay!"
The corners of Mellolaes' mouth turned down. She tapped her charge upon the shoulder. "Before the end of today, though, young elleth, you will have to complete another task. Remember? Your adar commanded if you spoke a certain phrase, which you called your brother today, you must clean three reindeer stables."
Rhovamil's bow fell to her side. She grimaced and stuck her tongue out. "Ooooohhhh … ick!"
Legolas' shoulders shook. His lips pressed together as he fought to contain the laughter this time. Mellolaes did not attempt to contain hers.
Sorry this chapter is so late. Life happens. This is the final chapter of "Evening Things." I hope to start a new story with Mellolaes soon.
Reviews are much appreciated and often responded to when I can.