Disclaimer: you know the drill by now. I don't own this stuff. Tolkien does. And I got the name Radames from the Broadway show "Aida." (more on that in later chapters) ________________________________________

The first thing Aragorn heard when he awoke was laughter. A lot of it. Wondering who was in his bedroom and what they were laughing at, he turned his head from side to side. Instead of laying in a comfortable bed, he found he was on his back on the ground in the forest. The laughter was coming from his brothers, Elladan and Elrohir. He sat up, still clueless, when the memories came back to him. He glared at the tree in front of him, and then back at the twins.

"I fell, didn't I?" he growled moodily. The twins were laughing too hard to reply. Aragorn turned to look behind him for an answer. "Arwen?"

She stepped out of the shade, doing her best to keep a straight face. "It appears the tree was a formidable foe, Estel." Which sent the twins into more gales of laughter. Aragorn was about to reply when the sounds of hoof beats filled the clearing. An Elf entered on horseback, obviously having traveled nonstop for several days.

"I must deliver a message to Lord Elrond," the Elf gasped out. The twins quickly jumped onto their own horses and led the messenger to their father's house. Aragorn turned to Arwen to ask her something, but stopped when he noticed the tense look on her face.

"What is it?" he asked quietly.

"That messenger was from Mirkwood," she looked into his eyes. "From the royal house."

It slowly dawned on him; Arwen and the twins were close friends with the princes of Mirkwood, especially the younger of the two. Aragorn himself was also friends with Legolas, but only knew the older prince, Radames, by reputation. Radames had been sent out on a quest by his father before Aragorn had been able to visit Mirkwood, and had yet to return. Still, he knew the brothers to be kind and true Elves, and he knew his brothers and Arwen loved them dearly. He grabbed Arwen's hand and the two of them rushed back to Elrond's house.

There they met Elladan and Elrohir, and waited with them outside their father's chambers for any sort of news. Once the messenger had been sent away for food and rest, Elrond came to his children, both true and fostered. He smiled at them.

"Legolas is fine," he assured them. He felt the tenseness leave the air. "It was he who sent the message. It seems his father has been feeling a bit. ill, as of late, and the Prince wishes for my council and help."

They all knew what that meant. King Thranduil was in always in a foul mood- to put it lightly- and at his worst needed Elrond's presence, as well as his tranquilizers, to be calmed. Thranduil's temper was infamous throughout Middle Earth. No one new that better than Elrond and the king's son.

Elrond decided to set out for Mirkwood immediately, and after much pleading and bribery, allowed the four to accompany him. 'This,' he though as they left the boundaries of Rivendell, 'is bound to be quite an interesting visit.'