First Meeting, First Parting

She adjusted the straps of her pack as she continued down the path. They were close now to the gates of the stronghold of the King. It would be good to stop and rest in safety without the constant need for guards and weapons. She glanced up the path at the stream of her people.

"Anancaul!" she hailed the mounted warrior riding towards her. "How fare they?" she asked, gesturing back the way he had come.

"They are well, My Lady. Their burdens lighten as the journey draws to an end. Do you wish to lead our people through the gates?" he questioned, his face blank. "Celleth asked me to ride back and inquire."

She grinned wryly, "No, I think perhaps Celleth ordered you to produce me forthwith. He can handle the details of our arrival. I would rather see the last of us safely arrived. Celleth is very capable of greeting the king on our behalf. She laughed, "Actually, his silver tongue is suited for just such a purpose."

Anancaul gave a long-suffering sigh, turned his horse and rode back up the path. Several elves waved merrily as he rode by. All were looking forward to the end of their journey. They had given up their homes deep in the forest in exchange for the King's protection against the darkness. War was coming and it saddened their hearts and spirits.


At last the journey was complete. She glanced around upon entering the stronghold with the last of the stragglers and viewed organized chaos. There seemed to be a great deal of work involved with making room for the newcomers. A rather officious looking she-elf approached her group with Celleth and another in tow.

"Mae Govannen, My Lady," the elf bowed. " The king asked that I deliver his greetings. He sends his apologies; affairs of state keep him from welcoming you personally. I am called Lamathen. Please allow me to assist with any needs you may have."

She nodded in response. "Mae Govannen, Lamathen. I thank you for your assistance."

"If you would follow me, My Lady," Lamathen began, "my assistant will show this last group where the rest of your people are settled."

She waved her people on and then turned and followed her guide, Celleth falling into step at her side. She heard him take a deep breath and knew she was in for a step-by-step recounting of his day. The only thing Celleth enjoyed more than hearing his own voice, was hearing his own voice tell of his exploits. What saved him from being completely unbearable was his kindness and the joy he found in helping her manage their small settlement. She always imagined that was how it felt to have a younger brother.

She let his words wash over her as she studied their new home. The trees were happier here; they still felt the encroaching darkness, but not to the extent as those closer to her home. There the darkness had become oppressive, but here there was still the light of hope.

"Lamathen!" called a young she-elf as they passed near the training ground. "Sorry to disturb you, but we need your help."

"Forgive me, I shall return shortly," Lamathen said with a look of resignation and apology as she followed the young elf.

After Lamathen departed, she subtly maneuvered Celleth near the field where the warriors were training. One pair in particular caught her eye, and she found her attention turning to them again and again. They were sparring, their movements poetry in motion. They moved with lethal grace, and the site enthralled her. One warrior fought with a set of long knives, while the other wielded a sword. The noises of the day faded away as she beheld the blades flashing in the afternoon sun. She no longer heard Celleth's voice, nor the sounds of the city. She heard nothing but the chink of metal as the two blades met and the sound of her heartbeat in her ears.

Her field of vision narrowed to one warrior, the knife wielder and her heartbeat quickened. She could feel the blood rushing in her ears and was entranced, seeing only him as if from far away. She grasped the trunk of the slender tree next to her, to steady herself as her heartbeat thundered and the pressure in her ears became pain.

The warrior met her gaze from across the field, and in an instant she felt her world dissolve and time stop. The pounding in her ears ceased, and in its place was a song, the song of her soul. She stared at him in wonder, shock and confusion. She remembered tales from her parents of the joy they felt when they found each other, but their words were inadequate to describe the joy she felt; and this man a stranger, no less. She had no idea who he was, or how this could have happened, but she knew he was the other half of her soul.

The warrior stared back at her, letting down his guard momentarily until his sparring partner drew his attention back to the fight with a well-aimed blow. With his gaze no longer on her, she felt she could move again and breathed deeply, surprised by the intensity of her feelings. She gave herself a quick shake and took the opportunity his distraction afforded her to look upon him. He was tall and lithe, like most of their kind, but he was also more solidly built, more defined than most. The sheer power she could see in his arms was arresting. He moved and she returned her gaze to his face, only to realize he had returned his attention to her. He had removed his helm and his hair seemed to run over his shoulders like liquid gold. He was smiling broadly as he held his arms and turned in a circle, like goods on display. She was mortified, but not enough to not enjoy the view, for as he turned his back toward her, she felt her whole body react. Her fingers twitched and muscles she didn't know she had tightened. She began wishing she had skill with prose, for the tight well-sculpted backside presented was a thing worthy of sonnets.

He completed his turn and met her gaze once more an invitation in his eyes. She was positive she was blushing. His expression intensified as he beckoned her to him. She made to take a step when a voice brought her snapping back to the real world. Celleth was calling her name.

"…are you listening?" Celleth asked.

"I…" she finally turned her gaze away from the warrior. "Well truthfully no, I apologize Celleth, what were you saying?"

"It is not important," Celleth replied, a hint of uncertainty in his voice, "I suspect I was rambling. This place is so different from home, and yet very much the same. Ah, Lamathen is returning; we should go."

"We will find our place here, Celleth," she said, as she took the arm he offered. She gave him an encouraging smile, hoping to reassure him. As they walked away, the weight of her responsibility descended once more onto her shoulders like an old well-worn cloak. There was much to be done. She glanced back at the warrior one last time and her eyes met his once more. She shivered at the intensity of the look. There was a promise in his gaze: a promise that he would find her, and woe to anyone who stood in his way. She smiled as she contemplated the possibilities and then turned her attention again to what Celleth was saying.


The afternoon sun waned as she finished up the important tasks with Lamathen. She pleaded travel fatigue, and left Celleth to deal with the minor things that could not be left until the following day. He seemed a kindred spirit to Lamathen and she no longer worried for him. The hours had passed with agonizing slowness and she could no longer subdue her impatience. She had found the other half of her soul and he was close. Now all she had to do was find him again.

She looked near the training grounds, and then wandered the grounds, but did not see the handsome warrior. She turned to the path leading to the king's halls. There were warriors there, she mused. She could go and ask after him there, but the absurdity of the query stopped her. She could just envision it now, 'Excuse me; I am looking for a warrior who was out on the field this afternoon. Tall, long hair, great behind.' She stifled a laugh at the thought. She shook her head, and wondered if Lamathen and Celleth could help her, for the desire to find him was quickly overcoming her reluctance of sharing this new discovery. She turned to leave, and nearly ran into the one she was seeking. She glanced up and once more their eyes met; the intensity of the look causing the blood to rush to her face and her breath to catch in her throat.

"I have been searching for you." He said, ghosting his hand over the curve of her face.

He moved his hand as if to brush back her hair, but he never touched her. She longed to move her face into his touch, but she felt frozen in place by his gaze.

"And I for you." She replied breathlessly.


The object of his desire was standing before him, and though he could feel the heat from her skin and the warmth of her breath, he feared she was not real. He had left the training fields to follow her as soon as he was able; searching among the recent arrivals. He had nearly given up hope of finding her, nearly convinced himself that she was but a figment of his imagination but the song his soul still sang belayed that fear. Hearing her voice confirmed that she was stunningly real.

"I...I am uncertain how to ask this, but I need to know. Do you feel it too? and..." he trailed off with a look of almost desperation in his eyes.

"Completeness?" she finished. "I did not know it happened this way, but from the moment I saw you, my soul sang for you." He saw the joy and tears in her eyes and the tightness around his heart eased.

"Mine as well" he replied, and then he chuckled softly. "Much to the consternation of Maiel," he paused at her questioning look, "my sparring partner from this morn. I am rather afraid you distracted me enough that I forgot to block him. He had to pull his blow at the last minute. He was rather unhappy with me. I suspect he thinks I have gone a bit mad."

She smiled with a combination of consternation and amusement. "I know I should apologize for distracting you," she explained, "but I am not sorry at all. I cherish every movement you made, every moment you were in my presence. Perhaps we have both gone a bit mad?"

" Then let us be mad together," he offered. "Will you walk with me? I wish to know more of you."

"I would be honored," she paused, glancing around. "Which way?"

He gestured to a small but well tended path that meandered around the palace grounds. He began to offer his arm, but quickly pulled it back. He longed to touch her, but was not entirely sure of the wisdom of even the most innocent of contact. So they walked, side by side, on the darkening path, trading stories of their childhoods and tidbits of their adult lives. It was not long before he felt he had known her his whole life. With each smile or small motion, the desire he felt for her grew.

"There is something I would show you; a favorite place of my childhood," he explained he directed their path down a dark little used trail. "This is an old garden that was much loved by the king's family. It was a favorite play area for elflings, though it is not visited now but by a few who remember."


She glanced around at the garden and smiled at the image of him as an elfling playing in the trees that shaded the edges of the garden. They stopped in a clearing, almost in the very center and stood in the light cast by the newly risen moon. She turned to tell him how lovely she found the garden, but words failed her as she beheld him.

He was bathed in moonlight. His hair was pale silver, hanging loosely over his shoulders. He stood there, arms at his side, shoulder stiff with tension, his tunic shimmering in the light. He was beautiful to behold and she longed to reach for him, but was unsure. He had not touched her, and she ached for the feel of his hand on her skin.

"It is beautiful", she whispered, "but the garden is not what I wish to look upon this night. Nor is it what I desire to touch," she said while reaching her hand up next to his face, mirroring his action from earlier tracing a ghost path along his jaw and ear.


He froze at her words his breath caught in his throat. He watched as she slowly lowered her hand, with disappointment in her eyes at his lack of response. Before her hand had returned her side, his own shot out and wrapped around her waist pulling her to him. He cradled her face in his other hand and marveled at the feel of her skin against his. She melted into his touch. He felt her whole body lean against his. He watched her eyes close, a look of bliss on her face as she nuzzled into his embrace. He moved his hand from her face to her hair and let his fingers dig into the long tresses. He felt her arms go around his waist and suddenly, finally he felt complete. He never wanted to let her go. A wave of contentment rolled over him as her heart beat against his chest. They stood there for several long moments and neither of them moved.

He felt her breath against his neck as she sighed and moved a bit in his embrace. He loosened his hold to allow her more movement and felt her hands caress his back. She almost seemed to purr as she slowly moved her hands down his back to his waist and then further. He jumped as he felt her hands kneading his rear and she chuckled softly. "I have been wanting to do that since the moment I first saw you."

He laughed and swung her around in joy before setting her back on her feet. "You," he said as he gently reached out and touched her nose, "are a minx. I have been scared to touch you for fear of frightening you off with my desires and you have been plotting on how best to capture my backside. My father will think you a just punishment, I think, for all the grief I have given him."

"I have never felt such joy," he said as he took a step back and enfolded her hands in his "nor such blessed madness. You may think me mad in truth for I have to ask this now. My heart, will you spend your life with me? Will you be my wife?"

He only had to wait a moment to hear the word he craved. His heart cried out in joy while his hand brushed back her hair and moved along her ear and before she could respond his mouth descended on hers.


She felt the softness of his lips against hers and opened her mouth in invitation. He deepened the kiss and pulled her body against his. She felt his hand move down her side and brush past her breast. She groaned into his mouth and felt his lips tighten into an answering smile before he resumed kissing her. She had never dreamed this would feel so good. She desperately wanted to touch him and while his mouth did wonderful things to hers she let her hands roam. They moved down his own chest with only a little bit of fumbling when their arms collided, each on their own quest. She ran her hands once more down his back only to be distracted from her quest when she felt the cool evening air on her breasts. He had managed to get the ties of her dress lose and it had fallen as far as her elbows, exposing her to his gaze and touch. She gasped as his fingers lightly traced the areola of her nipples and they tightened in arousal. She arched into him and dug her fingernails into his backside eliciting an answering groan from him.

She let go and pushed his hands away. She wanted to feel his skin against hers and started working the lacings of his tunic free. He quickly figured out her plan and tried to help while distracting her with quick kisses. Four hands quickly led to a tangled mess and she gave a tangled tie a jerk in frustration, snapping it. His tunic fell open and she pushed it back over his shoulders thanking providence for well-worn ties. She ran her hands down his smooth chest and then pressed herself to him. His hands tightened around her waist keeping her near. The feel of his chest against her breasts was exquisite. She stood there reveling in the sensations while trying to slow her rapid breathing. He seemed equally affected judging by the gasping breath in her ear and arousal pressed against her.

"I suppose this might be a good time to ask for your name, my love," a wry voice said next to her ear.

She gasped and took a step back, and his arms slid from her. She stared at him in shock, while trying to remember their conversations from earlier. Surely they had introduced themselves. She had told him the name of her childhood friends, her pets, her parents, but never her name? She racked her brain. She knew his favorite hobbies, his mother's name, but she did not know his name either. She glanced at the condition of their clothes and then returned her gaze to his. It was too much. She clapped her hand over her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut, but it was not enough to muffle the giggles. She heard his answering chuckle and soon both were roaring with laughter. Here she was standing half naked in a public garden with a man who had asked her to marry him, when he did not even know her name. They both had to be mad. They collapsed onto the ground and sat on the cool grass until they could look at each other and not succumb to another attack of laughter.


He watched her regain control of herself and did the same. He had not laughed so in a long time and it felt glorious. He reached out his hand to her and she took it and scooted over to sit next to him in the warmth of his embrace.

"So my lady," he asked with only a touch of remaining levity, "may I have your name?"

He felt her draw breath to reply when they both froze. There were footsteps approaching their location. They glanced at each other and their current state of undress and rose quickly. He watched her fix her dress and he tried to lace his tunic back up, only to discover the broken tie. He glanced at the tie in his hand with amusement. He looked around on the ground nearby and found the other half and tied the two pieces together and then relaced his tunic. He thanked the Valar for the speed of Elven reflexes as he managed to dress himself before they were discovered.

" I think perhaps this is not the best place to get to know each other after all. Let us find another" He said as he offered her his hand.

She smiled in anticipation and clasped his hand and together they ran from the garden barely escaping discovery.


Her only excuse for being surprised by their destination was sheer giddiness. She had followed where he led. It wasn't his fault that she had not been paying attention. She had not run free and acted foolish like that since she was an elfling. It had been liberating to run and giggle with a companion to share the situation. Especially a companion that looked as he did. They had run past other elves and through the halls of the building. That the building was the king's hall did not register. He pulled her down a hallway that was thick with guards and then into an unoccupied room.

"Love, I need for you to meet my father." He spoke, suddenly serious.

"Now?" she asked incredulous.

The levity slowed faded as she read the seriousness in his gaze. " I leave at dawn on a mission to the west and I need him to know of you. I do not know how long I may be gone" He explained.

She felt her heart clench at the thought of his departure. She despaired as her mind screamed at the injustice of his leaving when she had only just found him. She had heard of the mission, it had been the talk of the people, but she just had not put the pieces together. She closed her eyes to hide the despair she felt at his leaving, but it was unnecessary for he felt the same, and gently folder her back into his arms.

" I am sorry. I would stay if I could" he whispered.

She gently stepped out of his embrace and put her hands on his face. "My heart longs for you to stay, but I would never ask it of you. Duty calls and it is necessary that we answer."

"Beloved, you fill my heart with such joy," he said as he laid his hand over hers. "Ere I go, I would make vows between us. It is perhaps impetuous, but I crave the binding such words would bring in these perilous times."

"You asked me to be your wife," she answered slowly, "and I have answered. I will take such time as we are given and use the memory to comfort me until you return." She disengaged her hands from his and brushed her them down her clothes to make sure everything was hanging right and then glanced at him. "So, your father?"

He offered her his arm with great dignity and she placed her arm in his. They left the room and walked down the hallway to a wooden door at the end. He nodded to the guards and they opened the door to let them pass. She felt suddenly uneasy. They had still not managed to exchange names. Who was his father that he was tucked away so deep in the king's halls. She cast her future husband one last uneasy glance and then smoothed out her features into an expressionless mask. She would show no fear. He was the other half of her soul, even if she didn't know his name.

They walked into a room that was bustling with activity. People moved about the room carrying maps or parchment. They moved about as if dancers in some complicated figure. In the center of the activity, on a carved wooden throne, sat the king. The king glanced up as they walked toward him and smiled fondly. It was a paternal smile, like a proud father, to his son. She felt lightheaded; this she had not anticipated. She glanced back and forth between the king and the elf holding her hand. Yes, there was a resemblance. She momentarily closed her eyes and said a short prayer to the Valar. Then threw her fate to the winds and followed her heart.

"Adar, may I have a word in private?" her future husband asked.

At those words, it was as if the music stopped. All the activity in the room ceased and the attention all turned to their conversation.

"We can speak in my chambers. I find I could use a little distraction," the king said as he rose. He turned and headed for a door near the back of the room and they followed him out. As they walked away, activity and conversation slowly resumed. Then the noise faded as the door closed, muffling the sound.


He had felt her tense as they walked into the throne room, but as far as he could tell, she was doing quite well. He could not read all the nuances of her face, but the thought of having the chance to learn sounded delightful. He escorted her into his father's chamber and stood next to her as his father settled himself at his desk.

"So what was so pressing", the king asked, "that you needed to interrupt that delightfully boring meeting?"

"Father, I want you to meet the other half of my heart," he exclaimed with a smile on his face.

The king grinned as he watched his son and the slightly blushing elf at his side. "So does she have a name, my son?"

He flushed slightly and turned to give her an ironic look

"I have tried to discover her name I swear," he replied with sincerity belied only by the gleam in his eye, "but the lady is frugal with answers and has refused to share that gem of knowledge with me."

He turned to watch her reaction and her face lost its impassive mask as her eyes seemed to glow with outrage. She looked like she was about to counter this outrageous statement when the laughter from the other side of the desk distracted her.

"Oh the memory of this I will cherish, my son. Your tongue will get you into trouble one day. Now go see to something while I get to know your lady." The king said with much amusement as he stood up and came around the desk.

He watched as his father plucked her hand from his and deftly escorted her across the room to a comfortable sitting area. She glanced back and shot him a look that promised retribution and then turned her attention to her future father by marriage. He stood there uncertainly and then turned abruptly and made for the door. As he was leaving, he heard his father ask, "So what is your name, my dear?" He slowed hoping to catch the answer, but he had started through the door, and the guard on the outside closed it behind him. Never had he cursed the efficiency of the guard more. He stared at the closed door in frustration then turned his attention to the overly efficient guard.

"If my father finishes before I am back, send someone to find me," he ordered and without waiting for a reply took off down the hall at a run.

He reached his quarters and poked his head in. They were fairly clean and smelled fresh and he sighed in relief. He stepped back out into the hallway to see Frediel walking towards him carrying fresh laundry.

"Frediel," he asked suddenly, "Can you get me fresh flowers?"

"Fresh flowers, my lord?" she asked confused, "Well, yes I suppose."

"Now?" he asked.

"Not until after I deliver these to your cousin," she replied.

He eyed the stack, the hallway and then Frediel. "I will deliver the laundry if you will get me flowers, lots of them. I am rather rushed for time. Please?" he pleaded.

He watched her face soften at his plea and she handed him the laundry. "I will leave them in your room, my lord. Be sure you deliver these," she replied and then turned away with a look of faint amusement on her face.

He thought of what image he offered, begging for flowers and delivering laundry and shook his head at the thought. However, he was on a mission and took off down the hall to deliver the laundry. After stopping in and dropping the linens on his cousin's bed, and ignoring the look of stunned amazement on his face, he left heading for the kitchens without a word. He found the cook and sweet talked her into putting together a package for him and then quickly returned to his rooms. The flowers were there. He quickly put everything where he wanted it, grabbed a single bloom and then headed back towards his father's chamber. On his way back he ran into, almost literally, the guard from his father's door.

"Sir, you asked..." the guard began.

"My thanks," he interrupted and then increased his speed down the hallway.

There was a new guard on the door, who, upon seeing the king's son sprinting down the hall, opened the door to the king's chambers to announce his arrival. The guard managed to clear the doorway before the king's son, who had pulled up sharply, entered his fathers room with minimal signs that he had just run a short foot race through the halls."


The king glanced up when the door opened. His clearly besotted son was standing in the doorway holding a single flower in his hand. The king smiled at the tableau before him and was glad he was able to enjoy this moment, both the happiness of the occasion and the oddity of the event. Imagine not even knowing the name of the elf you ask to wed.

"Good evening son." He began, but then waited as he watched his son casually nod to him and turn his attention to the she-elf he had just spent the last hour getting to know. His son presented her the flower and her eyes got a little misty. The King cleared his throat before they got too much further down the path they were treading. "You have my congratulations my son, your choice for a bride is lovely. When did you two think to marry?"

"Now," they replied in unison. Then his son turned to him, "I do not wish to waste a moment, for we do not know what may happen. The darkness has returned and I wish to bring a memory of light and love with me when I leave on the morrow.

"Elves do not marry in such haste," The king replied sternly. He watched their faces grow guarded and he snorted at the impatience of youth. "However, in light of circumstances, and if you are both sure of your hearts, we may forgo the traditional year of betrothal. Always thought it was a distinctly Noldor tradition after all. My lady, do you have family to call forth on your behalf?"

"No, my king. I am the last of my line," she replied solemnly.

"Then as representative of your house, do you agree to this joining with no reservations or qualms?" he asked formally.

"I agree," she answered

"Then make what vows you will this night. They will be between you and the Valar. I would plan, however, on having a nice big celebration when you are reunited. Traditions can be bent when the need arises, but it is always best to placate those most likely to be offended."

"Go on, be off with you," the king ordered as their expressions lit with happiness. "I will let it be known, so none will bother you this night. You have my blessing my children, let life lead you where it may."

The king watched as they turned toward the door, and he remembered his own wedding with fondness. In time of darkness the moments of light were worth remembering. He glanced up as he realized they had stopped at the door and turned back.

"Thank you, Father," his son said, "You have my love." Then they were gone.

The king smiled. He stood up and reentered the throne room, calling for everyone's attention as he did. He shared the joyous news of his son's impending wedding and after much cheering the business of the realm resumed on a brighter note.


As he walked down the hall, the happiness was almost overwhelming. He felt the need to sing, but could not think of any words to wholly encompass his mood. Then he remembered.

"My love, will you tell me your name?" he asked with chagrin in his voice.

If he had known her better, the look on her face would have sent a shiver of apprehension and perhaps anticipation down his spine. As it was, the look she graced him with was enigmatic at best.

"No, my love," she responded.

"No? We could exchange, for I realize I have not told you my name," he wheedled.

She chuckled merrily, "Who does not know the name of the golden haired king's son? I know your name my love."

They had reached the doors to his chambers and he was just reaching around her to open the door when she laughingly answered him. He narrowed his eyes and instead of opening the door, pinned her to it with his body.

"So what do I have to do to earn your name?" he asked with a silky edge to his voice.


Her eyes widened at his tone and her merry grin turned into a seductive smile. "Earn? Earn? What a marvelous idea. The task is clear," she purred moving her mouth up next to his ear and placing her hand atop his on the door latch. "All you have to do.... is please me." She nipped his earlobe and then opened the door and pulled him into the room by his tunic.

She marveled at her sheer audacity. She had never done anything this insane before, but oh, her body thought it was grand. He cooperated until just inside the door, then he stopped. She reluctantly let go suddenly unsure of herself. He closed the door and then leaned back against it and waited. She glanced at him uncertainly, and he gestured into the room his face curiously blank. So she turned and observed her surroundings. It was his room, she had no doubt of that, it smelled vaguely of him and ...her nose twitched. It smelled of flowers and fresh bread. She looked around and scattered throughout the room were vases of fresh cut flowers. Laid out on a table at the far end of the room was a selection of bread, fruit, cheese and wine. She smiled at the thoughtfulness, her desire momentary forgotten.

"It is wonderful! She exclaimed and turned back toward him. She felt like dancing and spun around in a small circle in delight. "Is this what you did while I spoke with your father?"

Her question finally got a reaction out of him. "Indeed, I am glad you like it." He moved away from the door and stalked her as he might his prey of a day's hunt. She watched him, suddenly wary. "I have but one question for you then, does it please you?


He watched her glory in the small deeds he had done, but her words kept echoing in his head, so he had asked the question, and he watched her eyes darken with desire in response. She watched him move toward her and he thanked the Valar for her response.

"Not enough, my love, I want more," she whispered huskily.

"Then you shall have it," he replied and then pounced.

He pulled her into his arms and brought his mouth down hard on hers. He waited for her reaction to this onslaught, afraid that maybe this was not the best way to start, despite his body's wishes. His fears vanished when he felt her fingernails dig first into shoulder and second into his rear. He slowly pushed her back towards the bed not letting up for a moment. He stopped when they were a hairsbreadth from the edge and grabbed her shoulders and lightly pushed her away from him. She took a step back to catch her balance and instead her calves hit the bed and she toppled onto it. He watched her sprawl on his bed and one word kept echoing in his head as he watched her try to calm her breathing: Mine. She was his and on this night that was all that mattered. He put one knee on the bed beside her and then slowly pressed her back onto the bed with his weight. She looked a touch uncertain, but welcomed him anyway. He was pinning her legs, but supporting his upper body on his elbows. She took the opportunity this position afforded her to untie the top laces of his tunic while they exchanged quick desperate kisses. Suddenly she growled in frustration.

He stopped kissing her and laughed, oh but he could not help it. She sounded like a thwarted beast whose prey had gotten away. She shoved him and he rolled off her so that they were lying side by side. She hit him once more for good measure while he managed to get his laughter under control.

"I am sorry love, but you sounded...." he started laughing again. When he finally managed to pull himself together he realized she was sitting up, her legs crossed under her, watching him. She was smiling, which relieved the momentary fear that he had offended her.

"I am..." he tried again to apologize again, but she stopped him with a finger across his lips.

"You do not need to apologize, but if you ever make a sound worthy of my laughter, you will rue the day you laughed at me." She promised with a sense of both chagrin and mirth.

"Would it please you love, to start again?" he asked with just a touch of mirth.

"No, not yet." She replied and then tucked her legs under her and rose up on her knees. "Sit up."

Comprehension dawned on his face and he matched her position. He reached out a hand to her face and then dropped it back to his side and then met her gaze.

"Would that we could do this properly...." he began..

Her hand reached out and rested over his heart. "This is as proper as we need," she replied.

He racked his brain for words to say, he vaguely remembered the last wedding he had attended but the formal words would not come to him. He was on his own, but a poet he was not, and he hoped she was not expecting eloquence. He covered her hand where it rested on his chest and took a deep breath and spoke.

"You have my heart, soul and body. My heart beats for only you, from now until eternity." With his words he grasped her hand brought it lightly to his mouth, kissed her palm and returned it to her. He wondered how many times he would stand on a precipice waiting for her response to the things that were important to him. She did not disappoint him this time. She was quick in her reply and there were tears in her eyes.

"I accept your gifts, and give unto you my heart for safekeeping. All that is mine to give is yours, from now to eternity.

He closed the space between them and kissed her gently and she wrapped her arms around him. Suddenly she giggled. He quirked an eyebrow at her, as she once again retreated from him.

"Somehow I just never envisioned getting married to a half dressed, royal elf in his bed without so much as a witness." she explained.

He shook his head at the thought of anyone else being here at the moment. He certainly didn't need any witnesses. They would want to toast them, and offer congratulations, sing some songs and hear histories. No, now was definitely not the time for witnesses. He looked quickly around the room with sudden concern. He jumped out of bed and checked to make sure the door was fastened and secured. Then he checked the windows and balcony door for the same. He pulled the curtains shut tightly and then turned back and saw the look of shocked amusement on her face.

"Trust me when I say," he began to explain, "that we do not need any witnesses for the rest of the evening." She glanced around the room and burst into more laughter.

"You forgot to check to see if anyone was lurking under the bed or in the cabinets!" she managed to get out between gasps of breath and laughter.

He walked back to the bed and sat down next to her and waited until she had regained her composure.

"My apologies, I have dreamed of this day for years and I never imagined it would hold so much laughter." She explained, "I do not think I would have it any other way, but I am rather nervous and impatient. I look at you and I want so much, but I do not know how to ask for it."

"Then lets start again, small steps, for I have not done this either. Tell me what you want?" He replied and pulled her lightly into his arms.

"I want to see you, and touch you..." her words trailed off.

He rose and stood in front of her, and picked at his tunic laces where she had left off, only to discover just why it was she had growled in frustration earlier. The tie had become badly knotted where he had fixed the lacing early that evening. He glanced up at her, watching him, and grinned wryly. Then he shrugged and pulled the whole thing off over his head. He kicked off his shoes and then his leggings until he stood there in front of her for her to see. Her eyes were wide as they moved up and down his body. She slowly rose from the bed and stood in front of him. He leaned down and breathed three words in her ear

"Now touch me."

She jerked at the words and her eyes flew to his. Her fingers reached out and touched his chest. She ran her fingers down from his shoulders and gently circled his nipples watching them react to her touch. She quickly glanced up at him, but his eyes where tightly shut and his jaw lightly clenched. She ran her hands down further, over his stomach and down on his abdomen. Every move she made caused the muscles to tighten. She was fairly sure he was enjoying the experience, but not enough to keep going just yet. Instead she circled around him, trailing fingertips from his stomach around his side to his back. When she brushed over his side, he jumped and then settled back down. She grinned at the thought of the king's son being ticklish. It just did not seem very regal somehow. She focused her gaze on his back. Her fingers moved to his shoulders and then down, down to the quite loveliest backside she could ever remember beholding. She wondered if it was considered healthy to have such a fascination for one part of the anatomy. There were others, his chest could make her dreamy, the power in his legs was amazing, but this very perfect backside was her favorite so far. She gave it one last caress before continuing around back to the front of his body. His eyes were no longer closed, but were instead examining her with amusement.

"Find something you like? he asked.

"Oh yes, " she grinned wickedly, and then she offered him her hands. "Now show me how you want to be touched."

She watched him quickly swallow and then take her hands in his. He directed her hands first to his chest. "Like this." He explained and moved her fingers in smooth circular motions, "and like this." As he moved her fingers to lightly grasp the aroused nipple with her fingers. She watched her hands with fascination. That he could react to her simple touch. She glanced up and his eyes were once again closed. She could not say where the urge came from but this was not the night to act on reservations. So she removed one of her hands and then asked "How about this?" She replaced the hand with her mouth, first pressing a light kiss to his nipple and then mimicking the motions of her fingers with her tongue and teeth.

"O Elbereth!" she heard and then she felt his hands close on her shoulders. "That is...." he gasped, "nice." Then he pushed her back a bit. She gazed at him, fascinated by the reaction of his body. He was aroused and the site of him was making her squirm in reaction.

"Show me more," she commanded, when his breathing steadied and he opened his eyes. She once again offered him her hands.

He eyed her fingers and then her mouth for a moment in seeming trepidation. Then he once again guided her hands back to him. Only this time he placed her hand gently on his sex. He was already fully aroused and her touch caused him to jerk slightly. With one touch she was fascinated. He was so soft and hard at the same time. He moved his hand away and clenched them into fists as she slowly trailed her fingertips up his length and around the head. She heard his breathing change with every motion she made. She ran her fingers down to the base and around until his sac filled her hand and then slowly with just one finger ran it up his length from the underside. His breathing hitched and he let a small groan past his lips.

She stopped her exploration for a moment and waited until she had his attention again. She looked at him expectantly and offered her hands again. His eyes were dark with desire as he took her hand and wrapped it around him, and then slowly moved her hand the way he liked. She quickly took over, enjoying herself. She reacted to his passion with her own; there was a sudden ache between her legs she did not know how to assuage. She wanted something, but was unsure how to ask for it. Suddenly, he reached down and removed her hand and then crushed her body hard to him. She could feel him through her clothes and to have him touch her made her long for more. She rubbed herself against him, but froze as she heard a groan.

"Do... Not... Move..." he hissed into her ear. "I think you are trying to kill me lover. Just hold still a moment. Please.

She stayed locked in his embrace until his breathing calmed and then he loosened his hold. He took a step back from her and eyed her hands for a moment and muttered something that sounded a bit like "I would die happy," and then announced in a cheerful voice "My turn now." She watched him sprawl back on the bed and watch her intently.

She glanced down and slowly loosened the ties to her own clothes and watched them slip down her body. She kicked off her shoes and then raised her eyes back to his. He was no longer smiling. He appeared entranced. He had already risen from the bed and moved toward her. He was stalking her again, like a cat its prey. He circled her without touching or speaking. On the second pass he stopped behind her and pulled her body back into his, circling an arm around her waist. He brushed her hair away from her ear with his free arm and whispered "Mine" in her ear and then gently bit her shoulder. She shivered in response, both to the words of possession and the feel of his body pressed against hers.

"Now show me what you want," he said, and offered his hands to hers without moving from behind her.

She ran her hands down his arms until their fingers met. She laced her fingers with his and he gave her a comforting squeeze and then released her. She grasped his hands and placed them on her breasts and then turned her head slightly so she could see him.

"Please, touch me like I did you," she asked.

The next thing she knew the most exquisite sensation flowed over her. Her back arched and she leaned her head back on his shoulder. He circled and tugged and she cried out. The ache returned and she felt herself grow wet. She needed to do something with her hands so she reached back and found his hips. Her fingers quested further back when suddenly his hands stopped touching her. Through her labored breathing she heard chuckling. Then his hands found hers and moved them off his backside.

"No my lady, it is still my turn." He pinned one of her arms against her own breasts and then offered him his free hand to her. "Keep going."

She took his hand and tingled with anticipation. But she was unsure of just how to proceed. Then she felt his knee nudging her legs apart, and he disengaged his hand from hers and moved it down until it rested at the v of her thighs. She half turned and mock-scowled at him. "I thought you said you had not done this?"

He grinned wickedly, while he held his hand still, "I have not, but you should understand now why I was so keen on keeping the curtains shut. I was far too inquisitive for my own good as a child. I had to investigate the odd noises I heard one night, it was an educational experience." Before she could utter a word in response to that humorous statement he moved his hand. She felt his finger move slowly into her wetness and the thought maybe she could die of wonder. The pleasure was exquisite. Then he stopped.

"Do you like that lover? He asked. "Does it please you?"

She growled in frustration. "It would please me more if you did not stop," she said hopefully. When he did not resume his motions she added "Please?"

She heard a soft chuckle in her ear but did not comment as he had resumed his motion. She felt herself begin to move in motion with his hand and she pressed herself back against him until he groaned. She felt as though there was liquid fire in her veins. She wanted something...something. Then he stopped and she almost yelled at the loss. He suddenly spun her around and picked her up dropping her on the center of his bed. He paused only a moment while she situated herself and then she bent her knees and spread her legs and beckoned him to her.


He could feel his heart beating hard against his chest. This few moments of separation while she settled herself was almost more than he could bear, and then she held out her hand and all was right with the world. He settled between her legs nestling himself in her warmth and wetness. She moved against him until he was just where she wanted him. He grinned at her and she returned his smile as he decided to take advantage of something else this position offered. He kissed her quickly on the lips and then moved his mouth to her breast. He licked and nipped and suckled with his mouth, while his hand mimicked his motions on her other breast. She moved under him, and he heard her breathing growing fast. She began sliding herself back and forth over the very tip of him and the sensation made him burn with desire. She looked at him with entreaty in her eyes and he lifted himself up to put further space between them and then guided her hand and wrapped it around his flesh. Her touch sent a shock like lightning through his body and his fingers dug into the bed sheets on either side of her.

She guided him to her and his flesh slide into hers and he froze. The feel of her body encasing him was pushing at the bounds of his self control. He struggled to rein in his desire. He stayed still a moment before a slight whimper implored him to move. He slowly slid out. Then he felt her nails dig into his back and her legs wrapped around his legs and pull him back to her...hard. He groaned, his control flowing away like water released from a damn. He reached his hands under her arms and grasped them from the top to get leverage and then he thrust into her hard and repeatedly. She arched up against him and the exquisite friction increased with each thrust. His blood pounded in his ears as he increased his speed. She matched her movements to his and it was sweet torture. Her body began to tense around him and she screamed out his name. He was overcome, she shattered him. He released into her with a cry of his own, then collapsed down onto her. He barely had the thought to roll her over on top of him before oblivion took him.


She came back to reality sometime later feeling bruised, battered and absolutely satisfied. She grinned widely and stretched out feeling the touch of his body the whole length of hers. She gently disengaged herself from him and then rolled a little away so she could admire him a bit while he lay recovering. His hair was spread out around him and looked a bit bedraggled. The rest of his body looked delicious. She ran the tips of her fingers over his chest and then down his side. That was enough to bring him back to awareness, as he squirmed suddenly and grasped her hand trapping it against him.

"I have two things to say lover," he began seriously as he brought her hand up to his mouth and pressed a kiss to her palm. "First, that was beyond words and I will thank the Valar every day for your presence in my life." He paused to let the words sink in, then continued, "The second is something a bit more immediate. Could you move please? You are lying on my hair."

She stared at him a moment and slowly the mirth grew too much to hold. She rolled over, off his hair, and watched as he pushed it back behind his head with a muttered curse. All this she observed through muffled giggles as she had buried her mouth into a pillow to keep from laughing out loud.


He quickly braided his hair back off his face until it hung in a long braid down his back. By this time she had managed to put the pillow back down on the bed. He settled himself back into bed and patted the spot next to him. She lay down and he quickly turned on his side and pulled her back against him, efficiently trapping her hands where he could keep an eye on them.

"So, my wife, did I please you? If so, then I would like to request a boon." He asked.

She rolled over, thwarting his plan to keep her hands in his control. Her eyes sparkled in mischief as she contemplated his request.

"You did indeed please me, my husband," she replied, "I will grant you a boon, but one of my choosing."

He watched in fascination as she chose what boon to give. She pushed him onto his back and then straddled his knees. She leaned forward and left butterfly kisses on his stomach and abdomen. He felt his stomach muscles tense in anticipation, but she made no move further down. Instead her kisses where having the added affect of her brushing up against him every time she moved inciting his body to respond. He reached down to do something, unsure of how to get what he wanted, when her meandering course brought him what he craved. Her lips on his organ made his blood heat and his back arched in response. She kissed him and then ran her tongue up and down the length of him, much like her finger had earlier. He reached down and tangled his fingers in her hair, urging her on. She finally took him deep in her mouth and whatever thoughts he had scattered like the wind. The things she did with her lips and tongue were an unbearable agony. His whole body had tightened in reaction. He released her hair and dug his fingers instead into the bedding. He was losing himself in a maelstrom of sensation. He felt himself coming. His back arched as the thrust himself into her mouth and he yelled out and then collapsed back down on the bed.

He was vaguely aware of her getting out of bed, but she returned before his senses even completely registered her absence. She was drinking from a glass and after she had finished she offered it to him. He was finding it difficult to convince his muscles that there was still work to be done, but he managed to sit up and accept the glass from her. He sniffed it a moment and then threw it back. He had not even realized just how thirsty he had been, but the watered wine helped. She watched him with a somewhat concerned look on her face.

"So, husband, did you like my boon?" she asked.

His eyes widened at the question. He wondered how she could be uncertain after his last display. Her serious look convinced him of her sincerity, however and he swallowed his flippant answer. He offered her his arms and pulled her into his embrace.

"Like is too mild a word, beloved. You hold my heart, and you are welcome to hold whatever other body part of mine you wish." He answered.

She gave him a crooked grin and asked in delight, "Whatever body part?"

He groaned in mock anguish and quickly let go of her and rolled away, off the bed and across the room. "Mind you wife, I must sit a horse come the dawn, so keep your torture to my poor backside at a minimum."

In response to his teasing she stalked him around the table making random grabs for him before the silliness of the situation overcame them. They sat down at the table, still laughing, and had a light meal. He tried once more to get her to reveal her name.

"Wife?" he began benignly.

"Yes?" she responded, eyebrow quirked at his level tone.

"Do you think I have pleased you enough for you to share your name with me," he inquired dryly?

She seemed to ponder his words, her expression serious. Then her expression changed and her eyes seemed to sparkle with mischief. She was about to say, request, or do something completely outrageous.

"Honoring my frugal nature, I have decided to hold out for something truly spectacular, husband," she answered him, her eyebrows arched in challenge. "I once overheard a discussion between some married she-elves. They were having a debate on the merits of various positions, and on the stamina of their husbands. Their debate meant little to me then, but now it intrigues me. We have so few hours for all the variations I heard, but perhaps you are up for the challenge. You are the son of the king after all, so much more can be expected of you."

He stared at her as her words penetrated. He narrowed his eyes and contemplated her challenge. He remembered all the stories and gossip he had overheard in his lifetime. If her list rivaled his, it would be an exhausting night. He remembered one story in particular and felt himself stir at the thought imagining already the things he could do for her. The decision was made.


She watched him after she had made the challenge. She had meant it partially in jest, but judging from the intentness of his gaze, he seemed to have taken the challenge seriously. His eyes narrowed and then darkened with desire. He stood up quickly and cleared the table of food and crockery. He leaned his weight hard against it, testing its strength, then beckoned her over, his gaze challenging. She slowly joined him on his side of the table, watching him cautiously. He seemed almost feral, his movements controlled. He reminded her of a bow, string pulled back waiting to be released. She moved within reach and he quickly pulled her against his body, the arrow released. He pressed his mouth against her ear and said two words that she would both rue and revel in for days to come.

He grasped her by the waist and set her on the table, spreading her knees apart to stand between them. She glanced down at him and realized he was already hard and ready. He put his finger under he chin to bring her gaze back up to his.

"If we are putting my stamina to the test love, perhaps you should keep count?" he said arching his brow.

"Count of what?" she asked grinning at his words.

"You decide," he grinned wickedly, "but perhaps it should be the number of times you beg for my touch before the dawn."

She narrowed her eyes at the arrogance and then sighed. "I suppose that would work. It will determine how often I needed you and you were too tired to meet my needs," she countered, her tone unconcerned.

He growled in response and spread her legs further apart. He ran his finger over her and then moved a finger inside of her. She gasped at the speed of her arousal and then closed her eyes and leaned back on her hands to give him better access. She moved with him and could feel the pressure building as he teased her with his touch. She moaned his name and he stopped suddenly. She howled at the loss of his touch and her eyes met his with a plea.

"What are you counting lover?" He asked, punctuating each word with a slight flick of his finger inside her.

"I will count..." she swallowed hard and tried to slow her breathing, to no effect. "I will..." her words cut off as he moved once more.

"What will you count," he asked again, leaning over her as he spoke to nip lightly at her breast.

She grabbed his chin with one hand and drew his face up to her eye level. "I will count the blood spots on the floor after I run you through if you do not move!"

Before she had finished speaking he moved his hand away and drove into her. She released him and dropped her arm back to the table to brace herself. He wrapped his hands around her waist and thrust hard. Once, twice and she was done. She felt as though her bones had melted as she lay back on the table, spent.

A breath later, she felt his hands slide up her body and then under her shoulders. He pulled her upright and she realized he was still deeply imbedded in her. He held her body tightly to his and she felt his tongue glide across her lips. She opened her mouth at his invitation and kissed him deeply. His fingers played over his breasts and ran down the tops of her thighs. She wound her arms around his neck and felt her body tighten again in response to his ministrations. He groaned into her mouth. She tightened her hold on him inside her body, reveling in her power as he groaned again. He reached behind his head and pulled her hands around in between their bodies. Then he lowered her to the table with deliberate slowness and pinned her arms over her head, his eyes never leaving hers, his gaze intent.

He released her and slowly stood back up, his hands caressing the skin of her stomach and abdomen. His eyes held her still with a promise, though she ached to touch him. Then he flexed insider her and she arched up at the sudden sensation. It was like blowing on embers and having the fire come rushing back. She rubbed her legs against his trying to get him to move again. She felt his hands on her knees as he pushed them toward her chest, changing the angle of their touch. He ran his hands over her hips and then traced the length of her bent legs with his fingertips. When he reached her foot, he took first the right and then the left and kissed the arch of each foot. The flames of her desire flared at each kiss. He still did not move inside her. She rotated her hips to entice him, and he pulled back a short distance. He grabbed her hip arresting her motion and then pulled her legs up so they rested on his shoulders. He slowly withdrew from her, until she feared he was going to leave her completely.

He moved back into her, deeper than before and she gasped in surprise. He repeated the motion with exceedingly slow steady deep thrusts until she felt her whole body thrumming with passion and need.

"I want..." she panted, trying to articulate her desire. "Ai, please... I want you now, Move!" she demanded.

He increased his pace in response and sensation quickly overwhelmed her. Her hands reached for something to grab onto, but found nothing on the smooth surface. She felt him release one of his own hands from her waist to catch at hers. She grabbed hold of his hand in desperation, but he quickly detached her grasp and instead guided her hand to her own breast. Her eyes widened for a moment, then she moved her hands down her body and touched herself while he moved inside her. It was too much.

"Ai, Ai Yes," she screamed in ecstasy rearing up off the table as the sensations overwhelmed her. She lay there spent, trying to catch her breath, when she realized he was still rock hard inside her. She looked up at him to see his hands clenching the edge of the table with his eyes closed, standing there frozen.

"You did not come with me again," she said stating the obvious with disbelief.

He opened his eyes, at her statement, his breathing still heavy. His eyes glowed with fey determination and reached down without a word and eased himself out of her

"I did not," he finally replied, a hard passionate edge in his voice. "But there are hours until dawn. Are you remembering to count?"

"I barely remember my name right now, but yes, I am counting." She replied breathlessly.


He pulled her to her feet, and she wobbled as her rubbery tried to support her weight. He steadied her with a smug look and then swept her into his arms and carried her back to the bed. Then he said the one word she would hear repeatedly that night.

He looked at her and said "Again."


They ran out of ideas before they ran out of time. As the time bleed away, they made love one last time. They lay face to face, and each move was slow and gentle. They climaxed with soft sighs, for their energy was spent and they were exhausted. When dawn neared, he called for a bath and they soaked their aching bodies. They helped wash away the sweat and smell of sex and then sat in the water, cuddled together until the water grew cold. They extricated themselves from the tub and collapsed exhausted back onto the bed. She had just gotten comfortable and felt her eyes close in sleep when the knock came on the door. She groaned inwardly at the unfairness of it as she watched her exhausted husband get out of bed.

She reluctantly followed and they dressed. She donned a dress that had been delivered earlier with their bath water. He disappeared into the adjoining and returned carrying his travel pack and weapons.

"It is time. I must go, and I do not know when I shall return," he began, but she stopped him.

"I know, I will see you off." She pulled his face down to hers, and gave him a chaste kiss and then released him. He gave her a gentle smile and led her from the rooms.

They made their way slowly, gingerly out the front doors down to the front gates, muscles sore and tired from the exertion. There the warriors gathered with their horses. Their arrival was noted and good wishes and congratulations were offered from those who were near them. His horse was brought to him by a young elf who disappeared back into the crowd before a word could be said.

The king rode over to where they stood and swiftly dismounted his horse. He walked over to them with a bright smile on his face.

"Daughter, you look exhausted, did you two sleep at all last night?" the king inquired merrily.

She blushed furiously and the king watched his son straighten up from his exhausted stance and preen like a cock in front of a group of hens. Those who heard the king's question laughed at his reaction.

"You must forgive me, I was remiss in my duties as father," the king continued when the laughter died down. "I offer you this jewel in welcome to my house." He pulled out a stunning emerald pendant and draped it around her neck.

"Oh thank you," she replied, fingering the necklace, "It is lovely."

The king chuckled, "You seem to be missing one other piece of jewelry, my dear. Luckily, I managed to rouse the goldsmith from his rest last night." The king turned his attention to his son. "You may want these, my gift to you." Then the king tucked a pair of gold rings into his sons hand. He kissed his new daughter on the forehead and headed back to wait near his horse.

She stared at the rings in his hand. They had forgotten all about them. She looked at him and then the audience they had attracted. Everyone was watching to see what he would do. He gave her a wry grin and then shrugged. He glanced at the ground as if contemplating dropping to one knee and then just shook his head.

"Beloved," he began in a voice pitched to carry, "Will you take this ring and wear it as a representation of my love and the vows we spoke?"

She smiled at him and nodded. He slipped the smaller ring onto her finger, then handed her the other ring. She repeated his words back to him and when he nodded, slipped the ring onto the index finger of his right hand.

Their audience cheered and clapped. Several offered personal congratulations, but then quickly returned to the departure preparations. He eyed his horse with a great degree of trepidation, then turned back to his wife.

"What was your final count this morning?" he tone smug and expression arrogant.

"One," she replied, her answer quick and sure.

His face contorted into an incredulous mask. "One?" he sputtered.

She smiled widely at his reaction, and bit her lip to keep from laughing. "Yes, one, but you did not ask what I counted."

His eyes narrowed, "What did you count?"

"Come home safe, and I will tell you." Before he could say a word in reply, she leaned close and whispered in his ear.

"I will cherish the thought that you found the last few hours a spectacular event," he said, grinning madly. "I must go, get some rest Beloved." He kissed her one last time on the forehead and turned toward his horse. Her hand snaked out, and gave his rear a quick squeeze and he jumped.

"To remember you by," she explained with a grin when he gave her an exasperated look. She moved back to stand at the edge of the field with those others who were staying behind.

She watched him attach his pack to the horse, his motions stiff. His horse was not cooperating. He kept dancing a few steps away, with amusement. She watched her poor husband try to catch him, which she suspected he could do on a normal day, but not in his current exhausted state. He finally stood still, arms folded over his chest and glared at the horse. She swore later the horse laughed. He reared up, neighing and then shook himself once four hooves were back on the ground. Then after drawing all attention to him, he kneeled down in front of her husband, as he had been trained, when his rider could not mount on his own.

Her husband stood there next to his kneeling horse his head shaking as the gathered crowd roared in laughter. He finally shrugged and mounted his horse. The horse stood and took two jarring steps and he winced as he automatically tightened his legs in response. Those who saw laughed again, even the king had a bright smile on his face as he watched his son's discomfort.

So the mood of the departure was light, and that day King Oropher's troops rode out to meet the threat of Mordor, and Thranduil, golden haired son of the king waved one last goodbye to his wife. For it would be many years before he would see her again, and when next they met, she would be Queen.