The wind blew through the open windows, stirring the curtains, caressing the golden hair of the sleeping prince. Instead of waking him up, the cool wind comforted him that he burrowed deeper under the layers of blanket. A small smile appeared on his well-shaped lips, a wonderful dream still playing in his mind.
As if from afar, he could hear someone yelling for him. "Oh go away," he mumbled, half-awakened by now. He pulled a pillow and covered his face with it.
"Legolas!!!! How many times have I told you, I don't want to see the cursed ferrets inside this palace!!"
"Huh?" That grabbed his attention. Legolas shot up in his bed and, without bothering to put a shirt to cover his bare chest, he ran out of his chamber towards his father's booming voice. The king could still be heard grumbling and yelling in pure irritation.
The prince skidded to a halt at the corridor near the king's sleeping chamber. King Thranduil was holding the said ferrets by their ears. The two creatures were struggling to free themselves, hissing in annoyance.
"Err…good morning, father."
The king frowned at his youngest son. "Morning? It's afternoon already. And didn't I tell you to get rid of these beasts?"
Legolas hastened forward to take the animals from the king. They were so happy to see him they chirped and jumped joyfully in his arms. "I did as you told me, father. But they just kept coming back." Not really true actually. Legolas had not the heart to throw them away into the woods after he'd healed them. He'd only put them back on the tree branch that reached out into the palace balcony. Of course, the creatures would certainly come back anytime they wanted.
King Thranduil put up his hand impatiently. "I don't want to see their faces anymore. Valar, they munched onto my favorite pillow! How they got into my room I have no idea! Get rid of them now!"
Chuckling, Legolas bowed to his father. "Thank you for not killing them."
"I definitely will if I see them again." He looked his son over, up and down. "And put a shirt on! It's cold in here!"
Still laughing, Legolas walked back towards his own chamber with the bundle of mischief in his arms. "You sure have irked my father, my friends. Now, what should I do with the both of you?"
"You should have sold them to the dwarves as food, silly."
"Ai Elbereth!" Legolas was startled when his brother's voice came from behind the door. "Kel, you moron! What are you doing sneaking up on me?"
"I did not sneak up on you," said Keldarion, the crown prince of Mirkwood, ruffling his brother's hair lovingly. With his hands full, Legolas could not slap his brother's hand away. "You are just too slow to sense my presence."
Putting down the ferrets, Legolas grabbed a pillow and hit his brother with it. "I'm not slow, old man!" Keldarion grabbed another pillow. Hence, a pillow war exploded.
The princes' howling laughter could be heard throughout the palace. Their loud mirth brought the king to the chamber. His face was thunderous when he saw his two grown sons now engaged in a wrestling match on the floor, the feathers from the ruined pillows spilled all around them.
"Ai!! You two are a real pain in my behind! Stop this game before the people thought they have a pair of lunatics as their beloved princes!"
With that, the younger elves stopped their antics and stared at their father innocently. Legolas, still bare-chested, lay sprawled on his back, his hands still wrapped around his brother's neck. Keldarion, the ever neat and smart looking crown prince, have feathers sticking out from his usually tidy raven hair. Even the king could not stop the twitch in his lips. Before he could burst into laughter that would not do with his regal image as a ruler, he snapped, "Kel, aren't you suppose to get ready for your bride-to-be's arrival? She's due any minute now." With that, he quickly walked away, barely containing his own mirth.
Keldarion groaned. He almost forgot. He wished he'd forgotten. Valar, he wished he'd never agree to the marriage proposal in the first place! He could feel the rumble of laughter coming from Legolas beneath him. "What's so funny?"
"You are, my brother. You're getting married. How unlucky the lady would be," Legolas snickered. Kel cuffed him in the head. "Get up, will you! At least show the courtesy as an obedient brother-in-law."
"Obedient, my eye!" Legolas let his brother pulled him up and got dressed. They shared the mirror to straighten their appearance. The two tall persons that came out of the chamber later were no longer the playful elves brothers, but two elven princes of regal being, befitted the royal blood that ran through their veins.
Only the servants that cleaned up the mess of Legolas's chamber would claim differently.
Legolas fidgeted beside his brother. He hated waiting, especially if the waiting did not concern him. He glanced at Keldarion. His brother did not look exactly thrill either. He might be having second thought about this arranged marriage too.
Keldarion was nearly over 3,500 years old, an age suited for marriage. As he was one of the most eligible bachelors in middle earth, he was sought by many elves maidens from all realms. He'd stalled for many years now and declined many offers. But the king had had enough of his many unattached relationships with the elves maidens, breaking lots of hearts along the way (The king also foresaw the same pattern with his youngest son in a very near future. While Keldarion was incredibly handsome, Legolas who had his mother's features was breathtakingly beautiful! Ai! The king had his hands full with only his two children).
Thranduil had warned Keldarion to seriously consider marriage sooner, for the king would only sail over the sea when he was assured the Mirkwood royal house will only be ruled by none other than his own descendants. Again, Keldarion delayed. And so, Thranduil had accepted the first offer that came forth, much to Keldarion's chagrin.
The unlucky she-elf, or rather the she-elf for unlucky Keldarion, was Lady Arulin. She's an orphan raised by Lord and Lady of Garmadris, the faraway southern mountain elves realm. They never met her before but they were told she was so beautiful that her beauty could make the forest weep. Legolas glanced at his brother one more time. Ai! Her unseen beauty already made Keldarion wept! The crown prince looked so uncertain and nervous that Legolas would not be surprised if he took off running and hide!
The much awaited troop from Garmadris arrived not much later amid cheers and applause from the elves of Mirkwood. Keldarion became paler than ever, Legolas saw with a grin. He clapped his brother on the back. "Cheer up, Kel. The marriage would only last for…well, forever."
Keldarion glared at him.
The lady sat atop her mount gracefully. Everyone gasped at her magnificent beauty. Her hair was bright red, her lips full and pink, her skin pure alabaster (no other skin was as beautiful as hers, except for Legolas's that is). Keldarion step forward to assist her to dismount. That's when all hell broke loose…
Out of nowhere, two little furry creatures, the cursed ferrets that had caused great annoyance to the king earlier, ran under the mounts' feet. Panicked, the horse neighed and bucked, overthrowing the lady from her seat. Crying out in enraged and terror, she flew off and landed on the ground in an ungraceful heap. All that saw this could only stared in dismay. Keldarion was staring open mouthed to his bride-to-be, having no idea what to do. The king's face was turning pale… then red…then purple! "Legolas!!!"
Legolas hurried forward to catch his 'pets'. Keldarion rushed forward to help the lady to her feet. Several other elves helped to calm the panic mount. Thranduil resisted the urge to grab his youngest son by his pointy ears.
When everything was back in order, Legolas approached the lady and his brother hesitantly under his father's watchful eye. He bowed respectfully. "Forgive my …err 'pets', my lady, for scaring your mount."
Lady Arulin stared at the beautiful prince in wonder. She returned his bow, then cried out in pain. Keldarion grasped hold of her arm. "Are you hurt, my lady?"
She nodded. "My ankle. I think it's twisted."
Legolas knelt down after relinquishing the excited ferrets to the king's startled arms. "If you would let me, my lady, I can heal your injury." She nodded, giving her permission, even though she didn't know about Legolas's magical ability of healing. Pulling up the hem of her skirt, she let the prince assessed her slim ankle. He touched the slightly swollen place and started the healing process.
It went well as usual, with Legoals deeply concentrating his powerful healing energy onto the injury. Then, something went terribly wrong. A dark force from some unknown source hit him full in the chest that he nearly got thrown backwards onto his back. Instead, he jerked away and sat down hard on the ground. He looked up at Lady Arulin, bewilderment clearly evident on his face. She stared at him solemnly. "Thank you. I feel better already."
She walked away on the newly healed ankle, Keldarion's hand upon her arm. His older brother looked at him in puzzle. "What's wrong with you?" his eyes seemed to ask. Legolas slowly stood up. Absentmindedly, he accepted the two ferrets from his grumbling father. "Get rid of them now!" King Thranduil hissed.
But Legolas was oblivious to it. He can't shake the sudden foreboding feeling running down his spine after touching Lady Arulin's ankle. He could still remember the feeling when the dark force came and struck him. Some force akin to something evil and deadly.TBC…