Soon the news of a creature possessing their King spread among the Elves of Mirkwood, and all were glad it had been defeated.
But the rejoicing was tainted by the still unsure outcome of the battle against the Orcs. Most had a son, a brother or a husband involved in this battle and were anxiously waiting for news from the front. Furthermore they had to remain alert should the City be attacked, and all were preparing in case of a confrontation.
The members of the Royal family were not the least worried for they too were awaiting news from sons or brothers. Legolas' friends tried to make things easier for him by attempting to distract him a bit, but they could see it was no use. As long as the outcome of the battle remained uncertain their companion would remain concerned and ready to fight another war.
They, too, had offered their services to the King of Mirkwood. Since leaving would be too dangerous considering the circumstances, they would stay and help defend the City should it be assaulted.
It was three days after the creature's defeat that a guard hastily entered Thranduil's study, where the King was discussing with his youngest son.
"My Lords, the companies are back!" the guard exclaimed with a delighted smile.
A wave of relief washed through both Elves. They knew it meant the battle had been won. They instantly stood up and hurried outside. Many families had heard of the victorious return of their people and were already waiting near the high stone doors to welcome their relatives.
Like the others, Thranduil and Legolas eagerly waited, yet at some distance, while warriors walked through the doors. The King made sure to greet and congratulate all the soldiers that would come and bow to him, but as soon as they left his eyes wandered back to the doors.
Both Thranduil and Legolas were watching the gates expectantly, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of their sons or brothers. When Mîrdolen eventually entered the City, his father was the first to react and stride his way, though he was soon followed by Legolas.
Except a light wound on the head and another on the shoulder, Mîrdolen seemed rather healthy though obviously exhausted. As soon as Thranduil reached his son he took him in his arms. After a few seconds he finally let him go.
"Where is Faelernil?" Thranduil asked earnestly.
"I am afraid…" Mîrdolen began.
Instantly both Thranduil's and Legolas' faces fell. Thranduil brought a trembling hand to his mouth and closed his eyes, looking thoroughly devastated.
"I am afraid he managed to survive despite all our efforts," Mîrdolen finished.
Thranduil opened his eyes and examined his son questioningly, until he saw his oldest son at the doors, making sure the last warriors reached the City safely and helping some wounded soldiers.
The King glared at Mîrdolen with his lips pursed while the younger Elf looked back at him with a weak smile. After a long second Thranduil sighed and slightly shook his head before walking past his son to greet Faelernil. On his way he hit Mîrdolen lightly on the back of the head.
"Ouch!" Mîrdolen exclaimed before massaging his head. Then he turned towards his father. "I will have you know that I am wounded!"
Thranduil kept walking and Mîrdolen turned back towards Legolas.
"This was not funny, Mîrdolen," Legolas remarked, "it is no laughing matter."
"I know…" his older brother admitted. "Do you reckon he will send me to patrol the southern borders again?"
"While you certainly deserve it," Legolas observed, "he is probably too relieved to see you both alive to punish you for teasing us." He paused. "I am glad to see you too," he added with a smile.
Mîrdolen smiled back and pulled his brother into a hug.
"So how did you manage during our absence?" the older Elf asked when they parted. "Did you find your friend and the creature? Father seems to be back to normal so I suppose whatever ailed him no longer does."
"We found Gimli," Legolas answered, "and we destroyed the creature. As for our father… it is a long story."
"Then it will have to wait until tomorrow, I need to rest," Mîrdolen replied before moving away.
"Mîrdolen!" Legolas called. "How did you manage this miracle?" he asked when his brother turned back to him. "How did you win the battle? The odds were greatly against you."
"The Valar themselves came to help us. You should have seen it, it was absolutely – " Mîrdolen stopped when he realised his brother was staring at him disbelievingly and gave a long sigh. "Faelernil sent a messenger to the northern patrols and two extra companies joined us just before the battle."
The two brothers looked at the third one walking next to their father, reviewing some of their troops. Legolas noticed Faelernil limped a little.
"I have to admit it was a brilliant idea," Mîrdolen went on, "I would have never thought about it… And it certainly saved our lives…" He paused. "Maybe he is not as useless as I thought him to be…"
Mîrdolen and Legolas exchanged a glance before bursting out laughing.
After everyone had taken the time to rest and rejoice, it was time for the King of Mirkwood's guests to leave and return to their respective nations and duties.
Cindra had expressed her desire to go back to Norea, assured that her people would know she was ready and wait for her.
Aragorn was eager to return to Minas Tirith and see his wife and children again. After several discussions with Cindra they had come to the conclusion that both their nations could benefit from an alliance between Gondor and Norea. While Norea could learn a lot from Gondor for along the Ages they had lost precious knowledge, Gondor still suffered from sporadic attacks from Corsairs and Aragorn believed the Norean's experienced sailors could be of valuable help in their fight against them. Hence Cindra had promised to meet the other clans' chiefs of Norea and try to convince them.
Thinking back to their misadventure with the creature, Aragorn realised that Niyan had had a key role by keeping King Thranduil busy thanks to his diplomatic talent. Aragorn decided to promote Niyan to the rank of Lieutenant. The young man welcomed the news both with bewilderment and lots of gratitude.
Gimli had decided to go to the Lonely Mountain since he was so close to it. He would try and see if some Dwarves there would join him in Aglarond.
As for Legolas, his father had eventually agreed to his project to establish an Elven community in Ithilien. Thranduil would never admit it to his son, but the Elven King knew it would be a good way to keep Legolas busy and away from any sea longing.
Nine days after the defeat of the creature, they all left Mirkwood.
A/N: Once more, thanks to everyone who reviewed this story. It's the first time I actually manage to finish a serious one and it's a really weird feeling. After writing the words 'the end' I was thinking "so what am I supposed to do now?"
I have several projects of other LOTR stories, and I suppose that if you reached this page you may want to hear about them:
- a sequel to this story.
The general plot: ten years later, a group of Norean clans chiefs come to Middle Earth to establish alliances with various nations. Politics, angst as always, and romance.
Canon characters involved: Aragorn, Arwen, Legolas, Gimli, Eldarion, Merry, Pippin, Elladan and/or Elrohir, Faramir, Eomer, possibly Eowyn.
Returning OCs: Mîrdolen (the Elf grew on me so much he now has a life of his own), Niyan, Cindra.
As you can guess from the number of characters this story will certainly be hard to handle, so it will take a good amount of time before you see this story posted. Especially since I still need to work on the plot.
- a story featuring mainly a teenage Eldarion and Aragorn.
Other characters: Arwen, possibly Legolas and Gimli.
The plot: after an argument with his father, Eldarion leaves Minas Tirith at night and gets himself into lots of trouble. (think kidnapping...)
- several short stories involving the Royal family of Mirkwood, and especially the Princes when they were younger. After writing this story I wouldn't be able to picture Mirkwood's Royal family without Faelernil and Mîrdolen, so you might not have heard the end of them and Legolas.
If you have any preference as to which story you'd rather see written first, please let me know in a review.
Thank you for reading this story to the end.