CHAPTER 35 - The Call Of Home

The youngest prince of Mirkwood looked Northwards at the sparkling, blue snake that wound its way in a slow curve from heading westward and then slowly changed direction, slipping southwards. North of the river, which is what the blue snake was, of course, were tall, dark mountains. The mountains separating them from Angmar, their destination.

"It looks cold," he said, his blonde hair being tugged and pulled across his face by the frozen wind that blew down from the snow topped Misty Mountains to the east. Nilwethion nodded, trying to hold his own wild hair out of his face.

"It will be," he replied, "The ground has frozen overnight. The river will be just as cold."

"Frozen over? Like the forest river in Mirkwood was three years ago?"

Nuryävié, standing on the other side of Legolas, shook his head.

"No, just very, very cold. Almost frozen. Come on, we will have to find a way across. The sooner the better."

The princes began to push their way forwards through the strong wind that blustered about them, but Legolas continued to stare at the long river ahead of them. He wrapped his warm cloak around himself.

"Wait!" he called. His brothers turned around, leaning against the wind. "We could always . . . well, the river. It would be quicker than Angmar."

Oroweth looked around again at the river, and was almost blown off his feet as particularly strong gust whipped past them. Elves were very light people, and the princes were no exception. The dark haired prince thought about it for a moment, and then nodded. He called to the others above the howling voice of the wind.

"The sooner we can see naneth and the others, the sooner I will be happy!"

Again, the princes began to walk towards the river, their progress slow due to the battling wind. The fight the wind was putting up against the six elves was almost as though the very world itself was trying to stop the princes from reaching the rapid flowing river.

Their feet almost stumbled over the ice cold earth, their travel stained cloaks wrapped tightly around them, hoods drawn over their heads but continually thrown back by the raging winds. Slowly but surely, the princes picked up their speed as they adjusted to the cold, angry wind, and river drew ever closer and clearer for the eye to see. Across the open land, where only the Rangers ever went, the princes now struggled to find their way. As the sun climbed higher in to the sky, denied the right to warm up the world by the harsh winds and the other cold elements, the six princes came to the river, unaware that they were being followed.

Just as the princes took their first steps in to the freezing cold, flowing water that was the river, six horses - their own horses, recently set free - galloped up as if the whips of the orcs were driving them along. On the backs of the six horses were six elves. Captain Silnan, captain Lachion and four others. The last people the princes wanted to see.

With a cry of fear, Oroweth, Nuryävié, Nilwethion and Legolas began to wade further in to the clear water, terrified that they had been followed by the warriors for unfriendly reasons. They still firmly believed that their people hated them, blaming them for the deaths of the queen and the princesses. The icy kiss of the water lapped around their legs, drawing them onwards, as if eager to freeze their hearts and keep them locked like treasure in a chest at the ever-changing bottom of the river bed until the end of time.

In the shallows of the river, however, Thellind stood frozen. Astaler, panicking, grabbed hold of his pale, cold arm and tried to drag him away. The silent prince would not move, making Astaler more and more frantic to get away, but instead he stood like a stone statue, staring with disbelief at the fast approaching warriors on the backs of the six horses.


The two elven women galloped over the frozen turf as fast as their horses could go. The landscape passed swiftly by - the small woods that were the Trollshaws, the low hills, ancient trees that had almost lost all of their leaves. Further away, in the distance to the east, the snow topped Misty Mountains, their summits hidden in swirling clouds of far off hail stones, slowly went by, watching the two riders like sentries.

They did not know how long they had spent, galloping through torrents of flustered wind, their eyes searching endlessly for a sign of any elven life that had recently passed that way; the prideful Mirkwood warriors, the lost princes or, though they both supposed that he was still being dragged along behind the warriors, Lindir.

A mournful tune, buffeted and carried up to the skies by the wild winds, reached their ears. Driven by a wordless decision, the two elves stopped and dismounted their horses, looking around for whomever it was playing the flute so beautifully.

"Lindir!" gasped Aliela. Her voice was lost to Culkemen, snatched away by the elements. The captain did not need telling, however, because at that moment she too saw the small, huddled form playing the flute sitting in a lone tree. His cloak was wrapped around him, and his blonde hair was only just peeking out from underneath the secretive folds of the hood, but both of them could tell the forlorn minstrel by the skilful tunes played on the little black flute in his hands.

"Lindir!" called Culkemen. Her voice was louder than Aliela's, and it cut through the wind like an elvish dagger cuts through the flesh of an orc. The sweet, mournful tune faltered, and Lindir looked up with surprise. From the shadows created by his hood, Lindir's face lit up like a candle in the dark. He swung himself down and ran towards the two other elves, his cloak flying out behind him.

"I was waiting for the wind to die down before going back to Imladris!" he yelled above the wind. Culkemen and Aliela could only just hear his words above the howls and whispers of the wind.

"How did you escape?" cried Culkemen.

"Captain Silnan let me free!" the reply came, above the voice of the wind


"Silnan - free!"

Culkemen nodded to show that she had understood him. She then pointed behind her with a pale, slender finger that was almost as white as the frost that still covered the ground, back the way they had come. The way in which Imladris lay.

"Aliela will take you back to Imladris!" she called. Again, Lindir smiled. The thought of the Hall of Fire was very welcoming to him; the warm flicker of the friendly flames and the peaceful feeling that always hung in the air there. Besides, he would be able to see the twins and know that they were well.

"Pardon?" Aliela herself, having not been consulted on the matter, was surprised, to say the least. Her cheeks, reddened by the cold wind, flushed even more with anger at the Mirkwood elf that she had so recently helped to escape.

"Go with Lindir! Go back home where you belong!"

Culkemen watched with something close to satisfaction as Aliela's frost paled lips tightened and, by her sides, her glove covered hands clenched in to fists. The captain was expecting an angry argument, but it never came. Instead, all she got was a foul look that would make an orc seem nice and friendly. The elf maiden turned on her heal and whistled to her earth-brown horse, which obediently trotted up. She mounted the creature, and beckoned for Lindir to do the same. When he was sitting comfortably behind her, Aliela turned the horse around and galloped away southwards, back to Imladris. She blinked back a tear forming in her eye like rain in a cloud, hoping Culkemen had not seen it.

Culkemen stood, leaning in to the wind slightly, watching the horse bearing the two elves from Imladris away back home. As soon as they were out of sight, she mounted her own horse and rode off north again, continuing the search to be reunited with her people.


"Thellind, come on!" cried Astaler, trying to tug his brother deeper in to the river as it curled around their legs, like fingers trying to draw them further in. A tear of fear and desperation escaped from the corner of his eye, trickling down his pale face. Thellind still would not move, staring at the riders who had now dismounted and were running towards them.

The pair were grabbed by two pairs of hands and, although Astaler tried putting up a half hearted fight, but he gave up and allowed himself to be pulled out of the river. He looked in to the eyes of a warrior he did not know. He gulped, desperate to escape the grasp of the unknown elf and find his way to the Halls of Mandos, where queen Imlammthien, Calensil, Hollinethir and Neldoreth were resting and waiting. The prince tried to pull away from the warrior, but diamond like tears welled up in his eyes, and he it drained him of the little will power he had left to blink them back.

Unlike Astaler, Thellind had thrown his arms around his rescuer, and was not showing any sign of letting go any time soon. After believing for so long that the elves living in Mirkwood hated him, the fact that they had been followed proved to him that he had been wrong. The warrior, trapped in the bear-hug, was more than slightly confused at his reception, and glanced at his friend for help.


It had not taken long to ride over the blustery plains and find the smaller group of warriors, now lead by Ennyntaur, who were making their way northwards, contrary to the wind which flew down from the mountains and was trying to push them eastwards. They looked up as they heard the approaching hooves, and then glared and drew their weapons when Culkemen drew in to sight.

At first, the captain wondered at the reception, and then she realized that she was dressed in Arwen's clothes and riding her horse. From the distance, and with her dark hair and dark cloak billowing about so wildly, the must have mistaken her for Arwen. Culkemen allowed herself a small, smug smile as she slowed the powerful horse to a stop and dismounted it. She gave it a small nudge in the direction of Imladris, showing that it could go home. The horse needed no second orders and galloped off in the direction of its home.

As Ennyntaur looked closer at the elf, he gasped, bit his lip, and sheathed his weapon.

"I apologize, captain. I thought you were. . ." he trailed off

"Arwen?" Culkemen continued to smile as she saw the shock on the faces of the elves staring at her.

"I have not actually seen Arwen," Ennyntaur replied thoughtfully, raising his voice so that it could be heard above the driven gusts, "But I did not realize who you were."

"Where is Silnan and Lachion?" she asked, noticing the absence of two such strong personalities. She had expected to find them there, and was very surprised that they were not.


Legolas was now up to his waist in freezing cold water, and although elves are usually very resistant to the cold, he was shivering. Behind him, four of the warriors who had arrived on horseback were wading in to the river after him and his brothers.

The water crept in to his boots, making them heavy and cumbersome. It soaked his leggings and the bottom of his tunic and his cloak, as though the river was teasingly trying to pull him down in to its depths.

"Your majesties!" he heard Silnan call from behind him. The voice of the usually strong and hot-headed captain came over as being almost as desperate as Legolas felt. The blonde prince, his skin white and his limbs shaking from the icy cold temperatures, ignored the captain and carried on wading forwards. He did not realise that Thellind and Astaler were now back on the grassy banks, or that Lachion had caught hold of Oroweth and was pulling him away from the river.

"Your majesties, wait!" the call came again, more despairing than before.

This time, Legolas paused, and looked back over his shoulder with wide, blue eyes, filled with terror. He was now chest deep in the swiftly running river, and in danger of being swept of his feet by the force of the water, bent on captivating him. Silnan was up to his waist, and not very far behind.

"What are you doing?" he called, his voice projecting clearly over the raging torrents of the water joined with the wailing gusts of wind. Nilwethion was the one who replied, his voice sounded drained and was almost snatched away, out of hearing range.

"You hate us."

Silnan shook his head slowly, confused.

"Why do you think that?" he yelled. Then, his face clenched as thoughts began to formulate in his untrusting mind. "It was that Lord of Imladris and his wife! They told you that to make you leave, did they not? Your adar loves you! He is sick with grief at loosing you, as are your people! Come back to Mirkwood!"

In one fell swoop, all hopes of seeing their waiting family in the Halls of Mandos were crushed, like a berry under a boulder. A tear began to form in the corner of Legolas' eye. For months, he had believed that he was one of the most unwanted, wretched creatures in Arda. Now. . . it was almost as though a great weight had been lifted from his chest. A small smile touched his frozen lips, and he, along with his brothers, waded backwards towards the shore.

"Yes," he whispered, as the disappointed river rushed on by, angry that it had lost its beautiful prize, "We will come home."

The End.

Epilogue: The princes, along with the six warriors, rejoined Culkemen, Ennyntaur and the other warriors and made their way homewards. The crossed the Misty Mountains right in the middle of winter, and swore blind never, ever to do it again. They returned home to Mirkwood in the late spring to the joy of the elves, and to much jubilation. King Thranduil recovered quickly after his depression at loosing, as he though, all his family, and became well enough to rule his people in a very short space of time.

Lindir went back to playing his music, though he tended to favour the Mirkwood flute instead of his harp. Elladan and Elrohir stopped picking on him, although they did still occasionally play the odd trick on him. Aliela found Lin the teddy bear and, after debating giving it back to the princes, she decided to keep him until the next time one of the princes visited, which was many years later. Somehow, unlike the princes, she managed to keep Lin as he was since the day she found him. When Elrond, Celebrian, Glorfindel and Erestor found out that Arwen had helped Culkemen to escape, they were all very, very angry with both her and Aliela. When Aliela and Lindir rode back in to Imladris not very long afterwards though, they were too relived to see Lindir back alive and well to be angry for any longer.


A/N: Yes, this epic tale, Princes of Mirkwood, is finished! Oh dear Eru, it's a miracle! I've actually finished it! I've already got my next fic planned, and the first chapter will either be up this Sunday or next Sunday. It's weird to think I've actually finished this thing! Especially since I've been working on it for almost 9 months.

Okay, so a HUGE thank you to everyone who has reviewed this piece, especially all of you who have been loyal reviewers, coming back every week. Also thankyou to any lurkers. Cookies for y'all!

Anything else to say? Um. . . not that I can think of. . . I'll probably think of something I needed to say after I've uploaded this chapter. Ah well.


LARVLE ~ don't worry, I didn't do anything too mean to them. I love them all too much to hurt them that much. Well. . . that's possibly why I hurt them in the first place. . . but that just isn't the point. The maths exam actually turned out alright. It was my naneth forgetting to pick me up from school that should be illegal! On my birthday and all!

DRAGONFLY ~ I would agree with you and say that maths is my worst subject as well, but after that exam I'll have to say that my worst is actually Physics. It'll take a heck of a lot for them to get over their hatred of the Noldorian elves, but I'll be sorting that out in another story. Mind you, I already have my net two fics planned and that subject doesn't fit in anywhere there, but I'll get around to it eventually.

ELROHIR LOVER ~ thank you very much!

LAINFAER ~ yes, they made it just in time. The grand finale, as it were.

MELLAITHWEN - ELVENMAIDEN ~ hey lookie! They heard you and paid attention to you! That's more than they do for me! ;p It was nice of Arwen and Aliela in a way, but the only reason they really helped Culkemen escape was because Arwen wanted Lindir back and because Aliela wanted to see Legolas again.

ELVENROCKER ~ aw, don't stress about the exams! Sure, they're annoying and they get in the way, but that doesn't mean you should stress about them. The more you stress the worse you do. Well, that's how it works for me.

NESSA ~ just as you add the link to your favourites, I finish it! Typical. Why didn't you just get a user name and add it to the favourites list on that though? It would save a heck of a lot of time in finding links. Ah, free food. Wonderful stuff!

ORODRUIN ~ well. . . the Mirkwood company catch up with the princes AS they are doing something stupid. It's a good thing the horses turned up when they did, or else the princes would have been lying dead at the bottom of the river bank by the time the Mirkwood warriors caught up with them. They did take Thellind home, after all! I agree that it would have made a good story, but I'm too attached to Thellind now to kill him off. If I did I would probably end up crying my eyes out in the middle of writing the chapter! Maybe I'll save it for another elf and another day.

MOONMIST ~ Yay! Legolas-plushie! Fun! Now it can go with all the plushies I have of my original characters! Hmm. . . want a Thellind plushie?