Chapter 1

The late afternoon sunlight filtered in through the open window and into the room beyond accompanied by a gentle breeze, bringing with it all the sounds of life from beyond the walls of the stronghold. A young elf sat on the bed, his legs curled underneath him and his eyes fixed on the open book in front of him as if her were in deep concentration.

But Legolas' mind was on anything but his studies. Instead the young prince idly wrapped one of his braids, around his finger as his thoughts wandered elsewhere, blissfully thinking about the hunting trip he and the other novice elves had been permitted to go on. A small smile formed on his lips as he replayed the memory. The Elvenking hadn't been too keen on the idea of his son leaving the safety of the palace, but with some gentle coaxing from his wife, Elvéwen and much pleading from his son, Thranduil had finally relented and gien his permission for the prince to go.

Legolas had enjoyed the two day hunting trip immensely, but now the excitement was over. He sighed as he stared unseeing at the pages in front of him. For most of the other young elves, classes were now over for the day, but as prince, Legolas had additional studies in law, language, policy and lore with a private tutor after his normal lessons. He did not exactly dislike them, but archery was definitely his preferred pastime.

*Clatter, clatter, clatter*

The sound of horse's hooves against stone pulled Legolas from his daydreaming. Curious to see who it was returning, the prince uncurled himself off the bed, stretching elegantly like a cat before crossing the room to the window and looking down.

There, standing on the other side of the bridge that led to the great doors of the Elvenking's Halls, an elf waited patiently holding onto the bridle of a horse. But oh what a horse! Legolas' eyes lit up at the sight of the striking creature. There were many fine and magnificent horses in the Elvenking's stable, but even so, the young prince had never seen a horse as beautiful as this one. The horse's coat was a dark shade of grey, brushed until it gleamed in the bright evening sunshine. It tossed its head proudly and pawed the ground impatiently.

Eager for a closer view, Legolas swift;y left his room and headed for the stairs, his excitement growing, making his feet quicken their pace.

"Hir nin! I must insist that you watch where you are going!"

Legolas scrambled backwards, an apologetic smile on his face as he gazed up at the elf he had accidentally collided with. It was Elrynd, his father's personal servant. "Forgive me Elrynd!" He made to rush off again, but a hand on his shoulder stopped him.

Elrynd shook his head. "My Prince, what is the cause of this sudden rush? It was my belief that you were in your chambers learning your lessons?" One eyebrow was raised in question.

Legolas hopped uncomfortably from one foot to another. "There is the most magnificent horse I have never seen waiting beyond the gates. I simply must see it!"

"Ah, I see." Elrynd nodded his head with an understanding smile, knowing of the young elf's love of horses. "It is quite magnificent."

Legolas looked up at the elder elf curiously. "Do you know who owns it?"

The faithful servant nodded. "I do. It belongs to one of the elves who dwells in the forest. Word of his horse's prowess and strength has reached the ears of the king and he has brought it here with the hope of selling it to your father."

Bowing his head hastily in thanks, Legolas hurried along the pathways and down the stairs towards the main doors. The cool evening air hit his skin, but he ignored it as he hurried across the bridge, slowing down ever so slightly as he reached the other side.

The elf holding the rope attached to the horses bridle looked up and smiled kindly at the sight of the younger elf. "Greetings penneth. Have you come to admire Mithrin?"

Mithrin, grey one, Legolas thought. Out loud he said, "Yes I have." He took a step closer and held out his hand and jumped back in surprise as the grey horse threw his head back and snorted loudly.

The other elf chuckled as he held on tightly to the lead rope. "I am afraid that he can be rather haughty at times. He likes to pick and choose who touches him. Do not worry; it is not your fault. He will calm down once he gets to know you."

Now standing closer to the large horse, Legolas was able to see into his eyes; eyes that were so black, the prince could see his reflection staring back at him. There was a gleam of fire within the depths of his eyes; fire and stubbornness, mixed with bravery and pride. "He's beautiful," he murmured, casting his eyes over the horse, noting the way his coat went from dark grey to dappled grey under his belly and how his thick black mane and tail matched his eyes.

"Why must you keep him on a lead rope with a bridle?" Legolas asked. Rarely did he see a horse wearing such tack. Most of the warriors rode without saddle or bridle.

The other elf laughed. "It is for my own peace of mind penneth. If I were not to use a bridle it would be near impossible to tame this wild beast of mine!"

Legolas opened his mouth to reply, but sounds behind him drew his attention away from the horse and he glanced over his shoulder to see his father emerge from the Halls, a small entourage of warriors and advisers following him. Word of the magnificent horse at the King's gates had travelled quickly.

The Elvenking said nothing as he approached his son until he was until he towered above him, gazing down at Legolas with his piercing eyes and emotionless face. "Legolas," Thranduil drawled evenly. "Would you care to explain why you are down here and not in your chambers completing your studies?"

Legolas dipped his head. "Forgive me Adar, it was not my intention to disregard my studies. I just had to come down and see this horse. He is truly splendid is he not?"

Thranduil raised one eyebrow questioningly before turning and clearly his throat, addressing the owner of the horse. "You wish to sell this horse to me?"

"Ai, Hir nin. it would be an honour."

Thranduil nodded slowly. "Who will try this horse for me?" he drawled lazily, glancing around at the gathering of elves.

"I will Hir nin," one elf said, bravely stepping forward. He was the stable master, a gentle and kind elf who had a way with horses. He walked over and took the offered lead rope. Slowly he approached the horse, talking quietly to the creature in a soft voice as he raised his hand to rub the horse's nose.

But before he could make contact with the animal, the horse tossed its head wildly and kicked out. The elf waited patiently until the horse was calmer. Then he slowly started to approach it once again. But it was the same result. The horse was so fearful and frisky it wouldn't let the stable master come within two strides of it before it would rear up.

Thranduil pressed his lips together in a thin line and ordered, "Let someone else try."

One of the warriors stepped forward and bowed. "I will try Aran nin." He took a different approach and moved silently up to the horse from behind and managed to catch hold of the trailing rein. A moment later, the horse was plunging and kicking, stamping angrily with its hooves and tossing its head madly, his nostrils flared.
The elf lost his hold on the rope at once and fell backwards onto the ground, rolling away from the horse's thrashing hooves.

Legolas, who had stepped slightly behind his father, now moved forward. Thranduil acknowledged his son's presence with a slight nod of his head. Together they watched the elves try and calm the horse down.

"Tis a magnificent horse, but it is of no use to me unless it can be ridden." The king said as he stood tall, his eyes fixed on the elves as they attempted various ways of trying to approach and calm the frisky animal. "Is there no one here who can ride it?" Thranduil asked, raising his voice. The Elvenking spoke airily enough, but Legolas caught the slight undertone of disappointment in his father's voice.

One after another the elves tried, but all failed to mount the horse. Each time the horse would stand up on its hind legs rearing high, or would plunge forward kicking out in all directions. One or two of the elves managed to grasp the reins for a moment but none could calm the beast enough to mount it for more than a few moments.

Oh what a horse! Legolas thought with a pang of longing. If only I could have him for my own! The young prince watched as the stallion reared up once again, almost crushing one of the elves beneath his hooves.

Legolas winched and clenched his fits where they hung at his sides, willing the horse to calm down. "It is a beautiful horse, is it not?" The prince glanced up hopefully at his father.

"He is,"agreed Thranduil tolerantly with his son. It was true; the horse would be a splendid addition to his stables. However, "But I am afraid that it is of no use to me. It cannot be ridden. What use is a horse that cannot be ridden here?"

"That's not fair," Legolas sighed. "We are losing this fine horse just because the warriors are not brave enough or clever enough to manage it."

"Hush Legolas!" Thranduil scolded sharply. "That is no way to speak about our people like that. They far are older and wiser than you. They protect our lands and serve us loyally and faithfully. Do not let me hear you say something like that again!" Thranduil's eyes bored into Legolas sharply, silently warning him to behave.

Legolas scowled. "But they still don't know how to handle this beautiful horse."

"Well," Thranduil said, more than a little annoyed at the prince, "Could you do better than they?"

Legolas nodded confidently. "Yes I believe I can." Legolas could see the anger smouldering behind his father's eyes. If his suspicions were wrong, the young prince knew he would be in a lot of trouble with the king.

"Fine." Thranduil gazed coolly at his son. "Prove to me that you can ride him, and perhaps I will let you keep him for your own."

Legolas' eyes brightened considerably and he flashed a quick smile at Thranduil as he moved towards the prancing horse. When the elves in the courtyard saw the young prince walk forward, some were alarmed but others laughed quietly to themselves. What could the young inexperienced prince do that they, seasoned warriors could not?

Legolas, however, ignored them. He had noticed something. As the horse moved around, its shadow moved on the ground before it. Each time the horse caught sight of it, he shied away from it, bucking and rearing up to be rid of it. The horse was frightened of its own shadow. Gently Legolas caught hold of the trailing rein, his soft voice calming the horse down so that the animal stood still, watching the small elf with slight waning interest.
Stroking the smooth coat and keeping his voice low as he murmured softly to the frightened animal, the prince managed to turn the horse around so that its shadow fell behind it. The horse quivered and threw his head up nervously.

Thranduil's heart filled with terror and he wished he had forbidden his son from trying. But Legolas managed to keep his grasp on the rein. He was still speaking softly, his voice never rising. "Easy boy, take it easy. No one is going to hurt you. Just take it easy. That's it. Easy boy, easy."
The horse snorted, his ears pricking as he lowered his head. Legolas stood still, allowing the horse to sniff him curiously. He was anxious that no one would make a sudden movement or noise. It seemed as if the horse was slowly beginning to trust the young prince.

Then without warning, Legolas vaulted lightly up onto the horse's back. There was one terrible moment when the horse reared up on his hind legs. The elves gasped in horror and several moved forward to catch the prince if he was thrown. Thranduil froze, his mask of cold indifference hiding the fear he felt for his son.

But Legolas clung on and after a while, the horse became calm. Dipping his head up and down a few times it seemed the frisky stallion had begun to accept the elf sitting on his back. It lifted its head proudly and pawed the ground. A gentle nudge from Legolas urged it forward and it trotted around the courtyard obediently with the prince on his back. After a few turned, Legolas brought the horse to a halt and gracefully slipped from his back. "Thank you mellon nin," he whispered.

The young prince stood by the horse's head, stroking the velvety nose as he watched Thranduil stroll towards him, taking his time and surveying the scene before him. He stopped a stride away from Legolas.

"Well you seem to be able to handle him." The Elvenking's cool tone was flat and gave nothing away as he circled round to the other side of the horse. Legolas waited patiently, holding his breath. Would his father grant his deepest wish? To have a horse of his own?

"You proved that you can ride him," he said finally. "Therefore I will keep my word. You may keep him as your own." Thranduil actually almost looked impressed and a ghost of a smirk appeared on his face as he watched a smile spread across Legolas' fair features as his eyes lit up with joy.

Legolas could hardly contain himself as he threw his arms around the horse's neck. He wanted to fling his arms around his father, but he managed to compose himself in front of the other elves. "Thank you Hir nin!" He bowed his head, his right arm touching his chest. He nearly missed the small smile playing at the corner of the Elvenking's mouth.

Thranduil nodded, his cool expression giving nothing away as he stood there. "He is your horse now and your responsibility. Do not forget it."

"I won't forget," Legolas shook his head. "I promise."

"See that you do not." Thranduil smiled widely then, a rare thing. "Are you going to continue to call him Mithrin or give him a name of your own choosing?"

Legolas thought for a moment before answering. "Mithrin, grey one, it doesn't seem to suit him wholey. I think perhaps...Húrphen "

"Húrphen?" Thranduil raised one eyebrow in question. "Are you quite sure? I cannot disagree that it would suit his temperament."

The prince nodded. "For he has a vigorous spirit."

Thranduil sighed in what could be interpreted as exasperation before saying quietly, "Very well." He watched as his son led his horse off towards the stable, followed warily by the stable hands, many who were not looking forward to caring for the frisky stallion. The horse would be powerful and strong once it was trained up properly. The king could already see the loyalty the animal held for Legolas.

"Surely the name Lagorúth would have suited him better?"

"Swift anger?" Thranduil chuckled quietly as Randomir, one of the captains, came to stand beside him, a twinkle in his eye. "There is no doubt the horse will be a handful, but giving him a bad name will not improve matters."

Randomir shrugged. "I can think of other less suitable names if you so wish. Rútphen perhaps? For that horse displays anger like no other horse I have met. No? Well maybe Gortheb because he seems to be a truly horrible creature. Or maybe Goeol for he really will be dreadful."

Thranduil laughed this time, drawing the remaining elves' attention to him. "Randomir, I begin to think that perhaps you judge a little too quickly. Let the boy name him what he wishes and let him learn how to handle the creature. Please see to it that the previous owner is handsomely paid for his trouble and his horse."

Randomir nodded and made to leave, then he stopped and turned back around. "Should you not warn Prince Legolas what is in store for him?" He asked, concern in his voice.

"And deny Legolas the chance of discovering for himself?" Thranduil turned and walked towards the bridge, his robes sweeping the ground elegantly before glancing back over his shoulder, a small smirk pulling at the corner of his lips. "I think not. Let the boy have the fun of realising for himself exactly what he has gotten himself into."

"If that is the case, please ensure you are the one who explains to our beloved Queen why her son is constantly in the Halls of Healing!" Randomir called up to the king. "I refuse to be the one who does so."

Thranduil just shook his head and vanished inside the palace, leaving Randomir standing at the gates. The captain shook his head. It would be interesting to see how well Húrphen would settle down as the prince's steed.

Hello all! I am so glad to say that I have finally been able to shake off the cobwebs and climb back into my little writing boat! I know this isn't exactly a new story, but I have revised it and plan to add another two chapters to it. I hope you all enjoy this little fic of mine.

Hopefully now that I am over the first hurdle I will be able to get back on track and start digging out all my old stories, rewriting them and republishing them.

Thank you very much to all of you who sent me lovely messages over the last few very long months. I apologise again for my long absence. Fingers crossed I am ready to go again!

Please leave a review if you would. I love to read my readers thoughts and comments.

Thank you!