Summary : This is the story of Legolas when he got lost in the Mirkwood dungeon while he was still a child.
Hello, hello! Yes, I know I promised you the sequel 'Typhoon'. But don't worry, everyone. 'Twisted Maze' here is not too long, only 4 chapters. I'll put on 'Typhoon' right after we finish this one. So, what are you waiting for? Go on. Read.
"Legolas! Tidy up your chamber or I'll feed you to the balrog!" warned King Thranduil to his 500 years old youngest son.
Sitting on the floor, surrounded by hundreds of his toys, the golden haired elfling looked up at the Mirkwood king. "Why?"
"Why?" the king roared. "Your room is a mess and worse than a pigsty and you asked my why?!!!"
Legolas lowered his head as his lips began to tremble. Silently, he started to collect the scattering toy warriors around him (The wooden figures had been carved beautifully by Commander Linden's talented hands). The prince then picked up the stuff animals and a bouncing ball from the floor. One stuffed oliphaunt had already lost its head, while the ball had just knocked down an urn earlier.
Thranduil looked on, remorse began to climb up his conscience for raising his voice to his son. His guilt deepened when he saw the tears swimming in Legolas' big silver eyes as the elfling tossed his toys into a big rattan basket in a corner.
Sighing, the king knelt down beside his son. "Legolas, come here."
The elfling stared uncertainly at his father. Thranduil opened his arms wide and coaxed again, "Come here, baby."
"You're not mad?" the prince asked tentatively as big fat tears fell onto his cheek.
Thranduil shook his head. "No, son. I'm not mad at you."
Without further invitation, Legolas threw himself into his father's warm embrace. Wrapping his arms around the king's neck, the prince asked, "Then why did you yell at me?"
The king grimaced. "Because you were being such a slob. It's not a good trait of a prince, you know.'
"Oh." Legolas pulled back and looked at his father beseechingly. "You won't yell at me again?"
"Hmmm, I can't promise you that. But if you behave, I won't feed you to the balrog."
"I promise." Thranduil nodded seriously, gazing lovingly at the elfling in his arms.
Keldarion, the 1,500 years old Mirkwood crown prince who had been looking at the whole scene from the doorway, burst up laughing. "Father, you're spoiling him!"
"Kel!" Legolas cried out happily. He jumped out from his father's arms and rushed to his elder brother. "You just come back from your ride? Is it time for your sword practice yet?"
"Actually, yes. I've retrieved my sword from my chamber." Keldarion smiled down at his little brother. Legolas was looking very enthusiastic that he was flushing red in the cheeks with excitement.
The younger prince grabbed his brother's hand and pulled. "Come! I want to see you practice!"
Rolling his eyes at his father, Keldarion said, "Anything you say, brat. Let's go."
Thranduil laughed. "Now who's spoiling him?"
Legolas stared in awe as Keldarion sparred with Commander Linden, the leader of Mirkwood warriors. The crown prince was getting better each day. His grip was firmer and his attacks had become more confident and stronger, nearly sending the elder elf to his knees. And Keldarion was several thousands years younger!
"Very good, your highness!" Linden voiced out. "Now, here comes the high swing. Block it, but use the muscles of your upper arm."
Legolas was sitting with the rest of Mirkwood warriors in the practice filed, watching the mesmerizing spectacle. They even let their little prince hold a sword. "Be careful, your highness. It's very sharp," they told him.
The elfling grinned, a dimple appearing in his chubby right cheek. "But isn't that what a sword should be?"
It was responded by a round of laughter from the surrounding warriors. They greatly doted on the youngest prince of Mirkwood. The child was smart, beautiful, and charming. They were very protective of him not just because he was the king's son, but because Legolas was also a manyan, a mystical healer. The young prince could heal all kinds of malady and wounds only by the touch of his hand. All the people of Mirkwood treasured the ethereal being wholeheartedly.
Unfortunately, Legolas wasn't always so angelic. He was also very energetic, mischievous and infuriatingly hardheaded. To make things worse, he was totally unpredictable. There was always something up his sleeve, which in the end caused him to land in trouble. Right now, the warriors were keeping close eye on him to detect whatever trick the prince planned to pull.
After Keldarion completed another round of sparring with Linden, the commander then called the rest of the warriors to their feet to resume their practice. Linden looked on as Keldarion partnered with another Mirkwood warrior. Now and then, the commander would glance at Legolas who sat alone by the side to make sure the child was still there.
It took the little prince less then ten minutes to get bored. Stifling a yawn, Legolas stared half-heartedly at the sword-wielding warriors. How he loved to join them! But his small arms couldn't even lift the long blade.
Ai! It's heavy! Legolas cringed as he could only manage to lift the blade just above the ground. Muttering childlike curses under his breath, he tried again but to no avail.
Linden, who had been staring in apt interest, grinned. That stubborn boy! He laughed inwardly, then turned to focus his full attention on the practicing warriors.
Giving up, Legolas let go of the sword, sighing heavily. Glowering in envy at the skillfully moving warriors, he vowed to grow up fast so he could be like them. He wanted to be known as the mighty elf prince who slay the evil balrog!
Linden watched as Legolas turned and walked away dejectedly. Poor boy! he thought, shaking his head. He's still a child but his heart has already proved to be of an elder's!
Legolas left the field to head back to the palace. As he was passing by the entrance to the dungeon, he heard a small squeaking sound. Tilting his head to one side, he listened intently. There it comes again! he thought excitedly. And it sounds like a mouse!
Following the sound, the prince looked around for the animal. He stepped through the entrance and finally saw the mouse trapped between the hinges of the dungeon's big gate. The gate was not properly locked. A gust of wind might have swung the wrought-iron gate inside when the mouse ran between the hinges. Hence, it got trapped that way.
"Shh, it's all right, little Mousey. I'll get you out of there," Legolas crooned to the tiny creature.
The fat mouse squeaked even louder as the elf reached down and gently pulled the creature out. "Oh, you're hurt, little one! There's blood on your front feet. Not to worry, though. I'll make you feel better."
Focusing his energy to heal the creature, Legolas didn't sense the approaching elf warrior behind him until a voice spoken, "What do you have there, your highness?"
Startled, Legolas spun to see the elder elf smiling down at him. "Oh! Jaden. This mouse got trapped in the gate. I'm healing him."
The young elf warrior smiled wider. "That's very kind of you, your highness. But this dungeon is no place for you. Come, let me take you back to your chamber."
Legolas took the hand that Jaden offered. "I want to keep Mousey, may I?"
Jaden laughed as he led the elfling away. "Why do you ask my permission, your highness? Surely the king has more rights in that matter?"
"But father wouldn't let me keep Scaly." Legolas pouted.
Jaden grimaced. "That's because Scaly is a snake."
"But it's just a garter snake! It won't kill you! What's so wrong with me keeping it?"
The elder elf nearly groaned out loud. Ai! How did I manage to land myself in this kind of conversation? I wonder how the king handles this? "Err... well…"
A sudden call grabbed Jaden's attention. He swiveled around to see Dar, one of the leaders for the woods patrol, rushing towards him. "Yes, Dar?"
"My company caught sight of a band of orcs an hour ago," Dar explained, after sending a formal bow to the young prince who looked on with interest. "We are in need of your patrol to aid us getting rid of them."
Jaden nodded. "Very well. I'll call for my company to get ready." Turning to the prince, Jaden said, "Go on inside now, your highness. I'll see you and Mousey when I get back."
Legolas grinned and waved at the two leaving warriors. Then he remembered something. "Jaden! Bring home an orc! I want to keep one!"
Jaden and Dar paused momentarily in their steps. Jaden winced while Dar's eyes bulged in disbelief.
"He wants to keep an orc?" Dar exclaimed as they moved on. He began to laugh. "Are we suppose to follow that…err…order?"
Jaden chuckled. "I fear to know!"
The mouse in Legolas's arms started to squirm for release. "Mousey! Be still! I'm getting you inside to feed you…"
Legolas cried out in dismay when the creature squiggled out of his grasp and jumped to the ground. "No! Mousey, come back here!"
The prince chased after the mouse that headed directly back into the dungeon. He ran fast but the mouse was faster, scurrying ahead through the gate and going deeper into the tunnel. Several seconds later, the mouse was nowhere in sight.
Not giving up that easily, Legolas called out, "Come, Mousey! Come out, now! I want to take you to the palace! It is much nicer than this hole!"
Legolas moved forward excitedly, staring at his surroundings in awe. He had never been to the dungeon before, and he found it to be an incredible experience. All around him was earth and dirt. It was dark inside but his own elven glow was bright enough to light his path.
He encountered several tunnel entries a while later. Deciding on which entry to take, Legolas called again, "Mousey, where are you?!"
Then came squeaking sounds from one of the tunnels. Legolas grinned and rushed through it. "I'm coming, Mousey!"
Several yards ahead, he encountered three more tunnels. "Now, where exactly are you?" he mused aloud. "You're playing hide and seek with me, Mousey?"
Totally unaware of the impending risk of getting lost in the confusing maze of tunnels, the prince headed on, giggling innocently all the way.
The guard stepped to the dungeon gate and pulled it close. He took out a chain padlock and fastened it on. After making sure that the gate was securely locked, he walked back towards the guard headquarters. Now that the order he received from Sir Jaden was completely carried out, the guard was looking ahead to join the rest of his company to the woods to confront the orcs.
Unknown to him, the king's youngest son was trapped on the other side of the gate.