Fourth Age

L/OFC angst. Ch1/1

Well it still exercises my mind wondering why Aragorn decided to die when he did given the consequences. I expect you will have to have read Unbinding to make any sense of this. It is set ninety-eight years into the fourth age.

OC

Minuial: Thranduil's March Warden and Legolas' escort for formal occasions. They have been in a relationship sanctioned by Elven society known as "Feast Day Friends" for about 288 years. She is not known for her biddable nature. Legolas and her relationship was not common knowledge, outside of Elven circles, until recently.

Gleowyn: The Master Smith of Rohan's daughter, friend of Gimli and by extension Legolas. Involved deeply in the events related in Unbinding

Telfaren: Messenger by trade, friend as above, Gleowyn's fiancé.

Mayflies

By Rose Sared

A postscript of sorts to Unbinding the Box

Legolas stretched in his bed lazily and watched Minuial dressing herself in the armour of her station. As each item of clothing sheathed her perfect limbs he could feel the distance between them increasing.

When they had returned last night to Ithilien, from their trip to Edoras, he had not felt thus. Then it had been all about Minuial's long litany of irritations suffered at the hands of the mortals she disdained.

"They smell, they eat like pigs, they laugh and pieces of food fly from their open mouths and hit the people sitting beside them."

Legolas remembered smiling faces, generous plates heaped with succulent meats, tiny pastries and polished fruits. All the bounty a hard working people could provide to honour their local heroine and her important guests. Legolas recalled the pride on Tefaren's face as he led Gleowyn, blushing like an apple, down from the high table to tread the first measure of the wedding dance.

He could still see the mischievous smiles on the faces of the King and Queen of Gondor who sneaked off to join the other married couples without anyone noticing, and then leapt over the midsummer fire with the common folk to renew their bond, as was the custom.

Legolas remembered ale and wine flowing like water and Gimli singing at the top of his surprisingly tuneful lungs as the bridal pair was toasted away to their honeymoon bed.

And he remembered catching Minuial's bewildered eye as he was swung past her in the arms of some lithe and sweaty woman, taking part in a complex dance figure that took all of his slightly drunken elven balance to master.

Left sitting at the High Table after all the other guests had been coaxed out onto the floor, having haughtily resisted all the blandishments of the company, she shone in her lonely perfection like a crocus in the snow.

The next day she stayed silent and polite as the guests rode in cavalcade back from Edoras to Minas Tirith, until about mid morning when she urged her horse forward to end up riding stirrup to stirrup with Arwen. Arwen was delighted and chatted to her animatedly concerning the minute doings of obscure elven families Legolas had no idea she had ever met let alone followed from a distance. It was the only time in the whole trip that he saw Minuial acting in what he knew of as her character. Confident and opinionated and a couple of times laughing out loud at some sly comment from the Queen.

Aragorn and Legolas rode on well ahead, and discussed which horse company was most likely to claim the winged helm this season, and whether the new South Ithilien reds were a patch on the old vintages from Dol Amroth.

Occasionally a particularly raucous burst of laughter would catch one or the other man's ear and then they would share a rueful look or a raised eyebrow.

"Arwen remembers when Minuial rode border duty with her, a while ago." Aragorn remarked after one such outburst.

"I am glad to see Minuial getting some joy from this trip." Legolas commented in turn. "It does not suit her to be around other races." He offered in both explanation and apology.

"I am glad all Elves do not feel so, my friend." Aragorn replied lightly, but Legolas only frowned.

"My people diminish, Estel. Apart from the scholars at Rivendell there are few Elves that have anything to do with mortals left in middle-earth. It is I who is the freak, not her."

"I would wish for more freaks, then, Legolas. Sad will be our lives with no Elves to brighten them."

Legolas thought privately that most Elves found mortal lives sad anyway.

Legolas and Minuial had parted from Aragorn and Arwen at the crossing to Osgiliath and then it was that Legolas bore the long litany of complaint, mostly a list of all that was not Elvish about the wedding and its participants, from his lover.

Finally reaching the end of his patience, along with the end of the road, Legolas asked rather desperately after Arwen.

Minuial fell silent then for a space, and when she looked back up at him he was startled to see tears in her eyes.

"She fades, Legolas. Surely you can see it."
Legolas looked astounded.

"Arwen?" He croaked, and then cleared his throat. "What do you mean Minuial?"

Minuial dismounted as they reached the gates of Legolas' forest home. Legolas swung down beside her, patted his horse on the rump to send it off to find its stable, then stood glaring at Minuial, with his arms folded across his chest.

Minuial looked at him with her measuring soldier's eye, and realised he really did not know. She shook her head at the consistency of male denial.

"Legolas, my friend, I would bed you until the song ends, but you have all the emotional perception of an orc." She walked up to him and gazed into his wide-open eyes.

"Is there anyone in there?" She asked facetiously.

Legolas shook her of feeling affronted. "Aragorn would not let anything so fell befall Arwen." He snapped.

"It is not under his control." Minuial stalked away a couple of paces and then back again. "It is those mortals she lives with all the time."
Legolas got angry. "Your tune has but one note, Lady."

"And you have the eyes of a cave fish if you cannot see it." Retorted Minuial. She went to walk away again but Legolas grabbed her arm.

"See what?"

"She is living amongst the constant grief, the constant change. Meeting people, losing people, bonding only to have the bonds broken over and over." She shook him as if she could wake him up. "You live most of your time here, amongst kin, where our lives are as they have always been, and you can hardly hold on to middle-earth. Think for a moment what it is like for her."

Minuial let her suppressed tears fall then, and struck by the truth in her passion Legolas felt his own eyes well in sympathy. He folded the elf women into his embrace and simply held her for a while, looking into his trees and feeling the grief. That corrosive emotion, that nibbled and nibbled until elf-kind departed or faded.

"I have seen it too often to be wrong. She has perhaps a quarter of a yen, or less, beloved fool." Minuial stepped back and ran a hand over his damp cheeks and hers.

'As have you' She didn't tell him. Less than thirty mortal years.

That night Legolas lavished her with sensation during their loving, working through the six forms with a grace and skill that made her body thrill whilst building and building her climax. Oh yes, in the bed arts he proved that night he was as clever in perceiving her needs as he was blind to the issues he would not see.

And in the morning she watched him watching her dress in her hunting green and warrior's armour, and wondered how long her own grief would allow her to stay in Lasgalen once he had gone.

"Farewell, Legolas." She looked back at him from the door. "Until leaf fall, my friend."

And with a wave she was gone.