This is a short fic about Thranduil and an event that changed his life. It does contain an OFC, but it's NOT A ROMANCE!
Disclaimer: This is SUPPOSED to be a songfic, based on Chris de Burgh's 'The Girl with April in her Eyes', but in their infinite wisdom the lovely people here have decided to further restrict our creativity and I've had to remove the lyrics. Thanks a bundle, guys.
If you would like to read the proper, unspoiled version, please go here:
Warnings: A couple of very mild sexual references
Notes: Viresse is quenya for April
The Girl with April in her Eyes
Thranduil glared at the terrified elf standing before him. "What did you say?" He asked in a dangerously low voice. The elf trembled as he spoke.
"We - we cannot foresee an end to the freeze my Lord. All our calculations have been proven wrong; we have nothing more to go on. My Lord, food is running low, if the winter does not end soon, people will begin to starve."
Thranduil glared icily at the young elf. "Well then, you will just have to give them yours, won't you?" He turned his attention to the guards. "Throw him in the dungeons. Do not let him out until spring." The elf looked horrified as the guards moved towards him and took his arms.
"My lord, please! It was not my doing! Have mercy, I beg you!" His pleas fell on deaf ears though, as the cold-hearted king turned away.
When the unfortunate elf had been removed, Thranduil stood and walked over to the window. He looked out at the frozen lands and scowled. "When will the spring come? It has been winter for much too long!"
King Thranduil cared little for his people's welfare. His only concern was his own well being and for the power that being ruler gave him. Nobody defied him, nobody dared. His rule was absolute and he had enough followers to ensure that he was never challenged. He ruled his lands with a fist of iron and a heart of ice. His heart was as cold as the frozen world that surrounded him.
The blizzard had been raging for days. It was folly to even attempt to go outside, yet deep in the woods, a lone figure battled through the snow, desperately trying to reach the palace. Though it had been cold, it had not been snowing when she set out. She had thought that she would reach the palace with few problems. But the blizzard had surprised her and her journey had taken three times as long as she had anticipated. Her food was long gone, she had had no rest for days and she was horribly weak. Even elven healing was not enough to sustain her in those conditions. Hunching lower on the back of her horse, she pressed on.
Eventually, the palace came into view. She breathed a sigh of relief. She needed to get out of the bitter weather. Struggling up to the massive doors, she rang the bell.
"Please!" She begged as the soldier closed the door in front of her. "Do not leave me out here!"
"I am sorry my lady." Said the soldier, with what sounded like genuine regret. "I would aid you if I could, but I can not disobey orders." Indeed, Thranduil had been furious that he had even asked if he might let the maiden in. He had been sure that he would be cast into the dungeons, like so many others. Though he was a soldier, in the end, he was but a slave to his King's will. Shaking his head, he closed the door fully.
Tears slipped down her face as she turned away. She could not go home, for the shame would be too much to bear. Instead, she headed deeper into the forest, hoping that she might somehow find a place to rest.
She was frozen. The night had brought a bitter wind and yet more snow. Her fingers were numb and she was perilously close to losing consciousness. The tears that she had cried on being turned away from the palace had frozen to her cheeks and her lips had turned blue. Her elven glow had all but faded away, leaving only a spark of life in the icy body. Yet remarkably, the shining blue of her eyes still remained. Eyes that still guided her through the cruel night.
The cottage had appeared as if out of nowhere. As soon as she had seen it, she had made for it as if a thousand orcs were chasing her. "Please." She prayed. "Let me find shelter here. I can go on no longer."
The sole occupant of the cottage, an elderly human man, rose from his chair at the sound of a knocking on the door, curious as to who could possibly be out in this storm. Opening the door, he gasped in shock at the sight of the frozen elf maiden standing there.
"Please." She whispered. "Help me." He did not hesitate and pulled her inside. Ushering her over to the fireplace, he sat her down in a comfortable chair. Gently, he removed her soaked cloak - and got a huge shock. The elf-maiden was heavily pregnant, the swelling of her stomach clearly visible in the firelight.
"Oh, by the gods!" He cried and ran to fetch a blanket. Quickly he wrapped her in it and made some hot tea.
"Thank you." She whispered as she clasped the mug in her frozen hands.
"You are welcome." He told her. "My name is Alatar." She smiled weakly.
"I am Viresse." She replied. He laid his hand on her shoulder.
"I welcome you to my home, Viresse, Elf-Maiden." He said. "But if I might ask, what is someone in your condition doing out in such bitter weather?" A look of pain crossed the elf-maiden's face.
"I was travelling to the palace - but I was turned away. I could not go home either, I was simply seeking shelter." She told him. Alatar frowned.
"I do not understand." He said. "Why could you not go home?" Viresse sighed deeply and began to tell Alatar her story.
Several months previously
It had been the mid-winter festival. None had realised at the time that the winter would last for so long and all were in high spirits. The atmosphere had been wonderful, with different foods, many games and plenty of entertainment. Viresse, along with several of her friends, had been entertaining the crowds with complicated dancing displays.
The King, on one of his rare public appearances, had witnessed their dances and had been rather taken with Viresse's skill and beauty. When the maidens had finished, he had approached her and 'requested' that she be his companion for the evening. In no position to refuse, she had quickly consented. Thranduil had taken her to the banqueting hall and ordered that she sit beside him. She had done so and was rewarded by the finest food and wine in the lands. However, she had been somewhat unfamiliar with the potent wine and had unknowingly drunk too much. When Thranduil had taken her to his bed-chamber, she had not protested.
The following morning she had been shocked and more than a little hurt, when he thanked her casually for her 'services' and dismissed her with out so much as the offer of breakfast.
Upset, she had returned to her friends and made the journey back to her home at the edge of the forest.
She had hoped to forget the incident altogether, but that had proven impossible two months later, when she had discovered her condition. She had hidden the pregnancy for as long as she could, but eventually she could conceal it no longer. He friends and family had been shocked and demanded that she speak with the King. She had not wanted to, but they had insisted and so she had set out. Two days later the blizzard had started. She had fought through the elements in her desperate attempt to reach the palace - only to be turned away before the King had even heard her plea.
"Which lead me to you." She finished the story with a sad smile. Alatar was saddened by her tragic tale. No one deserved to be used as she had been. He went to speak, but as he did she cried out and clutched her stomach. Alatar rushed to her side. "What is wrong?" He cried.
"The baby!" She gasped. "It is coming! I thought these were merely the usual cramps, but they are not! Oh Valar no! It's too soon! I am not due for another month!" Alatar jumped up. Years ago, when he'd still had a family of his own; he'd helped his wife deliver their son. It had been many years since then, but the memories remained. They would guide him through this. He quickly guided the frightened elf to the bed and helped her prepare for the birth of her child.
A scream rent the air, followed by a cry. "It is a boy!" Alatar cried. He quickly severed the umbilical cord with a knife and wrapped the babe in a blanket before handing him to Viresse. Yet the joy that should have come from the birth was lost to Alatar, for he knew that Viresse had used the last of her strength to bring her child into the world. Even now, her breathing was shallow and laboured. She did not have long.
"Do you have a name?" He asked gently. She nodded.
"He is my spring - my Greenleaf - my Legolas." She whispered weakly.
"Legolas." Alatar repeated. "He will make you proud, I am sure." A tear slipped down Viresse's cheek.
"I wish I could see him grow up." She said. Alatar closed his eyes briefly. She knew.
"I swear," he said, "I will find a good home for him. He will be loved and he will know of your love."
"Thank you." She whispered. She leaned forward and placed a kiss on the child's forehead. "I will always be with you." She told him softly.
It had finally stopped snowing. Thranduil had wasted no time in ordering his favourite mount to be made ready. He had been trapped inside the palace for far too long. It had begun to feel like a prison.
Now he rode through the forest, alone except for his horse. The air was cold around him and the promise of more snow hung in the air. Still, he was determined to make the most of this brief reprieve from the blizzards.
He rode without really knowing where he was going, intent only on solitude. Deeper and deeper into the forest he went, taking little notice of the white world that surrounded him.
A flash of colour suddenly caught his attention. Curious about what could break through all this snow, he turned and headed towards the source. What he saw when he passed through the trees astounded him. Flowers. The whole field was ablaze with blooms in all the colours of the rainbow. They covered the field with incredible colours, breaking through the snow. He was stunned. How was this possible? Then, at the far end of the field, his sharp eyes caught a carved post underneath a tree. Dismounting, he walked through the field with unusual care, not wishing to trample any of the blooms. He reached the post and read the words carved lovingly in westron.
"Here lies Viresse Elf-Maiden,
May she find eternal peace."
Thranduil was shocked that an elf maiden had been in this part of the woods. His people rarely ventured here. It was too close to the humans. There was something else too. "Viresse." He murmured. "I know that name." He frowned as he struggled to remember. "Ah yes! The dancer from the festival! But what was she doing here and what befell her?" He did not know that it had been she who had knocked on his door a few nights ago, for he had not even bothered to take the name of the one who dared to interrupt him. Looking around, he saw a thin column of smoke rising through the trees. Knowing it must be coming from a dwelling, he walked quickly towards it, seeking answers.
Alatar held the three-day-old elfling gently in his arms. He was doing his best to care for the child, but he had not been around children for many years and he knew almost nothing about elves. When the weather improved, he would have to make the journey to the Elven kingdom in the centre of the forest, to place the child with his kin. A soft smile graced his face. Ah, but he would miss the child! Already, the tiny elf had found a place in his heart.
Glancing out of the window, he gasped in shock as he saw a tall blond figure heading towards his cottage. A figure who bore a startling resemblance to the child he now held. Placing Legolas in the hastily constructed crib, Alatar hurried to the door. He knew that the elf could only be King Thranduil, though why the King was here he knew not. He waited in silence as the King approached.
Thranduil took in the sight of the old man at the cottage door. The human offered as small bow as he reached the door. "Welcome, my Lord." He said, an undertone of deep suspicion in his voice. Thranduil almost smiled. The cheek of humans never ceased to amaze him. Never one to waste words, he spoke his thoughts.
"There is a grave in the field yonder that bears the name of one of my people. Do you know what befell her?" Alatar's suspicion flared and his patience snapped. Damn this Elf-King! It was he who had caused Viresse's death!
"Why do you care?" He said sharply. "You never worried before!" Thranduil's eyes opened wide and he felt his anger rising. No one spoke to him thus!
"She was an elf." He said coldly. "I have a right to know how any of my people died." Alatar glared and spat the truth at the King.
"It was you! You left her pregnant after the mid-winter festival; you turned her away when she looked to you for help! Her death is on your head!" Thranduil didn't know what to say. His usual anger had strangely vanished. One word was over-riding all others.
"Pregnant?" He asked in a voice he didn't recognise as his own. Alatar's voice softened a little when he saw the stunned look on the King's face.
"Aye." He said. Then he turned and walked into the cottage, Thranduil close behind. He went to the crib and picked the sleeping child up. Something twisted inside of the King as the human walked towards him, carrying the newborn elf. With trepidation, for he knew the Kings reputation, he handed the babe to the King.
"His name is Legolas." He said softly.
Thranduil stared in wonder at the babe he held. His son. Sensing a new presence, Legolas shifted in his father's arms. His eyelids fluttered and as his blue eyes opened for the first time, taking in the sight of his father, spring came at last to the land of Eryn Lasgalen and to the heart of the Winter King.
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