A/N ....Hi there. looks nervous Well, I'm glad you decided to read my story This takes place before LotR...the exact time frame will be made apparent in later chapters.

I'm very proud of myself, as this is a non-romance story about Legolas. go me Ok, so the first part of the prologue is, but that's about it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, and DON'T FORGET TO R&R!!!!!!

By the way..."Ada" is the affectionate term for Father in Sindarin, a.k.a "Daddy." In later chapters, you might notice that Legolas calls Thranduil Father and not "Ada". Honestly, I just couldn't picture Legolas calling Thranduil "Daddy."


PROLOGUE


Legolas broke into a run, footfalls silent on the bed of autumn leaves that blanketed the path through the dark forest. His patience failed, so eager was he to see her. Finally, he burst out of the thick darkness of the wood into the starlight field where she awaited him.

She stood, wrapped in a cloak to ward off the chill November had carried in, and facing away from him, which was unusual. He though nothing of it; he was too happy to see her and too worried that she seemed cold.

Brytta had not heard him coming. He stepped up behind her, slipped his arms around hers and drew her in under his chin.

"I grow worried about you, meleth nín, awaiting me in the cold like this," he whispered, lips nearly touching her ear. Instead of greeting him, though, Brytta pulled away sharply as she turned to face him. He looked at her in surprise.

"Legolas..." she began softly, without meeting his eyes. "Oh, how I love you," she sighed unhappily.

Why do you say this? he wondered. I know, and have known, that you love me. Something was terribly wrong, he realized. She could not bear to look him in the face.

"What troubles you?" he asked, taking her cold hands and warming them in his own.

"How many years has it been now, Legolas?" she responded with a question of her own.

"How many years? I know not; I do not mark their passing."

"No," she said. "You do not." She looked into his eyes for the first time that night. "But I do, as mine are numbered. I am growing older, Legolas. Steadily, I age, each day closer to being my last."

"Why do you say this?" he asked, beginning to feel a great sense of unease grow within him.

"I cannot bear to have you watch me age, Legolas. To have you look on as I grow old and weak, a shadow of what I once was."

"Do you truly believe that I would not stay by your side?" he cried.

"I know you would," she answered. "That is why it troubles me so." Brytta suddenly realized that for once she was the more learned, more wise, than he. He was vastly naive where death was concerned. "Have you ever watched someone grow old, Legolas?" she asked, knowing the answer. "I have. It is painful, to watch them slip through life's fingers, frail and half-witted, knowing that they must be suffering, and unable to do anything for them."

Legolas looked at her in shock. "But you are young still."

"Now, yes, and I will have you remember me that way."

Remember? The word burned into Legolas' mind.

She lifted a hand to his face and gently stroked his cheek. "Oh, my love, how can you be so wise in some ways and so innocent in others? I am leaving," she said softly.

He only stared at her, eyes pleading with her silently to recant. "I must. My sister lives many miles from here; that is where I go. And Legolas," she added, "you must not follow. We have allowed ourselves to dream for far too long. It must end here."

Suddenly, her calm facade collapsed and tears began to stream silently down her cheeks, so that they glistened in the starlight. Legolas held her once more, this time pressing her to his chest and caressing her hair as her shoulders began to shake.

"I wish I had some comfort to offer you," he whispered, pushing a strand of unruly chestnut hair behind her ear. "Your mind is set on this, then, and I cannot bend it?" he asked.

"My decision is made," she replied, her voice trembling.

"And when do you leave?"

"Tomorrow."

"So soon? But why?" he cried.

"The longer I tarry the harder parting shall be." She said this coolly, all in one breath, having obviously chosen her words long ago. He said nothing; he was in shock. He could not imagine life without her, for he could not remember life before her. No, that was not true, he could recall the times before her, but they hardly seemed like life at all.

"I shall ask once more. You will not be swayed?" his voice was calm but his hands belied his desperation; they clutched her arms tightly, almost painfully so.

"No," she answered. "No, I will not." She looked up at him pleadingly. "You must understand, I—

He cut her off in mid-sentence, lifting her chin gently with one hand and pressing his lips to hers. Brytta hesitated for a moment, and then slid her arms around his neck, entwining her hands in his hair. Her hand moved to his ear, and ever-so-gently she traced along the graceful sweep of the shell up to the delicate tip. She let her fingers fall until they rested against his chest, where his heart was beating, and would continue to beat, lest it be waylaid by steel or fire.

Legolas was filled with sadness at this last gesture; he knew where her thoughts were turned. He paused.

She did not want to contemplate the despair of their situation right then. She only wanted be with him, and so she kissed him with a fierce passion that stole his breath, and drew his thoughts away from all else.

Legolas thought his heart might burst. It was as if all the many years of his life had been brutally compressed into one night. He had one night with her. He wanted scream, he wanted to sob; but he did not. He held strong, for he felt as though he owed something to her; she had found the strength to do what he could not, and he in turn was to dry her tears with a brave face.

He led her into the very edge of the wood, and they stole behind a mighty beech with sturdy old roots that wrapped around them reassuringly. They eased themselves to the ground, resting upon a bed of leaves. For a moment they simply sat, entwined in each other's arms, eyes locked.

Brytta choked back a sob as he softly caressed her cheek.

Legolas was filled with desperation. One night. Was that all he had?

Gently he pushed her onto her back as his lips came down upon her neck. The heat of his mouth spread through her like wildfire; she tightened her hands in his hair and pressed him closer. She drew a breath sharply when his fingers brushed the skin of her stomach. She wore not a dress but breeches and shirt, as she always had, for the purpose of practicality. The back of this he carefully unlaced, but then hesitated.

"Will you be cold?" he asked, breath flowing across her skin like tendrils of flame.

"I trust in you to keep me warm," she replied with a small smile.

"And I shall," he purred, forgetting for a moment their situation in his desire.

Now her hands wandered across the softness of his deceptively plain raiment of greens and browns and beneath it, where smooth, pale skin was stretched over the hard muscle of his chest.

He made his way slowly back up her neck, leaving a trail of kisses in his wake. Their mouths met again, in a kiss that was deep and demanding and yet unhurried.

Their love had always been as that; passionate but patient, and Brytta had often marveled at the way he seemed to lack a sense of time, or at least went untroubled by it. Even now, despite that time had put a choking hold around his neck, the same gentle patience brimming with love could still be found in his kiss and caress.

Brytta felt the tears begin to sting her eyes once again, and she fought them fiercely but they spilled over nevertheless.

Legolas caught a tear with his lips as it slid down her cheek, and she smiled at this characteristic act of affection, her heart tearing all the while.

Under the protection of the great tree, sheltered by her bows and bedded by her blanket of leaves, they were lost in each other for the last time, hearts beating as one.

Later, they slept, or rather Brytta slept while Legolas watched on. He wrapped them both in his cloak of forest green, and she was tucked under his chin with her forehead against his chest, breath blowing softly.

How incredibly vulnerable she looked to him at that moment. Suddenly he feared for her; she was vulnerable and she would be without protection. This was ridiculous and he knew it. Did they not carry out their daily lives without one another? Obviously she managed, as did he. Still he was concerned.

All too quickly the sun appeared on the horizon, a sliver of burning orange that chased away the gray half-light.

Brytta upon waking sat upright, and Legolas drew himself around her as they watched the sun rise. They said not a word; words were not needed. He pressed his cheek to hers and their falling tears mingled, the first tears he had allowed her to see. Soon the dawn was come; the sun was risen, and with painful reluctance she pulled herself from his arms.

He rose with her, still clasping her hand tightly.

"Farewell, Legolas," she said softly. Brytta found that she had no more tears to shed; they were all spent and in their place was a dull acceptance of what was to be.

"Navaer, meleth nín," he replied in turn. He kissed her one last time; a soft, lingering kiss that was long and yet far too brief.

"I love you," she whispered, and with that pulled her hand out of his grasp and turned around. At first she walked with rigid self-control, taking careful, measured steps. Then finally she broke into a run and fled from the forest, never looking back.

Legolas watched her retreating form until even to his far-seeing eyes she was little more than a dream.

Brytta halted Aldor as her vision began to swim, and leaned against the sturdy gelding's neck as she was overcome by a wave of dizzy nausea. Aldor waited patiently for permission to continue towards the pasture.

Brytta made a small noise of frustration. Recently she had been suffering from these spells of sudden sickness, brought on by nothing apparent. Nothing that typically eased nausea would cure them; they passed in their own good time.

"Brytta!" The worried face of her sister appeared before her, and the lead rope was taken from Brytta's grasp.

Her sister frowned. "Sick again, sister?" she asked. "I wish I knew what troubled you."

"As do I," replied Brytta dryly.

"Come inside and lie down," advised her sister. She untied the old bay gelding's lead and gave him light slap on the haunch. "Go on, Aldor," she commanded. Aldor was by far the oldest horse she owned, and without any trouble he trotted through the paddock gates and began to graze. Her husband saw this and moved to close the gate.

"This cursed sickness," muttered Brytta angrily as she steadied herself on her sister's arm. "I have used every feasible concoction of herbs and roots, but nothing eases it."

Upon reaching the house, Brytta collapsed heavily on a wooden chair.

"If you were with child, sister, I might understand such illness," her sister said with a laugh.

Brytta's head spun once more, and this time no physical ailment was to blame. It cannot be, she thought. For how many years had they been together, and no child was produced? But in her heart she had known for sometime, and it had nagged at her from the corner of her mind for weeks. She could no longer deny the persistent little voice in the back of her head. She knew, beyond any shadow of doubt, that she was pregnant.

Brytta rested her face in her hands. Was she to cry, or laugh? She knew not which. She was frightened and yet she was overjoyed. One hand strayed to her stomach, and she gave a tiny smile. She had not been left alone. She thought of going back, to tell him, to at least let him know that he was a father. But this was quickly discarded. She could not go back. If she did she would never bring herself to leave him again, and she did not want that.

"Brytta?" said her sister quietly.

"I am so very sorry," she answered. "When I came here, I had no intention of bringing two mouths to feed. I understand if you do not have the means to support me, and if you will not have me."

"You expect that I would throw you and your unborn child into the streets?" she exclaimed. "Dear sister, you are welcome here always." She took Brytta's hand gently in her own. "Will you tell me who the father is?" she asked quietly.

Brytta felt that this news might by as disturbing as the previous. The elves of Mirkwood were both respected and feared. The two races, the Woodsmen and the elves, kept mostly to themselves, with the exception of Laketown, where Wood-elves were regular visitors who acted as ambassadors for their king.

"That answer is not as simple as a name," she began uneasily. "There is a long tale to tell, little sister."

"Then do tell it," she urged. "And I shall listen intently."

"You remember, I am sure, how I used to wander so dangerously near to the forest?" she said. She had first encountered Legolas when she had still lived with her parents, and she had been naught more than a child. As she grew into a woman, friendship grew into love. When she had grown to marrying age, but of course would not wed; her heart being already given, she had found herself a house as near to the edge of the wood as any dared to build. There she stayed, earning money by using her knowledge of nature, gained of course through Legolas, to fix drinks and salves that helped ease common ailments. The rest of village had looked on her as being a bit eccentric (for who in her right mind would wander in the forest willingly?) but nonetheless a good woman.

"Of course," her sister answered. "Many a time you tried to drag me into that black wood, but I had some sense and would not go," she finished with a laugh.

So Brytta told her of all that had come to pass, from the time she had fled before Legolas, becoming even further lost, to their last night together.

Her sister looked a bit frightened and very much uncomfortable by the time she had finished.

"So, this child..." she began awkwardly.

"Is as mortal as you and I," finished Brytta.

"Ah," replied her sister, looking relieved. "Well, you and your son or daughter have a home here unconditionally, sister."

The baby was born in early July, in the dead heat of a summer's night. A healthy little girl, with bright blue eyes and down of pale hair, and, as her mother quickly learned, a stubborn nature. Despite this, she was a very sweet child most of the time, and Brytta delighted in her. From her petite nose to each perfectly formed little toe, her daughter was a wonder to her. She named her Lassiel, an elvish name and an ode to her father.

Regardless of what the rest of the community thought of her questionable parentage, Brytta was often told what a beautiful baby she had, with that fair hair and blue eyes. Though they seldom spoke of it aloud, many of the women wondered where the father could be hiding, for he must hiding, as his features would be unmistakable next to his daughter. Brytta knew they thought this and it angered her, but nothing was to be done.

It was mid-December, and Lassiel had just recently passed the six-month mark. She sat upright in her wooden crib and whined softly at her mother to be picked up. She did not cry, only whimpered and wiggled her fingers, looking at Brytta appealingly with her father's blue eyes. Brytta conceded defeat and scooped Lassiel up, earning a delighted laugh in the process.

Lassiel babbled happily at her mother, oblivious to the fact that Brytta understood not a word. Brytta bent and kissed Lassiel on the forehead, and instantly the smile faded to a stern frown; apparently Lassiel found such acts of affection offensive.

"Oh, little one," Brytta laughed upon seeing her daughter's indignant expression. "I am sorry to demean with you my kisses."

She set Lassiel down upon the bed, and sat down next to her. On a whim, Brytta lifted from her dresser a delicate wood carving in the likeness of a single leaf. It had been over a year now, and still she as though were it not for her daughter, she could not carry on. The leaf was carefully painted in varying shades of green, with every last detail perfectly in place. He had said it was nothing; his people made such things all the time. But to Brytta, at just fifteen and still filled with wonder over the wisdom and beauty of her newfound friend, it had been astounding.

Now she clutched this tightly in her hand, drew what strength she could from it. Lassiel looked at her mother's hand curiously. Without further ado, she reached out and began to pry her mother's fingers open. Brytta allowed her hand to be pulled open, and let Lassiel hold the little wooden leaf.

Instead of shoving it into her mouth, as Brytta had expected, Lassiel stared at the leaf with fascination. Her little fingers traced the fine carving with as much delicacy as could be expected of such a young child. Her brow knitted as she looked at it seriously. Brytta kissed her hair gently. "Ada," she said softly.

Lassiel looked at her questioningly, then said with great and care effort, "Ada."

A/N: Names: "Brytta" is Old English (the language of the people of Rohan and Rhovanion) for giver or bestower.

"Aldor" means elder or chief

Sindarin: meleth nín = my love

Navaer = farewell