Suilaid! How are you all? Well, since school's started for me again I've been quite busy, yet I have managed to work my butt off working ahead to make some free time to write for all you lovely people. Please be sure to tell me what's working and what's not working with this story. With any luck I'll have another new chapter up soon! :oD

The Brite One (Stacy): Yay! I'm so glad that I could deliver another decent chapter for you. :o) Thranduil is a puzzle, isn't he? I do believe you're right, my dear. When I wrote that chapter it was a bit "lighter"- certainly less philosophical and more, well, story-like, LOL.

OMG- that line that you quoted made me smile then do a double take in horror- LOL. I realized that I'd written that part wrong! (Legolas only has two older siblings in my story, not three! :os) I'll repost the corrected version after I post this. Thanks sweetie!

Serenityofthematrix: Hannon le! I'm glad that you're enjoying the story and the development of its characters. I had hoped that they'd seem real enough and mAybe remind readers of people they knew in their own lives. Thanks for always being there and I look forward to hearing from you again! :oD

Das Blume: Yay! I was so happy to see that I got another review from you, sweetie! :oD Oh- if you do draw his family members I can't wait to see them! Hmm… that means I better start dishing out physical descriptions! LOL. I'm so happy that you're enjoying this. ;o) For heavens sake- I hope the weather's warmed up! You poor thing! Love ya babe and hope to hear from you about this chapter soon!

Important: As The Brite One inadvertently pointed out to me, I had a major mistake in the opening lines of the last chapter *cowers in embarrassment* I don't know what I was thinking but Legolas is one of five children, therefore he has two older siblings and two younger siblings, not three older siblings as I mistakenly put! It shall be fixed shortly but I just thought that you'd like to know.

Thanks for reading! Big hug to all! :oD

~~*~~

Chapter II: Amras

~~*~~

All his life Legolas had desired to make a pilgrimage to the White Cliffs as the Elves of old did. There, it was rumored, were buried treasures of ancient kings and the most beautiful birds sang. He supposed that somewhere deep down he had a wish to bring home some of these treasures for his father who loved them dearly yet it was the call to adventure that he answered. It was popular, long before he was born, to accompany an expedition on a journey to these cliffs. New trails had since been made and the journey was quite simple for the average traveler. However, every once in a while an opportunity arose for the more adventurous spirit and wilderness loving heart. After having read so many stories of the place and imagining himself on such a journey along the old trails, Legolas easily fit into this category.

So when an expedition was arranged in the old fashion with the intended route being an old and dangerous trail through the wilds, you can wager that our prince was one of the first to reserve a place upon said expedition. In fact, he'd spent nearly the entire week before daydreaming of what grand adventures he should have upon this undertaking. For him it was the opportunity of a lifetime and a childhood dream come true. He was finally going to follow the very paths of his ancestors and witness the sublime. When he returned he would certainly have his own story to tell. Nienna would listen to every word.

Strangely enough, the last few times that she had visited her home Legolas had been eager to show her how grown-up he, too, was. He had completed most of his mandatory education and was now following his interests through further, albeit more specialized training. He had wanted to show her that he was her equal and no longer that raggedy child whom had followed her everywhere when they were young. He had wanted to show her that he was his own person in charge of his own future. She had been interested at first but he soon found himself fighting for her attention. He thought she'd be happy to see the change in him.

Yet try as he may to prove his own maturity and adulthood to Nienna the more he discovered that he was still just one of the children; and he wasn't ready to give that up yet. He was painfully aware of the distance growing between him and Nienna and seemed to be latching on to Lissëwen and Nèndil all the more strongly. Since Nienna was gone they were all he had left.

He seemed to be in constant battle with his will to stay with his family and his instinctual need to answer the call that beckoned he leave and in dong so learn more about himself. That was the call he usually ignored, yet from Nienna's visits he had learned that he would always be a child, at least a part of him, until he took that leap of faith and left home. This journey to the White Cliffs was going to be a small step towards that; a small appeasing of the call that beckoned to him.

The journey to the cliffs itself was not problematic. Legolas reveled in the difficult terrain, delighting with the others when a strange and new bird song was heard. In the pools of the waterfalls which tumbled over the cliffs Legolas even caught a glimpse of a rare yet beautiful rainbow-scaled fish.

The group spent one night at the cliffs, wandering and exploring their sheer vastness and scrutinizing the marks left by past travelers. To be able to walk and touch what one so much older may have was truly exhilarating to the young prince.

They would have tarried longer but for a nasty storm that blew in. Understandably downtrodden, the group left at first light the next morning in a futile attempt to beat the storm home yet still following the ancient paths.

It was Legolas' misfortune, however, to have discovered that the clear waters that make up the falls surrounding the White Cliffs were of a composition that didn't agree with his stomach in the least bit. Some of the guides offered comfort by sharing that he was certainly not the first to get sick from the waters there- some mineral in the very cliffs themselves gave the water an ill taint to many. If only he had been warned of this beforehand!

So it was that our fair prince found himself fighting to keep up his spirits in the midst of vomiting for all he was worth and then some. On the way home, the storm caught up with the travelers and unleashed its fury of icy wind and a downpour of rain. Caught in the middle of two apparent evils as it were, Legolas merely suffered the journey home- half frozen and insides quaking. He did not even have the resolve to lift his eyes to the canopy above to search out the birds who were making such glorious music the day before. Instead, it was all he could do to keep his eyes upon the trail before him and his feet under him. Keeping his now-soaked cloak around him and his stomach from getting any more ideas, although he had long ago lost all of anything he had to throw up, he trudged on. Dry heaves seemed determined to make themselves his companions.

When at last they returned home there was a greeting party of loved ones offering warm blankets and hugs to their travelers. Legolas was not surprised to see his mother and his little brother waiting for him; however, the two standing behind them did manage to catch him off guard. Nienna and Amras, her new love interest. Luckily for both Legolas and Amras, the two had met on a brief basis on an earlier occasion. The prince's impression of the Elf was less than golden and in his moment of physical weakness he was one of the last people Legolas wanted, or expected, to deal with. Yet Nienna's early, unannounced arrival was certainly welcomed.

His mother embraced him despite the fact that he was utterly soaked. Seeing his unusually pale complexion she knew that he must be anxious to get home and warm and stepped aside to ask the servant who had accompanied her to bring their horses.

Nèndil, of course, was burying Legolas in questions which he tried his best to answer while attempting to hide his chattering teeth. At least his shivering had calmed a bit. He hated for Amras or anyone for that matter to see him like this.

Turning to his older sister he smiled warmly. "Nienna, I did not expect to see you here so soon."

Nienna merely grinned and turned to Amras when he squeezed her held hand in a sign of obvious affection. Legolas pretended that he didn't see the gesture and turned to his gaze to Amras. "Suilaid," he inclined his head briefly.

Sèrewen mercifully arrived with their horses and the six of them rode off under the clearing skies. While Legolas was busy concentrating on staying upon his horse in his miserable condition Nèndil rode up alongside him, gave a fleeting glance in each direction then spoke mutedly. "Nienna's not really home."

Legolas blinked in shock. "Whatever do you mean?"

"She's just here for the banquet tonight, then she's riding with Amras to his village before returning for the winter celebrations."

Legolas clenched his jaw. Of course Nienna didn't want to spend time with her own family. She'd only make a public appearance at the banquet as was expected then leave with that prissy Amras only to return at some unannounced hour and spend her days wallowing in melancholy for the loss of his presence. Within an instant, Legolas felt the gap between he and Nienna widen even more.

Fine. If that was how she wanted to liver her life then fine. You'd never find him dumping his family to spend time with some love interest of his. They were of the royal family, did Nienna really think that Amras was interested in her personality?

Crude, Legolas chided himself. Crude and cruel. Who was he to judge their love? He'd certainly never really been in love himself so he decided that he better reserve his judgment.

After finally arriving home a hot bath never felt so good to the shivering prince and he had to fight to stay awake in its warm embrace. All he wanted was to curl up under some warm blankets and sleep forever, but alas, the banquet called and his presence would be needed much sooner than he desired. Trying to ignore the drain on his energy that the small task of dressing and walking the very short distance to his chambers exhorted upon his body, he let himself fall ungracefully upon his bed.

He seriously doubted that he'd even be able to muster a single smile at the event tonight. Yet his sense of duty was stronger than his physical state and smile he did to the family friends present at the dinner that night. While most food was still rather unappetizing to him, he ate enough to keep up his strength and join in the after meal conversations.

As he felt his body all but disappear into the couch in the adjoining fireplace-lit room after the meal as he fought the urge to sleep once more. He was thus engaged as other guests began filtering into the room and was surprised to feel a soft thump on the cushion next to him. He looked up to see Amras give him a faint smile of greeting which he managed to send back. While all others seemed to be engaged in lively conversations, Legolas did his best to keep his end of his conversation with Amras going under Nienna's nearby ear.

Nèndil and his best friend Gwindor were laughing and chasing each other around the room while a dog joined in and he couldn't help but smile. Lissëwen had already retired with Gwindor's older sister, Nátulcien who was also her best friend. Legolas found him wondering how his own dear friend Hilyandil was faring. It had been a long time since they had seen one another, and even longer since he had heard from his childhood companion Arwen Evenstar. Since she moved to Lothlorien to be with her grandmother Galadriel he had seen little of the Evenstar. They had met when he was very young, so young, in fact, that he could not even remember their first meeting. Arwen, of course, had been older than he and practically worshipped Nienna in her youth. Needless to say she had become like a cousin to Legolas for when they no longer played their childhood games she was often visiting with Nienna. The two were great friends.

It was then that he realized that he'd completely lost focus of whatever Amras was droning on about and decided by the expression on the other male's face that he could get away with simply politely smiling at whatever the other had said to seem attentive.

The evening ended and at long last Legolas was allowed to retire to his bed, only to awake to discover that Nienna had already left with Amras and that he never got to say goodbye.

~~*~~

Please review!

~~*~~