Disclaimer: I'm only saying this once – anyone you recognize does not belong to me, as much as I wish they did!
Legolas Greenleaf, youngest son of King Thranduil of Mirkwood, absentmindedly turned over a page in his book, closing his eyes for a moment as dust rose. In the world of men, the Prince was a mere fourteen years old, and for a boy of that age, archery and swordplay were the activities that were greatly loved.
Although he enjoyed practising both of those skills, Legolas also enjoyed being out in the forest, either conversing with the trees he had come to know and love, or sitting up in one of their high branches and reading, as he was doing at that moment. Except, he was actually lying on his bed, studying a boring and monotonous book about Dwarves – he was only doing it because his tutor had told him to write three pieces of parchment on the hairy beings.
The door to his room suddenly flew open, and Calaen, Thranduil's second born, stormed into the room. Legolas did not look up, though. He chose instead to keep his gaze fixed on a particularly large dwarf. The young Prince had long ago become used to his brother's temper, and although he still hated it, he had resigned himself to the fact that it would never change.
At a mortal age of nineteen, Calaen was tall and muscular, with striking green eyes and long black hair that hung down to below his shoulders. He had the delicately pointed ears of Elves, and the ethereal beauty, but he could not have looked any different to his brothers and father even if he had tried.
"I want to speak with you," Calaen snapped.
Legolas looked up briefly, before flicking his eyes back down to the book. "I did not think you came in to admire the ceiling," he muttered.
"What were you doing in my room?" Calaen demanded, choosing to let the comment pass.
"What are you doing in mine?" Legolas asked calmly. Still, he did not look up.
Calaen strode forwards to the bed, and without saying anything, took the book from his brother's hands. The younger Prince hissed in annoyance and tried to snatch it back, but the elder shook his head, and threw it across the room. It hit the wall with a dull thud, and dropped to the ground.
"There was no need for that," Legolas snapped.
"Shut up and listen to me," Calaen hissed. "You went into my room, and I did not give you permission to be in there. It was you who broke the string of my bow."
Legolas blinked in surprise. "I have not been in your room. I know you do not like it when I do. And what is this about your bow? I did not even know the string was broken. Why are you accusing me? Why should I wish to do anything like that?"
"Oh, now you are denying it," Calaen said coldly.
"Of course I am, because I had nothing to do with it," Legolas said firmly.
Calaen glared at the younger Elf for a moment, before grabbing him by the arm and pulling him off the bed. "Maybe your memory will be refreshed if you look at the damage you have done."
"But I do not know what you're talking about," Legolas protested, pulling himself free.
Calaen merely grabbed him again, tighter this time. "Do not make this worse for yourself."
"I can walk perfectly well on my own," Legolas hissed, as he was dragged down the corridor.
"Shut up," Calaen snapped back.
When Legolas had been an Elfling, he had requested that his chamber be in the middle of the corridor, so that he would not be far away from his brothers or his parents. But then Calaen changed. He became cold and spiteful, and treated his little brother like dirt. Legolas had told Thranduil that he wanted a new room, but the King refused, saying that there was nothing wrong with the room he already had. So, the Prince was stuck – Calaen's own room was only a few doors down.
"Here," the dark haired Prince said, pushing his brother through an oak door. "The bow is there, on the bed. Have another look at what you-
"Think what you want!" Legolas spat. "Calaen, you are so irrational."
"And tell me, how did you work that one out?" the other Elf asked.
Legolas hissed in annoyance, his silver eyes flashing. "You have no reason to accuse me of anything. You cannot even back up your accusation. What proof do you have that I have done anything?"
"I know what you are like!" Calaen shouted. "You are spoilt and spiteful, and you just cannot stand the fact that I'm better at archery than you. That's why you did this – your jealousy drove you to do something petty and immature like this!"
"You have just had your best bow destroyed. I would expect you to be slightly more distressed about it than you are," Legolas retorted. He paused, and looked up into his brother's eyes. "You know it wasn't me."
Calaen took a step forward, his expression hard. "Then, tell me who else it would be."
"I don't know. And to be perfectly honest, I do not care any more," Legolas replied, turning on his heel, and brushing past the elder Prince.
"You have always destroyed things."
Legolas wheeled around, heart pounding. "What do you mean by that?"
Calaen smiled nastily, and his eyes flickered with malevolence. "You know."
King Thranduil nodded as he listened to his eldest son - the Crown Prince of Mirkwood - give his report on the happenings in the forest. As Airëlus spoke, there was a thud from the floor above, but the two Elves dismissed it as a servant being careless.
"You were saying?" Thranduil asked. He closed his eyes briefly as a series of thumps sounded above them. "How many Orcs did your patrol bring down?"
Prince Airëlus pushed his fair hair back off his face and smiled, blue eyes twinkling. Having just come back from patrol, there were a few smudges of dirt on his pale skin, but he was uninjured. "Every Orc was killed. We lost none of our soldiers, though some have suffered bruises. It is nothing serious."
"That is good. And, how many-
Thranduil was cut off by a crash from above him. He shot an irritated glance upwards – if the ceiling had been a person, it would have quailed under the cold eyes of the Mirkwood ruler. Shaking his head slightly, the King turned back to his son, about to speak again, when there were another few thumps. The two exchanged glances, before getting up and leaving to investigate.
Legolas stared at his brother in shock, disbelief in his eyes. "You do not mean that," he said softly.
"Oh, I do. I would not say it if it was not the truth," the dark haired Elf replied.
Without warning, the younger Prince leapt forwards, and struck his brother across the face. Calaen was only momentarily stunned, and, despite his shock, reacted quickly. He pushed Legolas away, and held him against the wall.
"If you ever try anything like that again, I will make your life hell," he hissed, sharply backhanding his brother.
Legolas barely flinched, despite the older Elf's strong arm. "You are making an idle threat. You made my life hell a long time ago, and there is nothing you can do to make it any worse."
"Is there not?" Calaen smiled cruelly.
The two stared each other out – it was a battle between silver eyes and green. After a moment had passed, Calaen let his brother go, and turned away. That was a mistake on his part though, for Legolas stepped forward quietly, and stuck out one foot. It was a simple trick, but sometimes simple tricks thought up on the spur of the moment work much better than well thought out tricks. Calaen tripped and fell to the ground, his Elven balance failing him that time.
Legolas jumped over to his brother, and held him down. "Why do you always do this to me? Let go of the past, Calaen. You cannot change it. I have dealt with all of your cruel words before, but that was just too much."
"Everyone believes it to be true," Calaen spat. "Ada and Airëlus believe it. They despise you for what you did, but you are blind to what is in front of your eyes."
"You lie," Legolas hissed, slamming a fist into Calaen's stomach.
The dark haired Prince winced, but it did not stop him from pulling both knees up, and kicking his brother as hard as he could. Legolas sat back on his heels, holding one hand to his chest, trying to get his breath back. Calaen was stronger and more powerful than he, and had years more experience. He reeled, as a booted foot came up and kicked him full on in the face.
"You are not so brave now," Calaen said in a low voice. "You are weak."
Forcing himself to ignore the pain, Legolas jumped to his feet and ran at his brother. He pushed hard, and as Calaen fell, he dragged the younger Elf down with him. All inhibitions forgotten as the cruel words replayed themselves over and over again in his head, Legolas raised his hand to hit the other Prince. What he did not expect though, was to have his arm grabbed from behind.
"What is the meaning of this?!"
Legolas snapped his head around, and his eyes widened in shock. "Ada…"
Thranduil pulled his youngest son roughly to his feet, eyes blazing furiously, before reaching out a hand to help Calaen up. From the doorway, Airëlus watched the whole thing in silence. He had never known his brothers to fight like this. Yes, they had many arguments, normally over silly things. But this was worse than he had ever seen.
"What were you doing?" Thranduil demanded, turning sharply on Legolas.
The Prince glanced across at Calaen, unsure of what to say. He was loath to admit what had been said to provoke him – he would rather keep it safe in his head. But he knew he had to say something. He would be in far worse trouble if the King thought he had fought like that for nothing.
"Well?" Thranduil asked, snapping his fingers in front of Legolas' eyes.
The Prince flinched – the sharp sound seemed horribly loud in the tension filled room. He looked up helplessly, and slowly shook his head. "I…I do not…I…"
"Do you wish me to tell you what happened?" Calaen asked. At the King's nod, he sighed regretfully. "I told Legolas that I thought someone had been in here, because the string of my bow has been broken. He thought I was accusing him of doing it. But of course, I wasn't. He flew into a wild rage and attacked me. That's all there is to it."
"What?" Legolas breathed. "Ada, he is making it up. That is not what happened."
Thranduil silenced his youngest with a look, before turning back to Calaen. "And, what do you have to say about that? Are you making it up, as your brother claims?"
"I do not see why I should invent something like that," the dark haired Prince said incredulously. "I have told you nothing but the truth, Ada."
"So, how is it that Legolas looks as though he has taken a few blows?" Airëlus asked, putting a protective hand on his youngest brother's shoulder.
"I could not just stand there and let him carry on like he was," Calaen replied. "I had to defend myself in some way."
Thranduil nodded slowly, and looked over at Legolas. "Go back to your own room, and I will come to speak with you. Airëlus, go with him."
"Why are you taking his word over mine?" the golden haired Prince asked, hurt flitting across his face "He always tries to turn you against me, and you know it. Are you so blind that you fall for it…again?"
"Get out!" Thranduil snapped.
"Ada, I did not mean that," Legolas said. He bit down on his already bleeding lip. "I am sorry."
"Leave it," Airëlus said softly.
Legolas shot Calaen one last look of anger before brushing the Crown Prince's hand away from his shoulder, and storming from the room. Airëlus sighed, and followed his brother with a roll of his eyes. Calaen just watched them go, a smile dancing on his lips.