OMG! I'm so terribly sorry for keeping you all hanging like this! I didn't mean to, I swear! My PC broke down after a virus attack, blast it! I am very, very lucky that one of my colleagues knows how to retrieve some of the documents. If not, I would still be raving and raging like a mad woman, pulling at my hair! It was ugly, believe me. I mean, to nearly lose all those chapters that I haven't posted on board was a torturing nightmare!
I'm also sorry for not replying to any of your reviews this time. I can't remember what I've written before the whole file went corrupt. Grr!!! But most of you got it right about the shraq that just landed on the balcony. It is what you think it is. Now carry on reading. Beware though; cuteness! is in progress.
P/S : I'm still pissed at the way Kimi's car blew up in Bahrain GP last week. So if anyone out there lives near to McLaren Mercedes headquarters, please do me a favor and go kick some butts working there! Thank you.
P/P/S : Um…almost forgot. This is the last chapter.
"Get back, Nara!" Legolas cried out, jumping to his feet before pushing his wife behind him. He was about to reach for the sword lying on the floor when he realized something else. The raven was not alone.
An eagle had also landed beside the black bird, crying excitedly in greetings. Seeing this, the two elves instantly sighed in relief. It was Hawkeye.
"Gallard, you ninny!" Legolas growled. "Stop scaring us like that!"
Gallard steadily changed into his human form and grinned in amusement at the husband and wife. "Sorry. I just couldn't help it. Did we just interrupt your…uh…'conversation'?"
Legolas glared while Narasene chuckled. "The 'conversation' can be continued some other time." She walked to the draq and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "We are really glad to see that you are well. Was the mission a success?"
As his ire vanished to be replaced by curiosity instead, Legolas also came near and stared at his friend. "Yes, Gallard, I can't wait to know how it went. How fare Aragorn and the others? But before that, do tell me, who is your…uh…friend here?" said Legolas, inclining his head towards the silent raven.
Gallard looked at the direction that Legolas indicated and smiled. As he beckoned, the raven left its perch and came flying to land at Gallard's feet. Compared to the other shraqs they had seen, this raven was much smaller in size, not even as big as Gallard in his eagle form.
Spreading its shiny black wings, the raven then gradually transformed into the beautiful young lady that Legolas had seen in Tasqamaran hall. Clad in a black silk dress with a halter neck that left most of her back bare, the lady shraq gracefully straightened and smiled shyly at the amazed looking elves. "Hello. I'm Kylea," she softly said, introducing herself.
Legolas and Narasene glanced at each other and blushed in embarrassment for acting so jumpy just now. Gallard laughed to see their expression. "Yes, my friends. This is my…what you call it? …'lover'. Don't worry. She won't bite…or abduct you and drop you into the ocean."
Sending his friend a deadly glare for that rib, Legolas muttered, "Right. Of course. How stupid of me to think so."
Frowning admonishingly at her partner, Kylea said, "Forgive him for his tactlessness, Lord Legolas. Gallard can be quite dense sometimes."
"Him and Legolas both," Narasene interrupted. "These two are quite alike, not only in appearance but also in manners, don't you think? I believe that we have not been properly introduced. I'm Nara, Legolas' very patient and forgiving wife."
Legolas rolled his eyes at Narsene's sardonic words while she reached forward and embraced the other lady. Kylea warmly returned the hug, saying, "I'm so glad to meet you at last. Gallard has been telling me a lot of things about the both you."
"Good things, I hope," Legolas grumbled, still glaring at his friend.
That only made the shraq laugh. "Uh…not really."
That caused Legolas raising his arm to smack the back of Gallard's head. "Oww!" the elf instantly froze and cried out instead. Grimacing and muttering expletives, he looked down at his injured shoulder, scowling.
"It is still not healed?" Gallard asked, concerned.
With a rueful shake of his head, Narasene steered her husband towards the bed and pushed him until he sat. "With him keep moving gaily about? No, it is still not," she responded with a long-suffering sigh.
"Hey, it was you who challenged me into that bloody sword fight!" Legolas complained.
"Just be quiet and let me get that swelling down," Narasene firmly told him. Legolas opened his mouth to retort, saw the narrowing of his wife's eyes, thought better of it and asked Gallard instead, "Tell us, what happened? How did it all go?"
Taking his seat in an easy chair nearby, Gallard began to speak, "Kalden is dead."
Narasene paused in her ministration of her husband's injury, while Legolas gazed at Gallard's expressionless face, noting the cold tone in the draq's voice just now. The elf prince then nodded. "So, Tasqamaran is now yours?"
Gallard briefly glanced at Kylea. The shraq lady was assisting Narasene by soaking a clean towel in a basin of warm water nearby. "Gallard is now king," Kylea softly said, handing the damp cloth to the elven lady. "And my father is now his prisoner."
The two elves had their eyebrows raised in astonishment as they stared at Gallard. Frowning slightly at Kylea, Gallard responded, "After the way he had helped kill all my family? Yes, I have to put him behind bars. You don't expect me to execute my future father-in-law, do you?"
Kylea looked up at him with tears in her eyes. "For that, I can never stop feeling grateful to you, my love. He may have not been a good father to me, but he is still my father. I love him all the same."
Shaking his head, Gallard stood and walked forward, pulling Kylea into his arms. "Now stop that. We have talked about this, remember? Come now, stop crying."
"Who says I'm crying?"
"Well, then what's this?" Gallard asked, touching the teardrop on Kylea's cheek.
"I got something in my eyes, is all."
"Hold on, you two!" Legolas interrupted as the couple's heads began to get close together. Gallard and Kylea looked back at him quizzically. The elf prince sighed heavily. "You can carry on with your 'conversation' later. I'm still waiting to hear about the entire mission, mind you."
Kylea had the grace to blush while Gallard scowled. "Fine," he replied, releasing Kylea. "What do you want to know?"
"From the beginning. Especially on how Kalden died."
"Very well." Shrugging, Gallard settled himself back into the chair. But before the draq could speak, Narasene urged her husband to shed his tunic completely, much to Legolas' reluctance. He glanced meaningfully at Kylea's way without a word.
Kylea saw this and she chuckled. "Don't worry, Lord Legolas. I've seen enough male flesh in my days. Gallard here always struts around with nothing more than his breeches."
Legolas' face reddened while Gallard simply smirked, "She's correct. Come, Legolas. There's nothing to be shy off."
Muttering incoherently under his breath, Legolas let Narasene peeled the shirt off him, grimacing all the way. "Now, start talking, you blasted draq!" the prince growled, trying to hide his embarrassment for sitting half naked in front of a foreign lady while being tended and prodded by his wife.
And what an enchanting beautiful lady at that! Legolas thought with an involuntarily gulp. The black silk dress that Kylea wore was so sheer that it was almost transparent, showing off her nice curves. And Legolas had never seen such exposed female flesh—except for Narasene's, of course. The dress left most of Kylea's back and shoulders bare, probably to accommodate her spreading wings when she took her raven form. Close up, Legolas could discern the color of her eyes, which was deep brown, and they were heavily fringed with thick long lashes. And those eyes were smiling back at him in amusement.
Seeing the dazed way that Legolas was staring at Kylea, Narasene spoke glibly, "Kylea is very pretty, isn't she, my husband?"
Gallard burst up laughing as Legolas jerked, growing redder in the face at Narasene's teasing. "Speak, Gallard," the elf prince uttered with a sidelong glare at his wife. "Now."
After his laughter died down, Gallard started to relate everything that had happened from the moment they arrived in Tasqamaran. "We reached the shore on the third day," he explained. "Everything went according to plan, except for a band of shraq scouts that we stumbled into. But Gwaihir and his kin have done a good job in getting rid of them."
Gallard went on to tell them that Aragorn's fleet immediately surrounded the fortress upon docking. Kalden and the shraqs were told to unconditionally surrender in a way to avoid further bloodshed. As expected, Kalden had refused. With an army of shraqs behind his back, he had launched attack from the tower, changing repeatedly from man to bird at his whim.
Gallard's home was a strong fortress and not easily defeated if you did not know its weakness, but Gallard did, and he had led his supporters through it, breaking the shraqs' defense and sending them into panic and turning them helter-skelter. After a full hour of wild and ferocious battle between men and birds and elves alike, Tasqamaran was successfully reclaimed.
Later, when the wounded Kalden was brought to him bound and subdued, Gallard had stared hard at him for a very long time, fighting the urge to stab his claw into his uncle's neck for killing his entire family. Instead, Gallard had ordered Kalden to be unbound and given a dagger. Kalden had taken a look at the blade and he instantly knew what the law of Tasqamaran expected him to do for his treason and cruel betrayal on the kingdom and the royal family.
"Kalden took his life then?" Legolas asked, wincing slightly as Narasene tied the last knot on the sling that bound his injured arm.
Gallard grimly nodded, his eyes as hard as steel. "He cut his own throat as our law entails, but I wished I could do it with my own two hands," he growled, clenching his fists. "Kalden's blood had spilled onto the floor, the place where my family had shed theirs. Their deaths were now avenged. And yet…"
At this, Gallard's voice trailed off. He lowered down his head to stare at his boots, blinking hard to hold back tears. Kylea moved silently to him and lovingly gripped his shoulder. Gallard seemed to draw strength under Kylea's gentle hands. He looked up at her and gave a wan smile before turning to grin at Legolas. "You should see Aragorn and the twins during the siege! I caught them smiling like idiots many times as they happily swung their weapons about! I believe they were enjoying it!"
"They are well then?" Legolas inquired. "They are not hurt?"
"They are fine, as well as Faramir and Lord Celeborn," Gallard answered, still grinning. "Aragorn received a serious wound in his thigh though, thanks to a shraq's claw. But he just laughed it off, saying that he had been waiting for it to happen all along. Seriously, Legolas, I think he has gone mad!"
"I was right then! He was bored!" Legolas exclaimed in return, causing them both to explode into uncontrollable mirth.
Narasene exchanged exasperated looks with Kylea and sighed. "I think the both of them have gone mad," said Narasene, taking the other lady's arm. "Come, Kylea. Let me introduce you to Arwen and tell her that her husband is on his way home after he has had fun attacking his friend's kingdom."
Hearing that, Gallard and Legolas' laughter grew louder and wilder, much to the two ladies' annoyance and amusement combined. At the door, Narasene and Kylea paused. They stood there for a moment, staring at their respective soul mates, their lips tugged upward into affectionate smiles.
Well, who wouldn't smile at the attractive sight of the two golden haired princes who shared quite similar handsome features that they could be taken as twins? Both of them were still laughing like crazy, for a while completely oblivious that they were half naked, clad only in their leggings and boots, presenting such a spectacular display of male magnetism to the two observing ladies.
"Kylea?" Narasene suddenly asked softly.
"Yes, my lady?"
"I'm glad they belong to us."
Kylea chuckled, nodding in agreement. "We are very lucky then, don't you think?"
Narasene gave her new friend a sidelong glance. "Lucky? Umm…not really. Especially when my husband decides to do everything that I tell him not to!"
Legolas heard his wife, blinked at her, and collapsed onto his back on the bed, roaring in laughter all over again.
Eldarion son of Aragorn gazed up at the elven warrior holding him, and broke into a huge toothless grin.
"Look! He smiles!" Legolas cried out excitedly. "He is smiling at me!"
Narasene glanced at her husband and the tiny bundle of joy he was cradling in his arms. "A baby of barely two weeks old does not know how to smile yet, my love. It is just gas."
"No it's not!" Legolas protested. "What kind of theory is that?"
Standing near the couple, Lady Éowyn overheard this discussion and she laughed. "That was the exact reaction that I got from Faramir when I told him that!" The lady of Emyn Arnen adjusted the wool cap on her eight-month-old son's head as she grinned at Narasene and continued, "Men! They are so dense!"
"Hey. I heard that." Faramir suddenly entered the nursery with a smile and headed straight for his wife and child, embracing them both to him in pure love and affection. Little Boromir started to fret then, annoyed to be smothered by his parents.
"Here. Let me take him," asked Faramir, reaching out for the toddler. Holding his son in one arm, Faramir bent forward and kissed the boy's chubby cheek. Unfortunately, Boromir choose that moment to play his favorite new game—biting.
Faramir winced as his son's wet gums chomped upon his nose. The others laughed at the scene as Faramir tried to disentangle himself from Boromir's vicious jaw.
"It is confirm then. He is teething," said Éowyn with a giggle, wiping at her husband's wet nose and her son's dribbling mouth with a kerchief.
"Does every baby do that?" Legolas asked, staring cautiously at Eldarion, all prepared to dodge should Eldarion attack him.
"Most human babies do," Thranduil interrupted. He had just stepped into the room behind Faramir with Lord Celeborn. "But I know of one elven baby who bit my calf once," said the elven lord, glancing meaningfully at his son.
The prince's cheeks instantly reddened as laughter broke all around him. Still, he managed to smoothly retort, "And who would that be, father? Was it Kel?"
"No, not him," Thranduil answered, shaking his head with a grin. "Your brother has been a good natured baby as far as I know."
"Really?" Celeborn interjected. "But if I remember correctly, baby Keladrion had bitten my calf the first time you brought him to Lórien to show him to me!"
Loud laughter exploded all over again in the nursery. The happy sound streamed out into hallway outside, causing others who heard it to break into wide smile. While downstairs in the great hall, the people of Gondor kept flowing in to witness the formal presentation ceremony of the throne's newborn heir. It would be a grand celebration, with great feast and joyous singing and dancing afterwards.
It had been over a week since Aragorn's fleet had safely returned from Tasqamaran after their victorious mission. The king's wound had healed after such firm mothering from Queen Arwen. And Legolas' broken shoulder finally mended, thank the Valar! The moment Narasene had pronounced him whole again, Legolas had thrown away the sling, grabbed a bow and arrows before running towards the stable. He had dragged out a Gondor roan and rode at breakneck speed for Pelennor Field. "To practice my shot!" he had told them before dashing off, looking so deliriously happy as if he had just broken out of a prison.
"Hey, what is so funny?" The Rivendell twins suddenly appeared at the doorway, looking at the group in avid curiosity.
Celeborn took one look at them and voiced out, "And here are the two grown-up munchkins who had once bitten both my ears at the same time!"
"What?!" Elladan and Elrohir shouted back, completely flabbergasted.
Still laughing, Legolas walked towards his friends and said, "Don't mind him. He was just spinning tales, like my father just did."
Still skeptical, Elladan frowned at the whole lot before announcing, "The ceremony is about to start. Everyone ready?"
They all moved into attention then, heading towards the door. Legolas adjusted Eldarion's ceremonial blanket as Narasene rearranged her husband's flowing mantle. The prince glared as his father reached over to adjust the silver circlet around his head. As always, the elven king ignored his son's annoyance.
Following the Gondorim tradition, Aragorn had gladly chosen Legolas and Narasene as his son's surrogate parents. During the ceremony, both elven couple would take oath to always protect and care for Eldarion should the king and queen of Gondor perished before the baby became an adult. Legolas and Narasene did not need to wait for Eldarion to grow up though. They had fallen madly in love with the tiny human already.
And so, the procession from the nursery steadily headed towards the great hall where everyone was expectantly waiting. King Elessar and Queen Arwen had just taken their seats on the throne. King Éomer and his heavily pregnant wife, Queen Lothiriel, were already seated beside Gimli the dwarf and Prince Imrahil. The lord of Dol Amroth was seen scowling at his youngest son, Amrothos, who was trying to woo a lovely Gondor maiden sitting next to him.
As Legolas and his retinue walked in, all the guests stood and gazed fondly at them. The minstrels started singing a beautiful ballad from the corner of the hall, the song telling off the joy of new life and future.
The troop stopped in front of the dais. Bowing respectfully to his king and queen, Faramir then led his wife and the others to their respective seats near the recently married King Gallard and Queen Kylea. The couple smiled back at them in absolute delight, finding the foreign ceremony so wonderful and momentous.
Legolas and Narasene moved on to step onto the dais. They knelt on one knee as Aragorn stood up to affectionately gaze down at them. "You accept this honor to stand proxy for me and my queen in the best interest of our child?"
"With great honor, we accept," the elven couple responded, smiling at each other.
"Then rise, and show the new heir of Gondor to its people," Aragorn told them and reached forward to help Narasene to her feet. Legolas gracefully straightened and received warm kisses on his cheeks from Arwen.
Turning, Legolas calmly faced the crowd. "Behold!" he announced, effortlessly lifting the baby for them all to witness. "I bring to you the heir to the throne of Gondor, his royal highness Prince Eldarion, son of Aragorn!"
Wild cheers and loud applause instantly erupted inside the hall, nearly bringing down the roof. Everyone was standing, clapping and laughing and hugging one another. Some were even crying with joy.
Legolas lowered the baby, glanced at his wife, and leaned down to kiss her. Beside them, the king and queen of Gondor were holding hands, smiling proudly at their child who lay cradled in the arms of their very best friend. Their brother.
And the people of Gondor kept on rejoicing all through the night and days afterwards, celebrating the birth of a new life.
And so, a new future had just begun.THE END
Okay. That's the end of it, thank god. I guess this is the worst updating pattern I've ever had. Blame it on my PC and the auditors, guys! Thanks to all of you for being so patient, I'm still here. And your strong support and wonderful reviews have kept me going and going and going!
As tradition, here are the faithful reviewers in alphabetical order ; AbbiCat14; Althelas; amber eyed wolf; Amlee; Aranel of Mirkwood; astalder27; Baby Blaize; beginning end 314; BonBon88; Brazgirl; Coolio02; Dalia; Deana; Dur En Thurin Naur; Enigma Jade; Fire Breathing Ferret; Fredie Loves Frodo; Gwyn; HalandLeg4ever; Hp-Azn; Irethwen-ElfRanger; IrishQT; Isarandel; Itsuki Tachibana; Jamie; Joee1; Julia Moore; Katie; Kayo; Kiku3; Kitsune; kittykatt; Lady Elven; Lady Evenstar; Lady Lenna; Legolas Greenleaf; LegolasLover2003; Lisseyelen aka Lady V; littletoaster; Lucy; Manders1953; MoroTheWolfGod; Musicstarlover; namarie2legolas; Nessa Thranduiliel; Nikki1; popcorn; Princess Arwen of Smirkwood; Sailor Elf; Sarwenaletari Elanesse; seamonkeysis; smiley; Snow Glory; Sparrow Greenleaf; squishyJH; szhismine; tbiris;Twin; twinlakesghrl; Young Storyteller (forgive me if anyone is left out)
THANK YOU SO MUCH I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Meagan, my beta, I'm dead without you! Thank you for all your help!!
Now, for the coming attractions; Several short fics are in progress including 'Two In The Tub' and 'Tumbling Tot In The Stream'. Of course you know what they are about, right? Yes, they are about chibby Legolas and his mischief! Then, there will be 'Towering Inferno', a story about the burning Mirkwood forest as suggested by one of our friends. Coming up are 'Tremors' and a post-LOTR story concerning Eldarion. Let us pray that my PC won't go berserk again so I can finish all the stories as planned.
And to those of you who keep asking me for stories about the brothers Paris and Hector of Troy; Okay! Okay! I'm doing it! But can we at least wait for the movie to come out first? Some people might don't like spoilers. But, wait a minute. What is there to spoil? Everyone knows the plotline, right? Paris stole Helen, Helen's husband grew angry, he sent Achilles to Troy, Achilles killed Hector, Paris shot Achilles in his heel and on and on the war went until Troy crumbled into dust! It's pretty basic what Homer had produced, right? The issues were quite different from Tolkien's but the outcome was still the same—WAR. (I just can't wait to see Orli in a steel skirt, brandishing his sword about!)
I will return in a week time (hopefully). Meanwhile, keep on smiling everyone!
Adromir signing out.