All around in the forest was a deadly silence. The trees wavered not, and stood cold and still in the kingdom. Upon their many branches were the few lights made by the Elves of the Elven realm of Mirkwood. In the gloom, there was no one to be seen or heard, save one.

Andunë Greenleaf felt rather bored that day. She sat by the lake, watching the fishes swim by, and listening to the rush of the water. She had golden hair which shone in the sunlight, and eyes as blue as the ocean. Among the elves, she was considered petite and peculiar, for she refused to sing during gatherings. Often was she left out of these gatherings now, for she was not willing to sing. She was commonly clad in green, unless some special occasion came by.

Another figure came by the water and asked, "Why are you sitting here all alone, my sister?" The voice, Andunë guessed, belonged to her brother, Legolas, who was the prince of Mirkwood, the heir to the throne.

"Can you not see that the forest has become so quiet? Ever since the darkness swept past, the merry that we once had has been gone." Andunë replied. "Come, my brother, tell me of tidings from beyond the forest! I long to hear some words far more interesting than that of what the maidens are saying."

"And what are they saying?" Legolas asked.

"Everything that has been said in the past few hundred years, I suppose." Andunë answered, making her way to a huge willow tree with beautifully blossomed stems like little clouds falling as a curtain.

The great, old willow tree had served as a peaceful shade for the elves the past age, and was the only tree that had not been touched even when evil had entered the forest. It was said that the ancient tree was a gift from Yavanna in the Elder Days.

"What would you like to know about?" Legolas asked, leaning against the trunk of the tree.

"Everything that you can recall." Andunë requested, sitting down on the ground.

"I suppose the forest has bored you too much." Legolas said. "Three nights ago, duty called me to the borders, and I saw a middle-aged man walking past the borders of the forest. Weariness seemed to be upon him, and upon seeing us, he asked us for some food. I know not of his purpose in his journey, but he was frail, and I offered him some lembas bread. In turn, he told me news beyond the borders of Mirkwood.

"The man told me of much darkness. On his travel, he had seen an orc or two muttering to each other about a new evil. The orcs appeared not to want to serve this new terror, and spoke of how they wished that there had been an end to these days.

"But there were some encouraging news. Somewhere east of the forest, the traveler had seen a lady clad in purple, riding on a white horse. That may be our trekker. She will return soon to tell us of more tidings."

"Do you mean Elvira?" Andunë asked.

"Yes, that is she." Legolas answered.

"How is she like, brother?" Andunë asked, curious of Elvira. She had heard much of this female archer, but had not yet met her in person, for Elvira gone often on travels and duties.

"You shall see her when she returns. In the meantime, it is time for a little lunch. After all the work, I am rather starved." Legolas said, getting up and stretching himself gracefully.

Andunë laughed. "Has Peregrin the hobbit placed his influence on you?"

"You might say so." Legolas answered, laughing along as well.

The siblings strolled over to a large clearing in the woods. There was large leaves on the edge of the clearing, and a large stone table laden with Elven food. A few elves gathered round the table, chatting and giggling while dining, and a few others sat quietly alone on some of the large leaves, eating in peace.

Andunë reached out for some Elven bread, and then sat down on one of the large leaves. They felt like soft feather cushions. Legolas sat down beside Andunë, and crossed his legs on his seat. They were both silent for quite some time, enjoying the delicacies in the forest.

For a while all was rather quiet in the clearing, until a messenger walked up to Andunë and Legolas.

"My Lady and Lord," the messenger said, "King Thranduil wishes to see you both."

Andunë and Legolas looked at each other, puzzled. Their father would not call upon then so suddenly.

"What do you think, brother, that Father wants of us?" Andunë asked as they made for their father's room.

"I do not know. My guess is that he has an errand for us to run." Legolas replied.

"US? Of what use am I? I know naught of archery, sword-fighting, and have never been on a travel!" Andunë exclaimed. Although she did have some training in archery before, that was a few hundred years ago, and her skills were now as good as none at all.

The house was sighted. The walls were a dark shade of brown, but still, it looked as homely as possible. After climbing some stairs, the siblings finally came to Thranduil's room. Legolas knocked very softly on the door, then entered the room at Thranduil's command.

The room was well-lit with lamps, and King Thranduil sat upon a carven chair made of silver, beside a large table. Legolas and Andunë bowed, greeting their father.

"What is it, Father, of the audience you wish to seek?" Legolas asked.

"I have called upon the both of you, for I have an errand for you. "King Thranduil explained. "I am sure, my son, that you already have heard the news of the likely new threat, and I wish for you two to make a trip to Minas Tirith to warn King Elessar."

"Am I to go too?" Andunë asked.

"Aye." Thranduil replied, not further elaborating on why.

"But there is no use in sending me. I have no experience in the wild, and I can do nothing to help my brother." Andunë said, shooting a confused look at her father.

"That may be so, but I have sent you so that you may learn much from your brother on your journey." Thranduil explained. "Now, I would like a private word with Legolas, so you may step down."

"Aye, Father."

Andunë turned to leave, but before the door was completely closed, she heard her name mentioned in the talk. Being a curious elf, Andunë leaned against the door face for a better hearing.

"Is that why you want Andunë to leave?" Legolas asked.

"Yes. You know very well, my son, that she caused your mother's death, and she is not of blood relation to our family." Thranduil replied.

Andunë froze outside. She had always thought that she was part of a warm family, but now she felt like an outcast. Why did her brother and father not tell her of the matter? Why did Thranduil hate her so? She quietly and slowly walked down the stairs, returning to her own room.

Out the window, Andunë could see a group of maidens gathering. "I am an outcast among the Elven ladies, and now...I don't even have a family." Andunë whispered to herself. Tears were already gracing her face, but she brushed them away when she heard a knock on the door.

"Who goes there?" Andunë called out.

"It is me, your brother."

"You may enter." Andunë replied, sniffing.

Legolas entered, gently closing the door behind him. He then turned to Andunë. Placing a hand on her cheek, he said, "Your eyes are red! What is it, dear sister?"

"Nothing that would worry you, my brother." Andunë replied, forcing a smile. Somehow, her brother now seemed distant, like a stranger.

Legolas' deep blue eyes bore deep into hers, and he solemnly said, "Your eyes do not lie. What has happened?"

"I have made myself clear, and I will repeat myself no more. I beg thee, to leave me with some peace." Andunë replied, a little more harshly than she intended.

Legolas seemed rather hurt by the sudden change in Andun's tone, but nevertheless, he bowed and left.

Andunë heard the door close behind her, and mentally slapped herself for her coldness. She should have tried to act as if nothing had happened. She sat on the edge of the bed, pondering over what might happen to her.