Chapter 30

When 'I Love You' isn't Enough...

1200 years later...

"Calenion! We are going to be late for your sister's feast!" Tari called to her only son, frantically fixing her circlet of mithril and white diamonds. A pair of soft hands came to rest upon her shoulders, calming her instantly.

"Your son is being lazy..." Tari said to her husband, letting him finish the intricate braids that held her circlet in place.

"You act as though it is my fault. He is your son as well, meleth." (love) Legolas grinned, kissing her cheek.

Tari let out a laugh. "Seeing as how you're the one who always tried skirting your duties as a child, I'd say that trait in him is your fault!" She stood from her vanity, and went to the wardrobe to retrieve her matching pale silver velvet cloak that clasped at her shoulders.

Legolas cleared his throat loudly behind her, and she turned. He was holding the cloak out, gesturing for her to come nearer and turn 'round.

With a sigh, she complied. "Im hiraetha meleth nin." (I'm sorry my love) she said sadly, "I suppose I am just overly nervous about tonight."

"Aye, as am I. But I have not yet reached the point of insanity you have achieved." the prince said, fixing the silver clasps in the shape of the mallorn leaves. "Celebin shall let no other ellon come near our daughter..."

The Lord Celebin, Haldir's son, had not let the affections he held for Estellia diminish over the years. Now at the age of 18 in mortal years, tonight was Estellia's 'coming out' feast. She would be presented at the feast as a lady in the eyes of her parents and her people. To ellons, it meant that they were allowed to court her.

Tari knew that her daughter returned Celebin's love. Legolas however, not one for 'girl talk', knew not.

Calenion emerged from his room with a frown, fastening the last clasp on his silver tunic. He had silver-blonde hair like his father, but had his mother's deep brown eyes. He had also inherited his father's tall, lithe yet muscular build.

"Ada," he whined, "must I attend this feast?"

Legolas raised an eyebrow. "And why would you not want to come? It is very important, Calenion, you know that."

Calenion rolled his eyes, a trait he learned from his mother. "The elleths at the party are annoying. They won't leave me alone."

Legolas laughed as Tari went to fetch Estellia from her chambers. "They're just like that because you have your father's fantastic looks."

Calenion just stared at his father with a look of disgust and embarrassment.

In her room, pacing back and forth like a caged animal, Estellia was a bundle of nerves. She was clad entirely in white. Her silken gown hung to the floor, and had a generous train behind it. The white velvet cloak shimmered as she continued to pace, her bright blue eyes acute with anxiousness.

Tari entered the room, and gave her daughter a warm encouraging smile. "Calm down, iell, there is nothing to worry about. This isn't that different from any other feast we've attended."

"Atara, I've never been the center of attention at any other feast! I didn't have the eyes of every ellon in the kingdom watching my every move!" Estellia groaned, sinking onto her bed as her mother walked over.

Tari shook her head, taking Estellia's pale hands in her own and pulling her sharply to her feet. "You don't have to worry about anything, my hope. Celebin will be there..."

Estellia blushed deeply at the name. "You have not told ada have you?" she whispered, following her mother to the door.

Tari shook her head again, but with a smile. "No, I haven't."

Celebin stood beside his father and mother as the procession began into the great hall. King Thranduil and his wife, Queen Lothiriel entered first. Both were clad in the colors of Eryn Lasgalen. Thranduil seemed to have an aura that demanded respect; his head held high and proud. One would think him completely arrogant, if it had not been for the twinkle of amusement in his eyes, and a small smile tugging at his lips. His crown looked to be a wreath of silver leaves and berries.

Lothiriel was smiling with a motherly love, as though her subjects were her children. Silver too was her circlet, save it was much more intricate, and 'queenly'.

Next came Tari and Legolas, arm in arm. Legolas wore a deep shimmery silver tunic under a matching robe, tied with a green sash with the Calenlas (Greenleaf)(A/N: if you haven't figured it out, Legolas's son's name comes from his own house name. Calenion literally means 'son of green' or in this case, 'son of greenleaf') crest. A simple circlet rested on his brow, wrought in silver with elvish designs of leaves and vines. Though he had been married for so long, the elleths in the crowd still swooned at the sight of him, causing Tari to loose her own smile. Her eyes found Celebin's, and she gave him a knowing, yet discreet, wink. She too was clad in the colors of her people. A long gown of the same shimmery silver material Legolas's tunic was fashioned from, that had a low square cut neck, and butterfly sleeves that bellowed out at her elbows. She too had tied a green sash similar to Legolas's about her thin waist, where her gown tapered out and flowed about her feet.

Calenion was following close behind them, his head held like his grandfather's, a forced smile upon his face, and a twinkle in his eyes. Save for this one was not of amusement, but of mischief.

When they had reached the high table, Estellia entered last. Many a person gasped in awe as she walked in slowly, poised with the elegance of her mother, and held with her father's nobility and pride. Her eyes betrayed her, for they were filled with worry. The straight path to the table seemed to lengthen with every step she took, never getting any nearer. She kept her eyes straight ahead, trying not to take in all the stares she was recieving.

Finally, she reached the table, and sat down.

The feast began normally, (ceremony/dancing were to come after) delicious meats, delectable vegetables freshly picked, luscious ripe fruits with no sweeter juices to be found. Dorwinion was abundant.

"She's very nervous..." Tari whispered to Legolas as she pretended to reach for a fresh biscuit near him. Estellia had hardly eaten anything, merely pushing food around with her fork, and drinking copious amounts of wine.

Legolas nodded, but did not say anything, for his father had stood up to begin the speech.

Long it was, filled with many an elvish verse and saying, speaking of how Estellia had matured into a beautiful young princess, grand-daughter, daughter, cousin... etc. And how she would stand beside her mother and father, helping to carry out order through the kingdom. (not to mention the males were allowed to ask for her hand...)

She knelt before Thranduil, and he placed a grand circlet upon her fair head, claiming that she was no longer a child, but a strong lady of body and mind, and was to be treated thusly. Such a position demanded respect and loyalty from the people.

As she rose again, applause sounding throughout the hall, she smiled. "Dance!" Thranduil proclaimed, just as many an ellon approached her.

"Honor me with a dance my princess?" a bold ellon said, all but dragging her to the dance floor, and pulling her a little too close for comfort against his own body. He had dark grey eyes, and raven colored hair. His pointed face and curling lips made him look like a sinister young man.

"I'm sorry," said a voice laced with sarcasm, "But the princess Estellia hath already promised me a dance little lord Artis."

She couldn't help but sigh with relief as she saw Celebin firmly take hold of the ellon's shoulder, prying him away from her. Before the elf could say another word, Celebing had swept Estellia into his arms and across the dance floor.

She smiled at him, admiring how handsome he looked when he wasn't clad in his riding and warrior garb.

"You should wear this outfit more often. It actually makes you look like the lord you are." she laughed, watching him smile.

"I shall heed your request, if only you do the same. That dress is lovely, princess." he complimented, noticing the gaze of Legolas falling onto him.

"I can only assume that your mother knows of us?" he asked, breaking apart from her to give her a graceful twirl.

When she came back into his arms, she was blushing. "Aye, only her. I did not tell adar."

"Good thing too..." Celebin murmured, seeing Legolas deliberately begin to dance with Tari in their direction. "As if he wasn't suspicious enough already.

Estellia saw her father, and suppressed a giggle. "He trusts you, I know he does. Out of all the ellons in Arda, you are the only one he does not pry me from."

"I take it that is a great honor?"

"Indeed it is." she answered.

Both fell silent, getting lost in the other's eyes...

"Leave her alone Legolas, you are making her nervous." Tari scolded, pecking him on the lips to draw his attention away from their daughter.

"Why shouldn't I watch her?"

"Because Celebin, as you very well know, would never lay an uncivilized hand on her. Did you not see how he 'rescued' our fair daughter from the hands of that evil brat son Artis?" Tari said, feeling his arms tighten around her at the very thought.

"You are right. He is far more honorable than most other ellons in this hall..."

"'Most other ellons'? Legolas, he is the only young male who does not look at her and think something so scandalous. He is the son of Haldir; you'd expect nothing less." Tari said. She watched as her daughter smiled, giggled, and blushed over and over again, not knowing what song she was dancing to.

A slow song began, the sound of an instrument similar to the violin filling the hall with it's long, sad notes. Legolas laid a hand on the back of Tari's head, encouraging her to lay it upon his shoulder, to which she complied with a sigh of contentment.

"Everything is so perfect now, Legolas..." she whispered, holding onto him tighter, "I have dreamed so long for this to happen to me... To have children, dance in your arms, lay with you at night, hear words of love and caring from you... It is all so wonderful. I am truly blessed by the Valar."

Legolas kissed the top of her head, closing his eyes as he let his feet involuntarily do their steps. "Nay, my love. You deserve all this and much more..."

"I love you Legolas... So very much... We have come so far together. Faced dangers, separation, loss, and trials of every kind. My love for you has only grown, unwavering, never to diminish, even when all hope is lost." Tari sighed, remembering everything that had happened to her over the thousands of years of her life like each even had happened yesterday.

"Somehow Tari," Legolas whispered, bringing her face up, level with his. Two fingers pressed under her chin with loving gentleness. "For me to say 'I love you', just isn't enough. No words can express the depth of my love for you."

"You needn't say anything, Legolas..." Tari said, laying a hand upon his cheek and caressing it. "I know how much you love me, for it mirrors the love I have for you. Words can fail to pass the lips when explanations are not necessary."

Legolas pulled her closer, his hand massaging the back of her neck. "And until there is a word that can show how deeply I love you, I shall just have to do this..."

His lips fell upon hers in a sensuous kiss. Underneath the gentleness of the kiss was warmth and care. Beneath that was a flickering passion that ached to burn with all it's brightness; to fill the heart of the one it loved so deeply. And beneath the passion was that emotion both felt so deeply, so strongly and without regret; love. Yet, as Legolas carefully ran his tongue along the seam of her desirous lips, there was another part to the kiss. But as both had said, there was no words to describe it. The dangerous desire that dwelt there. Longing, and secretive.

A Dangerous Secret.

And as Legolas had found out before, sometimes secrets, were best left as such...


sniffles Well... That's the End... I hope you all have enjoyed this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I wish I could put every single reviewer's name on here, for each one, even if it was a simple 'Great story!' helped me.

To everyone who has helped to keep me going, THANK YOU.

And now, at the request of my loyal reviewers, I'll be starting a new story:

'Love is but Honeyed Thorns'