Note: Although the title of this story bears a resemblance to my other story Guide to Action, they are separate and unrelated tales.
Disclaimer: All the characters in this story who are found in Tolkien's books stem from his imagination and are his property. I am just borrowing them for this story, from which no money is made.
WARNING: THIS IS SLASH.
You have a choice to read this and accept it for what it is. If you cannot, I'd appreciate it if you left quietly, please. I HOPE YOU WILL NOT CHOOSE TO READ AND THEN WRITE HARSH FLAMES. But if you do, you are declaring yourself to be: (i) illiterate (or pretending to be), i.e., you did not understand the warning, or (ii) self-righteous (in which case, please take a look at your own morals first before trying to correct others – thank you very much.)
I have great admiration for Tolkien and his imagination. If you have no objections to slash in another imagined story – hope you will enjoy this one.
The heart of an elf prince longs to be whole, but a departed mother's words and a broken gemstone are the only guides he has. His search takes him to an unlikely person in unlikely places.
Chapter 1: The Beginning
I pray that my heart will be unbroken,
but without you all I'm going to be is
(From "Incomplete" by the Back Street Boys)
Spring had come early that year, and the beautiful elf Queen thought she had never seen the world so green. She sat in contented peace at her favourite spot: on the grass next to a little lake, where tall beeches stood sentinel on one side and great bunches of colorful blooms ringed the edge, and the wind always sang a tale of all the events it had witnessed far away, in other places, other worlds.
But this was her world: the caves and trees of elven Mirkwood, her strong monarch husband, their two fine young sons, already grown to adult elfhood, and a third – an unanticipated but very welcome conception – still cocooned within her womb, but expected to make his appearance any day.
Her eyes, brilliantly azure like the perfect sky of this Spring day, shone with joy as she looked around. One hand reached up to catch a green leaf floating down to her on the breath of a breeze. As she did so, the babe within her moved, and she lay her other hand on her swollen abdomen. Studying the leaf, she spoke in a voice full of love and hope.
"You cannot see your world yet, my little one, but you shall soon join us, and you shall love the freshness of Spring and greet the birth of hope each year. You shall be as a green leaf to us. Join us soon, my little Legolas."
The sweet chirping of a bird flying far overhead in her direction caught her attention, and with the keen eyesight of elves, she saw that it was a finch. A smile curved her lips as she followed its flight till it was almost above her – and then she saw something shiny drop from its beak. It fell faster than a leaf, but more slowly than a heavy pebble – and it appeared to be heading straight towards her. Instinctively, the elf Queen reached out to catch it, and her waiting hands cupped around something hard and cool.
Fascinated, she uncurled her fingers to see a small object on her palm: a beautiful green gemstone, round at one end, with a distinctive jagged edge at the other, like a circular gem that had been broken in the middle, and within the stone, by some strange design – there seemed to moving streaks of light.
As she gasped in wonder, the babe within her stirred as well, and at that moment, a voice – from nowhere – seemed to speak to her:
"They are bound. As one seeks its soul mate, so will the other. It will be his guide to completion."
As soon as the thought was finished, Little Greenleaf began to move more restlessly than before, and the Queen's wonder grew. She shook her head in near disbelief, but some strange force seemed to read her mind, for the gemstone grew warm and the voice came back more strongly:
"It will be his guide to completion. Find no other!"
With shaking hands, and still in awe, the elf Queen carefully placed the small gemstone against the swell of her baby's home within her to see what might happen.
Till the end of her days in Arda, which came all too soon, she would unwaveringly affirm that she had heard it – the faintest, gentlest, most fleeting and most beautifully ethereal of sounds – but she would swear that she had heard her little Greenleaf sing.
Prince Legolas Thranduilion – with the golden hair of his Adar and the sapphire eyes of his Naneth - was born the very next morning, on one of the most gorgeous Spring days Mirkwood had ever seen.
The world of King Thranduil of Mirkwood had become dark and bleak, with a depth of sorrow he could not begin to describe.
Weak with grief, the only strength he seemed to have left he poured into the firm, desperate hold he had on the dying figure in his arms. Had it been possible to do so, he would have gladly given up his whole kingdom to save his beloved wife from the fatal wounds of an orc attack – a cruel assault upon a kind-hearted queen on a peaceful ride through the forest. Since she had been brought back to the King's Caves by the search party, the healers had tried every remedy known to them to stem the flow of blood and the effects of some fast-acting poison the orcs had used, but the call of Mandos was too powerful to fight, and in a matter of hours, both king and queen had come to accept that they would have to be parted. Not even the sorrowful weeping of their two older sons and the pitiful cries of their youngest – barely a year old – could stop the journey she was about to take.
"I will sail after you, meleth," the King said tearfully into the hair of the beautiful elf Queen. "I will seek you in the Undying Lands and beg Mandos to let me be with you!"
The King's sorrow deepened that of his two sons who were standing a little distance away, little Legolas in the arms of his oldest brother Thoronthalion. With the little strength she had left, the Queen hushed her husband and reached for his trembling hand. Thranduil felt something press into his palm, and he raised his tear-streaked face to see what it was. The king found himself looking at a green gemstone. He sought the sapphire eyes of the Queen and was nearly undone by the tears of anguish he saw in them.
"This is it? The Greenstone?" he asked thickly.
"Yes, my love," the Queen answered in a broken voice, trying to remain coherent. "When he is… he is old enough… tell him. And promise… promise me… you will make sure he finds it… his happiness…whoever… if the bond makes him whole... I bless it. That is why you… you must stay. Here, with him."
"No! We cannot be without you!" The King protested, devastated at the thought of remaining on Arda without his queen at his side. "Our sons will sail with me – "
"Nay, nay," the dying queen said frantically. "His destiny… our little one… his destiny is here. Arda. The voice – "
"It was just a voice!" Thranduil argued. "How do you know – "
"I just know," the Queen rejoined weakly. "I knew it then… I know it now. Bring him… saes, bring him here."
Baffled, but eager to grant his wife anything he could, he signaled for his eldest son to bring the elfling. The King raised his wife carefully into a sitting position as the babe was brought to her, so that he could be placed into her arms. The King's tears flowed freely as he enveloped his arms around mother and child, and watched with undisguised grief as the Queen's long hair fell onto the white arms of their youngest child and tickled him. Happy to be in his mother's arms, he gurgled and grabbed her hair in one chubby fist, looking up at her with the same blue eyes he had inherited from her. He suddenly caught sight of his father's golden hair, so like his own, and reached up with the other hand to grasp it as well.
With his parents' tresses clutched in both fists, and his round wondering eyes staring at them, the babe looked so adorable that the King and the two older princes smiled despite the gravity of the situation, and the Queen's laughter mingled with her tears as she bent to kiss the fair hair on the head of her precious child.
Gently, she closed his smooth, white fist around the Greenstone that had heralded his birth, and whispered into his ear, echoing the words that prophesied his destiny: "You are bound with it, my little Greenleaf. As it seeks its soul mate, so will you. It will be your guide to completion. Find no other."
Prince Legolas continued to gaze at her with the innocence of an unsullied heart – but this time, he did not sing.
Later that night, cradled in the arms of her devastated husband and two strong sons, and with her little Greenleaf cradled in her own, the Queen left the circles of Arda for the halls of Mandos.
Note to Jennifer and other unsigned reviewers for my other story, Guide to Action: Thank you, and hope you will follow this story too. :) Jennifer - your request for a repost is being answered.