The History Of Legolas – Part I
The Tale of Thranduil and Almwen
Author's Note: The Lord of the Rings and all associated characters belong to Tolkien and his estate. I am not making any profit off of this story, save the enjoyment I had making it. :)
First, I want to thank everyone who has previously read, reviewed, and added this story to their favorites for their encouragement and support. You are an excellent audience and I've been so blessed by your kind words. For those reading this for the first time, thank you for your interest!
The History of Legolas series started out as a crazy idea I got as a freshman in college (in 2004!) and evolved into something beyond my wildest imaginings. As someone with attention span difficulties, the nearly 100,000 words spanning 43 chapters was a fantastic undertaking. Many of you know I ran out of steam towards the end. After a lot of procrastination, I posted the last chapter of I Aear Can Ven Na Mar in July of 2010, six years after the start of this adventure and out of the creative energy to finish it to my satisfaction.
My writing style has evolved since I started. Additionally, my thoughts of Legolas' background have also changed after a few yearly re-reads of The Lord of the Rings. Gradually, I've come up with the drive and ideas I lacked two years ago to finish the story fully, and it is my deepest pleasure to present you with this "special edition" of The History of Legolas!
For those of you who have read this story before, you'll notice that I've combined the first two installments (previously called Thranduil and Almwen and From Light To Shadow) into the story you are about to read, and most of the changes to which have been polish to old writing. There have been significant, substantive changes to the plot arcs of The Last Green Leaf (now the second installment) and I Aear Can Ven Na Mar (now the third installment). I will repost all of the stories chapter by chapter, as if they were new, and I encourage you all to read them again to see what's changed. The ending is the same, but how Legolas gets there - which is the main point of this story - is different. I hope you'll like the additions!
Again, thank you for your support and interest in my stories. All of your feedback is extremely helpful and encouraging. I couldn't have asked for better readers. Please enjoy, and leave a review to let me know what you think!
The Tale of Thranduil and Almwen
Chapter One – Ignorance
It was a beautiful night in the valley of Emyn Duir. The sky was cloudless, and the pale light from the full moon shone down through the dense forest, illuminating the soft, grassy paths.
Thranduil, the newly crowned prince of Greenwood the Great, walked through the trees just outside where there was a great celebration being held for the establishment of the new realm. Sounds of music and singing drifted through the trees, making them come alive.
Unlike his father, Thranduil was apprehensive with the union of the Silvan elves and his Sindarin kin. He found the Silvan elves to be rustic and strange in thought. Their language, art, traditions, and lives were different. Oropher had chided his son, saying that he was the one strange in thought to not accept their new Silvan friends.
Thranduil sighed as he walked through the forest and looked about the trees that surrounded him. Oh, how he longed for the deciduous trees of his old home! He missed the beautiful leaves that changed their colors with the seasons. These new fir trees did not shed their leaves. They were unchanging. And however beautiful their green color was, and how nicely they smelled, Thranduil did not like them because they were different.
"My Lord, has this tree offended you?" A voice asked.
Thranduil looked up into the branches of the fir tree he had been staring at and noticed for the first time that he was not alone. There, on the lowest branch of the fir tree, was an elven maiden. It was dark where she sat, and Thranduil was only able to discern that she was a maid from her voice and from the outline of her figure. Her voice had a dark timbre and she spoke in the Sindarin tongue, leading Thranduil to believe she was of the Sindar.
"I beg your pardon?" He asked, peering up at her.
"You glare at this pine as though it had done something to earn your contempt. Do you find something wrong with it?"
Embarrassed that his expression had betrayed him, Thranduil backed away and shook his head. "No, there is nothing wrong with it. I was deep in thought."
The elven maid made a humming noise as if she was considering his response, but said nothing in return. The blonde-haired prince raised a brow at her, wondering to himself why she should be out in the forest alone, and why she was sitting in a fir tree in the first place.
"If you do not mind me asking; why are you in that tree?" He asked.
"I like sitting in trees." The maid answered simply.
"Should you not be at the celebration?"
Thranduil shook his head. "I take it that you were not enjoying it?"
"Not in the least, sir." She replied.
"I am glad to know that I am not alone in this," Thranduil said. "My father thought I was strange for my ill humor."
"As does mine. He welcomes this change more than I." She sighed. "I am saddened by the passing of the ways of old."
Thranduil smiled, glad that he had found someone with the same ideas he had, and that they could connect. A few moments of silence crept into their conversation. The prince looked up into the tree, and could see that the maiden was staring down at him.
"Might I know your name?" Thranduil asked, breaking the silence.
"You might, but I doubt you do!" The elf-maiden teased. Thranduil laughed.
"Will you tell me your name?" he rephrased.
"Perhaps, if you tell me yours first." She replied.
Somewhat incredulously, he replied; "I am Thranduil, son of Oropher who established this realm. Certainly if you are Sindar, you would know of me."
"Why do you conclude that I am of Sindar origin?" The maid asked.
"You speak the Noble Tongue fluently, my lady. Those who are Silvan, in their ignorance, have scarcely learned it."
"Ignorance." The elleth said. There was no question in her voice.
"Yes." Thranduil replied.
"I thought it was not the Sindar's aim to change the Silvan elves' ways of life." She pointed out.
"No, but one would assume that they would at least try to learn the language." Thranduil snorted.
It was then that the elven-maid jumped from her perch in the tree and revealed herself to him. And much to Thranduil's horror, he realized that she was clothed as one of the Silvan elves, and had a distinctly Silvan face, which looked particularly disgusted at that moment in time. Her dark eyes bore into his blue ones, making the prince feel quite uneasy.
"My lady, I apologize, I - "
"You may call me Lady Almwen, thank you very much. And I do think that I have disproved your theory of my people being ignorant, have I not?" She spat in venomous tones.
"You have, Lady Almwen," Thranduil replied as a child being scolded.
"It would seem that the only ignorant party here is the one which chooses not to accept others for their differences and scorn them for it," Almwen said. And with that, she turned on her heel and walked towards the celebration, leaving a very dumbfounded and embarrassed Thranduil in her dust.
Just as Almwen disappeared into the grove of trees, Thranduil sprang forward and called out: "My lady! I am sorry, I did not mean to be so brusque!"
But it was no use. The sounds of the celebration drowned out the disgruntled prince's apology as Almwen approached where the rest of her kin and their new Sindar friends were feasting and celebrating.
Thranduil followed her back to the feast, but lost her when he encountered the crowd of merry elves that were dancing about outside the newly made capital of Greenwood the Great, Emyn Duir. Before he could seek the elf-maiden any further, Thranduil heard the distinct call of his father.
"My son! You have decided to join us!"
Thranduil turned to his left and saw his father there, arms open and a grin on his face. Oropher was a tall elf, taller than most. He appeared as young as his son did, though he was many years older. His fair hair, long, hair was golden and his eyes were blue. Thranduil and his father were nearly spitting images of each other.
"Good evening, Father." Thranduil said, somewhat downcast.
"What troubles you now?" Oropher asked, seeing the way his son's brow was furrowed in consternation.
"I fear I have offended someone, and I am searching for her, though, I cannot seem to find her. She disappeared among the trees," Thranduil replied.
"Ah. You let your tongue get away with you. As always," Oropher chuckled. Thranduil cast his father a disproving look and sighed and crossed his arms, still glancing through the crowd to see if he could find Almwen.
"Well, who is this girl who you have so vexed?" his father asked.
"Lady Almwen, she said her name was."
With that, a slow grin came across Oropher's face, and he was unsuccessful at stifling a laugh. Thranduil rolled his eyes at this.
"What have I done now that amuses you so?" Thranduil sighed. Often, this was the story between father and son; that Oropher was over-mirthful and Thranduil was grave.
"You do not remember when I introduced you to Veryandil, my new advisor? He mentioned that he had a daughter, did he not?"
Thranduil felt his stomach drop out of his chest. Veryandil was a Silvan Lord who had helped Oropher and the Sindar establish Greenwood. Almwen, apparently, was his daughter, and was now a lady of the court.
"You had best make amends, my son, for you will be seeing much of the Lady Almwen in my halls from now on!" Oropher chuckled as he slapped his son on the back and walked off to join some of his councilors that were standing a few steps away.
Across the gathering, Almwen had joined her father and her mother and watched as Thranduil conversed with his father and looked over the crowd for her. Her mother caught her staring.
"Has the Sindar prince caught your eye?" her mother teased.
"No, Mother," Almwen said, still observing the prince from afar, "in fact he has quite earned my contempt."
"I'm sure he is not that bad." Her mother put a hand on her shoulder. Almwen continued to watch Thranduil, concerned that he should spot her. She had no desire to speak with the prince ever again.
"Indeed, he is worse."
Almwen's mother smiled. "I am sure that you two can learn to be great friends. You will be seeing much more of him from now on, my dear. Perhaps you will become even more than that!" she continued to tease.
Almwen finally turned and raised and raised an eyebrow. She appeared as though she were at the height of skepticism as she replied; "I seriously doubt that, Mother."