It was autumn in the glades of Ithilien. The trees stood strong, their mighty trunks unmovable, while the rusty gold leaves rustled with the wind. The sky was impossibly blue and not a wisp of cloud marred the great expanse. A light breeze danced among the countless blades of lush green grass. A tributary of the river Isen meandered under the eaves of Ithilien, laughing as twilight drew near. The mountains in the distance reached their craggy fingers to the sky, and the forest seemed to sing a song of joy, celebrating life.

An elf walked through the shadows. His face was young, but the sorrow of his years was present in his all-knowing eyes. He was still young in the eyes of his people, but the weight that laced the undertone of his voice as he sang told a different story. But he was not there to brood or sulk. The elf stopped his singing and brushed a dark strand of hair from his eyes.

He paused for a moment, closing his eyes. This forest was not his home and the trees were not familiar with his presence but the trees called out to him and offered him peace. He leaned against a formidable oak and let out a long sigh. They had all paid a price for the freedom they enjoyed. He had given up the last year his family spent on Arda. His father and mother were both gone. His siblings had deserted him. He was truly alone.

His thoughts took him back to a more peaceful time. His father had taught him strength. His brothers had taught him dignity. His sisters had taught him grace and mercy. His mother had taught him love and her death had taught him sorrow. His sorrow, in turn, instructed him in emotional isolation and in that isolation spawned guilt and shame. He was the one whom everyone expected to leave first, until a grey pilgrim taught him humility, wisdom and healing. The elf had thrived then. He still thrived, despite the war and his kin leaving him behind. Love bid him to stay and so he stayed.

His name was Legolas, and for a moment, he was not a warrior. He was not a prince. He was not a hero. He was simply Legolas and he was content.