Part Five

Prompt # 67: Decision

Legolas looked up to see that his father had closed his eyes and bowed his head. Thranduil inhaled deeply, then, without opening his eyes, he lifted his head, pursed his lips, and blew out softly. At first, the only sound was one as a light wind, which became a light, whistle.

Legolas inhaled sharply, for the call was compelling, and he found himself taking a step closer to his father and wondering at the power the king commanded.

Patiently they waited. A few moments later, a flash of white appeared from around a tree, and Legolas gasped, then smiled in delight. "Manuilos!" he called, and the gentle creature took a careful step towards them, its hooves making the slightest noise as it stirred the dried leaves which made up the floor of the forest.

Spindly legs, lifted one after the other, bringing Manuilos closer. She was no more than a faint, white ghost, true to her name. She paused in front of the Elvenking, who smiled and stooped down, laughing when her cold nose found his face. A pink tongue flicked out to swipe the king's cheek, before the head butted his chest, sending Thranduil sprawling, chuckles echoing off the trees surrounding them.

Legolas froze, awe shining in his eyes, for he had not heard his father truly laugh since before his mother had died. He tore his eyes from his father to gaze in wonder at the white fawn, whose mother had died giving her birth. The decision was made for him when her legs folded under her and her head rested on the Thranduil's abdomen.

"I cannot take her, Ada. She is yours." Legolas knelt next to them, stroking the soft face, and looking into dark, doe eyes. "I understand why you love her so much. Perhaps..." he swallowed and glanced up at his father's face. "Perhaps your huntsmen can find a stag when she is older. We can continue Naneth's breeding..."

But Thranduil was shaking his head. "Nay, my son. She is the last, for I will not take another from the wild, not even just to stand stud for a brief time." He sat up and gently turned Legolas's chin with a finger, and Legolas looked into sad eyes. "It's time to let them go, Legolas. It's time to let her go. She bred them for a purpose, to make sure they did not die out in this part of the wood. And she succeeded, for the white deer abound, where before there were only ten. She did not breed them to be pets, my son."

"I know, Ada. Can...can I help you raise her, then? I'd like to be there when you set her free."

Smiling, Thranduil nodded. He carefully moved the small head from his stomach and stood, offering a hand to Legolas as he stood. Legolas took it and pulled himself up, then bent, scooping the fawn into his arms, and followed his father back to the halls.

The End

The female deer and fawns in Mirkwood were white, whereas the stags were dark. This was discovered by thirteen dwarves and one Hobbit on their trip through Mirkwood. You can read about it in The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.