Hey, long time no see! Sorry 'bout that.

Legolas rose quickly from his seat, glad that the council had come to an end. So the decision was made, and the Ringbearer chosen; but he quite obviously couldn't go alone, and the little gardener hobbit couldn't be his sole companion. It was an obvious choice for Gandalf to be the guide, yet it also sounded as though more would be asked to accompany them.

As the elven-prince left the meeting place, he couldn't help but feel as if he should go as well. However, with his father's health in question, Legolas was hesitant to decide. He would most certainly have to talk with Lord Elrond about it; the older and wiser, elf would be most helpful.

Out of no where, Hirvegil suddenly appeared. "Well?" Upon learning that the council was to be held privately, the bodyguard immediately knew that it was important. "What was the meeting about?"

Legolas shook his head, smiling. "It was a secret council. Secret. And yet, you still ask questions."

Hirvegil smiled back, and they began walking again. "I'm curious. Especially since only a choice few were invited."

"Honestly, Hirvegil. If it directly relates to me, I shall tell you."

Hirvegil sighed. "Fine then."

Legolas laughed, and then noticed something. "Where is Dimaether?"

"Dimaether is in the archery range. Since he is completely lacking in imagination, he was not at all curious about the secret council."

Legolas laughed again. "Good for him. Now, go on and join him, I will meet you there."

The prince turned to walk away.

"And where will you be?" Hirvegil asked.

"I have some things to discuss with Lord Elrond." Legolas looked over his shoulder to see Hirvegil start off for the range.

When he turned back, Legolas heard a voice say, "Excuse me."

Somewhat startled, he looked down. It was the oldest of the three hobbits at the meeting; the other two were standing a short distance away. "Yes?"

The hobbit smiled. "I don't think we ever met, but I'm Bilbo."

For a second, Legolas wasn't sure who it was. Then it donned on him. "The thief!"

The hobbit blushed, chuckling quietly and shuffling his feet. "Well, yes, I suppose you could say that, though, I do prefer 'burglar', not as harsh."

Legolas smiled kindly. "Or perhaps, 'Expert Treasure hunter'?"

Bilbo's smile widened with delight. "How did you know of that name?"

Legolas laughed. "I read an account of your adventure with the dwarves. Lord Elrond actually had it copied, and sent the copy to Mirkwood for our amusement. It was quite interesting, and I enjoyed it very much."

Bilbo was quite obviously happy with this announcement. "How wonderful! That particular adventure in Mirkwood is actually what I wished to speak with you about."

"Oh?" Legolas prompted, slightly puzzled.

"The butler, uh, what was his name?" Bilbo looked away, trying to remember the name.

"Galion?" Legolas suggested.

"Yes!" The old hobbit's face brightened momentarily. "Yes, Galion. Did he, uh, get in a terrible amount of trouble-he and the chief guard-when it was found out that we-or rather, the dwarves- escaped?"

Legolas smiled at the memory. Thranduil had been absolutely furious when told that every single dwarf had miraculously disappeared. The king had quickly called for the chief guard and questioned him closely. Upon discovery of the drunken state that the chief guard and Galion had been in during what could've been the only time the dwarves could possibly have escaped, Thranduil had to leave the room for a few minutes in order to calm down. By then, both poor Galion and the chief guard were sure the king would banish them from Mirkwood. What saved them, however, was, in fact, the ring of keys still safely attached to the chief guard's belt.

"No," the prince replied. "No, my father couldn't understand how the keys could have stayed on the chief of guard's person, and the dwarves still escape. He only gave them a severe warning, and kept them away from the wine for quite some time."

Bilbo laughed and smiled happily. "Oh good! I was rather afraid that I had ruined their lives."

The hobbit thanked him and walked off to join his nephew, and Legolas resumed his search for Lord Elrond.

It did not take him long to find the famed healer, as he was in his study conversing with Gandalf and Erestor. Elrond smiled kindly as Legolas entered the room. Perceiving that Legolas wanted a private meeting with him, the elven-lord dismissed the wizard and counselor. Legolas acknowledged this kind gesture with a grateful smile. Once they were alone, they both sat, and Elrond spoke.

"What troubles you, Legolas?"

Unsure of what to say, the elvenprince was silent for a moment before replying. "I believe my father to be seriously ill, my lord."

Elrond leaned forward, clearly concerned. "How so?"

Again, Legolas hesitated. "I'm not quite sure. His light seems to have dimmed. And he seems to be…tired. However, he keeps assuring me that he is quite well. I don't quite know what to think of it."

"Dimmed? Has he seemed to be grieving?"

"Grieving? Nay! If anything, he seems to be more joyful lately. As far as I can tell, the only thing that could be causing him any grief is this incessant war! But it's been going on for so long, why would it be only now wearing him out to a point of…." Legolas didn't finish, terrified of speaking his thoughts. He sighed heavily. "It's scaring me."

Elrond sat back, deep in thought. Then he inquired, "Have there been any other instances that have worried you?"

Legolas hesitated a moment, trying to recollect any memory of such a strange occurrence. Then, one came, quietly tugging at his thoughts before he fully remembered it. "Aye. A few centuries ago, when I was still quite young, I remember following Adar to the throne room, when halfway there, he suddenly stopped, clutching his shoulder as if in pain. Belegorn sent one of the guards-Maegorod was ill that day-to fetch Relcah, and Adar couldn't hold court. I know Maegorod's illness was inflicted by a spider wound, but I don't know about Adar's. It seems that every year, around that time. Maegorod seems ill, and Adar a little less energetic." Legolas looked suddenly a little alarmed. "You don't suppose Adar was injured by a spider, do you? I saw a scar from an old bite wound recently!"

Elrond nodded slowly. "That's possible. However, the spider that could inflict so much damage that it affects the elf's health year after year must be incredibly powerful. There are only a few like that, and the most recent hasn't been seen in Mirkwood for at least and age-if not two. And even then, I'm not actually sure if Thranduil was alive when she was, or even in her vicinity."

Legolas was curious. "She? You speak as if she had a name."

Elrond was surprised. "I would've thought you had heard of Shelob. An offspring of Ungoliant-possibly the last."

It took a moment, but Legolas did remember the name. "Aye…it was rumored she was dead, though no one could find her body."

"Dead?" Elrond repeated.

"Aye, she had at least been dreadfully wounded after attacking…someone." Legolas' eyes widened as his sentence trailed off. "Ada," he whispered.

"What?" Elrond asked, not quite reaching the same conclusion.

"Adar was a young prince when it happened. He could've been the one she attacked!" In his excitement, Legolas started to rise from his seat.

Elrond held up a hand. "Calm down, Legolas. This could very well be true. But that wouldn't really explain why he would dim. I will have to travel to Mirkwood and examine him myself before this can be confirmed."

Legolas sat and nodded understandingly. "Yes. I just hate not knowing what's wrong. Why won't he just tell me the truth? Something is wrong, I can tell-my bodyguards can tell! I'm sure there are very few who can not!" Legolas sighed and put a hand to his forehead. "I don't know what to do."

Elrond waited a moment before speaking. "As soon as a few more companions are chosen for the Ringbearer, and their quest begun, I will go to Mirkwood to see your father."

Legolas looked up at the name 'Ringbearer.' "Oh…."

Elrond looked sharply at the young elf upon hearing the faltering voice. "Is there something else you wanted to discuss, Legolas?"

"Well," the elf shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "I…I also have the strangest feeling that I should accompany the Ringbearer. However, I can't just go off on a quest while my father is possibly seriously ill. But, the feeling to go is…amazingly strong."

The elven-lord nodded. "I see. A decision such as this one can not be made hastily. I'm afraid that you and I will have to be doing some serious thinking on this."

Legolas rose. "Thank you, Lord Elrond. I must take my leave of you now. I told my guards that I would only be a few moments, and they get worried easily."

They bowed to one another, and Elrond feared that the prince left with perhaps a heavier hear than he entered with.

There were five people in the archery range when Legolas arrived-four elves and a human. They didn't notice his entrance at first; for Dimaether, Hirvegil, Elladin, and Elrohir were all listening intently to Aragorn as they ranger told of a stranger he had met in Bree.

"…It was very odd. He never removed his hood-at least while I was awake-and he had a peculiar accent. It was familiar, but I couldn't quite pinpoint what type of accent it was. I have a vague recollection of him speaking in another language, but so vague is this memory, that I can't recall any of it."

"Was he a man from the far north, do you think? Since they very, very rarely travel this far south, assuming they travel south at all, it could explain his accent," Dimaether commented.

Aragorn hesitated a moment before answering. "I'm not sure he was a man at all. He seemed extremely elvish. Though, it wouldn't surprise me if he had come from far north. He looked as if he had done a lot of traveling."

Legolas spoke up then. "What was his name? That should give us a clue, at least, as to where he's from. If he is an elf, he could be a dark one."

The others looked up quickly, startled at his seemingly sudden appearance.

"He called himself Roglam," Aragorn replied.

"Roglam?" Elrohir repeated. "What an odd name."

"Aye," agreed Elladin. "Not in any way elvish."

Aragorn shrugged at these comments.

"Stay!" Hirvegil cried suddenly. "I overheard some of the elves here talk about a strange elf with an incredible voice, even for us elves, that stayed here recently. I believe they called him Roglam."

Aragorn brightened at this. "That must be him! I remember him singing when I awoke the next morning!"

"Aragorn," Legolas began, ending the other conversation. "What is this talk of you 'being awake,' or just, 'waking'?"

Elrohir looked sharply at the man. "Were you injured or sick when you met him?"

Aragorn cringed, not wanting to converse on this subject. "Aye…I made a mistake, and was injured in a…scuffle at the inn."

"Oh?" Elladin encouraged, one eyebrow raised.

"And I was slightly wounded, nothing to worry about," Aragorn said, waving a hand to dismiss the subject.

"Slightly?" Elrohir pressed.

The Mirkwood elves found that they had to suppress grins of amusement. The twins were practically cornering Aragorn, intent on uncovering the whole truth. They looked so much like Elrond doing this, that Legolas thought that if he had walked in on them in the middle of this interrogation, that he would have believed himself to be seeing double of the elven-lord. From the piercing glares of the twins, Aragorn was sure to give up the story soon.

"Come, Estel," Elladin began. "We don't want to force the truth from you in an uncomfortable manner."

"And we most certainly do not want to drag Adar in to this," Elrohir added.

Aragorn rolled his eyes, not wanting to reveal his injury. "Adar already knows!"

This came as a surprise to the elves.

"You told him?" asked a disbelieving Elrohir.

Aragorn shook his head. "I did not tell him. I suppose Roglam did. A soon as he had tended to Frodo, Elrond pulled me into another healing room and requested to see my back."

"Requested?" Elladin repeated with a knowing look.

Aragorn chuckled. "Well, I suppose 'demanded' would have been a better choice of word."

Elrohir was occupied with other thoughts. "You said he asked to see your back. How in all of Middle-Earth did you injure your back?"

With a sigh, Aragorn realized that the truth must come out. Quickly, he related the events in Bree to the elves, and his actual meeting with "Roglam." Upon his ending, the twins began to torment Aragorn on his poor defense skills, immediately deciding that they were to "re-train" him in sword play and weaponry of related kinds. Legolas, however, wasn't at all interested in bettering anyone's defensive skills.

"You said he was an excellent healer."

Aragorn gladly turned his attention from the twins to the elvenprince. "Aye. It took, maybe, four days to heal completely. I'm not sure I can remember an instance when Elrond healed me from such a wound in so short a time-and Lord Elrond is thought to be the best in all the land!"

"Completely in four days?"

"Well, there was a scar…."

Dimaether glanced at the Ranger as if that statement had absolutely no relevance to the healing-scars were to be expected among humans. Then he changed the subject. "What was the council about?"

Aragorn and Legolas exchanged looks before the latter replied. "I believe it shall be made known soon enough. However, since it was a secret council, I think it best to keep the subject a secret as well for the time being."

The bodyguard scrutinized the prince before giving a single nod of understanding and obedience. All Hirvegil and Dimaether could think was that it involved traveling to a very dangerous place in Middle-Earth and that their beloved charge and prince wanted to go. However, they kept silent, knowing that pressing the truth would not help anything.

Okay, guys, you know the drill. Tell me if you love it, hate it. If it's perfect, or what it need improvement on. I'll try not to take so long in updating. -Jimmy