Just a quick story for a challenge from a Yahoo group I'm part of...my elements were : a pocket-watch, a Rose and Mithril. Was just reading through and realised I'd written Cambridge, not Oxford - might not seem like a big mistake - but believe me, it was!!

There is silence in the room, save for the swift scratching of a pen. The room is calm, and there is no sense that it is noon in the middle of one of England's busy cities.

Then suddenly, with the slight sigh of one who has been interrupted from a pleasurable task, the man pulls out his pocket watch and glances at the time. Hastily he rises and loosely fastening the lid on the ink, he discards his dip-pen onto the pile of papers littering the desk and navigates the towers of books out of the small room.

It is summer, 1947 and Professor Tolkien is late again. With demands coming fast and thick from the publishers, he has wandered too long in Middle Earth, on a quest to complete his epic tale.

Meanwhile, on the top page, where the illegible scribblings are slowly being blotted out by the excess ink of the pen, it is the evening of April 29th 3019 and as the banner of the Stewards flies in Minas Tirith for the last time, all the night lights burning as men watch for the dawn.

Legolas entered the large tent, a huge smile upon his face. Two elves in the corner glanced up and grinning in reply they beckoned him over. Seeing that Legolas' smile didn't lessen as he sat down, Elrohir gave his brother a mischievous grin before turning to the wood-elf.

"Did your Adar bring good wine, O' Ernil?"

"Eithad Gódhel!" Legolas replied "'Tis not my Adar's wine that brings a smile to my face, as his tidings! Although" he added "it would be most unlike him to travel without several good casks. I believe." On hearing the twins giggle at this, Legolas stopped and scowled at them before carrying on. "I believe he means one as a present for the soon-to-be king of Gondor."

"Only one" Elrohir sighed

Legolas wrinkled his nose at Elrohir, and then they both laughed. Elladan shook his head; the Prince had looked only one step away from actually sticking his tongue out at Elrohir. Perhaps his brother had not been so wrong about the wine.

"Agoreth i dass?" he said, breaking up the laughter. "Legolas, you say your father brought tidings of Mirkwood?"

"Aye" Legolas answered, joy in his voice "But Mirkwood no more! Together my Adar and your Daeradar sacked Dol-Guldur, and as they met in the middle of the ruins, Eryn Lasgalen bloomed around them once more. Away with the darkness, we are once again the merry folk of the Greenwood!"

"These are indeed glad tidings" smiled Elladan " is that why your father did not bring a large entourage?"

"Indeed, most are busy replanting the forest, and cleansing the area around Dol-Guldur. But Adar said that as they left the forest already roses were beginning to bloom by the side of the path."

Both Elladan and Elrohir could understand if the Royal family of Mirkwood, or at least the remnants of it, were deep in their cups tonight, for it was a time wished for through millennia of suffering.

"Talking of kings," said Legolas suddenly "How is Aragorn?"

"Well" began Elrohir " We left him with the Hobbits, even as we were leaving the tent, Merry and Pippin were giving him 'useful advice', Frodo was trying to help him sort out for tomorrow and Sam was flapping around him like a mother hen."

"I think it would be wise if you went to rescue him" Elladan put in "he's terrified about tomorrow, though you'd never get him to admit it."

As Legolas neared Aragorn's tent he heard voices, which although they were calm, he knew well enough to know there was an argument ensuing. Swallowing slightly he pulled back the tent flap and stepped inside. Immediately all activity in the tent halted. Aragorn sauntered up to the elf and, smiling menacingly, he put a companionable arm around Legolas' shoulders and led him to the centre of the space.

"The perfect person to settle our debate" he said.

Legolas gulped, he knew Aragorn well, he knew that smile, and the tone of voice Aragorn was employing was bad news.

"I just mentioned to Frodo that he should wear his mithril vest tomorrow, it suits him so well."

At the mention of that particular garment Legolas stiffened and went slightly pale.

Sam raised his eyebrows in amazement as both his master and the Elf-Prince had the same reaction to Aragorn's words.

"And I was just saying to Aragorn" Frodo's voice broke the silence "that....."

He was cut off by Legolas saying suddenly, and through gritted teeth "And why would I be the perfect person to settle your debate, Aragorn?"

"Oh Frodo," Aragorn smiled "I forget to mention, meet the original owner of your vest."

"Indeed" Legolas gave Frodo a mock bow, but as the hobbit made to speak he waved his hand dismissively. "You may keep it, Master Perian. I you must know I hated that vest from the day my father gave it to me. I t cost him a great deal I believe, from the dwarves, but I thought I looked ridiculous in it."

"Which he did" Aragorn butted in.

"Which Aragorn has no idea about because the dragon took it, thank Elbereth, long before he was born. And so to settle this matter, I don't think you should wear it tomorrow, in case my father recognises it."

"Oh of course" said Frodo "Your father is the Elven-king of Bilbo's tales. Well in that case Legolas, he has already seen it. Bilbo wore it when they met at the Lonely Mountain. He said to Bilbo : 'You are more worthy to wear that armour than many who have looked comely in it.'

Legolas sighed, "I had forgotten your wonderful memory, Frodo. That sounds most like my father. Besides, by that point I had long outgrown it. Your Uncle was a most observant fellow, I'll grant you that, but he never once spotted that it was the son of the Elven-King who mistook him for a fish at the mountain."

"Oh, that was you, Legolas! Then you may not have been recognised, but the Elf who mistook Bilbo for a fish was one of Pip's favourite parts when he was very young. He always used to giggle at how a 'great, dragon-slaying, Elf-prince' could mistake dear Uncle Bilbo for a fish." Frodo laughed.

"Well" said Pippin, blushing slightly "I was right."

"Elf-prince, yes" said Legolas "Dragon slaying isn't exactly my forté!"

Laughing the hobbits dispersed back to their own tents, for the night was already growing late.

"I wish I could do that." Said Aragorn

"do what?"

"Make anyone laugh and smile, just by being there."

"Frodo" the Elf guessed, anticipating Aragorn's thoughts.

"Aye." The man sighed.

"Aragorn." Legolas changed the subject quickly, back to his intended mission " you know tomorrow is nothing to panic about, don't you"

"I'm not panicking" the man growled "what did my brother's tell you?"

"Oh, nothing" Legolas lied, "then perhaps you'd accompany me back to my Father, and share a drink with us. Your brothers will probably be there too. He says he wants to share some advice with the man who's about to become a fellow rule, share some advice. Personally I think he's acting a little odd he never usually shares his best wine with anyone; Man, Noldor or otherwise, but a good son never insults his father."

"No" grinned Aragorn, "but he's quick enough insulting his friends!"

Legolas shrugged and smirked back, "And isn't that why you all love me so?"

Back in Oxford the night is also growing late, but up in a tiny book filled room the man writes on, for today is the day that The King returns to Minas Tirith, and with his coronation the new dominion of men is born.