Disclaimer, Summary and Warning can be found in the 1st chapter.

Beta: Aranel

Chapter 13: What lay in the night?


The elves had left Estel in his new room but he remained near the entrance. It was simple but he had never seen anything as large. He gingerly took another step into the room.

There were shelves filled with books, a table by the bed and a larger one to a side, where the window allowed moonlight in. But Estel was far more awed when he looked up. The ceiling was far above him and there were vegetal motifs carved into the stone. Sometimes they shone like little streaks of silver stars. That made him feel calmer.

He walked toward the bed and sat down at its edge. It was the softest bed he had ever known. And possibly the largest.

He did not know what to do with all this space. Nor did he know how to behave toward the king that he was supposed to stay with. He did not want to see or talk to anyone and for now, all he wanted to do was a good sleep because everything would be alright in the morning.

He looked at what the grown-ups had brought in. He found his night robe and changed into it. He climbed into the bed and stared at the ceiling with its dancing motifs, but sleep did not come easy. He turned to his side and pulled up the covers. He closed his eyes tightly trying to sleep. He shifted around and turned to the other side.

There was a growl. Estel froze.

House of Slytherin

Legolas followed the hobbits through the halls. What kind of house was this? There were portraits lining the walls. He brushed a finger past one of them. He thought he heard a gruff voice from the wall. Or was the picture moving and talking to him? Legolas paid it no attention. He had better things to attend to.

They were descending into the dungeons where the Common Room was. It was nothing like his home but he found himself amazed all the same. The walls were covered with paintings. Ornate arches led to the various rooms. There was a grand fireplace with a panel at the far end that emanated a green light.

His room was equally grand. It was a dark velvety green, a color rich enough for Legolas's tastes, and decorations wrought with serpentine designs. He looked at his new bed. His suitcase was already there, along with a set of thick green robes with the increasingly familiar crest.

Legolas noticed how three hobbits were watching him closely. "You may guard me from the creature that lies in the night," he decided.

The leader, Draco, only smiled, giving him no reply. The others looked uncertain.

"I allow you to stay as my guards. As a prince, I deserve as much," Legolas announced, facing them. "But only if you do what I want." They said nothing. Legolas ignored them and started unpacking.

Back to Mirkwood…

It was quiet once again and Estel shifted slightly. There was another growl. The boy was too frightened to call for anyone but he was trembling badly. His voice came out barely as a whisper, "H…help…"

Galdor rushed in at once from his post just outside the entrance.

"What are you afraid of, little one?" he asked kindly.

Estel could not reply. He was shaking in fear. He tried to curl up in his bed. There was another growl. He looked helplessly at Galdor.

"It's alright," Galdor recognized the sound immediately. "There is nothing to be afraid of. I will call the king, I am certain that he will do something about it."

Estel was not convinced but there was nothing he could do as the guard left and re-entered within seconds, lantern in hand, followed by the king. He lay the lantern at the side table. The boy was pale with fright. Thranduil sat in an armchair close to the bed.

"I am here, little one, and I will not let anyone hurt you," he tried to assure the boy.

The boy tried to nod. There was another growl.

"Estel, can I ask you to do something?" the king asked.

The boy looked at him. He did not have much of a choice.

"I want you to leave the bed and sit here with me. I think I know what's growling," Thranduil said.

Estel crawled from under the covers and tried to ignore the growls. If both elves seemed sure of themselves, perhaps there was nothing to be scared of. He climbed onto Thranduil's lap.

The king put an arm protectively around him. He tried to calm himself and watch the king throw aside the blankets. There was a strange figure.

"It's a dwarf," Thranduil said.

Estel tensed up at once.

"It's a dwarven doll, my child," Thranduil said. "It has no power to hurt you."

Estel looked at him then looked at the doll.

"I have been wondering where this doll is," Thranduil continued and offered it to the boy. "You can keep it with you, or if you prefer, I can take it away."

Estel did not know what he would rather have. "Can you stay here with me, King Thranduil?" he asked instead. He was still shaken but he was trying to overcome it.

"I will watch over you, little one." Thranduil assured him. He smiled at Galdor who returned to his post. Then he tucked the boy back into bed, and patted him to sleep. He left the lantern lit, fearing that the little one might have been afraid of the dark.

Back to the House of Slytherin

The elf was lying in the bed almost too small for him. But his eyes were open. Draco motioned for the other two to be quiet. There was no movement from that self-proclaimed prince. He walked just beside him. Nothing. He waved his hand before his face. Still nothing. Satisfied, Draco turned to his friends.

"Let's get to work. We have much to do." He grinned.

End of Chapter 13.