Mr Greenleaf, I presume?
Disclaimer: Hermione Granger and the HP universe belongs to JK Rowling (of course), the character of Legolas Greenleaf is the property of JRR Tolkien and the movie version of The Fellowship of the Ring is owned by…
Sometimes I feel quite sorry for Hermione having to put up with two adolescent boys all day long, never getting any thanks for solving all their problems for them, so I decided to give her a present. In this vignette she meets a rather dashing (ok, it's the Orlando Boom/Movie version) young (ish) elf called Legolas Greenleaf, who gives her a bit of a break from 14 year old boys. Go Hermione! (Note: So I may have given Legolas the appearance of the Movie Elf, but I have tried to take his character straight from the book (i.e. by giving him some lines!)
"Damn boys, damn Quidditch and damn that Ronald Weasley!"
Hermione Granger stamped her way through the Hogwarts grounds, quietly fuming. Another argument had just erupted between her and Ron, with Harry taking Ron's side as usual.
"Why do they have to stick together like demented 5 year olds? Do they have to be so so boyish about everything? They're just so…. Immature!"
As she ranted her way away from the castle, and as far as possible from that blinkin Quidditch pitch, Hermione failed to notice how far she had wandered. Before she knew it, she was at the border of the Forbidden Forest.
"Oh, dear me!" She said aloud, as she stopped herself just before her foot came down outside school boundaries. The last thing she wanted was for Ron to have the satisfaction of seeing her in detention for breaking school rules. But just as she turned around to head back, she heard a whimper from inside the trees.
The whimpering noise carried on, sounding very much like Hagrid's boarhound. Hermione knew that Hagrid was at that moment absent on an errand for Dumbledore, and had left Fang behind under Harry's care. The dog must have escaped from Hagrid's cabin and made his way alone into the forest. Hermione stood still, thinking quickly. With no one with her to go up to the castle for help, she would have to go herself and risk Fang moving further into the wood. If he was seriously hurt, that could very well be dangerous for him. Hermione shivered as she thought of some of the creatures that lived in the depths of the forest…
No, she decided. She would have to go in herself and find him. If she could hear the hound's whimpering this loudly out of the wood, then he couldn't be too far away.
Carefully, quietly, Hermione entered the Forbidden Forest. She walked in the direction of Fang's cries, trying to keep to the tracks as much as possible. By the time she felt she must be quite near, the whimpers had got quieter and infrequent. Hurrying her pace a little, Hermione soon realised they had stopped altogether.
"Fang?" She called out for the first time, putting aside her fears that someone would hear her with the greater worry that someone or something had found Fang.
Hermione stumbled upon a clearing with some flattened grass and animal tracks. Following the tracks, she finally saw in the distance a form bent over a large, fat shape, looking a bit like a beached seal.
"Fang!" she gasped quietly, surely too quietly for anyone from that distance away to hear. But the figure in the distance, which had been huddled over Fang with a hand upon his back and chanting some kind of spell, immediately stood up and swung round.
They were tall, and wearing a hooded cloak of grey. Hermione could see little else but for some reason started towards the stranger. They did, after all, have Fang.
"Who are you?" The hooded face asked, as soon as she was close enough to hear his voice.
"Her- Hermione Granger," she faltered, "and that's Hagrid's dog, Fang" she added, indicating the prostrate form behind them. "But who are you?"
Moving closer towards her, the stranger reached his hands up to lower his hood. Hermione took a step back; worried that the hooded figure was dangerous, but as she saw his face for the first time she realised he was not angry, nor even frightening.
It was the face of a - well, she wasn't quite sure what sort of creature he was. She couldn't remember seeing any pictures like him in a library book. He didn't look more than twenty years of age, and yet he had a bearing of wisdom and experience. His soft blonde hair was longer than Hermione's own, hiding ears that curved into a delicate point. He was handsome - that was something Hermione noticed straight away - with a clear impassive face that looked at her with interested grey eyes. He was dressed oddly, underneath the grey cloak his strange garments were all green or brown. Across his back a beautifully carved bow lay alongside a quiver of arrows.
"I am Legolas, son of Thranduil, of the race of elves. You are of the race of man, but you should not be here, Hermione daughter of Granger. This forest is dangerous for you; dark eyes watch your every step. The trees say it is so."
"Huh?" Said Hermione.
The elf turned his head sharply into the darkness of the forest, as if he had heard a noise, although Hermione had heard none.
"You should leave," he repeated.
"Not without Fang," she said stubbornly.
"The animal is hurt, attacked by some greater beast. But I must heal his ills before he can safely move."
Hermione was touched by his apparent sympathy for a foreign animal, and more than a little endeared by his earnest manner. But even so, she had learnt long ago that no stranger could be absolutely trusted, and her head was telling her that it could quite easily have been the handsome stranger that injured Fang.
"Listen, Mr, um, Legolas? I don't think that - "
Just as she began to speak Hermione was interrupted by a curious wailing sound, half way between a shriek and a growl, coming from deep inside the forest. Her companion immediately spun round, an arrow already strung on his bow as his eyes spotted something in the darkness, and he fired.
A distant cry told them that his shot had been accurate.
"How did you…?" Hermione began as the elf stood alert and listening, a second arrow already in place.
"We should leave, as I said, this forest is dangerous. Whatever it was that attacked this hound would attack you also. From which direction did you come?"
"From the school. From Hogwarts. The grounds are just the other side of the trees."
"Then I will accompany you as far as the leaves extend. But let us go quickly!"
Hermione then watched in amazement as the strange elf then picked up Fang as easily as she would a teddy-bear and hoisted him under his arm.
Without another word, Hermione followed him.
"So you're an Elf? But you're nothing like Dobby or any of the other house-elves. I don't remember seeing anyone like you "An Illustrated Guide to Mythical Creatures". Where do you come from?"
"I know not of the House-Elves you speak of. I am of the ancient and long-forgotten Elves of Middle Earth. Most of our kind have long since left their lands, long before the earth moved and all that was familiar changed its form. I myself would be with them now, were it not for some powerful magic that sent me here. That truly is a riddle worth solving."
Hermione thought very carefully. Everything he said was like a riddle to her. She couldn't fathom what he meant by 'Middle Earth' or when the earth 'changed it's form'. But she did realise that this must all have happened a very long time ago.
"If you don't mind me asking, Mr.. um Legolas? How old are you exactly?"
"Many thousands of years by your way of reckoning, but to us time is of little importance. Centuries pass by in the same vein as hours."
"You mean, you're immortal?"
"An Elf can die in battle, or when he no longer wishes to live, if truth be told."
Hermione's heart seemed to skip a beat.
"Ohhh! That's so romantic!"
His only reply to that was to look at her curiously, his firmly set mouth twitching slightly, threatening to smile for the first time. Slowing his pace, he looked around them and said,
"We are approaching the edge of the forest. I must aid the hound if you are both to leave here together."
Putting down the heavy lump that was Fang, he gently went to work on the poor animal's wounds. Hermione set herself down on an old tree stump and watched him in silence. He spoke in a strange language to Fang; one that Hermione supposed was some ancient elvish tongue. It was almost musical in quality, and strangely restful to hear.
But as Hermione gladly relaxed in the pleasantness of this unique meeting, she realised there were no longer just three of them in their section of the wood.
Before Hermione had time to scream, a strong, disgusting arm went around her mouth and another took firm hold of her arm. Struggling against her silent attacker, Hermione began to kick out. Wildly moving her body in any direction she could, her heart pounding with fear.
"Mmmm MMMmmm Mmm!" She tried to scream, but couldn't. The filthy hand over her mouth just forced out mumbling noises. Terrified, she tried desperately to get the attention of her companion, as four more of her assailant's friends came to join them.
Why wasn't the elf helping her? She couldn't even see him now. He seemed to have blended into the trees somehow. That, or left her altogether, to be attacked alone. Her wand was in her pocket, but her arms were tightly bound to her side by her attacker. Just as she was starting to despair…
Whooosh! An arrow, sent from a very short distance away shimmered past Hermione's hair and into the chest of the creature that was holding her. An awful cry and a loosening grip set her free and her hand went immediately to her pocket.
"Stupefy!" She called loudly at the intruder on her left. The miserable looking creature fell to the ground with a thud.
"Well done, my lady," called the voice of Legolas, appearing from the shade of a large tree. His bow was strung with two arrows, which quickly took care of two more of the creatures, each of them catching an arrowhead in the throat.
As his two friends went down, the last remaining assailant launched himself on the elf, running up behind him.
"Legolas, look OUT!" Hermione cried, but Legolas had already swung himself round, in the process pulling out two long curved knives, which soon worsted the hapless creature before him.
"Oh my," Hermione gasped, quite bewildered, putting one hand to her head. She was feeling quite faint with all this bloodshed, but she didn't want him to know that. "What were those things?" She asked.
"Yrch!" He answered, in his own tongue, making the word sound like a swear word to Hermione. "Orcs, your people would call them."
"Orcs," Hermione said slowly, getting her breath back, "I've never heard of them."
"They died out many ages ago. There should no longer be any here that much is certain. Whatever magic it was that brought me here would bring these enemies too, I fear."
"But they - " Hermione was interrupted by the sudden growling of Fang, who appeared to have recovered from his ordeal.
The dog leapt into the trees behind him, barking furiously. They heard a bite, and another agonised cry, and a solitary arrow went swerving away from them both, knocked off its course. Legolas and Hermione rushed after Fang and found him tearing at the leg of a sixth orc, a bow still gripped in its hand, despite the pain in its leg.
"Fang, no! You'll get hurt again!" Hermione cried out, the dog letting go briefly at the sound of her voice. It was time enough for the Orc, which began to scamper away the minute its leg was free. But the elf was too quick, and an arrow in the back of its head stopped it dead in its tracks.
Hermione was quite speechless this time, and allowed Legolas to take her arm to draw her away from the strewn bodies and back in the direction of the school. He gave Fang a comradely pat, and the animal, now quite recovered, trotting along beside them, confident he had done his duty admirably.
Hermione, feeling much safer to be moving away from danger, especially with the alert eyes of her companion watching closely the dark trees, reflected on what had just happened. It wasn't her first meeting with murderous creatures. But, Hermione realised to herself, it was possibly the first time when she had not been preoccupied with protecting Harry from danger, and had time to think about her own. The first time that someone had been preoccupied with protecting her, rather than someone else. And, despite the fact that she was a courageous and little soul, that feeling was quite refreshing. Of course it didn't hurt that her rescuer was so decorative either. Or that he had superhuman capabilities. In fact, it was pretty cool.
"So…um," Hermione turned to Legolas, "do elves ever get married then?"
The tall elf turned to her and smiled.
"They do, but rarely to mortals."
"Oh?" Hermione voice sounded disappointed. "Why's that then?"
"We're here," was all Legolas replied, indicating the shape of Hogwarts castle in the distance. "I will leave you now," he explained, "You will be safe. I must return to the heart of the forest and seek answers to the riddles hidden there. And if I am right, perhaps I will come across some old friends."
The Elf's face had a wistful expression upon it, as he spoke these words, and Hermione was touched by it.
"Will you be safe," she asked, "what with Orcs and who-knows what else in there? I'm sure Professor Dumbledore - "
" - The trees will hide me, and I have more chance of finding the answers I seek in the forest. But I must thank you for your help, Hermione. And return to you your weapon, you dropped it earlier."
Legolas stretched out a strong pale hand that was holding Hermione's wand. She must have lost it after she attacked the Orc.
"Thank you," she answered "but its not a weapon - it's a wand."
"You have good sense, young one, I wish you luck!" The elf replied, readjusting the bow in his hand.
"And you - Legolas!" Hermione called after him, as he retreated back into the shade of the trees.
"Well Fang!" She exclaimed to the dog next to her, "Who is going to believe us about any of that?"
But Fang was no help. He just barked and wagged his tail.
Harry and Ron couldn't quite bring themselves to believe everything that Hermione had told them. In fact, Ron was so surprised that he had stopped eating his roast beef.
"You mean he talks to trees?" He was asking Hermione.
"Not just trees. He made Fang better straight away, and he could shoot Orcs through the trees where it was too dark to see anything!"
"Sounds like a lucky shot to me…" mumbled Ron.
Harry was looking at Hermione carefully. She wouldn't have made all of this up just to annoy Ron. "Are you sure he wasn't dangerous, Hermione?" He asked.
"I've told you, he saved my life! And he kept talking about a riddle; he didn't know why he was in the Forbidden Forest. That's why he went back."
"Sounds like a nutter to me," Ron said, recovering, and helping himself to more potatoes. "Wandering round the forest, not knowing where he is, talking to trees… Think he's better off in there."
"Oh honestly, Ron!" Cried Hermione, visibly upset, "I'd forgotten how childish you can be some times. Its amazing the difference you see after spending the day with someone with a bit more maturity!" And Hermione stormed away from the Gryffindor table, without having had any pudding.
"And with someone who's named after plastic bricks!" Ron muttered, reaching for the apple crumble.
The End. Please Read/Review