Disclaimer: Sadly the elves aren't mine. Or anything else. Well now that my self confidence is just oh so boosted let's get on with it.
a/n: I did mean the "..." after Legolas spoke partially of his mother. I want you as a reader to take it whatever way you want so I left out what my personally opinion of what happened her.
Legolas, son of Thranduil of the woodland realm should have known better than to have been consumed by the presence of the trees. His home while still beautiful was dangerous in it's darkest hours and from birth he had known well to keep all of his surroundings in complete awareness. But these trees had been untainted by darkness and this soil had been foreign to which the young elf could hardly contain his growing curiosity. He had been told by his adar he had once visited Rivendell long before this but he had barely been fifty at the time and that was before his naneth had...
Now he was 1,623, just barely reaching in maturity as the child roundness of his face began to shape and his long slender limbs began to become firm with muscle. The elves of Middle Earth had gathered under the infant spring sky in celebration of a new millennia. King Thranduil, much to the amusement of the other elven lords and ladies, failed in keeping his son's interest in the politics of their formal introduction for the spring festival as he had squirmed and fidgeted throughout most of the council. And so it was that he had been released of his duties as prince of Mirkwood and found himself in this mystical forest. Having made fast friends with the twin sons of Elrond, the three had set out to release their abundant amounts of energy and for several hours they had ran, wrestled, challenged, and finally, after the alliance of Elrohir and Legolas, Elladan had been unceremoniously tossed into the water with the two others following shortly after.
Letting the bright sun dry the water in his long hair, droplets trickling down to the small of his back as the young prince pulled his tunic on he left the twins to their current competition to see which one could be dunked first, his curiosity finally getting the better of him. Placing his palm on the bark of the closest tree Legolas breathed in deeply placing his forehead against it. The trees greeted the young elf with welcome and praise for they had not seen this child since he was a mere babe. Letting the wind give kiss to his skin and radiating love to the elfling the presences of the trees swallowed him whole. Legolas had never been to a place where the trees were so joyous and free. His face aglow and his inner light at peace he crept through the forest. Mirkwood's trees were tired and spent but strong unlike these trees that were full of life with a healing touch and wise with age.
And it is the reason of the elf's distraction that caused the following events. Jumping from log to boulder and further away from the splashing twins Legolas paid no heed to his surroundings, something he would berate himself for later. Jumping up on one rather large rock he carelessly let himself drop before the trees cried out a warning. But it was to late and with a loud TWANG Legolas cried out.
"Legolas!" Elrohir called hearing the prince's shout as the twins ran through the trees. Elladan, two steps in front of his brother, bulked as he halted catching Elrohir around the middle.
"Stop!" Legolas gasped clutching at his leg. "Someone has set up traps."
Crumbled on the ground Legolas's leg was ensnared by a large metal trap that bit into the flesh three finger tips above his knee causing the blood to soil his leggings and the rich earth under him.
"Go get Ada! Quickly Elrohir!" Elladan hurriedly ordered giving the younger twin a slight shove. Elrohir spun on his heels running through the trees and out of sight, a grim frown marring his fair face. Legolas was pale and trembling with pain as he bit down on his lip. Shaking hands reached the snare but as the tips of Legolas's fingers touched the rusted metal the pain immediately shot back up through his leg and he arched his back going rigid on the spot while a smothered cry barely escaping the passage of his throat.
"Legolas?! Are you well?" Elladan called taking a step forward stopping again as he looked around waiting for the reaction of another trap only taking a long calming sigh when nothing happened. Legolas breathed out a clenched "I'm fine" but the son of Elrond was not convinced. Not willing to leave his friend in pain, Elladan searched for some way to make it to Legolas without stepping on anymore unseen traps. "Hold on, mellon nin! I will go to see if there are anymore traps from above!"
And with that Legolas was left alone silently cursing himself for his own stupidity. The creeping darkness in his mind alerted the prince of his current predicament and his only ability of a reaction was to gingerly place his hands above the wound mere centimeters away from the snare and hold tightly to his leg, blood coating his fingers.
"Oi!" The shout made him jump and this time he couldn't help the strangled cry that escaped his lips. Turning Legolas felt his heart begin to thunder with panic as a group of men stalked closer in his direction. From the looks on their faces they hadn't expected to find Legolas in their trap and the elven prince couldn't help but feel absolutely vulnerable pinned and without any type of weapon. "What's that?"
"Tis' an elf!" Another gasped staring at Legolas with wide open eyes. His name was Ailwin and he was of simple upbringings, his eyes never having been graced with the sight of such race of beauty before even though his residence wasn't more than two leagues away from Rivendell. His companions, Bertram and Guy, were of the same as they had grown together and learned to hunt all kinds of creatures of the woods. Guy slowly took an approaching step only for the elf in front of them to hurry away glaring at the four hunters in defiance. Fourth of them being Fabian who had yet to say a word giving the whole situation a cynical eye.
"He is hurt." Guy stated holding his hands up calmly approaching the elf once more. But the elf merely pulled back ignoring the cry of outrage his leg was sending him. "It is alright."
"Careful, Guy." Bertram warned staring at the elf with uneasiness. As amazing as it was to see such a creature he wasn't about to let his friend fall because his heart was too great for his common sense.
"It's alright." Guy repeated ignoring Bertram and bending down on one knee. Touching the snare, Legolas flinched gasping as the pain radiated along his entire side his eyes growing heavy as it almost became to much to bare. Guy sent him an apologetic look and went to trap again. Placing both hands on the jaws he casted one glance over at the elf before swiftly prying open the trap. Legolas whose eyes were clenched shut felt the pressure lift and all but ripped his leg towards him, blood now flowing freely down the deep gash.
"See." Guy held his hands up once again taking off his pack and pulling out a shirt, going to wrap it around Legolas's leg. But instead Legolas merely snatched it from him giving him a critical eye before quickly wrapping it above his wound silently.
"Now what do we do with him?" Fabian finally spoke not hiding the pure agitation from his face. He did not plan to deal with elves today and he couldn't possibly think of a good outcome for this current twist on their end.
"Leave 'im be." Bertram said grimly. "It's no business of ours what an elf is doing alone and it probably knows the trees even more than we who have learnt how to fire a bow here. He should be released of our minds as he is that trap."
"We cannot just leave him!" Guy argued turning towards his friend.
"Aye. He is injured." Ailwin added siding with his friend on the ground. "It ain't good on the conscious to leave any man without a good leg to get home."
"What should it matter?" Fabian stated exasperated. "The trap was laced with a sedative he won't be awake for long for us to decide either way."
And true to his word Legolas began to feel the soft dulling buzz creep into his head whispering calming soothing words in his ears. At first he had thought it was merely loss of blood but as Fabian's reveal had come to pass he quickly struggled to stay alert.
"Which is precisely why we cannot leave him alone!" Guy reasoned. Bertram groaned aloud setting a look on Guy as if he were explaining something to one of the children of the village.
"He isn't of our concern, Guy, we are not his kin."
"This will not end well." Fabian muttered more to himself than the group.
Despite the argument that he apparently had no say in, Legolas gritted his teeth and with lightning speed pulled the dagger from its sheath on Guy's hip sending the man toppling on the ground and stumbled up on his feet. His leg crimpled from underneath him to which Legolas muffled another cry grabbing at his leg and ran further away from them. Black spots danced across his eyes and the elvish prince fought to keep hold of what little of consciousness he had with him. Ignoring the shouts of the men behind him he pushed on. But soon his leg no longer held any strength for him and he crashed to the ground hard, tense for a moment before dropping limply into the darkness that was wrapping his mind completely with a blanket of unconsciousness.
"It isn't right!"
Legolas groaned his senses dulling to a slow throb. A moan escaped his throat as the throb became more apparent and the pain from his leg stung his entire side.
The crackling of fire didn't help sooth the young prince either and the tree that his back was pressed to urged him to fully awaken. Blinking quickly Legolas looked up remembering the earlier events of the day. His heart suddenly began to beat faster while his senses cried out in alert at him of his dyer situation. The night sky was his only greeting of consciousness as the glistening stars shown down on him. His arms tied around the base of a tree and a thin rag had been wrapped around his mouth silencing him. Neither would release. Legolas refused to feel the defeat of his hopeless situation. There had to be some way to get back to Rivendell. Here he was without a good leg nor anything to defend himself with strange men and he needed to think of someway to get away from here. Why was he here anyways? His leg pulsed with pain and he was barely aware of what was going on around him as the sedative had yet to completely leave his system. Oh that was right, Legolas grimly remembered. They hadn't decided on what to do with the elf.
"He's waking up."
The four men by the fire turned towards the now captive prince each with their own opinion of the situation on the matter clearly stated on their face. Legolas squirmed against the complete attention trying to ignore them as he pulled at his bindings but as if sensing this Guy turned back to the fire unable to hold his glance anymore.
"I will not stand for this much longer, Fabian." Guy said through gritted teeth. This was not right. The elf had not planned on climbing into their trap. It pained his heart to see distrust and the defiant reaction from the elf when he had freed him from the trap and still did as they spoke in hushed tones. Although it wouldn't matter as Legolas heard them even from his far away point in the camp.
"What would you suggest, Fabian?" Bertram calmly spoke his hand supporting his chin. For several hours they had brought up suggestions as to what to do after taking the elf back to their camp at the insistence of his friend. Ailwin sat beside him smoking his pipe in thought looking between Fabian and Bertram before casting a glance at Guy who was brooding to the side. All knew Guy spoke true for he would not wait much longer and allow the elf to stay tied to the tree as a prisoner. Fabian had argued that it was merely precautionary but Ailwin had the slight suspicious it had something to do with the elf running instead of their safety. He may not be a wise man but he was smart enough to know his friend's true motive behind the gesture. And while he couldn't stand to see such a beautiful creature of his fascination be forced to stay he also knew Guy and his soft heart for he barely wished to hunt having only joined because of the other three.
Fabian stared into the fire a moment longer trying to find a proper way to tell his own opinion. Nothing he came up with would please Guy nor possibly the others but it had to be done. He had no ill feelings of elves, his family having fought along side them in the war, but he also knew the way of their kind.
"We get rid of him." He merely spoke. Guy felt his jaw drop in disbelief as Ailwin began to cough from the smoke of his pipe, Bertram frowning deeply. Legolas froze his attempts to get free halting once again as the icy hand clasped his heart.
"Kill him?" Guy's voice came out straggled as he stared up at Fabian aghast. He had known Fabian had been unhappy with the elf for ruining his day of the hunt but to go to such extremities nearly made him seem cruel and spiteful. "You honestly intend to kill him!"
"There is no other way."
"Yes, there is! You release him and we take him back to the Rivendell Lord."
"And do what exactly, Guy?" Fabian spat clenching his fists. "Explain to him what has happened? Do you honestly believe they will for one minute consider that the elf had been stupid enough to fall into one of our traps?!"
"If that is what you truly fear I will take the responsibility and face the elves." Guy boldly suggestion. He was more than fully prepared to take the elf tonight if it came down to it.
"Not alone, you will not." Bertram said giving Guy a hard stare. "If we decide that we all will go. I will not leave you to take the responsibility of a trap that I set and Ailwin bought."
"And are you prepared to face the wrath of the Elvenking? The enchantress of that bewitched forest? It is their spring festival or have you failed to notice the boats passing through the river and the way that the trees sing in the night. It is a new millennia for them and it could very well maybe that this elf isn't from Rivendell at all. I guarantee, friend, that they will not look lightly on you if you bring the elf to them now in such condition."
All the while Ailwin had turned to stare at Legolas who in return stared back unable to hide the sudden look of intrigue, one of which Ailwin had chose not to announce to the others. Fabian knew more than Legolas had thought possible for a man and it was uneasy to him that a human knew of the growing population of elves taking place without their knowledge. Knew of his adar and where he was, even if he had yet to connect Legolas to Thranduil. Something in his heart told Legolas that if that came to pass it would only had to the men's fear. Ailwin frowned seeing the elf's moment of distress letting out a long smoky sigh. "He ain't no more than a wee young lookin' thing."
"Exactly. He is an elfling! I will not be held responsible for the injury of an elfling! They hold their children dear to them. Even if they do take into account that it was not our fault it will be our heads." Fabian said giving Guy a withering glare. The elf almost as if noticing Ailwin's imploring look swiftly schooled his features once more. But the other two men seemed ready to come to blows while one man was only a step to intervene completely unaware of Legolas's moment lapse of composure and quick recovery. Guy stood glaring at Fabian the only thing separating the two friends being the fire. Fabian stepped forward raising his voice in frustration. "I will not fall for one elfling. Our only solution is to be rid of him once and for all."
"Keep your voice down, Fabian. There is no need to frighten him!" Ailwin winced finally unable to look at the elf any longer. While young in face those blue silver eyes seemed well beyond Ailwin's years and it unnerved the man immensely at how such a look had caused him to feel as if his soul was being examined.
"Why?" Fabian shrugged taking the last swig of his ale before turning to the side and tossing out the rest of it. "He probably cannot understand us either way."
How wrong he was. Legolas was incredibly fluent in the Westron. At the moment he wished he wasn't for he wished to be completely ignorant of what had just come to pass.
"I will not waver from where I stand." Fabian announced in a final argument. Legolas resisted the urge to pull his legs close to him and huddle within himself as the terminating wave of emotion came to him. Fabian wanted him dead, to which he was powerless to stop, and the hunter was unable to believe the chance that Legolas's father would understand it had been a simple accident. It appeared that the others were beginning to see the logic in his opinion as well. All except Guy.
"I will not condemn him to a death he had no control over. It was you who wanted to use the trap in the first place. Had you not he wouldn't have stepped on it and we wouldn't be in this mess." He said in a dangerously low voice. All three staggered back slightly at the ferociousness in his eyes. Out of all of them Guy had been the kind hearted, soft spoken of them and here he was making his intent known to the three. If one hair was touched on the elf's head he would not hesitate to stop any one of his friends by any means necessary. "I will not condemn him."
Sighing Legolas let his head to rest back against the bark of the tree as it whispered to him soothingly wishing not to hear any more debate from the men. By Valar how had he gotten himself into this mess?
"We sleep on it. The elf is not to be touched until the morning and we will decide tomorrow. " Bertram finally concluded. Guy sent a distrusting look at Fabian who merely narrowed his eyes. Ailwin turned a look between the two before standing up.
"Do one of us need to guard the elf to make sure that happens?" He gave a stern glare at the two before both shook their heads and turned to separate ends of the camp to gather their sleeping items. Ailwin took one last puff of his pipe sending his attention to Bertram. "Perhaps it is best you and I stand watch this night."
Bertram nodded his head in agreement and bid the other hunter good night before sitting down, kindling the fire, and giving one last look at the elf.
Legolas did not sleep. Despite the remaining drug on the trap Legolas remained awake for the rest of the night watching each of men in the camp. Half way through the night Ailwin had awaken switching places with Bertram and spent most of the time with his pipe and some wooden trinket he was shaving with a small knife. Guy had awoken at the first sign of dawn and had gone off for an hour away from the camp. Legolas, while still attentive of all the men's motives, couldn't help the slight panic that had come to him seeing the man leave. Guy had been the only one of the four set on not killing the elf and Legolas had the slight vexation in his proud spirit as he realized that his only chance of survival laid on the man's shoulders alone. But Guy returned with a dead rabbit and a sack of something the elf couldn't see. Bowing his head in respect to the rabbit, Legolas continued to watch the men as one by one they awoke and went about their chores of the camp. Wracking his brain now that it was finally clear of the sedative the young prince began formulating plans only for them to some how be unsuccessful. In all honestly Legolas was in a place he was unfamiliar with, with people he didn't know, and an injured leg that he disbelieved could support his weight for any long period of time. While he was well known for his skill with a bow, Legolas was still only in the middle of his training, and he highly doubted he would be able to take out four grown men on his own. Fabian had awoken and began sharpening a long knife giving Legolas several heated looks before Ailwin tossed the rabbit at the hunter forcing his attention on skinning the animal. It wasn't until the sun was at the peak of being fully bright that Guy moved silently over to Legolas only saying something softly to Ailwin who nodded.
Kneeling in front of the elf, Guy held up his hands in the same manner he had done when he released Legolas from the trap and spoke softly.
"I will not hurt you." He spoke calmly kneeling down on the ground with the sack and gently reaching up towards Legolas who refused to flinch away from his hands. Guy let a sigh of relief spread throughout him as the elf trusted him enough to allow him to help him by removing the rag from his mouth. Placing a hand on his chest he looked on at the elf with a kind expression. "I am Guy. I am sorry I do not know you're language. But I do know you probably do not find the taste of meat the same as I."
Sticking his hands in the sack he pulled out various fruits and a piece of bread he had taken from his rations in his pack. "Tis' not bountiful but…"
He trailed off pulling the bread apart into smaller pieces. Lifting another article up he opened the water skin up. Legolas immediately became distrustful once more and set his mouth in a grim line hardening his glare on Guy. Seeing this the hunter shook his head. "Do not worry. It is only water."
Legolas still didn't appear to be convinced by the man's words and so Guy brought the skin to his lips taking a drink in hopes to show the young elf before him it was harmless. "You will not be harmed by my hand, young elf."
Looking for some kind of reaction from the elf, Guy slowly brought the skin up to Legolas's lips letting a small smile plaque his face as the elf drank the water. Legolas felt the cool cleansing water run down his throat and greedily swallowed nearly half the skin before Guy took it away with a laugh. "You must save it young one. I promise you will have plenty more when you are in your own home."
Legolas bulked as the man started to bring some of the bread to his lips, his pride getting in the way of his stomach and clamped his mouth shut once more. Guy faltered for a moment at the sudden change of emotion on the elf and couldn't help but slightly back down at the proud glare he was receiving. Casting a glance back over his shoulder he lowered his voice to the elf bowing his head. "I cannot release you. I am sorry."
The elf merely hardened his glare. He would rather starve then be fed by one the men's hand that held him captive. Guy let his shoulders drop deflated and looked at the elf pleading for forgiveness. "I do not agree with Fabian and I promise you I will get you home but if I can prolong the confrontation of my friends…"
Still the elf remained stubborn and refused to be fed by Guy. Sighing in defeat Guy nodded packing up the sack and moved away, not bothering to retie the rag around the young elf. If it were up to him the elf wouldn't even be in their camp but in Rivendell with his kin and it was his friends that were weary of what the elves would think if they brought the elf back injured by one of their traps. He knew it was their livelihood to hunt, the only chance of survival, but it still did not make this right in his heart.
Those defiant proud eyes would haunt him if this continued.
Halting in his step Guy tossed the bag down by the fire and turned back to his belongings ignoring the look he was receiving from the others. This was going to end.
Legolas watched as Guy began packing his things hurriedly muttering oaths under his breath. Bertram lifted a brow walking past the hunter. "What's wrong with you?"
Guy continued to mutter under his breath storming over to one of the horses. Bertram frowned and followed Guy seeing him starting to ready a horse.
"Guy…" He warned.
"What would you have me do, Bertram?!" Guy hissed looking over the saddle at the other hunter. "I will not stand aside and let Fabian kill a...a...a child!"
"Nothing has been decided." Bertram argued. Guy shook his head and looked away turning back to readying the saddle. "Guy!"
"He is a child, Bertram! He looks no older than your own!"
"What's going on over here?" Ailwin sighing. Guy turned sharply on him sending a pointed glare at the man.
"You of all people, Ailwin, I thought you at least had some compassion for a creature such as that boy over there." Ailwin frowned at the accusing tone quickly stepping back from Guy. "If not that then the decency of the both of you not to lie to my face!"
"Now wait just a minute. Nothing has been…"
"What will it matter?!" Guy shouted tossing his pack on the ground with a burst of frustration. "Fabian will get his way no matter how long we debate! He did when we decided to use that trap!"
Bertram placed a calming hand on his friend's shoulder but Guy gave a shove turning to Bertram now. "Do not touch me!"
But Guy had had enough. Bending down to grab his pack he placed it on the mount and shook his head. "No. I have had enough. I am taking him to back to his kin. Now."
"What is he doing?" Ailwin asked suddenly. With a perplexed look both Guy and Bertram tried to understand if Ailwin had official lost it before they realized of whom he was speaking.
Legolas's breath quickened as Fabian silently crept closer to him steady and determined. Pulling against his bonds the elven prince kicked out at the dirt pulling his legs up to his chest tugging at the ropes around his wrists looking desperately at Guy who was still arguing with the two others. For the first time fear clenched his heart and he was unable to suppress it. He found no voice nor chance of alerting anyone to come to his aid. Slamming his eyes shut Legolas no longer felt any braver than mouse and placed his head on his knees letting his hair to cover his face. Fabian stopped in front of the captive and pulled out his large blade bending down onto his knees.
"Fabian!" A voice shouted. Legolas took one long breath through his teeth and brought his head up giving a hard glare that one would only recognize on the king of Mirkwood himself. The young elf's heart longed at the thought of his ada and he couldn't bring himself to think of how Thranduil would grieve to find the body of his only child. Or even worse, he never found his body and Legolas remained only a frozen memory. Fabian calmly took a plait of golden hair and with a swift motion sliced the knife through the braid held in his hand.
"Even if you are a nuisance I cannot pass up the prize of having a strand of elven hair from the elf I caught." Fabian said glaring at Legolas as he wrapped his fist around the strand, turning the blade in his other hand moving back to Legolas ready to strike. And with as much force as he could muster, Legolas slammed his head into Fabian's knocking the hunter into a pitch of oblivion.
Fabian dropped the knife and the plait to the ground reaching for his head letting a gasp escape him. Dropping forward he landed hard on the ground onto Legolas's wounded leg sending sheer agonizing pain through the prince. Legolas let out a cry of pain as Fabian began moving only to fall back down on his leg. Squirming against the weight and his restraints Legolas was helpless to release his leg from the pressure once again. Guy let out a roar of outrage as he slammed into Fabian unintentionally tripping over Legolas in the process. Hissing Legolas brought his leg towards him clenching his eyes shut as the pain was completely unbearable now, long silver tears rolling down his cheeks, and let out a lone whimper at the endless pain. A hand was hastily placed on the top of his head maneuvering it to look upward before the rag around his neck was once again securely tied around his mouth.
Fabian cursed as Guy's fists were coming in rapid succession. Wrapping his arms around the other hunter's neck he rolled pulling himself on top and punching Guy in the stomach.
"Stop it!" Ailwin shouted as Bertram dove in between the two yanking Fabian off of Guy and into Ailwin who held him back. Guy, lip now swollen and bleeding, jumped up quickly and went at Fabian once more. Bertram wrapped an arm around the middle of him continuing to shout at them to cease this madness.
"Curse you, Guy!" Fabian yelled spitting at Guy. "Curse you!"
"I will kill you with my bare hands!" Guy shouted back lunging at Fabian. "You stupid, cruel bastard!"
"That is enough!" Ailwin bellowed tossing Fabian back nearly half away across the clearing and by the bushes. "I said enough!"
"You have condemned us all, Guy!" Fabian howled his nose bleeding heavily down his chin. "We are good as dead!"
"And you will do well to wish you receive even such a mercy." A voice said in a dangerously calm tone. The curved blade slide up under Fabian's chin and the bushes and trees around the camp came to life as elves jumped from their hidden places, arrows aimed directly at each of the men's hearts. A tall elf in grey stood behind Fabian giving orders to the other elves handing off the human to one of his kin before moving over to Legolas.
Kneeling before the young prince he whispered soothingly in elvish brushing back some of the long golden strands of hair behind Legolas's pointed ear.
"You have a lot of explaining to your father, young prince." Haldir smiled gently pulling the rag away and cupping Legolas's face forcing him to look at the older elf as he swiped at the tears on his cheeks with his thumb. "Are you well?"
Legolas nodded immediately calmed to hear the familiar grey tongue but Haldir saw the pain in Legolas's silver blue eyes as it radiated from his leg. Pulling out his knife Haldir cut the bonds around Legolas's wrists and moved down to his leg. Chuckling Haldir unwrapped the bloodied tunic and probed the skin of the now bleeding leg. The skin was inflamed and swollen, tender to the touch meaning that the wound the prince sustained was most like infected. "Yes, it appears you are in complete health."
Frowning at the younger elf's lack of participation their usual banter Haldir quickly retied the tunic slowing the bleeding and turned calling out loudly in elvish once more. "I will need a horse!"
Standing up Haldir slowly stalked towards the four men by the fire and spoke in a low tone as he switched to Westron. "You will come with us."
Spinning on his heel he began walking back to Legolas.
"Wait!" Someone called. Haldir lifted a brow and turned back to the hunters. One bent down pulling up a sack that had been abandoned by the fire and quickly came up to Haldir with it. The elves tensed directing the aims of their bows once more only to be stopped as the marchwarden raised his hand. The man handed him the sack looking completely ashamed. "He has not eaten yet. There is food and bread inside."
Pausing for a moment Haldir nodded and took the bag watching as the man turned to be restrained with his companions.
"Haldir…" An elven guard whispered motioning back over to Legolas. The prince looked close to fainting, his face ashen and contorted in pain. Shivering he had yet to move from his spot by the tree nor speak to anyone of the familiar elves.
"We must move quickly." Haldir whispered moving to the younger elf removing his cloak and promptly wrapped him in it. The marchwarden froze spotting the fallen plait on the ground and with one deadly look at the men he lifted Legolas into his arms. Suddenly aware he was being carried Legolas began to protest but Haldir's soothing elvish words calmed him once again and he was lifted onto a horse, the marchwarden behind him with a protective arm holding him to his chest.
Thranduil remained stoic as four men were brought before himself, Elrond, and the Lady Galadriel with her husband Celeborn by her side. But on the inside he was raging with a turmoil of emotions that one would see in only the deepest of storms at sea. It had been not but three days ago that the sound of the elven horn had alerted Mirkwood's king that his son had been found. Stopping abruptly in his search he had, against the orders of his guards, raced his horse back to Rivendell meeting the marchwarden, Haldir.
"King Thranduil." Haldir bowed his head respectfully.
"Where is he? Where is my son?" Thranduil had demanded fear creeping into his tone. Had they been to late? The king had lost his beloved long ago but he could not stand to lose his son. For when his queen had left Thranduil had his little Greenleaf to hold to but whom would he turn to if his son had been gone as well. The grief would be too great for Thranduil son of Oropher.
Haldir shifted allowing the king full view of his passenger and Thranduil had almost wept on the spot. Legolas, although pale and clearly fevered, was in a deep sleep against Haldir, alive.
Easily reaching over and pulling Legolas to him Thranduil embraced the young elf's body sending word of thanks, kissing his son's brow, and breathing in the calming scent of Legolas's soft hair. Legolas sighed in his sleep as his fist made way around one of the king's long golden plaits, a familiar gesture that Thranduil had greatly missed from when the prince had been a small elfling.
"Thank you, Haldir." Thranduil spoke as he stroked Legolas's head choking back the lump that had formed in his throat. Haldir again bowed placing his hand over his heart. Frowning the Elvenking stared down at four men all of whom were bound standing confused as the elvish speak was lost to their mortal ears. Looking up at the marchwarden conveying a silent conversation Thranduil was consumed by a fierce rage that threatened to sake his inner light. The men looking dismal began to cower at the intense glare the angry elf had turned on them.
"Now is not the time, Thranduil." Elrond's voice came behind the king, his company in tow, as he slid a hand on the king's forearm. "You're son needs mending."
Looking at the lord confused, Thranduil began to protest before he caught sight of his son's face that was currently resting against his breast. Nodding Thranduil dismounted from his horse easily lifting his son into his arms and followed Elrond into the halls of Rivendell leaving Haldir to deal with the men.
And now they stood before the king still looking miserable in their own right. All refused to look at the high elves. All except one. The one stared back at them in upmost respect and preparedness for what laid ahead of them. Free from their binds the men remained silent in front of the elves waiting for their decision.
"My son has spoken of what has transpired." Thranduil was the first to say in Westron looking every fiber of a royal he was in his elegant crown and clothing. Pausing he placed a glare on every single one of the men before continuing in a deadly low tone. "You are lucky I do not place you into the darkness of my dungeons for the rest of your simple lives."
All three of the men paled. All except the one who nodded in acceptance.
You do not think it is enough.
The beautiful voice rang through the human's head startling him for only a brief moment. Locking a bewildered gaze the man bowed his head attempting to find a respectable way to address the she-elf as she had him.
No, milady. Nothing could be a proper punishment for this crime I have committed.
"Tell me, men of Imlad, why you saw it not fit to bring the elf back to Rivendell halls." Elrond spoke calmly. It had indeed shocked the elven lord when his sons returned to him with the news that Legolas had been wounded and then taken by hunters of a quiet village deep within a valley not two leagues away. Knowing first hand the scorn of betrayal for the weakness of men, Elrond still had never thought Rivendell elves would draw such a suspicion from the good people of Imlad. They had lived in the woods for centuries together in harmony. Had the prejudice of the world increased so much that a new misgiving had been placed on the minds of the humans?
One stepped forward bowing. "My lords and lady, it was a mistake that never should have been made. I will take full responsibility for wrongs done to the elfling."
"You speak wise in a dangerous situation, Guy of Imlad." Celeborn warned. "For it was not just any elfling but a prince of Mirkwood as well. If King Thranduil found willing he could consider such treason."
Guy nodded grimly. "Whether it had been a prince or a simple living elf, this never should have happened. You have my greatest apologies and even that can not be enough."
Casting a glance at his friends and then back to the elves in front of him Guy continued. "What you see fit as punishment we will uphold with respect and believe to be just for the crime."
Guy stepped back and the elves before him said nothing. The men held their breath waiting for what the firstborns would condemn upon them before Elrond finally spoke.
"It is not for us to decide."
"What?" Ailwin said confused. Realizing what he had done aloud he bowed quickly muttering a fast apology. Galadriel let a small smile play at her lips as the man continued to beat the embarrassment from within.
"It was not us that this wrong has been done upon." She said her voice as mystical as her appearance.
"Legolas, ion nin." At the call of his father Legolas walked in to stand beside Thranduil. Small circlet upon his brow, dressed in a clean tunic and leggings he looked all but a smaller version of the elven king. He was nearly fully healed and his limp was not immediately obvious. He turned to face the four hunters who were staring at him, as they once had the day he had been caught in the snare.
"You believed that elves would not understand a simple accident and feared of the consequences for the event." Legolas said looking at his father once before back at the men who were in deep shock at the young elf's ability to speak in the common tongue knowing now that he had been able to understand everything they had spoken. "You will take with you elven guards and release the rest of your traps."
He spoke with the wisdom beyond his years but with the compassion of an eternal life of innocence. Long had Legolas watched his father in diplomacy and royal matters but this had been his first time doing such. He could not help feeling self conscious at the room's attention. He had known he should have been angry with the men. Being left alone would have been better than being taken prisoner and fearful of his life but the young elf could not find it in his heart for the men had been fearful of their own and misguided by the rumors of elves.
All of the men looked at the elf in confusion. Least of all they had not expected what the prince commanded next.
"And then you are free to go back to your village."
"Is this what you are sure of ion nin?" Thranduil asked holding in his pride towards his son for later times. Legolas turned towards his father and nodded.
"The fault is my own. I was not paying attention for I would not have stepped on the snare if otherwise."
Thranduil nodded giving his son the smallest of smiles beaming with an amount of praise through his identical silver eyes.
"So it is set. You will take with you elven guards and release the traps in the forest and be on your way no later than tomorrow sunlight. I hope that this has shown to you that not everything you fear of the elves rings true." Elrond said before the council was dismissed. "A word Guy of Imlad."
Guy stopped staring at the elven lords before casting a glance at his companions. Nodding Guy went back to the middle of the council and stood before the lady and lords.
"You took full responsibility for not only yourself but for your friends as well." Elrond said in admiration. Guy remained silent and bowed his head. "You are welcomed to stay for the festivities of our people."
Guy gasped staggering in his step. No such blessing had been bestowed upon anyone of his village before. To receive such was an honor not even fit for a steward let alone a reluctant hunter was beyond words of description.
Looking up at Legolas he shook his head utterly confused. "But you... the whole time you understood... What we..."
The man struggled to find words. In truth the whole situation he had felt a great cloud in his heart that the elves would not understand the simple mistake as his friends had spoken of even though he had protested against the ridiculous notion but the young elf in front of him was nothing but completely and utterly understanding showing a great respect upon his fair face. Legolas raised a hand to his heart stopping the man in his dazed sputters.
"You are the only one who showed me true kindness and you were willing to risk your great friendship for a complete stranger. I could never have asked that of you." Nodding to the hunter the elf prince once again looked well beyond his years. "Hannon le, Guy of Imlad."
The hunter was seemingly lost for words gazing up at each of the elven angelic faces before him. Curving his tongue in attempt of mimicry of Legolas, Guy smiled. "Han…non…le. Legolas of elves."
a/n: Ummmm SO, I'm currently only one page 49 of the Fellowship (which I also do not own! Only a paperback copy) So if I totally butcher something that would be why. Please tell me if I did so. If not free cookies for anyone who reviews!