1st Place 2007 MEFA Races: Elves: Fixed Length Ficlet

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Tolkien's World…I only play there.

SUMMARY: Thranduil contemplates his son's new friend. Written for the Middleearth Express prompt: 34.

Written for the Middle Earth Express Prompt: Enemy. Exactly 500 words.

Where Once My Enemy Stood

By Nieriel Raina

He is my enemy. That is what I have always been taught. I heard it from those who witnessed the destruction of Doriath first hand! Their kind are greedy, untrustworthy, unkempt and rude! They are nothing like us.

There have been times when they had to be tolerated, but never have I trusted them, nor endured them for long. I would have seen them forever expelled from our realm! But that was before…

Much that once was, is no more. The war changed more than the land and rulers, even our people have changed, and we are not a people who change easily. It all began with one… one single enemy who found a place - dare I even voice it? - in my own son's heart!

The shock of that day still shakes me to the core of my being. My own son, raised by my own hand, had seemingly betrayed us… betrayed me! Ai! The pain, the words spoken in anger when he brought that creature home. He had assured it welcome in our lands and I could not turn it away without dishonoring myself and my son. In my eyes, though, Legolas had already dishonored himself.

For a good while, animosity flowed between that creature and myself over the one we loved. Never were kind words spoken, in fact we avoided one another at all costs. I found it well that Legolas had removed himself to Ithilien, for I would not be forced to endure its presence. What a fool I was to cut myself off from one I so loved, just to avoid an enemy.

Many years passed before I was forced to face the truth. Regardless of what I had been taught, what I believed, it was my enemy who supported my son through much turmoil and danger. It was my enemy who fought beside Legolas and tended his wounds. It was my enemy who held my son's hand as he battled the sea. My enemy…

Pride can be a great asset to a king and a warrior, but it can also be a terrible detriment. Alas, how many years have I wasted, how much hurt have I caused? And all because I could not see what my son had seen all along. My enemy is not my foe. He is not what I had been taught to believe he was. He is kind, creative, a true friend who values my greatest treasure more than I have done.

And so with much difficulty, I laid down my prejudice and pride. I laid down the anger and harsh words, and made an effort to get to know him. And I have been greatly surprised! Few creatures are more intelligent or witty than a dwarf! True their manners are lacking, but are such things truly so important? Nay, friendship, loyalty, love… these are what last and matter. And today, dare I say it? Dare I admit it? Where once my enemy stood, I now see a friend.

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