~Lossenlindëiel~

It was daybreak when they found her, as she lay curled up on the forest floor, the morning dew thick on the air and its glittering drops lightly scattered across her sleeping face. She was a child, small and slight, her limbs tiny and agile. Her hair, midnight black that shimmered almost blue in the sunlight, fell in loose curls past her shoulders, a striking contrast to her skin, pale gold, smooth and luminous. She wore only a thin, pale blue tunic, held at the waist by a black cord and coming to a ripped hem that ended just above her knees. There were traces of dirt on her small face, and she slept heavily, as though exhausted by great exertion.

They took her to Lothlorien, to the Lady, and watched as the great Galadriel's eyes filled with tears at the beauty and innocence of one so pure, so frail.

And there she grew.

**********

The dawn broke over Lorien that day, as it did every day, and as every day, she walked in the first sunbeams, her feet barely touching the cool dewy grass as she went, her skin glowing in the light, her hair shining and shimmering and tumbling down her back, a garland of the prettiest flowers woven into the tiny braids. She sang an Elven-song as she went, her sweet voice carrying through the air and penetrating the dreams of sleeping folk near and far.

And she knew not, but Legolas Greenleaf, Prince of Mirkwood, watched her, his blue eyes intent and wondering.

She walked on, towards the crystal blue pool, some distance into the woods, a pool that she discovered herself, as just a tiny child, and had kept secret for that long. And she knew not, but Legolas Greenleaf, Prince of Mirkwood, followed her, his steps quick and silent, with no trace.

And finally, she reached her favourite spot, a small cove, dotted with shining pebbles, at the edge of the shallows. There she lay down, the cool water just lapping at the edges of her flimsy, blue dress. She closed her eyes against the rising sun and felt as though she were in a dream. This place was so beautiful.

But for Legolas, kneeling, concealed by a large rock a few feet away, his eyes held a different kind of beauty. He looked on in wonderment at this strange, ethereal, perfect creature, her body lithe-limbed and pale golden, covered only by a very thin, shimmering pale blue dress that shone the same colour as her blue-black hair in the sunlight. The beautiful blue eyes were closed, but he held them in his memory now. Who was she? A young princess dwelling in Lothlorien no doubt, perhaps related to Galadriel herself. Fleetingly, he thought that this girl was more beautiful than even the Lady, and felt strange for it, as he had never imagined perfection to surpass hers. But this girl...this girl. She stirred emotions inside him that he had never realised before. He had to get closer. Had to touch her, in case he never saw her again. Had to make sure she was not part of just some pleasant dream.

She was still in her trance, her mind full of the sweetest birdsong and the rustling trees in the breeze and the sun on her skin, when she felt something touch her face. A soft, gentle caress. Slowly she opened her eyes, expecting an angel. What she saw was, however, not far off. A slender, young Elf, betrayed by his ears, blue-eyed, with long blond hair, wearing a finely-woven tunic that said something of his breeding. She could say nothing...only look at him. He, too, was seemingly mesmerised.

Then she realised that she still lay on the ground, and quickly rose to her feet, now looking eye-to-eye at the Elf before her.

"Lady...forgive me, I..." he stopped suddenly."I thought you were Elven!"

She looked hard at him."I...no, I am no Elf."

There seemed a trace of disappointment in his eyes."Then, once more, forgive me. I merely wanted to...touch you. I am sorry." He turned to go.

"Elf!"she called, and he looked back. God, she seemed to grow more beautiful with every glance."I would ask you to tell me your name, in return for discovering my secret place."

"Legolas."he said quietly."Legolas."

"Legolas, do you not find the company of mortal women agreeable? For you seemed startled at the suggestion that I am one."

"Lady, if truth be told I fell in love with you at sight. But I am bound by duty: I am Prince of Mirkwood, and my father's son. My match cannot be with mortal woman, not if I am to remain as you see me now. I hope you understand. You are beautiful."

He turned then, and was gone, before she had a chance to say a word.