DISCLAIMER: The characters from Lord of the Rings and their wonderful world are borrowed from J.R.R. Tolkien. The plotline and all other characters are copyright 2002 Emily (emi_kins@yahoo.com)


Isabella was unable to see Prince Legolas right away, for he was with his father, King Thranduil. And, although she wanted to barge into the Royal Tent in her wet clothes, Hwestawen would not allow it. She dragged Isabella away to the opposite end of the camp and set to the work of cleaning her up.


Angil bowed as he entered the tent where King Thranduil sat with his son. "Your Highnesses."

"Angil, my friend, how is Isabella?" asked Legolas, rushing forward to greet him. He had changed into his royal robes and wore a golden circlet upon his head. "They say that you found her. Is she well?"

The captain smiled. "I did indeed, and she is well, aside from some minor wounds. She caught hold of a thorn bush which held her fast against the raging waters and the thorns pierced through her hand."

Legolas grimaced against the thought of the pain. "Did you tell her?"

"Of course, Calen. She was… beside herself. Laughing one moment; crying the next." He grinned. "This princess of yours has the heart of a lion, and loyalty to your family such as I have never seen. She told me the truth about her feelings for you before I could tell her our secret. She looked at me with such tenderness and told me she would try to love me if I still desired her for my wife."

"Well," said King Thranduil with a laugh, "It appears you have finally met a Lady who cares nothing for the crown that you offer, My Son. You must be pleased."

"Pleased? Father, wait until you meet her!"

Thranduil nodded. "I have waited many long years to finally see Liriliel and Narulas' daughter. All this time, I have had only rumors of her beauty and her skill as a warrior. Not even she knows this, but in one year's time, she was supposed to come to court as an apprentice to Angil, to become a royal guard."

"A rare honor for a female," murmured the captain.

"That was her dream," replied the prince. "I asked her once if she would like to be Princess of Mirkwood, and she said no, she would rather be a Royal Guard." A cloud of worry crossed over his eyes. "I wonder, if given the choice…"

"Oh, Calen," laughed Angil, "Do not even think such a thing! She would never choose her skill over you."

Legolas nodded but the look of worry did not leave his face.


Isabella was stunned by the reflection that greeted her in the looking glass. Two hours of grooming and primping had left her looking like a true Lady, or even – dare she say it? – a princess. She wore her mother's gown, a light, flowing thing with a small train that faded from the dark blue to green to purple and back again. Her hair had been pulled back and up into a ponytail and then plaited with a thousand tiny braids that fell almost to her waist.

When Hwestawen had revealed that Liriliel's pearls were hidden in the luggage, Isabella almost wept. Although she had never seen them, her father had always told her of their beauty, for such gems had never been seen in Mirkwood before her mother arrived. A circlet of them was placed upon her head, a necklace of them about her slender neck, and a multi-tiered belt of them about her waist.

"I think you are ready," said Hwestawen, looking at her once more. "Come. We go to meet the king."


The prince almost did not recognize her when he saw her. His beloved; the one his heart loved; his life. She stood before him, strangely shy, and curtsied low.

"Your Highnesses."

Her voice was like music and Legolas sat frozen in time just gazing at her, willing her to speak again. Instead he heard his father's laughter.

"It appears," chuckled the king, "that you have done the impossible, My Dear Isabella. You have stricken my son speechless."

Legolas cast a brief glance at his father and stood slowly from his chair. Then, kneeling before Isabella, he lightly kissed her hand. "Your beauty takes my breath away, My Love," he said, his voice barely audible. "From the moment I first saw you… I loved you. I hope that you can forgive me for my deception."

Isabella's heart skipped a beat. Her mouth was dry and her eyes were moist and she wished that she could reverse the two. "Oh, Calen…" was all she managed to say before falling into his arms, weeping for joy.

He held her close, closing his eyes and losing himself in the essence of her – the warmth of her skin, the sound of her voice, the scent of her hair. "Please forgive me," he whispered in her ear, "Please forgive me."

"Only if you can forgive me for being so childish," she whispered. "I should have known, Legolas. I should have known that everything would be all right, just like you said it would be."

He warmed at her use of his true name. How long had he longed to hear her say it? The two of them held each other for a long time in silence until Isabella reluctantly backed away, curtsying to the king. "Forgive me, Your Highness. I-"

"Do not apologize, My Dear!" exclaimed Thranduil. "Have you any idea how long I have waited to see this day? My son has found a match at last! And my heart sings all the more because he chose you, the daughter of two of the finest Elves I have ever known! Isabella, I have long wished for the day that Lord Narulas and Lady Liriliel's daughter would stand before me. Never did I dream that it would be under these circumstances. Welcome to my Court! And welcome to my family!"

"Wait, Father," Legolas spoke hesitantly. "Do not be so quick to welcome her to the family. Perhaps she will change her mind about marrying me when she knows the plans that you had for her."

"Nothing could change my mind, My Love. Nothing," she said.

"Not even the chance at achieving your dream? There is a place for you on Mirkwood's Royal Guard should you choose to take it."

She did not even have to think about this. "I belong wherever you are, Legolas. Is there a place for me in your heart as well?"

Relief was bright in his eyes as he nodded happily. "There has been a place for you in my heart since the day I was born, Isabella. A place just for you." And he captured her mouth in a hungry kiss as the king looked on joyfully, already planning the grand celebration that would be his son's wedding.


***A/N*** Rightie-o! Thanks for all of the wonderful reviews! Birdie, you always make me giggle with your insistence that Legolas should marry a girl named Birdie :)! Heehee! Right. So I've started on the prequel of Elenath, but it won't be posted for a while yet. Maybe a month. Maybe a couple of weeks. Got a lot going on right now, so it depends on that, but believe me, I'm writing as fast as I can!! Blessings to all!