The Wild Westfold
By: Lauthica Green Clinkenbeard
Bonus Chapter 3
Three: The Eternal Secret (for Jordan)
He had never forgotten the day that she first arrived. His father, King Thranduil, had assembled the entire court at the wooden veranda near the threshold of the realm as soon as the border scouts spotted the approaching caravan. Elrond and his kin were escorting one of their wards from Imladris for fostering in the Greenwood. At the turn of the last full moon his father had summoned he and his older siblings to explain their coming situation.
"A young woman of Men had come to Imladris under dire circumstances," his father had said, "This morning I received word from Lord Elrond that the young woman had fallen into despair and grief in the wake of a tragedy. He fears for his ward and has suggested that the young woman travel here to our court."
His eldest brother spoke up, "But Father, she is just a mortal."
"And do you forget, Father," said his eldest sister, "A party from Lorien shall also be visiting come time for the harvest."
"Calm yourselves, my children," said Thranduil holding up his hand for them to quiet, "This request came in Lord Elrond's hand himself. He praises the young woman's passions. He expressed of her being quite sharp of mind and also skilled in military arts. As for the harvest festival, we have plenty of rooms to spare. I am strongly considering accepting Lord Elrond proposal."
And so his father did accept the ward and now they stood awaiting the caravan. His father wore his best silver/white tunic and his turn of the season crown; mithril, stag antlers adorned with gold and bronze leaves. His elder siblings were also in their best dressed, but their expressions were far less of welcoming. This brought a slight despair in his heart. His father sensed this and turned toward his younger son.
"Legolas, come," he said gesturing him to join him at his side. Legolas nodded and walked over.
"Yes, father?" he asked.
"Do you know why your brothers and sisters are more distained to this situation?" his father asked.
"No, father," he said, "I would think they would be excited for an opportunity like this."
Thranduil smiled, "Oh, my young son," he said, "You have not yet come to learn of all the knowledge this world has to offer. You have not truly traveled these lands and seen the vast wealth of people that inhabit it. Most of your siblings have."
"But Father, why then not send me away for fostering? Or perhaps even let me go exploring on my own?" Legolas asked.
Thranduil sighed. The expression on his face was clearly torn between a concerned father and an understanding king. It had been a few decades since Legolas's coming of age festival, yet he had been worried about letting his son go off on his own.
"Perhaps your right son," Thranduil said. "I shall make inquiries after our ward is settled in."
Before Legolas could say anything else the brush and saplings parted as the archers of the scouting party stepped into the clearing of the threshold followed by six or seven powerful horses and riders; all hooded in thick, woolen cloaks. Legolas watched their guests intently. The leader of the rider reached up and let his hood fall back. It was Lord Elrond looking as somber and wise as he ever had. The rest of the riders also pulled back their hoods revealing Lindir, Elrond's most faithful servant and squire, as well as two other noble men of the court of Imladris. The rest were no doubt soldiers. Then Legolas noticed that one rider had yet to lower their hood.
Elrond dismounted and adjusted his riding gloves. He stepped forward across the threshold and held his arms open.
"Thranduil, The Eleven King," Elrond said nodding his head to Legolas's father, "Thank you for allowing us into your realm on such a short notice and with such a strange request."
"My kin of Imladris are always welcome in the Woodland realm and will always find food on my table, a warm bed in my keep, and welcoming faces." Thranduil said as he walked over to Elrond and shared the traditional elvish greeting of friends. Elrond then turned from Thranduil and looked back to the still hooded rider.
"Come forth, my dear," he said beckoning toward her. Lindir dismounted quickly and went to the hooded rider. He helped them down and that was when Legolas saw the hem of a gown and knew that this was their new ward.
The hooded woman walked toward Elrond and Thranduil. She curtsied before the Elven King.
"Your grace," she said barely above a whisper.
"Lower your hood, Deya. Let the king see you," Elrond said smiling.
"Oh! Yes," she said reaching up quickly and pushed the hood back, "A thousand apologies, your grace." She said curtsying again.
All the air around Legolas was suddenly gone. His eyes widened and his mouth fell open. A fire burned within him and ice traced along his skin and down his spine. This woman was beyond lovely. She was tall, yet lithe, and her face was round with small, sharp features. Her hair nearly dragged the stone floor of the threshold and was a deep crimson that glittered like rubies in the broken sunbeams coming down from the canopy above. He could not tear his eyes away from her. She looked up at Thranduil and then her gaze travelled to the rest of the court behind him and eventually she met his stare. Legolas thought his heart would explode right there in that moment. Her eyes were large, shaped like almonds, and every bit of a bright, and vibrant green as the grass.
"May I present, Déorwyrdhnes." Elrond said.
Thranduil looked confused for a moment, "Just Déorwyrdhnes?"
Elrond seemed slightly taken back by Thranduil's question, "Yes…just Déorwyrdhnes, or Deya."
Now it was Thranduil who seemed taken back, but he dared not say anything else. He was under the assumption that this mortal girl had to be of some sort of nobility, but a commoner? And a commoner of men of all things! What was so special about this girl, she was barely yet still a child?
Thranduil welcomed his guests into his halls and there was a great feast. As members of the court began to retire in the dimming twilight, Legolas had taken up hiding in a small statue niche. The thought of going anywhere near Deya frightened him more than monster or creature of this land.
Shadows passed him and he peeked out to see his father, Elrond, and Deya walking down the hall. They were heading for his father's chambers, no doubt, for a private discussion. He had sensed the distaste in his father's demeanor when she learned that Deya was not a noble. Would he take back his invitation? Would he send her away? Legolas could not bear the thought of not being near her…well, not too near. He followed them and snuck into his father's drawing room behind them creeping behind a heavy, velvet curtain.
"Who were your parents?" Thranduil asked her.
"Just a humble stable keep and his quiet loving wife," she said.
"Siblings?" he asked.
"Many. Too many, really." She said.
"And by what destiny did you come to Imladris?" he asked.
"That's none of your business." She said. Legolas nearly burst out in giggles when his father's mouth fell open in shock. Thranduil looked over to Elrond as if seeking some sort of explanation for her insolent behavior. Elrond smirked as well, trying to suppress his own laughter.
"I did write that she was passionate," he said as he smirked at the elven king.
Thranduil was less than pleased. "You may go!" he half yelled at Deya. She curtsied again and left the room. Legolas thought about following her. Until he heard his father speak again.
"How dare you!" Thranduil yelled. Legolas flinched, thinking that he had been discovered, but his father continued, "Is this some kind of joke to you, Lord Elrond?"
"No, it is not a joke. I find your expressions amusing, but it is no jest." Elrond said.
"Then why?" Thranduil asked.
"I didn't see the girl for myself for a long time after I was told she arrived. She was with child from a violent attack. She wanted to leave the child in Imladris after birth for care and go home, but she lost the child. Hearing of her despair I went to her to comfort her and when I first looked into her eyes I had a powerful and vivid foresight."
Thranduil raised an eyebrow, "What did you see?"
"I saw a great warrior…Clad in leather and chain…Wielding a curved rainbow blade dripping with the black blood of the orc. The warrior stood in a great, golden hall. In one hand they held the sword and the other was a clenched fist. When they opened their palm I was basked in the pulsing light of the valor."
"The Valor?!" Thranduil asked, "Who was the warrior? Surely not her,"
"No, it was not her, but I believe it is one of her decedents." Elrond said and he sighed and sat down at Thranduil's table pouring himself a glass of wine.
"Why would a decedent of some Rohhiric peasant possess the light of the valor?" Thranduil asked as he sat across from Elrond.
"I don't know," Elrond said, "But there is one thing I do know."
"What is that?"
"She must be absolutely protected."
In was in this moment that Legolas came to two realizations. One, he must take it upon himself to personally protect Deya and her decedents for the rest of his life, and two, that he was madly and completely in love with her and would never allow any other woman into his heart.
Deya, the Rohhiric girl, kept mostly to herself for the first few weeks. Thranduil had refused for her to have elvish servants and sent for two mortal ladies maids to tend to her. She was always invited to sup with the royal family but never came. Despair grew in Legolas's heart. He had barely caught glimpses of her in the halls, and he yearned for her company. Even when his father came to him about fostering in Lothlorien Legolas refused.
The harvest festival was but a few days away. Some nobles from Lothlorien had already arrived and the halls were growing quite busy. The day that Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel arrived Thranduil called upon the entire court and nearly forced Deya and her maids to attend as well.
Legolas stood as near of her as he dared. When she glanced at him he smiled. She smiled back but quickly looked away calmly. Lady Galadriel was the first to arrive on her magnificent and ancient horse. She dismounted as if she could float and removed her riding gloves. Servants attended to her and Thranduil walked forward waiting for her greeting. She stopped suddenly feeling a presence. She looked up past Thranduil and her gaze fell immediately upon Deya. Deya's face turned red in embarrassment that she was being stared at. Galadriel then turned to Thranduil with a concerned look and Thranduil knew then that what Elrond had seen has been true. Lord Celeborn and another highborn elven man came into the clearing. Celeborn knew at once that his wife had sensed something and he dismounted quickly and rushed to her side. The other highborn elven just rolled his eyes at the strange commotion.
Thranduil knew that greeting Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel was pointless at the moment and would no doubt have to explain things to them in private later. He bypassed them and went to the highborn.
"Gilgaladir," Thranduil said as he embraced his much as he had Elrond, "It has been far too long."
"Not nearly long enough. I hate riding. I hate festivals. All this formal nonsense puts a bad taste in my mouth." Gilgaladir said cruelly. Thranduil had heard that Galadriel's brother was less than charming but he ignored the highborn's rudeness.
"I do not see your wife nor your two daughters. Were they not well enough to make the journey?" Thranduil asked.
"My wife is a beautiful, dutiful fool of a Lady and my daughters care more for the beauty of the green moss on the trees and the flowers growing in the open fields of Lorien. I did not want to burden them with such a trivial and silly custom. We elves are far more superior now than the days we ran naked in the grass and made love under the moon and stars."
Thranduil had heard enough, but he did not dare speak his mind. He nodded and walked away furious at the man. Legolas fidgeted where he stood. He had also heard rumors of Galadriel's brother. Whispers claimed Gilgaladir was an impulsive hunter of women and never brought his family anywhere he might find "fresh meat." Legolas glanced at his sisters. They had already been warned, he hoped…and then he noticed something quite different.
Deya's eyes were wide and her mouth was open slightly. Her cheeks were flush and he could tell that her mind had gone blank. Fear boiled within his blood and he followed her gaze all the way…to Gilgaladir. Everything else happened so fast that Legolas could only feel the deep shattered occurring within his own heart. Gilgaladir felt eyes upon him and he looked up until he found Deya. Deya smiled and her smile was kindly and innocent…Gilgaladir smiled and his was sinister and cold.
Legolas spent the next two nights sitting on the floor bow and arrow in hand a few feet from the door of Deya's chambers. He was angry. Now, when he met the eyes of Gilgaladir he felt only rage and pain. He would take her from him. Granted, he had never spoke more than three words to the woman, but he loved her and he had to protect her.
On the third night of his quest he was exhausted. He had barely had any sleep. His eyes drooped and his mind was weary.
"Prince Legolas?" Asked a voice.
Legolas was jerked from his half-sleep and looked up to see Gilgaladir. He leapt up and docked an arrow.
"What are you doing here?" Legolas asked.
"I could be asking you the same question." Gilgaladir said and smirked. Then, despite having an arrow pointed at his face, he reached out and knocked on Deya's door.
"Leave her alone! She doesn't want to see you so late!" Legolas yelled.
"Oh, I think she does." Gilgaladir said.
Legolas was fuming and let his arrow fly…but archery was his weakest skill in the practice field. The arrow missed by a good two feet and bounced off a pillar behind his wicked enemy.
Deya's door opened and she came out. Seeing Legolas surprised her. "Prince Legolas? What are you doing out and about so late?" she asked.
"He was just leaving," Gilgaladir said.
"As are we," Deya said, "Good night, Prince Legolas," she said curtsying.
"Where are you going so late?" Legolas asked her.
"Lord Gilgaladir has been taking walks with me in the day showing me the vast beauty of your forests and rivers. Tonight he wants to show me a lake that he claimed reflects the entire moon and looks like the water is silver." she said. Legolas's heart sank. He should have known to protect her in the day as well.
"Have a good time, my lady," Legolas said and he stepped aside and let them pass. Deya stopped and turned back around.
"Why did you say that?" she asked.
"What?" Legolas asked.
"I'm not a lady…." Deya said slightly embarrassed.
"You are…" Legolas said softly, "A most beautiful, and graceful Lady as I have ever seen of either Men or Elves. You should be the definition of your gender. And so I shall call you a Lady and never feel I speak lies."
Deya's mouth fell open as she stared at the prince. Gilgaladir was less than impressed. He grabbed Deya's wrist roughly.
"Come Deya, before the moon gets too low," he said. Deya followed him without saying a word.
The next day Legolas found himself sitting in the courtyard alone. Tonight was the beginning of the festival, but he felt no joy. His imagination betrayed him as he wondered what happened between his beloved Deya and Gilgaladir last night. A shadow out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He glanced up and when he saw it was Deya he nearly toppled off the bench as he stood, red cheeked and heart racing.
"My Lady!" he said catching himself, straightening the front of his violet, silk tunic.
"So you meant what you said?" she asked.
Legolas was confused for a moment, "I do not understand, my lady." He said.
"You would really call me a lady?" she asked.
"Of course," she said and half-laughed. She smiled.
"I'm not the most lady-like," she said.
"I would never doubt your charm and grace," he said.
"Oh, hush," she said, "I never understood the shameless and meaningless flattery of you nobles. I saw you shoot that arrow last night. You have terrible aim."
Legolas felt embarrassed, "I'm sorry, my lady. Archery was never one of my strong points."
"I could teach you," she said. Legolas's heart soared.
"Really?" he asked.
"Yes," she said and giggled, "But I have one condition,"
"Anything, my lady," Legolas said.
"When I train you, please don't call me a Lady." She said. They both laughed. Some merry music from the band that was practicing nearby drifted through the air. Legolas held out his arm.
"Would you like to dance, my lady?" he asked.
"Sure," she said.
Legolas became Deya's escort for the first night of the festivities. Thranduil gave his speech about the fertile soil and most bountiful food. The entire city feasted. People danced and singers sung.
Then, in the dark and dead of night Deya began teaching Legolas her tricks of archery. As the festival continued, so did the lessons. The Prince and the present grew to be close friends in those short days. But on the last night of the festival, Deya did not show up at the practice yard. He waited until the sun was barely beginning to peak over the land. As he sat there, he wondered if he had offended her in some way. He wandered around the halls and ever checked with her maids.
"She has not yet returned from the festival's closing." They said.
Legolas was worried and he hurried through halls and corridors. He then began to search the woods closest to the threshold. He was near tears with panic and felt as if all hope was lost and the worst had happened to his beloved Deya when the sound of soft sobs fell on his ears. He followed it all the way to the edge of a lake and found her. Every bit of Legolas's heart and soul shattered seeing her. He had failed her again…..
Deya's face was caked in mud from being forced down. Her arms and legs had bruises from where he had gripped her hard. A chunk of her hair had been ripped out and all of her fingernails were broken, a few bleeding. Her bodice had been torn open and her skirt cut right up the middle and shredded. When she realized that she wasn't alone she looked up and wept ever harder. She grabbed bits of fabric from her dress and clutched them to her chest.
"Don't look at me…" she said between sobs, "Gil…Gilgaladir…."
Legolas quickly untied the strings and his tunic and slipped it off kneeling down. He draped it over her and she quickly clutched it around her trying to save what little dignity and modesty she had left. Legolas lifted her gently and carried her back to her chambers using the back passages to avoid attention. Her maids began weeping seeing her and asked the assailant but Deya remained silent.
She did not come out of her room for days, nor did she meet with Legolas in the practice yard. He still went though, and now he had a new purpose to his determination to master archery. Every time he aimed at the target, he pictured Gilgaladir and the wicked smile on his face the day he arrived. Legolas practiced until the tips of his fingers bleed and every feather in his quiver was stained with blood. It was the blood of revenge and someday, he would have it.
The Lorien party remained in Mirkwood for nearly two months after the festival. Then finally, the night before they planned to depart Legolas saw one of Deya's maids walking down the hall in the twilight as he was coming back from the practice yard. The maid looked worried and was heading for King Thranduil's chambers. Legolas followed her.
The maid entered the drawing room and it wasn't a moment later that his father came storming out enraged. Legolas didn't even have time to hide.
"Son! Come! Now!" he father yelled. He turned to one of his own servants, "Fetch Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel now! We gather at the threshold! Maid, fetch your charge!"
The air was thick with tension. As everyone gathered at the threshold, Legolas glared at Gilgaladir, who was sweating and looked uneasy. Legolas hoped maybe tonight justice would be done. Deya arrived with her maids. Thranduil gestured for her to come forward.
"Speak child!" Thranduil demanded. Deya flinched.
"I must admit that I have not been kind to my gracious host. Something has happened…" she began. Gilgaladir held his breath. Deya continued, "I have had numerous lovers since my stay here and I have found that I am with child." She said. She looked down, knowing she was lying. Her maids as well looked down keeping her secret. The other members of the court that had gathered began bickering and gossiping among themselves. Legolas was enraged, but before he could scream anything Lady Galadriel spoke and the threshold fell as silent as a crypt.
"She is lying." Lady Galadriel said, "The father of the child is my brother. He raped her the last night of the festival when she transferred her attentions from him to your son, Thranduil."
Deya turned white as a ghost and he maids wept again.
"It's true!" one maid said.
"Prince Legolas found her and carried her back!" said the other.
Thranduil turned to look at his son. "You already knew? Why did you not come to me at once and report this crime?"
"Deya is my friend and she wished for privacy on the matter. I could not betray her trust." Legolas said.
"Where is Gilgaladir?" Lord Celeborn asked. Suddenly everyone looked around. He had fled into the forest. Legolas took off at once using his keen hearing to listen for Gilgaladir's steps. He heard desperate pants and soon saw the shadow running under the trees in the dark. Legolas quickened his pace and was starting to catch up. The chase reached an open field with a large hill. Gilgaldir fled over and down and was nearing the thick, density of the heart of Mirkwood. If he reached it, Legolas would never be able to track him.
Legolas stood at the top of the hill and pulled out the blood stained arrow. He docked it and took his aim, remembering everything that his beloved Deya had taught him. He released the arrow and it flew through the air…and straight through Gilgaladir's skull from the back and jutted out of one of his eyes in the front.
Legolas dragged the body into forest and left it for the wolves. He returned to the threshold.
"Where is Gilgaladir?" Lady Galadriel asked.
Legolas felt uneasy in her gaze. He knew, that she knew what he had done. Legolas turned to his father, "He fled to the east and threw himself off the ravine. I think he thought he could make it to the river but he smashed his head on the rocks. He is dead." Legolas looked back to Lady Galadriel worried. She remained silent and nodded to him. She would never tell his secret…either of them.
What had been done, had been done. There was no going back. Deya was pregnant with that monster's child. Thranduil wanted her gone, never to return. It was Lord Elrond that came up with the plan. She would be wed to a nobleman of Rohan who was told she was a widow of another nobleman. It all happened so fast that Legolas didn't even get to say goodbye….she was gone….his beloved Deya.
Legolas left Mirkwood and traveled the countryside. He explored the forests and the bases of mountains, and yet for all his travels he never once sought his beloved. He could jeopardize her alias. For many many years he never even returned home until he was called back for an important mission. From there he traveled with his kin to Imladris and joined the Fellowship of the Ring. He battled lake monsters and goblins in Moria. He once again looked upon the face of Lady Galadriel who gave him a great bow of the Galadrium. He fought terrible Uruk-Hai at Amon Hen as his fellowship was broken. He ran across open country with the heir of Isildur and a dwarf, of all things. And they came to Rohan….and they saw a wizard come back to life…and they rode to the Golden Hall of Meduseld in Edoras….
"I cannot allow you before Théoden King so armed, Gandalf Greyhame, by order of Grima Wormtongue." The guard had said. Legolas and his company reluctantly disarmed themselves. He looked up at the guard with the rusty, red beard and the large gut and then he glanced at the guards around him, meeting the green eyes of a woman a few feet behind the soldiers.
All the air around Legolas was suddenly gone. His eyes widened and his mouth fell open. A fire burned within him and ice traced along his skin and down his spine. This woman was beyond lovely. He was staring at a ghost….his beloved….could it be? No…This one was different. Not as lithe; broader and stronger. This one had higher cheekbones and a scar that crossed over one. It was not her.
Later that evening, after the Istari freed the King of Rohan and the party attended the funeral, Legolas and his companions were dining in the hall. Isildur's heir, Aragorn, waved for the woman to come over. She approached us slowly.
"Yes?" she asked.
"What is your name?" he asked.
"You may call me Deya." She said politely
"Deya?" Legolas asked as his heart stopped in his chest. "Would that be short for Déorwyrdhnes?"
"How would you know that?" she asked.
"I met your grandmother once…" He said staring at her. This was a blood decedent of his beloved. He continued on, "She was very beautiful, but she cannot hold a candle to the beauty that was given to you. I never thought I would meet one of her decedents. She was well liked in my land in Mirkwood. Very kind hearted."
Legolas had seen her fight in the halls. She was strong and brave. He could see courage in her eyes. As time went by friendships were kindled. Legolas felt his shattered heart heal. He failed to protect his beloved, but now he had the chance to protect this decedent…maybe even more. But so too then came the truths…she loved another…and Legolas continued on in silence and despair. He would keep the promise he made long ago….and the secret of his curse of unrequited love would follow him for the rest of eternity.