Meetings in grief
Disclaimer: They are not mine, they all belong to Tolkien. I don't gain money with writing this. It is for entertainment only.
The twins are 15 year. (about a century)
Legolas is 12/13 year. (50/55 year)
'An elf has been here, and very recently too. We are gaining on him.' Elrond stretched from where he had been examining the tracks. It had taken a few days before he and Thranduil had finally picked up the trail. Now they were finally close to their prey.
'Good, the sooner we find him, the sooner we can go home.' Thranduil spurred his horse on. 'It is not that I do not like travelling in your company, I merely want to be with my son.'
'I share your desire. I wonder what they are doing now.'
'It is quite easy, trust me.' Legolas assured the twins while they were still staring at the game with dubious expressions.
'But what is the fun in it? It actually looks kind of boring.'
With a shrug of his shoulders Elladan lifted the ball. It had three holes in it, one for his thumb and two for his middle and third finger. 'It's pretty heavy.'
Mimicking the move that Legolas had showed him he rolled the ball towards ten small wooden poles, decorated with painted orc faces. The ball rolled almost immediately to the left and didn't hit any of them. Legolas laughed aloud. 'It is clear you have never done it before! Come on, try again, every turn you may try twice!'
Elladan tried again. 'I hit one! Look!'
With a grin Legolas noted it on his paper. 'Elrohir, you're next!'
After a few tries the twins were truly enjoying themselves. 'What happens if you hit all poles at once?'
'We call it orc-smash. If that happens, you may double the points of your next turn.'
'I'm really starting to like these Mirkwood games!' Elladan declared.
'So… how are you doing these days?' Elrond asked after another awkward silence. It had been on impulse that he and the king had departed together. Need for vengeance drove them together, but that did not mean they were comfortable around each other.
'Fine, I guess. You?' The king answered, looking to the horizon.
'Yea, me too.' They were silent again. They had followed the tracks for a time to the south. When they arrived at the mountains of Mirkwood they had turned east and crossed the Celduin. Now they were on a plain. The tracks were quite easy to find, probably because Angasicil had grown overconfident, thinking that he didn't have to fear for pursuit anymore. 'It has been a time we least saw each other, hasn't it?'
The king nodded, 'It has. I have not seen you since the last alliance.' They looked to each other for a moment before turning to look at the ground again. Their last parting had not been peaceful. It had resulted in Thranduil storming out of Elrond's tent and gathering what was left of his troops to ride back to Greenwood. 'Elrond, you do know I never meant to call you a... you know what, don't you?'
Elrond smiled, 'It was said in the heat of the moment. I also never meant that you were an arrogant, pompous-'
'Yes, yes! I know. It is a shame relations between our kingdoms have been strained ever since. Maybe we could renew the contact?'
'Sounds like an excellent idea.'
'Let us camp here, the sun is already setting. It is truly a shame we are not in Greenwood at the moment. Tonight is the feast of the hunter.'
'Feast of the hunter? I've never heard of it before.' Elrond smiled when a twinkling appeared in Thranduil's eye.
'It is my favourite. And it is no great wonder you've never heard of it, it is a feast from the woodelves, and it is entirely different than the feast you hold in Imladris.'
'Feast of the hunter? I've never heard of it before! What is it?'
Legolas looked genuinely surprised. 'It is one of the biggest feasts of the year! Everyone takes something to eat with them, and the royal family brings the wine. But now is not the time for talking, we have to prepare ourselves. A maid has brought you some clothes!'
A bit dubious Elladan and Elrohir entered the glade. Instead of the formal robes they had expected the maid had given them a decorated version of hunter's gear. Great fires were already burning and some woodelves were singing merely, roasting all kind of game on the spits. In the middle of the glade was a big pile of wooden spears. A few elves waved enthusiastically to them. 'Do you know them?' Elladan asked.
'Never seen them before, but let us go. It is said that no one can party better than the woodelves of Mirkwood.'
They joined the elves. A dark haired elf patted the ground next to him. Before Elladan sat he started to talk. 'You see that rabbit on the spit? My son brought that! He will be a fine hunter later, don't you think?'
The other elves burst out in laughter at this comment. 'Ah Ronir! You've been boasting about that all day!'
'No wonder!' called another elf 'he has too! I doubt he has shot anything edible!'
Ronir laughed before pointing to another spit. 'I shot that stag, something bigger than you could ever accomplish!' Turning to the twins he asked; 'Are you hungry? We've got plenty.'
Before they answered he called to another elf. 'We've go hungry guests over here!'
The elf grabbed some meat. 'Catch!'
The whole circle roared with laughter when the twins got the meat full in the face.
'I wish the prince would hurry! I'm parched!' Ronir exclaimed.
As if on cue, a clear bell rang out. 'The prince! The prince has arrived!'
Legolas walked in, head held high. He wore dark green clothes, green gems were stitched in it, making him glimmer when he walked past the fires. His head was crowned with a circlet of mitril and beautifully crafted emerald leaves. When all the attention was focussed on him he spoke. 'Elves of greenwood! Tonight we celebrate the feast of the hunter! I have but one very important announcement.'
The woodelves grinned broadly to each other, they knew what was coming, but it was an old tradition so they all pretended not to know and look grave.
Legolas took a deep breath and scanned the crowd. 'This year's wine is from Eregion, bottled in the year 876 of the second age!'
A loud cheer rose when elves rolled barrels wine to the feast. When everyone had eaten, the spits were removed from the fires and some elves grabbed instruments. All the elves rose and grabbed big, wooden spears from the pile in the middle. They started to hit the ground with them and soon a rhythmic pounding arose.
Drums, flutes and other instruments started to weave a melody through the pounding and suddenly all elves jumped up. They started jumping and dancing, still hitting the ground at exactly the right time. Suddenly one elf ran to a big fire, and jumped over it, he landed and pounded his spear at the right time. This seemed some kind of sign, for suddenly the other elves were running to the fires too. Some summersaulted, others simply jumped but they all flew over the fires.
Elladan and Elrohir were soon affected by the stimulating rhythm (and the wine), and they too started to dance. They truly didn't know how long they were feasting and how many cups of wine they had up, when they fell asleep at the edge of the glade, never taking their eyes of the woodelves, still jumping and singing merrily.
Elrohir groaned softly and shadowed his eyes with his hand. He had an enormous headache and the bright light didn't help one bit. Slowly he removed his hand with pinched eyes he looked in confusion at the chaos around him. Died out fires, sleeping elves and empty cups were everywhere. He vaguely remembered dancing and having fun, but his memory was blurry at its best. An annoyingly merry voice called. 'Rise and shine, dear Elrohir. The sun is up and the birds are chirping happily, this is no time for sleeping!'
His brother stirred besides him. 'Go away.'
Legolas was having none of it and pulled Elrohir up chatting all the time, the poor twin stumbled and clutched his head. 'Not so loud.'
With a cheerful laugh Legolas grabbed the other twin and half dragged them to a streamlet. 'Dunk your head in a couple of times, that should help!'
A few hours later the twins were truly awake again although they still had a pounding in their heads. 'You could have warned us, you know. Although it is a well-known fact that woodelves learn to drink wine before they learn to walk, we Imladris elves don't.'
'I am sorry. How's your headache?' Legolas bright smile belied his words, so the twins didn't bother answering. 'You know, someone has made a little verse about you. Shall I recite it?'
'Please don't!' Elladan groaned, trying to cover Legolas' mouth, it did not work.
'Have you heard of the elves from Rivendell?/ I believe they feel slightly unwell/ Too much wine/makes them whine/so please do not yell!'
'That' Elrohir exclaimed, 'was by far the worst poem I've ever heard!'
'Well, I was slightly tipsy when I made it… I mean the one who made it was tipsy, not me. I would never dare to make… never mind´
´So you are the culprit! Seriously, wine and whine? That does not rhyme, it is almost the same word!´
'Well, can you find a word that rhymes with wine?'
Elladan shrugged. 'How about nine? Or dine! Everything is better than whine!'
Elrohir nodded in agreement, 'Or fine, or line, or vine, or swine, or…'
'Thranduil, yonder is a cave and the tracks lead right towards it.'
'I see it. What shall we do? Wait until he sleeps or just attack right away?'
They both fell silent. It was true they wanted vengeance, but their honour wouldn't let them attack an sleeping person, yet if they attacked straight away, they could both end up with an arrow in their chests.
'let us surprise him, we can wait until he goes away from the cave and attack.' Elrond suggested, Thranduil nodded in agreement but found it hard to sit still, so close to this murderer. He sat down nonetheless, and unsheathed his sword. After a few seconds he stood up again, watched the cave for any movements, and sat down.
Elrond suppressed an irritated groan when Thranduil repeated this. His eyes followed the movements of the king, sitting down, unsheathing his sword, standing up, watching the cave, putting the sword back, sitting down, unsheathing his sword and so on. Finally he had enough. 'Sit down, Thranduil! We will go when evening falls, you can better take a little rest.'
His words had no effect on the king and he was forced to watch Thranduil sit down, unsheathe his sword, stand up, watch the cave, put the sword back, sit down, unsheathe his sword.. Elrond buried his face in his hands, this was going to be a long day. His companion meanwhile stood up, watched the cave, put his sword back, sat down, unsheathed his sword and stood up again.
So, the story is coming to an end. There are a few chapters left, and an epilogue. Thanks for all the reviews and I hope I can post the next chapter coming weekend!
Thanks Rachielle, Issy, Nithiel, Frodo's sister and MDarKspIrIt!