I have guests coming, so if I don't update for a few days, please don't shoot!
Ranran - I am so pleased for that, I hope that continues!
Horsegirl, regarding Legolas' weight - ok. Personally, I like my elves as 'physically viable' as possible. What I mean by this is that, unless they have some kind of gift or magic, to my scientific mind they are subject to the laws of physics. As such, Legolas is quite a tall elf, and particularly well-muscled due to his intensive training - so while not as big as Ram en Ondo - he would be quite heavy. Sorry, but I just do not like my elves flimsy - LOL.
Guest 1345 - I am honoured, as always!
Ninde - un besote
Guest13446 - I get the urge to write those little episodes like the one at the start of the last chapter - just like the first chapter I suppose, if you remember.
Rita Orca - well thanks for loving the thanks!
Chapter thirty: The Silence of the Silvans
The Company, with the exception of Legolas, had been freed from the confines of the Healing Wing, and now, they sat in borrowed clothes upon Legolas' bed as he moaned and complained of his own 'incarceration' as he called it.
Lindohtar giggled as he pulled at Galdithion's fine tunic. "We look like Lords!" he exclaimed, and Ram en Ondo beamed proudly as Lindohtar swaggered his hips and cocked his wrist.
"Fools," smiled Legolas, then winced as his wounds pulled.
"You have new robes too, Legolas - you must be fed up with being naked!"
"Shut up, Idhrenohtar! I am not naked, I am wearing bandages…"
Galdithion snorted and Lainion's eyebrow rose as he asked. "Even there…?
Lindohtar hooted and Legolas glared at the Avari, obviously deciding that there was nothing else for it than to endure their foolery. They had been worried, he knew - it was their way of releasing the negative tension they had accumulated over the last three days. The light-hearted banter did not last long though.
"How was your talk with our Prince?" asked Idhrenohtar, his eyes fixed on Legolas.
Silence fell over The Company. The subject was still knew. They had not spoken of Legolas' surprising heritage - there had been no time, and when there had been time, it had not been the appropriate moment.
"Well," he began carefully. "He was kind and - distant. I am not sure what I expected; hate and anger, or cool dismissal. I have not had the time to ponder it. I suppose it is enough that he did not treat me with disdain…"
"And you are content with just that?" asked Ram en Ondo, to which Galdithion nodded his agreement.
"Not content, Ram en, but think. I am the one to interfere with his family structure, I am one who could, potentially, cause him much strife. I do not know the full story but I suspect their has already been much heart-ache surrounding my - existence. I have no rights, and no right to demand his regard as a brother."
Galdithion's face was serious. "Legolas. Family is sacred, you share the same blood…"
"It is not about the blood we share, Gal, but about the blood that separates us."
"Be that as it may," he insisted, "you owe each other respect. Part of what he has is yours."
"No!" said Legolas forcefully, before softening his tone. "Nothing he has is mine. Nothing…" he whispered. There were deep emotions swirling under the surface, his unwillingness to speak any further becoming evident to them all.
"And yet," continued Galdithion, unwilling to let it go. "And yet you are wrong. You may not want it - but it is yours by right," he finished, equally convinced of what he said.
Legolas stared at the Silvan warrior for long moments, resisting the urge to answer him, for it would do no good. He did not wish to argue the point for now but his eyes continued to rove over the angelic features that were scrunched into an expression of such fierceness it seemed - almost funny and Legolas smiled in spite of himself.
"What is so funny?" asked Galdithion, suddenly self-conscious.
The scowl deepened, but Legolas continued. "You have been accepted into The Company and I am more than honoured that that should be so - you are missing a warrior name…"
"And?" asked Galdithion in irritation, irked that Legolas should change the subject so abruptly.
"And, I have it - I have your name…"
The scowl inverted and his eyebrows lifted in surprise.
"Pray tell," smirked Idhrenohtar as he watched them both.
"Rhrawthir - you, are Rhrawthir, Fierce Face…"
Ram en Ondo guffawed load and unconcerned that he was in the Healing Ward, while the others snickered. But Legolas and Galdithion continued to stare each other out, one grinning toothily and the other wearing his fiercest mask, until he could take it no more and he smiled.
"Alright. I understand, Legolas - I do - I just, I have strong views on family…"
"I understand too, Gal - as far as I am able to that is, for I never had family, and to have one now, one I never expected, it is - all so new and strange - I do not know what to do, how to feel. I can only go with the tide…"
"And the tide will be high, Legolas," warned Idhrenohtar. "Your identity has become known…"
Legolas' head whipped to the Wise Warrior. "How? How did that happen?" he asked with a scowl.
It was Lainion that answered though, for he had been there when it happened. "It was Prince Handir, Legolas. "No sooner we arrived he begged Lord Elrond to find the warriors he felt he had 'left behind;' he begged them because he said he had 'left his young brother behind,'" he finished softly, watching Legolas' reaction.
With a deep breath, Legolas looked away, and his doubt was back. "You see," said Galdithion, "blood does count, Legolas. He cares about you, that much is sure; he just does not know how to go about this…"
"Who does?" asked Lindohtar.
Galdithion nodded and looked to the floor, and when he looked back up again, he smiled wide and genuine. "Fierce Face," he repeated, as if savouring the name, "you have a sarcastic streak, Hwindohtar."
Hours later, Legolas lay atop the sheets of his bed, now in comfortable sleeping clothes. This was to be his last day abed, or so Lord Elrond had promised, well almost. There had been that - unimportant - condition that he should rest for the next week ahead, and though he had not wanted to admit it, his injuries had left him sore and weak.
By some miracle, he had not lost his journal in the ambush and now, it sat open before him, the rough sketch of Rhrawthir recently finished. It brought to mind the conversation he had had earlier with The Company, and when Legolas had finally had time to sit and think in the silence of his room, he realised he had come across as much more unconcerned about his family situation than he really was. The truth was different - he was curious about his brother, he wanted to get closer to him, to know what it was like to have a sibling. It intrigued him that Handir had revealed his secret with the sole intention of begging Elrond to find him sooner. But how does one get close enough to a Prince? Handir seemed so unapproachable, especially when the subject that concerned him was, potentially, volatile and upsetting.
Turning the page of his journal, a blank page stood before him, crisp and inviting, and so he closed his eyes and mustered the face of his next sketch - the elf he had first seen in a glade back in The Greenwood, the day he had become a novice warrior. It was only recently that he learned of his true identity - Handir, Prince of The Greenwood, his brother.
His stomach flipped every time he thought of it, and …. A knock on the door startled him for a moment, before he collected himself. "Enter," he called softly, reaching for the water on the bedside table. He nearly spilled it though, when he realised who it was that walked through the door.
"My Lord!" he called, making to leave his bed, but a stern look and an outstretched palm stilled him immediately.
"Forgive me," said Legolas bashfully and Glorfindel smiled kindly.
"May I?" he asked, gesturing to a nearby chair.
"Of course, my Lord, please," he said, turning to face to the legendary warrior, obviously uncomfortable with his more than casual attire and the fact that he was receiving a legend in his pyjamas, sprawled upon a bed.
Glorfindel, unperturbed by the young lad's obvious distress, leaned forward and stared at the rough sketch of Handir.
"Ah, your brother," he ventured, his eyes meeting those of Legolas challengingly, well aware of the risk he took by brooking this subject without the slightest preamble.
Indeed he had left the boy speechless and momentarily regretted having expressed himself so abruptly.
"We are aware of the story, Legolas. It has come to our attention."
The boy simply nodded, and then looked away in distress.
"Are you ashamed?" asked Glorfindel softly. It was not an accusation.
"Not of who, no, but of how, perhaps - I - I am unaware of the full story, as you may know."
"Yes - I know, child. But let me tell you this," he said, leaning forward until his face was but inches from Legolas. "I was a brother in all but blood to your grandfather, Oropher. He was the most extraordinary elf I have ever met. A brilliant mind and witty character; a fierce, brave warrior with an unwavering sense of loyalty to his people. I admired him, Legolas, and I miss him, every day of this life."
The boy had listened avidly, and Glorfindel had seen keen interest under the distress. Casting his eyes back down to the journal, he continued his questioning in the hopes of drawing him out. "What else do you keep in that diary?"
"This? 'Tis a journal of sorts, a multi-purpose thing, my Lord. 'Tis a diary, a note book, a to do list, a wish list.." he smiled bashfully.
"And what sort of things do you take note of?" asked Glorfindel, sincerely interested now. He was not, however, quite expecting the answer he received.
"Well, apart from these drawings, I write the things I would change…" he looked up self-consciously at the great lord, as if asking for permission to continue. The encouraging smile he received was enough.
"The problems I encounter with equipment, uniform, logistics. Impressions on orders given or how they are given, decisions on strategy that I do not understand and need to document, moves that others make that I wish to incorporate, or that I could improve…"
Glorfindel stared at the boy in fascination.
"You think me mad…" said Legolas with an understanding nod. "You are not the first to think this strange," he smiled.
"Legolas, it is not that I think you mad. It is, however, strange, to find a young, recently promoted warrior taking notes on such things. If one is looking for promotion, a diligent candidate would do such a thing, but you do not have to worry yourself on such things for now."
"Perhaps not," conceded Legolas. "But I enjoy it - the research I mean. I have read everything I could find on warfare and strategy - even your treatise, my Lord," he said, and there it was again, the same embarrassment he had seen when Glorfindel had first entered the room. It seemed to him, that the boy had never been able to discuss such things with anyone he considered an authority, had never received the feedback he obviously needed.
"Have you now?" asked Glorfindel in genuine surprise. It was a long, drawn-out account of the military strategy of wars in the First Age, not exactly the typical reading material of such a young warrior. "You are brave indeed, then," he chuckled and Legolas smiled, loosing some of the tension in his shoulders.
"You are one of four warriors that are to stay here for six months, correct?" asked Glorfindel rhetorically.
"Yes, my Lord."
"What is it you hope to achieve?"
"I - "
"Come, don't be shy!" he encouraged.
With another, self-conscious glance, Legolas answered as he always did when asked the same question.
"I want to be a Captain…"
"Ah! You are ambitious then!" said Glorfindel. "I am unaware of the workings of Thranduil's militia but here, in this Noldorin haven, only the best are chosen to lead, Legolas. You must have both innate qualities and skill - the question is - do you have these things?" he asked challengingly.
Legolas, for the first time, held the lord's gaze and Glorfindel found himself surprised at the conviction behind them. Gone was the embarrassment and the self-consciousness, replaced now with what suddenly appeared to be a different elf.
"Yes," he said evenly, before continuing. "In The Greenwood, it is the Sindar that boast the privilege of leadership. There are few Silvan captains, and most of them do not serve in the field at all. The rift is becoming too great, my Lord…"
Glorfindel leaned forward. He was fascinated, for if he had not misunderstood, this child was aspiring to changing the world, no less.
"You consider yourself Silvan then?" he asked lightly. The syntax had been interrogative, but not so the tone.
"Yes. It is where I was brought up, the people I call family, the culture that was bestowed to me. They have but village leaders to defend their rights - 'tis not enough in our changing forest. The Sindar are slowly but surely turning our identity into a thing of the past, a lesser people, more rustic, less valid …" he said almost pleadingly. The words had been passionate and heart-felt, and Glorfiindel stared now, into the strange green eyes of The Silvan. Elladan was right - there was something strange about him, something below the surface. Elrond had felt it, Elladan seconded it and now, Glorfiindel, could do nothing but agree.
But then a thought occurred to him. "Have you never seen Oropher in all those books you have read?"
Legolas scowled, before answering, "No - never. We have a limited library in my village, but no - nothing."
Glorfindel leant back, his suspicions confirmed. There had been a conspiracy amongst the Silvans - they had known, and they had sheltered him, there was no other explanation, for Oropher had his own treatise, had been a king and renowned warrior - it was impossible to not come across a rendering of him.
A sudden thought occurred to him and he stood, holding out a hand. "Come," was all he said, and Legolas slowly rose, hiding his discomfort as he did so, unaware that Glorfiindel had seen it.
Slowly, they left the room and Legolas looked around worriedly.
"Fear not. Should Elrond find us, I will tell him it is all my fault," smiled Glorfindel.
Legolas smiled back and nodded as he slowly followed the one he had revered for all his life - it was simply unbelievable that he was here now, walking behind him, he had so many questions, so many…
They stopped before a mural and after a moment, Glorfindel pointed to the blond warrior atop the outcrop, standing aside to watch Legolas as he came closer.
The transformation was immediate, for his face became taut and his eyes wide and too moist, a slight hitch in his breathing and a step backwards as if burnt.
"That is your grandfather, Legolas. My brother. Be proud - always be proud to share his blood," he whispered as he watched. The boy stepped forward once more and brought his face up against the wall.
"How is it possible?" he whispered, to himself it seemed as he continued to stare in shocked fascination.
He lifted a trembling hand to the painted figure but stopped short just before it touched the cool stone. "His eyes are blue," he said finally.
"Yes," smiled Glorfindel. "It is, perhaps, the only difference, is it not?" he asked invitingly.
Legolas turned to face Glorfiindel then, the light of nascent understanding changing his expression once more. "It is strange, is it not?" he asked softly, "that I had never seen him before…," he finished, his eyes almost begging the ancient warrior to gainsay him, but Glorfindel did no such thing.
"Yes - it is strange," he answered, his eyes fixed meaningfully on Legolas. The boy had guessed at the implications, but said no more and so, with a kind hand upon his shoulder, Glorfindel guided Legolas back to his bed with the promise that tomorrow, he would be free. And as the ancient warrior made his way back to his own rooms, he allowed his mask to fall and his face to show his true emotions.
Deep puzzlement, anger, apprehension, and pure, unadulterated excitement…
And so it was, that the following morning, Legolas donned his new, tailored clothes, and walked together with The Company to the shared dining area, where breakfast was currently being served.
As they walked ever closer to the din that echoed down the hallways, Galdithion tugged on Legolas' new garments, the rest sniggering at his antics.
Legolas glared at him as he pulled them back into place, smoothing a hand over his newly washed and braided hair. Lainion had offered to put the Avarin locks back in, and the The Company had insisted he accept, claiming it would attract the lasses, not only to Legolas but to them all.
Idhrenohtar had not wanted to comment, but his friend looked simply stunning. None of them had ever worn clothes of such fine quality, indeed the tailor had clearly made an effort to fashion their clothes in the Silvan style, slightly more daring than the typical, symmetrical Noldorin lines. That, together with the exotic braids and his stunning, green eyes were a recipe for turning the eye.
Soon, they came to the threshold of the dining halls of Elrond's court, where The Company, together with the remains of The Greenwood's escort, had taken breakfast for the last three days as they waited for Legolas to recover. They had turned a few heads, being foreigners from Thranduil's realm, but today, the room fell as silent as the void as they stared at the six warriors in unashamed curiosity.
Legolas, far from showing any discomfort he felt, steeled himself as he scanned the room, quickly sporting Galadan, who waved them over. Relieved, and duly impressed, Idrenohtar and The Company, followed him to the Greenwood table and saluted Lieutenant Galadan.
"Morning, Sir," said Legolas.
"Morning boys. Welcome back, Legolas," he said with a nod and a keen eye that searched for any lingering weakness.
"Thank you, Sir," said Legolas, his eyes momentarily alighting on Silor, who sneered into his plate. He said nothing though, and Idhrenohtar was glad of it, for after all that had happened, he was not at all sure Ram en Ondo would be able to rein in his temper, indeed his own threatened to snap every time he looked at the Sindarin fool.
Legolas looked relieved, he mused as he began his meal. He was probably just glad nobody had referred to his secret - well, secret no more - they had all treated him as they had done before, if not will a little more respect, if silence could thus be interpreted. Yet the undercurrent, the rampant gossip and unveiled curiosity was nigh on suffocating, and Idhrenohtar did not envy his friend at all.
Conversation had slowly picked up once more, but the surreptitious glances had not stopped, and the stilled conversations were evident to any who wished to look, and Idhrenohtar did. They would be talking of Legolas, Thranduil's bastard son, of the story behind his begetting, yet he still had no idea of how they would have taken the news. Would they respect him? Despise him? It was impossible to say, but he would watch, and he would learn, and should any step out of line - well - The Company would see to his safety, would suffer no slight to their friend.
Elrond and his sons sat at the head table together with Prince Handir and Lord Erestor, he noted, while Lord Glorfiindel sat to one side, together with Commander Celegon of The Greenwood.
They all talked as they ate, but from time to time, their eyes would swivel to Legolas' table, only for a brief moment, not enough for his friend to notice, perhaps. Even the ladies cast their calculating eyes on him, wondering no doubt, at the status this Silvan warrior would someday enjoy. 'None!' he scoffed to himself - the Sindar would never allow that, would never condone the presence of a bastard prince - a Silvan bastard prince.
"Good morning," came the deep voice of Elladan, who stood before the table, and specifically Legolas. They all made to rise but a subtle gesture had them all sitting once more.
"Will you join us, my Lord?" asked Galadan dutifully.
"No, thank you, Lieutenant. I wished only for a word with your warrior here," he gestured to Legolas.
"Of course," said Galadan with a lingering stare, before nodding and returning to his breakfast.
"Legolas. My father has asked to see you, after breakfast in his study."
"Of course, my Lord - if someone will lead the way?" he asked with a smile.
"I will accompany you," said the Noldorin Lord, "in exchange for one of those sticky buns - there are none left on my table…" he lamented.
Legolas stared for a moment, and then a giggle flew out of his mouth before he could check it, sending the table into silence once more.
Idhrenohtar resisted the urge to roll his eyes at them, before passing the plate to Elrond's son, who nodded, and then hooked a particularly large bun and slowly, stuffed it into his mouth.
"You make them look so good," said Legolas, his own eyes now on the treat, debating, it seemed, whether or not to take one himself.
"Try," came the muffled word and Legolas giggled again, only this time Elladan had been caught unawares and made to laugh himself, only for a chunk of the sticky bun to fly out of his mouth.
Mortified, he held his hand over his mouth but it was too late, Legolas collapsed into peels of laughter, setting the rest of the Company to chuckling - even Galadan smiled as he shook his head at them.
Elladan smiled as he chewed on the overly-large ball of food in his mouth, and Idhrenohtar was inexplicably glad of it. The Noldo had seemed so distant and cool, yet here he was, spitting his bun and laughing along with the rest of them. Idhrenotar decided then, that he liked this son of Elrond, and he rather thought Legolas did too. He had saved his friend's life, found him and brought him back to them and for that, the Wise Warrior would be ever grateful.