Author's Note: Hello! Remember how I said I was going to post a new story that had Legolas and Tauriel in it? Maybe? Kind of? No? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Well here it is. This takes place when Legolas (and Tauriel and the other characters) are in between 11-13 years old. Not children (at least in their minds) but not teenagers. As for the characters: Lacien, Halden, and Galadhwen *laurel tree* have all been mentioned in my LotR story Fathers. Galadhwen is the future Mrs. Legolas, Lacien *Dragon* is Legolas's childhood best friend, and Halden *gentle* is Legolas's personal guard. The newcomers are Nibenon *small one* and Emerion *shepard*. This story idea came about when I was watching the movie Super 8. The scene where the kids are sitting on the curb and singing My Sharona to be exact. I thought that was an awesome little snippet and the image of young Legolas hanging around with childhood friends popped into my head and demanded to be turned into a story.
The play they're putting on that Nibenon wrote is of my own mind and was spawned from being in the musical Little Women (I was Jo). She always writes these horrible tragedies and I felt Legolas needed a future bard for a friend (bard the profession, not Bard the Bowman.)
Tauriel isn't in the chapter but she appears in the next one. (Also I have to be totally honest and say I was writing this at 3am, alone in my house and my dogs started to growl at nothing and I totally freaked myself out.)
The forest of Eryn Lasgalen was light hearted. Sunlight streamed through the trees and gave the small circle clearing a soft, sleepy sort of light. Birds chirped and whistled among the branches and leaves as soft chatter in Elvish and laughter echoed from the clearing itself. Inside it held six young Elves. Not quite into their 'teenage' years but no more Elflings, the companions were clearly enjoying their new freedom of being away from the gates of the palace without adults surrounding them.
Crouched in the branches of one of the trees surrounding the clearing was Prince Legolas Thranduilion, crown prince of Eryn Lasgalen itself. The young prince was obviously the leader of the group, across his back, a quiver of arrows and a bow. Next to him a blonde Elleth, clad in a loose fitting pair of patchwork breeches that became fit around the ankles and a matching tight bodice that came halfway down her torso, was tying off a rope to the tree trunk rolling her eyes at the bickering below. Legolas gave her a look and rolled his own eyes before swinging on the tree branch to hang upside down, "If all we're going to do is argue I'm going back to the archery range."
Lacien, son of the Captain of the King's Army, looked up at his friend, "Why? Just to show up all of your father's soldiers?"
Legolas gave him a look and dropped lightly from the tree to the ground below, "If I'm going to be in the archery tournament at the festival I need to practice."
Emerion, by far the tallest member of the group, withheld a laugh the best he could, "Practice for what? I've never seen you miss a shot. Ever."
Galadhwen straightened on the tree branch she stood on and looked down at them all, "Practice makes perfect."
Lacien snorted, "Says the Elleth who spends more time slack-roping than she does on the ground."
Galadhwen made a comment regarding the state of Lacien's parents' marriage at the time of his birth with a rather smug smile before leaping to one of the trees across the clearing, rope in hand, "I want to look good if I'm performing at the festival."
Nibenon, the tiniest in the group, gave an exasperated noise, "None of us are going to be performing anything if we don't start practicing this!"
Legolas took the group of papers that he was gesturing with and frowned down at it, "Do I die again in this one?"
Nibenon nodded enthusiastically, "Of course! Whenever I kill you off it really effects the audience. They don't like seeing their Golden Prince perish."
Legolas gave him a look, "Don't call me that. And just once I'd like to survive one of these stories. Just once."
Galadhwen had her own gripes, "Just once I'd like to have another girl in these stories," She mentioned, perched on a thin rope that now stretched across the clearing, "I'm always the only girl."
Nibenon gave her a look, "That's because you're the only girl I know. I wanted to add another girl to this story but I couldn't find anyone to play her. Now sit down so I can explain everything."
Galadhwen dropped into a sitting position on the rope, legs dangling, occasionally leaning one way or another to keep her balance. Below her the boys settled on the ground except for Legolas who returned to the tree he was originally standing in. Nibenon waited until everyone had settled before he moved to the front to speak, "I finally finished the story. It's not perfect...there's another character I wish I could add in but I don't have anyone to play her. If this goes well I could actually get to work with some of the actual bards and performers from the festival. Now Legolas you'll be playing the king, Galadhwen you're his wife."
The two in question exchanged looks of no surprise and smiled slightly at one another. Nibenon continued, "Emerion you're going to be the main character. You're the hardened warrior seeking redemption. Lacien I need you to be the undead that they're fighting. I'd like to have a few more but I can't find anybody else who will do this. Can you make yourself look like the undead? And make Legolas look like he actually gets stabbed?"
Lacien grinned mischievously, "Of course. False effects like that are my specialty."
Nibenon grinned back at him before turning the only member of the small group who had yet to speak. Curled up against the base of the tree Legolas was perched in was Halden. Son of the head of the royal family's personal guards and poised to be Legolas's, Halden was a bit older than the other members of the group and by far more quiet, reserved, and shy, "Now Halden I need you to be Bolon's (that's Emerion's character) old warrior friend. You're just going to have a small scene in the beginning."
Halden immediately froze, "No. Find someone else."
"Halden! Come on! It's a small part!" Nibenon whined, attempting to persuade the best he could.
Halden stood firm, voice quiet, "No. I don't like talking in front of people. I'm just here as Legolas's guard."
When Nibenon attempted to protest further Legolas stepped in on his friend's behalf, "Leave it, Nib. If Halden doesn't want to do it, don't force him."
Nibenon sighed noisily but relented, "Fine," He passed out sewn together scripts to everyone minus Halden, "The story is Bolon-that's you Emerion-is a tortured warrior who seeks redemption for the lives he took during his battles. He travels across the countryside, saving people and trying to save himself from a curse placed on him many years before. He has to save so many lives or he'll never find happiness and peace."
Legolas looked down at him script and breathed heavily, "Sounds very uplifting so far."
The others tried to stifle their laughter as Nibenon glared at him, "As I was saying-Bolon gets into a battle with one of the undead walking the land (Lacien you have to play all the undead. And you need to look grey. Work on that.) and get injured. He's rescued by the beautiful Bainil-"
Galadhwen interjected, "You named my character 'beauty'? Isn't that kind hitting it on the head a little too hard? She's beautiful, her name is beautiful, her spirit is beautiful..."
"Well we have to be able to tell she's beautiful somehow," Lacien teased up at her before she casually dropped a rock on his head from seemingly nowhere.
Nibenon glared again, "Can we continue?"
Lacien rubbed the spot where to rock had hit him before sticking out his tongue at Galadhwen, "Yes, yes...Beauty the beautiful played by the beautiful Galadhwen. Keep going."
Nibenon continued, "Bainil rescues him as he's near death and brings him back to her kingdom to be healed by her and her husband, King Rivalton. As Bainil heals Bolon, he falls in love with her but she's very devoted and in love with her husband who is a great and just king and well loved by his people."
Galadhwen looked over her shoulder at where Legolas was now tightening the string on his bow and murmured quietly with a grin, "Just like in real life."
Legolas attempted to hide the slight blush at her compliment but couldn't help but smile back. Nibenon continued, "Now as Bolon heals he talks to the king about how he was cursed by a sorcerer and that same curse brought these undead armies to life that he must fight. He spends some time in the kingdom and realizes that as much as he loves Bainil, he can't hate Rivalton because he's such a good king and person. One day Bainil gets kidnapped by the undead creatures and taken away. Bolon tries to rescue her but he can't by himself so he talks with the king and they decide they must attack this sorcerer's castle-"
Emerion looked up, confused, "Wait...you never mentioned a sorcerer. Who's playing him?"
Nibenon shoulders slumped, "Me. I couldn't find anybody else to do it."
Legolas, "I'm assuming that battle is where my character dies?"
Nibenon nodded enthusiastically, "Yes! You die protecting Bolon in an act of selflessness because only he can stop these undead creatures and you view his life as more valuable."
Galadhwen flipped through the script before pausing when something caught her attention. She read quickly before looking up, "Wait...I die too!?"
Nibenon nodded, "It's going to be very dramatic and heart-wrenching. Your husband dies in your arms and your soul dies with him. Unable to continue, you kill yourself despite the fact the Bolon loves you deeply. You just can't love him back. So you kill yourself and in his grief Bolon lets the sorcerer go and must continue the quest to break his curse once again by himself."
There was silence for a long moment before Legolas looked at his friend, "Nibenon who is going to want to see this? It's very...dark."
Halden plucked the script from Emerion's hands, "Not to mention your character-the bad guy-is the only one who wins in the end."
Nibenon sniffed, "You all just don't understand good storytelling. It's a tragedy. Sometimes we want the audience to feel sad and uncomfortable."
Emerion took his script back, "Well this will do it."
Nibenon sighed, "Just make sure you act it well...and thanks for doing this. All of you."
Emerion stood and stretched, "You're welcome. Now let's start rehearsing this. We only have a week until the festival."
Nibenon took a deep breath and steadied himself, "I know. When are we performing. I know Legolas has the archery tournament first."
Galadhwen stood back up on her rope and began to walk backwards, "We perform right before dinner. I think your play is right afterwards. During dinner is the main play with the songs and poems and things like that."
Nibenon nodded, "I'll make sure you have enough time to change then. Now-I want to start with Emerion over her to my left..."
As Nibenon began giving direction a twig snapped to the right of them across the clearing in the bushes and trees. A small hissing noise followed that only Halden seemed to hear. Halden scanned the trees for any sign of movement but the forest was still and silent. Halden frowned, almost too still and silent, "Did you hear that?"
Nibenon continued to direct Emerion into a mock fight with Lacien, seeming to not hear him. Halden kept his eyes on the surrounding trees but raised his voice, "Guys!"
SIlence took over. Rarely-if ever-did Halden raise his voice. Legolas jumped to the ground, "What is it?"
Halden continued to stare, "I-I don't know. I heard something...a twig snapping and then what sounded like-like a hiss."
Nibenon frowned at having been interrupted, "Twigs snap all the time. We're in the forest."
Emerion frowned as well, "But you don't hear hissing. Did it sound like an orc?"
Nibenon shook his head, "The trees would have warned us if it was an orc."
Halden shook his head as well, "It didn't sound like an orc. It sounded...like a hiss," He looked around at the group, "And none of you heard anything?"
They all shook their head. Galadhwen (who had made it to the other tree across her rope) stepped back out, "Nothing. Maybe you imagined it with everyone talking."
Halden nodded but continued to frown, unsure. Nibenon shrugged a shoulder and turned back to Lacien and Emerion, "Now Lacien I need you to have a wooden sword that looks like it glows green, Bolon's sword will also glow green because it's the only thing that can kill the undead..."
Halden let their voices fade and continued to scan the area around the clearing with a frown, body rigid and pulled tight. Legolas laid a gentle hand on his should causing him to jump. He spun around to see the crown prince looking at him with an indulgent, soft smile, "I'm sure it was nothing but I'll keep listening too just in case."
Halden smiled at his friend gratefully and settled down at the base of the tree again, though this not he did not relax, eyes still fixed on the woods around them.
Nibenon, meanwhile, continued to direct, "Now Emerion-you're on the ground, wounded. Lacien-you're about to deal the death blow when Galadhwen calls out."
Galadhwen walked out to the centre of the rope and stood tall, balanced precariously, "Creatures!"
She was interrupted by Nibenon's excited cry, "Yes! Wait! I want you to actually use the slack-rope in the show! You look like a fae and it's so perfect! You look like you're flying!"
Galadhwen managed a bow, "Why thank you!"
As they continued to chatter another twig snapped, this time near the front of the clearing. Another hiss followed and Halden spoke again, "Wait! Please tell me you heard that!"
Nibenon and Emerion shook their heads but Legolas spoke softly, "No. That time I heard it. It was a hiss. A twig snapped and then there was a hiss.
Galadhwen stilled on her rope, "I thought I imagined it but I think I may have heard it too."
Emerion's voice had a slight quiver in it, "Should we go back to the palace?"
Nibenon tried to keep his voice steady but his quivered too, "No. No. It's the forest...the trees would warn us if it was something dangerous."
Silence swept over the small clearing and the group went perfectly still for a long moment before Lacien whispered, "Why can't I hear any birds?"
Galadhwen, meanwhile kept her eyes trained on the group of tree rustling in front of them. As it drew closer her breathing quickened and she pointed, "There's something coming this way."
Nibenon and Lacien began to back up slowly, looking in the direction Galadhwen was pointing. As the movement became clear and the snapping of branches became louder Emerion turned to his companions slightly, "Maybe it's a deer...like Nibenon said, the tree would warn us if it was something..."
Simultaneously the trees began screaming a warning as a massive creature lunged from the foliage at them.