It was summer in Mirkwood with the landscape rich in hues of green and the trees swaying with life under their proud coverings of leaves. Readjusting the position of her beloved twin daggers with their carved mahogany handles on her back, Captain Tauriel smiled to herself as she patrolled with her elite team of elven warriors along the ancient stone pathways that led to the heart of her homeland. Even as a company of twenty, the graceful soldiers made not a sound as they scouted for spiders and their footsteps made no mark of their passage.
Tauriel's smile faltered as she realised no birds sang in the forest these days as a shadow and a threat had grown across the once Greenwood the Great. The patrol had been uneventful, the large evil spiders that had taken up residence within the kingdom had avoided the elves this day. Tauriel sighed and habitually clenched her fists, even though they did not find any spiders to kill, their silken webs were everywhere, reeking of decay and difficult to remove. She ordered the soldiers to carefully burn the nests as she was determined to purge her beloved forest of this evil. Tauriel took her duty as Captain of the Mirkwood guard very seriously, she was well aware at only 600 years old, she was the youngest female Captain to ever be instated.
I will protect what is good in this world, for it is worth fighting for.
On the way back to the partially underground fortress of Mirkwood, Tauriel ordered her company onwards whilst she decided to detour to inspect the clearing with the nests that they had burned yesterday.
I hope those foul beasts have not returned already, for they are quick to spawn and regroup. Must we forever fight them? If only we could attack them at their source...
Alone, her senses were sharpened and her keen ears picked up a light scuffling in the treetops that no mortal would have heard. Faster than lightning, she had drawn an arrow from her quiver upon the figure that descended from the dense treetops but almost immediately she lowered her hunting bow.
'Hîr vuin' Tauriel smiled at her friend. 'What are you doing sneaking up on me in such a manner! How would I explain to the King that his Captain of the Guard had slain his only son!'
The blond prince clothed simply in his travelling tunic and leggings returned the fiery red-haired elleth's outburst with a good-natured smile and poked the tip of her arrow as she was returning it to her quiver. 'Tauriel, we both know your reflexes are too keen to ever mistake me for a foe, mellon'
Tauriel snorted and looked into the Prince's icy blue eyes; she would have sworn that they glittered. Legolas had been her friend since they were elflings, they had grown up together and even though she was a common silvan elf, she considered Legolas her dearest friend and knew he thought the same of her. Legolas was a near perfect image of his sindarin father, tall and proud, with straight blonde hair held back by simple braids and piercing blue eyes.
However, unlike his father, Legolas has a kind smile, not distant and aloof.
'I had come to inspect that the spiders had learnt their lesson and had not returned after we slaughtered them the other day. They are quick to regroup'
Legolas glanced about him and noticed the growing shadows. 'Tauriel, tolo – we must return to the keep for it is almost dusk'
Tauriel nodded happily and followed in step with the Prince back to the keep to report the day's patrol to King Thranduil. Conversation flowed easily between the pair for they had long moved past formalities.
Tauriel allowed herself another small smile as she remembered how she and Legolas had used to race each other along the elven paths, back when Mirkwood was safer. She glanced sideways at her friend, these days there was an almost imperceptible tightening around his mouth and his eyes remained alert and ready for danger. He had grown more serious and less care-free over the years for the shadow had touched even the light of the eldar.
They parted at the great elven gates as the armoured sentinels Elorin and Firevior fisted their hands over the hearts and inclined their heads respectfully at the pair's approach.
Legolas watched the elleth walk off towards the King's throne room to deliver her report and felt a strange twinge in his heart that had not been there before. As Tauriel walked across the flagstone courtyard the last rays of the sun illuminated her and her proud figure was outlined in a golden light. The Captain's long auburn hair seemed to glow defiantly at the oncoming night. Like most of the elves, Legolas had always considered Tauriel fair with her striking emerald eyes and loyal personality but he was slightly taken aback at thinking of her now as something…more than his trusted friend. Confused, the young prince went to the training yard to further refine his near perfect archery skills even more. Legolas was unrivalled in his talent with a bow but Tauriel and her daggers could sometimes best him in a duel.
Perhaps I should train with daggers this evening instead…I cannot let Tauriel win our next spar as well.
The prince set off for the yard, determined to clear his mind of the fiery Captain and her mischievous smile.
Hîr vuin -My Lord
Man cerig -What are you doing?