The first true hunt

Day before departure

Haldir woke up at dawn.

The Lothlórien warrior did not immediately realize where he was but, feeling something soft and warm under him. He blinked few times to clear his vision, looked around him and remembered last night. 'King Thranduils' palace in Mirkwood.' He thought and smiled.

He swung his legs off the bed, stood up and walked to the bathing chamber, where a sink with fresh water and a towel was waiting for him. He looked at the mirror, he took a brush from the shelf and combed his long blond hair, which was now standing in odd angles. When it was smooth, he placed the brush on its' rightful place on the shelf and started braiding his hair to typical elvish warrior braids.

The Lothlórien warrior walked out of the bathing chamber and went to his pack. He took out more presentable clothes than his traveling clothes, but it was again in grey color.

When he was ready, Haldir left the room of the guest wing and headed to the dining hall.

In front of the dining hall, Haldir was stopped by a servant, who told him to stay there until he announces his arrival to the king.

After a few moments the servant exited the room and allowed Haldir to enter.

"Mae govannen and good morning my King Thranduil." the Lothlórien march warden placed his hand on his chest and bowed.

"Mae govannen Haldir of Lórien and welcome in Mirkwood." the king said and a happy smile appeared on his face. "When did you arrive, Haldir?" Thranduil asked.

"Just few hours ago." the blond warrior answered.

"So you arrived at night."

"Aye my King, I did."

"Will you join me and my family at breakfast?" Thranduil asked.

"If I can, I will. Thank you my King."

"Sure you can. You are almost part of the family." and a huge smile appeared on the kings' face.

Thranduil offered Haldir a seat, next to where Legolas usually sits and the blond warrior greatly accepted the place.

"If I can ask you, how or rather who shoved you your room, Haldir?" the king curiously asked.

Haldir smiled and answered the King. "It was Luin."

At the mention the giant felines' name Thranduil laughed. "I think that the cat know everything what goes around. And I know not how she is doing it."

"Aye, Luin is good at these things also she is very caring, mostly around your youngest son, Legolas. Is she?"

"Aye." the King nodded. "She is very but very protective of Legolas."

While the king and Haldir were talking other member of the family joined them, except Legolas and Luin.

"Haldir how long will you stay with Legolas?" Eluwien suddenly asked.

"As long as Legolas stays in Imladris." the blond warrior answered.

"And Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood do not mind you being gone for so long?" Harion asked.

"No, Lady Galadriel convinced Lord Celeborn, to let me stay with Legolas in Imladris as long as the young prince stays there."

"But why?"

"Lady of the Golden Wood feels the evil spreading across the land and she fears for young Legolas' life." Haldir said and his happy smile faded.

"Lady Galadriel is not the only one who fears for my little brothers' life." Harion said. "Also ada did not want Legolas to go to Rivendell. And I do not blame him. We all sense the darkness spreading across our realm." the oldest prince said.

"Aye, these are dark times but, Legolas and Luin are eager to go to Imladris and I think they will be safer there than here in Mirkwood." the princess protested.

"You are wise my daughter, as your mother was, Eluwien. Legolas and Luin will be safer in Rivendell with my friend, Lord Elrond and also Haldir." Thranduil smiled.

"Speaking of Legolas and Luin, where are they?" the march warden of Lórien asked.

"Legolas is never late but, maybe they were up late yesterday. So maybe they are sleeping." the King of Mirkwood smiled.

"I know not about Legolas but, Luin was definitely up in the middle of the night so she might be sleeping." Haldir smiled.

Sun was already up when Legolas woke up.

When his eyes focused, he looked out of the window just to see that the sun was already up and that he was late for breakfast.

Suddenly he realized that his head was not lying on his pillow but, on something that was regularly moving up and down and that it was really soft.

The young prince looked at his hands and saw that he was holding great fluffy tail of his animal friend, or rather of his animal sister, because the great feline often referred of him as her brother, maybe not related by blood but by heart.

The young elfs' gaze shifted to the side just to spot a bluish feline head resting on her paws, sleeping.

Legolas could tell that the great cat was still asleep. 'But why?' He thought.

He released her tail and lifted his hand just to gently pat Luins' head.

Luin felt the light pats on her head and in her still dreaming mind she thought it was her mother licking her head.

Please mommy let me sleep a few more minutes. She drowsily said.

"I am not your mother, Luin, so please open your eyes and get up. We are already late." Legolas softly said, smiled and pated the giant feline in his bed again.

Luin at the voice of her friend and brother slowly opened her eyes and looked around. She was not in her family cave but, in one of the rooms in Mirkwoods' palace. And not just any room, it was Legolas' and her room she realized.

She looked out of the window and saw the sun was high over the horizon. Her head shoot up.

We are going to be late. She exclaimed.

"Correction. We are already late." Legolas said.

Why you did not wake me earlier. She said and looked in to those ocean blue eyes.

"I just woke up."

Legolas moved away from the feline on the edge of the bed and stood up. And he went to the bathing chamber to wash himself and do his hair.

Luin jumped off the bed and stretched her body. And then she started licking her fur.

"You went hunting this night, did you?" the young prince accused the great feline, when he walked out of the bathing chamber.

No… She defensively said but, then she reconsidered what she said. Well maybe I was but it is not that.

"You should not go hunting at night. And besides Haldir is coming today or not?"

She turned around and a mischievous smile appeared on her face. 'If you knew he is already here.' Aye I know, and I am sorry. She hung her head pretending to be sorry and sad.

Legolas came to Luin and hug her. "Do not be sad Luin. It can happen to anybody."

But you also overslept. She said to him.

"But you were also up with me if you are addressing to the late night talk." the young prince smiled at the feline.

Luin looked away and changed the topic of the conversation. Dress yourself up and lets go for breakfast. So there be some food left for us. I am starving. She said with shining eyes.

"You did not catch anything?"


Legolas smiled and walked to his chest and put on forest green tunic and golden-green leggings.

"We can go now." Legolas walked to the feline, who just stood up, he placed his hand on her back and walked to the door.

The two friends were passing through halls, where the other elves were passing and hurrying after their daily tasks.

They stopped in front of the dining halls' doors, and Legolas turned to Luin.

"You know that ada will be mad that we are late."

I do not think so. She smiled at him. He has got someone to talk to.


Oh nothing. So come. She leaned against the door with her shoulder and when the elven prince turned the doorknob, she pushed the heavy oak door open. And they both walked in.

"Good morning." they said in unison.

Sorry my King we are late. It was my mistake that we are late. I overslept. The giant bluish feline bowed.

"That is all right Luin. You did a great job at night." the King smiled at the feline.

"What job? Going hunting in the middle of the night?" Legolas quizzically asked.

Thranduil smiled at his youngest child. "No." and smile grew wider.

Legolas looked around the room and then at the table and noticed that there was one more elf behind it. He looked closely at the blond haired elf and smiled. The young prince turner to his feline companion and his smile grew. "So that was your late night mission." In the corner of his eye he caught a faint movement as the blond elf raised from his seat. Legolas turned around and ran to the Lothlórien march warden and hugged him tightly. "Haldir!" the young prince exclaimed. "I missed you so much."

"Aye, it is me, my young prince. And I missed you too Legolas." Haldir looked down and smiled at the princeling.

"You have grown taller since I last seen you, Legolas." Haldir said and pushed the elfling away at arms length.

Well it was thirty or thirty-five years since you have been here last time. The bluish female snow leopard laughed.

Legolas and Haldir sat down behind the table. Luin approached it with smile on her face and sat on the other side of the youngest prince in the room.

"Well dear Luin," Haldir started, "for an elf it is not so long as for mortal beings. And as for you… the time you will be living… let's just say that you no longer need to worry about long amounts of time." His blue eyes were ever so soft, so carrying about her feelings. "You are immortal like us now." the blond elf softly smiled at her.

I know I am but, it is hard to accept that I will live forever. She smiled. And it will be great when I will spend the time among good friends like you all are. She stood up, walked between the youngest Mirkwood prince and the Lothlórien march warden. Then the feline firstly nuzzled to Legolas and then to Haldir.

The two said elves raised their hands and stroked the female felines' head.

Now let us eat. I am starving. Luin said and everyone around the table burst out laughing.

At the breakfast all the elves in the room were telling funny stories, which happened to them in their early years, even Luin told stories from her youth how she and her sibling were playing in a mud pond and knock her mother and father in to it. Haldir told about his and his brothers' mischief but, most stories were where the sons of Elrond were involved. Even the king told stories of him and Lord Elrond.

But it was very funny to watch all the snow leopards from the youngest to the eldest in the pack covered in mud and playing in it like little cubs. Luin finished her story and everyone laughed.

Thranduil brushed a tear that was rolling down his cheek and said. "It was the most happiest and funniest meal I had in years but, I must return to my work. And I think that all of you have your tasks also."

"Ada can Haldir go with us to the training grounds?" Legolas asked.

"If he do not mind to go with you two." the king smiled.

"Oh, that will not be a problem, my King." Haldir answered.

All the elves stood up and bowed to the king. Luin stepped out of the way of the chairs and also bowed.

So you are going with us. She said with a grin on her face.

"Aye. Why are you looking at me like this?" Haldir timidly asked.

"It is most likely that Hylama will use you in our training." Legolas laughed at his friends' behavior. "You should have brought your sword Haldir."

The two elves and the feline entered the training fields near the Mirkwoods' palace. They were greeted by the angry looking Hylama.

"Where have you two been?!" the light brown haired elf shouted. "I have been waiting for you for half an hour!"

"We are very sorry master Hylama." the young elf and the feline said together and bowed their heads in shame.

Luin stepped forward, looked up to those green eyes with her sky blue ones and said. It all was my fault that Legolas is late. I overslept today and we got late on breakfast. We were telling stories and we forget about the time. I am deeply sorry master Hylama. She said quickly.

Hylamas' green eyes narrowed but his anger lessened.

"It was not all your fault mellon nin." Haldir said and placed his hand on her back. "I have part of this on my chest, Luin." he smiled at her.

The green eyes of the Mirkwoods' warrior shifted and rested on the tall figure of the blond Lothlórien march warden. "Mae govannen Haldir of Lórien." Hylama greeted, placed his hand over his heart and bowed.

"Mae govannen Hylama." Haldir said and returned the gesture.

"When did you arrived Haldir?" Hylama asked.

"In the middle of the night. And if you are asking how I was involved in these two late coming, it was Luin who greeted me at night so she overslept." Haldir explained and winked on the cat and the elfling, who just smiled at him.

Hylama nodded and turned to the two youngsters. "Now when you are here we can continue in yesterdays' practice. Haldir you can help us if you want." Hylama added.

"Sure I can." The blond elf smiled.

Will you need my help also? Luin quizzically asked.

"Aye, you also." Hylama nodded.

They started as usual with archery making a contest between Legolas and Haldir. It was a tie but, Legolas in time will be better.

Then it came to the close combat. Luin was sitting under a tree still watching the two elves. Until she was called by Hylama himself.

"Now you two," he pointed on Haldir and Legolas and threw them pair of blunted twin long daggers and a sword with a blunted blade, "will fight her." and he pointed at Luin. "But no…" and he was cut off by the huge feline.

No claws. She smiled and then her expression changed in to a serious one. I know and I will not hurt them. She growled. But it is not fair. There are two of them against me.

"Aye but you, Luin, are much bigger than us and stronger." Legolas said.

"Less talk and take your stance." the light brown elf ordered.

Legolas and Haldir stood against the snow leopard and firmly gripped their weapons. Luin took her stance lowered her head, showed her fangs and started swishing her tail from side to side.

"Fighters ready?" Hylama shouted.

"Ready." collective yell was heard.


The two elves started to circle around the feline and she was carefully watching them. Making them to make the first step.

Haldir looked over at Legolas and when the young elf made the sign they both lounged at the feline.

Luin did not like where this was going. For her it was another game but, for her friends it was a practice. She barely avoided Legolas' knives. She jumped away and turned around just to parry Haldirs' sword with her front paw.

"You would have lost your toes in an action as this one, Luin." Haldir said.

Maybe yes maybe no, we will never know. I would use my claws but, I cannot. She smiled and pushed the Lothlórien warrior away from her.

Legolas spun around and attacked his 'sister' again. But he saw her jump. He parried her attack and she stopped on the blunted blades.

Haldir saw it and used all his strength and collided with the felines' side.

Luin ended on the ground, her side hurt from the collision. She stood up, shook her head and growled. She speeded on Legolas, who tried to slash her side but, she manage to turn somehow that his blade just slid on her long silk fur and somehow managed to get behind him. Luin grabbed his tunic and threw him, not so hard, on approaching Haldir. The two elves collided and ended on the ground. The huge bluish feline let them got up from the ground. She look at them from head to toes just to be sure that she did not injure them. Are you alright? She asked concern surely could be heard in her voice.

"Aye we both are." Haldir said.

"Then continue." Hylamas' voice could be heard.

Legolas and Haldir again approached the feline. Legolas managed to catch the cats' attention, where she caught one knife in her mouth and with the other he indicated to pierce her shoulder. Haldir managed to sneak behind her. He also got the chance to strike the feline but, when she felt the touch of the blade she got little angry to not paying attention and waked him with her long muscular tail. Haldir fell back but quickly got to his feet. And he charged at her.

Luin saw both her 'brother'and Haldir charging at her and at the last second she jumped away landing a good three meters away from the place where the two surprised elves almost collided again.

Haldir looked at Legolas and whispered something in the young elfs' ear. Luin just watched them quizzically. She saw and heard Legolas chuckle. Both the elves charged at her and she took a defensive stance her head low facing them. But before they jumped at her they threw away their weapons. She tried to turn and run away but, it was too late. The two elves collided with her side sending her to the ground. She did not know how she ended on her back with her two friends rubbing her chest and belly. She felt it relaxing and she started purring. And the young prince and the proud Lothlórien march warden laughed with their singing laugh.

"What are you tree think you are doing?" Hylama asked. "I did not stop you." a slight anger could be heard in his voice.

"But master Hylama, it is just a bit of fun." Legolas smiled.

"Aye, do not be mad." Haldir said. "You will have more free time from tomorrow."

"Why is that?" Hylama asked.

"Those two are going with me to Imladris where young Legolas and young Luin were be training and studying for next few years I think." he pointed on Legolas and Luin.

"Is it true?" and he looked at the two youngsters who nodded."But I will not have free time like you think Haldir. I will be going on patrols with other warriors. The shadow is spreading and you know it." Hylama answered.

"Aye, I know. But what can we do just to fight the shadow."

"Now off you go. I think it is enough for today." Hylama waved them off.

"Let us go clean ourselves and head for lunch, after that we will prepare for our journey." Haldir said.

They turned around and walked towards the palace. The two elves and the feline bathed and dressed for lunch.

They sat on the same places like at breakfast, with Luin slightly behind Legolas and Haldir.

"When you will leave tomorrow, Haldir?" Thranduil asked.

"We will leave in the morning." the Lórien march warden answered.

"Are you ready Legolas?" the king asked.

"Not yet, ada. I did not have the time to do so but, I will after lunch." Legolas smiled at his father. "And also Luin can try on her travelling packs on our journey." the youngest prince smile widened and looked at the feline behind him.

Aye, I always wanted to carry them. The feline said.

"Then when you will be done eating, ion nin, you can go to your room and prepare the things you will carry to Imladris." Thranduil softly said to his youngest son.

"Aye ada."

After lunch Legolas hurried to his room with Luin and Haldir behind his heels. They got to the door and all entered through it.

Legolas went to his chest and took out his traveling backpack, closed the chest and went to another. He opened it and he was going through lot of things before he found Luins' packs and left the chest opened.

Haldir meanwhile sat on Legolas' bed and looked around. A stuffed toy suddenly caught his eye and took it to his hands. "You still got your stuffed cat from me, Legolas?" Haldir smiled.

"Aye. It is like a lucky charm so it is coming with us." Legolas answered the Lothlórien march warden.

Legolas packed few clothes, two favorite books, one from his father and the other from his big sister Eluwien. The stuffed cat from Haldir, which pleased the proud Lórien warrior. He quickly went to the house of healing to gather some herbs and bandages, just in case if something happen. He put them in Luins' pack. Then he gathered some other things, like the practice twin knives he picked from Hylama, and put them in his and her packs.

The last things they had to obtain were the food and water for the journey, which were be ready after dinner.

The young prince then took his bow, inspected it for any damage and quiver full with new arrows with light green feathers and his twin long knives and inspected them like his bow and arrows.

Later that day, after Haldir helped Legolas and Luin pack their things in their bags, they all left for dinner. It ran similar like breakfast. The stories told by everyone around the table. Happy, sad, funny, even scary stories. Everybody had a great time.

Until the king of Mirkwood said. "And now is time for everyone to go to bed. Mostly you ion nin." Thranduil smiled at his youngest son. "And also you two." he turned his gaze on Luin and Haldir. "You three have very long journey in front of you. And it is very dangerous, ion nin, you know it. You three must gather your strength for it."

"Aye ada. We will go to our quarters now. Good night." Legolas said with a smile and bowed his head.

"Good night my King." both Luin and Haldir said and bowed.

"Good night to you all." Thranduil said and nodded them to leave.

The two elves and the feline stepped away from the table, headed for the door and left the dining hall. Legolas and Luin accompanied Haldir to his room, where they bid each other good night and the two, the young elf and the great feline, walked to the royal family wing of the palace.

"I am so excited Luin." Legolas happily said.

I can see that. And you know I am too eager to go. The great feline smiled and jumped on the young princes' bed, laid down and yawned. But now I am tired. So come.

"Hey Luin I can not go to bed like this." Legolas giggled and pointed on his clothes.

Why not? You always go sleeping dressed.

"I told you last time you asked this question. My sleeping robe is more comfortable than this." The young elf went to his chest, pull out his sleeping robe and changed his clothes. Then he walked to his bed, laid down, against the felines' side and they both fallen asleep almost immediately.

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