"I said no." the lord of Imladris defiantly said.
"Please ada. Pretty please." his twin sons pleaded.
"No." the ancient elf said from behind his desk.
"But we made a promise to Legolas that we will take him on a hunt when he reaches one thousand five hundred years." Elladan said.
"Aye and we are almost one and a half years late." Elrohir whined.
The ancient elf just watched his two sons, finally giving up to pleads of his sons, or at least considering letting them go.
"Please ada, we will be good." Elrohir asked with big puppy eyes.
The facial expression of the Rivendell lord softened and he smiled at his two sons. The ancient elf stood up, walked around his desk and placed his hands on the shoulders of his sons.
"Okay then, I will let you go hunting with the young prince," lord Elrond looked to their stormy grey eyes and continued," but you must promise me that you two will keep watch over Legolas, not just Luin and Haldir." lord Elrond said.
"Aye ada, we will." both twins nodded.
"Do you promise?" the ancient elf asked.
"We promise ada." both twins said in unison.
"Okay then go and tell your young friend." lord Elrond smiled.
Elladan and Elrohir jumped on their father and hugged him tightly. "Hannon le ada."
The elven lord was surprised from their move but, he hugged them back.
"By the way ada if Legolas knew that you called him our young friend he would be furious." Elladan laughed.
"You think." lord Elrond laughed.
After that the twins hurried to find the young elven prince.
Legolas was in one of gardens hidden within Imladris. He was leaning against the side of a great bluish snow leopard, Luin, his animal guardian and a feline sister, reading one of lord Elronds' books.
The great feline was lightly dozing off under the shade of a tree and enjoying the company of her elven brother.
Their calm and relaxing afternoon changed in an instance, when a sudden shout resonated in the quiet garden.
"Legolas! Legolas! We bare very good news!" the older twin shouted.
Luins' ears twitched at the racket that the twins made and she turned them to the direction where the sound was coming from. When Elrohir and Elladan stopped in front of the young Mirkwood prince she lazily opened her eyes and looked at them.
The young prince raised his head from the interesting book he was reading and smiled at the Elrondions.
"And what would be the good news?" the golden haired prince asked.
Aye what would that be? Luin asked.
"Ada just allowed us to go on the hunt we promised you so long ago." Elrohir said.
"Hi did? Well that is really great news!" Legolas exclaimed.
And when will be this event? The great cat asked.
"We will leave tomorrow." Elladan said.
And what are we going to hunt? The bluish leopard asked.
"Well that is a surprise. Aw Luin you are worse than adar with your questions." Elladan mischievously smiled at the feline.
"Well get up now lazy bones and lets prepare ourselves." Elrohir laughed and playfully yanked the felines' tail.
Hey that's not fair and I did not hear the lazy bones comment. Luin whined and Legolas laughed.
The young prince closed his book and stood up. After him Luin stood up. She first stretched her long muscular body and then shook it to get rid of the fallen leaves, grass and dirt.
"By the way do you two know where Haldir is? We looked for him everywhere but, we cannot find him." Elladan said.
No but I can go look for him. Luin offered. You know that I have great nose, do you. The feline smiled.
"Sure Luin go but, hurry back okay?" Legolas said to his guardian and smiled.
Worry not I will find him in a jiffy. At those words the great cat titled her head and breathed in the warm summer air and ran off.
Legolas just looked after the retreating bluish fur ball until the twins grabbed his arms and dragged him towards the last homely house.
Thanks to her superior smell, Luin found the Lothlórien march warden resting under the willow near one of the bigger waterfalls in Imladris, thinking about something, and she approached him carefully.
Hello Haldir. The feline said.
"Oh, hi there Luin, did you come to join me here at this hot day?" Haldir greeted the cat with a hearty smile.
Well I was just searching for you. Luin said when she sat next to the warrior, wrapping her long tail around her paws, and took a deep breath of the colder damp air.
"You were looking for me?" Haldir quizzically looked at the bluish feline.
Aye. The cat nodded her head. The twins were looking for you and they just interrupted my afternoon nap with their news. Luin complained.
"What kind of news?"
Well lord Elrond just allowed us to go on the promised hunt. The cat said and looked at Haldir.
"He did? Those are great news you brought me Luin." Haldirs' face brightened and he scratched the great feline behind her ear. His smile grew wider when a thought crossed his mind. "And because the twins woke you up, now you do not have to be grumpy old cat."
Luin quickly stood up and looked to his blue eyes. Hey! Who do you call old, and I am definitely not grumpy. The feline exclaimed. Look who is talking about old age. The cat smirked. I think that you are older because I did not even reached one millennium. Luin laughed.
The march warden laughed. "See I cheered you up. You are not grumpy anymore."
I was not grumpy. The feline said and then smiled. Now come. And she grabbed his arm. Or we will never here the end of it from the twins. The sentence came out a bit muffled, because Luin was still holding the sleeve from Haldirs' tunic.
"Alright I am coming." Haldir said and stood up and followed the bluish feline.
Luin turned her head and asked. By the way Haldir, talking about ages how old are you?
"Why do you ask mellon nin?" Haldirs' face softened at the felines' question.
Well I was just curious, because you did not change a bit over the nine hundred years. The cat timidly said.
"Well you see Luin, Legolas may be explained to you that elves after some time stop aging visually."
Aye he did.
"And to your question I am over three and a half millennia old." The march warden smiled.
Luin stopped and waited till Haldir passed her and said. Now that is old. She laughed and nudged his back with more force than usually, with her head.
"Hey I am not old." Haldir exclaimed.
If you are not, so prove it to me. Catch me it you can. The feline laughed and sprinted passed him and headed to the last Homely house.
Haldir smiled and ran after her. 'She still wants to play like a little kitten, even if she is big like a horse, if not bigger.' The warrior thought.
All five of them went to their rooms and started packing all the things they needed, and most of all checked their weapons if they are not damaged. Legolas under the watchful eye of Luin went through all his arrows and he then he send the cat to lord Glorfindel, to fetch a few arrows to refill his quiver.
By the time the great feline got back, she saw as lord Elrond and his twin sons entered Legolas' chamber. Luin entered and saw as the ancient elven lord gave Legolas two same, carefully packed, bundles of herbs. One of the packs Legolas put in his bag and the other one to one of Luins' packs, but he was sure to leave enough room for food supplies but mostly for water canteens.
When Legolas was done, he and Luin went to check the young princes' stallion, Ninim.
All the horses were startled at the sight of the great feline, when the duo entered the stables, because not everyday something this big, and dangerous, enters the stable besides a horse.
Nevertheless a loud neighing from Ulios and Ninim greeted them. Legolas stood between the two stalls, where the two white stallions were kept. Both stallions came to the young princes' outstretched hands.
"Mae govannen, my friends." the youngest Mirkwood prince smiled.
Legolas then found the brush for Ninims' coat and started cleaning the white stallions' coat.
While the young golden haired elf was cleaning his older, but faithful mount and talking to him about tomorrow, Haldir walked to the stables.
Hello again Haldir did you came to join us? The bluish feline looked his way and titled her head.
"Oh, hi there Haldir." Legolas turned around and smiled at the Lórien warrior.
"Mae govannen, Legolas and Luin." Haldir smiled and bowed a little. "Aye I wanted to check on Ulios before tomorrows' hunt." the march warden said, walked to his mount and stroked the great stallions' neck.
The blond haired warrior found another brush for his stallions coat and started cleaning his steed.
Luin sat back near the empty stall and she watched the two elves. They were chatting about many thing, but mostly about the upcoming hunt, sometimes the feline was answering the two stallions questions, because she could understand them.
After some time the two elves proceeded to the two stallions' manes and tails, while Luin was trying to find out if the twins' horses knew something about the hunt mostly what are they going to hunt. But they did not have answer for that.
The rest of the day passed even quicker then they imagined.
The next day the four elves and the feline headed to the Hall of fire to quickly have something for breakfast and went to the stable, to ready their steeds.
Luin on the other hand gathered her packs and was patiently waiting in front of the stales for Legolas, Haldir and the twins to help her, get the packs on her back.
Suddenly she felt a hand on her back and looked who it was.
It was lord Elrond and lord Glorfindel and they were carrying canteens full of watter.
"Can I and Glorfindel help you with those packs?" the dark haired elf politely asked.
Oh you do not have to bother yourself lord Elrond, lord Glorfindel. The feline quickly said and bowed her head.
"It will not be a bother to us," the elven lord smiled. "We just want to help you Luin."
Well if you really insist… she sighted, let it be done. The cat finally said
When Legolas and the others exited the stable, with their horses in tow, they found the two elven lords struggling with the cats' packs, and the great bluish snow leopard, which was sitting on her haunches and giggling.
After few more minutes the ancient elves were done and put the canteens into the packs.
Luin stood up and tried if she can move properly. Then she turned to face the two elven lords.
Hannon le, for your help, my Lords. And the great feline bowed.
"You are welcome, Luin." they both said.
Lord Elrond looked at the four younger elves, which were for the last time checking their equipment. The ancient elven lords' stormy eyes rested on the small prince and smiled softly when Legolas scratched the nearby feline behind her ear, to which she purred for him quietly.
Legolas and Haldir mounted their white stallions, while Elladan and Elrohir mounted their brown steeds, Elladans' was a brown mare with black mane, tail and legs with a star on her forehead, named Elen, which mean star in elvish. Elrohirs' was the same colored stallion, but instead of a star on his forehead, he had a long stripe widening to the direction of his nostrils, named Neenuvar, water lily.
"Did you pack everything?" Glorfindel asked.
"Aye, lord Glorfindel we have everything." Elladan said to the balrog-slayer.
"Even those things we do not need I think." Elrohir laughed.
Lord Elrond just shook his head and said. "Please be careful on your trip."
"Worry not ada. We will be careful." Elladan cheerfully said.
"Aye lord Elrond. You do not have to worry about us. We have the best protectors in Arda." Legolas smiled and looked at the ancient elf with his ocean blue eyes.
"May the Valar protect you all and Elbereth guide your way." Elrond said and placed his right hand on his heart.
All four elves repeated the gesture and bowed their heads.
May the moon and the stars protect you my lords. Luin bowed deeply.
Then Haldir, Legolas, Elladan and Elrohir turned their steeds and urged them to a modest trot.
"Be safe." Luin heard the lord of Imladris whispered when she turned around but did not followed the four elves.
The bluish snow leopard turned her head, smiled at him and quietly said. We will.
Then she rushed after the young prince, Lórien march warden and the twin brothers of Rivendell.
The four elves and feline carefully proceeded down the steep mountain path to the ford of Bruinen. When they crossed the Bruinen River on the other bank Legolas, Haldir and the twins let rest their steeds and also Luin, who stopped on the bank edge for a sip of the clear cool water.
After a few moments they moved on until they have reached the crossroads.
Legolas and Luin stopped there and looked back.
"Which way now?" the small golden haired elf called to the twins.
"To the left." Elrohir called back.
"Are we going to Tal Bruinen then?" Haldir asked.
"Aye." Elladan nodded.
"Well, near to it." Elrohir smiled.
Where then? The feline asked.
"You will see soon. Well hopefully." Elrohir laughed.
Oh Elrohir you are so secretive. The feline whined. Okay then, left it is. The cat resigned, and all headed to Tal Bruinen.
It was nearing sunset when Elladan announced. "We are making our camp here." And he pointed at ruined tower of Echad Candelleth."Tomorrow we will set for our promised hunt." The older twin smiled at the prince.
The ruined Echad Candelleth was overlooking the Bruinen River and guarding the road to Eregion. The ruined tower still had some of the roof left so it was a good dry place to set up their camp.
The four elves dismounted their steeds and relieved them from their baggage, which were now outside grazing on some fresh grass near the entrance. Haldir prepared the campfire, while Elrohir offered himself to gather some firewood and checked the area around for the goal of their hunt. He was lucky because he found some tracks. Elladan on the other hand was preparing their evening meal and Legolas was preparing their bedrolls in relatively none-wet ground, which was also protected from the wind.
The great leopard was sitting at the edge of the tower looking at the river and the area around. She felt this uneasy feeling, like they have been watched. She felt this since they have crossed Bruinen, and even more when they were ascending to the Echad Candelleth.
Legolas looked around just to find his feline 'sister'. He was a bit worried when she did not join them for the meal. The young elf found the great feline sitting on the edge, still looking into the distance. He took a bigger piece of dried meat, meant for the feline, and walked to her.
"Luin? Are you alright?" he asked with a worried voice and placed his small hand on her great shoulder.
Aye. She smiled at him. I am okay. Why do you ask?
"Well you did not join our meal and you look so distant." Legolas said.
Oh that. The feline laughed. I was just enjoying the view from up here. It is beautiful. The cat lied a bit. She did not want to worry the young prince.
"Aye it is a marvelous sight." the golden haired elf smiled. "By the way I brought you your meal." and with a cheery smile Legolas showed the bluish feline a big piece of dried meat. The cat took it and started to eat it, but she did not finish it.
"Are you not hungry?" Legolas asked.
I was not much, but I will eat it later. Luin said. Now we can just rest here. Legolas leaned against the felines' side and they both watched as the moon rose.
Luin felt the small elf relax a little more and his breath evened out. She immediately knew he was asleep. She carefully placed him on her back, rose from the ground, she also took the remaining meat and headed to the twins and Haldir.
"Did he fell asleep?" Haldir quietly asked.
Aye, can you help me, but do not wake him up. The cat whispered back to him, when she dropped the meat. And also I will take the first watch if you three do not mind. The leopard added.
"Are you sure Luin?" Elladan asked while Haldir and Elrohir were carefully placing the young prince on his bedroll.
I am. The cat nodded. You four need your rest. If you do not mind I will wake you up later Haldir. The cat quietly said.
"I will not. You know that I also am guardian of the young prince." Haldir said proudly.
The feline nodded, took her meat and headed out of the ruined tower to a nearby rock, on which she easily climbed up. From the top of it she watched the area.
It was not long after the elves fell asleep when Luin heard a voice under her.
What is the matter with you? You are not behaving like the usual feline we know. It was the only other female member, Elladans' mare Elen. Luin did not register when the mare approached her. But now the other horses also joined her.
Elen is right. You are not being yourself. Ninim said.
Well you see Elen, I have this uneasy feeling since we crossed Bruinen. The feline said.
I think we all can all feel it. Elen said.
Uneasy feeling? It was Neenuvars' nervous voice, as he and Ulios joined them.
Aye, like we are being watched. Luin said and eyed the opposite mountainside and the path they came.
Well I felt it too. That was Ninim. It was like we are watched by hunters. And the feeling still resides.
That is the one. And I think we are being followed. The oldest one of them, Ulios, said and stomped with his front hoof.
So we must be on our guard. The feline definitely said. For them. Luin said and pointed to the sleeping elves with her front paw.
All the horses nodded. Ulios left with Neenuvar on the other side of the entrance while Luin, Ninim and Elen stayed where they were.
It was a few hours before dawn when Luin woke Haldir up to change the watch. The great feline then laid down besides the young prince and wrapped her tail around the small elfs' body.
In the morning the young prince woke up to a familiar fluffy feeling around him. He did not have to guess what it is, because it was his Luin.
The young elfs' eyes focused and he moved his body a bit. To this the felines' tail moved and her body coiled more for her to look at the golden haired princeling.
Good morning. Did you sleep well? The feline smiled when her sky blue eyes rested on him.
"Good morning to you too, Luin. Aye I did." Legolas smiled, stretched his body and looked around. "Good morning Haldir." Legolas greeted the Lórien march warden, which approached the camp site.
"Good morning Legolas, Luin." Haldir smiled. "Are you two ready for todays' grand adventure?" he asked.
"I hope so we are." Legolas smiled. "Are we Luin?" he asked the bluish leopard.
Definitely we are. And I know what we are going to hunt. She said and raised her head proudly.
"And what is it?" the Mirkwood prince enthusiastically asked.
What I can tell for sure is that we are going to hunt a stag, because I can smell the scent of him around the place. And the other thing is that he is big from the prints I found. The feline said.
Legolas was so excited about the news that he tried to stand but, he got entangled in the felines' long tail.
The great cat let the small elf get up from her side, and she also stood up and stretched her body.
Are the twins still sleeping? The feline asked.
"Well, we are not anymore." they heard Elladans' voice. "Well at least I am not." the dark haired elf smiled and pointed on his younger brother.
"Who could sleep with this chattering around." Elrohir muttered and stretched.
Well not everyone sleep as long as you do, Elrohir. The feline laughed and the other joined her.
Soon they gathered all their things and had light breakfast.
Then they put the bags on their horses and slowly proceeded down from the tower of Echad Candelleth deeper in the woods of Tal Bruinen.
"Now we must track our prey." Elladan smiled and jumped off Elen.
Legolas' eyes shone whit the spark of excitement when he jumped off his steed to the waiting feline, joined by the two other elves.
Luin on the other hand raised her head high and sniffed the air. So we are going after the stag, do we? The cat asked and smiled.
"How did you know? We did not tell it to anyone." Elrohir exclaimed and looked desperately at his older twin.
"Well she is a hunter after all." Haldir said and patted the feline.
"You cannot hide anything from her." the young prince laughed.
Aye, and I have way better senses than you possess. I can smell the stags' sense all over the place. Luin grinned.
"Okay I give up, you got us." Elrohir raised his hands in defeat.
"We are going after the great black stag that roams the woods of Tal Bruinen. We know that it lives somewhere here due to the tracks it leaves." Elladan said.
"We were tracking it movement for a long time now. Because of the promise to you and also as a test for you and our little cat if you two can hunt at all." Elrohir grinned when he teased the great feline.
We will see if you can hit it with an arrow Elrohir. The feline teased back.
The golden haired prince could not take it no longer because he was so eager to go hunting with his friends and he did not want to see them bickering. He wrapped his arms around the felines' neck and she immediately stopped and looked at him. She saw the excitement in his face and smiled. Legolas then looked at Elrohir, who immediately looked at his brother and the Lothlórien march warden.
Those two just nodded to him.
"So lets the hunt begin." Haldir pronounced and they all followed the signs where the great stag went.
The black stag was grazing in the middle of the forest. To any sound of a snapped twig it rose its' crowned head, twitching with its ears and sniffing the air nervously.
Well we found the stag, how is it going to be? The cat quietly asked the twin brothers. They all were hidden behind large bushes quite far away from the black stag.
"Well lets' make a challenge from it. Each of us will fire a single arrow and whose arrow will bring it down wins." Elrohir happily whispered.
But that is not fair. The feline half whined half hissed and nudged the younger twin.
"If no ones' arrow will bring the stag down and it manage to run it will be all yours, dear Luin." Elladan said and patted the feline.
Hannon le, Elladan, that is faaar better offer than your brother suggest, but most likely it is not possible. Luin smiled.
"And why would not it be?" Elladan whispered with curiosity.
You know that Legolas is the best archer in whole Arda, do you. The cat beamed and the young prince chuckled.
"Okay enough chitchat. Shall we begin?" Haldir asked.
"Aye." Legolas nodded alongside with the others. He took his long bow and notched green feathered arrow to the string.
Haldir and the twins did the same. The four elves draw their bows and aimed. But before any of them could release the arrow the great black stag reared and with a pained cry crashed to the ground. They did not have to come closer because the wind suddenly changed and they smelled the unpleasant smell of the foul beasts. The great stags' neck was pierced with a single black fledged arrow.
Not a minute later a squadron of orcs rushed out of the thick undergrowth.
"Look boys, looks like we have got fresh meat tonight." the leader called out and the others cheered..
"I have got a new challenge for you." Elrohir whispered and his eyes burned when he looked at the foul beasts. "We will divide to two groups. In the first one am I and Elladan and in the second one will be you, Legolas, Haldir and Luin as a bonus."
Hey I am not a bonus. The cat slightly growled.
"The group with more killed orcs wins. Okay?" he asked and looked at the others. They all nodded.
The four elves and the feline jumped in the strong trees and made their way to the squadron of orcs to ambush them.
Legolas, Luin and Haldir settled on an old wide tree with thick foliage for cover, while Elladan and Elrohir made their way on the other side of the feasting beasts.
The twins gave out bird chirping sound and the released the arrows. Within fifteen minutes were all orcs dead and the small hunting group jumped down.
"Well how did it go?" the march warden asked.
"Great. It is eleven for me and twelve for Elladan. How did you do?" Elrohir asked.
"Well fare better." Legolas laughed. "It is fourteen for me, thirteen for Haldir and none for Luin."
"What happened to you, Luin?" Elrohir snickered.
You know that very well. The cat said. If I go down, Legolas go as well. And he might got injured, so I stayed up on the tree. Then she turned and walked around to inspect if every one of the orcs are dead.
"So all together we have fifty." Haldir said.
"Aye." the other three elves nodded.
Luin walked around the slayed bodies of the foul beasts, but something was not right to her. There was something off, something missing and then it hit her.
Hey guys where is the leader? He should be laying somewhere between these corpses but he is not. The feline said and motioned to the corpses around when she returned to them.
Suddenly malign feeling made their bodies shiver. They looked at each other and they knew they were in trouble.