Green green green-leaf
The valley was peaceful this evening, the summer heat made the air simmer and even the birds kept their beaks shut. The entire city was almost on a state of slumber, the last weeks had been unbearably hot and even the elves were feeling the effects of it.
The guards were leaning on their spears, dreaming of the moment when they could remove their hot and heavy armor and take a long soak in the river. The horses were dozing in their stables and nothing was really going on. The elves were trying to do their daily shores but almost every activity had grinded to a halt, it was just too hot and the sun was shining and so many had gathered by the river to cool off. Even the very dignified counsellor Erestor had been dragged down to the river by Elrond and Glorfindel and now he was floating on his back with an expression of bliss on his face. This did beat the heat of the library, and although he never would admit to it, even under torture, he did enjoy taking a bath. It made him feel like an elfling again.
The only one not indulging himself was a guest, a very dignified guest. Thranduil of Greenwood had arrived a week earlier with his son and he was genuinely bored, and a bit worried too. He was sitting on a balcony with a splendid view of the entire valley and he had a huge goblet of chilled Dorwinion in his hand and yet he felt far from content. He had come for a specific reason, a problem he had tried to solve on his own but to no prevail. It regarded his son and he sighed and took a long sip of the wine. It shouldn't really be such a big deal, after all, there were few warriors more lethal than his beloved son but there was this one small problem that was nagging and bothering the king almost continuously.
Thranduil was a master swordsman, he was unsurpassed with his blades and he was proud of his skills and had every right to be too. He had been trained by the very best sword masters of Doriath and he had ever sought to hone and perfect his skills. And he was training whenever he had the time to keep himself fit for a fight. Now, his son was a different tale altogether. He was extremely skilled with his long knives, and he fought like a silvan in every way but Thranduil wanted him to be just as skilled with a sword, or preferably two. The problem was that Legolas was good with his blades, yes he was, but he didn't excel. He was above average but he couldn't even hope to be compared with his sire when it came to swordplay and it was gnawing at Thranduil.
He had hired the best tutors he could find, he had even tried to train his son by himself but that had been a failure of grand proportions. And so he had to swallow his pride and ask for help where he never would have imagined that he ever would go for such business. He had asked Glorfindel to train his son and found some small solace in the thought that the golden warrior was a vanyar and not a noldo. And so there he was, as a guest in Imladris and he was trying to enjoy the stay. You could say a lot about the noldo, but they knew how to create a sense of luxury. The chambers he had been offered were grand and his sons were just as nice. And it felt good to get away from his kingly duties but he would never admit that to anyone.
Legolas was doing well, he was making progress and Glorfindel was praising his skills but Thranduil was in doubt of the balrog slayers sincerity. After all, as a king he was used to everything being heavily sugar coated before he was informed of the things that went on in his realm. It was annoying at its best and infuriating at its worst but he had gotten used to it. So he did not doubt that his son was making progress but he doubted that the progress was as grand as Glorfindel claimed that it was.
And there was another cause for concern too, his son was getting distracted. He realized that he had done a stupid thing by keeping his son so isolated, the prince was in awe of everything new he was experiencing there every day and it did affect his concentration. It was everything from the food to the architecture and Thranduil was sighing and rolling his eyes in despair when Legolas showed up too late for training because he had seen something new and exciting. He was several hundred years old, not an elfling but Thranduil did realize that Elrond was right when he in his usual calm but oh so very righteous voice told the king he had tried to prolong his sons childhood by preventing him from really growing up. Thranduil knew that he had to open his eyes to the truth and let his son test his wings so to speak but it was hard, darn hard. He had lost so much in his long life, he refused to loose also his precious leaf.
And some of the distractions were also of a sort that made Thranduil a bit worried, back home Legolas knew everybody, there were no strangers and nobody who didn't keep an appropriate distance knowing that this was their prince. Here on the other hand Legolas could be compared with a flower in full bloom surrounded by eager bees. The ellith were coming on to him and so were quite a few ellyn too and the young prince was enjoying the attention immensely. In fact he was enjoying it a bit too much for Thranduil's liking and he had ordered Glorfindel to push his son so hard he didn't have the strength left to do anything stupid. Thranduil did want his son to be happy, of course he did, but he would prefer that he found some high born elleth of Sindarin origin and not some noldo. He was afraid that his son would bond with somebody he hadn't approved of and so he tried to keep a very watchful eye on him at all times.
There was one elleth in special that caused him concern, a very beautiful young thing with long dark locks and gorgeous large hazel doe eyes and Thranduil knew that the elleth was of a very respectable family and well thought of. If she had been a sinda or even a silvan he would have encouraged his son but she was a noldo damn it. And to make matters even worse he knew that one of Elrond's sons was interested in that elleth too. Nothing inappropriate had happened and he did not think that Legolas was all that interested in her but she had caught his attention and that was enough to make the king a bit worried. Thranduil emptied the goblet and sighed again, being a father wasn't easy at all. He wanted only the best for his only child but sometimes that was not easy to guide his offspring in the right direction. After all, his son was young and inexperienced and needed a loving hand to guide him. He could perhaps ask Glorfindel to add some very exhausting physical training to his regime too? Running perhaps? That ought to do it, or perhaps swimming? Yes, that would be great.
While Thranduil was deep in thought two pair of eyes were following the young prince as he was trying to move the way Glorfindel wanted him to, the eyes were grey and wolf-like and filled with both mirth and a hint of worry. The eyes belonged to Elrond's sons and the twins were hiding behind a bush, studying their target well. That Legolas had spoken to the fair young elleth Elladan for the moment had a certain interest in hadn't gone unnoticed and even though they strongly doubted that the prince would take it beyond just a few courteous words it had sort of fueled a flame within them both. It wasn't that Elladan was jealous, it was just that….oh damn it, he was! Legolas was pretty, nobody could deny that. In fact he was more than pretty, he was gorgeous! And Elladan and Elrohir were used to getting all the attention, and now he had sort of stolen their admiring crowd.
Elrohir would of course always back his brother up and was on his side and now they had come up with a brilliant and devious plan. After all, an initiation of some sort was needed when someone entered their group of friends and they had a reputation to uphold. They couldn't just allow the prince to get away without being pranked just because he was royalty? They didn't dare to prank his father, Thranduil's temper was infamous and frightening and after all, he was a king. They didn't want to start a diplomatic incident within their own home. No, the son was a legal target, after all, they had to show him that this was their domain and that they were in charge. He was the right age too, and too stiff and controlled for their liking. He was always so darn polite, so well behaved. Did he at all inherit anything from his father except those good looks?
They were dying to find out, oh it would be sweet. One of the first things they had thought of was his name, it was a bit odd since Legolas had added Greenleaf to his name when the very first name meant the same, it was silly and so they had decided that this forest elf was in for the surprise of a lifetime. A green leaf ought to be just that right? Green? Elrohir happened to know a seamstress with a not insignificant crush on him and he had masterly managed to distract her while Elladan stole a whole jar of fabric dye. Bright green fabric dye.
And they had gotten so many great ideas whence they had started, their minds had been overflowing with them and so the dye was just the beginning. Elrohir had done a lot of preparations in the bath house and Elladan had picked the lock to the prince's rooms and done a great job there too. Now they were simply waiting for the practice session to end, and they were sniggering while they awaited the result of their tedious work.
Glorfindel had been pushing the young prince rather hard and Legolas was dripping with sweat and panting in the heat, he was absolutely exhausted and his hands were shivering. Glorfindel had given him two rather heavy practice swords and the young elf had never thought that he ever could feel this tired. Glorfindel was about to give him some further instructions when he suddenly noticed that the king himself was approaching them. Thranduil was looking as spectacular as ever and he had dropped the heavy court robes and wore just a white linen shirt and a pair of dark trousers. He carried a pair of exquisite blades and Glorfindel sighed, right, the king wanted to show off again, or perhaps just demonstrate his skills to his son.
The golden warrior bowed politely and Thranduil sent him a swift but stiff grin, he did notice that Legolas looked completely drained and he felt concerned. He knew his son, he would push himself way beyond his natural limits if he had to and it made the king proud but also worried. Knowing when to quit is just as important as knowing when to keep going and he smiled at his son and tried to ignore the blazing heat. " I thought I would give you a small demonstration, just to show how it is ought to be done? If Lord Glorfindel is feeling up for it that is?"
Glorfindel gritted his teeth but nodded, he couldn't back down from such a challenge. " Of course your highness. I am honored."
He picked up his blades too and before long the two ancient warriors were sparring and it was quite a sight. Both were extremely skilled and fast and it was as watching a very well-choreographed dance, lethal and yet elegant and stunningly beautiful too. The two quickly drew quite a crowd and there were some moans of disappointment when the king and the warrior finally decided to stop. Thranduil felt sure that his son had watched and learned and now he too felt the heat and wanted to cool off a bit. He sent Glorfindel a genuine smile and placed a hand on Legolas shoulder. " If you may excuse us, I think we both are in need of a cold bath"
Glorfindel was trying to hide that fact that the king had pushed him way too hard, he would have been panting like a dog looking like a wet rag if he hadn't been too proud to show his fatigue. What the heck was that woodland king made of? Mithril? He was barely breaking a sweat damn it while Glorfindel felt as though he had spent a night in a blazing inferno, It was way too hot for this sort of activities now. "Of course your highness, there are some very nice cool pools in the bathhouse."
In the bushes the twins stared at each other with huge eyes, oh crap. What if the king too decided to enter the pool they had prepared, not good, not good at all! What were they to do? They could not do anything! That was the sad truth, they could just await the result of this and hope that it wouldn't result in a complete disaster. The king and his son walked to the bath house, normally it would be teeming with elves but since it was so hot everybody had found out that the river was a better alternative. It was way cooler down by the running water and more tempting too. The bathhouse was a marvel of architecture and clever plumbing. Elrond had made sure that nothing was missing there and there were even a few very hot pools although nobody used them now in the summer heat.
Legolas sighed with relief when he saw the pools just waiting to cool him down, he felt sticky all over and his skin itched intensely. He stripped off and headed for the pool he knew held cold water, someone had even added bubbles to it and some sort of perfume.
Thranduil sat down and pulled off his boots, he felt a bit stiff and knew that he ought to have warmed up before he started such vigorous sparring with the famous warrior but he had been too eager to think that far. Now he knew he would wake up feeling as though his joints were made from wood the next morning if he didn't do anything to avoid it so he sighed and realized that he would have to take a warm bath first just to soften his muscles and allow them to stretch.
He walked to the warm pool and got his clothes off, it wasn't that pleasant but he quickly relaxed and closed his eyes, tried to enjoy the sensation. He would take a cool bath afterwards and he felt how the heat made him drowsy. Legolas sat in the cold pool and he was humming a sweet tune while he relaxed and allowed the water to cool him down. He did take a deep breath and went under to get his hair wet and then he added some shampoo to it and washed it thoroughly. It felt nice and he was looking forward to a pleasant evening with some good food and perhaps he could even flirt a little. There were plenty of possible partners there and he knew that his father was unable to watch over him all the time. Back at home Thranduil had eyes and ears everywhere or so it seemed and coming to this place was liberating in more ways than just one.
He sniggered to himself, last night he had spent some very pleasant hours with a very sweet maiden and his father was oblivious about it. It felt wonderful to be able to do something without being guarded as if he was some darn jewel. Legolas was floating in the water for a while with his eyes closed, just enjoying the moment and Thranduil was soaking in the hot water. Legolas knew that his father had tried to impress everybody and now he was paying the price, he would have smirked if his father hadn't been there, able to see it.
Legolas was getting up when he suddenly noticed that something had happened while he bathed. He had very fair skin, all of sindar origin did and his was just as light as his father's. But now it wasn't fair anymore, it was green. Legolas took a deep breath and stared at himself, he was green all over. The roar that followed made Thranduil flinch and lose his balance, the king went under and came back up sputtering bathwater with wild eyes. He stared at his son and his cerulean eyes didn't believe what they saw. Legolas was green, all over. Bright green, like a freshly sprouted leaf and it wasn't just his skin. It was his hair too, it was a tad darker than his skin and even his pubic hair had gotten dyed.
Thranduil blinked a few times, too shocked to even think and Legolas was out of the pool within the blink of an eye and he was shouting some curses that made Thranduil just gawk. Where had his son learned such obscenities? He had hardly heard anything worse even during the battle of Dagorlad, the air was almost sparking with anger and he jumped out of the pool, he had to do something. Legolas was fuming, the entire body tense with pure rage and Thranduil had never seen his normally docile son this agitated. The prince grasped a pair of boots and pulled them on and it was obvious that he was heading out forgetting about his state of nudity and the reactions it would provoke. Elves are not shy by nature but they do have a sense of morality after all and running through the city buck naked was something an elfling could do unpunished, not an adult ellon. Thranduil grasped his own pants and boots and managed to pull them back on in spite of being dripping wet from the bath, then he grasped onto Legolas just in the moment he was going to open the door and he held the prince by his upper arms and tried to ignore the fact that his son was squirming like mad to break free. " Legolas, ion nin, calm down, relax!"
Legolas hissed and tried to break free again. " Relax? It is those two…darn twins. Spawn of Morgoth, I am going to freaking kill them!"
Thranduil had a hard time not laughing, after all, it was a bit hilarious but he was offended too. They had after all done something rather nasty to his precious son, but killing? That was taking it a bit too far, no more kinslaying. He pulled Legolas close and did notice that the dye used had to be a very tough one. The skin and hair wouldn't lose the green color for weeks or even months. The prince squirmed but his father put his arms around him firmly and whispered to him. "Legolas, listen to me, you do not want to kill them. Yes, they ought to be punished but remember that vengeance is a dish best served ice cold."
Legolas swore again and Thranduil cringed, he was going to have more than a few words with his butler, Galion was infamous for his foul mouth and he strongly suspected that he was the source of the prince's terrible language. " I want to rip those grins of those smug faces, let go of me ada, now!"
Thranduil held his son firmly, Legolas was strong but Thranduil was taller and used it to his advantage. " Ease down, yes they will be punished but it will be a vengeance that is well thought through. Not some impulse action which they will forget within a few days."
Legolas sighed and relaxed. " Alright ada, what are you thinking of?"
Thranduil smiled, his grin was devious. " They are to visit our realm next summer right? I bet we can return the favor, in style."
Legolas was still angry but he nodded at his father, there was something mischievous within Thranduil's eyes he hadn't seen there before, a ghost of the ellon he had been before he was forced to accept the crown and leave his youth behind. " Alright ada, I am listening."
And so the prince and the king showed up at the dinner that evening and everybody stared with huge eyes. Not only was Legolas hair and skin green, someone had replaced all of his clothes with those of an elleth and they were all green too. If the prince had looked great before he didn't look any less pretty in a dress but his skin and hair did make him stand out in the crowd even more than before. The entire hall fell silent,you could have heard a pin drop and Elrond just stared and his eyes were the size of teacups. Legolas was still fuming, everybody could see that he was sincerely pissed off but he pretended to be completely calm. He bowed his head towards Elrond and gathered the skirts he was wearing rather elegantly to sit down. Apparently somebody had removed all items of male clothing from the guest house and the surrounding buildings, only the kings own clothes remained and those were green too. At least there could be no doubt about the fact that these were woodland elves.
Elladan and Elrohir was hiding in a corner, laughing so hard their bellies ached and Elrond did wait until after the dinner before he grasped them by a pointy ear each and ordered them to wash the privies for a month. Legolas did act with dignity, he pretended as if nothing was wrong at all and some ellith did in fact make him aware of the fact that the color was excellent camouflage. With some vines in his hair and green clothes he was invisible within the bushes and he used the fact to his advantage during the rest of his stay there. Spying on the bathing maidens was so much easier when he was blending into the background and he did even spy on the twins. Yes, his father's plan was brilliant indeed.
The next summer the twins did visit Greenwood and spent some months in blissful oblivion, they had no idea of the patience of wood elves. The last day before they were to leave for home the twins went to the baths to refresh themselves. Legolas had spent a lot of time with them but this day the king had ordered him to attend to a council meeting and the two were so glad it wasn't them. Those meetings were boring to say the least and they enjoyed relaxing within the lovely baths. Greenwood wasn't as luxurious as Imladris but it wasn't bad and they had learned a lot during their stay.
Legolas had just gotten out of the meeting with his father when they heard some odd shrieks, Thranduil looked as if nothing was off but Legolas knew him well enough to spot that specific glint within his eyes that revealed that the king had kept his promise. Suddenly there was movement within the gathered crowd of elves, two very odd elves came running and they were running from a huge swarm of very angry bees. Both were stark naked, soaking wet, deep green in color and hairless. And covered in what could only be honey, Legolas stared at them with wide eyes and then he turned to his father who smirked and nodded to his son. " I was a champion at pranking when I was an elfling. I added dye to the water, hair remover to their shampoo and hung a beehive over the pools. The honey was Galion's idea, it was in a bucket over the door, and when they grasped their towels to cover up they pulled the plug out of the beehive and released the bees."
The twins came to an abrupt stop when two huge guards grasped onto them and threw a blanket over each ellon and a beekeeper soon got the bees under control but the sight of the two naked green and hairless twins wouldn't be forgotten there for a very long time. Elladan was gasping, everybody had seen the misery and he had never felt that shocked before. He stared at Legolas. "You….you did this you goddamn…."
Thranduil put a protective arm around his son, smirked at the two young ellyn. " No, my son has nothing to do with this. It was my doing and I hope you have learned your lesson by now. Nobody messes with my precious leaf and gets away with it!"
Elladan and Elrohir crept back to their rooms in shame and they didn't dare to do anything to avenge their misery. After all, it was the king who had done the prank, they couldn't just prank him back. They returned to Imladris bald and green and Elrond threw quite a tantrum when he saw them. First he laughed so hard he almost passed out, then he cried and afterwards he laughed again before he announced that the forest king indeed knew how to deliver his vengeance with both style and determination. It took months before the twin's hair grew back again, they were green for six more months and sulked for even longer. But the next time they met the Greenwood royalty they behaved like true gentle-elves and didn't prank Legolas again even though they were sorely tempted many times. They didn't want to end up at the receiving end of Thranduil's creativity, once was more than enough. The only green they would wear would be green clothing and they never even teased Legolas with his name. Thranduil had secretly pulled them aside before they left and made a solemn vow that the next time they did anything that stupid he would make sure that they would wake up one morning pink all over with their hair knotted and something silly glued onto certain body-parts and the very idea was enough to keep the twins on the straight and narrow, at least when it came to the woodland royals.
The other inhabitants of Imladris on the other hand were fair game and one morning Erestor woke up with his hair braided into the headboard of his bed, his skin bright pink and a pair of fluffy bunny slippers glued to his feet. When Elrond recovered from his laughing fit he promptly sent a letter to Thranduil, thanking him for having disciplined his sons but he would greatly appreciate it if he in the future avoided giving them new ideas. The answer was a huge box of green dye and after that all Elrond had to do to make his sons squirm and go pale was to point at it since he had placed it in plain sight on his desk. It seemed that the idea of going green once more had a greater effect on them than even their father's strictest lectures.
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