Chapter 2: A Dinner to Remember
I am really glad that you are all enjoying this story so far, your kind reviews have been so nice to read. Please enjoy! Oh and from now on, I am not going to always say that Legolas is signing something, but I will say who he is signing to. So basically whenever you see italics, Legolas is communicating. Also, Aragorn speaks for Legolas within this chapter, so I hope you all don't get confused. I am going to try and make it as clear as possible.
"Well, you see, Legolas doesn't speak, he can't."
The mouths of the four hobbits all simultaneously dropped about an inch or so. Confusion clouded their eyes as they regarded the smiling elf in front of them. Several moments of silence stretched between the beings before Legolas tapped the man on the shoulder once more. Could you please translate for me? I would like to greet them in my own voice so to speak. The final signs were accompanied by a slight shrug of the elf's shoulders. Aragorn nodded in agreement and turned to the hobbits, who were still studying the prince.
"My friends, Legolas would like me to relay what he is trying to communicate to you."
The four nodded in understanding, signaling Legolas to begin. The elf started with his rapid gestures and the ranger spoke their meaning aloud.
"I know that my ways of communication may seem strange to you, but I ask you to allow me to explain. When I was first struck with the loss of my speech, I was devastated that communicated with the people around me would become nearly impossible. I spent a good three months lost in my grief before I came to my senses. It happened after I attended one of my father's council meetings for the first time since I lost my voice. As I was sitting there, I observed the way that the elves around me used their hands to accentuate the words they were speaking, and that was when I realized something. If I couldn't communicate by speaking in elvish or the common tongue, I needed to create my own language. Thus the hand gestures you see were born. Each one represents either a common word such as hello and goodbye, or a letter to spell out words."
The elf finished by watching the awe struck hobbits for a reaction. Pippin was the first to respond.
"That is amazing! You created an entire language by yourself!"
Legolas smiled broadly and gestured to Aragorn, who once again relayed the message.
"He says thank you Pippin."
The hobbit grinned before suddenly making a noise of disapproval.
"How silly of me, I forgot that we haven't actually told you our names. I am Pippin, this is my cousin Merry, that is Sam, and next to him is Frodo."
Legolas dipped his head in greeting once again before promptly rising. It was then that Sam spoke up.
"Mister Legolas? May I ask you a question?"
The prince nodded and raised an eyebrow in a silent signal to continue.
"Well, Mister Strider obviously knows your language, but does anyone else?"
Legolas looked over to the man and briefly shared a short conversation with him. Do you want to answer them? It might be a little easier. Aragorn shrugged and responded.
"Of course, but feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong."
Oh, I will. The elf finished with a mischievous wink and a smirk. The man scoffed lightly and rolled his eyes before turning his attention back to Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin.
"To answer your question Sam, yes, there are others. Only Legolas' father, his battalion— who reside mere feet away—and I are completely fluent in the language, but Lord Elrond, the twins, Arwen, and many Mirkwood elves know enough to communicate easily."
The hobbits all made barely audible noises of understanding, but their questions weren't done yet. This time it was Merry's turn to speak up.
"Um Legolas, may I ask you how you lost your voice?"
This was when the elf began to change. Legolas' shoulders slumped as his friendly demeanor shifted from smiles to a grief filled frown and fearful eyes. He slowly exhaled and closed his eyes before gesturing to Aragorn. Please Estel, I do not wish to tell them, I cannot. At this, the ranger frowned.
"Mellon-nin, maybe you should tell someone. You have not spoken of anything that happened during those years. None know of what actually happened, not even your father and I." (my friend)
Legolas merely shook his head and began an apparent rant with his hands. No, no not now, not ever. I will not relive what happened all those years ago, I got over it, I forgot it, I don't remember it anymore, I don't want to and I refuse to. No longer shall I live through that torment, no longer shall I hear them yell at me, no longer, no longer, please no, please don't make me, don't make me go back, I don't want, I will not, I will not.
When the beginnings of tears formed along the rims of Legolas' once again open eyes, Aragorn quickly stepped in front of the elf and grabbed his wrists, pausing his frantic motions. The elf looked like he was about to fall apart any minute, so the man tried his best to calm him down.
"Legolas, peace mellon-nin. You do not have to say anything you do not wish to. Lord Elrond tol deri nedh-innas medi. E taur sui an pent innas lle." (Lord Elrond is waiting inside with supper. He might like to talk with you.)
The prince nodded hurriedly and without another thought, Legolas practically sprinted up the stairs leading into The Last Homely House. This left Aragorn to watch the elf leave with saddened eyes, standing with the very worried and confused hobbits. Neither party knew exactly what to say in order to break the uneasy silence, which had settled over them. That is until Merry began to quietly tear up.
"I'm sorry, I-I didn't mean to say anything to hurt him…"
Aragorn cut him off by raising his hand in a silencing gesture and giving him a quick smile.
"No Merry, you hold no fault here. As I said earlier, Legolas has much suffering within his past, and some of it he doesn't wish to talk about. This includes how he became speechless. All that anyone knows is that Legolas lost his voice during his time as a captive in Dol Guldur. He was held there for close to four years, but when he was found again, he was barely alive and his voice was gone. We tried to get Legolas to tell us what happened for years, but he refused to explain anything. To this day he has held true to that with conviction, hence the reaction you just saw. Do not worry yourself Merry, he holds you know ill will, I can promise you that. We just need to give him a little bit of time to calm down."
The hobbit nodded and wiped at his unformed tears. It was then that the ranger pushed the halfling forward.
"Come my friends, supper is about to be served. You don't want to be late now do you?"
The hobbits shook their heads and rushed off in the direction the distraught elven prince had traveled in mere minutes before.
Lord Elrond's dinner table was behaving with a surprising amount of amicability considering the mishmash of beings residing within the chairs. There were five dwarves, five men, four hobbits, a wizard, and five elves. That being said, only the hobbits and Aragorn were speaking, and even that was a near silent conversation about whether or not they should be worried about Legolas or not. The hobbits were becoming concerned, for the elven prince was yet to enter the room. The prince's soldiers were also becoming anxious, for they were very close with their captain and the last thing they wanted was to see harm befall him. However, before any of them could discuss the issue further, the large doors leading into the room swung open, revealing none other than Legolas himself.
The elf colored a little when everyone with the room turned to watch him. He dipped his head in greeting and signed to Lord Elrond, I apologize for being late. I lost track of time among the beautiful sights of your garden. The elven Lord smiled and repeated the gesture of bowing his head.
"Ah Legolas, you need not apologize. It is good to see you well."
The prince smiled and headed towards his seat, which was placed in-between Aragorn and his soldiers, who immediately stood and bowed at the waist. Legolas simply shook his head and gestured them to sit. Please my friends, you do not need to do that here. Sit down and enjoy your respite from duty. The soldiers smiled and nodded before sitting down once again.
From there, Legolas sat himself down and smiled at the hobbits across from him. He then tapped Aragorn on the shoulder, once again asking him silently to translate. As he began signing, the man began to speak.
"Please forgive my behavior earlier my dear hobbits, I did not mean to scare you so or make you feel guilt. What you asked was a valid question and therefore I hold you to no blame. However, all that I ask is that you refrain from asking said question again. It is simply one I am not able to answer at the moment. But please let us not dwell on such morbid thoughts, I had no intent of ruining your diner when I entered here."
The elf finished with a gleaming smile, which was a definite signal to the others around the table to begin with their meal again. And that they did, reasonably peacefully as well. That is until one of the dwarves felt the need to sneer at Legolas, while he was signing something to Aragorn.
"Well ain't that the definition of the elves. They follow a defective and spoiled brat as their leader. And they say that we have the lower intelligences."
All conversation halted as everyone surrounding the gigantic table turned to look at said dwarf, including the blue eyes of one deeply hurting elven prince.
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