A Daughter for the King
It had been one hundred years since Neiroel and Thranduil had been married together, a century of pure bliss and love. Now the King and new Queen of Mirkwood were expecting a new arrival much to the joy of the entire realm. Neiroel was giving birth to their first child together. She had been in labour now for well over fourteen hours and Thranduil was beside himself with worry. It was unusual for elves to be in labour for long periods of time.
Siladis, his first wife and the mother of his son, had only been in labour with Legolas for six hours and everything had gone relatively smoothly. There was no need for pain medicine either. But with Neiroel things were very different. She was screaming in pain for Thranduil, her husband to be with her but it was against protocol for the fathers to be present during the birth of the child.
Please Elbereth, protect my wife. Spare her, don't take her from me. Thranduil had being praying since late last night and the stern, cold Elven king was almost in tears now. He was so caught up in fear and grief that he failed to notice his son, Legolas, the prince approach him.
Thranduil jumped in spite of himself. "Forgive me my son, I did not hear you," his voice was soft as he tried to hold back the tears of worry. "I am worried about Neiroel."
Legolas smiled softly at his father, understanding his worry. "All will be well Father. Neiroel is very strong, she'll pull through this." He placed a comforting hand over Thranduil's shoulder and giving it a tight squeeze. "I believe in her ability to bring my new brother or sister into this world. If my own naneth could do as millions of other mothers out there in Middle Earth and beyond, the new queen will be able to as well."
Thranduil sank into the armchair standing against the wall and wearily put his face into his hands. Even after all the children he had with his last queen, just being on the waiting end of things was much worse than waiting for orders during a battle from the commander. But he frowned as something stuck his as odd. He looked up at his son again. Legolas leaned slightly against the wall, his eyes focused on nothing in particular.
"Legolas...why do you not call Neiroel 'mother'? It has been a hundred years since she became my wife yet you still address her as queen. Does she not treat you as her son?"
The prince looked up, startled. He locked gazes with his father before turning his head away and sighing. "Forgive me Father. I do not mean it as so." He looked back at the king with an almost painful expression on his face. "Please understand I love Neiroel very much. She is a mother to me in every way. I could not ask for better. I just feel sometimes that I am...disloyal...in want of a better word...to Naneth. That is all."
Thranduil bit his lip as realization dawned on him. Legolas still missed his mother terrible. It was hard on him; it was hard on them all. "Ion nin I understand how you feel. Your mother loved you more than anything...more than life. She would want to see you happy. I believe that she wishes you to accept Neiroel as your mother." He stood up and crossed over to where the prince stood. Reaching out he gently turned his son's head around to face him. "Legolas both your mother's love you very much. Neiroel told me the other day that she could not have asked for a better older brother for our child."
Legolas looked away as his eyes misted over slightly. Taking a shaky breath, he turned to look at his father. "Does she really think of me as her son?"
Thranduil nodded. "Yes." His son was starved of a mother's affection. Neiroel was willing to give Legolas all of her love for him if he would just open the door and let her in.
"Then I would be honoured to call her mother and love her as such." Legolas smiled sadly. "But I will always remember my birth mother."
Thranduil wrapped his son in a tight embrace. "I would not ask anymore of you my son."
Legolas eagerly returned the embrace. As he stood against his father he realized that Neiroel, his mother, had brought out something in the king that had been missing since Siladis had died. Something that denoted him as a father and not just a king looking after his people.
He smiled as his father released him. "Thank you," he whispered.
Thranduil replied by placing a gently kiss on the top of his head before he turned and sat back down again in the armchair.
"I just don't understand why things are progressing so slowly. Your mother had no issues bringing you into this world," he said after a long moment of silence while staring deep into the flames of the burning hearth. "I still remember being overjoyed when I saw you for the very first time, ion nin. You were so tiny and yet so full of life of the Eldar, your inner light shining with so much brightness during a time of uncertainty and despair."
He sighed, strumming his long, slender fingers upon the armrest while his son sat down beside him on the sofa and leaned his head against his father's strong shoulder like an elfling. Thranduil smiled upon his son, reaching up with his hand to stroke the long identical locks of his that marked his little Greenleaf's rightful birthright as heir to the throne. "Even though I have taken a new queen and am awaiting an additional heir to my throne, you are still held dearly within my heart and mind, ion. And from now on you and Neiroel will have something very special in common."
Legolas glanced up behind him at his father's face. "What is that?"
Thranduil chuckled slightly. "Why your new brother or sister of course."
"Thank you, Ada for your kind and loving words." Legolas replied as his eyes drooped closed. For the first time in a long while, the prince drifted off into a restful sleep, finally at peace with himself over his new mother.
Thranduil could still hear his son's stepmother's cries of pain and the soothing tones of the healers as they helped her deliver the baby. His heart was greatly troubled at the possible outcome of stillbirth or even worse, losing his new wife and queen along with the baby. He did not think he could bear to lose another thing of joy from his life.
But he forced himself to think positive thoughts of what having a new baby again would help do for the royal family and the long term future ahead. The elven king gracefully slid out of his royal robe he was wearing to cover his sleeping Legolas with it. The prince stirred ever so slightly, but then leaned further against his father, wrapping his arm around his waist with one arm and the other one holding tightly onto Thranduil's hand as his head slipped onto his father's lap.
Thranduil had no idea how long he had be a sleep but he was aroused from his deep dreamless slumber by one of the healers gently shaking his shoulder, saying that his wife had delivered the baby.
Immediately the Elven king was wide awake and alert. "Is she and the baby well"? Thranduil asked worry apparent in his eyes.
Pathel smiled softly. "Yes both your wife and child are fine my king. Your wife is exhausted and it was a hard and difficult labour but she shall recover completely."
Thranduil sighed in relief. "The babe? What did my wife have?" He held his breath and waited as Pathel looked at him almost teasing him with her silence.
"She had a beautiful healthy baby elleth my king." The healer said finally, her own lips lifting into a smile as she watched the joy spread through the face of the king before her.
"A girl? I have a daughter?" Thranduil said stunned. He had always wanted a daughter after having three sons. He could hardly contain himself with joy. "Legolas! Wake up ion nin. Your mother has had the baby!" He shook his son a little too roughly.
"Ai! I'm awake!" Legolas stared at his father and was easily able to tell by the smile on the king's face that the queen must have delivered the baby at last. "I take it Neirro- mother has finally delivered?" He said while wiping the sleep from his eyes.
"Yes she has and I am so happy to tell you that she has given you a baby sister." Thranduil said almost sounding like an elfling himself as he smiled brightly at his son.
"A sister? I have a little sister?" Legolas laughed joyfully. "So after three sons and thousands of years of waiting you finally have the daughter you always wanted!" he said with a smirk.
Thranduil nodded and then turned his head again towards Pathel who just stood there smiling at seeing the king so elated. "May I go and see them now?"
"Of course my lord. Just for a little while though as they both need their rest."
Thranduil started for the rooms his wife and daughter were in and then stopped to look at his son who was standing still behind him. Seeing his father looking at him, he smiled and nodded towards the door. "Go Ada. I will see them later."
Thranduil smiled and nodded his head. "Thank you ion nin."
When Thranduil first saw his beloved wife he couldn't help but feel a pain as he beheld her for the first time since she had gone into labour so many hours ago. Her face was pallid, and still covered in sweat. Her hair was dried to her forehead and her eyes seemed to have no life in them as she laid there with a small bundle wrapped in a soft pink blanket. She looked up when he softly caressed her forehead.
"Thranduil," she murmured with a small smile. The queen looked down at the bundle nestled against her chest and then carefully handed their newborn daughter to over to the eagerly awaiting arms of the Elven king. "Isn't she beautiful?" she asked as he gently took the child from her mother.
When Thranduil took his daughter he had to hold back tears as pride engulfed him. Indeed she was beautiful. "Yes she is meleth. She looks just like you." And indeed the baby did look like her mother with a head full of dark red hair, and fair skin, and as Thranduil cooed softly at his daughter she opened her eyes to reveal the brightest blue eyes that reflected both her father's and elder brothers. Thranduil could only smile as she smiled back at her father with a toothless grin and gurgled softly.
"What shall we call her?" Neiroel asked watching the two with joy. She smiled as she watched her husband play with the small fingers of her daughter. Never did she think she could bring him so much happiness. But there was one person that was missing.
Thranduil looked up and thought for a minute. "What about Arneth?"
"Royal lady?" Neiroel thought for a second. "I think that is perfect. A royal name for a royal daughter."
Thranduil sat down and handed Arneth back to her mother as she was getting fussy to be fed. As his wife nursed their daughter Thranduil placed a soft kiss on both of their heads and watched with fascination and joy at his daughter listening to her suckling sounds as she nursed, oblivious to his son standing in the doorway watching the three with a beautiful smile on his face at seeing his father so happy.
Neiroel looked up and spotted him. "Thranduil my love, I do believe we have a visitor."
The king looked up and caught sight of the prince leaning against the door frame. "Legolas come and meet your new sister." He gestured towards the bed.
As Legolas quietly approached the bed almost shyly, he gave Neiroel a quick smile before he beheld his baby sister for the first time. He stared down at her in wonder, gazing at the tiny features of her face and the small fingers that waved around weakly.
Thranduil and his new mother looked at him as Arneth finished feeding and snuggled back down into the blanket, content for the time being. "Would you like to hold her Legolas?" Neiroel asked tenderly.
Legolas nodded. "Please. I would love to...mother."
With tears in her eyes Neiroel passed over her daughter to the prince. Thranduil put an arm around his wife's shoulder as they watched their son with their daughter.
Legolas held his sister awkwardly at first, but soon he let his arms relax and gently rocked Arneth, his eyes never leaving her face. As he looked down at her he felt a fierce sense of protectiveness come over him. I will not let anything or anyone hurt you muinthel. He would die before he would allow any harm to befell her and Valar help the first ellon that tried to court her.
Both Neiroel and Thranduil softly chuckled knowing exactly what Legolas was thinking. Neiroel reached over and gently brushed her daughter' face. "I love you my children. Both of you." She looked at Legolas and leaned up to press a gentle kiss to his forehead. "My son," she whispered so no one else in the room heard except for the prince.
Legolas nodded before smiling. "Yes...mother."
It was a beautiful sight to behold and everything was now perfect. Word would be getting around soon that Mirkwood now had a princess and there would be a grand celebration to welcome the first and only princess of the realm into the world. After fourteen hours of painful labour the queen made it quite clear that she was not having any more children.
Meanwhile looking in on the happy family from above was Legolas' mother, Siladis who was smiling at seeing her husband and son happy again after grieving for so many years. She knew now that they would begin to heal and she didn't have to worry any more. Her job was finished. She looked back one last time and was gone as quickly as she had appeared. Indeed everything was as it should be and as long as Thranduil was around he would not allow anything to happen to his family.