A New Beginning
Neiroel was waiting patiently in King Thranduil's chambers so she could help him prepare for bathing.
The Elven king had ordered an emergency council session with his councilors later to discuss the ongoing threat of increasing threat of safety in the forest. Lately the spiders were becoming more aggressive and bold and it was only a matter of time before they tried to attack the halls of the Elvenking.
Thranduil was very tense and had been sterner of late. It was no wonder why. The king did everything he could to try and hold back the darkness from evading the forest of Mirkwood completely and keeping his people safe from the evil threatening to consume Middle Earth.
Everyone was walking on eggshells around the place so to speak as it didn't take much to annoy the King lately and no elf wanted to be on the receiving end of the king's wrath.
Neiroel shook her head as she laid out fresh towels in the bathing chamber and checked that the water was hot enough. Being the personal handmaiden to the king was a job most ellith feared. But it seemed that Neiroel was the only one who could calm him and relax him enough that the rest of the elves could carry on with their day without worrying about bringing the wrath of Thranduil down on their heads.
The two of them had started becoming closer as of late and the people were beginning to wonder just what would become of the two of them.
Neiroel smiled slightly to herself. She often thought about her king when she was alone and lately her thoughts were becoming more imaginative. She would lie in her room at night wondering just what it would be like to feel his strong arms wrap themselves around her waist and hold her tight. She imagined his lips gently kissing her, his hand stroking her hair; his voice telling her she was beautiful.
She blushed at the thought and went back to her work preparing his bath. It's ridiculous anyway. I'm just a lowly handmaiden and he's a king. It's foolish to think of anything more than a professional relationship developing between us. What would the kingdom say to such a thing? She shook her head again. It was nonsense to even think of such things, let alone allow herself to dream of them. Besides I'm not that attractive anyway, even for an elf. This of course was complete and total nonsense.
Neiroel was tall, and graceful. Her hair was long and silky soft and a deep golden red that when in the sunlight shone brightly a golden copper, almost like it was on fire. Her eyes were a deep gray that reminded one of a storm getting ready to brew at sea. Her laugh was musical and when she laughed those who were around her couldn't help but laugh with her, even those who seemed to have no more laughter in them which included the king though he would be quick to deny it. She was a very gentle and kind elleth that everyone got along with very well. She was never quick to judge anyone and would come to ones aide in a heartbeat.
But she was a servant. And because of this, her beauty was often over-looked. Often she would stand at the corner of the Great Hall and watch the high born ellith flirting with the king and elf lords of the councilors. Nobody ever asked her to dance.
As Neiroel finished drawing Thranduil's bath she heard the approaching of soft footsteps. Knowing who it was she stood up and turned herself around and curtsied gently as the king entered the bathing chamber.
"Good evening my liege. I have drawn your bath and prepared your clothes for the council session this evening. Would you be needing my help with anything else my Lord?"
The king smiled softly and walked towards her with a look of compassion is his grey eyes without so much as saying a word or dismissing her. Neiroel looked slightly frightened as no one had ever looked at her this way before much less her king.
"My Lord?" she asked timidly, her voice betraying her underlying fear.
This seemed to make Thranduil continue in his advances towards her. Neiroel started to back away and the Elvenking reached out and grabbed her arm gently pulling her to him. "I want you to stay with me Neiroel." He answered her earlier question with a soft smile and gentle whisper.
"Excuse me? I must have heard you wrong my Lord." Neiroel was beyond shocked. She was a servant and he was the Elven king and this was just unheard of. She struggled slightly against his grip on her arm.
"You did not hear me wrong Neiroel. You asked me if I needed anything else and I told you what I needed. I said I wanted you to remain here with me." Thranduil smiled while brushing his thumb gently across her cheek sending chills down her spine.
"My king, you can't be serious. I am nothing more than a mere servant girl and you are a king." Neiroel's head was now spinning. Either Thranduil was drunk and not in his right mind or the stress finally got to him, either way she wasn't sure how she should feel. A part of her told her to flee while another part was telling her to stay. For nights now she had dreamed of this and now that her dream seemed to be coming true she was scared. The look on her face must have been humorous because Thranduil just laughed, which was very rare.
Ever since Siladis, the king's wife and Legolas' mother had died one thousand years ago the king stopped smiling and laughing. "I am serious my dear. I know the feelings you harbor for me and the dreams you have at night. I must confess that at first I was very shocked but I can't deny that I feel the same way about you."
He was now leaning closer to Neiroel and had whispered the last words into her ear. Neiroel would have fainted from the close contact and his confession if Thranduil had not been holding her up. The king had just confessed that he loved her.
"H-how do you know?" Neiroel was beyond shocked. How had the king seen past her and into her private dreams? She shook her head.
She began to pull herself from his arms and tried to back up but forgot that the king's bath was behind her. She stumbled against the edge, tripped and fell in, water cascading all around her. As she sat submerged in the water, soaked from head to toe, the king just started laughing hysterically. Neiroel's hair was strung all over her face and she had a look of complete horror on her face. The one time she's alone with the king and he admits his feelings to her, she makes a fool out of herself and falls on her behind in the bath water meant for the king. It was beyond embarrassment.
She felt tears forming in her eyes from the embarrassment and tried getting up only to fall back in. Thranduil stopped laughing and kindly held his arm out for her to pull her out. "Here, allow me to assist you."
She reached up and grabbed hold of his hand and at the last moment pulled him in as well. The king fell in the tub with a huge splash and was soaked from head to toe. He looked at her with a look of shock on his face, his eyes darkening with anger.
Neiroel however was shaking with laughter. She clamped her hand over her mouth in an attempt to ward of her giggles but it was no use.
"Why did you do that?" Thranduil spluttered indignantly while trying to climb gracefully out of the tub.
"That was for making me fall and then laughing at me to top it all off," Neiroel blinked innocently up at the Elvenking.
Thranduil just stared at her with his mouth wide open, shock written all over his face. Never had anyone apart from his wife speak to him in the way Neiroel had just spoken. A moment later he found his voice again. "I did not make you fall. You pulled yourself away and fell in and as for laughing, if you could have seen yourself my dear you would have been laughing too!" He pulled her up and grabbing his towel, began drying her off.
As Thranduil started drying her hair and face he leaned in and kissed her softly on her lips, his gentle against hers.
Neiroel froze and began trembling but instead of pulling back she surprised herself by kissing him back. Thranduil let out a soft moan and entangling his hands into her wet locks while deepening the kiss. His teeth nipping playfully on her bottom lip begging her to allow him entrance to her mouth.
Neiroel granted him access and she only kissed him more fervently while wrapping her arms around him. After a few minutes Thranduil picked Neiroel up and carried her to his bed. When he got there he gently placed her on the bed and looked at her with only love and respect in his eyes.
Never had anyone gazed at her with such love and affection. It scared her slightly. She felt her heart racing as Thranduil gently ran his fingers through her hair, stroking her wet locks.
"Do you trust me?" He asked her softly. All Neiroel could do was nod her head softly. They were not seen for the next few hours; no one knew or more likely wanted to know why.
Neiroel fell asleep in Thranduil's arms. The meeting would have to wait for another time. Thranduil was far too tired and definitely too comfortable to be bothered with meetings. He was lost, wrapped up in the gentle arms of one who loved him for who he was, not what he was.
All he wanted was to stay in the arms of the elleth he loved and savor each and every moment he spent with her. Yes he had finally found the one he wanted to be with and he knew she felt the same. As he looked up out his window he could faintly see his beloved Siladis smiling down at him from above.
Be happy my love. I am always with you and we will always have each other. But right now you two need each other.
Thranduil choked back his tears, not wanting Neiroel to see and smiled at Siladis and then held Neiroel closer. Siladis was right. He and Neiroel both needed each other and he would do just that.
He would be happy.
He was getting a second chance at being loved and to be happy and he would relish each and every day.
Finally unable to stay awake he fell into a restful sleep while cradling Neiroel closely against his beating heart.
The only thing that passed through his mind as the dreaming realm of the elves came upon him, what his son; Legolas would be thinking come morning after returning home from his two month patrol. It still much amused the king how like an elfling the prince would act once he was once again safe amide his kin and beloved forest.
Ah, the life of being a king, lover and a father. Maybe the news of my love for Neiroel will make those matching blue eyes of mine pop out further out of his head. It's about high time my children, has a mother once more in their lives. They have suffered much.
I just hope Lord Elrond doesn't have a heart attack next time he arrives for the yearly Yuletide celebration this coming winter.
Smiling in his sleep, Thranduil let these thoughts drift around him mind, content with life once more as he pulled Neiroel closer to him. Never again would he let her go.
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