Building Ithilien

Such Sweet Sorrow

Greetings.  This update took much longer than planned.  Every time I think I know how this story is going to go, something different ends up happening when I actually sit down and write the scenes.  And then I have to invent a new plan, which I never stick to anyways. Ahhh, the joys of authorship. 

            Another thing that kills me, and I don't know if any of you might do this as well—but I always ALWAYS grossly misjudge how long a particular scene or storyline will actually be when I write it down.  I had 5 major scenes lined up for this chapter.  I only got two done (and one is pretty short) in ten pages.  Is it just me? Or does it happen to other people too?

I love writing this story.  A little too much, I'm afraid.  Just look at my chapters, for crying out loud!  It's chapter 25 and they haven't even gotten to stupid Gondor yet, much less Ithilien.  (sorry Aragorn, it's not really stupid. I didn't mean it) Arghh! 

Enough of my ranting.  AND I am sooo sorry that it took me almost a month to update.  I will update much sooner next time. 

I want to let everyone know that I really appreciate the reviews and comments for the last chapter. 

Arwen16: Hey thanks for reading.  I always like it when an author (that I've read their story) posts a comment on mine.  It's so tremendously insightful, because I'll know what their writing style is like, and then I can see what they think about mine.  Especially when I like or admire something about that author's story!  It's very rewarding.  Thank you!

Mari3:  Thank you!!  I liked that you called it a 'history.'  That's very cool and Tolkienish!! (Tolkienish? Tolkienistic?… You know what I mean!)

Skipper:  Thank you for saying that!  I am so glad you think so.

Legolasforever:  I agree:  Yay! They're together.  Finally. It took them (err.. me) long enough.  I like slow-cooked romance.

Iluvien:  I was proud of Legolas standing up to dear old dad, too.  And He is definitely going to Gondor, but he'll have to hurry if he wants to beat the orcs there.  He certainly can't hang around his tent all day smooching with Miredhel if he wants to make it on time…

Elvishwine:  I am so glad to hear that you liked the last scene.  It's difficult for me to walk the fine line between sweet and sappy sometimes.  But hey, for those two, it was a well-earned moment, I thought.  I hope you enjoy this next chapter.

Lainfaer:  I wished I had updated this sooner for you and I hope you (and all the other readers) haven't forgotten about this story.  I liked what you said about them both being so stubborn.  I hadn't really ever considered them sharing that in common, even though I did write both of them to be that way.  Aww, they have more in common than I realized.  Thank you so much for all your sweet compliments (blushes)! 

Caged Phoenix:  I'm glad you thought it was unexpected.  I think stories should be a little unpredictable (especially on fanfiction!).  That title said a lot for the way that I felt about that chapter—what happened was totally unexpected from my perspective as well.  I had never really planned on #1- having Miredhel and Legolas hook up at that point, #2- having that whole council scene, and #3-having Legolas renounce his title like that.  Stubborn elves!  The whole chapter was unplanned and ran amok!  But I do like the way it turned out. 

Concetta:  Thank you for writing a comment about a specific line in the story!  I love it when reviewers do that.   I felt so excited to know that you liked it.  (That was my fav line from that whole scene.)

ElerrinaRose:  Ooh.  I'm glad you thought pacing was good, because that was the one thing that I was worried/wondering about.  And I'm glad that you like the Thranduil/Legolas conflict.  That just kind of evolved in this story—another one of those things that just insisted on floating up to the surface.  And I'm glad that you like the Legolas/Miredhel relationship and developing romance.

Dragonfly:  You're right.  Thranduil is one tough elf to argue with!  But.. Legolas was bound and determined to help out Aragorn, so there was no stopping him!  As for their trip going smoothly, well…only the Valar knows!  But get a few thousand orcs and throw some unlucky elves into the mix, and things are bound to be rough…

Chapter 25:  Such Sweet Sorrow

The morning waned as the sun climbed and both elves loathed to leave the other's side.  Miredhel and Legolas were as any young couple, in any walk of life, race, shape, or circumstance.   For all intents and purposes, their hearts and minds were as any youths' who first find bliss in the look, the touch, or even the kiss of another.  The way they felt for each other was certainly nothing new in Middle Earth.  Many before them had lived and loved.  Miredhel and Legolas' courtship might have continued in the similar, routine fashion of countless others, had Fate left them alone. 

Yet in this tale of Ithilien, Fate abandoned simplicity.  The Valar looked toward Middle Earth and saw much beyond reckoning.  The Fellowship, the destruction of the One Ring, and the passing of the Three brought with them the end of an age, a great transition, and nothing is ever simple at such times.    Kingdoms would rise and fall, and all would taste the blood and sweetness of death and love, and everything in between.  Ithilien proved no differently.  The prince of Mirkwood and his people were no exception.  Legolas and Miredhel and all their kin and friends would face the pain of change, and the turmoil bought of a new era.  Such were the times. 

* * *

            Miredhel wondered how she came to be there, with him, in his arms.   To be in such a place felt so completely natural and yet so horribly wrong.  Many things he had been to her—from enemy to rival, rival to savior, and leader to friend, but now he was something infinitely more dear.  She looked at his hand holding hers and slowly brought it to her lips, kissing his hand, gentle and terrible.  Smooth, slender, no traces of any archers' calluses could be seen.  How many lives had fallen at his hands?  She had fallen to them as well and now they held her.  She ran her thumb across the top of his fingers and kissed them.  He looked up at her and smiled a slow smile. 

Miredhel felt her chest constrict as if though an invisible force squeezed her heart.  Never had she felt so powerless in the face of any single person.  Control had become a habit with her in years of late, and now she struggled to separate and confine even the most base of emotions.  She had tried so very hard to set him aside.  Yet when he confessed how he felt for her, she had kissed him.  A regrettable mistake.  'Almost,' she smiled to herself.  For now her emotions rushed where they may, and she could scarcely mark her own actions, all in the name of a simple kiss.  But she had gained much in return.  He had kissed her back, looked at her with eyes indescribable, and made her feel ways that no other elf had ever made her feel.  A single look into his eyes confirmed the amount of power he held over her by the way it made her pulse quicken.     Miredhel was losing control, and she knew it.  Her eyes wandered from his hands to meet his eyes, and she faltered again under his gaze.  Those eyes, could she trust them?  She shyly dropped her chin and looked away.

Her expression was one of such utter seriousness, that he could not help but wonder what the cause.  Had he made her uncomfortable somehow?  Were his actions at fault?  Whatever the cause for her sudden withdrawal, he would remedy it twice over. 

He looked at her and lifted her chin with his fingertips, ever so gently.  "Miredhel?" he asked.  "What are you thinking of, right now?"

She would never had considered telling the prince what really weighed on her mind, which of course was highly personal and concerned the both of them.  Instead, she shrugged and observed aloud that he was not wearing his signet ring, which she had seen him wear last night.  "Did you lose it?" she asked innocently, hoping to change the subject.

Legolas regarded her carefully.  Not only was she more observant than he gave her credit for, she had also skillfully avoided answering his question!  He had pulled the ring off his finger during his stormy return from the council meeting.  He guiltily wondered if she suspected anything that had happened. Had his emotions been that obvious?  Well, if she wanted to be evasive, then he certainly could too.

Instead of answering her question, Legolas kissed the ends of one of her curls before letting it fall from his fingertips.  The sun now streaked through the tent in lazy beams, illuminating her eyes and the gold of her hair.  For the first part of the morning, he had thought only of her, but now as noon approached, he knew he would be called upon to help plan, looking at charts and maps, the course they would take, the provisions they would need.  He could not fall back on his father's guidance in these matters.  The success of this journey relied on Legolas alone, and his stomach tightened into one massive knot just thinking about it. 

Part of Legolas wanted so badly to tell her of all that had come to pass—the quarrel with his father, the sighting of more orcs—but he also balked at the idea.  Here in this tent with her, he had been able to forget.  Even if it was only for the morning, he wanted to pretend that nothing had happened, that he had no cares, no responsibilities, and his sole concern was to please her.  He was being selfish, and he knew it.  Part of him felt disgusted by this display of utter weakness and cried out in protest, but his heart overrode all.  The glimmer in her eyes as she had held his hand and kissed it alone was enough to make him push all logic aside.  A thought occurred to him, so daring and sudden, he knew not where it hailed from.  Again his pragmatic side cried out, 'Wait! Stop! Be sensible!  What would your father say?!'  And that was really quite the wrong thing to say, for Legolas no doubt had a stubborn streak running through him.  He did not want to think about anything his father might say at the moment.  All he wanted to think about was how Miredhel felt and how she would respond if he dared to raise the height of their new relationship.

He pulled the ring from his pocket and handed it to her.  A single leaf highlighted an exquisitely carved golden crest atop of the ring while the sides slid away seamlessly.  She felt the dull weight of it in her hand and marveled at the smooth edges, evident of century's wear.  "It is beautiful, Legolas." She turned the ring in her hand. "I suppose the design is your family seal? Do your brother and father have one as well?"

"Yes and no," he answered quietly. "The design was forged by my grandsire.  This ring belonged to him.  I alone carry it."  His clipped sentences held an edge of sorrow, of pain and loss that Miredhel could not understand. 

The Miredhel of a few days prior would have undoubtedly been much bolder.  She would have questioned him without a moment's hesitation and been relentless until a satisfactory answer had been given.  Only the Miredhel who sat before Legolas now was a much different maiden.  He had awakened something within her that she could not comprehend, and with that came an unwavering softness.  The old Miredhel would have scornfully pointed to this change as weakness, but of course, it was not.  The change within her spoke of sensitivity, desire, and a fierce longing, one that feared disruption and longed for trust and acceptance.  She knew so little of him, of his relationship with his family.  As much as she wanted to ask him to confide in her, to pry it out of him, she did not want it that way.  Miredhel would much rather he spoke of such things on his own volition, because he wanted to tell her, because he trusted her.  Such was the change in her heart.  Softer? Undoubtedly.  Yet the boldness, which had previously formed her character, had not disappeared, but merely matured into something wiser, more sensitive, for nothing is bolder than the elves when it comes to matters of the heart.

She propped herself up on one elbow and searched his eyes.  "Then you must undoubtedly cherish it," she answered and placed it into his open hand. 

"I do," he replied and paused to prop himself up as well to look into her eyes.  "My father gave it to me…when I returned home from the war."

"He seems very proud of you, I think," Miredhel answered carefully, hoping that he would talk some more of his family.

"Yes, he was.  Proud of the honor that I had brought the family," Legolas said and looked away.  A small smile spread across his lips.  "Oromer always looked at the ring as due his inheritance," he recalled to her,  "but father gave it to me.  My brother was none too pleased about that…" Legolas frowned and added,  "Of course, he would never question the king's decision…" 

He silently berated himself, 'but you did, Legolas! You questioned him in front of the whole entire council!'  He closed his eyes long enough to stifle the turmoil of emotions and thoughts fighting through his mind.  When he opened them, Miredhel brushed her hand across his cheek to linger there. 

She wanted to ask about Oromer, about his father, or about the pain sheltered within Legolas' deep blue eyes.  Instead she pulled herself near and kissed his cheek slowly.  Soft and gentle, the kiss whispered of comfort and understanding.  He blinked in surprise.  She knew, or had glimpsed his pain and self-doubt.  Yet still she remained beside him, had kissed him even.  She kissed him again, this time, pushing away his white-blonde hair to bring her lips to his temple and then down, next to his ear.  His skin burned at the touch of her lips, and then burned for the loss of it. 

His eyes closed involuntarily, and a torrent of emotions flooded the prince.  Desire and longing, and yes, passion, a dangerous calling stirred within him, one whose voice he had long since heard.  'Go on, Legolas,' it whispered to him.  'Why so faint-hearted?  Claim her for your own!' and then softer still at the very eaves of his mind, 'take her…let her feel what you feel…love her...' 

She kissed him again, and he squeezed his hands shut from the sheer fire and pleasure sweeping across his brow, with the way she made him feel, strong and weak all at once.  His ring pressed into his palm, and that ridiculous idea that had popped into his head earlier, did not seem so implausible now.  He turned his head and returned her kiss, wrapping his arms behind her.  He held his breath at the softness and warmth of her body against his, and then exhaled as he pulled his lips away from her own.  Like Orodruin itself, his heart unleashed molten fire that coursed from his deepest reserves up to his paling skin, devouring any hesitation, any second thoughts.  When the powers of breath and speech returned to him, he spoke in a low voice.

            "Miredhel?"  he asked quickly, before reason could change his mind, "will you keep this for me?"  He took her hand and uncurled her fingers, placing his signet ring within her grasp.

            Confusion settled in her hazel eyes as she looked down at the ring and then back at the elf beside her.  "Legolas…"

            "I want you to have it," he insisted, his voice still very low and dangerous.

            "I think that…" she began slowly, but Legolas stopped her.

            "Do not think. Just say you will accept it," he instructed her.  "Please."  He reached for her hand and closed her fingers around the ring.

            "You have given me enough, Legolas, and…and this is of great value to your family, I cannot keep it," Miredhel said, her voice cracking as she spoke.  She held the ring and her hand out to him.

            He ignored her motion and spoke in soft, earnest tones, "Please, Miredhel.  I do not have to tell you what dark times we may still face.  If anything should happen…I want you to have something that truly belonged to me."

            His voice and words worried her.  Usually her prince was so optimistic. He was not one to despair.  She wondered for a moment what had transpired at the council to evoke this change in him, and then she fought the tangle of emotions that bloomed inside of her, thrilling at and fearing his gesture. 

            She looked at him and slowly inhaled.  His eyes were intense, but sincere.  She glanced down at his ring in her hand as tremendous hope swelled against a horrible fear laying siege to her heart.  It was just too much.  She hastily pulled the ring from her hand and set it between them on the bed. 

            "Legolas, what does this mean?" she whispered, afraid that her voice would fail her. 

            "What do you want it to mean?" he asked in all seriousness.  His desire for her made him bolder by the moment.   Even though she had set the ring down, he had not missed the wistful expression on her face when he had first asked her to keep it, nor the hope or fear playing in her eyes.  He had seen it all.  He smiled which seemed only to vex her even more.

            "Please," she commanded him, "I was being serious."  She inched away from him and the ring.

            "So was I," he said and crept closer to her.  "What do you want it to mean?"  She could have asked anything of him, any commitment, any promise, and he would have given it to her gladly, all for her acceptance of this ring.  His crest, that one could dip in wax to form a seal; perhaps he wanted such a seal on her heart.

            She bit her lip and looked away.  As much as he looked sincere, he was undoubtedly teasing her, and Miredhel hated to be teased, especially when she had foolishly believed him to be serious.  She hastily stood, the blanket she had wrapped around her, neglected, fell away, and she seemed to Legolas like the nephredil of her homeland, white, graceful, and undeniably fragile.  She gazed down where he lay with scornful eyes, both angry and hurt at the same time.  He made her feel so incredibly vulnerable, so exposed, and she hated it. Even in anger she yearned to throw everything aside just to be near him again. 

            Frustration rose in her voice as she spoke, "Legolas, stop it.  I cannot take this ring.  It was wrong of you to ask such a thing of me."

            The prince slid off the bed and stood.  With a flick of his thumb, he spun the ring into the air and then caught it again in a brilliant blur of gold metal.  He studied her where she stood.  Her hair fell down past her shoulders to her waist, her eyes were bright and sharp above flushed cheeks, and her attire did little to deny the natural poetry and curve of her body.  He had ever thought her pretty.  Seldom could he not find some attribute to admire in an elf maiden, whether it was hair or eyes, skin or body.  He thought Miredhel more different than any he had known.  She certainly was not the most beautiful maiden he had ever met—Aragorn's Arwen surpassed all on such terms.  Nor was it the fact that she was merely high-spirited that attracted him, because he had met other strong-willed ladies before her.  She was simply Miredhel—bold but hesitant, reckless yet cautious, and fiery and timid—a tableau of contradictions, strength, and undeniable sweetness.  Even early on, when they had only first met, she could convict him like no other, with a single look or word, she could rend his heart.  He doubted she knew of this incredible pull she held over him.  Even now her eyes rebuked him, and remorse spilled over his entire being.  He had acted too soon, been too hasty, too daring. 

            Legolas stuffed the ring back into his pocket. "Miredhel?" he asked and tentatively moved closer to her.  "You are right.  I should not have made such a request."  He mentally added '…so soon' and cursed his impulsiveness.  Exercising great care and restraint, he reached for her hand and brought it to his lips, marveling at the joy that he alone should enjoy such a privilege, and slowly kissed the top of her hand.  His eyes met hers to search for forgiveness. 

            Such eyes!  With one look, Miredhel felt her resolve clatter to the ground like loosened fetters.  She pulled him in toward her and sighed before she said, "Legolas, know that I am flattered…beyond flattered, that you would want to bestow such a gift upon me."

            "It was but a wish," he said.  "I just wanted to give you something."

            "But you have already," Miredhel replied and pointed to the knife which she had received the night before.

            "That does not count," he said stubbornly, "my father gave that to you."

            "You gave me flowers last night," she insisted, and her eyes began to twinkle.

            "I suppose so, but flowers are not a worthy enough gift for my lady."

            "No, no," she chuckled softly, "they are indeed, if they come from you."

            "Then flowers my gift shall be.  When we reach Ithilien, I will make you a garden beyond all reckoning."  Legolas' eyes gleamed as he thought of the garden he would create for her. 

            "I should like that very much," she said.  "Will it have a bench for two lovers to meet and dream upon?"

            "Most certainly," Legolas agreed, smiling at the thought.  "But the problem still remains, I want to give you something now, but I have nothing to give save my ring, and that you will not accept."  His smile faded into a small pout.

            Miredhel permitted herself a small smile at his most earnest dismay over finding her a suitable present.  "You are very sweet.  Much different from the elf I supposed you to be!"

            "How fortunate for both of us, that first impressions are not always the most accurate, then." Legolas added wryly and sat back down on the bed.  He picked up one of his boots and began to put it on.

            Miredhel watched him as he straightened his appearance.   "My prince, consider your company as gift enough for me.  It is all I desire," she said sincerely and as soon as she had spoken she knew the truth of her words in her heart. 

            Legolas stopped briefly to peer anxiously at her.  She did not know that he planned on leaving tomorrow morning.  He shuddered at the thought of leaving her, but he would not call Miredhel to endanger herself needlessly.  He opened his mouth to tell her of his plans, but the words would not come out.  Instead he said, "Fate may call us to part, and then would I wish you to have a remembrance of me."

            Miredhel did not like the way that sounded.  His words sounded like he was…leaving to go somewhere, but of course, he would tell her before that happened, would he not?  Her eyebrows knit together as she thought about it for a moment.  "Legolas?  Are you leaving?"

            He really wished she had not asked that question.  He stood up from the bed and looked toward the door.  "As noon approaches, I shall be called upon to make plans and such.  If I tried to stay, then Sulindal would come and find us together again!"  He tried to smile.  He had not lied, but from the way he felt, he might have done as much. 

            Miredhel nodded slowly.  "Well, I cannot linger here either.  I must find my brother and make peace with him."  She looked down at her gown.  "I suppose I should change clothes first."

            Legolas turned from sorting through his bag to flash her a grin.  "You look beautiful to me," he said with a wink. 

            "Hardly appropriate to wear when searching for one's brother, though.  Especially when copious apologies and explanations are in order," Miredhel said and groaned.  She was not looking forward to this afternoon.  It would take all of the sweetness of the morning to counter this upcoming interview with her brother. 

            Legolas found what he searched for in his bag and pulled out a long brown cloak.  He brought it to Miredhel and draped it around her shoulders before pausing in front of her to fasten the clasp around her neck.  He leaned over to kiss her forehead.  "Can I see you again, tonight?" he whispered, trying his best to dampen the excess anticipation in his voice.  After all, he did not want to seem too desperate and smitten.

Her eyes brightened, and Miredhel reached out to smooth the hair around his braids and face.  "It would be my honor," she answered and then teasingly quipped, "that is if I can tear myself away from all my courtly duties and planning."

Legolas kissed her cheek and then paused at the door.   His eyes twinkled merrily, and he said, "Well, then do your best, my lady, for I will see you this evening."  Then he turned and was gone.

Miredhel stood alone in the pale light of the tent and unconsciously brought her hand to her cheek to rest where he had kissed her.  She glanced down at the bed where they had found peace in each other's arms.  The morning had come and gone, and the dream had ended.

Both Legolas and Miredhel were alone again.  Both felt the full thrust of reality, soaring in like a carrion bird, on swifter wings than either would prefer.

*           *            *

.  Miredhel tip-toed into her tent, but then fought an instant surge of relief upon finding Limaer absent.  She quickly changed from her borrowed nightdress.  She wondered how much her brother must have been told by now and how angry he must be with her.  With these thoughts in mind, she set off to find him.

            Her search did not take long, for Miredhel quickly crossed paths with Eledhel on the way to his tent.  He seized her by the shoulders and hauled her off the path to the company of a nearby tree.  There he held her at arms' length and scowled at her for what seemed to his sister an eternity and then some.

            As last he growled, "Miredhel!  How could you be so reckless?" Under a furrowed brow, his grey eyes were stormy and dark as he frowned at her. 

            "Eledhel," she said, "I am sorry," and one glance at the pain in his eyes brought tears to her own. 

            He pulled her into a fierce hug and stroked her hair, and then pulled her back out to look at her. 

            "Miredhel, why is it that whenever I am angry, I always end up consoling you?  It should be the other way around!"

            "I am sorry, Eledhel.  It was reckless and everything foolish," Miredhel sniffed, placing her hands on her cheeks to cool their burning.

            Eledhel huffed and scowled for a few more moments, but the gratitude he felt at seeing her unharmed helped ease his temper.  Finally he rubbed his chin and lightly traced the thin line across her neck.  "So at last, my little sister has seen an orc," he said knowingly. 

            "And killed it," she added quietly with her eyes downcast. 

            He lifted her chin up, "It is an odd thing, my sister.  I thought I should be furious with you.  I nearly strangled some half-wit captain at the council when I first heard of your involvement.  I was more frightened than anything. Afraid that I might lose you!"

            "I defended myself," she insisted, growing bolder. 

            "Well, you are my sister," he said, a bit proudly, and then shook his head.  "Besides, it would not do for me to leave here with bad feelings between us.  After all, I insisted that you come here with me in the first place."

            "Eledhel…you are going somewhere?" Miredhel asked, confusion written on her face.

            Her brother wrinkled his nose, and then understanding entered his eyes.  "Oh," he said delicately, "I suppose you have not heard the news yet, but yes, a few of us are riding ahead to Gondor.  A large number of orcs have been spotted going in that direction."

            "I had not heard," she murmured.  Why had Legolas not mentioned this to her?  They had spent the whole morning together and not a single word did he utter about the council meeting.  She had even asked him.  He had not told her the truth.  Her cheeks began to feel hot again, and she very much wanted to sit down. 

            "What else happened?" she asked quietly.  Silently, she thought, 'what else did Legolas forget to tell me?'

            "Well, there was a big debate about bringing you in for questioning.  Some of those forest guards argued about it, and the twins and I, and well, Legolas too, stomped on that notion.  And then some scouts rushed in and told us of that war party," Eledhel rambled on and then added in a hush, "and the king would not permit Legolas to leave and warn Gondor.  So what do you think he did? The prince renounced his title and told his father that he would leave with or without permission!" 

            Miredhel's mouth dropped open.  She could hardly believe it.  All this had happened, and Legolas had not mentioned any of it to her!  They had spent the whole entire morning talking and confiding in one another, and he could not find a way to tell her that?

            "I cannot believe it, brother, although I know you speak the truth."

            "He retired directly after the meeting, left us and headed for his tent.  I guess he wanted to be alone.  I have not seen him since, but he looked horrible."

            "I am so sorry to hear it." She shook her head and looked away.  Tears stung her eyes, and she struggled to discern if she felt more upset for how Legolas must feel, or if her pain was due to the fact that he did not trust her.  She decided the combination of both possibilities worked horribly well together.  She felt utterly nauseous.  Everything Miredhel thought she knew about her whole morning with him faded into disbelief.  She blinked and then stared off into the mix of trees and leaves. 

            Eledhel attributed her reaction as merely being surprised by his news and he blithely continued.  "What is there between you two?  I heard you slept in his tent last night," Eledhel said curiously.  "Did you see him?" he asked, and there was something to his tone that she did not appreciate.

            She tossed her head.  "We are friends, that is all," she icily retorted.  "After the bonfire, my sleeping quarters were occupied.  Prince Legolas kindly offered the use of his.  There is nothing more to tell."  Miredhel stared stonily at her brother. 

            "I hope you do not mind, Eledhel," said a voice behind her, and she turned to see that it was the prince himself.  He had, without a doubt, heard every word that she had spoken.

            To her credit, Miredhel managed not to blush or look embarrassed at his sudden untimely appearance.  Instead she gave him a disappointed look and turned toward her brother. 

            "How do you feel?" Eledhel asked sympathetically.

            "Yes, how do you feel?" Miredhel echoed her brother, arching an eyebrow at Legolas. 

            He mirrored her expression back to her.            "Better," he said shortly and cocked his head slightly toward Miredhel.  "Lady Miredhel," he addressed her formally, "would you escort me down the lane while I review some of the particulars of last night's events with you?  Some questions still persist which you might be able to favor with your own insight."

Miredhel frowned at him and glanced at Eledhel.  The prince was really being too obvious.  Surely Eledhel suspected.

"It could not hurt to do so, sis," her brother interjected.  "I would not mind hearing your account any how.  All I have heard so far is hearsay."  He turned with Legolas and made to walk with them down the path.

Legolas paused.  He really wanted to speak with Miredhel privately.   His mind raced to seize a solution, and then he said carefully, "Eledhel, I very much wanted to review the charts with you and the twins.  Did you consult the king's scrolls and maps of the forest?" 

Both brother and sister exchanged worried glances to hear the way their friend spoke of his father, the king.  His voice had been formal, soft, yet edged with a sense of frostiness and grief that Miredhel understood all too well.  She chided herself for not noticing before now.  She had been so wrapped up in her own happiness and pleasure that she had completely neglected his feelings.  'I did not know,' she thought desperately. 'How could I have known? He said nothing to me.'  She felt horrible.  She felt angry—angry with herself for not noticing, angry with him for not telling her.

Eledhel broke the hated silence.  "I believe so.  Was there a scroll in particular that interested you?" he asked delicately.

"The king has a map with a dark green border and gold family seal. This map details the outer lands nicely.  Will you procure it for me?" 

Eledhel nodded, "Of course," he said to Legolas, and then he gave his sister a small hug.  "Try and talk to him, please?" he whispered in her ear. 

She nodded.  Whatever might happen, she definitely planned on having a discussion with the prince. 

*           *            *

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.