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Interrupted Journeys: Part 7 The course of love  by elliska

Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend. It can be so, sometimes.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (spoken by Gandalf in 'The Siege of Gondor')

Chapter Seven: Do good he does not intend

Legolas marched up the bank of the river, straight towards the bridge that led into the stronghold. He did not so much as glance at the Green, where he was sure at least Conuion, and possibly his cousins, and worse, Anastor and Noruil, were watching him. He wanted to get inside the stronghold and into his room, preferably behind a locked door, before anyone could catch up to him and ask unwanted questions. He picked up his pace when, from the corner of his eye, he saw Galithil and Maidhien stand. All he needed was to hear Maidhien say, 'I told you Aewen would not wait much longer for you,' and he was certain he would forget that she was an elleth and his cousin's betrothed wife. Legolas was in enough trouble as it was without incurring his father and cousin's wrath for punching Maidhien, but he felt capable of it at the moment.

He made it all the way to the entry hall in the stronghold before 'Wait for me!' rang out behind him. It was Galithil.

Legolas did not pause, not even when he realized that he only heard one set of footsteps behind him. This was not something he wanted to discuss, even with Galithil. He charged without hesitation towards the doors that led to the family quarters. The guard standing outside them swiftly moved to hold the door open for him and Legolas passed through it without acknowledging him. He heard a quiet 'thank you' right at his heels. He was walking so fast already that to move faster, he would at least have to jog. He considered doing so.

Galithil edged around him and blocked his path forward, holding him back by a hand on each shoulder when Legolas tried to dodge around him. "What happened?" he demanded, holding Legolas in place.

"Obviously, I do not want to talk about it," Legolas answered, still trying to step around his cousin.

"Aewen ran off the Green crying, Legolas. Everyone saw her," Galithil persisted. "Now what happened?"

That made Legolas stop trying to shove Galithil out of the way. He frowned without looking at him, but still said nothing.

"Explaining it to me would be good practice for when you have to face your adar. And Aewen's, from the looks of things. At least I will be more sympathetic than either of them, and I might be able to help you think of how you can excuse to your adar that you brought another elleth to tears today, this time publicly."

Legolas cringed. Public displays ranked right up there with making ellyth cry or punching ellyth as certain ways to incur his father's wrath. Perfect. And curse it all, this was not his fault! Aewen was the one that went off and kissed that First Year. Why she should be crying about it now was beyond Legolas. If anything, he was the one with the right to be upset. And he was. He shoved Galithil's hands off his shoulders roughly, turning on the only target that presented itself. "This is partly your fault, Galithil," he began, voice raised. "In the first place, you of all people should have understood perfectly well why I had no choice to bring those men to the stronghold. You should have stuck up for me rather than joining in with everyone else complaining about it. That only made Aewen think she was justified in being angry at me. And honestly! You are betrothed? We are barely forty. That is absurd!"

Galithil took a step back and glared at Legolas, hands on his hips. "I will grant you that I should have stuck up for you, but Eirienil and Berior should have too and they did not, so do not take it all out on me. And what does my betrothal to Maidhien have to do with anything?" he asked.

"She has lessons with us now and she will be helping nana in the stronghold," Legolas replied, bitterly. "Maidhien has Aewen worrying about things she has no need to think about."

Galithil loosed a surprised little laugh. "She has no need to think about them if you are only trifling with her. I thought she meant more to you than that."

Legolas's fists clenched involuntarily. He pushed past Galithil in an effort to not punch him. "It does not matter what she might have meant to me," he said.

"What does that mean? Why does it not matter?" Galithil asked. He grabbed Legolas's sleeve to hold him in place. That might have been enough to push Legolas's temper past the breaking point, if not for the obvious concern in his cousin's voice.

Legolas pulled away brusquely. "It means she does not want me courting her," he said, and he almost managed to not sound tearful. He refused to face his cousin lest his expression betray what he had managed to prevent his voice from revealing.

"She told you that?" Galithil asked softly, his tone clearly shocked.

Legolas did turn back to look at him now and Galithil took another step back in response. "Yes," Legolas affirmed. "But more importantly, she showed me. When I found her on the river bank, she was kissing that First Year that went swimming with us before we left to go camping."

Galithil's eyes widened and he loosed a soft whistle. "I have thought for a while that that First Year was a meddling, arrogant snot. I could not believe it when you did not tell him to leave Aewen alone, since you are courting her. I had a mind to speak to him myself and I see now that I should have done it. But even so, he had to have known that you were courting and he continued flirting with her anyway. Completely without honor. He needs to be taught a lesson."

Legolas snorted and slumped against the corridor wall, at least a little mollified by his cousin's obvious anger on his behalf. "Well, apparently I am not courting Aewen, so it is a moot point now," he said tiredly.

"No, it is not a moot point now," Galithil said. "He needs a lesson, Legolas. And I know just how to provide him with one."

Legolas regarded his cousin cautiously. "I am already in enough trouble, Galithil."

"Well," Galithil said, seizing Legolas's sleeve and marching him towards his room, "you will only be in more trouble if we cannot manage to prevent your adar from finding out about what I want to do. And he need not find out if we hurry."


Maidhien fairly skipped along the path to her parents' cottage, singing softly to herself as she went. Today had started out as one of the worst days of her life and had ended as one of the best. Better still would be the day of the festival, when she and Galithil exchanged silver rings. She patted the pocket of her apron and smiled at the hard, circular little imprint she found there. She loved the ring she had chosen for Galithil from the King's store room. It was beautiful, and all the more so since her father had no hand in its selection. He would be angry with her for taking it, but his anger was nothing new to her.

She slowed her paced and sighed when she approached her cottage. She could hear her father and uncle talking. A peek through the trees showed them sitting on the logs in the yard with their heads together. Maidhien had hoped her father would be at her uncle's cottage, or at least already in the room he shared with her mother if he were home. 'Oh well,' she said to herself. Then she patted the ring again to recapture her good mood. She refused to allow it to be dampened. And if she really wanted to guarantee that, she could always climb in through the window in her bedroom, avoiding her father all together. That was a good idea. With a pleased smile at having thought of it, she began circling the cottage to approach the window from behind it.

"Even given the promises you won from him, the price was quite high," her uncle was exclaiming as she got closer. "Maidhien is your daughter, after all. If he has a daughter of his own, my son will never marry her, even if he promised to leave the forest in exchange for my permission."

Maidhien paused, hidden behind a tree, and scowled, immediately angry at her uncle. Her father's decision that day had been the best she had ever seen him make. She did not want her uncle trying to talk him out of it. And besides, any daughter that the King raised would certainly have better sense than to like Noruil anyway, she thought.

"I am tired of others--others far, far less worthy than us--contributing so much when we have so little voice, so much less ability to act," her father answered.

His tone was irate, as when she refused to agree with him about something. Maidhien wondered how long he and Uncle Dolwon had been arguing and derived a bit of satisfaction out of the idea that it might have been a good while, causing her father a good amount of annoyance.

"I am telling you--this will give us more opportunities. In the long run, it will be worth it. You will see. Trust me," he concluded.

"Still, the point is that it will be a 'long run' and Maidhien will suffer during it," Dolwon countered. "We barely have time to provide for our wives and children with all that Thranduil and Golwon demand of us. And we are adults. Maidhien is a child yet. Now she is facing multitudes of worthless lessons and the types of duties we have on top of that. She is too young and should not have to endure such things. It is a very high price."

Maidhien peeked around the tree and glared at her uncle. What she should not have to endure, she thought, was life in a family suspected of treason at every turn because of her father and uncle's foolish ideas. She watched her father roll his eyes.

"She will survive," he said. "We both have survived fifteen years in his court, all in the name of progress towards a better life. Maidhien is old enough to do her part. And besides, I told you, it will never ultimately come to fruition. If I thought it might, I would have never agreed to it. But the King's foster son must come of age before he can marry my daughter. At the rate he gets into trouble, it might not even take any intervention to prevent that."

Maidhien's breath caught in her throat. What did her father mean by that? She pressed herself against the tree in front of her, straining to hear her uncle's whispered reply.

"Will you keep your voice down!" he hissed, looking around himself and searching the trees with special care before continuing. "Galithil is much more subdued since his adar's death," Dolwon argued. "And remember, Maidhien is almost always with him, and will be so even more frequently now. Any danger Galithil is in, she will be in as well."

Her adar shrugged. "He is guarded and so will she be guarded. Those guards will manage to keep her safe from orcs and spiders. And anyone that slips through those guards will not be targeting my daughter. So I am confident that, in the long run, all our sacrifices will be worth it and I will end up with the best end of this deal. You will too. You will see."

Maidhien heard her uncle begin to make a reply, but she did not hear him. Fear and outrage made blood pound in her ears, obliterating anything that he might have said. She stared at her father and uncle. Those were threats, as certain as the rough surface cutting into her hands right now was the bark of a tree. She clutched the tree trunk harder still to keep from shaking. What could she do? Her first instinct was to storm from out behind the tree and confront her father, telling him that she would marry Galithil and she would live with him until the end of Arda in this forest! But as soon as she thought that, a vision of her father dragging her and their entire family from the forest that very night sprung into her mind. What could she do? Tell Galithil? There was nothing Galithil could do except run away with her to avoid trouble with her father, and she had already decided she could not allow him to do that. Her nails dug into the bark, prying a piece loose. She turned it over and over in her fingers as she thought. What else could she do? Galithil was the only person she trusted and she did not see what he could do. Then she stopped playing with the bark as an idea came to her. For a long while, she had liked Galithil's parents and the King and Queen. Truly trusting them, or anyone, came to her with difficulty, to be certain, but surely today the King had earned her trust. He would know what to do. She spun around and dashed silently back down the path to the Green and the stronghold.


Lindomiel leaned forward in her chair. The goblet of wine that Thranduil had poured for her sat completely forgotten on the table beside her and both her hands covered her mouth. Thranduil's expression as he spoke was grim, as it always was when he could not avoid telling her something he knew would distress her.

"But no one was injured and the men and the woman are on their way to Dale to face Fengel," he was hurrying to assure her.

Lindomiel frowned slightly at that. Normally, she tried not to interrupt her husband when he told her these tales, else he never got around to telling her the details. "To Fengel and not to the Master? Esgaroth is much closer," she asked, for that was an unusual decision and a detail that he seemed about to skip over in his rush to finish his story.

"Legolas did not want to see them sent to the Master," Thranduil said dismissively.

Lindomiel's eyebrows climbed at that. It seemed to warrant explanation rather than to be an explanation in itself.

Thranduil sighed. "It is an ugly story, Lindomiel, and one I will not repeat to you if I can avoid it. Suffice to say that the men threatening Legolas had their own quarrel and sending them to Laketown would have complicated it in a way that Legolas wanted to avoid for the sake of the woman with them. That is why he had the warriors bring them to me rather than Laketown--in hopes that I might be able to help them."

Lindomiel's brows climbed higher. "Legolas had them brought to you? And he was the one that influenced you to send them to Dale?" She laughed. "And he expected you to help them?" she repeated. "He thought you might help men that threatened him with a weapon? You did not mention that he was struck in the head. Has Nestoreth determined if the damage is permanent or not?"

One side of Thranduil's mouth turned down harshly. "It is not a joking matter, Lindomiel. This was a...grave situation and Legolas was very lucky it turned out as well as it did, without him being 'struck' in any way."

Lindomiel smiled and leaned forward to place a light kiss on his lips. "Very true. And you would not have to endure me making such comments if you would only tell the story thoroughly in the first place. I suppose that I have little hope of hearing anything of the Men's quarrel if it was truly ugly as you say, and likely you are right that I do not honestly want to hear that anyway, though it grieves me that Legolas apparently heard it at such a young age. But I do want to know what you have done with Tulus and with Legolas. And I reserve the right to alter whatever decision you have made if I find it too harsh. Before I left to manage the berry harvest, I had meant to speak to you about telling Tulus to give Legolas a bit more space to court Aewen, but I was rushed and did not have the opportunity. I feel partly to blame for all that has happened because of that. After all, they would not have tried to hide themselves away if they could have found a little privacy without doing so."

Now it was Thranduil's turn to raise his eyebrows. "Space to court Aewen? Legolas is courting Aewen? When did this happen?" he asked. His voice sounded a little high pitched and that made Lindomiel laugh softly.

"I invite you to dance with me on the Green every night. Most nights you find an excuse not to come," she chastised him teasingly. "If you came, you could see our son making overtures to Aewen. He is very charming, really. And she is lovely. I can see why they have caught one another's eyes."

Thranduil shook his head. "Tulus did not mention they were courting. He was respecting Legolas's privacy, I suppose. I can see where Tulus of all people would not want to give any appearance of interfering with Legolas's courtship of maidens. Still, he might have mentioned it. I admit that knowing the cause does make Legolas's actions a bit more understandable. Not tolerable," he added swiftly. "But understandable. I remember well how easy it is to abandon good sense when overcome by love. And it is hard enough to figure out how to court ellyth without adding guards to the equation." He looked back at Lindomiel. "I have done nothing, as yet, with either Legolas or Tulus. I told Conuion to manage Tulus, but I will suggest to Tulus that he give Legolas and Aewen more privacy to the extent that it is safe to do so in his judgment." He smiled. "Legolas and Dollion's daughter! That would have pleased Aradunnon." Then he shook his head. "They are children, of course. It is not likely to last."

Lindomiel nodded. "Aewen is a lovely girl, as I said, but she is quite self-centered. Unless she matures into a much different adult, I would not approve of her as a match for Legolas," she said seriously.

Thranduil laughed. "Poor Legolas. My naneth was the same way when I was young. No elleth was good enough for me in her mind."

Lindomiel raised her chin and looked down her nose at him, though she could not subdue how brightly her eyes shone with amusement. "Who ever Legolas marries must be prepared for a difficult life, helping her mother-in-law manage the King's household and the realm's food stores. Festivals will become responsibilities..." She trailed off because she was unable to hold back her laughter. She was mimicking what Thranduil said to her over and over when they were courting and it had brought such a grave frown to his face. She leaned forward and kissed him again. "I am sorry, meleth, I could not resist. I am at least partially serious, of course. But you did drive me insane repeating that to me over and over as if I did not know it. I was raised for a life in court, but you still insisted on reminding me repeatedly."

Thranduil continued to regard her seriously. "Then how do you feel about Maidhien? For she is the next topic we must discuss."

Lindomiel sat back in her chair in response to the intensity of his gaze. A warning. Clearly a warning to brace herself for what he would say next. Millennia of experience told her that when so warned, she had better heed the warning.

"Today Dannenion and I agreed that Maidhien and Galithil may be betrothed. Maidhien indicated to me that she would be willing to help you in the household management, so I want you to begin teaching her whatever you think is appropriate for her to assist you with," he said.

Lindomiel stared at him. "Betrothed!" she exclaimed. "Galithil is only forty! And Maidhien is even younger than that! They are too young to be betrothed and certainly she is too young to be asked to begin helping to manage your household, especially since she was not raised for such a life." Lindomiel loosed a quiet, scoffing breath. "She was barely raised to read and write."

"She began lessons in Westron with Rodonon today," Thranduil countered.

Lindomiel again stared at him.

"She asked for those lessons. And when I asked her what duties she thought she might do in my court, her immediate answer was, 'No one has come forward to help Legolas's naneth since Galithil's naneth and daernaneth went West. Someone must do that, so I will.' And I could not dissuade her. We agreed that at the same time Legolas and his cousins are working in the court, Maidhien will work with you doing whatever you assign her. And she will spend lessons with them from now on too. She asked to learn Westron and I am insisting she learn more history and geography, at least." He smiled. "I fear to have her taught rhetoric. She argues quite forcefully enough without being taught."

Lindomiel ignored his joke. She was dismayed with all that was being imposed on Maidhien. "That is a very radical departure from how she normally spends her days. Is your goal to drive Maidhien to break with Galithil?" If it was, Lindomiel intended to put a stop to that.

But Thranduil shook his head swiftly. "Not at all. I want her to have the same opportunities Galithil has so she has the best possible chance of adjusting well. I fear for her and for Galithil if she does find it too difficult to be his wife. Even at their young age, it could not be more plain that they are in love." He looked down. "And I confess, Maidhien captured my heart the day we met her, coming to apologize to Galithil about the boar. So brave she was! And so alone. I want her to have a family, Lindomiel. A decent one."

Lindomiel reached over and took Thranduil's hand. "We will help them make this work," she assured him. "I can have her help with the harvests. There is plenty more to do there this year, so it will be a good place to begin. She enjoys working with Master Ruscuil and helping with the harvest is similar work. Even Arthiel likes it. We can ease Maidhien into these sorts of duties starting there."

Thranduil smiled at her gratefully. "A fine idea."


Maidhien took the steps onto the bridge across the river in one leap. She had not seen Galithil, Legolas or anyone else in the King's family on the Green. Galithil had said he intended to find out why Legolas had stormed away from the river and she guessed they were discussing that now in one of their rooms. Well, she would have to persuade the guards at the Gate to go get Galithil so she could tell him to go get the King. She slid to a stop in front of the Gate.

"I want to see Galithil," she demanded with no further explanation.

"Of course," was the guard's only reply and he waved inside the stronghold as if she should go in by herself.

She frowned, but ran through the Gates. Normally the guard at the Gate called for the other guard at the door to the family quarters to fetch Galithil and that guard opened the door to the family quarters and called that request inside. She ran towards the guard at the door to the family quarters, intent upon repeating her request to see Galithil. As she approached, he opened the door and stood aside to let her pass through it. She stopped anyway, staring at him with surprise. "I want to see Galithil," she said again.

He nodded. "Go ahead. But mind, the King does not approve of running in the family quarters and much less so at night. Go quietly in case anyone is already asleep."

Maidhien blinked. She had gone unescorted into the family quarters twice, once pursued by this very guard, who she had kicked in the shin to earn passage, and once after sneaking through the unguarded door. She had not expected to have to find Galithil by herself. She straightened her shoulders and walked quickly through the door, only looking briefly over her shoulder when it closed softly behind her. Despite the guard's warning, she almost immediately began trotting along the corridor to Galithil's room. When she reached his family's suite of rooms, she hesitated before knocking on the door, glancing instead at the guard that stood in front of the door that she knew led to the King's own rooms. She studied him. It was one of the younger, friendlier guards.

"May I help you?" he finally asked, when she had stared at him for longer than just a moment or two.

She twisted the sash of her gown tightly around two fingers. "I need to talk to him," she said, nodding towards the King's door. "About something I just heard my adar say. I was going to ask Galithil to get him. Can you ask if he will see me?"

The guard hesitated. "The King has retired for the evening. But...something your adar said? Something he said about the King?"

Maidhien did not miss the emphasis the guard had placed on the phrase 'your adar.' She was accustomed to people reacting badly to her adar, but given what she now knew about him, the guard's reaction made her even more embarrassed. He was fishing to find out what adar said, Maidhien thought. He does not want to get in trouble for waking up the King for nothing, but he does not want to keep important news from him either. She could understand that. "Something he said about Galithil," she corrected. "And it sounded like a threat. I need to talk to him." She did not know what she would do if the guard did not get the King. She hoped he would not take her back outside.

Still the guard hesitated. "I will send someone to find Conuion for you. You can tell him," he suggested.

Maidhien pulled the sash tighter around her fingers. She did not want to talk to the Captain. He frightened her more than just a little. She wanted to talk to Thranduil.

"But Conuion is with Legolas and Galithil on the Green," the guard muttered to himself, before Maidhien could voice a protest. "And Hallion is in the Hall still, last I heard." He sighed, looked at the various doors up and down the corridor, and discounted each in turn, probably because everyone was away from the stronghold. Then he looked back at her. "Definitely a threat? Your adar threatened Galithil?"

Maidhien held her breath and nodded. "Please let me speak to him," she whispered.

"Very well," he said. "Wait here."

With that, the guard knocked on the King's door. "My lord?" he called, but he did not enter.

"Yes, Galuauth, what do you need?" the King's voice answered.

Maidhien sagged a little in relief when the voice did not sound sleepy or overly irate.

The guard opened the door and slipped through it. "Maidhien is here to see you, my lord," she heard him say through the closed door. "She says she wants to tell you about a threat Dannenion made. Against Galithil. She seems very upset, else I would have asked her to speak to you in the morning."

Maidhien heard nothing else from inside the room. Then the door opened and it was Thranduil. He was wearing a night robe over a beautifully embroidered nightshirt. Further back in the room, the Queen was refastening the laces of the traveling dress she was wearing. Maidhien bit her lips and wished she had simply confronted her father rather than disturbing the King and Queen.

But he reached for her hand and drew her into the room, nodding to the guard, who resumed his place in the corridor. "What has happened, Maidhien?" he asked gently.

Maidhien studied his expression for any sign of annoyance. He appeared very concerned and nothing more. Suddenly she could breath again. "I heard adar say something," she began, hesitating only a moment when the Queen approached them. Then she hurried on in a flood of words. "Adar and Uncle Dolwon were talking about the betrothal. Uncle Dolwon was saying that adar should not have agreed to it because I will have to do too much now and also because Galithil was always getting in trouble and now I would get in trouble with him too. Adar said any work I did in the stronghold would be worth it for him in the end. Then he said that Galithil was well guarded and so would I be, so orcs and spiders would not get us. And he said that anything else that might be able to get past the guards would not be targeting me, so I would still be safe. And he said Galithil would never come of age for us to be married, else he would have never given his consent. I think he is implying that he knows something is going to happen to Galithil and I will not let that happen. You have to stop it, whatever it is."

Maidhien fell silent after making that demand and waited to see what the King would say. Both he and the Queen had listened to her story gravely. When she stopped speaking, the Queen looked at the King with obvious concern. Thranduil sat very still for a moment and then stood. "I am going to ask Galuauth to fetch Conuion. I want you to tell him exactly what you heard your adar say."

"Galuauth already said he wanted me to tell the Captain," Maidhien called after him as he walked towards the outer door. "But then he said he thought he was on the Green with Legolas and Galithil. I do not think that is right. I think he is probably already asleep in his cottage, because Legolas and Galithil are not on the Green. But I do not want to talk to him anyway, because I am afraid of him,"

That made Thranduil stop and turn back around. Two deep wrinkles formed between his eyebrows. Maidhien had seen the King upset for many reasons on many occasions, given all the trouble she and Galithil did regularly get into, but she only saw those two wrinkles appear when her father was also involved in the trouble somehow. Instead of walking to the door, he walked to an elaborately carved desk near a bookshelf in the room. He sat down in its chair, took a pen, ink jar and paper from one of its numerous compartments and gestured for her to join him. She trotted over to the desk and the Queen followed her.

"First of all," Thranduil began, uncapping the jar of ink, "you must not be afraid of Conuion. He seems stern because it is his job to make sure that everyone is safe. That is a very serious responsibility and to do it, he has to find a way to make even me obey him. Believe me," he said with an almost mischievous smile, "that can be quite difficult at times. But he is completely dedicated to his duty so you can trust him. Second of all, because Conuion and Colloth and all the rest of my guards are so dedicated, and because they know their business very well, you must rest assured that Galithil will indeed remain safe until he comes of age and you are married. Those guards will ensure that both you and he will have a very long, safe life together. Third," and here, Thranduil seemed to hesitate, "I want you to tell me, as precisely as you can remember it, what your adar and uncle said. I will write it down and discuss it with Conuion tomorrow. He may still want to speak with you, though, and I confess, Maidhien, I am a bit uncomfortable with that myself. I did not tell you about your adar's crime to make you into a spy for me. I do not want to put you in a position where you are forced to betray your own adar."

Maidhien frowned so hard that she imagined she must have two little wrinkles on her own brow. "Well I am not going to stand by and do nothing when I see him or Uncle Dolwon doing something that might hurt Galithil. Or you. If I find out about something like that, I am going to do what I must to prevent it and you cannot stop me, or undo what you told me, so it really does not matter whether you like it or not. Besides, it is adar's own fault if he does something like that anyway, so he gets what he deserves," she concluded, hands on her hips.

Thranduil looked at her with raised eyebrows and then looked over her shoulder at the Queen. Maidhien glanced at her as well. She appeared very amused. That made Maidhien scowl. She was being serious, not funny. The Queen bit her lower lip in an obvious effort to not offend Maidhien.

"You tell the King what your adar said, exactly," she said softly. "He and Conuion will make certain it is taken care of. While you do, I will find Galithil to take you home."

"I can go home myself," Maidhien retorted.

"I do not doubt that," the Queen said, smiling again. "Indeed, while I appreciate greatly your willingness to help me with the household duties, I think you would be equally fit to join the training program..."

"Lindomiel!" Thranduil scolded softly without looking at his wife.

"You are certainly brave enough," the Queen continued, ignoring him.

Maidhien decided that was a compliment, since she knew how much Galithil and Legolas and even her brother valued bravery, so she smiled at her. Some ellyth did join the training, after all, but Maidhien doubted Galithil or her adar would like her to do it. They seemed concerned enough by the prospect of the household duties.

"But still, your adar will want to have words with someone for how late you are returning home. That is Galithil's burden to bear, since he should have seen you home in the first place, so I will go remind him of that," the Queen concluded.

"But Galithil needed to speak with Legolas because he was upset. I told him I would go home by myself," Maidhien said, worried she had gotten Galithil in trouble with his naneth. Concern again clouded the Queen's face at the mention of Legolas being upset.

"Well, he will have to interrupt his conversation for a moment to take you home, just the same," she said. And she turned and left to get him without listening to another word.

Since she could not stop the Queen, Maidhien concentrated instead on relating to Thranduil exactly what her adar and uncle had said. He wrote it all down precisely as she told it to him, word for word, marking through sections of what he wrote when she corrected herself. Maidhien liked his handwriting. He used bold, thick strokes and she enjoyed looking over his shoulder as he filled the paper with her words. He was reading it back to her, to make sure he had it all correct, when Lindomiel came back into the room alone.

"Legolas and Galithil are not in either of their rooms," she said quietly, looking at Thranduil.

Maidhien looked at him as well. It was late. Late enough that her own adar would indeed be upset with her--and she was allowed to stay on the Green much later than Galithil was.

"I checked with one of Dollion's lieutenants and he said that the report says Galithil and Legolas came into the stronghold briefly to fetch their bows. Then they went back out to the Green. Conuion has not made his final check for the day either. The lieutenant said he assumed Conuion was still with them on the Green." She paused. "I went to the Gates and looked out on the Green. I did not see them."

Maidhien let her gaze slip from the Queen to Thranduil, fearing what she would see there. If Galithil and Legolas had their bows and were not on the Green, there were only a few activities they might be doing and she knew Thranduil would not approve of any of them. To her surprise, his expression appeared completely calm.

"You take Maidhien home, please," he said softly, standing and walking towards a large cabinet against the wall. He opened it and pulled out the first tunic his hand encountered. "I will find Legolas and Galithil," he continued, pulling out a pair of leggings.

The Queen nodded and moved to lead Maidhien from the room with an arm around her shoulder. She looked grim and that seemed to be in such stark contrast to Thranduil's even tone. Maidhien shrugged and allowed herself to be escorted from the room so the King could dress. She imagined the Queen was grim because now she had to face Dannenion herself rather than making Galithil do it. Facing her adar was always a good reason to lose one's cheer in Maidhien's mind.




Elleth/ellyth--female elf/elves

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