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Disclaimer: I borrow characters and settings from Tolkien but they belong to him. I gain no profit from their use other than the enriched imaginative life that I assume he intended me to gain.
Many thanks to Nilmandra for beta reading this chapter.
Ithilden laid the map out on the desk in his makeshift office. “Show me,” he told Elorfin. The captain of the Border Guard patrol bent over the map.
“In the last two weeks, we have seen Orcs here, here, and here,” he said, pointing. “We have seen signs of their passage in this area here also.”
Ithilden and Deler both looked at the map. “They are entirely too close to the settlement,” Ithilden frowned, “not to mention the homesteads scattered in that area.”
“My patrols have sensed danger in that direction, too,” Deler added. “As you know, one of the night patrols even encountered two Orcs in Home Guard territory recently.”
Ithilden straightened up. This had gone past the point where further scouting was the reasonable course. “I think we need to take some concerted action to push them out of that area,” he said slowly. Elorfin bristled visibly. “I mean no criticism,” Ithilden hastened to assure him. “You have a great deal of territory to cover with a limited number of warriors. But I think we need to concentrate our efforts for a week or two.” He turned to Deler. “How many warriors could you loan to the Border Patrol for that length of time?”
Deler hesitated. “Perhaps as many as a dozen,” he finally said reluctantly. “But it would mean warriors riding patrol singly rather than in pairs in the safer areas.”
Ithilden ignored his reluctance. “That will help.” He looked at Elorfin again. “I will be commanding this mission,” he declared, watching the other Elf’s reaction. He intended to command the mission whether Elorfin objected or not, but it would be easier with the captain’s wholehearted cooperation.
Elorfin grimaced but nodded. Then he turned to Deler. “Send some of your more seasoned warriors, Deler.” The Home Guard was traditionally the posting to which young Elves were sent when they first became warriors, and Elorfin plainly was worried about being saddled with a dozen green recruits. “They need to have experience with Orcs. And if they are capable scouts, that would help. Our biggest problem is finding the Orcs before they do damage.”
Deler nodded. “I will let you have Eilian,” he said. “He has experience, and he is the best scout I have had in a while.”
Ithilden stiffened but said nothing. He would not undercut Eilian with his captain by bringing up his brother’s recklessness, and it was true that Eilian had the right kind of experience for mission, but Ithilden still found him a worrisome choice. It is only temporary, he consoled himself.
Ithilden rose to let them know the meeting was at an end. “Choose the warriors you intend to send and let them know today,” he told Deler. “We will leave to join Elorfin’s patrol tomorrow morning.” Both captains nodded, bowed with their hands over their hearts, and departed.
Ithilden sat again and stared at the map for a moment. If Deler assigned Eilian to this mission, he would be under Ithilden’s direct command for the first time. That should be interesting, he thought wryly and began to place marks on the map at the points where Elorfin’s patrol had seen Orcs.
Thranduil smiled at the startled look on the face of Maltanaur’s wife when she opened the cottage door to his knock. “Hello, Nindwen,” he said, leaning forward to kiss her on the cheek. “It has been too long since I have seen you.”
“My lord,” she greeted him with an answering smile, “come in. It has been too long. Maltanaur will be happy to see you.” She, Thranduil, and Maltanaur had all been younglings together, and their friendship remained beneath the layer of formality existing between king and subject.
“How is he?” Thranduil asked, following her toward the sitting room.
“I am well enough that the healers have given me permission to return to duty,” Maltanaur answered for himself, getting to his feet as Thranduil entered the room. They clasped arms in a warriors’ greeting.
“I am not surprised,” Thranduil rejoined. “You are far too old and tough to succumb to a little scimitar wound.”
“Sit,” Nindwen told them. “I will fetch some cider.” She bustled off toward the kitchen.
“When are you returning to duty?” Thranduil asked.
“As a matter of fact, I am going with Eilian tomorrow on this mission that Ithilden is leading,” Maltanaur told him.
Thranduil was startled. He knew about Ithilden’s plans for the mission, of course, but he had not realized that Eilian was going. He was suddenly very grateful that Maltanaur was well enough to resume his duties, a fact that reminded him of the reason for this visit.
“Mellon nin,” he began, “Ithilden tells me that you saved his life. I am here to thank you.”
Maltanaur made a deprecating gesture. “He would have done the same for me, my lord. Indeed, he is far too inclined to believe that the well-being of others is his personal responsibility. Ithilden is a fine commander, but he still needs to learn that he is not responsible for the individual safety of everyone in the realm, even those most dear to him.”
Thranduil blinked uncertainly and was suddenly struck by the memory of Ithilden telling him that Legolas felt guilty for not protecting his mother. "What do you mean? Are you -- could you possibly be speaking of Lorellin?”
Maltanaur looked at him strangely. “Of course I am.”
At that moment, Nindwen came back into the room, carrying cups of cider. “Did you know that our daughter and your head groom have decided to bond with one another?” she asked as she passed drinks around.
“No, I did not,” Thranduil said. He sat back in his chair to listen to the family gossip, but his mind was on the shuttered face of his oldest son as he tried to explain the pain of his youngest.
Thranduil entered the family dining room for evening meal to find that only Ithilden had preceded him, a situation that suited him. He went the long way around the table toward his son, who had come to his feet when Thranduil entered, and, to Ithilden’s obvious surprise, embraced him. Then he pulled back.
“I visited Maltanaur this afternoon,” he said, “and seeing him reminded me to tell you of how proud I am of how well you lead the Realm’s forces. I could not ask for a more effective commander.”
Color had risen in Ithilden’s face. “Thank you, Adar.”
“The only thing I would ask of you,” Thranduil went on, “is that you be less hard on one of your officers. I believe that you are asking things from him that no one could accomplish.”
“Of whom are you speaking?” Ithilden asked, bristling slightly over what he evidently saw as his father’s interference.
“Why of you, iôn-nín,” Thranduil said gently and pulled Ithilden’s head forward so that he could kiss his brow. Then he sat down, leaving Ithilden blinking in wonderment. Finally, he sat down too.
“Evidently Maltanaur is well enough to speak at some length,” Ithilden said dryly. And then he added more gently, “Thank you, Adar.” Thranduil smiled serenely at him as Legolas skipped into the room and climbed into his chair.
“How are you, little one?” Thranduil asked. “Did you have a good afternoon?”
“I played with Annael,” Legolas responded happily. He looked at Ithilden. “His ada was home, and he had his sword, and I did not touch it,” he said, sounding pleased by his own virtue. Thranduil froze. Years of experience as a father led him to find Legolas’s claim less reassuring than it might otherwise have seemed.
But Ithilden only said, “Good.” Thranduil fervently hoped that Ithilden’s calm tone meant that he had reason to believe that not touching a sword would be a consistent state of affairs for Legolas. And even then it would probably be best to make sure that weapons were hung out of his reach for a while. He would have to talk to Ithilden later.
They all looked up as Eilian strode rapidly into the room and took his place. He was smiling broadly. He turned toward Ithilden, as a servant finished placing the meal on the table and left the room. “Thank you,” he said wholeheartedly.
“For what?” Ithilden asked cautiously.
“For allowing me to go on this mission with you. I realize that you have had doubts about my judgment, and I acknowledge that you have had every right to do so, but I promise you that you will not regret your decision.” He spoke rapidly, his eyes shining with excitement.
“Where are you going?” Legolas asked, sitting bolt upright with his fork stopped halfway to his mouth.
There was a moment’s pause, and Eilian looked suddenly dismayed as he realized the effect of his speech on Legolas. “Ithilden and I are going to go on a mission with some other warriors,” he finally said evasively.
“Will there be Orcs there?” Legolas immediately demanded, as everyone at the table had known that he would. Thranduil could see Eilian flinch, obviously regretting his careless words. And he should regret them, Thranduil thought unsympathetically. Legolas was going to be deeply disturbed if he realized what kind of mission his brothers were undertaking, and realize he almost inevitably would, for he was impossible to distract on the question of Orcs and none of them would lie to him outright.
For a moment, no one answered the elfling’s question. Then Thranduil spoke reluctantly. “Yes, but there will also be many warriors to keep your brothers safe.”
Legolas was having none of it. “No,” he said flatly. They all looked at him. “No,” he repeated, “you should not go.” He was addressing Ithilden now. “You should send the other warriors. They will do what you say. You and Eilian should stay here.”
“We are warriors, Legolas. Remember?” Ithilden said gently. “We protect the people. I cannot send other warriors into battle and stay home myself because I want to be safe. And I cannot keep Eilian home so he will be safe either.” He ignored the glance that Eilian flicked his way, although Thranduil thought he probably registered it. Ithilden usually missed very little. “There will still be warriors here. I would not leave you unguarded,” Ithilden finished, regarding Legolas steadily.
Legolas’s lower lip began to tremble, and he put his fork down. Thranduil sighed, slid his chair back, and reached toward Legolas. “Come and eat with me, little one. I am lonely without you.” For a moment, he thought the child would ignore him and persist in increasingly overwrought demands that his brothers stay home, but then Legolas launched himself across the gap and onto his father’s lap where he buried his face in Thranduil’s chest.
“Make them stay home, Ada,” he begged, but he sounded as if he was without much hope.
Thranduil gathered him in close and murmured, “We must trust your brothers to take care of themselves and come home safely again to us.” He glanced up at Ithilden and Eilian, who both clearly understood the message he was sending.
Surprisingly, it was Eilian who spoke. “We will be careful,” he promised and seemed to really mean it. Ithilden looked at him with raised eyebrows, but he ignored his older brother’s skepticism.
Thranduil took a deep breath, and made an effort to reestablish normality. “I am told that Maltanaur’s daughter is going to be bonded to my head groom,” he said as calmly as he could, stroking Legolas’s hair with one hand and reaching around him with his fork for a piece of roast pheasant. He would see to it that Legolas had something to eat later, he thought. There was no point in trying to get him to eat now.
Celuwen smiled a greeting as she opened the cottage door in response to Eilian’s knock. “Good evening, beautiful,” he said, brushing a kiss on her cheek. He smiled at her. “I do not know why I bothered looking at the stars on the way here. I should have just waited to look at you.”
She laughed, as he had known she would. “Come in before your silver tongue carries you into yet further extravagance,” she invited, and he followed her into the empty sitting room.
“Where is everyone?” he asked in surprise. Celuwen’s uncle’s cottage was always full of Elves from the settlement, usually planning some sort of campaign against his father.
“They are meeting elsewhere tonight,” she told him. “They are making final plans to gather supplies before they go home and to see to it that the families with children are well taken care of here.” She sat on a padded bench near the fire and resumed mending the shirt that lay there. He strode restlessly about the room and then stood toying with the carved animals that were lined up along the mantelpiece.
“They are wise to leave the children,” he said. “Your adar is a brave Elf, but he did well to send you and your naneth to safety too.”
She put down the mending and looked questioningly at him. “Do you have something to tell me? Have you news of danger in the area?”
He ran a finger along the back of a graceful little fawn that reminded him of Legolas. He did not want to worry her further, but he needed to tell her that he would be gone for a week or so, and also, he trusted her enough to believe that she deserved to hear the truth. “Yes,” he finally sighed. “The number of Orcs in the area is increasing, and Ithilden is leading a war party out tomorrow to try to clear them away.”
He looked at her. She sat still for a moment with her dark eyes meeting his and then asked, “Are you going?” He nodded and then sat beside her and put his arms around her, drawing her close.
“I will be careful, I promise,” he murmured into her hair. It smelled cleanly of soap and the scent that was uniquely Celuwen. She hugged him fiercely and then turned her face to his. He kissed each eyebrow and then touched her lips gently, but she surprised him and deepened the kiss with an urgency that took his breath away and sent fire flickering through him.
When they parted, she had tears in her eyes. “Come back safely,” she commanded, with a ferociousness that startled him anew.
He drew her close, his heart soaring at her desire for his return. He wanted this maiden. He wanted her in his bed, oh yes. But more than that, he wanted her by him when he sat by the fire on winter evenings, when he walked under the stars on spring nights, when he rejoiced and when he was unhappy and when he struggled to do what was right or needful. He wanted her with him for the rest of his life.
Legolas’s eyes came into focus. It was early, he knew, too early for Nimloth to be here yet. He was good at waking up early when he wanted to. He struggled out from under the covers, hopped down from the bed, and padded over to the cupboard where Nimloth kept his clean clothes. He found a tunic and put it over his head, being careful to get it the right way around. Then he felt around with his arms until he found the sleeves. He sat on the floor to pull on his leggings and his shoes. Tying the shoes was tricky, and the laces on one tangled into a knot. He had no time to fix it, though, and left it as it was.
He started toward the door and then paused and looked at his cloak, still hanging on its hook. Nimloth would be angry if he went outside without his cloak. He dragged a chair to where his cloak hung, got it down, and struggled with the button that he could not see under his chin until it slid through the hole. Then he jumped down from the chair and once again went toward the door. He cracked it open and peeked out into the hallway. No one was in sight, and he slid out of his room and tiptoed toward the doorway that led into the big antechamber in front of Ada’s Great Hall.
Usually there were two guards at this doorway, but this morning there was only one and he was looking the other way because he was supposed to keep bad things from coming down the hall where Legolas lived. He never stopped anyone from going out. Legolas trotted past him and toward the Great Doors.
“Legolas!” called a startled voice, and he turned to see the guard walking toward him. “Where are you going? Where is Nimloth?” The guards by the Great Doors had turned to listen too.
“She is not here yet,” Legolas answered. “I am going to the garden. I am going to watch for her.” All of this was true, and Legolas was proud of himself for not lying.
The guard looked down at him and hesitated. One of the guards from the Great Door said, “I will walk him to the garden. He cannot get into much trouble there.” Legolas turned, pleased by the Elf’s offer. He had been worrying how he was going to open the garden gate. The guard walked over the bridge with him, opened the gate into the garden, let Legolas in, and closed it after him. “If you need anything, call and we will hear you, little one,” the guard told him with a smile and Legolas nodded.
When he thought that the guard had moved far enough away again, he began to run toward the other end of the garden. Nimloth walked this way when she came to take care of him, so he needed to watch for her, just as he had told the guard he would, but he reached the gate at the other end of the garden without meeting anyone. This gate was easy to open. He moved the latch carefully and then was out of the garden and onto the path leading to Ada’s stables.
He met no one on the path, but he had to hide in the bushes next to the path when he came to the stableyard because an Elf was walking a horse there. Legolas waited until they had gone around the corner and then scooted across the yard and into the stable. He paused just inside the doorway. He could hear Elves talking but he could not see them. He crept carefully along the aisle. Horses put their heads out of their stalls on either side to look curiously at him. He wished he could stop to talk to them, but he did not have time this morning.
He came to the stall where Ithilden’s horse lived. “Hello,” Legolas greeted him softly. The horse eyed him and then snorted. He had been friendly when Legolas had ridden him, and Legolas could tell he remembered him. He looked around for something to stand on and found a bucket. He upended it in front of the stall, stood on it, and lifted the stall latch. Then he had to get down and move the bucket so that the stall door could swing open. Ithilden’s horse moved tentatively out into the aisle and then started for the open stable doors.
Legolas could not stay to watch him go, though, for now he had to release Eilian’s horse.
Thranduil entered the dining room and was not surprised to find Eilian already there. Thranduil knew that Eilian had returned home very late the previous night and by rights should have been tired, but he was eager for this mission and he radiated energy. “Good morning, Adar,” he said cheerfully.
Thranduil could not help smiling at him, although he shook his head slightly. “I have never seen anyone as happy as you are to get up in the morning and go out and have someone swing a scimitar at him.” Thranduil came around the table to embrace him. “Be careful, Eilian,” he admonished gently.
Eilian rolled his eyes. “You cannot imagine how many people have said that to me in the last two days,” he protested.
Thranduil patted his shoulder. “If you are tempted to ignore us all, think of that scene with Legolas at evening meal last night.”
Eilian blinked. “I have promised to be careful and I will,” he said more soberly.
“Good.” Thranduil made his way to his own place and sat down.
Ithilden hurried in. “I am sorry I am late,” he apologized. “At the last minute, there were problems with the supplies.” He had not yet taken his seat when Nimloth appeared in the doorway.
“I am sorry to interrupt, my lords,” she said breathlessly, “but have you seen Legolas?”
Thranduil’s heart contracted. “No,” he answered swiftly, and Ithilden and Eilian were shaking their heads too.
“He was not in his room when I got here this morning,” she said. “I have looked in the library and the sitting room, and he is not in either place.”
Ithilden was already on his way out the door. “I will check with the guards to see if they have seen him,” he said. He was back in a moment, looking grim. “The guards say that Legolas went out a little while ago,” he reported. “He went to the garden and said he was going to watch for you, Nimloth.”
“By himself?” asked Thranduil incredulously.
“Apparently,” Ithilden responded.
“He was not in the garden when I came through it,” Nimloth said.
Thranduil started toward the door and found his sons, too, in motion. “Eilian, you and I will search the garden,” he ordered. “Ithilden, go to the other end of the garden immediately and see if you can find any sign of him there. Get one of those fool guards to help you.” He strode out the doors, guards scattering unhappily before him.
The gravel path in the garden yielded no useful information, and Thranduil and Eilian began searching the bushes. What could Legolas be doing? Thranduil wondered frantically. He had been sullen and uncommunicative after learning of his brothers’ mission at evening meal last night, and yet, at the same time, he had clung to his father and insisted that Thranduil stay with him until he fell asleep. What had the child been thinking?
Suddenly Ithilden called, “He has been this way!” They rushed toward the far end of the garden, where the guard pointed them after Ithilden down the path toward the stables.
They found Ithilden in the stableyard, where a groom was holding his horse and the stablemaster was holding Eilian’s. “We have not seen him,” the stablemaster was saying, “but we have been busy. I have no idea how it happened, but both of these horses got loose this morning. I am so sorry, my lords.”
Thranduil looked at the two horses and suddenly thought he understood what had happened. He strode into the stables. “Legolas!” he called. Eilian and Ithilden had followed him and now ran down the line of stalls on either side, peering into each.
“Here he is, Adar,” Eilian’s relieved voice called. Thranduil approached to find Eilian opening the door of an empty stall near the other end of the row. In the corner, on a pile of hay, huddled Legolas, with his knees clutched to his chest. His small face looked up at his father and brothers, and then he put his head down on his knees and started to cry soundlessly.
Eilian started toward him, but Thranduil put a hand on his arm. “No,” he said, “You two go. I will take care of this one.”
Eilian hesitated. “Adar, he just did not want us to go,” he pleaded.
Thranduil met his troubled eyes and thought for a second of what Eilian had been saying about Legolas for weeks now. “I know,” he assured him. After a moment, Eilian’s face cleared as he seemed to accept Thranduil’s assertion. He darted forward to kiss Legolas on the top of his head and then rejoined Ithilden. The two of them started down the aisle toward the open doorway.
“Take care,” Thranduil called after them.
“We will,” they chorused back and were gone.
Thranduil entered the stall, picked his son up, and carried him cradled in his arm to a bench near an open window. Legolas continued to cry with his head pressed against his father’s chest. Thranduil stroked his hair gently. Two grooms moved quietly about their morning chores, and through the window, Thranduil could see horses trotting through a field with morning energy. The stablemaster approached hesitantly, offering a blanket, and Thranduil realized that he was cold. In his anxious rush to search for his son, he had not taken time to put on a cloak, and although Legolas wore one, he had lost a shoe somewhere. The stablemaster wrapped the blanket around both of them, and Thranduil took the small, icy foot in his hand to warm it. Finally the crying stopped, and Legolas sat with his head leaning against his father’s chest while he watched the horses outside.
“Are you afraid for your brothers?” Thranduil finally asked him. Without looking up, Legolas nodded.
“I worry for them too,” Thranduil admitted, causing Legolas to raise a small, surprised face. “Like you, I want to protect them, but the best I can do is make sure that many other warriors are with them to help keep them safe. Now you,” he added, tickling Legolas’s stomach gently, “you, I can protect. But if I am to do so, you have to follow the rules I have made for you. Those rules are to keep you safe. You know that, do you not?”
Legolas nodded reluctantly. “Like not touching your green dagger,” he said.
Thranduil paused. He had found the dagger with the emeralds in the handle on the floor under his desk the previous day and had wondered how it got there. He thought about the worries that Ithilden had voiced about Legolas’s state of mind and even those that Eilian had raised. “Why would you touch the dagger, Legolas?” he asked carefully.
“I wanted a weapon to keep Orcs away,” Legolas sighed, “but Ithilden says I should let him and Eilian do it until I am grown up.”
“Ithilden is right,” Thranduil agreed. He paused again. “I miss your nana,” he said tentatively. Legolas leaned his head against Thranduil’s chest again and made no reply. “Sometimes,” Thranduil went on, “I even get angry that she is no longer here with me. Do you ever feel that way?”
After a long moment, Legolas nodded. “You should come and tell me when you feel that way,” Thranduil said. “And we can make one another feel better.”
Legolas considered this. “What if you are busy being king?”
Thranduil hesitated. He tried to be as honest with his children as he expected them to be with him. “Sometimes then, you will have to wait. But I think that sometimes I will have to tell my advisors that I am busy being Ada.” He kissed the top of the blond head. “I love you, Legolas.”
“I love you, Ada,” said the small, tired voice.
Thank you to reviewers from all directions: ff.net, www.storiesofarda.com, or email. I love hearing from you, and cheer every time a review alert pops up.
Judy: It turns out there are volunteers to hug Eilian. Shall I add your name to the list? ;-) I am a middle child, so I sympathize with him greatly.
Kay: I’m glad you’re still reading. I think there will be only two or at most three more chapters of this story. Then I have to think of a new one.
Casualis: Here’s what I was thinking about Thranduil. I think he knows that Legolas is grieving. But his sons’ character development is very important to him and he tends to discipline first and look for motives after, if at all. He does that with Eilian even now. So until this chapter, he has not clearly seen that what Legolas is doing is what we now call “acting out.” That was my idea anyway.
StrangeBlaze: Legolas and Eilian are close. I think Eilian is more intuitive and open about his feelings that Ithilden is. So it’s tricky to create some close moments for Ithilden and Legolas.
First Mate: I love my OCs. I am shameless about it. So I like to know when other people appreciate them too. Thank you for telling me.
Caz-baz: More horse stuff in this chapter. I hope you like it.
Orangeblossom Took: I really must grind Eilian that Thranduil hears Ithilden about Legolas but could not hear him. Legolas is lucky though. His family all dote on him. (And I have it on good authority that their mother doted on all three of them.)
Bryn: I’m not sure Turgon’s parents were thinking about much of anything. ;-) And don’t worry too much about Celuwen.
TreeHugger: I think we’re getting some progress here. I was thinking about all the dangers in homes for children in this kind of culture: weapons and fire, for instance. How anyone survived, I’ll never know.
Bluebonnet: I love writing from Legolas’s point of view. The most bizarre things come to seem natural and right.
TigerLily: Stories of Arda is a great site. It always works and the story notices are reliable. Plus you can actually find some good stories!
Coolio02: Legolas’s desire to become a warrior is actually a useful way for him to use his anger, I think. That is, if he waits a few years to do it!
Luin: I absolutely wondered whether Celuwen’s parents thought he was good for her! I’m thinking of including a little talk between her adar and Eilian in the next chapter, assuming I can think of what they might say. And you are not the only one who wants to know what Turgon claims to have seen Eilian doing!
PokethePenguin: Let’s hope Legolas has learned his lesson about playing with swords and daggers. If not, he may wind up with quite a few scars!
Fadesintothewest: Ah, another one willing to comfort Eilian. You ladies are so generous. Unfortunately, my beta takes custody of him whenever I am not using him (get your mind out of the gutter), so I don’t know what to tell you!
Nilmandra: Hey, I was just talking about you. I have had several more volunteers for comforting Eilian if you get tired of it.
Erunyauve: Your analysis of Thranduil is really insightful. I think I’ll have to point people to it when they ask me what he’s thinking!
Alice: So Thranduil and Legolas are making a little progress too, I think. We’ll see.
Karenator: No one listens to Eilian, you’re right. And they should. He’s not always right but he’s right more often than they give him credit for, especially about people’s motives and emotions. He’s very intuitive.
Lamiel: I’m hoping that what I write in this story is good background for Legolas in my other stories, with his seriousness about his warrior training.
Gwyn: I did marry Ithilden off in a different story set later in time. It’s called “Joinings” and is only one chapter long if you want to see it. (How’s that for Shameless Self Promotion?)
Frodo: I suspect that Ithilden doesn’t cry nearly often enough. He’s very controlled and that’s good for some things (as he points out to Eilian), but not others.
Legolas4me: I wonder how elves usually dealt with the death of a parent, given that it probably wasn’t all that common. Poor baby Legolas!
Dot1: I actually hesitated about having Ithilden shake Legolas because I don’t think Elves were big on physical punishment and Ithilden is usually so controlled. But I thought maybe he was pretty tightly strung himself at this point and got pushed over the edge.
Feanen: Glad you liked it. Thank you for continuing to read and review.
Veryawen: They *are* stubborn, but then they are elves and male ones at that.
Jay of Lasgalen: Can you imagine having a four or five year old in a house full of sharp weapons? What must they have done to keep everyone from growing up minus a finger or two?
JastaElf: The age difference in elven children must have made for some unusual family dynamics I think, with the older sibs being more like parents. It’s hard to imagine. And thank you for struggling with ff.net. It’s a pain.
Naneth: Legolas does need a hug. Hell, they all do.
Xsilicax: And what a bizarre moment it is when Eilian has the most sense of any of them! But you’re right of course.
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