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When Shadow Touches Home  by daw the minstrel

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.


11.  Not Alone

In the early evening of the next day, the warriors rode into the area before Thranduil’s stronghold.  Ithilden had experienced such homecomings many times since becoming a warrior and, as always, he was touched to see family members running to greet the Elves who had been away.  This time, the crowd was particularly thick because these were Home Guard members and, since the posting kept them close to home and relatively safe, many of them had bonded and had children.

He wondered briefly about Eilian’s reluctance to accept a place in the Home Guard, given his feelings for Celuwen. This mission had shown Ithilden first hand what others had been telling him: His brother was exceptionally good at finding and battling Orcs in unpredictable situations.  The Southern Patrol was the natural place for those talents to be of use, but surely Eilian wanted some happiness for himself too.  Despite the tension that occasionally flared between them, Ithilden certainly wanted it for him. Then he saw Thranduil emerging from the palace and coming toward them and set thoughts of his mercurial younger brother aside. He slid from his horse, and placed his hand over his heart and extended it in formal salute. Thranduil returned the salute and then embraced him.

“Welcome home, iôn-nín,” Thranduil murmured in his ear.

“It is good to be home,” Ithilden responded, and as always when he returned from a mission, he felt the truth and inadequacy of the words.

Thranduil turned to search for Eilian in the crowd, and then made his way toward him.  Ithilden was starting to lead his horse toward the stables when he spotted Legolas running through the Great Doors with Nimloth trailing after him. The elfling flew down the stairs, threaded his way through the legs of horses and grown Elves, and climbed up his oldest brother into his arms.

“Ithilden!  You are home!” he cried, flinging his arms fiercely around his brother’s neck.

Ithilden gave him a squeeze. “We missed you, little one.”  Legolas looked over his shoulder and stretched out his arms to Eilian, who had approached with their father. Eilian grinned and took their little brother from him.

“Were you good while we were gone, brat?” Eilian inquired, suffering his head to be pulled to one side by Legolas’s hug.

“I was,” Legolas told him complacently.  “I did all my lessons, and I did not touch any weapons.”

“Good for you,” Eilian laughed.

“Legolas,” Thranduil said, “go on back to Nimloth now.  Your brothers probably want to bathe and rest before evening meal.”

“He is no bother,” Eilian protested. “I will take him to my room with me. He can amuse me while I unpack and bathe.” They made their way toward their apartments.  Eilian disappeared into his chamber with Legolas still attached to his side, and Ithilden started to follow Thranduil into the sitting room.  In his head, he had been organizing a report for his father as they rode the last few miles home.

“Not tonight,” Thranduil said gently, turning to him. “Go and bathe and then come and share some wine. Tomorrow will be soon enough to hear what you have found.”

Ithilden blinked. “I do not mind, Adar.”

“I do mind,” Thanduil said.  “Tonight I want you to be just my son. Eilian too, if he stays in,” he added.

Ithilden felt a rush of love for this Elf whose opinion mattered more to him than that of anyone else in Arda. “Very well, Adar. I will be back soon.”

“I will be here,” Thranduil said placidly.


Legolas watched from his perch on the bed as Eilian unbuckled his sword and dropped it onto the desk and then came to dump his pack out onto the covers next to Legolas.  He wrinkled his nose. “Your clothes smell funny,” he announced.

Eilian laughed. “I expect they do.  They need washing.”

There were black spots on the tunic on top.  “What is that?” he asked curiously.

Eilian hesitated, so Legolas knew that the spots were something he did not want to talk about, but if he waited, Eilian might talk about them anyway.

“It is Orc blood,” Eilian finally told him.

Legolas eyed the spots and then carefully reached out to touch one.  It felt stiff but that was all. “Did you and Ithilden and the other warriors kill the Orcs?”

Eilian nodded soberly. “Yes, we did.”

Legolas felt very relieved. “Good.  I knew you would.”

Eilian was now looking at him oddly. “Did you?”

Legolas nodded.  “Ada says you are both very good warriors.  I will be a good warrior too some day when I grow up.  I am not big enough to really be one now, but I am big enough to have a pony.  Ada says he will get me one.”

Eilian was smiling now.  “Have you and Ada been spending time together while I was gone?”

“Some,” Legolas answered immediately.  “But sometimes his advisors need him too because he has to be king.”

Eilian pulled off his tunic and threw it on the floor.  Legolas stared at it.  Nimloth would not like that at all if she were taking care of Eilian.  Eilian started toward the bathing chamber, and Legolas hopped down from the bed to follow him.  “Eilian, do you remember when I let your horse out?”

Eilian had opened the pipes to let water come into the big tub.  Legolas watched with interest. He wished his tub were this big.  He turned to find his brother looking at him. “Yes, I remember.”

“Are you angry at me?  I am sorry I did it.” Legolas had been wanting to tell his brothers this, but they had been gone so he could not.

Eilian shook his head.  “I am not angry, little one. Was Ada angry?”

Legolas considered this.  He had actually been quite puzzled by what Ada had done in the stable.  “No.  He let me sit on his lap, and he said he missed Nana too.”

“I expect he does,” Eilian said, looking sad himself.

“When I am angry about Nana being dead, I am going to go talk to Ada,” Legolas told him.  “And I will make Ada feel better too.”

Eilian ruffled his hair.  “That is a very good idea.  I know you make me feel better.”  Legolas smiled happily.  He loved Eilian.

The water in the tub was deep now, and Eilian closed the pipes.  He pulled off his leggings and climbed into the tub.  Legolas edged near. “Eilian?”

“Hm?”  Eilian was sliding deep into the water, looking like the dog in the stable looked when you scratched her back.  Legolas was sure that he never looked that silly in the bathtub.

“I will not let your horse out again.  I did not want you to go away, but Ada says you will not let an Orc eat you.  He says you are too tough anyway.”

Eilian sounded as if he were choking on the water.  “You are being very brave, Legolas. I am proud of you.”  Legolas was proud of himself too, but he thought it would not be good manners to show it.

He frowned at Eilian, who looked as if he wanted to go to sleep in the tub.  “You should hurry.  We are having meat pies for evening meal, and I am very hungry.”

Eilian laughed, sat up straight, and started to scrub at the dirt on his arms.  “Whatever you say, brat.” 


When Ithilden returned to the sitting room, Thranduil had warmed wine ready, and they settled into the chairs by the fireplace. “We still have some time before evening meal,” Thranduil told him.  At that moment, the door opened and Eilian and Legolas came into the room.  Legolas was apparently just finishing some long, involved tale.

“But then Annael’s nana said that we could not bring the mice into the cottage so we had to let them go,” he said.  Eilian looked at them and rolled his eyes.

“Come here, child,” Thranduil said and drew Legolas onto his lap.  He looked quizzically at Eilian. “Are you going out?”

“No,” protested Legolas immediately.  “I want you to stay here, Eilian.”  Eilian hesitated.

“I, too, would like to have you home tonight, iôn-nín,” said Thranduil mildly.

Eilian looked gratified and perhaps a little surprised by his father’s words.  “Very well,” he said. “I will send a message to Celuwen.”

Ithilden could not suppress a smile at the scowl Legolas gave at the mention of Celuwen although Eilian grimaced in response.  Ithilden settled back contentedly in his chair.  He suddenly found that just being with his father and brothers was satisfying beyond measure.


On the following morning, Thranduil looked up at the knock on his door.  “Come,” he bid, and Ithilden entered and took the chair that his father indicated.

“What have you to tell me?” Thranduil asked, and Ithilden launched into an account of the destruction of the Orcs in the area to the Realm’s southwest and then of his dealings with the Elves who had chosen to live in the woods there.

When he had finished, Thranduil sighed.  “I feared as much.  The delegation from the settlement is preparing to return too. The families with children will stay, but the rest would not hear of it.”

Ithilden ran his hand over his hair.  “We have made their situation safer for the present, but surely they realize that the future is uncertain.”

“They do,” Thranduil responded, “but they see living in the woods not only as their right but also as their duty.  They feel a bond to the woods and believe that their presence makes it less shadowed, and I cannot say that they are wrong.” He toyed with the elegant carved wooden letter opener on his desk.  He had put the emerald studded dagger away until he was more certain that Legolas was trustworthy around it.

“There is one other matter, Adar,” Ithilden said hesitantly.  His tone made Thranduil brace himself.  This was going to be something that he would not like. Ithilden drew in his breath. “I am going to send Eilian south again if he wants to go.” He regarded his father warily, waiting for a reaction.

Thranduil froze.  “That assignment is a dangerous one, particularly for someone who is unwilling to be cautious, and I fear your brother is not always wise.”

“He impressed me on this mission,” Ithilden said steadily.  “He fought with discipline and judgment, and I believe he has learned his lesson as to the inadvisability of rashness.  Moreover, I had not fully realized before just how good he is in unpredictable situations.  He seems to have a feel for how things are developing and is able to react quickly.”

Thranduil sighed.  Ithilden’s judgment was usually good and Thranduil knew that his oldest son too had been learning some lessons, only his were about the impossibility of completely protecting everyone, or even those he loved. For Ithilden, being willing to let Eilian go into danger was an achievement. Thranduil had allowed it before; he would allow it again.

He thought about Ithilden’s words and recognized a puzzle.  “Do you doubt that he will want to go?” he asked.

Ithilden hesitated again.  “I had thought he might want to stay near home and possibly bond with Celuwen,” he offered.

Thranduil was startled. It had never occurred to him that Eilian might have been thinking about bonding.  He has assumed that his son’s duty to the realm would put that out of the question, although he also liked the maiden and believed she might be able to make Eilian happy.  “Surely not,” he said.  “Eilian knows his duty.”  Ithilden said nothing, but his face became impassive.  Thranduil blinked and then groaned inwardly.  What had Eilian told his brother? Thranduil feared that he did not want to know the answer.  He supposed he would learn what he needed to know soon enough, when Eilian accepted his brother’s offer or did not.

“One thing, Ithilden,” Thranduil cautioned. “Do not mention this in front of Legolas. I will tell him. He will not be happy, but perhaps the fact that you both came home safely this time will reassure him a little.”

Ithilden nodded and then stirred as if to leave but Thranduil stopped him. “I have another matter to discuss with you, Ithilden.” He looked at his son’s inquiring grey eyes. “I want you to begin commanding the troops from here. I know that you have been reluctant to do this, but I have made up my mind that it must happen.  The task is becoming far too complex to manage while you are on the move.” Ithilden opened his mouth, but Thranduil put up a hand to stop him from speaking.  “Moreover, I need you here.  I want to spend more time with Legolas, and I believe that you are more than capable of taking care of some matters for me while I do.”

Ithilden blinked and then looked pleased.  “As it happens, I, too, had concluded that I needed a central command.  And, Adar, if you think I can be of any help to you, I will do my best to provide it.”

Thranduil smiled. “I know you will.  There is no one I trust more.”

Now Ithilden did rise.  “By your leave, Adar,” he said and Thranduil sent him on his way. He sat for a moment at his desk, thinking about his two older sons who now were beyond his help most of the time. He sighed.  I will take Legolas for a ride, he thought.  He, at least, is still within my care.  When he entered Legolas’s room, however, he found it empty. Further inquiry led him to Nimloth, who was sitting and chatting with some of the other palace workers while she mended a small tunic.

“He is playing at Annael’s cottage,” she told him.  “Shall I fetch him?”

“No,” Thranduil said, “I will find him myself.”  He left the palace, feeling a moment’s flicker of irritation at the two guards who trailed him.  I wonder if Ithilden has settled enough that he will allow me to dismiss them? he thought.  Surely they can be put to better use.  He got his horse from the stables and then led him toward Annael’s home, passing on the way the pond where he and Legolas had encountered Ithilden only three weeks ago. Then the ice had been a thin skin, but they had had clear, cold weather for almost a fortnight and the ice had thickened, looking almost ready to hold elflings who would run and slide and shout with glee.

There were no elflings on the pond today, but he could hear them not far ahead.  As he rounded a hedge, he saw a scene that reminded him all too vividly of another moment with Legolas. Ahead of him, two ellyth stood shouting at three small Elves who, unfortunately, were Legolas and his friends, all facing the ellyth belligerently, with sticks in their hands.  His heart sank, for he had thought that Legolas was slowly recovering his normal good nature. Irritated, he strode toward the children.

“We are guarding you,” Legolas was saying emphatically. “That is what warriors do.”

“We do not want you to guard us,” snapped one of the ellyth. “We do not want you near us.  Go away.”

Thranduil came to a halt, irritation giving way to amusement.  Legolas and his friends were apparently no more welcome as protectors than they had been as attackers.

“Legolas,” he called.

His son spun and saw him.  “Ada!” he cried, dropping his stick and running into his father’s hug.

“Would you like to go for a ride with me?” Thranduil asked. 

“Yes! Yes!” Warrior duties forgotten, Legolas ran toward the king’s stallion. Thranduil was turning to follow him when a small hand tugged on his cloak and he turned to see an elleth looking up at him.

“Could you please tell them we do not need to be guarded?” she said, pointing to Turgon and Annael.  Thranduil felt a momentary stab of sadness, for in his realm now, all children needed to be guarded.

He took the elleth’s point, however.  He eyed the two “guards” and like the experienced warrior he was, he chose his target and weapon with care.  “Annael, does your naneth know that you are so far away from your cottage?” he asked.  The child stared at him for a moment with a stricken look and then dropped his stick and turned and ran for home, with Turgon trailing after him disgustedly.

“They are not really warriors, you know,” the elleth told Thranduil and then returned to her companion.

Thranduil smiled broadly and made his way to his horse where Legolas waited for him with delight written on his face.  He lifted the child onto the horse and then vaulted up himself and began to guide the animal toward one of the trails that would lead to the woods.

“There is Eilian!” Legolas cried suddenly, pointing off to his left.  He raised his voice.  “Eilian, look! I am going for a ride with Ada.”

Eilian had been following a path that led to some cottages but now he paused and waved. “I see that you are,” he called with a laugh.  “Make sure that Ada behaves himself.”  He began walking again.

“I will,” Legolas cried and then he laughed too. “Eilian is silly,” he confided to Thranduil, and he leaned back against him.

Thranduil reveled in the warmth of the small body pressed affectionately against own, and as he did, he was suddenly aware of a presence where for so long he had felt only a void.  He held himself completely still, scarcely daring to breathe.  And like the attraction of the first star opening in the evening, the bond that told him of his wife’s continued existence tugged lightly at the edge of his being, and joy abruptly flooded his heart.

Legolas twisted to look at him, having evidently sensed something in his father’s manner.  Then he smiled. “Go fast, Ada,” he demanded.

Thranduil tightened his grip on his small son’s waist and, to Legolas’s delight, urged the stallion into a canter.


Eilian smiled contentedly to himself at the sight of his little brother going for a ride with their father.  Even in the short time that he had been back from the mission, it had become evident to Eilian that Thranduil had established an easier relationship with his little brother.  He was glad.  He had, in truth, been a bit worried about leaving Legolas to return to his patrol, but he had concluded that their father had somehow managed to see through his need to insure good behavior and recognized the impulses that were driving Legolas’s more regrettable actions.  Legolas would be all right, even if Eilian did go south again.

But really there was no “if” about it.  After his conversations with Celuwen’s father and then with Ithilden, he had briefly considered asking to be released from his duties as a warrior and moving to the settlement, but he had quickly put the idea aside. As Thranduil’s son, he had been raised to know his duty to the realm, and even in his most erratic younger days, he had never faltered in his commitment to fulfilling it.  He was good at hunting and fighting the enemy, and he should continue to do it.  Living simply in the woods was an attractive thought, but for him, it would be a neglect of responsibility, and in the long run, it would eat at him and destroy him.

But neither could he bear to let Celuwen go.  He had seen his father’s grief at the loss of a bonded partner and he knew that it was selfish to even consider tying Celuwen to him, but he could not stand the thought of losing her. He had had enough of loss and wanted, for a change, to rejoice in love. But he had to tell her about the opportunity he had to return to the Southern Patrol, and that was what he was steeling himself to do now. Surely she would understand.  Celuwen had one of the strongest senses of duty he had ever encountered.

He knocked at the door to her uncle’s cottage and felt a flood of happiness when Celuwen opened it.  Without a word, he clasped her in his arms and rested his cheek against her hair.  She squeezed him in an answering embrace with her face buried against his chest.  When he pulled back, she tilted her head to him and he saw, to his surprise, that there were tears on her cheeks.  “There is no need for that, surely,” he cried, rubbing his thumbs over the tears. “I am here and I am whole. I am sorry if I frightened you, my love.”

She forced a smile. “Come in,” she said, drawing him after her and closing the door.  She led him into the kitchen where boxes stood on the table and various food stuffs were spread out.  She directed him to a chair by the fire, handed him a cup of cider, and then began packing the food into the boxes, checking things off on a list as she went.

He sat back and watched her, reveling in the grace of her movements. “I saw your adar,” he said. “He seemed well.”  In truth, he was rather pleased with himself for that serene statement. Celuwen’s father had been physically well, but he had also been angry and scathing in expressing it.  But Eilian was rewarded for his effort by the radiant smile Celuwen gave him.

“Is he?  I have been worrying about him.”

“He asked about you,” Eilian added blithely.  “I am sure he misses you too.”

Her face suddenly became serious. She put down the package of flour she had been holding and came slowly toward him. “Eilian,” she said, “I have something to tell you.”

Suddenly sobered, he recalled his own news.  “I have something to tell you too.”  He reached out and, taking her hands in his, tried to pull her into his lap, but she resisted. She did not withdraw her hands, but she stood before him with her face grave. He lifted her hands to his lips and kissed each palm.  “Ithilden has asked me if I wish to return to the Southern Patrol,” he said, watching her anxiously, “and I have decided to tell him that I do.”

She blinked and then smiled sadly. “I thought you would go eventually.  It is the right thing for you to do, and besides, you enjoy it.”

He could not deny it.  “I will be home on leave as often as I can,” he told her eagerly.  He pulled on her hands again, but she still held back.

“Please,” she said, “let me speak.” She drew a deep breath. “I have decided to return to the settlement with my naneth. We are leaving tomorrow.”

He stared at her in horror.  “You cannot be serious. It is far too dangerous!” Even as he said it, he was aware of the irony.  He had, after all, just told her that he was returning to the Southern Patrol. He shoved that notion aside and instead let anger flare. “I cannot believe that your adar would allow it.”  He flung her hands down and stood up. “I will not allow it!”

She ignored his declaration. “Eilian, try to understand,” she pleaded.  “It is my duty to go back. I cannot sit idly at home while you fight to hold back the Shadow.  This is a fight we all must wage, and this is the way I can do that.”

“And what about me?” he demanded. “What about us?”  He grasped her shoulders.  “Bond with me, Celuwen,” he urged.  “Today. Now.”

Tears had begun to flow down her cheeks again.  She touched his face gently.  “You know you do not mean that.”

“I do mean it!”  But a hopeless anguish had begun to fill him.

“Eilian, Shadow could claim one or both of us.  I will not tie you to me and then leave you alone.  I want better for you than that.”

He stared down into her wide, dark eyes and then gathered her to him with a moan. At last she surrendered and sagged against him. “Do not do this, Celuwen.”

“My love,” her voice was muddled with tears, “do not make this harder than it is.”

They stood for a long moment in one another’s arms.  She would do it, he realized.  He could not stop her.  He savored the feel of her body against his.  I will remember this, he thought.  I will remember exactly how she feels against me.  He pulled back and put his hand behind her head, tangling his fingers in her hair.  He pressed his lips to her forehead. “Be safe. I beg you,” he murmured.

She put her hand to his face and turned him to look into her eyes. “Be safe, my love. I beg you,” she echoed and then began to cry again.


Thranduil followed Legolas down the hall as he ran toward the sitting room.  He really should send the child off to bathe and change before evening meal, but Legolas had wheedled a promise that, when their ride was over, Thranduil would read more to him from the book they had almost finished the evening before.  He evidently did not intend to surrender his father’s company until he had to, Thranduil thought with some amusement, and then was glad that he had asked Ithilden to stay home and free him occasionally for more afternoons like this one.

Ahead of him, Legolas had stopped dead in the doorway, looking into the room. Thranduil came up behind him just as Legolas ran forward toward Eilian, who was sitting slumped near the fire, with his elbows on his knees, his head dropped into his hands, and all of his attention evidently on his thoughts, for he had not heard them until now.  He raised his head and blinked as Legolas approached.  Even from where Thranduil stood, he could see that the blinking was not simply from surprise.  Ah, he thought, Celuwen.

“Are you sad?” Legolas cried anxiously, climbing into his brother’s lap.  Eilian saw his father and tried to rise clutching Legolas, but Thranduil motioned him back into the chair.  Legolas’s small hands were now stroking Eilian’s hair. “Are you sad for Nana? Do not worry. You still have me.”  He planted a kiss on Eilian’s cheek.

Eilian hugged him. “Thank you, little one.  That is very comforting,” he said in a less than steady voice.

Lorellin, Thranduil thought, help me now.  He approached his sons.  “Legolas, go and tell Nimloth that you need a bath before evening meal. I will come and get you when it is time.”  Legolas looked ready to protest but Thranduil spoke firmly. “Go. I want to talk to Eilian now.”  Reluctantly, Legolas got down from his brother’s lap and dragged his way out the door, which his father closed behind him.  Now Eilian did stand. He and Thranduil regarded one another for a moment, and then Thranduil approached and, to Eilian’s obvious surprise, embraced him before waving him back into the chair.  “Shall I assume this is about Celuwen?” Thranduil asked seating himself in the chair opposite.

Eilian nodded. “She has decided to return to the settlement,” he said, sounding bitter.  “And she has refused to make any kind of commitment to me before she goes.”

Thranduil was dismayed.  So Ithilden had been right in believing that Eilian was actually thinking of bonding with Celuwen.  His flirtatious son must have been deeply love struck indeed to consider such a thing. “It does not surprise me that she intends to go back,” Thranduil said.  “I have talked to other Elves from her settlement. They are a determined lot and deeply committed to the settlement and to one another.”

“I do not care about the others,” Eilian cried.  “I care about Celuwen.  How can she do something so foolish?  Adar, I do not know how I will bear it if something happens to her. I do not even know how I will bear separating from her with no end in sight.” 

The despair in his voice frightened his father.  He leaned forward and put a hand on Eilian’s knee.  “Listen to me, iôn-nín,” he urged.  “Your brothers and I love you. You have friends and work that you are good at and that is worth doing.  I would not have you be driven by grief to do anything reckless.  Surely you have grown beyond that.”

Eilian made a wordless sound of protest.  “Do not worry, Adar.  I am not feeling reckless. I am not feeling anything. I am numb.”

Thranduil strongly suspected that Eilian only wished he were numb.  “Do you believe that Celuwen really cares for you?” he asked quietly.

“I know she does,” Eilian responded vehemently.

“Then have faith in her,” Thranduil counseled.  “Life is long, Eilian, and there are things that are worth waiting for.”

Eilian looked at him, and Thranduil thought he saw a glimmer of hope in his son’s eyes.  “Do you think so?”

Thranduil rose so that Eilian would too and again drew him into an embrace. “I do. Take care for yourself and trust her to do the same.  All things change.  The Shadow will not threaten us forever.” Thranduil prayed that he spoke truly and hoped that Eilian would believe he did.

Eilian pulled away.  “By your leave, Adar,” he said, “I would like to go and bathe now.  Would you like me to fetch Legolas for evening meal?”

“No,” Thranduil responded with some satisfaction. “He should see that you are recovered tonight, but I have been enjoying being Ada today.”

Eilian smiled faintly.  “Are you speaking about Legolas or me?” he asked and then kissed his father’s cheek. “Thank you,” he said simply and left the room.

Thranduil poured wine and sat for a few moments before going to get ready for evening meal himself.  Eilian’s despair had distressed him, for it echoed his own only too closely.   And yet also he realized that the despair he had felt over Lorellin’s death had faded over the last months without his even realizing it.  Now, she was with him again. And he found that what he felt this evening was not despair but gratitude. He was deeply thankful for the sons that he and his wife had been given together as signs of their love.  And he was determined that what he could do for them he would.  He could not keep all grief from their door, but he could comfort them when it came.  He was not alone and neither were they.


I think I’m done now.  I enjoyed writing this. And I really loved knowing that other people were enjoying reading it. Thank you to you all.

Mer: That’s an interesting suggestion.  I was thinking about it after I read your review and I wondered if Legolas’s experience would change his brothers’ attitudes toward him. Maybe he will always be their baby brother.  And how annoying (and maybe simultaneously comforting?) that would be!

Kay: Eilian has matured in this.  He has turned into a complex character who keeps sliding away from me.

Luin: Well, you called that one.  He did make his plans without considering hers and it was painful to find that out.  Poor Eilian.  Fortunately there are volunteers to comfort him.

Dragon-of-the-North:  I hope all your exams went well. It is hard to believe they would not.  Ithilden and Eilian are interesting to try to write together because they do love one another but they are so different that they get on one another’s nerves some times. I think that happens less often in the later stories as Eilian grows up and they appreciate one another more.

Orangeblossom Took:  Celuwen turned out to have ideas of her own that Eilian had not considered, poor lovestruck fool.  He was used to being the one in danger for whom others waited!

Solaris:  In this story, Legolas is 11, which makes him roughly equivalent to a human 4 year old.  I arrive at that by dividing his age by 2.5, a rule that many authors use because Tolkien says that elves come of age at 50 and dividing that by 2.5 gives you 20.  On my author page at, I posted a list of my stories and how old Legolas is in each.

Sekhet:  Maltanaur is like an irresistible force.  He just keeps speaking his mind and the king’s sons are eventually worn down.  How smart Thranduil was to pick him!

Caz-baz:  You were right. Eilian had to decide, but Celuwen really decided for him, I’m afraid.  She is less likely to fool herself than he is to deceive himself.

StrangeBlaze:  It’s probably mean of me, but I’m glad I made you cry!  My work is done.

Alice:  Celuwen’s father really did not hold back.  It’s kind of hard to imagine what family dinners would be like on Elf holidays, isn’t it?

TigerLily:  The thing about writing battles is that there are only so many ways to say “and he skewered the Orc” before it gets boring.  I’m really far more interested in inner battles, so what I try to do is make sure that those come through while my characters are fighting the outer ones.  I’m glad you liked it.

Xsilicax:  In dealing with Legolas, Thranduil is dealing with exactly what you articulate: how to discipline the behavior while still dealing with the underlying motives. He’s getting there.

Dragon Confused:  I appreciated you catching up on all the chapters. I was trying to finish before school started and I had to go back to work.  And you were right. A big bundly muddle is about where they wound up.  Poor people.

Jebb:  I think there’s really no good solution for Eilian and it’s not really his fault.  The realm needs him and his family has to accept that he will be in danger. And he enjoys that but then he also loses a chance for a normal home life in the process. So he can’t win. :-(

Fadesintothewest:  Your comment about my battle scene made me feel good.  It’s hard to make them twist (as you say) and not be wholly predictable.  I am interested in seeing how you and other readers react to Celuwen’s decision. And I thank you mightily for your compliments on my OCs.

Gwyn:  The two older brothers have come closer, you are right, which is a good thing because they have complementary strengths, so they could make a really good team.

Feanen: Thank you.  I’m glad you liked the chapter.

BrendaG:  I’m glad you liked the battle scenes.  They’re hard to write though, especially since I really know nothing at all about military stuff.

Karenator:  You’re right, of course.  Eilian did behave unreliably so the more responsible folks around him can’t be blamed for wondering if he’s changed. I loved your question for the settlement dwellers: “How’s that working for you?”  LOL

Frodo3791:  Middle children ARE the best.

JustMe:  What a good analysis of Ithilden and Eilian as a team.   Their strengths do fit together remarkably well to balance one another off.  Shall I list you as one of the volunteers to console Eilian?

Dot:  I have to admit I amused myself by making it be Celuwen who decided that she was going into danger and had to let Eilian go. And I too love commanding!Ithilden.  There’s a fantasy there somewhere.

Karri:  I like Gelmir’s line too. And the unconditional love that Legolas gives and gets is healing for his whole family, I think.

Tapetum Lucidum:  I think that Legolas would have given Celuwen quite a lot of trouble. He’s pretty possessive right now. But now the question is not going to arise.

Legolas4me:  Legolas does adore his older brothers. And the feeling is mutual really.

Nilmandra:  I cannot thank you enough for all your help on this story.  You are always a good sounding board and a fount of ideas.


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