A New Shadow - Chapter One
The night was calm and still, and the silver moon was rising on a gentle breeze, its twilight rays shining peacefully down upon the woodland realm of Mirkwood. Inside the palace of King Thranduil, all was silent and no one was awake, save a small, shadowy figure that darted in and out of the shadows.
Upstairs, the Prince of Mirkwood was blissfully unaware of the dark figure as he dreamed peacefully of stars and the sea in that trance-like state that elves call "sleep". That is, of course, before he saw her. The demon who ceaselessly terrorized his mind and soul, and still never tired when he was awake. She was coming for him...
At this point Legolas was half awake, and knew very well that the threat was a reality. He uttered a last strangled cry as the beast leapt onto his bed...
"WAKE UP!" shouted Tathiel loudly, for indeed it was Legolas' younger sister and nothing more. Legolas groaned and stuffed his head under the pillow. There was no worse day to have a little sister than the day of her birthday.
"Wake up!" she said again. "Come on, you promised that we could go, you promised! We've got a busy day ahead of us, going exploring and all!" As she spoke, excitement flurried into the very air around her. Legolas merely replied with another groan from under the pillow, which wasn't working very well keeping the constant racket out of his pointed elvish ears.
"Please Tathiel, go back to bed!" he pleaded. Tathiel stopped. Tears welled up in her eyes.
"You've forgotten! I knew you would!" she bawled. Legolas sighed and removed his head from its shelter.
"No Tathiel, I know it's your birthday," he said. The bright smile returned. "I'd just like to sleep past 4 in the morning." he finished... Legolas was beginning bitterly regret agreeing to take Tathiel exploring, but at least he'd been allowed to bring Aragorn and Gimli.
"As guides," he'd said, "With them around, we can't get lost!" In fact it was more to keep him from going insane, but Tathiel was easily persuaded, and was content to be oblivious to her brother's intentions to bringing his friends...
"Did you get me a present?" asked Tathiel.
"What? I'm already taking you out exploring for a week, what more do you want?" laughed Legolas. Tathiel just stood there.
"So, you haven't brought me a present?" she said sadly. Legolas laughed again.
"Yes I have. I knew what you'd be like!" and as he spoke he took a small bundle from his bag. "Here you are," he said, handing it over. "Happy Birthday."
Tathiel neatly undid the delicate ribbon around the parcel and let the fabric fall open. Inside was the most beautiful long knife she'd ever seen. It was a silvery-gold metal, set with a single gem at the hilt, and the slightly curved blade seemed to glow in the rising sun.
"It's beautiful!" she gasped. Legolas smiled.
"I thought you'd like it. It was Mothers you know." He stopped and sighed. "You're just like her. Especially your eyes. She had such sparkly eyes..." His voice trailed off, and Tathiel could see it in his eyes that he was thinking about Mother, of all the times before she'd sailed away to the Undying Lands. There was a small tear coming to his eyes, and she decided to change the subject.
"So when are your friends arriving?" she asked. Legolas was jolted out of his thoughts.
"Oh, very soon I should think." said Legolas, and he was right, because then the horn rang out, indicating that there were visitors to the kingdom. He looked out the window and saw Aragorn and Gimli riding on the same horse up to the palace.
"Make that right now!" he said.
The two elves walked down the path together to greet the new arrivals. After a warm welcome and much exchanging of news, the conversation swiftly turned to the journey at hand, among other things.
"Ah! I see that your brother has finally given you your first sword!" said Aragorn. "Has he shown you how to wield it yet?" Tathiel shook her head.
"No, he hasn't had time. I would like to learn though." she looked up sheepishly at the king. "I've heard tell that you are a master of the blade." she finished. Aragorn laughed.
"Well, I shall show you what I know, but first I wish to learn where such a young elf learns such courteous words!" he said. Tathiel blushed.
"Legolas said that I had to use a formal speech when addressing the King Elessar." she said. He laughed again.
"Do not. It is too strange coming from the mouth of such a small child. I am known just as Aragorn to your brother, and that is how I wish it to remain between his sibling." They walked up into the palace, where they stopped for a rest. Then the time came for Tathiel's first journey out into the Forest of Mirkwood...