Arvariane Estel - Chapter II - Invaded Principality

Author's Note: Sorry the story took so long to post, but I live in a place where bushfires affect much of the surrounding area of my home, so it was a little difficult to write. But I finally got the 2nd instalment of the story posted. Yay! Thanks for all your reviews on the first chapter. I really appreciate your encouragement. Hopefully this one lives up to everyone's expectations. There are a few corrections, mainly to do with timelines, which are to be made on the first chapter, which I thought would be important for the story to flow. Reason I am a little picky on the timeline s because I am trying to keep the age of Aragorn, Gimili and other characters in the story later on more to Tolkien's timeline.

There is a miscalculation in Elven aging in my story in first chapter. Elves come of age between 1000-1500 years old, and in the first few chapters, which are set in TA 1619, Haldir is 1642 and Legolas is 1532 years of age. Figwit is 1542 years, Arwen is 1378, Elladan and Elrohir are 1480 and Ariane is 1300 years old.

Otherwise, hope you all enjoy the second instalment of my first published fanfic story.

A week later, the main combat arena, Rivendell
A crowd of male elves, both from Rivendell and House of Thranduil gathered in the wide-open arena. A friendly competition organised by Rùmil of Lorien and Saelbeth of Mirkwood, under the guidance of Lord Elrond and Glorfindel, was underway. The young elves of Lorien, Mirkwood and Rivendell represented themselves in their house colours. Haldir, representing as a Servant of Galadriel, wore silver plate mail, black clothing and dark red velvet cloak. Legolas, representing the House of Thranduil and the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood, wore brown leather armour, dark green clothing and a shimmering khaki green cloak. The twins, Elladan and Elrohir wore the colours of the House of Elrond, blue and silver. Elladan wore full shimmering silver blue-plate mail, where as Elrohir wore brown leather armour and green clothing underneath. Both also wore navy velvet cloaks. Representatives also wielded their personal bows and weapons to use in this competition of skill.

The day had gone on long, with archery in the morning and swordcraft in the afternoon, eventually leading to the twins being defeated in rounds of swordcraft by Haldir and Legolas, both of whom were more experienced and skilled with hand-to-hand warfare than the younglings.

It was now time for Haldir and Legolas's final confrontation in the arena. Haldir easily drew his two-handed superior glaive that was given to him by Lady Galadriel at his coming of age. It's long handle and curved blade was intricately patterned with Elvish symbols of the Sindar. He readied it with an elbow angled up and an arm across his waistline, his Lorien longbow strapped to his back with a leather quiver.
Legolas just stood tall eyeing his opponent, his composite bow strapped to his back with his quiver of arrows. He had two knives sheathed underneath his quiver, but refused to draw them.

"Your highness, you may draw your weapon," Saelbeth told the young Prince.

"I will not draw until my opponent has attacked me," Legolas answered clearly.

The crowd of elves began to buzz. The party of Rivendell Elves, which consisted of Lord Elrond, Glorfindel, Erestor and the twins looked at King Thranduil who was being consulted by Saelbeth quickly.

"My lord, your son may be putting himself in harms way unnecessarily," Saelbeth remarked at Legolas's confidence.

"Saelbeth, I believe my son knows what he is doing," Thranduil waved down his advisor. "If he is confident he can defeat Haldir, who is a very fine swordsman of Lorien, then I believe in his skill to do so. If anything goes wrong, we have the hands of Malfanaion to heal," Thranduil pointed out to his advisor the young elf sitting next to Lord Glorfindel, supposedly the most talented healing hands west of the Misty Mountains. "Let him be."

"Very well, your highness." Saelbeth then approached the pair of elves at the centre of the arena. "Young masters, the rules of conduct are as such. You are to treat each with respect when fighting, so no foul play. That means you must have no hidden weapons or devices on your being. You must fight like you are in a real life position and the fight ends when the opponent has lost their weapon and has no more will or option to move. Is this understood?"

"Yes, sir," both elves answered simultaneously.

"Good! Play nice!" Saelbeth said finally, before he receded to a watcher's seat near to King Thranduil. "HERIO!"

At the command giving the go ahead, Haldir instantly charged at Legolas. Quick to sense the threat, the Prince of Mirkwood flicked out the two blade-singer knives sheathed behind him quicker than lighting, deflecting the oncoming strike.

The Houses of Rivendell looked on in awe at the skill these two elves showed in combat. Haldir was strong and solid like a Sentinel of the Golden Woods, where as Legolas was agile and graceful, like the royal he is. Both elves ducked, parried, struck, even began to use their bodies as weapons as neither was weakening from the other's assault. Both of them had not even broken out into a sweat in the ten minutes they had been fighting continuously.

"Who do you believe will win, Elladan?" his brother asked him.

"I do not know. They are both fantastic warriors," Elladan answered, awed by his friends skill. "But I must say Haldir has more skill, since he has only one weapon to use to defend himself against two."

"Aye. But Legolas...I would hate to ever be his real life enemy. Figwit, you should compete with him. You are most proficient in small weapons."

"True, but my talent lies within my healing hands, Elrohir. Your mother even said it," Figwit replied modestly. "I would prefer to heal and restore health than to destroy it anyway."

"Wise words, Figwit," Elladan compliment, as he put a friendly hand on his companion's shoulder. "I am glad you do not partake in these competitions or else no one will be around to heal us well."

Meanwhile, Lord Elrond, Glorfindel and Erestor had joined Orophin and Rùmil of Lorien in King Thranduil's company.

"Your brother is exceptional, Orophin and Rùmil," Thranduil complimented Haldir to Orophin. "No wonder the Galadhrim gave him the glaive of the Sindar."

"It was his coming of age gift from Lord Cèleborn and Lady Galadriel," Orophin answered. "He has certainly come into his own since then. A finer swordsman than Rùmil and myself put together. We are archers, Haldir seems to be the latter."

"But your own son, Thranduil," Lord Elrond turned to. "He is remarkably agile."

"Aye, Saelbeth trained him to be quick and light-footed. He is not to go into the army, but rather be more a representative of my court. So he must be graceful in his steps."

The lords turned back to the sparring and noticed that Haldir had lost his glaive, but still managed to evade Legolas's attacks, by using his cloak. Haldir managed to get one of Legolas's wrists tangled in his cloak when the Prince next went to jab, trying to obtain one of the Prince's knife. But Legolas anticipated the move, grabbing Haldir's cloak and yanking it, making the Sentinel of the Golden Woods trip over his own leg, flipping Haldir onto his back.
The entire arena erupted in applause as the round finally ended, with Haldir unarmed and on the ground with the end of Legolas's knives at his throat. The party of Elrond and Thranduil approached the elves, applauding.

"Well done, my son!" King Thranduil commended his son's improvement in hand-to-hand combat. "It is good to see you more fluent with your movement. Haldir certainly gave you a scare, I can tell."

"Aye, he did father," Legolas agreed, helping his competitor up from the ground.

Haldir, who had only beaten once before in a swordfight, took the hand of the Prince and stood up. He did, however, let go abruptly the moment he had regained his balance.

"I must say your highness, I am impressed with your son's agility with his blade-singer knives," Lord Erestor commented. "Where did you obtain them, young sire?"

"In the Mountains of Mirkwood. It was a gift for my coming of age from an ancient Eregion smith," Legolas explained simply, as he twisted them in his hands as he sheathed them back in their scabbard behind him.

"Eregion? I thought all were corrupted by Sauron?"

"Aye, Erestor. But it is said that some did escape," Lord Elrond clarified to his friend.

"Yes." He then turned back to Legolas. "Well they are fine weapons. Tell me, young Prince, are you up for another round?" Lord Erestor asked, an idea coming to him.

"Of course, Lord Erestor. This was hardly a fight," Legolas insulted under his breath, for only Haldir to hear.

Haldir glared at the royal, but bit his tongue to respect others around them. If no one was here to protect you, you would have been on the ground by now.
Legolas seemed to sense Haldir's thoughts and smiled wickedly at his friend. His attention was then brought back to Lord Glorfindel, Lord Erestor and his father.

"What did you have in mind, Lord Erestor?" Thranduil questioned.

"Lord Glorfindel's daughter, Arvariane, has trained extensively with knives and swords since she was a babe," Lord Erestor explained. "She has even defeated me and her father in swordcraft and if Lord Glorfindel allows it, I think Prince Legolas would find her quite a challenge."

"A marvellous idea, Erestor," Lord Glorfindel agreed. "I would like her to compete against your son, if that is all right with you your highness?"

"Well, if you daughter is as promising as you have described her then by all means," Thranduil agreed. "It will be a challenge for my son and a sight to see a she-elf go up against a royal knife of Mirkwood."

"Very well. Haldir, do you mind going up to the library and fetching my daughter from studying?" Lord Glorfindel asked his daughter's friend.

"Yes, Lord Glorfindel," Haldir obeyed.

Haldir then picked up his glaive from his feet. "You better say your sorriest now, Greenleaf," Haldir warned Legolas in his ear, before he passed the Prince. "She is good."

Legolas shifted his eyes and looked at his friend. "We shall see, Tall One. We shall see."


Rivendell Library of Knowledge
"The utter destruction of the island of Númenor, a divine punishment for King Ar-Pharazôn's assault on the Undying Lands. Only Elendil and his companions escaped the wreck," Arwen read out to her long time friend Ariane about the destruction of the island in the Great Sea.

The two girls, Arwen dressed elegantly in silver and blue, Ariane dressed casually in her favoured yellow gown, sat at one of the marble tables in the centre of the library reading another one of the Silmarillion volumes they had not read in centuries. On the order of Arwen's mother, Celebrìan, the two girls were to learn the history of the downfall of Númenor and the history of the Galadhrim as part of their studies.

Although Ariane was not specifically trained in Elvan studies, she had to learn the philosophies and wisdom of the Valar and Elves requested by her father. Arwen too had to learn these materials, but she was less proficient in hand-to-hand fighting. She was however an excellent horseback rider.
After a few more passages, Arwen closed up her book abruptly, furrowing her eyebrows. Ariane noticed her friend's distress.

"Arwen, you seem disturbed?" Ariane asked, her lilac eyes looking concerned for her friend's welfare. "Is everything all right?"

"I have had this dream, Ariane. A very disturbing one," Arwen answered, her own blue eyes intently looking into space.

"What about?"

"My mother." Arwen then looked at her friend. "I feel something is a miss in my mother's trip to Lothlorien," Arwen worried. "She leaves tomorrow and I do not know what it is, but there is a fear in my heart that my mother may not return."

"Arwen, your mother has the three brother's Rùmil, Orophin and Haldir, which I can all give my word for, not to mention five of the best Elvish soldiers in our garrison, escorting her."

"Aye, I know. But there is still a warning in my heart and I do not know why. I would not normally ask this of you, Ariane, because you are my friend, but please accept the service I am going to thrust upon you."

"What is it you request of me, Arwen?" Ariane quickly asked. "I am your friend and will help as you command, if my father allows it."

"I have known you all my life, Ariane. You are finer swords elf than I and have shown greater skill in wisdom and combat than my brothers put together. I only ask that you accompany my mother's staff to Lothlorien when she goes."

Ariane considered her friend's words. Arwen was sincere in them as she worried about her mother's safety. "Arwen, I am not even of age. How am I going to get something like this past my father? Let alone your father?"

"We will think of something. You have shown wisdom and courage beyond your age Ariane. You may be 1300 years old, but in fact you are the living soul of an 13000 year old," Arwen complimented. "You have the spirit of your mother Ariane. I see it in your eyes. They are the eyes of an Eldar."

"Arwen, I have always wanted to see the lights of Lothlorien, as Haldir has described them to me and I will do as you ask. But to get a request like this past my father is going to be difficult."

"I will ask my father to see whether he can first grant you permission to escort my mother. From there, hopefully Lord Glorfindel will accept letting you go."

Ariane sighed heavily, not expecting that their fathers' would accept that. "Very well. Let us hope all turns out as planned."

Both friends turned back to their books when Arwen spotted Haldir, dressed in armour entering the library.

"Haldir, what are you doing dressed in that?" Arwen asked, looking him up and down.

"Excuse me ladies, but I have come to fetch her ladyship, Ariane," Haldir announced.

"Me? What in Rivendell for?"

"Your father has requested your presence at the main combat arena," Haldir explained.

"Haldir, my father knows this is my study time in the Ancient texts," Ariane answered, confused at why her father would want to take her away from study. "He would not compromise my learning."

"I am not lying to you when I say he wants you to come down to the main arena, Ariane. He seemed quite adamant too."

Ariane looked at her girlfriend, who had the same puzzled expression as she did. She then turned back to Haldir.

"Very well," Ariane responded as she closed her writing book. "Although, I still think he has gone mad. Accompany me Arwen?"

"Aye. I want to see what has changed your father's mind, when only last week he gave you the entire Valaqueneta to recite by hart."

Both girls closed their study books and stored them back on the shelves before being escorted by Haldir out and towards the main combat arena in Rivendell.


When the two girls arrived in the huge arena with Haldir, they noticed the entire counsel of Rivendell and Mirkwood was present. Stepping down the stairs to the front of the arena, where Lord Glorfindel stood with several other high elves and the Prince of Mirkwood, the three approached cautiously.

"Do you know why my father has requested me here?" Ariane asked Haldir.

"I believe he wants you to compete against the Prince of Mirkwood," Haldir answered simply, "since he defeated me in sword craft."

"What?!?!" Ariane waffled, as she stopped in her tracks about to recede back up the stairs. "No way! There is no way I am going up against a royal that beat a Sentinel of the Golden Wood."

"Why not, Ariane?" Arwen encouraged grabbing the arm of her friend and tugging her. "You are a fine warrior. I think you will do well against the Prince of Mirkwood. You have not seen him since he arrived last week anyway, and he has been asking about you."

Ariane lifted a very irritated eyebrow at Arwen, resisting the pull. "That is not amusing Arwen!"

"It is true! Besides if you beat him, he will be the embarrassed party," Arwen said finally, giving one big pull, thrusting Ariane a few steps forward so she would be caught between Haldir and herself. "And that would be in retaliation for insulting you last week. I am assuming he still has not apologised, since you seem quite adamant in disliking him still."

"Arvariane Estel! Arwen!" Lord Erestor called when he saw the two she elves come down the stairs.

"Lord Erestor," Ariane greeted as she approached the high elves. "Father, you requested for my presence?"

"Yes my dear. Get into your battle armour," Glorfindel commanded his daughter.

"But father, it is my study week," Ariane reminded him. "Lady Celebrìan will not be pleased if she finds that I am skirmishing amongst elves instead of learning."

"I will speak to her ladyship later. But for now, get into your full battle attire. I want you to compete."

"Compete? With who?" Ariane asked her father, hoping what Haldir said was a lie.

"The Prince of Mirkwood of course."

Ariane stared at her father in horror, still not believing that he had really wanted her to compete against the royal. She looked at the prince, who seemed quite full of him-self at that point and then looked back at her father. She was also not expecting to fight today, let alone fight a royal who was most obviously one of the best in Mirkwood, since he had beat Haldir.

"Father, I am not prepared. I have not trained for several days now," Ariane tried as she looked for excuses to avoid competing. "I cannot to compete in any type of combat."

"Do not be ridiculous. Combat is thrown upon you when you least expect it. Now no more excuses. Go and get ready!" Glorfindel commanded his daughter again, this time with more force.

Ariane shifted her eyes to the ground warily. "Very well, father. If you think I can do this."

"I believe you can my daughter," Glorfindel encouraged. "Make sure you carry all your preferred weapons on yourself as this a going to be like a real battle."

Ariane nodded. "I shall be ready in ½ an hour." She then turned in the direction of the garrison to prepare herself for a battle with one of the finest swords in Mirkwood, uneasy.


Her long dark hair braided up tightly, Ariane stepped out of the garrison ½ an hour later, dressed smartly in armour. She wore her family jerkin, which was blue and cream in colour underneath stylishly fashioned dark brown leather armour that hugged the curves of her figure nicely. With pleated skirting at the bottom and plated hard leather on her shoulders, Ariane wore the Sindarin cloak of her mother's on her back and knee high soft boots on her feet. With regards to weaponry, Ariane's utility belt sheathed a finely made Long Tooth dagger, Starlight, made especially for her strength and agility by an old smith of the Eregion, who escaped Sauron's enslavement. Across her back she had a quiver of arrows, an intricate patterned long bow and the enclosed long sword, Earth's Wrath.

Ariane made her way down the entrance to the arena, where at the end her father was waiting. Her father had not even noticed her until she tapped him on the shoulder.

"Oh! Ariane! I did not sense you," Lord Glorfindel remarked. "Your footsteps have become much more soft."

"Are you sure you were not distracted by anything out there?" Ariane gestured, as she saw Legolas on the other side talking with his father and Saelbeth. "Are you sure I can do this father?"

"Ariane, stop being a pessimistic elf. You have the skill to do this."

"But he beat a Sentinel of the Golden Wood," Ariane whinged. "That is difficult in itself!"

"Ariane, I have faith in you to at least give this boy a good whipping," her father heartened. "His pride is his weakness."

"Hmph! Everyone knows that!" Ariane said as she remembered his sordid attempt to bed her.

"Then use it against him. Make sure he never underestimates you again," Lord Glorfindel advised. "You truly remind me of your mother and her spirit. When I look at you, your eyes say so much of her." Ariane gave her father a big hug. "Now go prove who is the more intelligent elf. Remember, your head and dexterity are your strengths."

Lord Glorfindel smiled admirably at his daughter, before kissing her on the forehead. Ariane smiled back and then entered the arena, still uneasy, but a little more confident in her abilities to fight. She was surprised to see a crowd of elves, both male and female sitting in the grandstands. My! Word certainly got around quickly, Ariane thought to herself as she approached the centre of the arena. Although the arena grandstand was not full, there were enough elves to form an entire company. She could see Elladan and Elrohir still dressed in armour giving her the thumbs up in front. Arwen and Figwit were behind waving and smiling and Haldir was with his brother Orophin standing with their arms folded but grinning slightly. Lord Elrond and Lady Celebrìan were also present, with Erestor and her father joining their side.
She saw King Thranduil take a seat with Saelbeth near the Lords of Rivendell as Legolas approached the centre of the arena with Rùmil. Meeting in the middle, she looked at her opponent who was clearly a ½ a head above her. The Prince had a proud smile pasted across his face, which was quickly wiped once Rùmil began to explain the rules of conduct.

"Young combatants of Mirkwood and Rivendell, the rules of conduct are as such," Rùmil began announcing clearly. "You are to treat each with respect when fighting. That means you must have no hidden weapons or devices. You must fight like you are in a real life position and the fight ends when the opponent has lost his or her weapon and has no more will or option to move. Is this clearly understood?"

"Yes, sir!" the two elves concurred.

"You may both draw your weapons," Rùmil declared.

To everyone's expectation Legolas hesitated to draw and waited for Ariane. She did not budge. Elves began to think Ariane would not draw, until Legolas said something or drew.

"I will not draw until my opponent has attacked me," Legolas answered clearly, staring at his female opponent.

"Nor will I!" Ariane too answered clearly.

Another buzz went through the crowd like wildfire.

"What on Middle-earth is she doing?" Elladan cursed, as he leant back to talk to his sister. "She has a long sword and dagger. She cannot possibly draw them both as quick as he can!"

"Why not?" Arwen questioned her brother. "There is only an extra inch on her long sword."

"Arwen, even I know I cannot draw a dagger as quickly as the Prince of Mirkwood," Figwit interjected. "And I have trained several more centuries with a Long tooth than Ariane has. And she has a Long tooth and sword to draw."

"Have a little faith in her abilities," Elrohir defended. "She managed to defend herself against Elladan and myself with just a shield."

"But these are two weapons of different calibre," Elladan noted. "They are substantially different in size and weight."

The four friends stared at each other, worried that their youngest friend was about to make a big mistake by not drawing before hand.
Rùmil too seemed worried as he looked to the counsel of Rivendell, who looked just as concerned as he. His eyes settled on Lord Glorfindel, who seemed uneasy, but not bothered. Lord Glorfindel gestured for Rùmil to continue the round.

"Ariane, you should draw your weapons," Rùmil advised as he turned back to the two opponents. "It would be wise."

"I will not draw, for I wish to begin on equal ground," Ariane explained, still staring at Legolas.

"Very well. But remember, this is to be treated like a real battle," Rùmil warned. "Do not go easy on each other. HERIO!"

The two elves began to circle each other the moment the command to begin was heard.
Not losing eye contact with her opponent, Ariane could not help but notice the Prince of Mirkwood's eyes to be quite astonishing. I have to give him some credit. His blue eyes are amazing, she thought. But he still has not apologised for offending me last week. At least Haldir had the decency. For that, hopefully, he still thinks he can win over a she-elf. We shall see...


Legolas too stared back at the she-elf whom he had mistakenly insulted the week before. Wow! I never really noticed she had purple eyes. Quite astonishing. No matter, she made the mistake of not drawing her weapons first being on the defensive, so I think I will have to draw mine and show her whose the ill-manner and arrogant ORC! With that thought in mind, Legolas, as quick as lighting again flicked out his two blade-singer knives and attempted to strike.


Ariane immediately sensed the change in aura around her opponent. In an instant, Ariane took two skips backwards and drew her Eregion long sword and Long Tooth dagger opposing with Legolas's blade-singer knives. The weapons clashed together with a loud twang, instead of a reverberating high-pitched bang that is usual of two weapons coming together. The entire crowd in the arena gasped.

"So that is what it sounds like when two Eregion made weapons clash," Elrohir gaped at the pair facing-off. "I never knew it sounded so untoned."

"It must be the metals that oppose each other," Figwit deduced. "Of the same material and therefore react as opposites. But I did not know Ariane had weapons of the Ancient smiths? Did you Arwen?"

"No. This is new to me. I wonder where she got them from?" Arwen asked herself, clearly shocked at her friend's well-kept secret. "She usually tells me everything."

Legolas quickly gazed at Ariane's weapons. Weapons of the Ancients! "Fine weapons, my lady. Do you know how to use them?" Legolas taunted.

"I managed to avoid you now didn't I?" she responded coldly, feeling her anger at being insulted for being a she-elf warrior, building up inside her as she stood fast in her position.

"Aye, you did. Let's see how you fare!" He then noticed something change in his opponent's aura. Ariane's eyes were beginning to turn a fiery orange.

Legolas swiftly untangled his blades from hers and began on the offensive. Hacking at his opponent hard with every stroke, Ariane managed to avoid being hit deflecting every attempt. It got to the point where the crowd was so fixed on the match, that shouting and cheering begun to overtake the sound of clashing weapons.
By the end of the first ten minutes, both elves managed to remain unscathed from each other's weapons, still not relenting in their concentration or speed. In one instance though, Ariane had spun around to hit Legolas on the shoulder, but his blade-singers ripped a hole in her cloak as she did so.
Eventually, Legolas twisted behind Ariane, hoping to release her of her weapons from behind. Instead, Ariane had caught both his knives between her sword and dagger. Both stared each other down, neither willing to move or else it could mean defeat for either one.

"You are a sharp one!" Araine could feel the prince breathing down the back of her neck, as he began to put more of his strength into the grappling. "You know you could do well amongst my future courtesans."

You certainly know how to irritate me, don't you? Ariane felt the additional force being used against her. Damn it! I'm not good when it comes to strength! Ariane's mind screamed as she tried to think up of some way to get out of her current predicament. She was not going to let him win. If he won, his pride would get too big for him. An idea then popped into her head as the Prince moved closer to defeating her. Well, they said pretend it was real life, agreeing with her resolve to end it. Only I can end this!

"Really?" Ariane hardened her body and prepared herself for something she had never before done in her life. Within a matter of seconds, Ariane had head-butted the Prince of Mirkwood.


Completely caught off guard, Legolas lost grip of both his daggers and stumbled back, surprised. Ariane, not ready to finish up yet, quickly stormed down the prince, kicking away his dropped weapons, until he was flat on his back against the arena wall.

"Now which one would you like done first?" Ariane growled as she stared him down.

Legolas stood motionless against the wall with Ariane's long sword at his throat and her Long Tooth dagger between his legs. For the first time he felt a heartbeat of fear of a she-elf, as Ariane's eyes became a maroon red, seemingly boiling with rage. He never thought he could ever be afraid of a she-elf. Not until now.

The entire arena fell silent when Glorfindel's daughter head-butted the royal. Even Lord Glorfindel was shocked his daughter had resorted to that kind of action. King Thranduil stared wide-eyed as the she-elf stormed his son to the ground. He could see the terror his son had in his blue eyes.

The silence was not broken until Ariane made sure her rival had no more moves. Sheathing her Long Tooth, which was the same size as the Prince's blade-singer knives, and long sword back in their rightful place, she turned away from her opponent and went to retrieve his weapons.

Ariane examined the Prince's knives with awe as she felt the weight of them. She looked at the prince for the first time directly in the eyes, who seemed completely dazed, she approached him, as she twisted the blades in her palms and handed them back to the prince, laying them out towards him by the handle.

Legolas managed to regain his senses, his head still throbbing slightly, as Ariane stood in front of him with poise. The look of blood he had seen in her eyes moments ago had gone and was replaced by a pair of modest purple eyes. The most beautiful he had ever seen in his life.

"These are remarkable blades, your highness," Ariane complimented. "No wonder an Eregion blade-singer smith gave them to you. You have great dexterity."

"How did you know a blade-singer gave it to me?" Legolas asked in wonder, a he took back his weapons and sheathed them behind him.

"They are the only ones that know how to make arms so light and delicate. Mine are of the same making." Ariane redrew her Long Tooth and sword and showed the Prince the markings the Ancient Eregion smiths made on each piece of special weaponry.

Legolas looked at Ariane's weaponry and saw the same insignias on the blades as his own knives. I now know why you are called Arvariane Estel, Royal Protector of Hope, he thought admirably, as he handed her weapons back so she could sheath them. Never will I underestimate you or any other again. Ariane put a friendly hand on his shoulder as a sign of respect. Legolas returned the gesture in kind gazing at Ariane with a smile and was about to say something else when the entire arena erupted in cheers and applause.
The parties of both Elrond and Thranduil stood up and clapped loudly as the two competitors turned to face their audience a bowed. King Thranduil, Lord Glorfindel, Rùmil and Saelbeth entered via the stairs onto the combat grounds, applauding quite loudly as they approached the pair. Lord Glorfindel was the only one not looking impressed and not clapping as loudly as the others.

"Arvariane Estel of Rivendell, that was very disrespectful of you. You do not head butt the Prince of Mirkwood," Lord Glorfindel scolded softly, once the crowd in the grandstand had quietened down and begun to disperse. He only used her true name when he was displeased with her.

"Rùmil did say to pretend it was the real thing," Ariane defended herself. "And remember you did say to me I should use my head and I did so, literally,"

"I really am not going to get through to you discipline in sword craft am I?" Lord Glorfindel's voice became more strained.

"Lord Glorfindel, please," King Thranduil held his hand for his friend to cease scolding his daughter. "There is no reason to scold her. She did her best and as a female I can understand why she did it. Her strength was not up to that of my son's.
If anything, I should be scolding my son for being over-confident." King Thranduil turned to his son. "You should have sensed it coming, but you were so sure of yourself, were you not Legolas?" Legolas kept silent, confirming his father's suspicion. "It was a good lesson for you to learn, and I trust that you will never make that kind of assumption again of anyone." The king then put a congratulatory hand on Ariane's shoulder and smiled. "Thank you Ariane, for showing my son his error in judgement."

King Thranduil then turned back to Glorfindel. "Come Lord Glorfindel, let the children clean up whilst we talk. I hear Lord Elrond has prepared a farewell feast to his wife, who is leaving for Lothlorien tomorrow. It will be the last time I shall see you and the lords of Rivendell in many centuries to come."

"It may well be, your highness," Lord Glorfindel agreed. He then turned to the two weapons masters who organised the competition. "Rùmil, Saelbeth. Please escort my daughter and the Prince to the garrison to put away their equipment and armour."

"Yes, Lord Glorfindel," Saelbeth answered. "Come your highness, Lady Arvariane."

The elves going to the garrison then bowed to the King and Lord Glorfindel in respect, before leaving the arena.

To be continued...


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