Look to the Stars - Romance/Drama/After-math ROTK
By Luthien Idril
The sunlight swept through the fields like a swift wind making the grass shine like gold. Birds began to sing to welcome the start of a new day. Legolas breathed in the crisp air and sighed releasing a small puff of cloud from the chill. He pulled his cloak slightly closer to his body as the cold air ran down his neck. Legolas closed his eyes to relinquish in the fine morning and listen to the nature surrounding him. He opened his dark lashes again and looked out across the hills at the village that stood in the distance. He knew he had no choice and must go in that direction whether he wanted to or not. The King had given out a special request asking for the assistance of an elf and Legolas was the one asked to answer the call.
He gently thrust forward and his horse went from a slow trot to a gallop. The faster he got there the faster this could be over. He still knew not what the King wanted his assistance in but suspected it was not anything that was of too much importance or he would have surely asked for more help. As his horse continued to quicken its pace, Legolas watched as the small town he thought it to be from the distance, was actually a large village with stone walls creeping along either side of it. Obviously, this town had had its fair share of attacks in the past or else the wall would not be necessary to keep out unwanted guests.
He lightly pulled the reins and the horse came to a halt. Legolas shifted on the horse's back and unconsciously swept his light hair back behind his shoulders. He sighed again and let his eyes wander along the vast gates that stood in front of him. He knew what lay ahead of him when he entered those blocked walls. Being an elf he should be used be used to the many stares and murmurs he receives anytime he enters a new village. Legolas never liked to be the spectacle of people's interests and he usually received the same reactions every time. But no matter how many times it has happened it was still something that plagued him.
Legolas put both legs to one of his horse's side and swiftly dismounted. Anything to help withdraw attention from himself was a good idea in his mind and as unlikely as it was, it would make him blend into the crowd a little more by not riding. Especially because he rode his horse bareback and that was a thriller on its own for people's amusement since that was an unheard of thing in most parts.
"Khila amin, mellonamin." Legolas spoke to his horse as he clutched her reins in his left hand. He sighed again and adjusted his bow and quiver hanging from his back. He straightened his shoulders and lifted his chin up as he began to make his way into the village.
"I believe these are the dyes that you were looking for." Leetha looked up from the cloth she was inspecting at the fine powder the old woman held out to her. The powder was in a wooden bowl and the old woman smiled.
"Is this not the red that I asked for?" Leetha responded suspiciously looking from the woman to the purple powder. She picked up a small amount and rubbed it between her fingers.
"Aye, yes my Lady it is." The old woman responded coyly as she brought the bowl to the side of her table and proceeded to pick up a small jug at her side.
"But this powder is purple, how?.."
The woman held up her hand silencing the delicate girl before her. "Just watch,"
Leetha sighed and put her hands on her hips. For weeks she had been looking for a decent red that would not fade and this powder in front of her seemed suspicious to her and she was suspecting that this woman might be trying to cheat her thinking that this girl in front of her did not know heads or tales about dyes.
The old woman removed the cork and poured the liquid contents onto the powder. She placed the cork back on the top and picked up another canister beside her and opened it. Within lay grains of what appeared to be salt and sprinkled it into the bowl which held the powder. To Leetha's amazement, the contents changed from a dull purple to a deep scarlet red. Leetha's mouth hung open and her mouth bobbed up and down in her attempt to say something. The old woman chuckled satisfied with the girl's reaction.
"See, you never need to doubt me." The woman said as she began to scoop up the powder into a small leather pouch.
Leetha finally snapped back to attention, "How in Middle Earth did you do that?"
"Oh, I may be old, my dear, but I always have a few surprises on hand." She shook the leather pouch allowing the contents of the powder to shift to the bottom. She then took a string and tied the top into a fine knot. She inspected the bag and with a look of satisfaction handed it to Leetha.
"Now, my dear, all you have to do is exactly what I showed you. I suspect you know how much water to use with the right amount of powder," Leetha nodded, "Do not use too much salt or it will darken it too much but do not use to little or it will turn pink."
Leetha nodded again and took the bag and placed a few coins in the woman's hand. "Thank you. I will return when I need more."
The old woman nodded and went on to the next person standing there looking at her merchandise.
Leetha with pouch in hand turned and started walking back down the street. The village was exceptionally busy this morning due to the market festival that would continue for the rest of the week. Every summer, merchants from all different places would bring their products over and try and sell people new and sometimes exotic merchandise. The streets were always more crowded during this time from excited people looking at products that they couldn't get any other time of the year. Leetha always made sure to come out and see what new dyes and cloth she could find since the pickings were usually slim during the rest of the year.
Leetha placed her new dye in her other hand and put it down by her waist tying it around the belt she wore leaving both hands free. She absently scratched the birthmark on her left wrist which lately has been bothering her. Leetha swung her auburn hair back around her shoulders and wiped her hands on the deep blue dress she wore. Her mother tried to get her out of that habit but she had plenty of dresses and sometimes there was nothing else so why not? Leetha looked at each display as she went by to see if anything sparked her interests. There was such a wide variety from exotic foods, to cloths, to masks, to swords and anything else people couldn't seem to live without. She swerved as a child with a long silken flag went running past her obviously unaware of all the other people around him. She let out a sigh as she headed back to her home. She knew what awaited her when she came back, her father would lecture her about going out on the streets alone while her mother stood idly by and nodded in agreement. She hated having to be escorted around for she knew she was a big girl and could tend to her ways alone but that was something her father would never be able to understand. In his eyes, she was still the young, defenseless little girl from years ago. Maybe one of these days he will get it through the thick head of his but deep down she knew he was only doing this because he loved her and cared for her well-being so it was hard for her to be mad at him.
And of course there was Darian, a strong, tall, handsome young man who excelled in swordsmanship and was a great warrior. He was the trophy of every girl's heart but Leetha could see through him like glass. Underneath all those glazed layers was a man who was ill-tempered, had horrid manners, cocky and smitten with himself but of all the women he could ever want he had chosen her and her mother and father could not be happier. Leetha had accepted his hand more so for her parents than for herself. She kept telling herself that she could learn to love him and even though she hated doing it in the meantime, she put on a warm smile and pretended and hoped that she could love him. Oh, how Leetha wanted to go out and travel. She wanted to learn combat and archery and go out into the wilderness on horse back like the men who constantly rode in and out of the village. She sighed for she knew this was not possible. She was a young woman, delicate and beautiful; no man would allow her to learn these things in fear that she would be hurt.
Leetha's thoughts jumped back to her surrounding as she heard a child screaming. She spun around to see if it was that same child from before but it was not. It was an older child no more then ten but by the way he was yelling, one would swear that a parade of orcs in dresses had come. She could not make out what he was yelling but by the looks of the people's faces he passed it must be just as exciting, for the moment the boy passed, they first had looks of absolute shock, followed by excited chatter. It seemed like an eternity in her eyes but finally the child came close enough so she could hear what he was yelling:
"An Elf!! There is an Elf that has come!" The child scattered back and forth along the busy street in excitement and people's voices rang out the more from it. Leetha froze and her eyes widened in shock. (I)'An Elf? Here?'(/I) She could not believe it and her mind raced. In all her life she had not seen one before and her heart beat faster to think of it. She only knew elves from tales and bedtime stories from when she was younger. Those stories told to her before she fell asleep were of their amazing beauty and that their love of nature was so great, that they lived in the trees and could actually understand what the trees whispered in the wind. Some told her that if you go into the forest and listen closely, you can hear the songs of the elves which were as beautiful and enchanting as they were. But when she got older, people, often travelers, would tell her dark tales of the elves. Because their beauty was unmatched by any other creature, she was told that they would lock people within their spells and take them away never to be seen from again. Elves were often to blame whenever a person came up missing. Leetha's heart began to race at the thought of actually seeing one of these creatures that she only knew prior in stories. Obviously though, she wasn't the only person excited about the news because the entire street was a crowded uproar of excitement.
"I can not believe this, an elf!" Leetha spun around at the young woman who spoke. She held a baby in one arm and a basket of flowers in another, "This is indeed a day that's going to go down into history."
The man whom she spoke to crossed his arms and grunted, "Ill times must be rising."
Leetha couldn't help but be intrigued by this last comment and walked over to the man who had said it.
"Why do you say that?"
The man looked at her for a moment before answering, "An elf has not been seen around these parts since the dark ages so what other reason would an elf possibly want in this place? That thing is certainly not here to shop." The man then turned his back to her and picked up an apple lying nearby at a local merchant.
Leetha just looked at the man for a moment before focusing her attention back down the street to think about what the man had said. (I)'That thing?'(/I) That is what the man had referred to the elf as. Obviously, he was none too happy about the elf showing up and she felt a strong pity for him. (I)'I certainly hope he doesn't receive this kind of grief from other places he visits.'(/I) Although Leetha couldn't help but wonder, (I)'Why was the elf here?'(/I) Something important must be happening. The man was right; an elf showing up was not a good thing. It was at that moment that she realized that the street was becoming quiet. She looked up and turned her attention back down the street in the direction that she noticed that the people?s heads were turning. The man and woman beside her also stopped what they were doing and turned to see. At first, Leetha could see nothing. There were many flags and displays covering the ground, and it was hard to see down the street, not to mention the crowd that still stood there gossiping over the latest news. It was not long before all talking ceased and she saw the once crowded street part into two leaving the center completely empty minus some papers and scrap cloth that littered the ground. She still could see nothing and could not hear anything except for her heart beating loudly in her ears. She let out a gasp as she finally saw the focus of everyone's attention gradually making its way up the street. She could hardly make it out and she strained her eyes to see the approaching figure that was increasingly getting closer. She soon saw that the elf was indeed a male and he walked as gracefully as if he were floating on air. She could make out that he was clasped in a deep green tunic with a light gray cloak flowing behind him. She put her slender fingers above her eyes to hopefully see him better. She saw that a horse followed beside him but also was a little behind him and was easily keeping steps with the elf it followed. The elf held the horses reins loose at his side but it didn't appear necessary as the horse stayed right with him and was not wandering back and forth like most horses do. She squinted and saw that this horse was pure black except that it had a perfectly white mane and tail that swished from side to side.
Leetha's attention went back to the elf as he drew even closer and she could start to make him out better. Leetha couldn't tell if it was the sunlight but the elf seemed to have a glow that radiated off his very presence. The elf looked straight ahead and all about him, the people stared in stunned silence, mouths open in awe. More people began to collect around the street and only a word or two passed between them. There were some that looked at him almost in disgust and shook their heads while others bowed slightly in respect as the elf passed. Leetha huffed in impatience for she could still not make him out for more people were gathered around her and she found herself on her toes trying to peer through the crowd. (I)'For an elf, he's sure taken his sweet time.'(/I) She thought putting her frustration on the elf even though he was moving quite swiftly. More people now stood blocking her view and she shifted from side to side to try and see around them but to no avail. The elf was coming closer and now she couldn't even see him at all. A tall man then decided to park himself right in front of her and she tapped impatiently on his shoulder to get him to move. He simply brushed off her hand and ignored her. She looked left and right and she realized that she was completely blocked in by people around her trying to get a glimpse at the elf. Leetha crossed her arms and pouted, (I)'He's probably passed already and I missed him! Well, that's it! I'm going to see him even it's only his pretty little elven back and his horse's rump! I'm going to see it!'(/I)
Thought stern she began pushing her way through the back of the crowd to the front. There were many sounds of surprise and disgust as she pushed her way through distracting people from the elf. Finally, she was almost to the front of the crowd only to be blocked by a row of large muscular men who were not willing to budge. (I)'Of course, the whole town is filled with scrawny, skinny men and I have to be blocked by the only few muscular men that live here.'(/I) Leetha put her hands to her sides in tight fists and glared at their backs hoping to burn a hole through them. (I)'That's it! I'm going through them lady-like or no!'(/I) She put her fists up so they went in front of her chest and with her elbows sticking out she leaned into one the man directly in front of her and in her last attempt dug her elbow into his back. The man grunted and shifted and Leetha, with all her strength, pushed on him as hard as she could. Before she realized it, the man moved over and with a yelp of surprise she went stumbling into the empty street. Tripping over her feet she tried to catch herself before she fell.
She stopped, looked up and glared at the group of men that had given her trouble. They simply stood there and looked at her with their mouths hanging open. She cursed under her breath as she wiped and straightened her twisted dress as she stood in the middle of the street. She continued to brush herself off and she looked up expecting to see everyone looking up the street at the past elf but instead, all eyes were on her. She looked from face to face trying to get some answers as confusion began creeping up on her own face wondering why all of a sudden she was the center of attention. Leetha stiffened in horror and it hit her like a confused bird into a window. She closed her eyes (I)'Please don't tell me this is why I think it is.'(/I) Leetha slowly opened her eyes and gradually turned around to look behind her and she saw that her assumption was in fact, a reality. Standing directly behind her, stopped in his tracks, was the elf. He was standing no more then a mere few feet from her and she tried to take in a breath but found she couldn't for standing before her was everything every tale had ever been told to her.
He was the most beautiful creature she had ever seen. He stood tall and steady and looked at her with a mix of confusion and amusement on his face. Leetha caught her breath and found she could not break away from his eyes. They were the clearest blue she had ever seen and they seemed to hold so much un-read emotions and wisdom while at the same time held so much life within them that she found herself lost in their depths. His hair was the color of gold and it shone like silk as it hung delicately from his shoulders. His body was thin and graceful but one could tell that they should not be fooled by this figure because great muscle and strength was hidden beneath it. Then there was that face for it looked like it had been chiseled out of the most spectacular stone. With high pronounced cheekbones that left delicate shadows that led to his very elven feature which of course, were his ears. Gracefully pointed and curved which were only heightened by the silken braids that hung behind them at either side.
For Leetha, time seemed to stand still and she did not know how long she had been standing there. Thank the gods it was he who broke the silence between them,
"Hello, my Lady." He said with a friendly grin. Leetha broke out of her trance and back into reality and she lowered her gaze to her hands.
"H-h-h-hello." She could barely form the words. "Come on Leetha! Let's try to gather our thoughts here.' That in mind she looked up to his face again and she shifted uncomfortably from side to side.
The Elf smirked at her improper behavior, "I was wondering if you may be of some assistance to me?" His voice was like a melody and she marveled at his courteous tone. She simply nodded and waited for him to say more.
"I am on my way to the palace and there are many side-winding roads here," the Elf waved his hand slightly about as he spoke as he looked around him, "I'm hoping that I am still headed in the right direction."
Leetha couldn't help but giggle at that last remark. (I)'So, even elves needed to stop and ask for directions now and then.'(/I) It didn't surprise her though that he was having difficulties. The streets were so bombarded with festivities that one street started to look the same as the next and one could easily get sidetracked. Not to mention that everyone around him would rather stare at him then try and help him.
"Yes, in one way or another," she responded with a blushful grin, "if you continue up this street till you reach the blacksmith, then you merge east, and then past the tailor, you go north again and then continue straight, you can not miss it."
The elf smiled warmly at her and bowed his head slightly bringing his right hand over his chest.
"I thank you my Lady, I very much appreciate your help." Leetha blushed and nodded stepping back so the elf could pass. The elf lowered his arm back to his side and his eyes went back to the road ahead. He softly spoke a few words to his horse that Leetha could not understand and he headed in the direction she had told him to follow. Leetha and the rest of the people watched the elf as he continued down the street. Leetha let out a whoosh of air that apparently she had been holding without even realizing it. Her heart was still beating rapidly for she could not believe that she had just spoken to an elf. He looked young but Leetha knew that elves were immortal and did not age but it was hard to not notice that he looked about the same age as her. (I)'I can not wait to go back home and tell mother and father the news.'(/I) Leetha began to walk back but did not get far. Because the moment the elf was out of sight, the people watching the scene came rushing over to her to ask her the many questions that the elf's presence had brought.
Legolas stopped for a moment as he heard the clang of a hammer to metal. He turned his head at the blacksmith that was obviously too interested in his work to notice the elf standing before him. As Legolas had gone up the road, it had begun to clear of the many people and shops that were now behind him. He adjusted his quiver again and sighed, (I)'So much for trying to blend in.'(/I) This was by far the worst occurrence that he had gone through yet. (I)'Of course I had to come here in the middle of their most popular festival.'(/I) Legolas shuddered as he remembered all the faces and eyes that had been on him. The people had even moved to the side of the street making him as much of the center of attention as one could get.
The blacksmith picked up the metal he was hammering and quenched it into the large barrel at his side. Legolas began moving again turning east as the girl had told him to. He chuckled to himself as his thoughts returned to that girl. Not one of the most graceful of entrances he had seen but it certainly caught his attention. A smile formed on his lips at that sight. One second he was all alone on the street being stared at by hundreds of pairs of eyes and then the next a girl out of nowhere breaks through the crowd nearly falling on her rump right in front of him. Obviously, she had been trying to get through but had some difficulties near the end. The look on her face was indeed priceless when she turned around to face him. (I)'I swear I never saw a face turn so many shades of red in my life.'(/I) But she had quickly collected herself, and her face showed much embarrassment when she realized the little scene she had just displayed.
Legolas soon found himself walking down a near deserted street, the only sounds he heard were the clicking of his horse's hooves on the stone and the chanter from the festival below. (I)'This is probably how it looks around here when special events aren't going on.'(/I) Legolas' mind went back to the girl. The look the girl gave him was different somehow from the others. Her stare was more so a look of curiosity then of amusement. The way most looked at him was like as if he was a misshapen animal that belonged in a freak show at a fair. This girl was different, not only was she beautiful for a human but her deep green eyes showed there was a strong spirit living within her. Hence why she had fought her way to the front of the crowd while other women would have stayed in place and pouted for their ill-fortune.
Every so often, an individual would walk past him one girl was concentrating on carrying a load of apples in her apron and when she looked up at him she dropped them all in shock when she saw it was an elf. The girl looked down embarrassed and knelt down to the ground and began picking them up. Legolas looked to the girl and stopped, placing the horses reins on the ground. "Here, allow me to help you." Legolas knelt down to the ground beside her and began picking up the apples and placing them into her stretched open apron. The girl stared at the elf in shock but it was soon followed by a genuine smile. She was beyond exhausted and she couldn't afford to waste time and the elf's assistance was more then she could ask for. She hoisted herself up and kept a firm grip on the sides of her apron so she wouldn?t drop them again. Legolas picked up the last golden apple and dropped it in. The girl bowed carefully,
"Thank you so much for you help, Master Elf. This is indeed a true honor."
"It was no trouble," Legolas said as he picked up his reins and smiled, "obliged to do it." He looked back at the girl and with a small nod continued on his way. The girl watched his graceful figure as he disappeared down the road, (I)'Now that's what I call a true gentleman.'(/I)
It was not long before Legolas spotted a building with a large wooden plate hanging above the door. Neatly carved and burned into the wood it read, (I)'Tailor.'(/I) Not only was the girl pretty and strong-willed, but she also gave good directions. Legolas turned to the street the girl had told him to and he found himself being lead down a narrow road that looked to wide to be an alley, but too small to bring carts or wagons down. The buildings were much closer together and no sunlight reached his path leaving the place looking dirty and unwelcoming. His ears quickly picked up the sound of obnoxiously loud laughter followed by glass breaking and then more laughter. Legolas rolled his eyes because he had heard this type of noise before in sequence and knew what the cause of the noise was, a room full of drunken fools. He found his pace quickening and his horse neighed softly at his sudden change of speed. Hopefully, he could walk past quickly enough and they won't see him as he passed the door. The scent of alcohol, body odor, sweat, and other smells he dared not think about filled his nostrils as he neared the door. It was then that a man came stumbling into the street with a beer in hand. The man looked up at him with bloodshot, glazed eyes and a red shiny face.
"Hey, ain't you that pointy-eared freak that the entire town has been going on about?"
Legolas could barely understand him for his speech was slurred and he wavered about as he tried to catch his footing.
"You not welcome here, elf!" The man tipped a bit and some of his drink came sloshing onto his hands. "All you guys' do is bring trouble."
The man leaned into the door and yelled, "Hey fellows, that pointy-eared guy is here."
Legolas heard a scrape of chairs and some more shuffling and murmuring before three more men popped their heads out.
"Oh, would you look at that? You weren't kidding Sammy."
Legolas knew he did not want anything to do with these guys so he cast his eyes straight ahead and began moving.
"Hey buddy, where're you going?" The man said as he stumbled after him, "We're not done with you yet."
Legolas stopped and turned so his blue eyes pierced them like daggers.
"Yeah well, I am." Legolas spat back at them.
"You elves think you're so great! Think you're so much better then the rest of us. It's a no wonder that all the elves are almost extinct."
The man laughed and drank some more beer. The other drunk beside him snickered,
"I don't know Sammy; I think he's awfully pretty, don't you?" The man laughed again.
"Yeah, better not get him mad or he might frizzle his hair and break a nail."
The men went into an uproar of laughter clanging their mugs together in triumph.
Legolas' anger boiled and his jaw clenched in frustration and quicker then lightning, Legolas had his bow in hand and an arrow pointed directly in the man's face. The men stopped laughing instantly and the man dropped his mug and it shattered on the ground. The man put his hands up and looked at Legolas with terror in his eyes. Legolas glared back at the man his eyes piercing like blue fire. The other men held each other and took a step back.
"I would have chosen my words better if I were you," Legolas said to the man, his once soft, light-hearted voice replaced by a tone of fury. "I did not risk my life to save this world from the forces of evil, live through hundreds of battles fighting the creatures that you only know about in nightmares, and survive nearly 3,000 years of Middle Earth's existence to stand by and hear harsh words from a drunken slob like you!"
The man's breath grew heavy and his eyes filled with tears, it was then that Legolas heard a trickling of water running down fabric and he looked down for the once cocky man standing before him had wet himself and was trembling like a small child. Legolas then relaxed his arm and put the arrow back behind him soon followed by replacing his bow there as well. He took a step towards his horse never breaking his glare at the men.
"I hope you show more respect to other elves then what you have shown me. Most are not as kind-hearted as I am." Legolas then broke his glare and turned his back to them. He heard some muffled whimpers and clumsy footing and then the door slammed shut behind him. Legolas sighed,
"Oh this age! How tasteless and ill-bred it is!" He wasn't saying this to anyone in particular but his horse seemed to find it amusing for she snorted and shook her head from side to side. Legolas turned to his horse,
"You act less like you were raised in a barn then they do." And with that Legolas shook his head and gracefully mounted his horse. (I)'It's no use trying to blend in now; the whole town knows I'm here.'(/I) He shifted his weight till he was more comfortable and thrust forward leading his horse into a gallop. Since there really wasn't anyone down these streets he figured it was safe to go a little faster then he usually would in a town.
It was not long before he saw the palace appear before him. Tall and strong this palace was, made out of polished stone that were individually cut into squares and placed so perfectly together that Legolas figured it to be dwarven work. There were stone paths that lead to a marble stairway that ended at the entrance to the palace. On either side were large columns decorated and carved to look like vines and leaves winding there way up the stone. Beside each column stood a guard and they looked straight ahead and at the elf. Legolas dismounted and walked down the path towards the guards. He stopped in front of the staircase and placed his horse's reins behind her neck as to not let them drag on the ground. Leaving her there, Legolas climbed the steps not taking his eyes from the guards. They both moved from their original position and stood right next to each other to block Legolas from going further. One of the guards stepped slightly forward and cleared his throat.
"Uh....what business do you have with our King?" The guard asked uncomfortably.
Legolas looked back at him his expression unchanged. "We received a message from your King asking assistance for an elf to come and see him right away."
The guard looked back at the other guard who just shrugged his shoulders.
"I'm sorry, Master Elf, but if the King had sent out such a message, we would have been told about it." The guard flinched somewhat while saying this talking sternly but in his best manners as to not offend the elf.
Legolas suppressed his annoyance and looked at the guard.
"Listen, I suggest you go inside and try and find someone that knows that I am coming even if it is the King himself that you need to find." Legolas' tone was soft-spoken but firm, a little trick his father had taught him.
The guard opened his mouth to debate but quickly shut it when he saw Legolas' stern gaze. It was obvious to him that this elf was going no where.
"If I am to find someone, I need to at least know the name of the visitor in question."
Legolas tried to hide his look of contempt happy to hear he was getting his way,
"I am Legolas, son of Thranduil and I come from the Mirkwood realm."
The guards both gasped at the recognition of the name. The guard nodded quickly and bowed as he backed up towards the door nearly tripping over the other guard. He then pushed open the doors and vanished as they closed behind him. Legolas grinned and looked at the other guard whose eyes kept wandering up and down in surprised shock.
(I)'Well, I guess sometimes name is everything.'(/I)
*Author's Note: This is my 1st fan fiction ever so please add your comments so I can see what you guys liked and/or what I need to improve on. Thanks Everyone!!!