Stars of a Summer Night... - a vignette
"The heart of Legolas was running under the stars of a summer night in some northern glade amid the beech-woods..."
..Fellowship of the Ring, ch. IX: 'The Great River'..
The night air was cool on his face as he ran onward, deeper and deeper into the woods. The moon cast silver shadows through the summer foliage of the trees, shadows that danced in the breeze as if enticed by some kind of intoxicating rhythm. He felt refreshed, exhilarated, like he could run forever; that's how she made him feel. She made him want to dance by the light of the moon, to forget his responsibilities as a prince and to simply live like a bloke should. She made him want to stand in the rain simply because it was wet.
"Have I taught you nothing?" Míriel shouted through her laughter.
"You have taught me well, indeed!" Legolas shouted in response. He reached out to grasp the hem of the cloak that streamed out behind her as she ran. Before his fingers closed around the lithe Elven material, however, he felt himself get ahead of his feet and tumble to the ground.
"Meleth-nin," Míriel cried when she realized that Legolas was no longer with her. She ran to him and kneeled at his side. "Are you hurt at all? Shall I go retrieve a surgeon?"
"Míriel?" Legolas asked, lying on his back with his eyes closed.
"Man agorech, Legolas?" she asked, concern etching her face. Resolutely, she made to stand and said, "I will go fetch a surgeon-"
Legolas grabbed her sleeve to prevent her from rising. "Daro," he whispered. Míriel looked down at him, her anxiety reflected in her thoughtful gray eyes. All of a sudden, Legolas' eyes flew open and a grin spread across his face. Before Míriel could comprehend what had happened he had taken her sleeve and pulled her down to the ground with him. After rolling down the small slope, entwined in each other, the two of them lay quite content on the cold grass and stared up at the stars that blinked through the tree tops. Neither of them said a word, though many things passed between them. That's how it is when you're in love, you know. You just don't really need to talk. They passed several minutes in this fashion, the only sound heard being the crickets and the nightingales.
Rolling onto his side to face Míriel, Legolas didn't really know what he wanted to tell her. He wanted to sing her the ballad of his heart, though he had never been all that good at putting his feelings into words.
Suddenly aware of Legolas' eyes on her, Míriel turned her head and searched his face. "What?" she asked with a smile. "Is my face smudged?"
"No," he replied. "Well - yes, but that's not what I was looking at."
Míriel laughed and rolled onto her side, resting her head in her hand. "Then may I inquire as to what you were looking at?"
Legolas sighed and rolled to lay on his back, hands folded behind his head. "Nothing," he started. "Just the most beautiful thing in the world."
"Ah," Míriel replied, crawling over the grass and resting on Legolas' chest. She folded her hands below his neck and set her chin upon them. "Would you care to know what I'm looking at?" Legolas smiled. "I'm looking at the most hopeless romantic in Middle-earth."
He made a shrugging motion. "I've no qualms with that accusation."
"Good," she replied softly as she leaned in to kiss his lips.
Legolas grinned at her as she moved away and re-settled herself on his chest. Her eyes gleamed up at him, reflecting a kind of innocence and purity that the moonlight only worked to enhance. He truly believed, in that moment, that she was the most beautiful woman there had ever been or would ever be. Dark auburn strands of hair fell before her eyes and she brushed them back with a flick of her long, seductive fingers. She had never looked more stunning than she did at that moment.
In a poor attempt to voice what his heart was feeling, he said, "You fit your name well."
Míriel looked quizzically at him, not sure how to respond to his awkward stab at trying to compliment her. "How do you mean?"
"I mean it how I said it," he replied. "Don't make me feel more foolish than I already do-" Míriel, brows raised, simply stared into his eyes as if waiting for some great revelation. "I mean," Legolas started again, "that you are truly like a jewel."
Míriel laughed. Shaking his head, Legolas made to stand, pushing her off in him in the process. "See? This is the very thing I was afraid of. I try to say something that reflects how I feel and it comes out like a gruel and then you go off laughing at me. This is-"
Míriel had risen and placed a single, slender finger on his lips. "I wasn't laughing at you, meleth. I was laughing because you make me so happy. Even if your words come out like a gruel-" she paused, grinning, "-know that the only reason I laugh is because you make my heart feel glad. I don't laugh because you're not a poet."
Legolas smiled, realizing that his anger had been foolish. He took her hands in his and kissed her brow. "You make me happy as well."
"There now," Míriel said. "That didn't like a gruel to me."
Legolas laughed, and wrapped his arms about her. "When I can," he began, "when the time comes, I will marry you." There was silence. "Míriel?" He felt her arms wrap tighter around his waist and her head bury into his shoulder as the sound of crying interrupted the crickets. "Míriel?"
She lifted her head and looked into his eyes. Her tears glistened on her cheeks and only made her more beautiful to him. He knew that whatever was to happen in these dark days of the world, he would always love her. No matter where his feet would take him, he knew that his heart would always lie under the stars of a summer night.