The Quest of Indilë: Chapter One - One elf's journey to find her mother

Indilë wept softly to herself. She was alone (she thought) in the forest. Her friends had left her for they had work in Thranduil's court. She had never known such heartache in her 2,000 year life. Her parents were dead! She would not see them again while she yet lived in Mirkwood, or in any other place in Middle-earth. The very thought broke her heart.

And now, when she had most wanted to be alone and not seen by anyone, she saw the Prince of Mirkwood walking toward her. Oh, no, she thought. I can't let him see me like this. She made an effort to wipe her face with her sleeve, but didn't have much success.

But then, it was too late for the Prince had reached her. She acknowledged him by saying only, "Prince Legolas," and bowing her head out of respect.

"There is no need to be so formal, when clearly you are upset. If I may inquire.. your name?"

Her answer came out as a mere whisper. "Indilë. Indilë Almiel, though I am just called Indilë."

"A beautiful name," the Prince smiled. "But if I might also inquire, what is the cause of your grief?"

At this, two tears rolled down Indilë's face. "I.. I am sorry. My parents were slain by orcs just yesterday. A rider saw the place, but feared orcs and the spiders too much to stop.

The Prince looked shocked. "I am sorry to hear that indeed. Who were your parents?"

"Daeron my father and Nènlossë my mother. I was going to ride to the place where the foul orcs attacked them to see if there was nothing left I could have of my parents."

"You should not go to the edge of the forest alone, where, I am assuming, they were beset upon." Legolas spoke in a concerned tone. "I will go with you."

"I would be most grateful," Indilë said. "I will fetch my horse, and then shall we meet back here?"

"Yes, I will not be long," the Prince replied.

***

They rode in silence. Legolas searched the forest around them with sharp elven eyes and ears. Indilë, though in great pain from the loss of her parents, did the same, for she knew well, as did the Prince, the dangers Mirkwood held.

The Dark Forces had sent Ungoliant's spawn to inhabit the center of the forest, and orcs, though they feared to enter the boundaries of Mirkwood, patrolled ever at its edges.

Then there were the changing paths that could confuse the most skilled hunters, the magic river that put any who touched it or drank of it into an enchanted sleep.

These threats made the Elves of Mirkwood wary and alert constantly.

Legolas, though still keeping himself aware of their surroundings, allowed himself to study this elf he had not seen before while she was not aware he was doing so.

She is really quite beautiful, even by elven standards, he thought to himself. A dark brown, her silky hair was a rare color among elves. It was long, and flying loose in the breeze. Her eyes were a dark blue, even darker than his, and they seemed to see far away, as though Indilë could view lands unknown by simply looking in that direction. She was taller than most elven maids, though still less in height that he was.

But Indilë suddenly broke his reverie by giving a small cry and reigning in her horse, Tinwë.

They had arrived. Legolas was astonished at the ugliness of it. Orcs, though brutal indeed, seldom did even their elven captives this way. Blood, so much blood!

Indilë dismounted and knelt on the ground beside her father's body and bowed her head with grief. When she looked up, she realized that her mother was not among the elves slain by the foul orcs.

"Prince.. she is not here. My mother," Indilë choked out. She felt sick.
Legolas looked pained. "I am sorry, indeed. I did not know there were other elves here as well. I think these must be from Rivendell, for none have left Mirkwood."
Indilë nodded. But then she saw a cloak that had belonged to her father lying on the ground. She picked it up and said, "I will have this, at least." Tears came anew.

****

Legolas and Indilë had buried the elves who had been killed by the orcs just inside the borders of Mirkwood so that their graves would lie unspoiled by the orcs.

Indilë put on her father's cloak and mounted Tinwë. "Let us go, Prince. Or, if you will, return to the palace. I thank you indeed for coming with me thus far, but I go now to seek my mother, and I cannot ask any to come with me."

Legolas looked at her determined face, and, realizing he could not dissuade her, he bent and gently kissed her cheek. "We should go back to the palace to get food and spare clothing first."

She smiled radiantly, making his heart pound a little faster. "I would not willingly endure such a delay. I have already brought spare clothing, and food we may find along the way."

Legolas smiled back at her. "Then let us depart."

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