The Theives' Ring - Chapter One
P.S. I own neither Tolkien's characters nor world. I am just borrowing them. Thanks again!
Lost and Found
It was just a ring. Or, at least that's what Selira told herself when she saw it in the grass, but she still didn't touch it. How could she forget the recent events that had changed her life; all of them were caused by a ring. The[/] ring, actually, but what did it matter? She wouldn't care if there had been a thousand rings. It wouldn't change anything. Her father still would have marched off to war. He was killed valiantly trying to protect Prince Isildur, or so she had been told. She and her mother had fled their home, and her mother had been killed by orcs during the flight.
Orphaned for about 6 years now, the mortal girl of 16 new all about the happenings that had caused her life's destruction. She lived off the streets and stole for food now. Other civil people, who often scorned her, considered her trash. What was she supposed to do? Suddenly make money, food, and a place to live all magically appear for her. She was no sorceress, nor was she an elf. She was still only a child in the eyes of most.
Though most of these thoughts buzzed through her mind upon seeing this ring, the compulsion to take it still strangled her conscience. She picked it up. Being a thief (and a rather lousy one, in fact), she immediately recognized the metal that formed the band. It was mithril: a very precious silver. The stone she identified as a moonstone, and a rather strange one at that. It seemed to almost glow in the dark.
Selira shook her head. She was going against every moral in her book, but her scruples never really mattered anyway. The ring would most likely fetch a good price. Perhaps she could even find an elf on the streets that might be interested in it. There were certainly more elves in Mithlond than where she had lived near Gondor.
Selira had traveled on foot through the Wild and the wilderness, finally found Mithlond, and decided it was good place to stay. She liked it well enough here and there was nothing that could make her budge from the city now. She knew every nook and cranny of it.
Shrugging, she picked up the ring and popped it into her pocket. Then, as an afterthought, took it out again and slipped it onto her finger.
She didn't notice as she walked away from the trees on the edge of the city that she made noise no longer, nor did she realize that her body's colors had begun to blend with the nighttime scenery until she was nearly invisible. She would not notice until the morning, when she realized she could no longer speak.
* * *
"Ah! Is this not a most perfect morning, Legolas?" the raven-haired elf beside him asked, turning his eyes toward the sky. "A most beautiful day!"
"I still do not see the significance in sending us rather than a messenger to deliver this letter. All the way from Mirkwood we have traveled just to hear word of one of my father's old friends." The younger elf replied.
"Perhaps he feels that we need some adventure, my friend. Or maybe he's truly sending you here to see if you will finally choose a wife." Legolas frowned at his companion.
"I believe the latter is more likely, Telden, though I do not see why I must hurry in choosing a spouse. We are immortal; therefore I have all the time I need to search for love. I will find it when I am ready." The prince of Mirkwood grumbled, his fingers tightly wound around a rolled piece of paper.
"I think it is more oft said that love comes more unexpectedly that you know. What will you do if love finds you before wish you pursue it?" Telden answered, laughter apparent in his grey eyes. His companion chose not to answer this question and pointed into the distance.
"Finally! There is the house. Now we can finally be done with this errand and return home."
The lords followed a short stone path off the busy main road that led up to the house. There, they knocked on the large door. For a while they waited and no one answered. Telden had just suggested that they leave when the door flew open with a bang. A young child of about thirteen stood panting in the doorway, as if she had raced through the house for the prize of seeing who was calling.
The child had eyes of a deep earthen brown and stood gaping at them. Then, as if a sudden thought had struck in her mind, she stood straighter and smiled at the callers.
"Good morning to you, lords. I apologize for the wait. I came to the door as quickly as could"--She glanced back down the corridor the door opened into and raised her voice--"and far quicker than my sister could have come!"
"That's not true!" An angry reply rang back through the hall though the speaker was not visible. The child turned her attention to Telden and Legolas again.
"May I ask what business you bring to this household?"
"We wish to speak to Gonthalion, if he still resides here. We have a message for him from the King of Mirkwood." Legolas replied and smiled kindly at the girl, whose eyes had gotten very wide.
"Please come in," she told them before yelling down the hall again. "Nildarien! Fetch Father doubly quick! Tell him there's messengers from Mirkwood here to see him!"
The young girl's twin stuck her head around a corner. "He's already coming!" And so he was. Gonthalion swept around the corner moments after and his daughter followed closely behind him.
"Legolas!" he cried, rushing to embrace the prince. "How marvelous to see you! I hear you bring word from your father. And Telden. How are you faring? Still residing Mirkwood, I see. I believe I have not introduced my daughters. Shedheniel you have already met, it seems. And where--there you are. This is Nildarien."--The other girl curtsied, her green eyes flashing brilliantly--"Now girls, go upstairs and ask your mother to finish your lessons for today. You remember what happened the last time you bothered visitors."
"But Father! If Nildarien hadn't teased me about my singing I never would have--"
"No buts. Upstairs now, darlings. Make haste." The twins groaned and galloped up the spiral staircase to the left. "What news does your father send?"
"Just his greetings and his wishes that you would visit sometime soon. He says he misses your company." Legolas handed him the paper he had nearly crushed earlier. Gonthalion unrolled the letter and read it. He smiled and opened his mouth to speak when someone yelled:
"Oh! Shedheniel, be careful! No--watch out!"
Moments after a blue and gold blur cascaded down the stairs and slowed to a halt at the elves' feet. Shedheniel grinned impishly up at them. Her sister ran half way down the stairs and looked over the railing. "If we're going to eavesdrop you should at least be good at it!" she scolded.
"I'm a perfectly good eavesdropper. I just dropped before we heard the eaves."
Gonthalion rubbed his forehead, and Legolas and Telden tried unsuccessfully to hide their laughter. A lady ascended the staircase and pulled Shedheniel back on her feet. She looked bemusedly at their company before glaring at her husband. She shooed the twins away and paused at an open door leading outside. "They're your children, darling, "she said as she closed the door.
"I am sorry on my daughter's behalf--"Gonthalion began, but he realized he would need no apology and stopped.
"Your children certainly seem a handful," Telden laughed.
"Aye, wait until you have your own. They haven't a mind for any ladylike pastimes. I've no idea what to do with them. Shedheniel has no talent for calligraphy or sewing, and Nildarien refuses to weave or paint. They'd much sooner be warriors."
"Then perhaps that's a sign that the ought to be so." Said Telden. Gonthalion shook his head.
"Perhaps you are right, Telden, but they will not learn such things from me."
"Well, if all of this is through, and you have no further need of us, we will take our leave..." Legolas began, turning towards the door.
At that moment the back door was flung open and Nildarien flew inside. Shedheniel toppled in after her and followed her part of the way up the stairs.
A second later Illis, their mother, appeared in the doorway.
"Shedheniel, what is my rule about climbing trees your nice clothes?" she asked angrily. The laughter in Shedheniel's eyes was as apparent as the leaves in her hair.
"Don't." the child answered. Legolas could see the beginning of a bruise forming beneath her eye from her tumble down the stairs.
"There's something strange about her..."he thought, but he forced the idea to the back of his mind.
Nildarien trotted down to where her sister stood and triggered the same question in Telden's mind.
Giggling, the twins bounded up the stairs again and out of sight. Gonthalion sighed and shook his head.
"I have need of peace and quiet. Yes, you may take your leave, Legolas. Telden. I'm going into my study," and to the lords he added,"I think I shall lock the door."
Relieved to finally be going, Telden and Legolas slipped through the door and quickly shut it behind them. Then, they burst into gales of laughter.
"The brown-eyed daughter will be pretty when she grows up." Legolas remarked as he and Telden followed the path to the road.
"And you know this for a fact? Her twin will be equally beautiful." The grey-eyed elf replied. "Now, I say we take a look at the sights while we are here. How often do you get the chance to visit Mithlond?"
Neither lord knew that their fate had just been sealed. They would not remember this wild meeting with Gonthalion, for the events of this story would lead them to push it from their minds. The twins would grow and in time meet them again. In fact, Telden would fall deeply in love with Nildarien, and Legolas and Shedheniel would fall head-over-heels for each other. But that is a story for another day.
Presently,at least for Telden and Legolas, things were about to grow more interesting.