Lalaith sat alone upon a stone bench sequestered in a small hidden corner of her uncle’s gardens where greening vines twined up the wall at her back, and a cool breeze fanned the air. She drew in a breath of the cool sweet air, listening to the bright sounds of the rising morning, of birds in flight, and the distant, unceasing whisper of the falls as she rested her chin in her hand, and devoured eagerly, the words upon the parchment that had arrived the night before. The soft yellow paper still smelled of green growing things, and she drank in eagerly the scent that brought to her memory, visions of Legolas’ face.
His familiar, well loved script spoke of small things, trivial things, and of how much he wished he had not missed her by only a few hours when she had departed Lórien. But that was not unusual, for over the many years since she had last seen him, in every letter he exchanged with her, contained some hint of disappointment at having only just missed her that day, now so many years past.
Her heart’s beat quickened at what his deep regret might hint at. But she reminded herself that such a thing could not be. She was too far beneath him. There was too much unsurity hidden in the shadowed deeps of her memory. She could not allow him to love her when to do so, could be dangerous for him.
“I would not dare to be so bold as to ask you to come visit me again, after my foolish behavior when last you were here.” His writing continued. “Nor would I wish for you to put yourself into danger, for there has been a new terror abroad in Mirkwood. This does not surprise you, does it, Lalaith? I would like to say it would surely not surprise Haldir. But that would be uncivil, especially when his parting words were most courteous when I returned home from the Golden Wood, that long ago day when I only missed seeing you by a few hours. But I have spoken of that before, and should not bore you with such repetition. As for this new threat, it has been called a ghost, but it is more than that, for I have seen it. A living creature it is, shiveled and starved, that runs along the ground, bent over, almost upon all fours. We have been tracking it, and when its threat is no longer here, perhaps you could come again to visit me if you wished to, and we could continue as we were, before all the strife came. Of course, it would be with your cousins, as guests of my father.”
Lalaith smirked softly at this last statement, and her thoughts returned to that day when she had been with him alone, before the tomb of her nurse. He had been near to saying something of deep importance before Elrohir had come. Did he mean to finish what he was about to say, then? Lalaith did not dare to guess. But regardless of what hidden meaning there might be, she would not fail to show the letter to Elrond, and beg his leave to go. If not this year, then in some near season when all was not so dark in Mirkwood.
“Until we meet again, as I hope we may, some near season, Lalaith, I remain your eternal friend, Legolas.”
Lalaith gasped, and looked up into the eyes of Erestor, her uncle’s chief steward, who stood before her, hands clasped as he patiently awaited her response.
Lalaith touched a hand to her cheek, wondering if her face was flushed, and managed to stutter, “Yes, Erestor? What is it?”
“I thought you might like to know, my lady.” He said with a slim smile. “We have a guest. Newly arrived.”
“Oh?” She asked, and had not yet begun to rise when she heard the padding of small bare feet upon stone coming from around the corner of her sequestered nook.
At the sound, she darted to her feet, just as a familiar face appeared, round and cheery, and somewhat teary eyed as his eyes met hers. His hair was somewhat more silver tinged than what she remembered, and he held a gnarled staff within his hand, but his eyes held the same merry sparkle she remembered.
“I knew you would return one day!” Lalaith cried, the hard notes of the Common Tongue feeling strange upon her tongue as they came from her lips.
“Hullo, Lalaith.” Bilbo grinned, and threw his small arms around her neck as she dropped to her knees, and drew him into a warm, welcoming embrace.
Phew! Lalaith’s Younger Years is finally done! I hope it was as fun for you to read as it was for me to write!
Coming soon: Lalaith Elerrina–Child of the Stars!
Sorry I can’t comment as often as I’d like! Moving and all! You’re all great!