Sun streamed through the pine boughs. He opened his eyes, looking out from the warmth of the snowdrift. He had chosen to sleep here because he had a lot to think about, and a clear view of stars surrounded by trees helped him think more clearly. Shaking the snow out of his cloak, he picked up his belt with his knife, and his bow, and set out toward home.
Reaching the top of a great hill, he sighed softly at the sight of his homeland. Elennoorie was a quiet country, undisturbed by petty evils. It was only a small area of the Greenwood, but then again, not many Elves lived there. He loved to visit the glades situated every half mile amongst the forest. He loved to ride his horse while racing his best friend and foster brother, Aurseldo. Aurseldo was a mortal, although descendant of the great ruler Aragorn, son of Arathorn. That was why they had chosen to name him Sunchild, a child of the Sun, the younger of the Lights; the Light of Men.
His lineage made him Númenorean, allowing him to live longer than most mortals. In his brother’s eyes, he was not even a child, but an infant of 17.
“Legolas! Legolas, let’s go for a race!” — Aurseldo had read his mind the moment he entered the stone columns of Yaana. Legolas came here every day to pray for the souls of his mother and father. He turned to Aurseldo, who was grinning broadly. “After I pray,” Legolas said quietly. “Go on now, go and play.”
Stepping once again into the warm sunshine, Legolas wiped the tears from his face and went off in search of his brother. He found him chasing fish in one of the glades with his little finger.
“Are you ready?” Aurseldo asked impatiently.
“Yes — come on!” Legolas shouted, tagged him on the shoulder, and sprinted off toward the stables.
Handing the reins to a groom waiting for the horses, Aurseldo skipped about his brother.
“I finally beat you!”
“Yes, you did.” Legolas said absently, running over in his mind what he had seen for the second time in less than a day. Orcs and Men had been reported on the borders of Elennoorie; and today he had seen them with his own eyes — that was why he had slept in the snow-bank. He was glad he was not King, as had been expected. Thranduil — the previous King and father of Legolas — had burdened his advisor, Morihondo, with the task instead. No one liked him. The name Blackheart was a name one spat; it was impossible to enjoy his presence. Some even said he was a descendant of the Dark Elf, Eol.
Above all else, he hated the Princes. The elder he hated because he was young and skilled; no hands were defter than Legolas’. Aurseldo he disliked because he could sense in the boy great power — power enough to destroy every last being, creature, and monument in Middle-earth.
Entering the Palace of the Royals, Aurseldo’s nurse, Velikelwen, hurried over and began fussing over the both of them.
“Oh, my, but you’re filthy!”
Aurseldo squirmed out of her grasp. “Velikelwen, you chose the name Great-heart for a reason. It means you want to be motherly. I don’t know much of Elven customs because my parent’s died only a few years ago, but Men my age usually like their space.”
“I am sorry dear. I keep forgetting you’re not one of us; you do look so much like your brother.”
This statement hurt Legolas. Not the comment about the both of them looking alike, but her saying, ‘you’re not one of us.’ He had always loved Aurseldo as if he washis brother, not an adopted Man-child out of the West.
“Velikelwen, stop fussing!” he said rather more sharply than he meant. “We’re going to get changed now.”
After hurriedly changing, Aurseldo ran to Legolas’ room and began pounding on the door and screaming frantically —
“Legolas! Legolas! Velikelwen is dead!”
Legolas burst out of the room, shirt only half on. Pulling it over his head, he demanded where she was.
“In the Hall in the same place she was when we left her. She must have watched us go and then somebody KILLED HER !” Aurseldo began crying.
“Shh, shh, calm down.” Legolas held his head against his chest to muffle his cries.
Aurseldo shook free and shouted, “NO! NO!She was better to me than my mother EVER WAS !” and began sobbing again.
“Take me to her,” Was all Legolas said, but his glance could have melted ice.
Still hugging his brother tightly, Aurseldo pushed through the crowd gathered round the nursemaid’s body and pointed. Legolas gasped —-
It hadn’t been done by hand, the killer had used some sort of material. Her eyes had been forced out of her head from being strangled. They lolled to one side, a tormented mask of horror where her face had been. She was in front of the doors, which stood open. Morihondo shuffled in, beady eyes darting wildly from face to face.
“When did this happen?” He mused to himself in too calm a voice.
“YOU! YOU DID THIS TO HER! WHY DID YOU DO THAT, SHE NEV-“
Aurseldo’s screams were muffled by Legolas hand over his mouth.
“What are you ranting about? We don’t have any proof he did this!”
He released his hand and Aurseldo fell forward. The boy glowered at the advisor.
“I know he did it. I can see it on his face.” He spat.
Legolas could see as his brother spoke that this was true. Fear slowly crept around Morihondo’s features, turning his pupils to tiny dots in bright green eyes; a rarity among Elves. He soon mastered himself, cleared his throat, and demanded an explanation so quickly Legolas doubted he even saw the fear.
“Be gone, king,” Aurseldo said between clenched teeth in his most regal voice, “you are not wanted here.”
After having the body dragged to an angle not obscuring the entrance to the Hall, the Princes retired to Aurseldo’s room and discussed Morihondo’s actions. Why would a King kill one of his own subjects for nothing?
“I’llkill him if he tries to kill anyone else!” Legolas said defiantly.
Then, after a long pause, Aurseldo stood up, a grimace of hatred so strong on his face that it frightened his elder brother.
“No you won’t — I will.”