The older elf stopped dead at the sight of his once beloved daughter. Letting go of Larien’s hand, he took a hesitant step forward. “E-Ellysia?” he stuttered.
The color drained from her face at the sound of his voice. She placed her shaking hand upon the table top as to help herself up- she was afraid her legs would give way.
She swallowed hard. “F-…Enevingion,” she said softly. “I came here to-“
But her father cut her off. “You have grown so much,” he said quietly. “…I thought I would never see you again.”
“I am not staying. And you know that,” she replied, almost a whisper, but every word dripping with hurt.
He nodded, slowly, defeated. Ellysia cleared her throat and began again.
“I came to tell you it is no longer safe for you to be here. I think you should pack up only what you need and leave for Edoras. Dangerous times are about, and not far from your home. It is not safe to be alone like this.”
Enevingion shook his head. “No,” said he. “I will not leave. This is our home.”
“No,” Ellysia replied. “This is her home. I will not stand by and let Larien live in this place, so close to danger.”
Enevingion let out a weary sigh and, if such is possible for elves, looked much older than he was in Ellysia’s eyes. He shook his head slowly.
“We just can’t,” he said softly. “This is our… my… home now.”
Legolas could tell Ellysia was hurt by his previous statement, the way she cast her eyes downward and bit her lip. He had promised himself he would not say a word until they left the house, but he felt it imperitive to add to what she said.
He cleared his throat. “Sir, I believe your daughter is right. It is not safe for you to live out here alone. Only three nights ago a great battle was waged, not too far from here. We do not know if Orcs are still crawling along the landscape. You would be better sheltered in Edoras.”
The older elf looked up at Legolas with a strange look. “And who are you?” he asked.
Legolas opened his mouth, but Ellysia answered for him. “This is Legolas Greenleaf, a… good friend of mine. And we really must be on our way. I can see our welcome is diminishing.”
Before she moved, Ellysia stared straight at her father, who downcast his eyes as if her stare burned him. “Please, Enevingion…do this for Larien. For me. My mind will not be at ease if you should stay here.”
He sighed. “I’ll…consider it.” She nodded in return.
Ellysia gave a great hug to Larien, who came bounding over at her sister’s last statement. “Don’t leave,” she whispered in Ellysia’s ear. “Please. Or take me with you.”
“No,” said Ellysia, pulling away from her embrace. “You are safer here, even though this is not the best place to be. I will miss you, Aiseler.”
Larien’s eyes filled with tears as she nodded, and hugged her once again. “I’ll miss you, too.”
Ellysia nodded, and pulled away. “I have to go now,” she said softly.
Ellysia looked to her father, who stared at her in a painful silence. “Goodbye then,” said she, and took her leave by the door, Legolas at her heels.
Outside, when she mounted Saracen, Larien sprang out the door to wave goodbye. Enevingion followed her slowly. At the sight of Saracen, his light face light up. “You still have him,” he said softly.
“Yes,” Ellysia replied. “He’s a tough horse. We’ve been through alot together.”
Her father waved goodbye to the two companions as they crested the hill. “Goodbye, Ellysia,” escaped his mouth as she dissapeared over the hill, but too late to rest upon her ears.
Legolas rode in silence with Ellysia for a while, as he could tell her mind was deep in thought.
After a while, he figured he should say something. Clearing his throat, he said “Should we keep going for the night…or rest somewhere?”
Ellysia snapped out of her reverie. “Let’s stop for a moment,” said she, and halted Saracen. Slipping off his back, she grabbed her map from the bag, and pulled it open for Legolas to see.
Tapping her finger upon where they possibly were, she calculated the distance to Edoras.
“Well…we set off quite a while before Aragorn, and my business did not take as long as expected, so…we can rest tonight, if you wish. If we set off at dawn we would make it to Edoras about the same time the Ranger would.”
Legolas nodded. “What do you want to do?”
Ellysia scanned the horizon, and let out a sigh. “I am very tired. But I do not want to waste time- I wish not to fail Aragorn by making him late. May we rest, just for a while, and leave a little before dawn?”
Legolas sprung himself lightly back onto Arod’s back. He smiled warmly towards her. “Sounds good to me!”
Soon they found a suitable resting spot, and decided to set up camp, temporarily.
Ellysia slipped off Saracen and pulled her pack off his back. She kissed the horse lightly between the eyes and patted his back, letting him off to roam.
Legolas tied Arod loosly to a tree nearby so he could graze, and walked back to where Ellysia stood. The setting sun dappled the tree leaves with light.
Ellysia stood facing him, hands on her hips, her face puzzled. “So, ah…do you have any food?”
Legolas quirked an eyebrow at her. “I thought you did?”
She cast her eyes outward. “Nope.”
“Alright…” sighed Legolas, scanning their surroundings. “I guess I’ll just have to find something then. I’ll be back in a while. You start a fire.”
She nodded and headed off in the other direction, as he took his bow and dissappeared through the wood.
Soon Legolas began to return to the campsite, one rabbit richer. As he pushed the brush away from his path, he could see the light of a fire flickering ahead.
Ellysia was leaning back against a trunk of a great tree, cutting something into pieces. Legolas sat down across from her, beside the fire, laying the rabbit down beside him.
“Here,” was all he heard, and something came hurtling over the fire towards him. He caught it, and was pleased. It was an apple.
Ellysia pointed in the direction she had travelled as she popped an apple piece into her mouth. Legolas nodded. “Thanks,” he said as he set it upon the earthen floor beside him. He picked the rabbit up again and began to skin it. He was not very fond of meat, but figured she would appreciate it. Legolas noticed how thin she was.
Looking over at the rabbit she had not seen, Ellysia’s eyes bulged, and she made a gagging noise. “What?” he asked her, not taking his eyes from the catch.
She laughed. “I’m sorry, Legolas, but I can’t eat that,” she said lightly. “I nearly killed myself last time I tried to eat rabbit stew. I seem to be deathly allergic to it.”
He looked up at her. “You’re kidding, right?”
She laughed and shook her head, taking another bite of her apple.
Legolas chuckled and put down the rabbit, defeated. “Then what did you eat, when you were by yourself on the road? I mean, you had to catch something, and rabbit’s usually the best find.”
She looked to him. “Whatever I could buy.”
Legolas moved the rabbit away from him, finding a depression in the ground and burying it. He figured it would not be eaten at all, and did not want it to start to smell. He then rested his head upon the ground. Legolas let out a long sigh, and then propped his head up with his hand, facing her. “Why didn’t you cook something?”
She bit into her apple. “I don’t know how.”
Legolas laughed and spluttered “What?”
Her brow creased. “I just never learned,” she said defensively.
She leaned over and picked up his bow. “You know, I’d shoot you with this if I knew how to do that, too.”
He laughed. “You never learned how to shoot, either?”
“No,” she said quietly, realizing she set herself up for that one.
“Then what *can* you do?” he asked her.
“You know, next time you are stuck full of arrows like a pincushion, I’m going to remember that,” she remarked, and laughed at the look upon the fair elf’s face. Ellysia was actually beginning to enjoy his company.
“But to answer your question…I can heal, which I’ve already given you a personal demonstration of that, my friend. I…dance. I love to dance. Not that I’m good at it, I just enjoy it. I can write. And I can use a sword.” Her voice lowered. “Though I haven’t exactly…used that skill in a while.”
Legolas just nodded. He stood up and brushed the dirt from his tunic and walked over to sit beside her, against the tree. They were silent for a moment, wondering what the other was so quiet about.
Legolas idily ran his hand over the cool grass. “…You didn’t actually leave their house on your own accord, did you?” He asked softly.
He instantly regretted his comment, figuring she would go into another bad mood and snap back at him, but he was surprised to hear her voice quieted and calm. “You read me like a book,” said she, almost a whisper.
He stared out at the setting sun. “What happened?”
“Do you want me to start where I left off?” she asked him quietly.
“Sure.” He was surprised that she was actually talking so quickly. He turned to face her.
Ellysia looked over to him. “I hated Edoras. Not Edoras itself, though. I grew to love the rolling plains and the long grass.”
A smile sprung to her face as a faraway look took over her eyes.
“I just hated the soul of Edoras. It’s people. And I could tell they didn’t like me either. They barely accepted my father- why try for me? I spent alot of time by myself. I didn’t have any friends those first couple of months.”
“The woman my father married, Evylen, had a son, whose father had died the year earlier. He hated us. I don’t know why. He just did. But the feeling was mutual, at least from me. So I didn’t care.”
“Evylen was determined to make me feel at home. She seemed to concentrate her efforts on making me like her. Maybe that was why the boy hated me so much- I seemed to be grabbing all the attention. But no matter what she did, I had only one thought- she is not my mother. Neither will she ever be. This is her fault.”
“That’s probubly why she gave Saracen to me. I was so happy… I don’t beleive I’ve ever felt that same feeling again. I named him Saracen, because of a story I had been told when I was younger. It was about a brave prince who came and stole the beautiful girl away from her sorrow in her own oppressive home. The prince’s horse was named Saracen. He was ment to take me away from all of it. That was when I started to warm up to Evylen. But that would end soon enough.”
“One day I was out in the fields, over near the hill where the kings of old lay. That was when I met Eowyn. I was laying hidden in the tall grass, staring at the sky, when something came hurtling past me. I got up and ran over to where she sat upon the ground. She was crying. I remember…I sat down beside her. She looked up at me tearfully, and I…I hugged her. And finally let go.”
“I cried with her. I cried for my mother, for the pain of leaving home, for the scar of hating my father, the one person I had left in the world. Eowyn and I have been friends forever since. I spent more and more time with her, practically living in Theoden’s hall.”
At this point Ellysia rubbed the back of her hand across her eyes, and Legolas saw how weary she was- not from lack of sleep…weary in the soul. She let out a shudder of a sigh, and continued.
“One day, about a month later, Eowyn had been teaching me how to use a sword. Her brother taught her, and she was determined to teach me. I was getting good…very good. She let me keep the sword. I walked back to the house, and, as usual, dinner was on the table. Evylen smiled at me, that the regular too, and sent me to go get washed up. Usually I would stomp off and make a big deal of it, but I was content that day, so I went out back to the big barrel of water we kept for washing.”
“The boy, Therian, was there too. He always scowled at me, but today…something was different. It was a scary look. Almost a smile, but something dark behind it.”
“That evening, after I had gone to sleep, I woke up in the middle of the night. I couldn’t breath. With opening my eyes, I…”
Ellysia shut her eyes quickly and took a deep breath.
“…I saw him. He was standing above me, and his…his hands were wrapped around my throat. Before I blacked out, I reached for something, anything that could get him off me. I found something, and I swung at him with it. All I knew was that I could breath, and then I passed out.”
Legolas, ensnared in her tale, had not pulled his eyes away from her face. “What happened?”
“I had picked up the sword Eowyn gave me. That’s what I hit him with. I killed him.”