October 24, 3018 of the Third Age
The Last Homely House
Silmaiel stood on the steps that led down to the gardens at the entrance of Rivendell, as she awaited an important arrival. Then she heard, coming up the path, the sound of hoof-beats. Silmaiel stepped down to meet them and she welcomed them as they dismounted.
“Welcome my kindred from the realm of Mirkwood.”
“Elen sila lumenn’ omentielvo” the leader replied. “I am Legolas, son of Thranduil.”
“I am named Silmaiel.” As the others in the company exchanged greetings with Silmaiel, another elf appeared. “Lindir will attend to your horses. Please, khila amin (follow me).”
Silmaiel led them among many paths, both on the ground and also many hundreds of feet above the valley, while they breathed in what seemed the very scent of nature and life itself. The visitors were amazed by the beauty of Imladris, regarding it as a lost treasure one has forgotten about, but then found again after many years.
“I will show you to your rooms where you may rest until dinner. There is to be a feast tonight to honor an elf-friend from the West. With the help of Lord Elrond, the hobbit has recovered from a near fatal wound, and we are celebrating.”
“Hobbit?” one of the elves wondered. “One of the race of perdehilea (halflings)?”
“Yes,” Silmaiel answered. “Frodo Baggins is the appointed heir of Bilbo Baggins, who, I believe, was a guest of yours at one time.”
“Yes, it is true,” another commented. “We did not treat Bilbo and his dwarf companions justly, but we have made amends. He has forgiven us, and we have named him elf-friend.”
Silmaiel laughed slightly at the standoffishness of the elf, “Bilbo is here and you will be able to see him tonight.” Turning and lifting her arm to indicate the open door, she said, “Here you may rest from your travels until the feast begins. When the signal bells ring I will return to show you to the Hall.”
They gave their thanks and one by one stepped into the room. Legolas followed last, but before he passed within, he held Silmaiel’s eyes in a strong gaze and smiled softly. Silmaiel, feeling her heart begin to race, had enough sense to return the smile and then watched as Legolas disappeared around the corner.
Twilight was falling, leaving behind the soft smell of the everlasting autumn in the air. Back in her bedroom, Silmaiel was finishing adjusting her headpiece. For a reason she did not quite understand, she had wanted to look…special.
Legolas was standing on the porch, looking out over the valley and the river below, when the ringing of sweet bells brought him out of his dreaming. A soft sound made him turn his head. Silmaiel stood there, the silver moonlight shimmering on her dark hair. It had been the sound of her elegantly beaded dress that had startled Legolas.
“I did not mean to frighten you,” she said to him.
“You did not frighten me. It was only surprise. It has been many years since anything or anyone has been able to approach me without my knowledge.”
“It looked to me that you were distracted.”
“Yes. I was thinking of…someone.”
He looked at her more closely and saw that she was indeed beautiful. Her dark eyes seemed to penetrate, seeing more than even elf eyes regularly can.
Hearing their conversation, Legolas’ companions came out to join them.
“Tula (Come),” Silmaiel beckoned. “I will take you to the hall.”
Very soon they could begin to hear the sound of many fair voices.
“The Council that you have come to attend will take place tomorrow. Bells will signal you early in the morning. It will be held there, to your right,” she said pointing.
Following Silmaiel’s lead, they came onto the doors of the Great Hall. With a word from their guide the doors were flung wide. The breeze that reached them smelled of herbs and of many other delicious things.
“After the feast there will be time for songs and tales in the Hall of Fire. We would be most pleased if you would join us.” At this point, Silmaiel led them to the dais at the head of the table. “Lord Elrond would like to meet you,” she explained.
Bowing low, she said, “Heru en amin (My Lord), I present our honored guests of the realm of Mirkwood.”
“Vedui’ (Greetings),” Elrond said, rising. “Please sit.”
Silmaiel showed them to their seats and then retreated to her own. There an elf-maiden, with hair much like Silmaiel’s, awaited her. One would have believed her to be an elf of Rivendell, but she was actually out of Lothlorien, The Golden Wood.
“Greetings mellonamin (my friend). I am glad you could be here, Misteme,” Silmaiel said.
“Yes,” Misteme agreed. “Nae saian luume’ (It has been too long).”
The two friends embraced, then sat. They had begun to recall many of their memories from when they were younger, but their conversation turned as elves began to clear away the empty platters.
“Tell me, Silmaiel, why was it that when the bells rang, my parents and I were forced to find our own way here? We became lost many times.”
“Amin hira etha (I am sorry). I had other duties that I had to attend to.”
“Was it your ‘duties’ that you entered with?” Misteme asked teasingly.
“Yes, they are here to represent Mirkwood in the Council that is to be held tomorrow.”
“And their leader is whom?” Misteme pushed further, wanting to know more details. “I could see that he was very handsome.”
“He is Legolas, Thranduil’s son.”
“Legolas!? Legolas Greenleaf, the Prince of Mirkwood?”
“The same,” Silmaiel said, watching him as he sat on the opposite side of the great table, conversing with one of his Woodland kin.
His hair was braided and pleated, laying about his shoulders, a brilliant contrast to her own. He had changed from his travel-stained cloak, into a green and silver tunic. He looked kingly indeed. Legolas, raising his eyes, met Silmaiel’s, but she did not hold it for long; dropping her eyes rather quickly and beginning to blush.
Seeing this, Misteme said, “There is something there, I believe. I can see it in the way he looks at you.”
“Do not jest so!” Silmaiel exclaimed.
“I do not jest. You must remember that I am always correct when it comes to romance.”
“But we could never act on our feelings. We are of different realms and rank. He is royalty and I am not a princess.”
“Silma,” Misteme said, using Silmaiel’s childhood nickname, “love knows nothing of rank, and being from different realms means nothing. Our own Lord Celeborn is originally of Mirkwood.”
“That is true.”
With the end of the feast, Elrond rose from his seat, and taking his daughter’s hand, exited to the Hall of Fire.
“Tula (Come),” Silmaiel said. “If we do not hurry, we shall be listening from the back,” and leading Misteme, they entered into the Hall.
The two approached the throne where Lord Elrond and Lady Arwen now sat, and settled themselves on the floor, prepared for a long night of beauty and wonder.
“Silmaiel, you must come to Lothlorien with me when I return. I have been kind enough to visit you, now you must return the favor. Haldir is anxious to meet you.”
Misteme stopped short when she became aware of two new arrivals. Silmaiel, noticing this, looked up and immediately found herself lost in eyes that were of the same color as the alluring ocean. Working hard to bring herself out of her trance, Silmaiel found herself focusing on the faces of Legolas and one of his brethren.
Seeing that she was going to have to take the initiative, Misteme introduced herself. “Aaye (Hail) Legolas, son of Thranduil. My name is Misteme. Is there something that we can assist you with?”
“Saesa omentien lle (Pleasure meeting you), Misteme,” he replied. “I have come to ask if Silmaiel would be interested in accompanying me on a night time walk.”
“I am sure she would,” she answered for Silmaiel.
“But I would not want to leave you here alone,” Silmaiel protested.
“I would not permit that to happen,” Legolas said. “My kinsman can stay with Misteme.”
“Yes. That will be fine,” Misteme said. “Now go, Silma.”
Reaching down and taking her hand, Legolas lifted Silmaiel off the floor and led her outdoors.