Thranduil stalked through the halls of his Mirkwood fortress. His steel blue eyes looked into every room and at every elf as he searched. His head was turned to look down a hall as he ran into one of the captains of his army.
“Are you all right, My Lord?” the elf questioned, “What are you looking for?”
” I am looking for my children. Have you seen them, Belegnar?” Thranduil answered.
Belegnar nodded, “Yes…well, actually I know where they are. Master Legolas and Miss Elwen left to go riding about an hour ago. Shall I send out scouts to bring them back, Sir?”
Thranduil shook his head and clapped Belegnar on the shoulder, “No that is not necessary. Just send them to see me, in my chamber, as soon as they arrive. Don’t give either of them a chance to slip off.” Belegnar saluted and strode off in the direction of the stables, where he sat down and awaited the return of Thranduil’s children. He was not waiting long, for fifteen minutes had hardly elapsed when he heard the sound of two horses approaching. Standing, Belegnar saw the two racing at top speed, with Elwen’s mount in the lead by about half a length. Elwen brought her horse to a sliding stop inches from where Belegnar stood, followed in the same manner by Legolas.
“I beat you, Brother!” Elwen gleefully shouted as she slid down off her horse. Legolas rolled his eyes and dismounted as Elwen turned and greeted Belegnar.
“She beat you now, didn’t she?” Belegnar smiled at Legolas, “You’d better watch out Master Legolas; it won’t be long until she can beat you with blades as well.”
“That will never happen Belegnar. Elwen will never be tall enough to beat me at sword fighting!” Legolas smiled as he insulted Elwen’s smaller stature.
“I’m not that short!” the elven princess protested stamping her foot against the ground.
“Come, come now,” Belegnar indicated the door into the fortress with a wave of his hand, “your father wishes to see you.” Elwen and Legolas both grimaced and exchanged worried looks.
“Ah, you know,” Elwen’s brow furrowed as she stared at the elf captain, “I am still in riding clothes. So I will go and change into a dress for Father’s benefit. Go with him ,Legolas, I’ll be along shortly.”
Belegnar smiled at Elwen’s antics, “Nice try, Missy, but your father wants to see you Now! Come along, both of you.” Legolas and Elwen fell into step behind Belegnar, leaving the care of their horses to the groom. The trio walked through the fortress until they reached the throne room of Thranduil. Belegnar bowed to the King of Mirkwood, as did Legolas, while Elwen performed a rough curtsy. Thranduil nodded toward the door, and Belegnar left closing the door behind him.
“What kind of respect is this that you show your father and king?” Thranduil asked indignantly, “Must the two of you stand there slouching and with slack jaws?” Legolas and Elwen immediately straightened up and Thranduil ran his eyes over them both.
Legolas was tall, reaching a couple of inches above the average elf, and looking, every inch, the prince he was. His hair was blonde, so blonde that it was nearly white, and his eyes were the same deep blue of his father’s. Legolas was dressed in a riding costume consisting of a white long sleeved shirt and black pants topped by a dark green cloak. Elwen also wore the same riding costume as Legolas. But she was slightly short for her age (most elves were a couple inches taller by the time they reached their fifteen hundredth birthday) but her hair was a darker blonde than Legolas’s. Her hair was the color of the sunlight, a rich golden color. Even though she was dressed in pants, Elwen still had all the grace and beauty that all of her kind possess. Elwen was also the mirror image of her mother, a beautiful elf who had been killed many years ago.
“My children,” Thranduil began, “it has come to my attention that you have not been behaving in the proper manner for elves to act.” Legolas and Elwen looked at each other as their father continued, “So, I have decided to send you both over to Lothlorien to visit Galadriel and her kin. Perhaps they can teach you some manners. You will leave tomorrow accompanied by an escort of Belegnar’s soldiers.”
“But Father,” Legolas interrupted, “Elwen and I are quite capable of fending for ourselves. We don’t need an escort; let us go on our own.”
“I would, Legolas, but you are not quite grown. And you know full well that it is against the rules of the realm of Mirkwood, for a child to leave the borders unaccompanied by an elder. So both of leave, prepare yourselves, you are to leave right after breakfast.” Legolas and Elwen left their father’s room and went their separate ways, fully engrossed with the preparation for the journey.
Elwen and Legolas left Mirkwood as soon as they finished eating. They rode for the better part of two days, before stopping at the edge of the Kingdom of Lothlorien. Elwen and Legolas, along with the other elves, stopped to water and rest their horses. Legolas left his horse and began walking down the banks of the river by himself. He went deeper and deeper into the woods. Soon, however, he stopped to get a drink. As he was drinking, he noticed in the water, the reflection of a person holding out a drawn sword. Legolas stood and drew his swords as his attacker launched into him. The two fought for a few moments and Legolas had the upper hand, when suddenly, five more people flew out of the bushes and began to help his attacker. Precisely at that moment, Elwen arrived and joined the fight, followed closely by Belegnar’s soldiers.
One of them, a male named Calenorn, stopped, seeing the fight and called out, “Stop, we are the elves of Mirkwood. Brethren put down your arms.” immediately all the elves stopped fighting, and Legolas’s attacker removed its hood. There stood a she-elf.
“Tethcelebel,” Elwen cried happily and ran to embrace her cousin, “Why in the name of the Valar did you attack Legolas?”
Tethcelebel smiled, “I heard he was good with swords, I wanted to find out just how good.”
“He’s not all he’s made up to be!” Elwen dropped her voice to a whisper and winked, “I could do better than him.”
Tethcelebel’s pretty green eyes sparkled as she broke into laughter. Tethcelebel was taller than Elwen by about four inches, and where Elwen’s frame was characterized by thicker bones and muscles, Tethcelebel’s was lean and lithe. Hair, the same blonde color that graced Legolas, flowed freely from Tethcelebel’s head all the way to her waist. Tethcelebel was the same age as Legolas and about five hundred years older than Elwen.
“Come,” she said beckoning with her hand, “my grandmother, Galadriel awaits you.” The elves of
Mirkwood made their way back up the river bank to where their horses still grazed. They all mounted and followed Tethcelebel and the rest of the welcoming party into the Realm of Lothlorien. Elwen and Tethcelebel rode side by side, silently, as each was preoccupied with their own thoughts. Tethcelebel’s thoughts were of the time that she could spend with her guests and on what her grandmother would when Galadriel found out that she had ambushed Legolas. Elwen’s thoughts were of Galadriel, and how little patience she tended to show to the Mirkwood princess. Elwen sighed heavily, she always seemed to get Galadriel angry with some action. The party of elves rode through the forest of Lothlorien until they arrived at its center. There, waiting to greet them, stood Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. To Celeborn’s right stood two figures, one of them was an elf, Arwen daughter of Lord Elrond, and the other was Ohtarwen, a human, the child of a Ranger, and on the way to becoming a Ranger herself, both under the care of Elrond in Imladris.
Arwen was average height for a she elf with long brown hair. She had dark blue eyes and a nice smile. She was dressed in a long loose robe of red velvet. She was regal looking and often acted superior to her younger associates, namely Legolas, Tethcelebel and Elwen.
Ohtarwen was different from all the others in that she was human. She was seventeen, with long dark brown hair, pulled back out of her face. She had dark brown eyes and an olive complexion. She wore a long, dark grey, hooded cape, splattered with mud, covering dirty brown pants and a rusty green shirt. The shirt was laced down the middle for the entire length of the shirt, and around Ohtarwen’s waist was a wide strip of leather that functioned as a belt. From the belt hung a long sword, Ancating, as she called it, and another leather band was worn around her wrist.
“Greetings, Legolas, Elwen, Calenorn and the rest of you from Mirkwood.” Galadriel extended her hand to Legolas in welcome, “You all must be tired from your travels. Go and bathe, rest yourselves before it is time to eat.”
“Thank you, Lady Galadriel. We shall do as you say. And, I nearly forgot, my father sends you his greetings and blessings.” Legolas spoke as he dismounted. Elwen followed his suit, and as soon as her feet hit the ground, Galadriel sighed.
“Really, Elwen-Lothnar,” the ruler of Lothlorien began, using Elwen’s full name, “Do you always dress in such a manner?” Elwen immediately guarded her thoughts to prevent Galadriel from reading her mind. Galadriel had long disliked Elwen’s wearing of pants and shirts instead of dresses. And the riding clothes Elwen wore now were not the type of clothes Galadriel thought an elf maiden should be wearing.
“Yes, Little Elwen,” Arwen stepped forward to remove loose hairs from the back of Elwen’s cloak, “Must you dress in pants all the time? I actually brought along an old dress of mine that should fit you, come along and we’ll see how it looks on you.” Tethcelebel looked to Elwen expectantly; her cousin had inherited Thranduil’s fiery temper. Elwen was smiling politely, but sure enough, her eyes were blazing with anger.
“Thank you, Arwen, for the offer of the dress, but I am afraid that I will have to decline. And no, Lady Galadriel, I don’t always dress like this. But this is my standard apparel for most times.” Elwen nodded her head respectfully to Celeborn and walked off towards the bathing place over along the river. Tethcelebel looked for a moment at Galadriel then took off after Elwen. Elwen heard Tethcelebel running behind her and slowed her pace. The two cousins walked along together, talking quietly about anything and everything they could think of.