Lithôniel sat dejectedly on the grass, an open book held loosely in her motionless hands. She sighed unhappily and glanced down at the little golden flowers peeping solemnly out from beneath her feet. Elanor. They had been her mother’s favourite… Her father, Lord Elrond had had them planted in the gardens of Imladris when they had married.
A tear sprang to her unwilling eyes. She would never forget the day four hundred and thirty years ago when her twin brothers Elladan and Elrohir had brought their mother home; broken, scarred and poisoned. She could not be cured of her wound and a year later, she had been sent over the Sea where the Valar would cure her.
Lithôniel clenched her fist. She knew that as an Elf, she was supposed to love all creatures but how could she love an Orc when they had despoiled her beautiful mother and robbed her of her dignity? She remembered the days when she would go riding with her brothers, mercilessly slaughtering any Orc that would cross their path. She closed her eyes, relishing the beloved memory of avenging her mother, not caring what injuries she acquired. And then their father had found out and naturally stopped the past time, stating firmly that he did not wish to lose anyone else.
A mirthful laugh brought her out of her musings, and she looked up, a smile forming upon her fair face as she beheld Elladan fruitlessly trying to teach their four-year-old Human brother, Estel, to dance.
Her eyes roved past the pair, and came to rest upon Legolas, Prince of Greenwood, who had originally came to Imladris on official business but had decided to stay and spend some time with the Peredhil family.
He looked up, sensing Lithôniel’s gaze, and their eyes met. He acknowledged her with an incline of his head, and smiled, the simple expression heightening his rather serious countenance. She held his eyes for a few delicious seconds, drowning in the endless blue depths that were written with unspoken sorrow and tenderness.
Lithôniel glanced away and picked up her book again, missing the look of hurt and confusion that flickered briefly over Legolas’ face. She pretended to read, but in truth, her mind was dwelling on what had just passed between herself and the Prince. She had admired his goodness and bravery for decades, loving him secretly from afar, but she imagined herself too low and unimportant for his attention. To find him returning her gaze, and indeed not look away overwhelmed her, and she began to find herself wondering what her future would be like if things were different…
Her face grew hot and she mentally kicked herself. It would do her no good thinking of what could never be. She was a fool, and a wicked fool at that to even picture herself and Legolas together, blissfully happy. He would marry someday, and he would choose a Princess, beautiful, intelligent and content to stay at home and wait patiently for the return of her husband. She was neither of those things. She was plain, choosing not to listen to her lessons, and wild, preferring to spend her time in the woods hunting, and roughhousing with her brethren.
Elladan stopped, and looked sadly at his downcast sister. It hurt him so to see her in pain – he wished that she above all never had to go through this. She was the perfect image of Celebrían, their mother, and through Lithôniel, her memory would forever live on. An idea struck him, and he stooped, whispering unheard words into Estel’s ear.
The little boy nodded, and he tottered over to the maiden. “May I have this dance?” he asked sweetly, offering his adopted sister a chubby hand.
Lithôniel smiled, and scooped the little boy up into her arms, burying her face into the child’s soft hair. She loved the Human so much she could not bear if anything happened to him. Yet she knew that he was the Heir of Isildur, and he was destined to carry out great deeds, and he was likely to get hurt in the process, perhaps even lose his life. So much rested on his small shoulders he was not even aware of. She remembered the smouldering campsite, the smell of the smoke as she lifted Estel out of his dead mother’s arms. Her grip had been so tight, not letting go of her son, as she had gladly given up her life for his. His father, Arathorn, had been found not far away, no more than six arrows protruding from his back. He had been a good Man, and his vicious death would eternally haunt her. She remembered looking down upon the precious bundle, and it was that moment that she had fell in love with her the child, and brought him to her father who adopted the boy and gave him his name, Estel, raising him as his own.
She came back to the present time to find a sleeping Estel being lifted gently out of her arms and Legolas taking his place. He twined a hand around the maiden’s slim waist, and took her hand in his own, leading her round and round the secluded glen.
“I had to have one dance with you,” he murmured, placing a gentle kiss to her forehead, his lips lingering on her smooth skin. “I too know what it is like to lose a mother,” he continued, taking her by surprise. “I know the pain that you are experiencing. Every night I lay awake thinking how cursed I was and crying to myself. But eventually, I realised that this is Eru’s Will, and that he called my mother to him, just as he surely called Celebrían. We will never forget them, and they us, but we cannot linger eternally in sorrow: we must continue as best we can with our lives, and thank Eru for the time we had with them.”
Lithôniel remained silent, taking in this new information. She had never heard Legolas talk this way before, but it comforted her to know that she was not alone, and that he had went through the same thing, although, he had not lost his mother so maliciously. She clung to his shoulder and she allowed herself to finally mourn, feeling his arms circle around her and hold her to him, relishing in his closeness. She felt like such a child, depending solely on a much-loved adult, but she did not care.
When her tears had subsided, she looked over to Elrohir swinging Estel round and round, watching him chuckle with delight. She gasped as Elrohir stumbled and released his hold on the Human and he catapulted through the air. Lithôniel buried her head into Legolas’ neck, bracing herself for the impact that did not come. She gazed over to where Estel should have landed and laughed when she found a stunned Glorfindel clutching the upside down Human.
“Glorf!” he cried, recognising the warrior. “Will you dance with me?”
“I think you have had enough excitement for the day, little one,” he returned, righting the boy and setting him back onto his feet. He glanced over to where Lithôniel and Legolas stood, still wrapped in one another’s arms, and smiled, casting a knowing look over the couple. “Elladan, Elrohir, come. Your father wants to see you in his study – Estel, you will return with us.”
He turned on his heel, the twins and Estel following in his wake. When he was gone, Legolas turned back to Lithôniel.
“I have missed you so much,” he whispered, running his fingers through her shining, golden hair. “We have been apart for so long. I have been anticipating meeting you from the moment my father sent me to Imladris.”
She gulped. “I have missed you too, Legolas. Indeed, there has not been a single night when I have not thought of you, or longed for one glimpse of your face.”
The Prince smiled. “I have loved you from the moment we first met. We were young, but I knew the feelings I had for you were stronger than that of a brother and sister. “You are beautiful, Lithôniel, and I wish more than anything else to spend the rest of my life with you. Please, marry me?”
Lithôniel stood still, lost for words. Time seemed to freeze, and many minutes passed without her knowing. Legolas frowned, and she realised that she had not given him an answer. She swallowed a lump in her throat. “Yes,” she said simply, watching the Prince’s eyes deepen and fill with longing. “I will be your wife.”
Legolas held the maiden close. She had said that she would be his. His heart leapt in his breast, thinking of spending the rest of his life with her, waking up every morning to find her lying beside him, falling asleep every night in her arms… Lithôniel pregnant with his child. He pulled away and lowered his head, closing his eyes.
A warm rush of heat surged through Lithôniel’s heart as Legolas’ mouth gently covered his, his true feelings revealed to her at last. Her hands slipped up, around his neck, and she felt him pull her even closer, sending his reserved emotion through this one sweet kiss.
A single tear sprang down her cheek, mingling with Legolas’. He was so good, and kind; and would love her and treat her well. This moment was for them alone – their first passionate kiss. It would never last forever and she should enjoy it and treasure it forever. She loved him with all her heart and would always will – no matter what difficulties they might face.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.