Kalavai had followed the voices of the elves to the northern border of Mirkwood. Once there, the elves quieted and Kalavai was glad she had found them before they had entered the beautiful forest. She had been following the elves for quite a while now and was curious as to their destination. There was no trail to follow, but the elves seemed to know where they were going. Kalavai found herself wishing that she had brought some food or at least something to dull the pain of her back. Some of the scares on her back had started to bleed again and were burning furiously. If only she had brought something for the pain! It was too late Kalavai realized that the elves had stopped and she had walked right into the mists of Legolas’ companions.
“What’s this?” Legolas asked and his eyebrows rose.
He started towards Kalavai, but she slowly backed away from him. Suddenly, she turned around to run only to find the arrows of Legolas’ companions in her face. Silently, Legolas came up behind her to grab her. Kalavai tensed. When Legolas was about two inches away from her, Kalavai whipped around and slapped Legolas full in the face and ran.
“Ow!” Legolas said, rubbing a large red mark on his face.
“She’s as quick as a whip, that one,” one of Legolas’ companions laughed.
“And as painful,” Legolas muttered. Then he turned to find Kalavai. “Where did she go?”
Kalavai hurriedly ran away, scrambling to get as far away from the elves as possible. But when she turned to see if the elves were chasing her, she tripped on a protruding tree root and whammed, back first, strait into a tree. “O . . . o . . . o. . . . ow.” Kalavai stammered. Her back burned with pain as her newest welts from Lady Siddan’s whip began to bleed again. Then the pain overwhelmed her. Kalavai moaned and fell to the ground, unconscious.
“She’s bleeding?! She didn’t hit the tree that hard,” Legolas said, and rushed over to the fallen girl. Part of the back of Kalavai’s shirt had ripped when she fell, giving Legolas a good look at the many scars and now bleeding welts that covered her back. Turning to his companions, Legolas spoke. “No wonder she fainted,” he said, “look at her back!”
The other elves rushed over to Kalavai and stared at her back. It was not the new welts that startled the elves, but the many scars that laced her back. It was clear that to the elves that the girl had been whipped for many long years.
“So that’s who was screaming last night. . .” Legolas said quietly. “Come. We must take her to my mother. She will help the girl.” With that, the elves carried the limp Kalavai deep into Mirkwood towards Legolas’ kingdom.
¤5; ¤5; ¤5;
Kalavai sat up, and was at once reminded of the past day’s happenings by the waves of pain the movement sent down her back. More then slightly frightened, Kalavai glanced wildly around the room she was in. The elves, she thought, they must have brought me here. Am I their prisoner? But all her wide eyes found was a tray of food. Kalavai was on the food at once, she felt like she had not eaten in days. She had a roll halfway in her mouth when one of the elves opened the door silently and came in. Kalavai immediately recognized the elf as Legolas, the one she had slapped.
“Oh, you’re up already? You must be a fast healer,” he said
“Stay . . . stay away from me!” she said, backing hurriedly away from Legolas. All she could think of was him whipping her for slapping him.
“Easy, easy. I’m not going to whip you or anything. I just want to take you to-“
“I said stay away from me!” Kalavai screamed, once again backing up. But her feet slipped on the rug and she landed hard back first on the ground. Biting her lip, Kalavai struggled to keep herself from screaming. Legolas might think that she was a fast healer, but her back hurt almost unbearably where she slammed it on the ground.
Seeing that she wanted to be alone, Legolas left without helping Kalavai up. He was concerned for her, but he did not want Kalavai to feel like she was a weakling. For that she was not. Anyone who could survive seven years of whipping was most certainty not a weakling.
Lips set in a stubborn line, Kalavai pulled herself up onto the bed. She would not let the elves think that she was a weakling; for if they thought that they would most certainly send her back. That was the last thing Kalavai wanted. If need be, she would fight them so that they did not take her back. She was not going back. Ever.
¤5; ¤5; ¤5;
Legolas was seated at a table with two other elves, each fair in skin and hair and blue in eyes as himself. They were his father, Tharnduil and mother, Eleinathar, the Lord and Lady of Mirkwood. With his father Legolas was in a heated conversation; his mother sat back in her chair, watching.
“Send her back?! Are you mad? Did you see what those people did to her?!” Legolas shouted at his father. Elves take emotions to the extremes, but Legolas tended to take them farther then most.
“And what if she was whipped for a good reason? What if she-” Tharnduil bellowed back.
“I was there! That Lady Siddan creature almost broke her foot because she said `your welcome’ when I said thank you to her!” Legolas interrupted furiously. “Besides, what if she is the forgotten one?!”
“The forgotten one is mere legend! She does not exist!” Tharnduil replied hotly.
“Please, father and son should not fight amongst each other,” Eleinathar said gently but sternly. At once Legolas and Tharnduil stopped screaming at each other and turned to look at Eleinathar. When the Lady of Mirkwood tells you to do something, you obey. “I have a proposal to make. What if the girl was to stay for, perhaps, two weeks as a trial time, to see if she is as Tharnduil says, or as Legolas insists she isn’t.”
Reluctantly, both Legolas and Tharnduil agreed to Eleinathar’s proposal. Kalavai’s trail would begin tomorrow when she awoke; she would also be informed of it then by Legolas. Then Legolas, at his request, was granted permission to show Kalavai around Mirkwood and introduce her to the elves. She would not be without friends if he could help it, of that he was sure. Bowing curtly to his father and mother, Legolas took his leave. He had work to do.
¤5; ¤5; ¤5;
Kalavai woke to the wonderful sound of peaceful quiet. Her back, as Kalavai was delighted to notice, did not hurt nearly as much and had been banged neatly. Then she remembered where she was. Kalavai knew that the elves were not likely going to hurt her after bandaging her wounds, but that was no reason to lay off her guard. Glancing around her room, Kalavai was astonished to see that it was quite richly decorated. She had thought that since she had slapped the elf Legolas, who was obviously someone of great importance, that the elves would lock her in a prison of some sort. But this was obviously not the case. A beautiful silver mirror entwined with a green vine cunningly made from metal hung on the far wall. Beneath the mirror was a dresser carved of a fine white wood. Five lamps carved of a clear crystal light the room magnificently. A rug that displayed four trees; a rowan, birch, maple, and an oak with a small brook meandering around the trees; was the rug that she had slipped upon last night. A tall, gracefully arched door made of the same white wood as the dresser was placed in the center of the wall nearest to the foot of the bed in which Kalavai was sitting in. the bed was of the canopy style, with its arched beams and green and silver silk curtains hanging down from the top and tied to the main supports. Of this lovely room Kalavai found that she was currently its only occupant.
Since there was no one else in the room watching her, Kalavai decided to stand up and see if she could walk around without her back hurting her too much. Clinging to the bedpost for support, Kalavai carefully climbed out of her bed. This feat she managed to complete with only a minor amount of dizziness. Then, letting go of the bedpost, Kalavai walked across the room without once feeling any pain in her back. Kalavai was overjoyed, even after the most minor of whippings given to her by Lady Siddan she could not walk for many days, and here she was walking with only minor bursts of dizziness three days after her most severe whipping yet. Truly, Kalavai thought, the elves were marvelous healers. Then Kalavai felt terribly ashamed. The elves had placed her in a nice room, not a prison cell, and healed her wounds. And all she had done was slap Legolas in the face. She had to go and apologize to him. Walking over to the door, Kalavai cautiously turned the handle to see if it was locked. To her immense relief, it wasn’t, and the door opened soundlessly, emitting Kalavai into the underground realm of the elves of Mirkwood.
¤5; ¤5; ¤5;
Legolas had risen early with the sun, as was his custom. Once up he had packed himself a light breakfast and went out to the stables to tend to his horse, a spirited and fateful chestnut mare by the name of Marathiel. He had been out in the stables for quite awhile now and was picking Marathiel’s feet, having finished with her mane and tail, when her herd a voice coming from the entrance to the Kingdom of Mirkwood. Placing down his grooming tools, Legolas said an elvish word to his horse to keep her quiet and began to follow the intruder.
¤5; ¤5; ¤5;
Kalavai had decided that it was impossible for one to know there way in the tunnels of the kingdom of Mirkwood. After what seemed like hours of wandering in tunnels light by crystal lamps, Kalavai was quite happy when she finally found her way out into the outdoor courtyard of the Kingdom. “Stupid tunnels,” Kalavai muttered darkly. “How in the name of the elenath are you supposed to know your way down there? I though I was going to be stuck down there forever. First thing I’m going to do after I find that Legolas guy and apologize to him is ask him for a room outside.” Kalavai continued complaining in similar mutters while all the time searching for any sign of Legolas, or any elf for that matter.
Kalavai had not yet seen any elves, and was on the verge of giving up and trying to find her way back to her room, or to some breakfast, when she heard a twig crack behind her. Kalavai instantly turned around to slap whoever was stalking her, but her hand was caught by a larger one.
“Caught you this time,” Legolas grinned. “What are you doing up this early?”
“Looking for you,” Kalavai replied tartly, not at all amused. Then all her sarcasm faded and she hung her head with shame. She was here to apologize to Legolas, not back talk him. “I just wanted to tell you sorry for slapping you . . . and trying to again.”
“It’s okay,” he replied, still grinning. “Besides, we could have been nicer to you.”
“And I could have been nicer, too. I’m really sorry about that,” Kalavai said.
“Like I said, it’s okay. You don’t need to keep apologizing. Anyway, I was going to see if you were up,” Legolas said.
“Why?” Kalavai questioned, her curiosity aroused and shame forgotten.
“Well, my father, Tharnduil, wants to send you back to those people, Lord Garrick and Lady Siddan. But I argued with him because I knew that you had done nothing, at least while I was there, to be forced to live with creatures like that. So my mother, Eleinathar, came up with a solution. You are on sort of a trial. For the next two weeks everywhere you go you will be accompanied by either myself or another elf by the name of Ianithiel. You see, my father thinks that you have been whipped for a good reason, but he agrees with me in saying that you have elvish blood in you,” Legolas concluded.
“Me?” Kalavai said incredulously. “I have elven blood?”
“Kalavai, look at yourself. Your ears are pointed like those of my kind, your eyes are of the same shade and depth and your hair is golden white. Not to mention the fact that you have elven reflexes and endurance. Can you not tell? You are of elven blood!” Legolas exclaimed.
For a moment, Kalavai just stood there in shock. The she turned to Legolas. “Are you sure? I mean, you’re not just teasing me?” Kalavai asked suspiciously.
“Of course I’m sure. Hey, I’m the one who wanted you to stay, remember?” Legolas said, defending himself.
“Well, in that case. . .” Kalavai paused thoughtfully, pondering the circumstances. Then she grinned, a mischievous light shinning in her eyes. “You guys are going to have one heck of a time getting ride of me!”
“Oh, and that reminds me,” Legolas said impishly and grinned. Putting two of his fingers to his mouth, Legolas whistled a single trilled note. Still grinning, he turned to Kalavai and said, “I found this guy wandering around the forest like he was looking for someone. Know him?”
At that exact moment, a horse poked his head out from behind a wall and neighed questioningly.
“Rowan!” Kalavai shouted with joy.
At the sound of its name, the horse perked up. Then, recognizing his master, Rowan bolted over the fence and ran strait to Kalavai in a full gallop. Kalavai ran likewise to meet him. Legolas watched the antics of both horse and master, the smile never leaving his face. Then, seeing Rowan almost knock Kalavai over by nuzzling her to check if she was all in one piece, Legolas burst into merry laughter. Kalavai soon joined him, for the laughter of elves is quite infectious, and Rowan started neighing in short, joyful bursts. In a short while the whole of Mirkwood was filled with the laughter from the two friends.
It was into this cheery scene that Ianithiel walked. Her slight frame was enveloped in a wave of light gold hair as she shook her head. Upon seeing Rowan practically knocking down his mistress with joy, Kalavai laughing uncontrollably and holding her sides, and Legolas doubled over with mirth, Ianithiel arched one delicate brow. “And once again,” she said sternly, although she could barely stop herself from laughing, “the Prince Legolas has woken the whole of Mirkwood with his outrageously loud laughter.” However, Ianithiel too became a victim of the comical scene, and soon her high, tinkling laugh added itself to the others already in the air.
Kalavai was the first to stop laughing; and now she was massaging her sore ribs. “Legolas,” she threatened, “If you ever do anything like that again, I will slap you yet again in the face.”
“Please, please, that hurt!” Legolas exclaimed in mock terror.
“Go ahead, Kalavai. Slap him again!” Ianithiel encouraged.
“Hey, whose side are you on?” Legolas accused good-humoredly, turning to Ianithiel.
“Why, Kalavai’s of course. Whose side did think I was going to be on, yours?” Ianithiel replied.
“So you’re Ianithiel, right?” Kalavai asked.
“Yes, Legolas and I will go ever where with you during your trial. But don’t worry, we’ll help.” Ianithiel assured Kalavai.
“Thanks. It’s nice to have friends,” Kalavai said gratefully. “And, with you guys to help me, you all really are going to have a heck of a time getting ride of me!”
“I’m sure we will. But Legolas and I aren’t the only ones who want to stay,” Ianithiel said. “Half of the wood elves, including some in the Golden Wood, want you to stay.”
“But why? What good am I to you guys?” Kalavai asked.
“Well, that’s what Ianithiel and I are going to find out. But as for now, we know that you’re funny, an excellent cook, and good with animals, as Rowan so kindly showed us,” Legolas said.
“Now that we’re finished with that little explanation, let’s head off to the archery field. I want to see how well you can shoot, Kalavai,” Legolas said. “Get Rowan ready. The archery field is far away. If you’ll just wait for a moment, Ianithiel and I will get our horses.” With that, Legolas and Ianithiel walked away in the direction of the stable, a long, one story building.
While they were gone, another elf approached Kalavai. He had the same color long hair and the blue eyes typical of wood elves, but his eyes were icy and cruel. He was dressed slightly different from the rest of the elves, wearing more grays and no gold, and he had a regal and forbidding air about him.
“Well, well, what have we here?” he questioned suspiciously. “A human wench wandering about the wood elf kingdom?”
“I’m half elven, thank you very much,” Kalavai replied tartly. “And I’m no `human wench’, either. My name is Kalavai.”
“Oh, so you’re the one who slapped Prince Legolas in the face. You must have some nerve, wench. I’m surprised that they haven’t sent you back to the dump you came from. No matter; you’ll end up back there sooner or latter.” With that, the cruel elf strode away, calling over his shoulder, “Oh, and you might want to walk quieter. You could’ve woken the entire keep with the noise you were making.”
Kalavai ground her teeth angrily. She did not like that elf at all. Just in time to see the heartless elf leaving, Legolas walked up. Seeing that Kalavai was in a foul mood, Legolas turned to her and asked, “What ails you, friend?”
“An elf that was here but a moment ago,” Kalavai replied. “You can still see him now, up ahead in between those two trees.”
“Why do you speak of this elf so viciously?” Legolas asked, surprised by the disgust in Kalavai’s voice.
But Kalavai merely replied by saying, “What is his name?”
“Why, Haldir. But, why do ask of him? He is not even an elf of Mirkwood.”
“It is nothing. Anyway, aren’t we going to the archery field?” Kalavai said, changing the subject.
“Oh, yes. Mount your horse and follow me.” He had noticed the change in subject, but had decided not ask. “It is time to see if you are good at anything other the sarcasm, lady half-elven.”
“To me,” Kalavai replied, grinning, “that is a complement.”
With many more jokes, laughs and sarcastic statements, the three friends headed off to the archery clearing. None of them, not even the keen eyed Legolas, noticed Haldir starring after them with a look of evil mischievousness and malicious expectancy. Everything was going as he had planned. And as far as he was concerned, it couldn’t have been working better.