Faces floated above Alak as he lay on something soft in a half-dream. He couldn’t make out what the faces looked like; the world was too blurry.
Something warm touched his forehead. A gentle voice, a female voice, was speaking Common. But she sounded so far away, he couldn’t understand her.
Alak, a soft voice whispered in his mind. Wake up, Alak. You’re safe now. Come on. Wake up.
Alak slowly opened his eyes. He was lying on a bed, he was sure of that, and the atmosphere had a dim tone to it, like candlelight. He was no longer wearing his tunic, but white robes made for elven nightwear. A woman knelt over him, a beautiful elven lady with large blue eyes and long brown hair. Her lips moved as she spoke, but he could not hear her. “Huh?” he moaned.
“Are you awake?” she repeated. Her voice sounded thick, as if he were underwater. Or maybe that’s how messed up he was in the head.
Sweet Moon, his head hurt. He could feel the blood throbbing in his skull. What had happend to him? He struggled to remember. He had been in the woods. There was a storm. Lightning. A white creature…
“Where am I?” he whispered. For some reason those simple one-syllable words were so hard to say.
“I am Arwen,” the woman replied softly, her voice clearer to him. “You are in the House of Aragorn, High King of Gondor.”
“ARAGORN!?!” Alak sat up so suddenly, a wave of nausea washed over him. He fell back down on the bed, trying to prevent himself from vomiting. He had heard of Aragorn from his grandfather when the elven king spoke of Legolas’s bravery during the War of the Ring and his ties with the rest of the Fellowship. Maybe this Aragorn could help Alak find his way to Mirkwood.
“Here. Drink this.” Arwen gently lifted Alak’s head and held a small wooden bowl to his lips. A bittersweet herbal liquid flowed down his throat, its heat soothing his insides with warm carresses. The sickness passed. His head no longer hurt.
But sitting up quickly like that was taking its toll. Alak was fast losing his grip on consciousness.
As if noticing this, Arwen placed the empty bowl on her lap and laid Alak’s head against the pillow. “You rest now,” she instructing with kind, motherly firmness. “We shall hear your story later. And do not sit up like that again. Otherwise, you’ll pass out.”
Alak was quick to obey, and no sooner did he close his eyes that his mind embraced the darkness that came back to claim him.
Aragorn had never been so shocked in his entire life. The moment he laid eyes on the strange elf his sons carried in the palace, Aragorn was completely speechless, his first thought being, Sweet Rivendell, it’s Legolas!!
No. A second look immediately proved him wrong. However, the elf looked very much like Aragorn’s long time friend and elven companion, Legolas Greenleaf, whom he hadn’t seen for thirty years. Aragorn knew Legolas traveled West with the other Mirkwood Elves but that was the latest knews the king ever heard from him.
Well, thirty years were quite some time, even for elves. It surely was enough time at least for a good-looking elf like Legolas to meet a beautiful young lady, fall in love, marry, raise little elflings…
Aragorn nearly choked. Could it be this elf was Legolas’s son?
There certainly wasn’t much room for doubt. Save his jet black hair and scar under his left eye, the strange elf could be Legolas’s twin. Also, the elf was much younger looking, hardly looking more than an elfling.
Aragorn stood out in the hall, determining whether or not the time was right to question the elf, when the door opened, his wife stepped into the hall, carrying the bowl that once held the herbal potion.
“How is he?” Aragorn inquired.
“Sleeping,” Arwen replied. “Apparently, he has a mild concussion. I just gave him a healing potion that should speed up the healing process. He also has an incredibly high fever coming on, so I’d better go prepare for that. Where is Serenity?”
“In her room changing into new clothes,” Aragorn replied. When his wife raised a questioning brow, he explained, “Theo succeeded in splashing her with the tub of water for his feet.”
Arwen sighed in good-natured exasperation. “That boy acts more and more human everyday. He is 25 years old and he still has yet to grow up. He’s starting to become like someone I know.” She smiled sweetly at Aragorn.
“Pardon me, my lady, but are you referring to me?” Aragorn demanded, pretending to be insulted.
Arwen continued to smile and briefly kissed his lips. “Tell Serenity to keep an on the guest and I’ll take care of the other two.”
Elves heal very fast, and though they are immune to most diseases, some illnesses still challanged their bodies to battle from time to time.
A fever is one of those challangers, and, if serious enough, could leave an elf bedridden from several hours to several days.
Alak’s body felt as if it were on fire as the fever raged in his blood. The warm sensations on his forehead were replaced by ice cold ones. He tossed in his bed as if trying to roll the heat off of him. His hair was drenched with presperation as his sweat rolled down his body, burning every inch of skin it touched. He slipped in and out of fever dreams so often, he couldn’t tell what was reality any more.
Sometimes he saw an angel, a beautiful angel, with silkly brown hair and deep sapphire eyes looming above him, looking deeply concerned, her full lips pursed in concentration.
Then he would see a white creature lying beside him, its head resting lightly on his chest, staring at him with large, almond-shaped eyes.
The voice began to speak again. Come on, Alak. You must wake up. The fever is breaking. Everything is going to be all right. Be strong now. Wake up.
When Alak finally did recover consciousness, it was several hours later, after sunset. His senses were much clearer, though his body still burned. The storm outside had died considerably, the only sound being the rain tapping lightly against the windows.
The angel was in the room, sitting on a stool by the fireplace close to the bed. She had no wings, but her beauty nearly took Alak’s breath away. She was clearly elven, but her skin had a bronze hue to it, and her dark hair flowed around her neck, not straight like the usual elven style, but wavy and only exceeded to her shoulders.
She turned her sapphire eyes to him, and Alak felt his stomach twist in knots, not from sickness, but something more emotional.
Alakolas had always felt intimidated by the those of the female gender. They looked so haunting and delicate, and yet behind their fragile shells lay enough power to strip a man of his soul.
“Are you awake?” the angel asked him in a soothing voice that made his heart quiver.
“Yes,” he answered softly. She came closer, and rested a hand against his forehead, an icy touch that sent chills shaking through his nervous system.
She bit her bottom lip. “You’re still feverish, though it seems to be dying down a bit. Are you feeling all right?”
He nodded. “I’m also kinda hungry.”
The angel smiled. “That’s good. It means your body is recovering. Wait, and I will send for the servants.”
As she stepped out the door, Alak found it harder to breathe. She wore long violet robes that hugged her curves with delicate respect. They swirled around her legs ever so silently as she turned. Her sleeves hung down from her arms, given her the look of an ancient elven goddess.
Alak slowly sat up in the bed, and quickly averted his gaze as she walked back into the room, and he felt his face burning again.
“We haven’t been formally introduced,” the angel said as she sat down on the stool. “My name is Princess Serenity, Daughter of King Aragorn and Queen Arwen.”
Serenity. The name matched her beauty like a soulmate.
For a moment, Alak couldn’t speak. And when he finally did regain his voice, he was so flustered that his words became all mixed up. “I’m Princess…PRINCE! Alakolas Greenleaf, Son of Legolas Mirkwood of Greenleaf–I mean, Legolas Greenleaf of Mirkwood!” He covered his face with a hand, wanting desperately for this all to be a nightmare brought on by the fever.
Serenity fought to surpass a giggle; laughing would be rude. She had never meant an elf who ever became flustered, and therefore she never realized how hilarious it would look. “I’ve heard of Legolas Greenleaf,” she said once she finally regained her composure. “My father often talks about him and the rest of the Fellowship. He was the elven archer if I’m not mistaken. Father hasn’t heard from Legolas in thirty years and they were really good friends. He may come in here and speak to you about your father’s whereabouts.”
As if on cue, the door opened and Aragorn poked his head inside. “Is he awake?”
“Yes, Father,” Serenity answered. “Come on in.”
Alak’s face drained of its color with shock, his eyes wide, his jaw hanging open in disbelief. What a strange elf Aragorn was! His ears weren’t pointed. They were small and roundish. There were strange hairs on his face as well, something elves never had. Maybe he was half-dwarf, though Alak couldn’t see how that was possible. Elflings were not taught the Dwarven version of the birds and the bees. Their own version was inapporpiate enough.
Or maybe he had a run-in with an griffon. Griffons were known to shed a lot.
Also the king’s skin was dark and he looked kind of rugged, and, in Alakolas’s elven eyes, kinda ugly, too.
“Hello, I am King Aragorn, ruler of this kingdom,” Aragorn spoke up with a polite bow. His face screwed in an expression of puzzlement as he met Alak’s alarmed gaze. “Pardon me, but are you all right?”
“Excuse me, sir, but I must remark on your ears,” Alak spoke up as he continued to gawk at Aragorn. “They are very round for an elf, and I was wondering from what race are you?” Alak may be an elfling, but he still remembered his manners.
Aragorn smiled. “Ah, you must have came from the West. I understand for you would probably have never seen my kind before until now. I am not an elf. My race is that of Man.”
If Alak was to open his eyes any wider, they would have popped out of his head. “You’re a HUMAN!?!” he shrieked. “I’ve heard of Aragorn Son of Arathorn from the stories my grandfather told me, but he never told me you were a human! Wow, I’ve never met a human before! So, this is what a human looks like!”
Then Alak stopped in his speculation and stared at Serenity. “But what would that make her?” he asked.
(Please keep in mind that Alakolas is an elfling, and elflings are very blunt creatures.)
“I am Half-Elf,” Serenity explained. “I look human, but as you can see, I have the pointy ears.” She giggled, enjoying the elfling innocense Alak possessed.
“Now if you don’t mind, young one,” Aragorn began, “there are a few things I’d like to ask you.”