The horse’s hooves clamored upon the stone floor of Imladris as they came to a halt. It was still dark and Minuial could feel the cool misty air upon her face. She could hear the voices of others approaching them as Legolas’ grip on her lessened slightly. She was feeling somewhat less ill, but ever more weary.
” Legolas, brannon nin, man car le gerin ennas?” (Legolas, my lord, who do you have there?) came a voice from the darkness.
“This is Minuial and she is very ill, Saruman’s poison is taking her, we must bring her to Lord Elrond immediately.” Legolas slid gently out from behind her and slid down off the steed. He gently lifted her off their mount and carried her as he followed the other elves.
Minuial wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling herself closer to him, and whispered in his ear “Hannon le Legolas…. veleth….. nin.” (Thank you Legolas…. my love) She then fell limp in his arms.
He carried her up the stairs to Elrond’s hall with urgency. Arwen, Elrond’s daughter met them at the entrance. “Come with me Legolas, my father is waiting for her in here.” Arwen led him into a grand bed chamber. Legolas laid her softly upon the bed.
“What happened here my friend?” Elrond asked.
Legolas was overcome with worry, but managed to tell his tale of the evenings events. “I was traveling to see you at the request of my Father, and met up with Boromir of Gondor on the road I was taking. We started to notice many figures moving about in the darkness and decided to continue our journey away from the road. We were riding through the woods of Durin when I noticed a party of orcs in the distance. I told Boromir to halt while I climbed a tree to get a better look at what they were doing in this part of the forest. I could see they had already bound the hands and feet of this poor elf maiden while she slept. I called down to Boromir and told him of what I saw. We made our plan and fended off the orcs. But by the time we defeated them, they had bound her hands and feet and forced this evil concoction down her throat.” With that Legolas pulled the flask from his belt and gave it to Elrond.
“Sarumon?” Elrond asked with surprise.
“Yes, It is partly the reason I was coming here, but we can discuss that later. Minuial drank more than half of that venom. She was frightened and was calling to her father. She is strong my Lord and has remained so this long, but I fear she is beginning to lose her fight.”
Elrond examined the flask that Legolas had given him. He emptied the contents into a crystal goblet that stood on a table at the foot of the bed. A strange green mist rose from the glass, but quickly dissipated. Such evil concoctions held no sway in this land. He looked upon it for a few moments before picking it up and smelling it.
“Strange indeed are these tidings. I had not known that Sarumon has chosen allegiance to Mordor.” His gaze fell upon the anguished face of the Elven prince. He knew his mind was on the girl and would not learn anymore of Sarumon from him this night. “Fear not Legolas, it is not beyond my skill to help her. But it will take her some time to recover.”
Minuial seemed to stir beneath them, Elrond continued “I must begin now, it will be several hours before I will know any more, Arwen send for Glorfindel, we need to send word to Lorien. Then show Legolas to his lodging.”
Legolas shook his head in disapproval, he was worried and wanted to be by her side.
Elrond turned to Legolas again. ” You have done well my friend, go and take some rest. I will send for you when she awakes” Reluctantly, Legolas followed Arwen to his chambers.
Arwen tried to rest the young prince’s mind and assure him all would be well with the young maiden, but he would not feel at ease until he saw for himself Minuial’s recovery.
“Arwen, I know you mean well, but I can not help but to despair.” Anguish crept back into his eyes as he recalled the feeling of the girl in his arms “I felt her grace wavering while she laid limply in my arms. I can not help but to believe that had just a single moment of hesitation occurred she would not have lasted.”
He laid upon a cushioned wooden bench set upon the balcony of his chambers and stared up at the stars. Arwen sat upon the edge of the bench and took Legolas’ hand in her own.
Her eyes were tender and understanding as she spoke softly “She is stronger than you could ever know my lord. Do not give into despair, for her grace is strong, she will not falter now.”
Legolas searched her face for the meaning behind her words. “Do not speak to me in riddles Arwen, I have not time nor patience for them, What strength and grace do you speak of?”
She looked behind her to ensure that they were alone. Her long dark hair fell over her shoulder as she leaned closer to her friend. Quietly she said “She is my cousin, you know of the legend I speak. You have heard the tale of Nimrodel and Amroth…” she paused for his acknowledgment,
“Yes, a tragic tale it was” he replied, “But what has song and legend to do with her?”
“She is the detail left out of the tragedy…..she is the daughter they left behind.”
Legolas could not mask his surprise, he had not known it was Galadriel’s heiress he carried from danger. “Then why was she so weak, why could she not fight those that attacked her? Surely she has power enough to summon to fend off a band of orcs.”
Arwen heard someone approaching, she quickly looked behind them and then back to him, “I have said too much already, but I hope my words have given you peace enough to take some rest.”
Legolas shook his head slightly, concern crossing his brow, “I think not my lady, you have given me more to consider than before. More questions go unanswered.”
Arwen smiled at him, “Well the answers will have to wait for another time. I must go now to Glorfindel and send him with word to Lorien.”
Legolas stood up abruptly, “I will go in his stead.”
Arwen shook her head and grasped the elf’s shoulder firmly. “You are needed here, and more than that you need to rest. I believe there is a long journey that lies ahead of you, so take your rest now. I will hear of nothing else.” She turned and left his chambers.
He laid back down upon the bench. Arwen was right, he was tired. The gentle roar of the falls of Bruinen could be heard in the distance. His thoughts strayed to the beautiful eyes of the lady he brought here and pondered the words she whispered in his ear before she fell silent. “Thank you Legolas, my love.” Her words echoed in his mind until eventually he fell into a restless sleep.
Elrond wove his magic to counter the poison which coursed through her veins. It proved a more difficult task then he had initially thought, but after many hours Minuial began to come around.
” Ada……Ada…. come to me Ada…”
Elrond looked down at her face with great concern. She was calling for the father she never met. “I bid you solace my lady, rest easy, you are safe in my care now.”
Slowly she opened her eyes. Her sight remained unclear but she could feel her body was beginning to heal. “My lord? Where.. where am I? Who are you? What..”
“Shhhhhh, you must take heed of my words. Rest easy, do not be frightened, I am Elrond, and you have been brought to me quite ill. You are healing now, but you still have much rest ahead of you.” His face was that of a caring fatherlike figure, but strong and noble like that of a great King.
She suddenly remembered, “I am in Rivendell. I have word for you from Galadriel, I must tell..” She winced with pain as a light flashed in her head and Elrond stopped her from speaking further,
“There will be time enough for that tomorrow, it will be here faster then you think.” He placed his hand upon her head and bid her to sleep. Her eyes closed slowly as she strayed almost instantly into a dream.
When she awoke nearly two days later, there was a familiar face to greet her. “Hello my lady, how do you feel today?” Legolas was regarding her warmly. She realized that he was holding her hand in his sending a tingling racing through her.
Bashfully she replied “Much better I think. It was by the grace of the Valar that you came to my rescue, I can not thank you enough.”
“Oh no, you need not thank me..” Legolas paused for a moment as he took note of her sparkling eyes, “…but if you insist upon a way to do so, then I would have you well enough to join me for walk amongst the trees of Elrond’s gardens.”
She was delighted at the prospect. “Well my lord, it would be my honor, but I fear it will be quite some time before I will be strong enough to show you my gratitude.”
He caressed her hand thoughtfully, “Ah Minuial, you underestimate the speed of Lord Elrond’s healing powers.” He lifted a streak of hair that had fallen in front of her eyes, “Nonetheless, when you are ready, I will be waiting. For now I fear you will have to suffer my company from time to time while you regain your strength. I need to make sure you do not disappear on me and get yourself into trouble again.”
She could feel heat rush to her cheeks as she blushed, “I doubt your company would ever be akin to suffering, In fact I welcome it in this strange place, but you may rest your worries, I will not be looking for trouble anytime soon.”
He moved closer to sit at her side, leaned toward her and whispered, “I’m glad for that, I hope you know that because of these events, are paths of destiny are ever intertwined, and my heart is now forever bound to you.” The instant attraction between them was apparent to both. Although it was only the second time she laid her eyes upon him, she felt the comfort of a lifetime of familiarity with this elf. Minuial looked deep into his eyes and a strange desire to touch his soft face grew quickly inside her. She wanted to taste the softness of his lips on hers. She considered leaning in to kiss him when they were interrupted.
“I see our fair maiden has recovered much since last we met.” Boromir boomed as he bound into the room. “I have brought your horse back with me and he is eating well in the stables by the river’s edge, he will be happy to know that I have found you well again.”
Recovering from the swoon that flooded her just a moment before, she regained her composure and regarded Boromir gratuitously “Ah, my other brave rescuer has returned to me with good tidings. I do not know what I could offer to you in thanks, but please accept my words for now in gratitude for your valiant rescue.”
Boromir smiled bashfully, “Ah, my lady, it was the honor of Gondor to see you in safe keeping again. For you are a fair maiden and it would be a tragedy to see you ever suffer needlessly like that again. I offer to you my escort anytime it is needed.”
Minuial was not used to this attention, “Why, my lord, that is a most generous offer. You are a very kind man. I shall never forget you and all you have done for me.”
Legolas was becoming uneasy at Boromir’s obvious pursuit. “Well my friend, that makes two escorts ever available to her.”
Boromir ignoring him, crossed the room swiftly, kneeled down at Minuial’s side, took her hand and kissed it softly. “My lady, before I take my leave, I will have you know that you are the most beautiful maiden I have ever laid my eyes upon. I will return to see you again soon”, nodding towards Legolas ” when we can share each others exclusive company.”
Not knowing what to say, she squeezed Legolas’ hand and replied to Boromir, “I shall look forward to it.”
He bowed his head at her, “My Lady,” he turned, “Legolas.” Legolas acknowledged him with a nod, and Boromir took his leave.
“It would seem he is quite taken with you.” the elf said almost jealously.
“Ah my Lord, he is sweet and kind, but he is not for me. He is too gruff for my liking.”
Legolas perked up, “And what is your liking, if you pardon my asking.”
She looked into his eyes, the swoon she felt before was resurfacing. She swallowed back her nervousness, leaned forward and placed a long tender kiss upon his cheek. Her lips caught fire as they touched his skin. She pulled back slowly and gazed into his eyes once again. In them she saw a look of warmth and love, that could only be found in the eyes of an elf. While holding her in his gaze he put an arm around her slender waist and drew her close to him. His other hand caressed her hair, then her cheek, and then under her chin as he lifted her mouth towards his. Her lips still burned with desire, she wanted more. He kissed her tenderly at first, then more passionately as her lips parted. Her senses filled with a new feelings, feelings of passion and desire.
He had awaken in her a fire. An overwhelming wave of emotion took hold and a tear trickled down her cheek. He pulled back with a start and looked away,
“My dear lady, I am sorry, I have taken advantage of your good graces and upset you.”
She was stunned by the sudden halt of the moment, and even more so as she realized her new found boldness. “No my lord, you have not.”
He turned to her again and begged, “Then why….why do you cry?”
She smiled warmly, “You have mistaken my tears for sadness. My tears are of joy. I……I don’t really understand it myself, it is all new to me, but I am touched by your affections very deeply.”
Legolas embraced her, her face nestled comfortably in his chest. His strong arms wrapped around her. She could hear his heart beating in sync with her own. “It is too soon, I feel I have reacted too swiftly. Yet, I am content to just hold you close.” He softly explained as he gently stroked her hair.
She fell quicky into a peaceful sleep. He had to remember, she was still not well, she was in no position to consider such things. He laid her softly back onto the pillows behind her.
He watched her sleep for a long while. Legolas did not know what came over him when he took her in his arms. Over the last two days while she slept, he became entranced with her innocent beauty. He felt closer still as he cared for her while Elrond’s powers did their work. He knew he had to be careful, no matter how much they were drawn to one another. He was falling for her incredibly fast, and he did not yet know the effect if any the poisons may have had upon her. Elrond warned that her memory could wane for awhile.
Before he took his leave, he looked upon her long as if committing her image to memory. She looked peaceful as she slept. He wondered what captured her dreams that night. “Maer du, idh mae nin brennil.” He kissed her softly atop her head and left her as he found her earlier that day.
As he made his way from her chambers he came upon Elrond in the hall. “Ah.. Legolas, how is our young guest?”
Legolas was not much in the mood to talk to anyone, he wished to stroll amongst the stars, alone with his thoughts, but it was too late to ignore his host.
“Im afraid you will find her fast asleep my lord.” Elrond tried to gauge what it was about his demeanor that seemed not quite right. Legolas seeing his inquisitive look tried to gather himself as well as he could to give the appearance all was well, but his host had already guessed.
” Well then,” Elrond spoke hesitantly, ” that is good news…. I was hoping to get a moment of your time. You mentioned you were seeking my counsel on matters in Mirkwood.”
Elrond’s words were like a cold splash of water upon his face, he had nearly forgotten amongst all the commotion, his reason for coming to Rivendell in the first place.
“Yes Lord Elrond, I had nearly forgotten.”
“I had thought so.” he smiled, “Why don’t you go to the council hall and wait for me there, I have to tend to our guest for a moment or so. We will speak after I am done. I will not be long.”
Elrond walked quietly into Minuial’s chamber and sat down in a chair next to her bed. “Minuial, awake my child, we must speak for a moment.”
She sat up slowly, shaking the sleep from her mind, “Minuial, I must speak with you now, are you well enough?”
She was a bit disoriented, but she had not mistaken his tone. “What is it my lord, is something wrong?”
“I must have your message from Galadriel, what news did she send you with?” She parted her lips to speak, but no words came to her lips.
After a long moment Elrond sighed, “It is as I feared, you have forgotten.” Elrond said with despair, “Sarumon’s devilry has accomplished it’s goal, although not as he intended.” he thought for a moment and appealed to her again, “Think child, did it have something to do with a ring, or mordor?”
She raced through her mind for a clue and shook her head, “I’m sorry Lord Elrond, I cannot recall…..Perhaps the long sleep has clouded my thoughts……I do remember something about a wizard, … a grey wizard…or..”
“Gandalf, is that who you speak of?”
“YES…..yes that is his name, you are to consult him on some matter, but what it is, I…I am afraid I do not know.” Minuial felt panic strike her heart, she knew the message was of
great urgency, why could she not remember.
“I will send for Gandalf then, perhaps when he arrives he can renew your memory. Do not fret my dear, it will come to you again.” He stood up and took a glass from the table.
“Here, I brought you this to drink, I warn you it will not taste like wine, but it will not make you wretch either.” She took the glass from him and did as he said. “It will help heal you more quickly.” She handed the empty glass back to him.
“Now rest, perhaps tomorrow we will allow you out of bed for a short while. Glorfindel should have arrived in Lorien by now, I imagine they will send someone to take you back as soon as you are well enough for travel.” Elrond looked back at her and saw the look of alarm return to her pretty face. “What is it my dear, what troubles you so?”
“I….I… can not remember Lorien either.” She raised her eyes to meet his like a child in trouble. She was frightened now. Tears welled in her eyes and she began to sob. “Ada….Ada….” She did not even know who it was she was calling for, all she knew is the word offered some unknown comfort to her.
Elrond could feel her longing for the familiar, but had not the heart to tell her at this moment that the father she called to never laid eyes upon her. “My sweet niece, rest your self, lay back and rest, these things will come to you with time..”
“What troubles our fair maiden’s heart so?” Boromir asked from the doorway. Slowly he made his away across the room to her.
“She is frightened Boromir, for much of her memory is evading her now…. Saruman has achieved more than his goal with this one so young.” Elrond sighed, “My friend, why don’t you sit and comfort her with some of your tales, take her mind off her worries for awhile.”
“It was my intention to come and speak with her, it is why I am here now.” Boromir handed her a piece of cloth that he took from his cloak, “Here you are my lady, dry your tears and rest your heart, I will not allow any harm to come to you. I will stay here with you as long as you like.”
She took the small cloth from his hand, “Thank you my lord, you are most kind.”
Elrond interrupted them for a moment, “You must excuse me now, I have other matters to attend to in the council hall. You will find me there if I am needed.” Boromir nodded in acknowledgment.