The large council hall stood quiet. Its large pillars reaching tall toward the night sky. The night sky was the ceiling in the great hall. Crafted long ago with the wisdom of eldar elves the ceiling was left open to allow the wisdom of the valar and the purity of the stars to hold sway and lend counsel to the matters discussed there. The room emerged gracefully from the main house outwards toward the river. Looking on from between each pillar stood white marble like images of great elvish leaders who had since returned to the undying lands over the great sea. Behind the statues ran an elegantly crafted rail all around the room to the edges of the terrace overlooking the vistas below. Legolas stood at the rail along the large balcony gazing at the stars above. The freshness of the cool air filled his lungs, refreshing him. This was just what he needed to escape the torment of his heart for awhile. He had matters to attend to with Elrond, and he would give it his full attention.
“My friend, what news from Mirkwood have you brought me?” Elrond said as he took his seat in the council hall.
“Ill news I am afraid, the creature Gollum has escaped from our realm…..more troubling than that, he has done so under the aid of orcs.” Legolas stepped away from the rail and took a seat next to Elrond, “Our guards have been kept busy of late, our borders more popular with those who would find themselves unwelcome.” Legolas explained.
Elrond waited for more but it did not come, “Surely that is not all that troubled Thranduil enough to send his son all this way.”
Legolas looked at Elrond gravely, “No it is not, there is much more than that. We have learned that Gollum knew where the one ring was, and since his departure from our capture, the shadow has grown ever more menacing over Mirkwood. Our eyes have scene the nine searching the lands near the shire. A fair amount of elves from Mirkwood and beyond keep watch over the shire now, but soon those numbers will diminish. A great many of them have felt the call of the sea and are taking their leave. We have sent out our most astute messengers in search of Gandalf, but so far each them have returned unable to find him. Aragorn is waiting near Bree for any sight of the ring bearer or the wizard. If he discovers either of them before the enemy, he will bring them here.”
Elrond nodded with some understanding, “Yes, Arwen has mentioned that Aragorn was in Bree, but she did not say why.”
“It is likely she does not know my lord…..Perhaps you should summon Boromir to discuss this with us, he made mention that the orcs have been trying to overtake Osgilliath and make their way towards Minnas Tirrith.”
Elrond mulled over what Legolas spoke of. “Yes we will consult with Boromir later, he is tending to Minuial right now.”
Annoyance flickered on Legolas’ face. Elrond took note of the change in his expression but continued, “It seems our young guest has forgotten much. Sarumon’s venom has done much damage to her, from which she will recover over time, but it requires time that we do not have.”
Concern replaced annoyance, Legolas inquired further, “What do you mean my lord?”
“Minuial was sent from Lorien with word from Galadriel, but what that message contained is now hidden from her memory. All she could recall, whether by my suggestion or direct from her failing memory, was that I am to send for the Grey Wizard to consult with me in matters that have escaped her mind as well.” He paused for a moment searching his mind for any clues he may have overlooked. ” I do not doubt that Galadriel saw something in the mirror that troubled her, troubled her deep enough to send Minuial and not a member of her guard. Weaving this together with what you have told me thus far leads me to draw the conclusion that Sauron has awakened to the knowledge that the ring is on the move. Learning that Sarumon has aligned himself with Mordor, explains why the girl was accosted. They knew she carried word from Lorien about these matters, but to what extent they were unsure. That poison the orcs fed her was fashioned to draw that message from her mind to her lips, but it had the opposite effect. What has become apparent in their error is that they are not aware that she is Galadriel’s heir. Had they known, more than a company of orcs would have been sent to capture her for she would have made for most valuable weapon in their hands.”
Legolas felt a tinge of alarm, “Then her safety here is in jeopardy. If the enemy discovers their error, they will look for her again here in Rivendell…. Did Minuial say anything more?”
“I tried to persuade more from her, but all I managed to accomplish was to frighten and upset her.” replied Elrond.
“Upset her? How so?” Legolas’ concern apparently ran deeper then he cared to admit, Elrond could see it in his eyes.
“Her memory has failed in more than just her message to me, it seems she can not recall much of anything before the attack two nights past. She has called for a father she has never met, now on more than one occasion, and this concerns me terribly. It has occurred to me that even she does not know who she calls to when she cries out for her Ada. However, the realization that she can not remember anything of her home in Lorien sent a terrible fright through her, and rightfully so.” Elrond paused for a moment as he examined the elf’s face, “Tell me Legolas, what is your interest in this girl? It appears to be more than sympathy for an injured maiden.”
Legolas’ expression changed to one of despair. “I am unsure at this moment. I felt the call of her heart as if she were the one destined to me, but where I truly stand with her will remain a secret locked inside her head until she has regained her mind.” He sighed with a heavy heart, ” I have become very fond of her very quickly, however I know in my heart that I must resist. For all she knows, she could already belong to another.”
Elrond could feel his anguish, “I know the call you speak of, but it is often mistaken in circumstances such as these.” he put a comforting hand on his shoulder, “I also know that Arwen has told you of her lineage, and the uncertainty surrounding it. This presents an ever greater hurdle for your heart. I have known your father for more than an age, and we both know he would never lend his approval to such a match. Perhaps withdrawing your feelings now is the wise thing to do for more then the reasons you give.”
Legolas’ heart sank further, he had not even considered his father’s disapproval.
Elrond was right, his father would never allow them to come together. Thranduil held distrust in his heart for the Lady of Lorien, and that distrust would fall to Minuial as well. The fact that those claimed to be her parents were never wed lent even further difficulties to any possible acceptance of Minuial as his bride. But Legolas’ heart stood in complete disagreement with this reasoning. This would be a long fought battle within himself and to add to the already long list of obstacles, she did not even know if, and if so who her heart belonged to before last night. He looked up at her window and saw that candle light still burned bright. He wanted so much to go to her and comfort her recent pain, but Boromir was already there in his stead.
Elrond sat quietly watching Legolas try and sort out his thoughts.
After a long moment Legolas asked “When will Lorien come for her?”
Elrond stood up from his chair and walked over to the rail overlooking the river below, “I expect they will arrive within a few days. I believe she will be well enough to travel by then and will likely embark on her journey home before a week has passed.”
Legolas remained seated, his head hung low, ” Tell me my lord, does your foresight tell you her journey will be a safe one?”
Elrond looked up at the stars for an answer, but none came, “I am afraid that using the gift of foresight in these times and of this matter could only lend aid to the enemy. The girl is held in high regard by the Lady of Light, she will send Lorien’s most worthy of the task to escort her safely home, you can take comfort in that, but what they will come upon on that long road, I do not know.”
Legolas did not move. He sat quietly, deep in his thoughts.
Elrond patted his shoulder, “I am going to retire and consider all these matters further. I pray the Valar guides me to the answers we both seek. I fear you may be needed soon to aid us in the affairs of this ring. Take these days to resolve the sorrow in your heart. You will need a clear heart and mind to tend to such a matter. You are strong Legolas. Use that strength to set these troubles aside for now. You can always return to consider them again when it is less perilous to do so.”
Legolas took his words to heart, “Nae, le ped thenid. Hannon le nin brennon” (Alas, you speak words of truth. Thank you my lord)
The troubled elf believed Elrond was right, he had to cast his feelings aside for now. He could not let the danger that his homeland faced fall into neglect for the sake of a pretty maiden. He inhaled deeply, and filled his heart with new resolve. He would distance himself from the girl and concentrate his efforts on preparing for the journey ahead. He decided to go down to the stables and take Curonhast for a brisk ride.
As he made his way to the stables, he passed outside Minuial’s room. He could hear Boromir’s voice booming with excitement as he told some tale of a celebration in Minnas Tirrith where too much ale made for entertaining foolishness. She was laughing with a merry heart. It was a pleasant sound to hear after so much talk of darkness. Perhaps Boromir would make better company for her. He continued on his path without stopping for nary a glance. Down the stairs to the trickling waters of the river’s edge. He saw Curonhast outside and called for him. Curonhast trotted obediently to his master.
Legolas mounted the steed, “Come Curonhast, let us ride with the wind, for I need the refreshment of fast footfall, Nae! Noro Lim!”