Thranduil’s sharp blue eyes gazed around the Great Hall as he viewed the gathering of many elves. Finally his eyes fell on his son, the prince of Mirkwood. Legolas stood shoulder to shoulder alongside the other newly fledged warriors, each of them clad in the same green and brown; all standing to attention and their eyes glowing with pride.
His son was as tall as a young tree, lithe and immensely strong. His hair, once pale and silky, now a shade or two darker, was pulled back in intricate warrior braids.
One by one, the young warriors came forward to kneel before him, some nervous some overcome with awe, some sure and confident. One by one they swore an oath of loyalty and protection to the realm before rising to seal the pledge with a warriors hand clasp.
Now it was Legolas’ turn. Thranduil watched him approaching the throne from across the Great Hall, his heart swelling with love and pride for his son, but on this occasion he firmly restrained the urge to embrace his son.
Legolas knelt before him, his head bowed. “I ask to pledge my service to you,” he said, his voice steady and firm.
Thranduil gazed down at him. “What service do you pledge?”
Legolas gave the ritual response. “I pledge my life to the realm of Eyrn Galan, to her people and to her king.”
Thranduil nodded his head slowly. “Then rise Legolas, warrior of Eyrn Galan. I accept your service.”
As Legolas stood, he flashed a look of delighted pride at his father, his eyes dancing with joy, before lowering his gaze once again.
Giving his son a simple warrior’s hand-clasp was immensely difficult for Thranduil. The king longed to pull Legolas into a warm embrace, declaring to all present his love and pride for his son who had so swiftly grown into such a fine young warrior. But he knew this was neither the time nor the place and he contented himself with the simple greeting, one warrior to another.
Stepping back the king nodded. “You are now a warrior of Eyrn Galan. Fulfill your duties to your realm and her people.” he declared. His pride and joy was tinged with sadness as he watched the prince. How proud Elvéwen would have been to see this day. With a final salute, Legolas turned and rejoined the ranks of the new warriors.
There was only one more after Legolas and then the ceremony was over. The warriors were dismissed and the families watching so proudly left to rejoin their sons and daughters in their own private celebrations.
And at last, Thranduil could put aside his duties as the Elvenking and seek out Legolas and simply be a father congratulating his son.