Remember How to Smile
Chapter 10: Fallout
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Elrohir started violently and jumped to his feet, but froze when he saw
the arrow leveled at his heart. The wood-elf that had the weapon
trained on him was watching him with dark, serious eyes that made the
younger elf shiver.
“S-Sarcaulien?” he said uncertainly, fearful of what was going on.
Elrohir kept his hands up and turned to see the other elf holding
Elladan. He vaguely recognized Sarcaulien’s older brother
Sarcayul. Elladan was still seated on the log, but Sarcayul
had him arched painfully back at an angle over the older elf’s knee,
pinned in place by a tight grip in his raven hair and a sharp knife to
Elladan gasped and grimaced as Sarcayul tugged painfully on his hair,
stretching him further back as he glared down into the younger elf’s
Elrohir was terrified and about two inches away from diving for his
brother, despite the danger to himself. “Please, don’t hurt him,”
he begged, deciding that their current predicament must have something
to do with the angry words they had traded with Legolas and his friends
“We aren’t in the habit of hurting babies,” Sarcaulien said
scornfully. “We just want you to listen and know that we’re
serious. Legolas is a good elf and my prince, and I’m not going
to let you or anybody go about spreading vicious stories about him, do
Elrohir felt a bubble of panic in his chest. He didn’t
understand. He didn’t understand at all. What
stories? Surely Legolas would be in no trouble over the words
they had had earlier! Or perhaps they meant the anti-human
sentiment that had gotten them into the fight in the first place?
Somehow, he had gotten the feeling that the King actually shared those
feelings to some extent, so he really didn’t see how they could get
Legolas in any trouble, but at this moment he wasn’t about to quibble.
“We won’t say anything, I swear,” Elrohir promised nervously.
Elladan was too choked to speak. He could barely breathe.
Elrohir shifted, shooting his brother a worried look. “You have our word! Please let him go.”
Sarcayul smiled darkly. He jerked Elladan off the log and turned
him around so that the younger elf’s back was pressed against the
fallen trunk, the knife still at his throat. “Not until this
little half-breed has learned a lesson.” He struck Elladan full
across the face, snapping the Noldo’s head to the side.
Elladan gave a strangled cry of surprise and pain that was brutally checked by the harsh pressure of the blade at his throat.
“No!” Sarcaulien hissed in protest. He had taken his fears about
Legolas’ safety to his older brother and agreed with the plan Sarcayul
came up with, but they had already had this discussion. Sarcayul
wanted to play with the half-human elves, but Sarcaulien had been very
firm that they should frighten them only since they were guests of the
King. He winced and fidgeted nervously with his bowstring when
his older brother slapped the captive Noldo again.
Elrohir’s frightened face clouded with anger when they started hurting
his twin. “Stop it! Stop hitting him!” he demanded, but it
was still half plea.
“Come on, Sarc, stop!” Sarcaulien agreed with their adversaries on this issue. “We made our point, let’s go!”
Sarcayul scowled, staring into Elladan’s frightened, but blazing eyes. “Did we? I’m not sure they understand us.”
“You did, please, I swear you did,” Elrohir was still trying to make
peace. He could see the fury in his brother’s eyes and was afraid
Elladan was going to say something stupid and truly get them both
killed this time.
Sarcayul did not like the look on Elladan’s face and slapped him
again. The younger elf’s cheeks were beginning to flush red from
“Enough! You bruise and him someone’s going to find out!”
Sarcaulien hissed through his teeth. He was adequately convinced
that the twins would not speak anything they knew about Legolas’ past
and that was enough; it was all that had concerned him. He did
not want to stick his neck out just so his brother could play at his
favorite sport. The twins may have been half-breeds, but
Sarcaulien leaned towards Legolas’ view on this. If they were
even part elven, they were elves.
Sarcayul had to grudgingly admit his brother had a point. They
couldn’t afford for this to become known or they were both headed for
the guardhouse and a serious reprimand. Not even their father
could get them out of it if they were found guilty of accosting royal
guests. “All right, but if either of you half-breeds breathe a
WORD of this to anyone we’ll finish the job we started. Is that
Sarcayul ground his thumb hard into Elladan’s throat, just below the
knife until he brought tears to the younger elf’s eyes and Elladan was
forced to nod stiffly if he wished to be allowed breath again.
“It’s clear, all right? We’re not going to cause any trouble,”
Elrohir’s hurting gaze was locked onto his brother’s pained face.
“I want your oath,” Sarcayul pressed. “Both of you.”
“You have it!” Elrohir implored as Elladan began struggling weakly with
the older, bigger elf who was cutting off his air supply. “On our
word and honor!”
Finally satisfied, Sarcayul released Elladan with disdain and jumped
lightly back to his feet. With a nod to his brother he simply
vanished into the trees. Sarcaulien removed the arrow from his
bowstring and made to follow. He hesitated for a moment first,
glancing at Elladan to be sure he was all right.
“Look, I didn’t mean for you to get hurt. But you remember what
we said, all right? Not a word about the prince, or us.”
Then Sarcaulien too was gone.
Elrohir stared after them for a suspended moment before he dropped to
his brother’s side. Elladan was pulling himself back up onto the
log, holding his aching throat in one hand and his burning cheek in
“Fuiagwaur,” Elladan spat, licking blood from the inside of his
lip. “I’m fine,” he warded off his twin’s next obvious
question. “Although I’d like to get my hands on that precious
prince of theirs. What kind of elf sends someone else to do their
dirty work for them like that? Couldn’t get his own hands soiled
with us half-breeds I suppose,” the peredhel said bitterly. The
truth was, he liked Legolas and had thought they were becoming
friends. This morning had been so much fun, and now this... it
left his head spinning. The betrayal and outright prejudice
Elrohir shook his head. He couldn’t believe Legolas had done this
to them either. It hadn’t seemed in the prince’s nature, but
then, he supposed they really didn’t know him at all, did they?
“I think we may have worn out our welcome here, brother,” he said
Elladan closed his eyes and let his head fall into his hands. “That makes everywhere then, doesn’t it?” he said softly.
Legolas and the twins cordially avoided each other at dinner that evening and did not speak more than was required.
Thranduil was not able to be present, but Elvéwen watched the
three, silent young elves and knew something was wrong. Legolas
ate very little and excused himself early. The twins played with
their food for a while longer before also asking to be excused.
Elvéwen let them go, but not before calling Elladan to
her. She touched the small bruise forming on his cheekbone.
She said nothing, but her eyes asked the question. Elrohir
thought she reminded him a bit of his own mother, only quieter and more
Elladan forced a smile. “Tree branch accident. El let go too early. I’m fine.”
Elvéwen wasn’t entirely convinced, but until she had any actual
evidence that her son and their guests had been in a fight she would
not jump immediately to the worst conclusion. She didn’t know the
twins and their somber moods might not mean anything at all. And
Legolas... Legolas was given to acting moody at times. She knew
it was usually because something had stirred painful memories, but she
had learned that letting them settle back down again and be forgotten,
rather than trying to address them, was usually the best course.
Elladan and Elrohir left hurriedly once released and Elvéwen
found that she wasn’t very hungry anymore either. Instead she
made her way to her son’s chambers. The door was open so she let
herself in. Legolas was in his sleeping clothes, curled up on his
bed with a book. He quickly laid it aside and sat up when he saw
his mother. He smiled at her – that bright, little boy smile that
he had only for her.
Elvéwen smiled back and sat down next to him, running her
fingers gently through his silky hair. Legolas leaned into her
touch without embarrassment. Elvéwen’s smile grew.
She loved her son so very much. Childhood had completely left the
strong lines of his young face. He was an adult, a leader and
capable warrior, yet she could still see her golden-haired dreamer
child in his eyes, even if he only pealed back the layers of protective
walls for her.
“Did they release Raniean today, Tyndolhen?” she asked, knowing that had been weighing heavily on her son’s mind.
Legolas nodded. “He has the day off tomorrow and then he’ll be back on duty.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Legolas... did you have a fight with
Elladan and Elrohir?” she got straight to the point. She knew
Legolas would tell her the truth and he knew that whatever he said was
safe with her.
Legolas sighed. “Fight? No. Argument?
Yes. It was nothing really, just something stupid. I tried
to apologize, Nana. I don’t know why they got so upset.”
Elvéwen smiled softly. “They received some difficult news
from home today, Tyndolhen,” she tried to offer insight. “I fear
that might have affected their mood.”
Legolas nodded slowly. That made sense. “Then I am sorry I
made them more upset, I honestly did not intend for it to happen.”
“I know, ion-nín,” Elvéwen drew his head to her
shoulder. Legolas was tense for a few minutes, but then slowly
started to relax.
“Maybe you should rest tomorrow. You and Raniean should go for a
ride or spend some time at the ranges,” she suggested after a few
“I was off today, tomorrow I’m on guard duty in the Throne room,” Legolas reminded her. “I’m supposed to attend Father.”
“He’s already released you,” Elvéwen replied, hoping Legolas wouldn’t ask why. Of course, Legolas did.
“Why would he do that?” he asked, lifting his head enough to give her a
questioning gaze. Then he seemed to figure it out for
himself. “Oh. The envoys from Esgaroth are coming tomorrow,
aren’t they?” he said quietly.
Elvéwen could feel the tension spreading throughout the lithe body leaning against hers once more.
Elvéwen wanted to pretend that wasn’t the reason, but they both knew better. “Yes,” she said quietly.
Legolas turned his face against her shoulder in shame. In a way
he was grateful that his father understood his feelings, but he hated
the fact that Thranduil knew he didn’t want to be around the visiting
humans - knew that he was that weak. In so many little ways,
everyone treated him differently now, even his own parents. Part
of Legolas despaired of things ever being able to go back to what he
had once considered normal.
“Then I will spend the day with Ran, if he still wants to be around me,” Legolas said finally.
“Of course he will, Legolas,” Elvéwen assured, glad to turn to
some other subject. That matter settled, they fell into
comfortable silence. Elvéwen didn’t ask what had happened
today that the memories had come back to trouble him. It was
enough that she knew they had. She did not let him know that she
knew. She just offered her love to cover the hurt if Legolas was
willing to accept such.
Legolas allowed his mother to hold him and slowly released the nauseous
tension in the pit of his stomach. Maybe everything would be all
Elladan and Elrohir rose late the next day and stayed in their rooms
for a while. They really didn’t know what to do or where to go,
but eventually sheer boredom and unease drove them out into the rest of
the palace. They passed Legolas’ chambers and nearly ran into a
servant carrying an armload of towels. The servant was attempting
to open Legolas’ door with over-full hands, so the twins assisted him.
“Are those for the prince?” they inquired.
The servant nodded busily. “Yes, he requested some brought up.”
Elladan and Elrohir watched as the older elf quickly opened a door in the far wall that apparently let into a bath chamber.
“Your towels, Highness,” the servant announced, placing the folded
cloths into a wicker hamper just inside the door. Legolas,
apparently already in his bath, thanked the elf and the servant took
his leave. Elladan and Elrohir found themselves standing alone in
Legolas’ chambers. They looked at one another and knew they were
thinking the same thing.
Creeping silently to the door they had just seen the servant open they
cracked it open noiselessly. The room was filled with
steam. They were afraid that Legolas would be able to see them,
but they were in luck. Legolas was obviously in the room, but
nowhere in view. The back half of the chamber was divided by a
curtain that probably concealed the prince’s bath. Quickly and
quietly the twins removed the towels from the hamper beside the
entryway and closed the door again.
Legolas was relaxing in a tub of hot water that had been recently
filled for him. He intended to follow his mother’s advice and
spend some time with Raniean later, but he was still a little tense,
knowing that Men were going to be in the palace today, so he was
attempting to relax first. He heard the servant announce his
towels and then he thought he heard the door open again, but when he
pulled aside the curtain and looked out there was no one there, so he
pulled it back again and decided it must have been nothing.
Elladan and Elrohir hid the towels in the prince’s bedroom. It
was not a terribly interesting or clever joke really, they had to admit
that. It was more of a spur of the moment idea
and right now they felt they had a right to give the prince a little
grief after how he had treated them.
They slipped quietly out of the room and hurried down the
passage. They were heading for the out-of-doors when Elrohir
skidded to a stop. He backtracked several paces and looked in the
open doorway to one of the rooms they had just passed. It was a
large, formal waiting hall. Inside the foyer, six or seven humans
sat, presumably awaiting an audience with the King. Their manner
of dress was unfamiliar to the twins, but they guessed that they were
some of the men from Esgaroth at whose expense Legolas and his friends
had been having fun the day before.
Elrohir looked at Elladan. “Are you thinking, what I’m thinking?” he asked with a small, wicked smile.
Elladan smiled back. “I believe I am.”
The twins entered the room in their most regal manner.
“Good sirs, are you the men from Esgaroth who await the King?” Elladan asked with a carefully practiced air of authority.
One of the humans rose to his feet and bowed in greeting. “Yes,
we are, my name is Brandl, son of Trayma. We were told to wait
here for his Highness, King Thranduil.”
“Yes, well, he has requested we move you to another room,” Elrohir said
politely. “If you would be so kind as to follow us?”
As the twins suspected, the men complied without question, following
the two young elves down the passageway through several twists and
turns until they reached Legolas’ chambers.
“You may wait in here, but we ask that you observe a strict silence
until someone comes for you, if you would be so kind,” Elrohir said
sweetly while they were still out in the hall.
If the men thought the instructions odd, they would never have admitted
such to their hosts. They knew the elves could be a little...
eccentric sometimes and graciously did as they were bid.
Elladan and Elrohir led the small troupe of men quietly into Legolas’
common room, and seated them just outside the door to his bath
chamber. Begging their leave before the grins tugging at the
corners of their mouths could give them away, the twins exited into
Legolas’ bedchambers. They pulled the curtains across the door
almost closed so that they could stand behind them unseen and observe
all that happened.
Now this was a much more clever joke. They felt that turn about
was fair play after how cruel the prince and his friends had been
yesterday. They couldn’t wait to see the look on Legolas’ face.
Legolas ended his bath when the water began to cool. He felt
better and more ready to face the day. Dipping his head under the
water one more time, he came up and rung as much water as he could out
of his hair. Rubbing water out of his eyes, he climbed out of the
tub and reached blindly into the hamper for a towel, but his searching
fingers found only air. He opened his eyes, looked around and
discovered that his towels were not in the bin where they should have
been. In fact, they were nowhere to be found. He knew the
servant said he brought them, so someone had to have taken them
afterwards. Probably that sound he had dismissed as
nothing. The wood-elf grimaced ruefully and pushed his wet hair
out of his eyes. It was most likely Elladan and Elrohir’s doing.
Raniean and Trelan might have been suspects had he not known that
Trelan was working and Raniean was waiting for him on the archery
ranges. Besides, they had almost outgrown these kinds of pranks.
Legolas hoped this meant that the two Noldor were willing to put aside
their unfortunate disagreement of the previous day and be friendly
The prince shook his head. He was not entirely uninventive
himself. He would have to find a suitable way to show the
Rivendell twins that he could give as well as he got. His smile
turned wicked. He would get Raniean and Trelan to help him; he
knew from experience that his friends could be very devious when they
wanted to be.
Legolas crossed to the door and paused. He could sense that his
chambers were not empty and guessed that the twins were waiting for him
to come out. Probably with something propped over the door or
spread on the floor, the prince thought wryly. He rolled his
eyes. A little juvenile perhaps, but in the interest of putting
their differences aside, he would ignore the obviousness of the
situation and play along. His reflexes were good and if they did
intend to spring something on him he felt confident he could deflect it
and it would be worth it to see their faces if that happened.
Turning the knob and stepping out quickly, the amused look on Legolas’
face instantly faded as he found himself staring at the now very
shocked and embarrassed room full of humans.
Elladan and Elrohir, hidden behind the drapes in the doorway, had
expected the prince to blush and quickly duck back into his bathing
chambers, but that was not what happened. Instead, Legolas’ face
turned white as a sheet and for half a moment it looked as if he might
pass out. Sheer terror flared in the prince’s wide blue eyes.
Legolas felt his heart thrum in his ears like the taunting laugh of a
dozen harsh voices. It pounded wildly in his chest as he felt the
humans’ eyes on him. What were they doing in his rooms?!
His mind screamed the question, but he was too panicked to find a
reasonable answer. All he could think was that they had come for
him, that they wanted to take him back to the way life had been in that
painful eternity he tried ever to block from his mind. For a few
heartbeats he couldn’t move, fear and shock pushing him into an almost
catatonic state. With none of his usual grace, Legolas tore
himself free of his paralyzed stupor and scrambled backward. The
tiles under his feet were slick with the trail of water he was
leaving. He slipped and skidded. He bumped hard into the
dresser next to the door, sending the mirror sitting atop it crashing
to the ground. The looking-glass shattered, spreading a broken
spray of silver glass slivers across the intricate tiles. Legolas
did not register the sound, or the sting, although several of the
flying glass shards cut him.
Brandl did not understand what was going on, but was deeply mortified
that either they or this young elf seemed to be in completely the wrong
place at the wrong time. The last thing he wished to do was cause
an incident, but when the mirror shattered he moved forward in concern.
“Are you all right?” he asked with a worried frown.
The young elf seemed terribly unbalanced so Brandl put his hand on the
youth’s arm to steady him. It was the wrong thing to do, although
it had been done with the best of intentions.
Legolas went wild. He yanked his arm free and shoved Brandl away
from him. The young elf was surprisingly strong and the human was
knocked sprawling halfway across the room. Backpedaling hard on
the slippery floor, the prince slammed into the partially open door,
causing it to bang closed. The knob dug painfully into his low
back as he impacted. Wrenching the door open again behind him in
a clumsy attempt to not turn his back on the humans who had violated
the safety of his chambers, the prince fled through the portal and
slammed it shut behind him.
Legolas’ whole body was trembling as he hastily threw the bolt on the
inside of the door and shoved the heavy marble pedestal of his
hand-washing basin up against the portal for added protection.
His breath was coming in such fast, ragged gulps he was
hyperventilating. Bright yellow splotches danced before his
What were they doing here? Why had they come after him?!
How had they gotten to him in the only place he felt safe?!
Legolas couldn’t think rationally; he was in too much shock to do
that. He wanted to run away, but he was trapped in the bath
chamber. Scrambling to the back of the room, Legolas sank down
between the tub and the far wall, curling into a tight ball and rocking
back and forth. He flinched at the feel of the cold marble under
him. It felt like a cell floor. He could still feel
Brandl’s hand on his arm and he rubbed the spot vigorously with his
other hand, as if he could make it go away, as if he could make it all
He balled his hands on either side of his head, trying to stop the
pain, trying not to remember that which he could never forget. A
quiet sob shook his shoulders.
Elladan and Elrohir were horrified at Legolas’ reaction. The raw
fear in his eyes before he fled both haunted and shocked them.
Legolas seemed so strong and unshakable; they would never have thought
that something which to them seemed only mildly embarrassing could have
ever affected him so badly. They might have expected anger,
outrage even, since they knew how disdainful the prince was of Men, but
they had never anticipated terror.
Elladan looked at his brother and saw that there were tears in
Elrohir’s eyes. Elrohir swallowed hard, his tender heart smote
deeply by the pain they had apparently caused.
“We should never have done this, El,” the younger twin whispered hoarsely.
Elladan had to agree. Somehow, the situation had gone terribly
wrong and now he had no idea how to fix it. They had made a
horrendous mess of things – again. He wished he were dead or at
least very far way from here.
“Your Highness? Prince Legolas, is everything all right?” a voice
called from the outer door as Brandl pulled himself back to his
feet. The humans all looked at one another uncertainly.
What had just happened?
Elrynd was passing by Legolas’ chambers when he heard a loud crash of
something breaking from within. When he got no response to his
worried inquiry, the servant let himself in to be sure that Legolas was
all right. What he found both surprised and dismayed the older
elf. It appeared he had found the missing envoys from Esgaroth,
but what in the name of Manwë were they doing here?!
“Gentlemen, are you aware that you are in his Royal Highness Prince
Legolas’ private chambers?” Elrynd inquired with a polite, but steely
tone, fully prepared to call the guards if this was not an honest
Every face in the room paled. The Prince? “Good sir, I
fear there has been a terrible mistake,” Brandl tried desperately to
salvage this unfortunate situation. “We were told to wait here,
we had no idea...”
“Told? By whom?” Elrynd was still wary. Visitors were not
allowed nor admitted to any of the private royal chambers, everyone
“Two elves,” Brandl explained. “They had dark hair and I believe
they were twins; they must be around here somewhere.” The man was
a little desperate, beginning to think that he and his men may be in
very deep trouble. “I swear to you we meant no disrespect or
“Twins, you say?” Elrynd relaxed a little, beginning to understand what had probably happened.
Elladan and Elrohir, still hidden in the curtained doorway, wondered if it were physically possible to sink through the floor.
“I fear, gentlemen that you have been mislead. No, worry
not. I do not fault you, nor, I think, will their Highnesses when
the truth be known,” Elrynd assured the uneasy envoys. He stepped
out in the hall for a moment and could be heard calling to
someone. Another elf joined him quickly.
“Maybren, please show these gentlemen to the audience chambers, the
King is awaiting them,” Elrynd requested of his subordinate. “If
you will follow Maybren you may continue with your business here.
I am sure I speak for everyone when I apologize for this...
misunderstanding.” The servant graciously but firmly escorted the men
out of the prince’s chambers as he spoke.
“Nay, the apology is all ours. Please tell the prince that we are
very sorry to have disturbed him and he has my sincere apology for any
distress our presence caused,” Brandl replied earnestly as they
followed Maybren towards the correct location for their meeting with
“I shall indeed,” Elrynd assured, although he doubted it would do much
good. With a sigh he went back into Legolas’ chambers and shut
the outer door behind him. He had hoped Legolas had not been here
since he was nowhere to be seen, but from what Brandl said they must
have had some kind of run-in with the prince.
He did not seem at all surprised to see a very guilty looking Elladan
and Elrohir standing in the center of the room, even though they had
not appeared to be there moments before. He spared them only a
“Where is Legolas?” he asked quietly.
Elrohir pointed at the bathroom door. “Elrynd, we’re sorry, we didn’t mean...”
Elrynd silenced the younger elf with a gesture. “I’m not the one
you need to talk to. I believe you have done enough here.”
The twins flinched, but Elrynd was not paying attention to them
anymore. He crossed the room. Carefully stepping over
the shattered glass on the floor, he knocked lightly on the door to the
bath chamber. He tried the handle, but found it locked.
“Prince Legolas, your Highness? Are you all right, can you hear
me? ‘Tis Elrynd, Legolas. Please open the door.”
There was no response from inside, so Elrynd made a decision.
Pulling a large ring of keys from his pocket he fitted one into the
lock in the door and turned it, sliding back the bolts. As
Thranduil’s personal servant and seneschal, he had a master key to
almost every lock in the palace.
Elrynd tried to open the door, but found that it gave no more than a
few inches. This turned out to be due to the marble pedestal that
had been placed against it and he gently eased it back a little, until
he could squeeze through the narrow opening.
“Your Highness?” he called, looking around the room. A soft sound from the back of the room drew him thither.
What Elrynd found broke his heart. Legolas was curled up on the
floor, still dripping wet with a small puddle of water forming around
him. The prince was leaning forward with his arms on the side of
the bathing tub before him. His head was buried against his arms
and his shoulders shook. He was weeping.
Hurrying back into the outer chamber, Elrynd grabbed the comforter off
of the prince’s bed and made his way back to his distressed
liege. He ignored Elladan and Elrohir who were still standing
uncertainly in the center of the room.
Elrynd wrapped the down-filled quilt around Legolas’ shoulders.
Legolas started and looked up as if just noticing the servant’s
presence. He appeared relieved to see a friendly face and hugged
the covering tightly around himself.
“A-are they gone?” he asked shakily, quickly trying to dry his face and
pretend that all the water there was coming from his wet hair.
Elrynd crouched down next to the young prince’s side, keeping a
comforting hand on his shoulder. “Yes, they are gone, my
Lord. They asked me to apologize... they meant no harm, Legolas,
they were just in the wrong place.”
Legolas did not look like he believed that for a moment, but he did not
contradict the older elf. “Could you ask Amil-Garil to put a
guard outside my door, please?” the prince asked softly, hating how
weak and frightened that made him sound.
“Of course. It is prudent after such a mix-up as this,” Elrynd tried to sooth the young elf’s shame at his own fears.
Gently, Elrynd guided Legolas to his feet and into the other
room. Elladan and Elrohir were still standing there. When
Legolas saw them a look of vague understanding came over his face as he
began to comprehend what had happened. The twins fully expected
the prince to be angry, to yell at them to get out of his rooms.
Once again, they were surprised. Legolas merely looked at them,
his pale face flushing a painful shade before he turned away and
hurried past them into his bedroom. He didn’t understand how they
could have hurt him this way. He didn’t understand how anyone
could have hated him enough to know what they knew and intentionally
put him in that kind of situation.
The raw hurt in Legolas’ eyes made the twins feel ill. This was
not something they had ever wanted or intended to cause.
“Legolas... we’re sorry... please, we didn’t mean...”
“Leave,” it was Elrynd who answered them, standing protectively in the
doorway to Legolas’ bedroom. His voice was quiet but cold as he
tried to contain the small flame of anger kindled in his breast.
He knew their young guests had meant no harm, but they had no idea what
they had done. Right now however, his only concern was for his
young lord. Elvéwen should be sent for; she was one of the
few people who could get through to Legolas when he was in this kind of
Elladan and Elrohir needed no prompting. They fled the room,
hurrying back to their own guest chambers. Closing the door
behind them they sat on the bed and looked at one another. What
had they done? Apparently something far worse than they
understood. There was no call for Legolas to react that way; it
had only been a joke...
“That’s it, we are dead,” Elrohir said quietly, twisting the end of
his tunic in his fingers. He wasn’t joking. His grey eyes
were frightened as well as remorseful.
Elladan flopped belly down on the bed, burying his face in the
quilt. “How do we manage to get into these situations?!” he
moaned quietly, agreeing with his brother’s assessment.
“Do you really want an answer to that?” Elrohir asked dryly. He
stood to his feet, still favoring his injured leg a bit. “We’ve
got to get out of here,” he said quietly, his eyes going to the
window. “El... those elves weren’t joking, they’ll come back for
us, if the King and Queen don’t kill us first.”
Elrohir opened the shutters and leaned out the sill, sizing up how hard it would be to make it to the ground from here.
“No,” Elladan’s quiet voice made his brother turn away. Elladan
was now sitting cross-legged on the bed with a pillow clutched to his
chest. “We can’t run, El. We’ve made a big enough mess
already by doing that kind of thing. Besides... where would we
go?” he asked softly. “We’ve got to stay and stick it out this
Elrohir sagged dejectedly into a chair. He knew his brother was right, but this wasn’t going to be good.
Legolas refused to leave his rooms. For a long time he refused to
see anyone but Elvéwen, until Raniean resorted to standing
outside the door and pleading until he was admitted.
Elvéwen let Raniean in, hoping he could do some good by her
hurting, troubled son.
Raniean found Legolas lying on his bed, staring blankly out the
window. The emotions that had gripped him earlier were gone,
leaving only empty, numb depression and shame in their wake. The
prince was fully dressed, but his hair was still damp and tangled as if
he had never dried or combed it after his bath.
“Legolas?” Raniean said softly, sitting on the edge of the bed and watching Legolas’ quiet back.
“Go away, Ran,” the prince murmured. “I want to be alone.”
“Well that’s nice,” Raniean said with gentle mock indignation.
“You make a pest of yourself to the guards every day and then when you
finally can see me, you don’t want to. I could be offended,” he
said in a voice that suggested there was no real danger of such a thing.
Legolas rolled over quickly. His eyes were red-rimmed and the
sight made Raniean’s throat constrict. He hadn’t seen Legolas
this bad in a long time.
“I-I didn’t mean it that way, Ran...,” he shook his head earnestly.
Raniean held up his hands, gesturing for peace. “I know you didn’t,” he assured.
“I just don’t want to talk right now,” Legolas admitted, his gaze wandering up to the ceiling.
“Then we won’t,” Raniean transferred to a chair beside the prince’s
bed. Leaning back he stared up at the ceiling as well. “But
that doesn’t mean you have to be alone.”
As soon as his business with the delegation from Esgaroth was completed, Thranduil sent for his two young guests.
Elladan and Elrohir had rarely felt so apprehensive as when they had to
make the long trek from their rooms to the throne room. The fury
concealed behind the Elvenking’s cold blue eyes did nothing to reassure
Thranduil was not sitting, he was too disturbed to sit. Instead
he paced in front of his throne, hands clasped tightly behind his back.
“Do you want to explain to me what happened today?” Thranduil demanded quietly. Too quietly.
Elladan and Elrohir felt suddenly dry-mouthed and speechless.
“I... we... we’re sorry, your Highness; we didn’t mean to hurt
Legolas,” Elladan said finally, when it was obvious that not speaking
was only going to irritate Thranduil further.
Thranduil held his hand up, silencing them abruptly. “I did not ask you what you intended; I asked you what happened.”
The tale came out very haltingly, but Thranduil already knew the end
result. His glare bored smoldering holes in the twins as they
weakly finished their explanation and hung their heads.
Thranduil was livid. “If any of my subjects had done to you what
you have done to my son, they would be flogged for it,” he said his
Elladan and Elrohir’s faces paled, but they said nothing.
“You have no idea what you have done, do you?” Thranduil
continued. “Does your father allow this kind of behavior in your
realm?” He was barely holding his anger in check as he questioned
the young elves.
The twins glanced at each other unsure if they should venture an answer or not.
“Answer me!” Thranduil’s voice boomed through the throne room.
“No, we don’t understand,” Elrohir spoke up quickly answering the first question.
“And yes, we do these sorts of the things at home...,” Elladan stammered, picking up where his brother left off.
“...all the time, my Lord,” Elrohir finished for his brother.
Nervously he reached for his twins’ hand as much for support as out of
fear. They would get scolded for their pranks of course, but
usually if no one got hurt then no one was seriously angry with them.
The back and forth answering that the two identical elves gave him
confused Thranduil and he found himself glancing from one to the other
as they stammered out an apology and tried to explain. He was
unused to the way twins would automatically speak for and with each
other in this manner.
Finally having had enough and unable to keep up, he stopped them.
“Enough! One of you speak at a time,” Thranduil growled darkly.
Elrohir was visibly shaking at this point and Elladan stepped closer to his brother.
“We are very sorry. We never meant to hurt Legolas. In our
house we do play pranks on one another, frequently sometimes.
Even Glorfindel gets good ones over on us from time to time,” Elladan
explained quietly. “He’s very good at it.”
Thranduil was surprised to hear about such a well-spoken of elf
encouraging this type of behavior but he said nothing as the youngster
before him continued speaking.
Elladan squared his shoulders. They truly hadn’t meant any real
harm, but they had apparently crossed some invisible line they did not
understand. It was possibly the final nail in the coffin they had
put together rather nicely for themselves these past few weeks, he
though glumly. If Thranduil threw them out... what would they do
“El and I take full responsibility for our actions. If by your
laws, we must be punished, then we accept that consequence.
Just... don’t send us away. We’ll accept any punishment you give,
but please let us stay. I... we... we have nowhere to go; even
our Ada doesn’t want us back.” Elladan was trying to carry
himself like the young lord he was, but the boy inside him was hard
pressed to deny the tears starting to sting his eyes as he pleaded for
leniency on this one point. He had begun to believe that they had
indeed been abandoned by their family because of their behavior and now
they had effectively burned their bridges here as well.
The words took Thranduil by surprise and he found his anger waning slightly in the face of the distraught elflings before him.
Leaning forward he lowered his voice a notch and questioned the one
twin that was still speaking for them both. “Why would you say
such a thing?”
“My Lord?” Elladan questioned. He was unsure what exactly Thranduil was asking.
“Why do you think your Adar does not want you anymore?”
“He sent us away to our relatives and now he has not asked to have us
returned or sent word that he is coming for us. He was angry when
we left. Why would he want us back now?” Elladan whispered.
Elrohir began to cry softly. He didn’t want to show his feelings
like this in front of the King, but he seemed to have no control over
the matter. Desperately he wiped his eyes with clenched fists,
turning his head away slightly as if in hopes that no one would notice.
“I think, young ones, that perhaps the answer is not what you fear at
all. Your father may simply not be available to answer the
message I sent. Although after the stunt you pulled today it
wouldn’t surprise me if he did leave you here awhile. That
however, is only my opinion at the moment; do not be so certain that he
no longer wants you. You young ones often think that of us.
And it is not true.” Thranduil stared hard at the two elves in front of
him. His voice had softened slightly, his initial red-hot rage
beginning to abate. He saw in the depths of the twins’ eyes the
same fear he had seen so many times in his own son. He felt
compassion on their situation and their fears, but he was still very
displeased and intended to see the twins punished, although nothing
quite as drastic as they were fearing, he was sure. He would not
suffer his son to such shame after Legolas had come so far to heal.
“He will come for you, worry not,” Thranduil assured once more.
“Because I owe your father a debt of gratitude I could never begin to
repay, I will not subject you to the punishment you deserve.
However you will remain confined to your room for the rest of the
fortnight. I do not wish to see either of you at all for the next
four days. When your confinement is over you will help in the
Kitchens as you seem to have more energy than you know what to do
with. I will decide later when I am not so angry, just how long
that will last. Am I understood?”
Both of the dark heads nodded mutely.
“Randomir, escort Elrond’s children to their room and see to it that
they remain there,” Thranduil ordered. The head of his guard had
just entered and only heard the last of the King’s conversation with
Randomir stepped forward and escorted the twins out, taking the
children a little more roughly by the shoulders than he had
intended. He had not yet heard the full tale of what had
happened, but Elrynd had filled him in on the details that mattered –
Legolas had retreated again. And it was the fault of these two
Elrohir had barely stopped crying and shied away from the tall elf when
the guard grabbed his tunic and shoved him out of the throne room.
Seeing the fear in the young ones eyes, Randomir relented
slightly. Releasing them, he pushed the twins more gently in
front of him, allowing them to walk side by side.
Elladan glanced warily over his shoulder at the elf who was guiding
them. He recognized this one from before when they had been
rescued. The elf did not smile or speak to them but he had seemed
kind enough at the time so Elladan relaxed slightly.
“Do you really think Ada will come for us?” Elrohir asked softly.
“I do not know. I hope so but ... I just don’t know El. After this?” Elladan whispered his response.
Randomir had heard this conversation before. Not from these two
but from other young elves in his charge and he had overheard
Thranduil’s answer to them as well.
“He will come,” Randomir answered, startling even himself. He forced a smile when Elrohir flinched.
As they walked by Legolas’ room the door opened and Elvéwen
stepped out into the hallway. Elrohir hazarded a quick glance
into the chambers and saw Legolas sitting on his bed with the elf they
had come to know as Raniean.
Quickly making up his mind, Elrohir stopped in front of the Queen. He was a peace-maker by nature and did not like having
this shroud of enmity hanging around them. It had always been
something unique about the youngest of the twins. He liked to
seek out those he had hurt or offended and ask forgiveness, unwilling
to live with himself if he could not make amends. It hurt his
heart too much. And so it was that without a second thought he
found himself before the Queen of Mirkwood begging her to be let in to
talk to Legolas.
Stepping away from Randomir, Elrohir blocked the Queen’s path.
“Please your highness; may I go speak with Legolas? I need
to. I cannot stay in my room for four days seeing no one and
unable to apologize. Please,” he asked forlornly. “We meant
no harm. We did not know it would affect him so.”
“Elrohir!” Elladan hissed pulling his twin back against him. “We have already done enough. Let it go.”
“I can not let it go,” Elrohir answered just as softly.
“I am not sure that is such a good idea right now,” Elvéwen
replied at the exact same time that Raniean, who had heard them from
inside the room, barked out a stern ‘no’. The Queen looked down
into the tear-stained, upturned face. Her son had been hurt,
again, and this time it had been by the hands of these two small
guests. She wanted to shield Legolas from further pain. She
wanted her son back, the one that smiled and laughed, whose heart was
trusting and carefree. But it seemed that that elfling was long
gone. Gazing down at the two dark-haired elves, she warred with
herself as she thought over the request. Deep in her heart she
knew that somewhere across the mountains another mother worried over
her children, the two that were now in Elvéwen’s care.
“I must tell him I’m sorry. Ada says it is good for the heart, both the
one that has been offended and the one that has done the offending.”
Elrohir’s gaze never the left the eyes of the Queen. “Ada is
always right,” he whispered. “I promise not to hurt him anymore.”
With a small sigh Elvéwen glanced at Randomir. The guard
stoically returned her gaze. He wanted nothing more than to
shield Legolas from further pain as well and was not predisposed to let
these two anywhere near his prince. Randomir discreetly shook his
Making up her own mind about the matter, Elvéwen crouched down
in front of the younger elves that huddled next to one another.
“Your father is a wise man. I know you did not mean to hurt my
son and would expect you to never do so again.”
Elladan nodded soberly. Everyone kept asking if they knew what
they had done, but no one told them what exactly had made it so
wrong. Yet he was beginning to understand that Legolas must have
been hurt pretty badly in Dorolyn. That was the only thing that
could account for the raw terror they had seen on his face
earlier. “We would not have acted as we did if we knew it would
cause so much grief.”
“We have human blood in us...” Elrohir whispered as though the admission was a secret.
“...and we have always had good relations with the towns around our
home. We didn’t know... didn’t think it would be so different
here,” Elladan finished their combined thought.
“We did the same thing once to Glorfindel,” Elrohir admitted.
“After he got over being angry at first, he thought it was funny,” Elladan confessed.
Elvéwen suppressed a small smile. She found their ability to finish one another’s sentences endearing.
“You must remember that when you visit someone you are not free to act
as you would at home,” the Queen instructed them gently, “You never
know what has gone on before you came to stay, nor the way that house is
run. I would dare to say that the way things are run here in the
palace are not at all like your home over the mountains. And it
is not polite to pull pranks on people whom you have only recently been
“I know,” Elrohir said softly, “Naneth says that too. We just...
we were upset because Legolas and his friends were making fun of
“And well, we took it personally,” Elladan offered. “We shouldn’t have.”
“They were, were they?” Elvéwen questioned. She turned her gaze on Randomir.
“But...but we don’t want them to get in trouble, please,” Elladan
quickly interjected, seeing the glance that passed between the
adults. He hoped they had not already said too much, he did not
want to anger Sarcayul and Sarcaulien. He gently reached out and
touched the queen’s arm. “Please, we won’t trouble you any more,
just let us apologize.”
Elvéwen stood to her feet and regarded the two elves solemnly for a moment.
“I think it would do Legolas good. And you do owe him an
apology,” she agreed. She hoped she was doing the right thing as
she slowly opened the door, making sure her son was fit for visitors
and preceded the two elflings back into the prince’s room.
“Legolas, you have someone who wants to speak with you,” Elvéwen warned him softly.
Elrohir moved out from behind the queen’s profile allowing the prince to see him.
Legolas turned away from the Noldo elf and glanced out the window,
shaking his head slowly. Raniean stood to his feet defiantly but
was warned quickly off by his father who had followed the queen.
Grabbing Elladan by the sleeve, Elrohir tugged his twin forward.
“Legolas?” the Noldo twin ventured quietly, “I needed to apologize, please, if you’ll let me.”
With a sigh the blond-haired elf turned back towards his guests.
Part of him wanted nothing to do with them and part of him knew that it
was his responsibility as royalty to be more gracious.
The prince looked like he had been crying as much as Elrohir had.
It startled Legolas to see that there were still tears in the younger
Elrohir didn’t speak when the Silvan prince looked his way; instead he
did something more surprising. He took off his outer tunic,
passed it to his brother, and turned around slowly so Legolas could see
his exposed skin. His back, shoulders and stomach were
crisscrossed with thin whip lines that were just now starting to
disappear. Holding his palms up towards the prince, it was easy
to see new pink skin on his wrists were ugly, vicious rope burns had
once been. His heritage caused him to heal more slowly than his
full blooded kinsmen. In time the scars would fade
completely. But it would be a while yet before the healed marks
would completely absorb back into his body without a trace.
“Not too long ago, Elladan and I were caught by orcs and beaten.
They... they were very cruel to us,” Elrohir whispered. “It’s
partly why Ada sent us away. The orcs are back near our home
again. It has been several seasons at least since then, but we...
we do not like to show the scars because they heal so much slower on us
than they do on our other kindred. But...but I show them to you
now because the way you looked earlier was the way I feel when we run
across orc trails near our home.” Elrohir swallowed hard, his
voice dropping softly. Elladan’s warm hand on his shoulder helped
steady him and he backed up against his brother. “I don’t know
what happened to you, but I recognized the look on your face. And
I know how I’d have felt if someone put me in that situation with
orcs. I’m really sorry. You probably won’t believe me, but
we honestly never meant to truly cause you harm.”
The look of horror that passed across Legolas’ features betrayed his
silence. The light pink stripes on the younger elf were similar
to the ones he had borne not so long ago. He understood now why
the twins wore those light under-tunics when they were swimming
together. It may not be a Rivendell custom after all. It
was probably just a choice of the twins, who hadn’t wanted to show
their scars anymore than he wanted to bare his.
“You don’t... but... You mean you don’t know what happened in Dorolyn?” Legolas asked softly.
“No,” Elladan answered for the both of them. “Well, not exactly.
Ada only said that you had been captured. He helped you get out
and brought you home, here. He said he helped heal you from some
injuries you had taken, but I guess I didn’t stop to think how you
might have gotten those injuries. I assumed maybe you were hurt
in the fight. I guess now that you were probably intentionally
hurt and beaten, like El and I were by the orcs. I... I’m
sorry. What I said to you before... I should not have said.
I should not have spoken carelessly about events I was not privy to
“I thought you knew, I...” Legolas faltered. He glanced at
Ran who breathed a sigh of relief and smiled back at him. The
prince could live with the twins thinking the worst thing that happened
to him in Dorolyn was being beaten and ill-treated.
“Please forgive us,” Elrohir entreated once more, “I can’t stay confined in my room for four days knowing you hate us.”
“I don’t hate you,” Legolas answered softly, “I did misunderstand you though and I do forgive you.”
“Then you won’t tell... any of your other friends, will you?”
Elrohir blurted out before Elladan could stop him. His twin’s
hand covered his mouth a second after the words had left. Elladan
jabbed his brother sharply in the ribs. Oh that had been a
“Don’t get them suspicious. He’ll kill us,” Elladan whispered
harshly to his brother. He kept his voice low enough so that
Legolas and the others before them could not hear, but had forgotten
that the captain of the guard stood directly behind them.
Randomir, who had been waiting quietly, stepped forward and questioned the twins.
“Who said they would kill you?” His voice was stern and the twins flinched as they spun around.
“Uh... no one,” Elrohir attempted, but it fell very flat. No one believed that.
“I’m sure it was all a misunderstanding too. He said we couldn’t
tell. We gave our word, and we won’t,” Elladan began to
explain. He was interrupted by Raniean.
“It was Sarcayul and his brother, wasn’t it?” Raniean walked
around the bed and stood beside his father. “Trelan said there
was an argument and Sarcaulien was involved. It was about humans
and some harsh words were exchanged.” Raniean was not clear on
the specifics, knowing only what he had heard from his friend, but he
knew enough of Sarcayul and Sarcaulien to know that they could be
dangerous people to cross when their tempers were aggravated.
“Is this true, was it them?” Randomir asked.
“What did they say to you?” Legolas asked, almost at the same time. He glanced from his mother to the twins.
Elvéwen sat on the edge of the bed and encouraged the Noldo
elves, “No one will hurt you in this house and no one has the right to
threaten the guests of the King either.”
The twins looked a bit confused. They still thought the other
elves had acted on Legolas’ behest, but the honestly confused look in
the prince’s eyes suddenly made them think otherwise.
“Please, I’d really rather not say who it was or wasn’t. We gave
our oath and we don’t want any more trouble,” Elrohir said
quietly. “We have caused enough already. We just don’t want
to get killed for what we’ve done either.”
Legolas laughed softly, a sound that caused the other elves in the room
to smile and brighten. It usually took the prince a bit to
recover from something as traumatic as what he had endured earlier.
“Well if it was Sar and Sarc, they won’t really kill you, I
promise,” Legolas reassured. He of course, had no way of knowing
that the threats had been much more violent than just words. “Was
Elladan and Elrohir shook their heads mutely, indicating that they were unwilling to speak.
“I’d like to tell you,” Elladan said softly. “Believe me, I
would, but Ada taught us to take oaths we swore on our honor seriously,
no matter how they came to be given.”
No one there could argue with that, despite how they might have felt.
Legolas sighed and let the matter drop. “It probably was them,
but please don’t mention it to them, Randomir. If Elladan and
Elrohir don’t want to confirm it for sure, then it will only stir up
more bad blood with them, and between you and Traycaul. I am sure
they thought they were protecting me,” Legolas said finally.
“I’ll talk to them about it, I promise.” Legolas realized that
Sarcaulien had probably taken to heart the prince’s fear that the twins
would say something and resorted to fool-hardy measures. He
didn’t want Sarcaulien to get in trouble for it, but he didn’t want
them threatening the twins anymore either. He could see they were
sorry, and now that he knew they did not know his secrets he felt a
great deal better. He desperately hoped this whole, painful
situation would just be allowed to fade away. He was still badly
shaken by his experience earlier, but he hated the way everyone was
crowding around and worrying over him. He had to move on and push
the demons back again, and swiftly before he lost ground in the eyes of
those he loved. The demons of the past wouldn’t go away.
They never went away, but he could pretend they did not exist and life
would eventually return to normal once more.
Fixing a firm smile on his face that he knew he would eventually be
genuine if he kept it in place long enough, Legolas hoped everyone else
was ready to move on as well.
“Thank you,” Elladan breathed softly, “We never meant to cause so much trouble.”
“We do this all the time at home,” Elrohir confessed. “In fact
last month when Glorfindel returned, we...” The twin’s story was
interrupted when Elladan leapt at his brother and covered his mouth
once more pulling his twin with him from the room.
“I’m sure you don’t want to hear that story. We’ll just go to our
room now and we’ll be good we promise.” He tried to reassure with a
smile. Releasing Elrohir he smacked his brother on the back of
his head and passed his twin back his shirt.
“Would that be Glorfindel the Balrog Slayer that I have heard tales of?” Legolas questioned.
Raniean looked horrified that the twins would pull pranks on such a highly renowned elf.
“Yes, the very one!” Elrohir answered. “He tells the best stories!”
“Well stay and tell me some,” Legolas entreated. “Please.”
But his request was met with downcast glances.
“We have to stay in our rooms for the next four days and we aren’t to
be seen,” Elladan answered softly, “I’m sorry, maybe later.”
“Well just because you are confined to your room doesn’t mean I’m
confined to mine,” Legolas offered with a small smile. “If I come
with you, will you finish that story?”
“Can he come?” Elrohir asked, glancing up at the tall guard that stood
behind them. Randomir was trying to steer the two to their own
rooms. He had been gone long enough; the King would begin to
wonder what had taken so long.
“I don’t see why not,” Elvéwen answered for the Saleon.
“Go on, you were already given the day off. Go enjoy yourself, my
love.” She kissed Legolas on the top of the head and pulled the covers
out of his way as he swung his legs off the side of the bed.
“Father?” Raniean questioned the older elf.
“Yes, you may go as well,” Randomir consented. Actually he
wouldn’t have had it any other way. He wasn’t quite at ease yet
with Legolas being alone with the twins. Legolas had recovered a
bit too quickly for his liking. He knew the prince was acting
again, putting on the smile he thought everyone wanted to see.
The truth was, they did want to see it... and even if it was an act, it
was better for Legolas to smile than to mourn. So he said
nothing, just giving Legolas’ shoulder a squeeze before they parted.
“You know, you’re not so bad either,” Elladan commented over his
shoulder as Ran walked into the guest room. “Sorry we misjudged
you.” His voice could be heard through the door as it swung shut.
“I’ll have a guard brought up. To make sure the room is secure
and to keep those two in for the next few days,” Randomir answered his
queen’s unspoken request. “I pity Elrond and Celebrìan.”
“They do have their hands full,” Elvéwen agreed with a small
laugh. “But they seem to be good for Legolas. He recovered much
quicker than I thought he would.”
Their conversation was cut short as a commotion drew attention down the
hall. Thranduil mounted the stairs and stalked towards his wife
Peals of laughter rang out from behind the closed door of the twins’
room causing the King to quirk an eyebrow and glance at his wife.
“I thought I banished them to their room. Do I hear other voices in there?” Thranduil questioned darkly.
Taking her husband by the arm, Elvéwen gently turned the King around and proceeded to lead him away from the door.
“You do indeed, my dear,” she affirmed his suspensions. “And you will
not disturb them as Legolas is in there and apparently enjoying
himself. I will not suffer you to interrupt. They are not
so unalike you know - our son and Elrond’s children. Besides the
youngest was so endearing I think he won our son over.”
“The youngest?” Thranduil glanced at his wife in confusion.
He was still trying to grasp the whole concept of identical
elves. “I thought they were twins!”
Elvéwen laughter followed them down the stairs as she explained
what had transpired to her husband. Things were settling down
once more in the palace and she was glad for that.
Legolas floated on his back in the water, looking up at the tree-filled
sky. The sun shining through the leaves above turned them
golden-green. The water lapped gently at his ears as his hair
spread around him like pale seaweed, undulating softly on the waves and
ripples generated by his companions. He sensed a presence near
and righted himself before Raniean could get close enough to think
about dunking him. They were back at the lake again today, and
after some urging Legolas had consented to join them today. After
all, they were all friends here.
Raniean nudged Legolas and jerked his head towards the shallower water
where Elladan and Elrohir were amusing themselves. The twins
stopped every few minutes to slap the surface of the water and trill,
obviously still trying to keep away the alleged snakes.
“WHAT is all that about?” Raniean asked, perplexed by their behavior.
Legolas couldn’t help laughing as he answered, “Oh Ran, that’s quite a story...”
Raniean rolled his eyes. “Wait, do not tell me... three-ringed water snakes, right?”
Legolas nodded, treading water languidly. “That’s the one.”
Before their conversation could go much further, a loud cry from the
shallows yanked their attention back to where the twins had been
At a distance, Legolas honestly couldn’t tell which one was Elladan and
which was Elrohir, but one of the dark-haired elves was thrashing
around and the other was calling out urgently for help.
Legolas, Raniean and Trelan knifed swiftly through the water, reaching
the panicking younger elves a few moments after the alarm went up.
Elrohir was holding Elladan, trying to pull him towards shore. Elladan’s eyes were closed.
“Help him!” Elrohir was pleading urgently, almost incoherently. “Something bit him, I think it was one of those snakes!”
Legolas immediately looked around them in alarm. There were no
such thing as the snakes they feared, but that didn’t mean there might
not be something else nasty in the water. Unfortunately the
shallows had already been churned up into a muddy brown color from the
twins’ frantic movements and even the sharp eyes of the Mirkwood elves
could see nothing below the surface.
Legolas grabbed Elladan from his brother. Holding the younger elf
under the armpits he towed him quickly to the bank and carried him up
onto the shore. Raniean swiftly escorted Elrohir out while Trelan
jumped out and quickly dragged his tunic on, preparing to run for help.
Legolas’ dripping fingers instantly sought a pulse at the base of
Elladan’s neck. He was relieved to find it, but the twin’s chest
did not rise or fall. Elladan wasn’t breathing.