Thranduil was conducting business in the Great Hall when the doors flew open. Legolas raced towards him, waving a sheet of paper. “Ada! I made a picture for you! Look!” he cried excitedly.
Ignoring the looks he was receiving from the Men in the delegation from Esgaroth – some smilingly indulgent, others shocked at this breach of protocol – Thranduil waved a hand to silence their leader. “Your pardon,” he asked. “Would you excuse me a moment?” He swept Legolas up into a great hug, careful not to crease the masterpiece, and inspected the drawing. It showed a figure with long, improbably yellow hair and a crown of riotously coloured flowers on his head.
He touched the crown of woodland flowers upon his own head, hoping that he did not appear quite so – garish. “Thank you,” he said sincerely. “Do you think you could find Nana or Mireth and help her make a frame? Then I could keep it in my study.” As Legolas nodded eagerly, Thranduil added gently, “And try to remember that you must not interrupt when I am conducting a meeting.”
Legolas’s face fell, and he turned to look at the Men. “Ada, I’m sorry,” he whispered. “Were you doing king things? I didn’t know they were here.”
“It does not matter. Now, off you go – I will see you later.” He placed a kiss on the silky head.
As Legolas slid to the ground, he turned to the Men and bowed. “Your pardon, my lords,” he said clearly. “I did not mean to interrupt your business.”
The town leader smiled and bent down, ruffling his hair. “Don’t worry, lad. I can tell your Da is pleased to see you. And that’s a mighty fine drawing you’ve made.”
Thranduil watched with a swell of love and pride as Legolas left. “My son,” he explained, quite unnecessarily.
Many, many years later, Thranduil recalled the scene as he viewed a very different gathering. Legolas now stood among the other newly fledged warriors; all clad in the same green and brown; all standing to attention and glowing with pride. His son was as tall and straight as a young tree, the child’s pale silky hair now a shade or two darker and caught back in intricate warrior’s braids.
One by one they came forward to kneel before him – some nervous, overcome with awe; some sure and confident. One by one they swore an oath of loyalty and protection, before rising to seal the pledge with a warrior’s hand clasp.
Now, as Legolas again approached him across the Great Hall Thranduil felt the same swell of love and pride, 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.
“What service do you pledge?”
Legolas gave the ritual response. “I pledge my life to the realm of Lasgalen, to her people and to her king.”
Thranduil nodded. “Then rise. I accept your service.” As Legolas stood, he flashed a look of delighted pride at Thranduil, before lowering his gaze again.
Giving him a simple warrior’s handshake was difficult for Thranduil. He longed to pull Legolas into a warm embrace, declaring to all his love and pride in his son, who had so swiftly grown into such a fine young warrior. But he knew this was not the time or the place, and he contented himself with the simple greeting, one warrior to another.
Stepping back, he nodded. “You are now a warrior of Lasgalen,” he declared. His pride and joy at this moment was tinged with sadness – how proud Telparian would have been to see this day.
With a final salute, Legolas turned and rejoined the ranks of
the new warriors. There was one more after him, and then the ceremony
was over, the warriors dismissed, and the families watching so proudly
left to rejoin their sons and daughters in private celebration. And at
last Thranduil could abandon king things and seek Legolas – and simply
be a father congratulating his son.