1. Legolas Greenhen
Once upon a time, in the lovely forest kingdom of Mirkwood, there lived a King named Thranduil who loved his wife above all other things on the face of Middle-earth. The two were deliriously happy together, and when she discovered that she was pregnant, their joy only grew.
However, as time passed, grave complications set in. The Queen barely survived the birth, and was severely weakened. She gradually faded during young Legolas’s first few years, and soon passed away.
King Thranduil was utterly heartbroken upon losing his beloved wife. The shock mentally deranged him, and he could no longer bear to look upon the face of his son, who he blamed for taking her life. Grabbing Legolas, he dragged him away from the castle and locked him in a chicken coop.
The entire kingdom mourned the loss of its Queen and her son, who was assumed to have run away in his grief and been eaten by a spider. Thranduil’s mental instability was understood, and when he issued a series of absurd orders, including one forbidding any but a single servant from approaching a certain chicken coop, his subjects humored him. In time, he appeared to recover, but he refused to speak or even think of his lost wife and son.
The servant assigned to care for the chicken coop was a deaf-mute human rescued from slavers on the borders of Mirkwood. He had no way to communicate with anyone the location of young Legolas, and he was too afraid of the King to do more than give the lad human food when he fed the chickens.
Over time, Legolas became completely imprinted on the chickens and lost all memory of Elven speech and behavior. He pecked at his food like a chicken, hopped and perched with his bird companions, and cawed in a sound resembling a chicken’s call.
Twenty-five years after Mirkwood’s great loss, Master Elrond of Rivendell paid a visit to their kingdom, along with his young sons, Elladan and Elrohir. During the long diplomatic discussions, the Elflings began exploring and eventually came upon a certain chicken coop. Upon seeing the strange Elfling in tattered, stained rags acting like a chicken, they knew something was wrong and called their father.
Elrond immediately recognized the lad, who had grown into the spitting image of his father. He loudly chastised all of Mirkwood for allowing this to happen, but Thranduil insisted that he had no son and refused to even look at Legolas. Furious, Elrond took Legolas back to Rivendell. Ashamed of his part in the tragedy, the deaf-mute committed suicide.
Slowly, Legolas was rehabilitated and regained mastery of Elven behavior. He found true joy in the study of archery and shortly became the most proficient archer in Rivendell. However, he had no memory of anything prior to the chicken coop or how he came to be there. Elrond was unaware of precisely who had locked the child in the coop in the first place, and so he did not have any answers either. He merely told Legolas that he was the son of the King and Queen of Mirkwood.
Eventually, Elrond had to return to Mirkwood once again. Legolas begged to come and visit his father, but Elrond argued that they did not know who had hated him enough to inflict such abuse upon him and refused. However, Legolas snuck out of Rivendell and followed them.
Legolas entered Mirkwood disguised as a member of Elrond’s retinue, with the aid of Elladan and Elrohir. Upon seeing his father, he rushed forward to embrace him. Forced to look into his face, Thranduil finally recognized him and the mental block he had erected against memories of his wife and child collapsed. He fell in a dead faint.
When he awoke, he confessed to Elrond what he had done. Elrond was furious, but he could see that Thranduil was once again teetering on the brink of madness, so he tried to contain himself. He insisted, however, that Thranduil had to tell his son the truth.
It took several attempts for Thranduil to muster up the courage to tell his son what he had done. When he heard the truth, Legolas, shocked and appalled that his own father could have done such a horrendous thing, ran from the palace into the depths of Mirkwood.
Alone in the woods, he wandered aimlessly until he heard a faint cry for help. Running toward the sound, he found a beautiful Elf-maiden being attacked by a band of spiders. While jumping from branch to branch, he managed to shoot all of them with unbelievable accuracy and rescue her. As he dropped to the ground beside her, she fainted into his arms.
When she revived, she asked his name and inquired what he was doing so deep in the forest. Driven by an impulse he could not explain, he told her everything that had happened in his life. She comforted him as he wept and raged against Thranduil and eventually helped him to understand that the King’s actions had been caused by madness. Buoyed up by her gentle strength, Legolas found it within him to forgive his father.
The two proceeded back to the palace; Legolas refused to be parted from her, as if she was his only support. Entering the King’s room, they found him dying of grief and guilt. Legolas’ forgiveness allowed him to break out of his self-destruction, and the two embraced and cried as their family slowly began to heal.
*On a serious note: Unfortunately, the whole child-locked-in-a-chicken-coop is based on a true story, according to a professor at my convocation. The guy’s now in rehab. A tragic story, but upon hearing it, this leaped into my mind.*
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.