3. Quiet Acceptance
Author's note: Sorry this was sooo late - I had summer finals that took a lot out of me! Oh, and a special thanks to paranoidangel for outstanding beta work on this chapter.
Walking through his chamber door, Legolas began to hum a lighthearted tune under his breath as he pushed the door shut softly behind him. Hmm, still quite early…the sun is not yet fully risen. I believe a nice, hot soak is in order before Lord Elrond arrives. With swift steps, he quickly crossed into his bathing chamber to get the water started. As it began to flow, he glanced idly out the door and saw the remains from the previous evening scattered across the balcony. Pausing to see how much of the tub still needed to be filled, he nodded once before rushing out onto the balcony to remove all traces of the missing kitchen stores. Satisfied that he had found everything, he walked back into his room and began undressing – dropping clothes carelessly on his way.
Some time later, he stood before his wardrobe wrapped in a soft oversized towel, as he searched for his favorite green tunic and brown leggings with little success. Irritated that they were missing, he absently pulled on a silvery-grey tunic and deep blue leggings with matching belt and boots. Lastly, his nimble fingers moved rapidly in the familiar motions of plaiting his warrior braids before he was ready to receive visitors. A quick glance around his room had him once again rushing around last minute to pick up the previously discarded clothes and travel packs that had managed to find their way onto various tables and chairs. After deciding that the room, like him, was now ready to receive visitors, he settled back in one of the armchairs located in front of his empty fireplace.
Elrond paced impatiently across his study, repeatedly reaching one bookshelf, turning, and striding back to his desk – until finally throwing his hands up in exasperation as he stormed out of his terrace door and into the gardens in search of one very late Istar. He had only taken a couple steps before the strong scent of pipe-weed assailed his nose. Following the repugnant scent to its source, he found one missing wizard lounging on the grass as he blew small smoke-rings through the larger rings issuing forth from none other than Bilbo Baggins.
"Do you not think it is a bit too early to be inhaling that deplorable pipe-weed?" demanded Elrond as he crossed his arms in vexation.
Glancing lazily up at the irate elf, Bilbo offered an enthusiastic salute with his pipe and a rather contented smile before addressing him. "My Lord Elrond, you will find that I need little encouragement to pause and enjoy a good pipe, with a very old friend, on such a glorious morning!"
"Ah, well, Master Baggins that may be true, however, Gandalf and I have a rather important meeting that we are considerably late for. I do hope you can forgive me for depriving you of our wayward friend for but a moment."
Glancing over at Gandalf, Bilbo was temporarily distracted by the rather large smoke-horse that the wizard sent charging through all of his fine smoke rings.
"Most impressive, my friend! Sadly though, I fear I must relinquish your company to our fine host…but perhaps we can continue later in the day?"
"Indeed, Bilbo, I shall try to meet you back here before the dinner bell then."
Gandalf slowly stood up as he smiled with satisfaction down towards his little friend, then let out a small sigh as he knocked out the bowl of his pipe before stowing it in one of many hidden pockets of his robe.
"All right Elrond, I believe we have made the young prince wait long enough. Let us go meet him."
Bilbo watched them walk away with barely contained mirth – for Elrond appeared to be quite irate with a non-repentant wizard, who was half-heartedly trying to placate said elven lord.
Too impatient to sit still, Legolas soon jumped back up in order to retrieve both his long knife and whetstone. He walked slowly back to his chair as he began to meticulously examine his weapon for even the smallest of nicks along the blade. Sitting once again, he began the slow process of smoothing the stone repeatedly down the blade's edge until it once again gleamed smooth and bright. He had barely re-sheathed it before he heard a light knock on his door.
With quick strides he made his way across the room and smoothly opened it. "Please, do come in, my lord." Placing his right hand over his heart, Legolas stepped back to welcome his visitors.
Legolas led them somewhat nervously out to the table on his balcony. He waited until both of them had taken their seats before seating himself, though he did not lean back into his chair. Instead, he placed his forearms against the table's edge and laced his fingers together before taking a deep breath, slowly releasing it, and looking up into serious grey eyes.
"My Lord Elrond, Gandalf, what can I do for you this morning?"
Searching for a place to start, Elrond decided to simply use a direct approach with the prince.
Returning Legolas' steady stare, he asked wryly, "I believe that my sons and daughter have already spoken with you about the upcoming quest?"
"Yes, my Lord, we have discussed this at great length. I know you may have some lingering reservations, but let me just say that I harbor no illusions as to the level of danger that will be involved. I swear to you that I will endeavor to protect the ring-bearer with every possible means available to me – even with my very life should that mean finally ridding Arda of Shadow."
Gandalf, who had been studying the young Prince speculatively, calmly interrupted him at this point. "My lad, we do not doubt your desire to see this through…we are more concerned of you and your father. How do you think he will react to your entering this quest? Does he not expect you to stand beside him in defense of Mirkwood? You did intend to inform him immediately if you were chosen?"
Offering a sardonic smile, Legolas answered with but a touch of dry humor, "Actually, Gandalf, I had rather hoped to follow your lead and inform him closer to our departure date – thus, it would be too late for him to stop me."
At this both Gandalf and Elrond laughed softly at the all too familiar image of Thranduil pacing his office in frustration with his wayward son yet again.
As he glanced between these two elders, Legolas felt the need to explain further, but felt frustrated by exactly how to make them understand him.
"You must realize, I can scarcely recall a time when my beloved Forest was not fighting the ever-growing darkness. Our people have put up a valiant effort to hold the gloom and despair at bay, but they grow ever so weary. I have watched in silence as my Adar leads this never-ending battle, I have watched him mourn the loss of too many of our warriors, and I have watched him continue to offer our people hope even when his own began to waiver. If I can help Frodo reach his destination, then I can offer my Adar and our people the best defense possible. The hope to be truly free of this constant threat – this oppressive darkness – is all the motivation I need. The ring can whisper all it wants about the aid it can give my beloved Adar – I do not believe it!" Realizing he had risen in anger, Legolas slowly sat down and attempted to reign in his rampant emotions as Gandalf turned to Elrond.
"Well, mellon-nin, do you have any further doubts? Because I do not - I want him with us."
With a resigned sigh, Elrond reluctantly admitted, "No, I do not." With that, Elrond rose to his feet and waited while Gandalf and Legolas followed suit. Watching the young prince as he squared his shoulders and raised his chin in determination, Elrond gave him his sternest look as he asked formally, "Legolas Thranduilion, do you accept the responsibility of protecting Frodo for as long as you see fit to do so?"
Legolas once again raised his right hand and placed it over his heart in the traditional warrior's salute before replying with quiet assurance, "Yes, my Lord Elrond, In the name of my Adar, I accept."
"Well done and done!" exclaimed Gandalf as he turned towards the door.
Elrond began to follow him, but paused in the balcony doorway as he glanced back at the young elf still standing as if rooted to the spot. With one eyebrow raised, Elrond smoothly added, "Fortunately, I believe that the fellowship will be setting out soon…as I do not think my kitchens can withhold the constant barrage of hungry hobbits – especially when they conspire with wood-elves!"
The two companions laughed merrily as they wandered down the hall and left one speechless ellon staring in chagrin at his now empty doorway.
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.