1. Under Mirkwood´s Trees
My first challenge response, hope you like it.
It is mid-March, Spring supposedly but it feels more like mid-winter. A shadow lies over hour home and I wonder sometimes if it will ever be lifted. But my hands are as sure as ever as they go about their tasks.
It is now midday, so I pick up the tray of food that I have prepared and carry it to my King’s study. I hold little hope that Thranduil will eat all of it, I dare bear hope that he will eat any of it, but I will try. He has little time for food as he marshals our warriors to defend our besieged home. In truth he has had little time for food since November, when our messengers, who were sent to Rivendell, returned without one of their number, Legolas, our Prince.
As I carry my tray into the King’s study I see that he is deep in discussion with Tathar, the Master Archer. He opens his mouth, about to dismiss me I am sure, but I am too quick. “Your lunch, Sire”, I say firmly, my tone allowing no argument.
My king glares at me but I meet his gaze, I will do my duty to him, whether he wills it or not. But then his gaze softens, “My thanks, Girion”, he says and gestures to the table.
I walk forward and place the tray on the table, glancing at the map Thranduil and Tathar have been examining. We are surrounded by enemies on all sides and ever do the battle lines draw closer to our home.
Unfortunately Thranduil see my glance. His eyes harden and he rises, turning away. “Another of my warriors died yesterday”, he says as he stares into the distance, seemingly forgetting that he is not alone.
Tathar and I exchange sombre glances, a group of archers had been overrun by a pack of wargs, aided by the hateful spiders. All the wargs had been killed, but not before one had put its claws to deadly use. The fallen elf was Brethril, a young warrior and an age-mate an old friend of Legolas.
“I would that I were wise”, the King’s soft words catch me by surprise and I stare at him, knowing not what to say. How can he think this? He is our wisest King, our greatest King. Before Tathar or I can utter a protest the King speaks again. “Elrond is wise, I will allow him that. He uses others as his weapons. So do all great lords, if they are wise”.
The bitter despair in the King’s voice breaks my heart. All of us keenly miss Legolas, gone five months now, but he is the King’s only son. Brethril’s death has sent Thranduil’s thoughts to him again, although in truth I think they rarely stray from Legolas anyway.
Legolas is greatly loved by us all, for his skill with a bow, certainly, but most of all for his youth, his merry nature that refuses to be broken and always lifts us with him. And now he is gone, and we scarcely know where, and all we can do is hope that he will return, as our King’s heart breaks again and again.
“But we are not wise”, Thranduil continues. “We do not use others, we use ourselves. Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons”, his voice roughens on that word, “until there is nothing left”.
“We use ourselves because we are our strongest weapons”, Tathar says, managing to recover far faster than I from the King’s despairing words. “We do not need others, together we are strong”.
“Together we are stronger than anything”, I find myself saying in agreement. “We will hold and we will endure for our leaders are strong and true. They have never failed us and we will always follow and together we will endure”.
Both elves turn to me, their gaze piercing, but my words are true so I meet their gaze resolutely.
Before any of us can say aught more a messenger hurries in. “Sire!” he cries, ignoring all protocols, his face white with worry. “Sire, Dol Goldur is emptying! The enemy marches upon us!”
The last battle, I think. Our last stand for we will either repel these forces once and forever or we will fall, defeated.
Thranduil looks at the three of us, the young messenger, the steadfast Master Archer and the faithful butler. His troubled eyes clear and a dangerous light enters them.
“We may not be wise, but we are dangerous”, he says, and I rejoice in my heart for his voice is strong and firm. “These evil creatures will regret the day they dared to attack the wood-elves in their home. Come, for battle awaits”.
He turns and strides to the door, upright and resolute and my heart goes with him. Our King, our greatest King, he is here and with him we will never fall.
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.