Author's Note: PG rating. Please advise me if you find it inappropriate.
As always, every attempt has been made to keep my story in tune with Tolkien's universe. However, several elements of it remain AU, and there will be mistakes, so please correct me.
I know that in The Hobbit, Thranduil is said to live in a cavern, but for the purposes of my stories from this era, he has yet to move his people into the grottos. For more details, please read my other story, Shadow, which deals with this issue.
To suit my stories of young Legolas, I have also made it out such that Elven children grow at half the rate of mortals. As such, Legolas is more like a human child of six in this tale.
The sun shone, its bright rays calling for the little one to venture outdoors. Such a beautiful day, and he was stuck inside, learning to be a Prince. Life was not fair.
"And so concludes the account of Glorfindel coming back from the halls of Mandos, re-embodied with greater powers," Felnor said, not realising that the little head had sunk onto the table in a stupor, and that his charge was immobilised with drowsiness.
Seeing how Felnor had concluded his tale, Legolas made a genuine attempt to lift his chin off the table and to feign some form of interest. He succeeded in the first, but failed in the second. History was usually one of his favourite lessons, but the weather was too hot for him to concentrate. Not that he usually put a concerted effort into any of his classes, save archery. He had found that his intelligence allowed him to breeze through most of them without trying very hard.
On any other day, his teacher would have noticed his lack of participation, but the warm weather was affecting Felnor too,. While fond of the boy, Felnor was strict tutor and sometimes lacking in the imagination department.
"Legolas!" A brief rap on his shoulder brought him back to the present. "Stop day-dreaming, Your Highness!"
Felnor sighed and instructed him to wash his face. Standing up and walking into the adjacent room, Legolas bent over a basin and splashed cold water on his face, and caught a glimpse out of the window as he did, and to his surprise found two grey eyes staring at him. Startled, he stepped back.
Frowning, he took another step back, causing silent giggles to run through Esendri. A wave of annoyance ran through Legolas. He was of royal lineage, which should have made him able to do whatever he liked, but no, he was trapped, against his own will, while his friends enjoyed the best of the sun's rays! As if to drive home the point, Esendri winked and stuck out his tongue.
A hot rush caused Legolas to forget everything, and he made a lunge at the window, scrambling to lift himself out of it.
"Your Highness!" Felnor had entered the room, and was flabbergasted to see Legolas trying to climb out. "What do you suppose you are doing?"
Sighing in resignation, Legolas leapt off his perch, muttering a brief apology and an excuse about trying to catch a bird before trudging back into the study, for it was too hot for him to argue.
He sank into his seat and waited for the chastening he knew would come. Already the afternoon heat and the soporific effect of the room were starting to get to him.
Felnor gaped in surprise when Legolas returned to his seat without a struggle.
"Tithen pen, if you would take out your Quenya," Felnor said, deciding against ticking Legolas off, for he seemed to be trying hard to please for once.
His illusion was shattered when a long drawn sigh escaped Legolas's lips.
"Ai, Felnor! Can we not do something else? Archery, mayhap?"
"Please?" he tried again when he received no answer, widening his eyes.
Beholding the angelic figure, with his shoulder-length blond locks that fell in a shock, and bright blue eyes, Felnor almost gave in. He had to try very hard to harden his heart, telling himself that beneath that thin exterior of a cherub lay an erstwhile little devil.
"I am afraid not, Your Highness," he said.
"I do not see why I should study Quenya. Nobody uses it anymore, and was it not banned?"
"Consider it your privilege for you are able to learn such a beautiful tongue; something that others can only yearn for! Your father decided it to be included in your lessons, and so it shall be!" Felnor said, not mentioning that it was he who was responsible for Legolas's torment. After all, it was he who had gone to Thranduil with the idea of teaching Legolas the language of the Eldar this early, as he had been making good progress in his Sindarin and Nandorin lessons.
"To learn something that nobody uses is silly."
"Now, I shall have no more of this talk. Start your writing, and I shall be back," Felnor said, turning on his heel and leaving the despondent Legolas to his set work.
It was not a happy Elf that settled down to his writing practice. He banged down his quill into the inkpot, and in his frustration, knocked the inkpot over. He hissed and righted the pot of ink, but the damage had already been done. With more than a little dismay, he saw that his books and parchments were drenched in ink, marring weeks, even months of not-so-hard work.
Throwing down his quill, Legolas tried to mop up the mess with a spare piece of cloth that lay on the floor nearby. Instead, he succeeded in getting more ink over the table and his books, and on himself. He scrambled under the table to pick up his scattered papers, and banged his head hard on the table as he stood up too, causing more ink to spray over the room.
When he gave up, he examined his ink-stained books and stared down at his blackened clothes and hands. His father would not be pleased. This would mark the second time within the week that he had ruined his garments, his other set of fine clothes being shredded to an unrecognisable degree by his playful wrestling with a bear cub he had come across in the woods.
As if to add insult to injury, he saw that the cloth he held in his hands was a silk scarf that belonged to Felnor.
A wide grin spread across his face as he abandoned his efforts and walked over to a mirror. The Elf before him was unrecognisable as the neat and clean one that had walked into the room a couple of hours before. Look, was that not a black smudge on his nose? Legolas sniggered and rubbed the spot, only to see the blackness grow.
A fit of giggles overtook him, as he continued to peer at his dirty and grubby reflection. His father would most definitely have a fit if he walked in now! Thranduil's only wish was that his younger son show a bit of the propriety he felt needed for a Sindarin prince. Legolas could enjoy rolling about in the dirt with his friends, messing himself up beyond all recognition was quite beyond his understanding.
The giggling fit died away, and Legolas returned to his books. A soft titter pierced the still afternoon air, but this time did not stem from himself.
Turning towards the source of the sound, Legolas found that Esendri had returned, and was peering into the room. One hand was covering his mouth, as if afraid that more giggles might erupt, and the other was gripping onto a branch.
I hope you fall, thought Legolas darkly.
"Esendri, come in here!"
Esendri obeyed and slid in through the window.
"Master, what a state you are in!" he said when he had composed himself to speak. "I had not known His Majesty wanted you to learn dyeing as well!" He hiccupped, causing Legolas to break into peals of laughter.
Legolas managed to stop his laughter, and said. "Help me clean this up before Felnor returns!"
"How? The ink will not wash off!"
Legolas glanced around, panic setting in. Felnor would be furious, and goodness knows how many lines he would be made to write as a punishment for this! . "You are the servant! You should have a clearer idea of how to do this!" he said.
Esendri was about to reply when faint footsteps sounded down the hallway. Legolas stuck out a black hand and covered his mouth. To his consternation, the sound got nearer as the person headed down the corridor in the direction of the study. In a panic, he pushed Esendri under the table, causing him to bump his head on a leg.
"OW!" cried Esendri, only to be silenced by Legolas, and both waited with bated breath.
Relief swept through the room as the sound passed by the door, leaving the room's occupants unscathed. Esendri crawled out from his hiding place, his face red with the control of his merriment. Even Legolas too was covering his own mouth to try and stifle his peals of laughter.
Just when they thought the worst was over, Esendri hiccupped. Legolas sprung around in annoyance, fixing him with an icy glare. To their horror, the footsteps at the far end of the corridor stopped. Taking a hurried step back, Esendri knocked into a chair, causing it to fall to the floor in a resounding crash.
Legolas jumped out of his skin at the sound and turned to see that Esendri was on his way out the window, not wanting to get involved any further.
Judging from the footsteps, the Elf outside was headed in the direction of the room.
Throwing all caution to the wind, Legolas was at the window.
"Bretha-band!" he yelled as he leapt onto the tree. Swinging on a vine, a loud scream piercing the air as he felt the makeshift rope give way. Arms flailing, he managed to grab hold of a nearby branch, and hauled himself onto it, before bouncing off after his servant by the time the door was flung open.
Felnor stopped short at the sight of the ravaged study. Parchment rolls, papers and notes were strewn all over the table and floor, and huge ink splotches stained the carpet beneath the table.
Gritting his teeth, he sprung out of the window after Legolas. A whole series of punishments ran through his head, and by the time he came within sight of the delinquents, it was a tie between a hearty spanking and dangling the boy out of the window by his ears.
Esendri turned and saw that Felnor was closing in. Shouting out a warning t, he doubled his pace and shot forward through the trees. They were close to the palace perimeter and freedom.
Felnor found himself impressed by the speed of the young ones. Clearly the endurance training he made Legolas go through was proving too successful.
Upfront, Legolas sensed Felnor's resolve to catch up with them, and let out a shrill whistle. What seemed like a whole flock of birds bore down upon the Captain, who was slowed down by the mad rush of beating wings and ear-piercing squawks. The young Elves seized the confusion to drop to the ground, giggling at Felnor's enraged shouts and threats as he struggled to beat the flapping beasts away.
"Hurry Esendri, the wall!" Legolas cried, and they ran for the perimeter.
Esendri reached it first. It was formed by a dense interlacing of tree trunks and thick branches, forming an unbreachable obstacle. Esendri found the spot he was searching for, a small hole through the barrier, and shot through it in a flash.
Felnor had sent the birds on their way, and caught up with them. He stuck his hand through the hole.
Legolas felt the strong fingers grasp his ankle, and kicked with all his might.
"Daro erin e!" he cried, and the trees leapt back into their places, closing the gap.
Felnor did not react in time, and found his arm trapped by the strong branches that sprang to close the hole.
"Legolas Thranduilion!" Felnor shouted, but to no avail, for the young ones had long since disappeared.
***** Sindarin Translations: Tithen pen - little one Bretha-band! - prison break! Daro erin e - Close on him
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.