The young elf brought his long bow up for a shot, the green fletched arrow already notched on the string. He grasped the handle in his left hand, loosely, and pulled the string to the side of his head so that his fingers were in line with his deep grey eye. His long, blonde hair was tied back in a lose plait, like all the other archers, to stop it from being caught in the bow. Slowly he brought the target into sight, sighted, waited for a little while, and then released his grip of the string. The arrow flew through the air to land in the top left of the target. The young elf let his breath out in a rush. It was okay, it was okay, that was only his first arrow, and he had another five. Swiftly he reached into the leather quiver attached to his back, and notched it to his string.
//Hold up the bow, sight, good, and draw back . . . right to the side of your face, sight again . . . hold it, and release! //
Silently the youngster ran through the motions of shooting his bow, which had been a gift from his father for his fifteenth birthday. He had been shooting for a little over a year now, and had managed to get a third class badge, but had been becoming worse and worse (to his eyes) since then. He had not managed to get one second class score yet, which was depressing when you were surrounded on the field by elven archers who were getting master bowman scores everyday. Still, the elf persisted; no matter how bad his scores were, turning up everyday for an hour of archery before moving on to his sword lessons, which were going an awful lot better.
The young elf released the bow for the third time, but this time he caught it on his sleeve; he had not been holding his arm loose enough.
//No matter. I still, have another three. Keep trying, keep persisting and you'll get there some day. //
Even though he tried to keep his thoughts happy as he readjusted his wrist guard, depressing thoughts just seemed to creep through his guard.
//You will never be an archer like you're father. You will be regarded as a failure all through Greenwood . . .//
His fourth and fifth arrows missed the target, which had been set up fifty yards away specially for the younger elf that could not shoot one hundred like the elder ones. His last arrow also missed, and a sob ran through his body as he caught the string viciously on his left arm. He dropped the bow, tears welling to his eyes as he ran from the practising field into the surrounding woodland.
"Sir, you must . . ." but the rest of the cry was lost to him, as he ran through the trees, his young, lithe body easily outstripping the elder elf.
It was ten hours later that he was found, huddling in a hollow, high up in an oak tree, teas staining his face, his eyes half lidded in sleep. As his father picked him carefully out of the hollow he flickered into consciousness.
"Shh, Yondo**, I'm here now."
"I will never be an archer like you, ada. I will always be a failure . . ."
"Nay, you will be the greatest archer that ever came from Greenwood. I foresee that you will shoot down a great terror from the skies. Do not fear, little one, you cannot become a great archer in just a year! Tomorrow I will come down to the practice field with you, and then we will see what we can do for you."
"But ada, what about your duties?"
"You are my son, and I will not see you unhappy, and neither will the people of Greenwood."
"Ni mellyë***, Ada . . ." The young elf whispered as sleep took him again. His father wiped the tears from his face, gently.
"Sleep well, my little one." Thranduil whispered just as quietly. "Sleep well, Legolas Cuthailion."
~ ~ ~
*Ada = Father (quenya)
** Yondo = son (quenya)
*** Ni mellyë = I love you (quenya)
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.