17. Love and Duty
Chapter 17 – Love and Duty
A few weeks had passed by now. Rhavaniel and Legolas were on friendly terms, but something had changed between them. For Legolas, it was difficult to accept the fact that she would not marry him now. He knew she loved him, but she was stubborn and wanted to do things her way. He thought those days of her making his life difficult was over now that they were older. She just would not see reason.
For Rhavaniel, it was the fact that Legolas agreed with her father. Legolas had been supportive of her in the past. Of course now that she was getting serious about following her dream, he was a different ellon. She thought those days of him being egotistical and overbearing were over. He just would not see her point of view.
She was busy with parchments and such. Just another boring day in court life, when she was summoned by King Thranduil along with some of the court advisors. She walked into the meeting room, surprised to see Legolas there also. As far as she knew, he was to be on patrol in the north for the next month.
"I'm sure you are all wondering why I have called this meeting." Thranduil started. "We have received word from Imladris. Lord Elrond half-elven has called for counsel. He has asked that representatives of each realm be present, for this matter affects all races of Middle Earth." Here he turned to Legolas. "He is expecting a report on the capture and care of the creature brought to us. I have yet to send correspondence telling him of the unfortunate incident that happened here. Legolas, I am sending you as not only our representative but as messenger also. You were in charge of the prisoner and it is your responsibility to inform Lord Elrond of his disappearance. You will not be traveling alone. I am sending an advisor and a negotiator with you on this errand."
Legolas bowed to his father as Thranduil turned his attention to the others. "Arandorion, you will join Prince Legolas as advisor. Rhavaniel, you will go as negotiator." Both elves bowed to their King. "I do not know what this counsel is about, but it must be rather important to call upon all the free peoples of Middle Earth. You are representing Mirkwood and will be expected to uphold all laws here and abroad. May Eru watch over you and keep you safe on your journey."
With that said, Thranduil exited the room leaving the others to discuss the news. Rhavaniel could not be more excited. A chance to leave Mirkwood, she thought. She had never been outside of the borders before. She knew the journey might be dangerous and planned on taking all of her weapons; dagger, long knife and bow. She went to Legolas. "So it seems we will finally be allowed to leave Mirkwood. Ever have I longed to see what lies beyond our borders."
"It is exciting in a way, but this is not a joyful adventure. Something happens outside our home. The trees talk of the coming of war and darkness covering all the lands. I fear for the coming days." As Legolas spoke, he took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
* * *
A party of five elves set out for Rivendell; Legolas, Rhavaniel, Arandorion and two guards. It was a long journey, but uneventful. Soon they entered the city of Imladris. The Mirkwood elves were awestruck at the site of the hidden city. It was a most glorious site, a city in a valley of trees, waterfalls and small streams. The leaves were just beginning to change to the color of autumn.
Legolas and Rhavaniel spent their first day just walking around and seeing this beautiful land. Rhavaniel felt the serenity of the elves that dwelt here.
"It must be wonderful to live in a place where evil has not cast shadows upon it. The elves here are very much at peace with their surroundings." she commented.
"Wouldn't it be wonderful to live her, to bond to each other amongst the peace of this land?" he said in a dreamy tone.
"Your father would not approve for one thing. When his only son finally marries, there will be a huge celebration. You know he would not want it any other way." she laughed.
"It is nice to dream though." he said as he pulled her close and kissed her.
Over the next few days, other people from across Middle Earth began to show. Legolas was never so joyful to be reunited with Gandalf and the Ranger Strider, now known as Aragorn. Legolas had struck up a very close friendship with him. He knew exactly who Aragorn was and what he would one day become should he accept his place as King of Gondor. Legolas felt compelled to keep a watchful eye on this Dunedain. He was the last heir of a long line of fallen Kings. The Prince knew he would play an important role in the days soon to follow.
* * *
Finally, the counsel of Lord Elrond began on a crisp morning. Legolas sat with Rhavaniel and Arandorion and observed the others among the group. Men from Gondor and Dwarves were also in attendance. Arandorion turned his nose up at the Dwarves, saying they were probably the cause of all this anyways. Legolas had to remind him that they must respect each race equally, even though he too had not much trust of the Dwarves. Rhavaniel sat and took in everything she saw and heard. She was truly astonished by everyone, but none more than an odd little fellow that sat next to Gandalf. Not much bigger than a child, he seemed wise beyond his years. She could sense relief and fear coming from him. He felt he had accomplished what he set out to do, but was hesitant about giving something up. These feelings confused Rhavaniel. She sat silently and listened as the meeting got underway.
Soon, Elrond announced the finding of the enemy's weapon. To her surprise, he called on the tiny man, a Hobbit by the name of Frodo. He came forward and placed a golden ring upon the table before sitting back down and sighing in relief. Rhavaniel finally understood the reason for his mixed emotions. She too could feel the power emanating from this ring. This was the One Ring, Sauron's ring, the one missing and unaccounted for. Now, here it was for all to see. She watched as Boromir, the man from Gondor, stood up to proclaim the ring for his people to use against the enemy. Aragorn argued with him, saying it could not be controlled but would control the keeper. The two men traded words, and not all kind. To her surprise, Legolas stood up and came to Aragorn's aid, telling everyone just who Aragorn really was and that all should show respect for Isildur's heir. He also confirmed his belief that the ring was very powerful and should be destroyed. Rhavaniel's heart beat with pride as she watched Legolas. He was so different in that moment. It was perhaps the first time she had seen him fully engulf his royalty. He was almost kingly as he spoke. It did not last long as one of the dwarves stood up to protest and accuse Legolas of wanting the ring for himself. Arandorion had heard enough and demanded an apology from the dwarf Gimli. It did not take long and soon everyone was standing up and arguing with their neighbor.
Rhavaniel remained seated and silent. She looked at the ring lying on the table and noticed how it glowed like red flame. She could feel nothing but anger and hatred emanating from it. It was affecting everyone at the counsel causing them to yell and argue with each other. She was the negotiator. She should have been the one to try and get everyone to find a common ground. However, the power of the ring was too great. For the first time, she felt complete fear and could not do her job. Never had she felt so helpless and miniscule. The feeling was so intense she thought she might cry. The ring seemed to call to her, belittle her. It told her she would never be a warrior and that she should give up on ever trying to accomplish such a life. She was truly paralyzed.
Then suddenly, out from behind Gandalf walked the hobbit Frodo. Such sadness filled his small face. Rhavaniel wanted to go to him and embrace him, but she could not move. She watched as he spoke as loud as he could to gain the other's attention.
"I'll take the ring and destroy it." he said when everyone finally quieted and turned their attention to the hobbit. "I brought it here so I should be the one to take it into Mordor and cast it into the fires of Mount Doom."
Rhavaniel was moved by this gesture. Here was Frodo, small but stout of heart, standing amongst giants in both stature and title, willing to put aside his fears and his longing for home to go on this dangerous mission. Size did not matter. His courage was far bigger than the tallest mountain or the widest lake.
She felt so small in that moment. Since her mother died, she had been told what to do and what she would become. Frodo was far more brave than anyone here at this secret counsel. It gave her hope that she too could behold her own future and take control of her life, honoring her mother in the process.
Before she knew what was happening, other's of the counsel came forward to claim a spot next to Frodo and swear to help him on his journey. Gandalf and Aragorn were among the first. And then, much to her surprise, Legolas stepped forward. "You shall have my help and protection also." he claimed.
Rhavaniel did not want this. She knew it would be a long and dangerous journey. They were to march into enemy territory, maybe even sacrifice their own lives to protect Frodo and help him accomplish his task. "Legolas, no." she said under her breath. No one heard her but Legolas felt her fear and confusion. He glanced at her then lowered his eyes to the ground.
After much talk and important decisions, a party of travelers was chosen. Elrond named them the Fellowship of the Ring and soon they were to start their journey. Rhavaniel was beside herself. She was angry with Legolas for making this decision without her. She felt shunned for not being able to participate. She was worried for their well being and safe return. All these emotions filled her head.
Eventually, the meeting was adjourned. Legolas immediately went to her. She turned her back to him, unable to respond to anything he had to say. His hands rubbed her shoulders in a comforting fashion. "Rhavaniel please understand my decision. I thought I needed to do this to make up for our mistake of letting the creature Gollum escape from us. But there is something more. Aragorn needs us too. He is the last heir of the throne of Gondor. If peace is to be brought back, he must carry out this task. We have grown very close. Not only will I make sure Frodo accomplishes his goal, but I must also go with Aragorn and see that no harm comes to him."
Rhavaniel spun around, daggers shooting from her eyes. "And what about Mirkwood? What will Thranduil say about this? How long did it take you to convince him to let you patrol the borders? He will be furious. I am furious. You did not even consult me in this. Does my opinion not matter anymore?" As she spoke, her voice became irritated and some people that were close to the couple began to take notice.
Legolas entwined his fingers with hers and led her from the area. "Let us take a much needed walk."
When they got to an area where they were alone, Legolas grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to him. He instantly captured her lips, pouring all his love for her into this one kiss. Rhavaniel could not hold her anger. She gave into the kiss as she responded to him.
Legolas released her and looked deep into her blue eyes. "Please understand my decision. The last thing I want to do is leave you. This is not what I thought would happen. Something calls to me and pushes me in this direction. I have no other choice. My father will understand. I want you to understand too. I love you Rhavaniel. Part of the reason for this journey is for our future. You have seen Rivendell. Do you not want to live a carefree life like they do here? It is time to face the evil and stop hiding from it."
Rhavaniel breathed deep. Somehow she knew Legolas was right. "I think my anger stems from not being able to play my own part in this future. I hate having to sit by and watch everyone else stand up for what they believe in. I want this too, but I want to be a part of this."
"And you will my love. Go back to Mirkwood. You will be safe there until I return. Take care of my father while I am gone. Please explain to him why I went on this journey. I will keep my identity a secret. As far as anyone will know, I am just an elf from the Woodland realm, not a Prince. Trust in me Rhavaniel. Trust in us." He captured her in an embrace and she felt his warmth and his love emanate from him.
Legolas led her to their guest quarters. She was truly under his spell. There seemed to be magic in the air here. This was so unlike Rhavaniel. Since when did she let Legolas win an argument? She should be sparring words with him, standing up for herself. She should be walking away from him by now and letting him think about his arrogance, but she was letting him lead her away, like a lovesick maiden. Maybe it was because she knew he would leave soon. There was no point arguing when he was going away. Where he was going or for how long she did not know. Whatever the reason, she followed him to their flet. If she would give into his seductions or put up a fight and live up to the meaning of her name, she did not know. All she was sure of was that she would be nowhere else right now but with Legolas, her love… her stubborn, egotistical, beautifully handsome Mirkwood Prince.
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.