1. Prologue: Imladris
The War of the Ring was over, and the power of the elven rings was fading. The time of the elves was fading as well, and Elrond himself was preparing Imladris for his own departure to the undying lands. Groups of elves from Eryn Lasgalen and Lothlorien had passed through Imladris, the Last Homely House east of the sea, on their way to the Grey Havens. A recent group had come from Eryn Lasgalen and stayed for several days. Glorfindel had warmly greeted King Thranduil’s captain, Rawien, and the two had spent much time in conversation, sharing stories of battles fought and days gone by. Late one evening Glorfindel had come to Elrond and invited him to join them as he thought a story that Rawien had imparted to him would interest Elrond greatly.
Elrond had met the two in a small room that served as Glorfindel’s study. The furnishings were comfortable and the wine of good vintage. He greeted Rawien and settled in, curious to hear the tale that had piqued Glorfindel’s interest.
“Rawien has long served as captain to King Thranduil,” Glorfindel began the tale. “He and I have been discussing the War of the Ring, and the Fellowship that left here last winter. Rawien has known young Legolas since his birth, and has asked what led you to include him as representative of the elves.”
“The choice was proving difficult,” Elrond frowned at the memory of that time. “Many elves of great renown had volunteered to accompany the Ringbearer, each a wise and strong warrior, but none seemed right to me. As I was pondering the qualities I was hoping for – a young elf, one who was still enthusiastic about life in Middle-Earth, a strong and brave warrior but one who would not attract the attention of the Dark Lord – I heard the voice of Legolas speaking with Estel and some of the young hobbits regarding their journey from Bree to Imladris. Estel and Legolas had recently met and become friends when Estel delivered Gollum to the elves of Mirkwood; and I thought of Mithrandir’s words of trusting to friendship when choosing companions for the Ringbearer. A strong sense came to me then that Legolas was the one I was seeking. Legolas’ prowess with the bow and knife are unsurpassed, he has heightened senses – even for an elf – that would aid the fellowship, and the compassion and interest he showed in the hobbits, a people new to him, confirmed in my mind that he was the one I was seeking.”
Rawien smiled, “Our Prince lived up to your expectations, then?”
“Very much so,” Elrond answered. “Has Legolas returned to his father’s realm? Have you seen him?”
“Yes,” Rawien replied. “I could not leave these shores without seeing him and knowing he was well. I could not leave without saying farewell, although I do hope he will come soon.”
“I suspect that Legolas will linger in Arda for some time,” Elrond said thoughtfully. “He has made many friends, and promised the King of the Reunited Lands to help restore Gondor’s lands to their former beauty and glory. Did Legolas speak to his father about his desire to move a colony of elves to Ithilien?”
“Thranduil heard his request and I believe he will grant it. Our people love the Prince and are very proud of the role he played in the overthrow of Sauron. The King is of course concerned about the mortals that Legolas has befriended and the pain and grief he will experience when those mortals die.”
“The pain and grief are real,” Elrond answered truthfully, “but I believe that Legolas was appointed to this time and to friendship with these mortals. His friendship with the Dwarf, Gimli, may be unheralded in Arda through history, and the friendship between Legolas and Aragorn is reminiscent of Gil-Galad and Elendil of old.”
“Do you know the tale of Legolas’ birth, Elrond?” Rawien asked quietly.
Elrond thought for a moment. He knew Legolas was born near the end of the Watchful Peace, not long before the capture and torture of his own beloved Celebrían.
“I know that your Queen Narawen died at or not long after the birth of your youngest prince and the fate of the child was not known for some time; but much of my time was demanded by the White Council and the troubles here in Imladris not long after, and I know not the details of what occurred,” Elrond admitted.
“Then you will enjoy this tale,” Glorfindel laughed, “for it will prove your point about the involvement of the Valar and perhaps Ilúvatar himself in the affairs of Arda and her people.”
Glorfindel refilled the wine glasses and nodded for Rawien to begin.