Legolas had attached himself to Elrond after the night in
the Hall of Fire. He was something like a lost child, the Lord of Imladris
observed, looking for a father. Elrond tried to encourage Legolas to come
for walks with him through the gardens, and the Prince would come along with
They walked together slowly, day after day, Elrond in his stately autumn
colored robes and Legolas in muted greens. Sometimes the Elf prince would
speak and sometimes they could go for hours without a word between them. Elrond
could see that time spent in the sanctuary of Imladris was doing Legolas good.
He had lost some of his detachment and the haunted look that hung about him
like a mantle had abated.
So it was that one afternoon they were walking together in the gardens.
The autumn sunlight was bright and warm, and a gentle breeze brought errant
leaves down from the trees. A few late-blooming flowers still sprung up amid
the grass, and Legolas bent to run his fingers over the soft petals.
The sound of laughter carried over the clearing, and Legolas swivelled his
head towards the sound, straightening up and walking toward the sound. Elrond
followed him silently. The Prince approached a copse of trees and peered intently
between the trunks, drawn to the sound.
A group of human children were running around a grove. Their faces were
flushed from the cool air, and they shrieked and laughed as they chased each
other. A smaller bunch of weary-looking parents sat nearby.
Elrond recognized them immediately, human refugees from Gondor and Rohan
that had come to Imladris only the day before. Many of their grandparents
or great great grandparents had been brought up in the sanctuary. After the
war, they had trickled back. Many were farm people who had lost land, others
were wives without husbands, and most had nowhere else to go. The Lord of
Imladris had made it clear that the gates of his city were open to all, especially
those that had ties to it.
The children seemed completely unaware of all the hardship that had been
undertaken to get them to this safety. Two older boys battled with sticks,
while the younger ones chased each other. Many of them wore flower-chains
that they had put together from what blooms were left in the gardens.
Two young Rohirrim skidded to a halt in front of Legolas, their small hands
clasped together as they panted for breath in front of the tall Elf. Elrond
studied Legolas carefully, not sure how the sight of human children would
affect the Prince, but he only stared at the two humans who looked so much
like him. The other young ones collided with the two in front of Legolas and
soon the Prince found five pairs of eyes studying him intensely. Legolas swallowed
under such scrutiny.
"Are you an Elf?" asked a girl of about five.
"I am," Legolas nodded an affirmation.
"You said they didn't exist!" she cried, elbowing an older brother in the
ribs, who promptly pushed her back.
"As you can see," Legolas raised his voice above the ensuing fight, "I do
Elrond moved silently behind Legolas, and crossed the clearing to sit with
the group of parents who were watching the confrontation, chuckling to himself
at the barrage of questions that followed from the children.
"Do you have ears?"
"Of course he has ears!"
"The pointy ears!"
"Can we see your ears?"
Legolas raised his eyebrows, but knelt obligingly and pushed his hair away
to give a clear view of his ears. The group closed in around him, and one
small finger nearly ended up in his eye, while another girl touched the finely
wrought braids. A boy reached out and laid his finger on the pointed tip of
"It's real," he announced with some authority, "he's a real elf!" At which
point, Legolas found himself the victim of a sudden onslaught of tiny fingers
in his hair and ears. Even the two older boys laid down their sticks to watch.
"Children!" a mother's voice rang out in the clearing. She had the long
blonde hair of a Rohirrim, and the two that had first seen Legolas turned
at her call. "He is not a toy," she admonished.
Sadly, the children drew back, questions still hanging on their lips, but
one young girl rushed forward before Legolas could stand and threw her own
flower garland about his neck. The Prince blinked in surprise, and then extended
a hand to gently caress the child's golden head.
"Thank you," he said, and smiled.
Elrond had risen from his conversation with the adults, and somehow managed
to avoid being pronounced an Elf as he rejoined Legolas. The two of them left
the clearing, walking slowly toward the main house, the sounds of the playing
children ringing behind them.
"And of course you see," Elrond said, softly, "that without your actions…your
participation in the destruction of the One Ring and in the war… these children
would not know peace. Nor joy. And they will grow and prosper in a land without
war. Your sacrifices were not in vain."
Legolas blinked slowly and looked at him. "You speak the truth," he said,
the smile still playing softly on his lips. "They were…so real, so alive,
not like the others."
"I am sure they would relish more visits from a 'real' Elf."
"I will consider it," Legolas nodded, mending a mussed-up braid. "Perhaps
with a helmet…"
Elrond chuckled then, and slipped his arm around Legolas' waist. The Prince
leaned into the touch and smiled, and Elrond felt he tension leave his body.
The Lord of Imladris wondered if the children would ever realize how much
good they had done the first Elf they had ever seen.
Continued in Part 6
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