Two days had passed since he had seen Eleanor. Two painful days he spent pining for even a glimpse of her face. But none came. She had not even seen Legolas, the poor child being told bu Túrin that Eleanor had fallen ill with a human sickness she wished him not to catch. And that gullible child had believed the servant, not knowing what had transcribed between the woman and his father previously.
Now, Thranduil sat on his throne, Legolas upon his lap holding the wooden elk he had gifted him and an elven soldier figure. “Ada?” The Elvenking looked down at his son’s voice. “Yes, little one? What is it?” his arm snaked around the child’s stomach, pulling him to a more comfortable position for them both. “Do you think Eleanor is upset with me because I called her nana?”
“No, ionneg. She is just…ill at the moment.”
“Are you upset that I called her that?”
The older elf simply shook his head. “No, my little Greenleaf. I am not. I only wished that you would have been able to meet your true mother is all.” The little elfling nodded in understanding. “Can you tell me more about my nana? You never speak of her.”
Thranduil took a deep, shaky breath. He wanted to tell his son everything but, in truth, he wasn’t ready to speak the words. He wasn’t ready to remember the woman who had stolen his heart, and in the end crushed it with her death. If he spoke his memories, it would only bring the realization that she would not be waiting for him when he sailed to the Undying Lands into full force.
“I will when you get older, my child. But all you need to know now is that she loved you very much and would want you to be happy.”
“Does that go for you too, ada? Would nana want you happy too?”
It was becoming harder to stall his tears, which threatened to gloss his eyes. “Yes…I am sure she would have wanted that too…” The king took one more deep breath to centre himself, gently running his fingers through the elfling’s silvery locks. It pained him that the child on his lap looked more like him than his mother, but he was thankful in the same way that Legolas was showing aspects of his late wife’s attitude.
Always smiling. Bringing light into even the dark reaches of his palace. Adored by all who met him. Such an opposite to his father. But nonetheless it made Thranduil happy to know that his son was as he is.
Both father and son sat in silence for a few more moments, the elder just content to watch whatever scene his son was preforming with his toys, until Bericalnon entered the throne room. The captain of the guard was practically running towards the base of the throne. Thranduil shifted his body, holding Legolas closer to his chest. Already, he knew what the captain of the guard was going to tell him purely from how white his face had been as he entered the room. “Ias?”
The raven-haired elf bowed before his king as he spoke “Western edge of the forest, and approaching rapidly. I have sent a group of soldiers to stop them. But I fear there is more than we had estimated.”
The king stood quickly, setting Legolas to his feet. “Go, Bericalnon. I will meet you at the stables. Prepare my elk.” He turned his attention to his son, not bothering to watch the captain leave the throne room. “Ionneg, I need you to go to Eleanor’s room. Tell her that I asked for her to guard you for a moment. Her servant will know what is going on. Av-‘osto. Now, go!” He ushered the child to the door, his own body following him.
Thranduil signaled for his guard to follow his son, make sure he got to his destination safely. At their bow, he strode to the stables. Bericalnon had already had his mount saddled as well as his armour set out, ready for use. Quickly, the king donned his armour and twin blades before mounting his elk. “Take me to them.” He spoke to the captain before they both set off for battle.
Legolas ran as fast as his tiny legs could take him, aware in an instant of the footsteps following him. He knew they were guard—he had heard his father order them to follow him—but it still startled him. He didn’t slow until he reached the hallway leading to Eleanor’s room. Taking one look at his face, the guards knocked quickly before the frightened child could reach the door.
At the knock, Eleanor stood from her bed, opening the door just in time to be trampled by the elfling. Before she could stop herself, she was falling backwards, holding the child to her chest to protect him. His toys went skidding across the room from his hands. “Legolas? What happened? Are you okay?” She quickly sat up, brushing his hair from his eyes, searching for any sign of injury, thankfully finding none.
Through his tears, Legolas was able to tell Eleanor what his father had told him; how Thranduil had requested for her to watch him until his return. “Shh, little one. Your ada will be fine, I promise. Don’t worry.” Although she tried to remain strong before the elfling, Eleanor couldn’t help but worry over what had Thranduil rushing away so quickly. She had heard that the orcs were amassing an army to the West and South, but she did not think that they would be able to breach the Mirkwood borders.
Eleanor held onto the little prince, rocking him gently until his tears finally stopped. Túrin had rushed to the room just as the prince had calmed, hearing about the commotion and dropping her task to run to check on them both. “We are fine, mellon. But I thank you for worrying.” Eleanor stated quietly. Legolas was on the verge of sleeping, no doubt tiring himself out from the excitement of earlier. Patiently, she waited for the prince to fall asleep before telling her maid the story she was told by Legolas, not wanting to frighten the child more.
“I see…I just don’t understand how they could have gotten through our borders so easily. Each main road to our kingdom is patrolled. It just makes no sense.”
“I agree, Túrin. It is a little odd. I mean, Thranduil has never told me much, but I must admit to having some pretty open ears.” Eleanor smiled lightly, lifting herself to her feet with the help of her maid. Gently, she laid the prince on her bed and tucked him in. The dark haired maid let out a little chuckle.
“But that is a useful quality, correct?” She watched as Eleanor nodded her head with another smile. “Okay, stay here. You both will be safe here. I will bring dinner to your rooms.” She vacated the room.
Hours passed—Túrin had delivered dinner for Legolas and Eleanor about an hour ago—and there was still no sign of Thranduil’s return. Legolas sat on the bed playing with a few toys he had requested the guards bring from his chambers. Eleanor had taken up a comfy armchair by her lit fireplace, choosing to watch the flames dance instead of counting the minutes any longer.
“When do you think ada will be back?” his voice was so small in the vast room, binging Eleanor from her thoughts. “I’m not sure, little one. But I’m sure he will be back soon. Why don’t you go on to bed?” Legolas moved to bundle himself up under the plush covers. “Can you sing me another song? Like you used to?”
Eleanor smiled lovingly at the child and nodded. “Anything for you.” And she began to sing.
“Feasgar ciùin an tus a'chèitein
nuair bha 'n ialtag anns na speuran
chualaim rìbhinn òg 's i deurach
seinn fo sgàil nan geugan uain'.
Bha a'ghrian 'sa chuan gu sìoladh
's reult cha d'éirich anns an iarmailt
nuair a sheinn an òigh gu cianail
"Tha mo ghaol air àird a'chuain".
She watched as his eyes slowly fluttered shut; his breathing beginning to even out in his light sleep. She continued to sing even though she was sure the elfling would not last much longer.
Thòisich dealt na h-oidhch' ri tùirling
's lùb am braon gu caoin na flùrain
Shèid a'ghaoth 'na h-oiteag chùbhraidh
beatha 's ùrachd do gach cluan.
Ghleus an nighneag fonn a h-òrain
sèimh is ciùin mar dhriùchd an Òg-mhìos
'a bha an t-sèisd seo 'g éirigh 'n còmhnaidh
"Tha mo ghaol air àird a'chuain".
Quiet as a mouse, Eleanor stood and crept towards the bed the child slept peacefully in. She lowered her voice slightly, but still sang.
Chiar an latha is dheàrrs 'na reultan,
sheòl an rè measg neul nan speuran.
Shuidh an òigh, 'bròn ga lèireadh,
's cha robh dèigh air tàmh no suain.
Theann mi faisg air reult nan òg-bhean
sheinn mu 'gaol air chuan 'bha seòladh.
O bu bhinn a caoidhrean brònach
"Tha mo ghaol air àird a'chuain".
Legolas did not stir as Eleanor sat by the edge of the bed. Gently, she tucked the covers tighter around his tiny frame and moved his toys from the bed, setting them upon her nightstand for safe keeping. She leaned down and placed a small kiss to his hair.
Rinn an ceòl le deòin mo thàladh
dlùth do rìbhinn donn nam blàth-shùil
's i ag ùrnaigh ris an Àrd-Rìgh
"Bìon mo ghràdh 'th' air àird a'chuain".
Bha a cridh' le gaol gu sgàineadh
nuair a ghlac me fhèin air làimh i.
"Siab o dheòir, do ghaol tha sàbhailt,
thill mi slàn bhàrr àird a'chuain".”
Eleanor couldn’t help her smile as she watched the prince smile slightly in his sleep. She placed another gentle kiss to his temple. “Ollo vae, henig.” She whispered to the sleeping bundle on her bed. She stood again and made her way back to her chair by the fire. But before she could turn back towards her blazing fireplace, Eleanor heard a familiar voice sound behind her by the door. “Sing it again…for me…”
Thranduil entered the stables; Bericalnon hot on his heels, ready to take his king’s weapons from him for maintenance. They had dispatched the orc scum on the Western borders and thankfully had not lost any of their men in the process. When they reached the palace, the moon was high overhead; it was nearly three in the morning when they had returned.
They are getting bolder. Attacking closer and closer to the palace each time. The king frowned in frustration. What is driving them closer? He took the cloth extended to him by the captain of the guard. “You have blood on your face, arannin, and I doubt it would be wise to approach your son in such a state.” Thranduil nodded, giving his thanks to his trusted ally, before wiping away the thick black blood of his fallen enemies.
“Look after my mount, captain. I have something important to attend to.” Without another word, Thranduil sauntered through the halls to his set destination. Using the cloth, he wiped off the little blood from his gleaming silver breastplate and tucked it into the pocket of his trousers. As he neared his destination, his steps faltered. Coming from the end of the hallway, he could faintly hear a voice; singing in a language he had never heard before.
His feet brought him closer, step by step, until he could touch the wood of the door. He raised a single finger to his lips, a silent order for the guards to remain silent as he slipped inside silently. The woman’s front was facing him, but he knew she would not be able to see him in his spot hidden in darkness. The elfling in the bed was sound asleep, snoring softly as she finished her song. He watched as the woman leaned down and pressed a kiss to his son’s face, causing the elfling to smile in his sleep.
“Ollo vae, henig.” He heard her say softly as she made her way back to the flames. “Sing it again…for me…” The words escaped his lips before he could stop them. Eleanor stood stiffly, her body turning to him. In a flash of firelight, Thranduil felt the woman rush him, tightening her thin arms around his armour-clad stomach and pulling him close. “Forgive me, arannin, but I have been worried; we both have been. And when you didn’t return…I thought you lost…”
Thranduil hesitantly wrapped his arms around the woman, one hand reaching up to smooth the back of her unbound brunette locks. “I will always return to you both.” He leaned his head down towards her neck, breathing in her scent. Lilies, he thought. Lilies and midnight dew. Purely her. “I am sorry for worrying you.” He nuzzled his nose closer to her rounded ear. Feeling the woman shudder in his arms slightly, the Elvenking let out a soft chuckle. Oh what he wouldn’t give to feel that shudder against his bared skin. Pushing such thoughts aside, he let the woman push herself away from him.
“I thank you for watching over Legolas. He is quite fond of you and your singing.” The king stated as he moved towards the bed to watch his slumbering son. The little elf still had a smile on his face, but he was sound asleep as the king leant down slowly and kissed the child’s head. Eleanor walked over to the other side of the bed. Her gaze lingered between the blond elves before her.
The woman watched as the Silvan king stroked his fingers through Legolas’ hair fondly. “If you would like, you could sleep here for the night…” The words escaped her before she could think better of it. Already, Eleanor could feel her cheeks beginning to heat in a ferocious blush. No doubt the elf before her could see this.
And see it he could. Her blush sent his heart in a flurry. “Is that what you want, Eleanor?” the way he said her name was enough to make her melt on the spot. Words failed her so all she could do was nod. Thranduil smirked at the deepening blush covering her cheeks. “I promise to stay on my side of the bed.” He jested before moving towards the bathroom to remove his armour. The woman crept into her side of the bed, on the right of Legolas, and covered herself with the blankets.
Eleanor watched his shadow in the candlelight as he removed his breastplate and vambraces. Gently, he set them aside so he could remove the rest of his armour, each article being carefully maintained and set together. The last thing to be removed was his outer tunic. Underneath, he still wore his trousers and the white undershirt. Eleanor quickly averted her eyes as she saw his frame about to enter the room again.
The Elvenking strode through the room and made his way to his side of the bed. Taking his place on the left of Legolas, Thranduil moved under the covers, turning on his side to watch both his son and Eleanor. Legolas mumbled something unintelligible in his sleep and scooted closer to the mortal, clenching tiny fistfuls of her night shirt in his hands as he continued to sleep.
Thranduil chuckled lightly as the woman curled her arms around his son, pulling him closer to her. One of her hands extended towards the elven ruler, which he took gently to not startle her. He could see that sleep was about to take her; her eyes fluttering ever so slightly in the ding light of the fireplace. “Thranduil…” she started, a yawn interrupting her words. “I think…I’m…falling for…you…” She closed her eyes and fell asleep instantly.
“I know I’ve already fallen for you, mirlythnin.” He whispered, moving his body closer to the cuddled bodies. Leaning forward, he placed a kiss against her brow before falling victim to sleep himself.