Legolas was twenty. A child in both the world of Elves and the world of Men. He was barely more than six, in the eyes of Men. He was the only elfling within Mirkwood to have been born in two decades, and as such there was quite the age gap between him and any other young elves running around. But even if Legolas’ father had allowed him out of the Great Hall and into the dangerous wood, Legolas would have no need of friends. For he quite enjoyed the company of his brother, and one Gandalf the Grey.
Elves are naturally possessive creatures, a trait that Gandalf himself not-so recently inherited from them. As it was, Gandalf rather considered Legolas to be ‘his’ elfling, and Legolas quite considered Gandalf to be ‘his’ wizard. Which, actually, caused quite the problem for Legolas’ brother, who considered Legolas to be ‘his’ elfling. Thranduil, meanwhile, was quite too busy to bother over such matters.
Anchon loved his brother, even though he was several hundred years older than Legolas. But there had always been something wrong with Anchon. He was violent, and had a tendency to take his violent urges out on those he loved. Most explicitly, Legolas. Anchon did not know he was hurting his brother, for in his mind he was only showing love. One might expect Anchon, a child who had been showered in love from his mother and father prior to her death, would recognize the difference between love and violence. However, something had happened when he fought alongside his grandfather against the forces of Sauron, and something in his mind was lost.
It was not uncommon to see the youngest prince covered in bruises.
‘Legolas,’ called Thranduil one day, pulling his youngest into his lap. Thranduil had never hidden the fact that Legolas was his favorite. Where Anchon had inherited his father’s peach skin, silver hair, and strong features, Legolas looked quite like his mother, with huge, silver eyes, milk-white skin, and ash blonde hair. He was an attractive child, smaller than most children would have been at his age, and certainly more androgynous. Thranduil liked that Legolas looked so much like his mother.
‘Yes, atar?’ asked Legolas.
‘You are going away to Lothlorien, my little love,’ said Thranduil.
‘But, atar,’ said Legolas, ‘I do not wish to go to Lothlorien.’
‘But your brother will be going with you,’ said Thranduil.
It is often the way of abused children to defend and even love their abuser, as sometimes they have grown with their abuser and so love them, and believe their abuser to love themselves. Legolas, however, was quite aware that what his brother did to him was wrong and that it was not what love actually is. As such, Legolas was not very happy about his brother going with him.
‘But, little love, I thought you liked Lothlorien? You can go see Lady Galadriel, I know you like her.’ Indeed, Legolas did like the Lady Galadriel. She was beautiful, but more than that she had a wonderful singing voice and told wonderful stories. She also rather liked Legolas. He believed it was because he looked like his mother, who had had a close friendship with Lady Galadriel, but it was rather because she enjoyed how he was almost not like his mother at all. His mother, Queen Inunis, had been serious and grave, though beautiful. Legolas, in contrast, was blithe and cheerful. It was not an often occasion that there was not a song on Legolas’ lips.
‘All right, atar,’ Legolas said.
They traveled for weeks,traveling through Mirkwood to the Forest River, to get exit the forest while avoiding Dol Guldur. Legolas did not enjoy traveling, even if it was to visit the Lady Galadriel. They had just left the forest, traveling along the Forest River and across the plains between the Anduin and Mirkwood. At last, after weeks of travel they met up with the Anduin, and prepared to follow it to Lothlorien. They rested for the night, and Legolas went closer to the Anduin. Legolas had always been enchanted with water, rivers and lakes and springs, and everything else that included large amounts of water. He loved the way it flowed, and everything else.
There is no excuse for Anchon’s actions. Neither in his mind, nor in the minds of the sane. He had no reason for wanting to hurt his little brother, at least, to him he did not. But one might say that where Thranduil was happy as to how much Legolas looked like his mother, Anchon was angry. As such, the young elf - not even old enough to ride a horse on his own - was the outlet to all of Anchon’s violent outbursts.
The Anduin, also called the Great River, is one of the fastest rivers in Middle Earth, even outside of rainy season. As such, a small child - barely even six in appearance, and small even for that - being thrown into the water would hardly have any chance of swimming his way back out of the currant.
Anchon realized what he had done as soon as he saw his brother’s head dashed against an outcropping of rocks, and the young prince be dragged under the water. Anchon fell to his knees crying out. He screamed out what had happened, how he had thrown Legolas into the water in a fit of madness, and how the young prince was now dead. The guards took pity on him, and did not kill him. Instead, they left him to his grief and guilt upon the Anduin’s shores. It is said that if you are traveling by the Anduin, you can still hear his cries for his little brother.
And it was on that day that Thranduil lost both of his sons.
Anchon had assumed that Legolas was dead, but this was an incorrect assumption. However, there was a way in which it was correct. Legolas’ body remained. His voice could still lift to sing, and his lips still lifted into blithe smiles. However, his mind was gone. His head had been dashed against the rocks, and it had shook all memories out of his head. He did not remember Anchon, nor his ada, nor even the Lady Galadriel. He did not remember his own name, though he could walk and he could talk and he had general knowledge about Middle Earth and himself, he did not know his name nor his history. What he did remember, was that the water should have killed him and his head hurt an awful lot.
‘Where am I?’ asked the little elfling to himself, ‘Who am I?’
‘Well hello there, little traveler,’ said a loud voice. The little elfling looked up, to meet the azure eyes of Glorfindel the Balrog Slayer.
‘I do not speak Sindarin,’ the little elfling said in Silvan.
‘O!’ said the older elf, also in Silvan, ‘I said, Hello there, little traveler.’
‘Oh. Hello, Lord Glorfindel,’ said the little elfling.
‘Ah! I am at a disadvantage. You know my name, and I do not know yours,’ said Glorfindel.
‘We are at the same disadvantage, my lord. I do not know my name, either,’ said the little elfling.
‘How old are you, little traveler?’ asked Glorfindel.
‘I do not know.’
‘You are young. The youngest elfling I have seen in a decade.’
‘You must not spend much time with elflings, then.’
‘I spend far too much time with a certain two elflings, I’m afraid.’
‘Where are you going?’
‘Where are you going, little traveler?’
‘I do not know. But I asked you first.’
‘I am going to Imladris. Where’d you hurt yourself?’
‘In the water.’
‘In the water? That should have killed you, little traveler. How did you survive?’
The little elfling thought for a second, ‘There. . . was a man. With light blue skin and a large white beard. He was tall and strong, and he glowed. Not like we elves glow, but like the water glows. He took me in his arms and set me on the bank. And then you came!’
‘Ulmo! O, little traveler, you have been rescued by a vala! O, that is a great honor! Do you truly not remember your name, little traveler?’
‘I do not, no.’
‘Then we shall give you a new name, if you would permit it.’
‘I would, my lord. I would be honored.’
‘On the subject of names, little traveler, you may just call me Glorfindel.’
‘All right, Glorfindel.’
‘What about Randir? True, it is not technically a name but it means wanderer, and I think it is most appropriate, little traveler.’
‘I like it, Glorfindel!’
‘All right, Randir. Should you like to accompany me to Imladris? It will be a few weeks walk, but I can bandage your head and we can see about getting you a home when we arrive.’
‘I would be honored, Glorfindel.’
‘All right! We set off in the morning. Now, let us rest so that I may treat your head wound.’
The next few weeks passed in a blur for Randir and Glorfindel, who grew quite close in the two weeks. When Glorfindel walked into the dining room with a young elfling with bandages on their head clutching Glorfindel’s hand, it was a matter of shock for all those present.
‘Uhm. Welcome back, Glorfindel,’ Elrond said, ‘Who is that with you?’
‘This is Randir. I found him at the banks of the Anduin, and Ulmo seems to like him,’ said Glorfindel, ‘He has no memory, and I do not ever remember meeting him. He does not speak Sindarin, only Silvan.’
‘You would like me to foster him,’ said Elrond. It was not a question.
‘Yes,’ said Glorfindel, ‘I would do it myself, but I am no adar and I leave too often to properly take care of him.’
‘All right,’ Elrond said, ‘I see no reason not to.’
‘Little traveler,’ said Glorfindel in Silvan, ‘This is Lord Elrond. He will be taking care of you, is this agreeable?’
‘Yes, Glorfindel. It is a pleasure to meet you, my lord,’ said Randir in broken Common.
‘A pleasure to meet you, too, Randir,’ said Elrond in equally broken Silvan, ‘Are you tired, or would you like some food?’
‘I am rather tired, my lord. But I am also dirty, and I would not wish to dirty your sheets,’ said Randir in Silvan. Glorfindel translated for him.
‘Worry not, little traveler,’ Glorfindel said, ‘We have many baths here.’
‘Indeed,’ said Elrond, ‘Come. I will help you prepare for bed, including a bath. Elladan, Elrohir, do you mind if he sleeps with you?’
‘No, of course not, ada,’ answered Elladan, ‘Hello, Randir, I’m Elladan. This is my brother, Elrohir.’ Elrohir did not answer, and Randir just waved.
Elrond rested his head on his arms that perched against the edge of the bathtub. He gazed at Randir, who was paying no attention to his new foster father, and was instead playing with the water and the toys in the bathtub. Elrond cocked his head.
‘You’ve come a long way, haven’t you, little traveler?’ Elrond asked, though he knew the little elfling could not understand his words. Randir looked up and smiled at Elrond.
‘Ada,’ said Elrond, pointing to himself.
‘Ada,’ parroted Randir, pointing at Elrond as well.
‘Very good!’ Randir clapped his hands at the praise, as all six year olds do when they are praised.
‘I do not think it will be hard, getting used to having you around.’
‘He is Thranduil’s son ,’ hissed Erestor. Elrond sighed, sitting back in his chair.
‘Thranduil believes him dead,’ sighed Elrond. He lifted a letter, addressed to him from Thranduil. It told of the Prince Laiqualass ë’s death, and invited Elrond to the funeral that would be held in a month’s time. Elrond had, of course, planned on going. Elrond sighed, knowing that with Randir here, now, he could not go. He would say that he could not bare to mourn a child, when he had three of his own. Thranduil would understand. For if it were in reverse, Thranduil would have done the same thing.
‘We must send him back!’ near screamed Erestor.
‘No,’ said Elrond, ‘To send him back would be hazardous. Forced memory recall is dangerous, and could drive him insane.’
‘Then what do we do?’ asked Glorfindel.
‘We keep an eye on him here, and wait to see if his memories return,’ answered Elrond.
‘And what about Thranduil? Are we to let him believe his son is dead?’ asked Erestor, his voice accusing.
‘No. We tell him that we have his son, but that he is unable to see him, for if Thranduil sees Randir it could force his memories to resurface and, as such, could drive him as insane as if we forced him to remember,’ said Elrond.
‘But who will journey to Mirkwood to tell Thranduil?’ asked Glorfindel.
‘I will,’ said Elrond, ‘I will leave in a fortnight. Erestor, do you speak Silvan Elvish?’
‘Yes,’ said Erestor, ‘I speak most languages of Middle Earth.’
‘Then you will teach Randir Sindarin while I am gone,’ said Elrond, ‘Glorfindel, keep an eye on him. Do not speak to him about his past life as the prince. And make sure that neither the twins nor Arwen speak of it, either.’
‘Of course, mellon nin,’ said Glorfindel.
‘Good.’ Elrond stood, ‘I think, that it will not be hard to take care of Randir, and I will be glad to do it.’
And so, our story begins with a mourning kingdom, a new child, and a little traveler.