Sam Kelley hadn't taken particular note of Legolas Thranduilon, at least not before the pitched battle between Fairgrove Industries and an evil elven lord's demon horde. After all, a good half of the Fairgrove drivers and mechanics were elves, and just as much cheerful adrenaline-junkies as the human drivers. Or, for that matter, as hot-shot test pilots (Sam's previous co-workers before his retirement).
If Sam noticed Legolas at all, it was because he was quieter than many of the other elves, yet still seemed to command tremendous respect. Or because Legolas, now that Sam thought about it, had cat-like reflexes, even compared to the other elves.
"He's young," Donal-the-ancient-elven-mechanic explained to Sam, "But he fought in the last great war between us and our twisted kin."
"World War II?" Sam guessed.
Donal laughed like Sam had said something hilariously funny. Then they were distracted by a whole wave of chittering, fanged demons, and Sam never did get that explanation.
After the battle, Sam found himself still with Donal, who had looked out for him during the fighting. Donal was now busy tending to the wounds of the slender but muscular Legolas.
"'Tis well enough, Donal." Legolas assured, waving the elven engineer (and medic) away from a bloody, ragged gash just below his ribcage, a wound that even Sam could tell was going to require stitches, no matter how fast elves healed.
"Is that bite from one of the Sheti?" Tannim asked sympathetically.
"The what-i?" Sam asked, as Legolas winced and nodded.
"The snake-like demons." Tannim explained.
The elves winced at the oversimplification, but Sam nodded, shuddering at the memory of the green, hissing, fanged monsters. Tannim had recruited Sam to Fairgrove Industries, and often explained the landscape of this strange new world of elves and magic and demons.
The wounded Legolas had now also garnered the attention of Keighvin Silverhair, the boss and 'elven overlord' of Fairgrove and Fairgrove Racing.
"That bite is going to have to be cleaned three times as well, cousin. More's the pity." Keighvin told Legolas, squeezing his shoulder gently.
"Its fine," Legolas argued, pushing Keighvin aside. Ignoring the flashing look in Keighvin's green eyes, Legolas swatted Donal's fingers away from his side. The motion drew Sam's attention to an elegant amulet hanging from Legolas' neck. In brilliant, jewel-tone enamel, the silverish medallion showed the face of a small, bearded man with very strange features. It reminded Sam of illustrations he had once seen of dwarves. Sam wondered if dwarves were real, and resolved to ask Legolas. When the slender elf wasn't arguing with Keighvin and Donal.
"Look, its fine. I've fought ORCS with worse, Kev." Legolas argued, "I'm fine to stand the line in the next wave. You know that they're not done, even though we've hurt them badly enough that they can't possibly mean to win."
"Not on my watch." Keighvin told Legolas firmly, shoving the elf back down on to his backside so that Donal could apply an antiseptic to the still bleeding gash. "You and Tannim are both done, and Sam as well. You've all done your part. If they have another go at us, you can find a bunk or you can help the healers."
Just then, the ongoing negotiations were interrupted by a loud, earth-shaking rumble coming from the portal between the elven realm of Fairgrove (located underhill) and Fairgrove Racetrack (which was located on the southeast coast of the United States). Sam whirled to confront the noise, afraid that they were now under attack on two fronts.
The elves and Tannim, however, remained relaxed.
"Ah, the reinforcements from the other elven realms. Well, better late than never." Keighvin said philosophically.
Individual trumpeting horns and then loud, angry voices became audible in the midst of the din, and Legolas paled.
Sam glanced at the wounded elf worriedly. Being bitten by a snake demon hadn't bothered Legolas, but a mere set of musical notes and a shout made him look like he was facing a ghost?
Donal started laughing. Tannim grinned, although there was sympathy as well as amusement in his expressive eyes as he explained for Sam's benefit, "Our Legolas' father is the King of the Greenwood, which has sent knights to our aid. That roaring sound is King Thranduil's most dulcet tone of inquiry." Tannim paused to listen for a moment, before adding in an aside to Legolas, "He's asking where you are."
Legolas just sighed.
His fit of merriment ended, but Donal couldn't help but tease his uncooperative patient, "Your father's not going to like this hole in you, laddie."
"Oh, he'll understand the wound. He's a warrior too, after all. Its this hole I'm worried about," Legolas said with a small, mischievous grin, brushing his long, braided hair aside to reveal a tasteful earring.
"King Thranduil, like many old stodgy elves of my acquaintance," Tannim explained with a teasing glance at Keighvin, "doesn't think much of earrings."
"Tannim..." Keighvin began heatedly, before being interrupted by another raised voice. A slightly different one, which, if anything, sounded more angry than the deep tones which Sam had realized belonged to Legolas' father the elven King.
"Oh, sweet hammer of Mahal," Legolas said, growing even paler, "He brought THANDRIN...."
"Who?" Sam asked, wondering if a 'Thandrin' was some kind of powerful elemental, rather like several of Keighvin's less reliable allies.
Tannim was clearly trying to bite back a smile at his elven friend's expense, "Ah, Thandrin would be one of Legolas' big brothers. His most overprotective older brother, specifically."
Chortling, Donal added, "Who probably still thinks that Legolas is here as some type of intern for Keighvin, rather than as a race car test driver."
Legolas swore softly.
Tannim laughed and slapped Legolas lightly on one jeans-clad thigh, "You're busted, 'Las."
"Tannim has the right of it. You're well and truly in it now, my lad." Donal told Legolas, as Keighvin went to greet, and hopefully calm, Legolas' family.
"No kidding," Legolas said with a heart-felt sigh, looking to Sam's eyes less like a legendary elven warrior, and more like a teenager caught speeding in his father's borrowed porsche with a case of beer and two co-eds.
"Well," Legolas added, trying for a rueful grin, "At least they can only kill me once."
"You really ought to be entitled to a little rebellion," Tannim told Legolas loyally, "Especially after the whole helping-to-save-the-world-thing."