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Thread: The Adventures of Legolas Greenleaf in the Blue Kingdom

  1. #1
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Smile The Adventures of Legolas Greenleaf in the Blue Kingdom

    The premise here is that Legolas is sending reports to King Elessar. Accompanying him on the journey is Captain Roland of the Citadel Guards, whose letters to his brother Ronceval are included with the reports from Legolas. Ronceval is a scribe/poet in the civil service of King Elessar.

    Chapter 1:

    From Legolas Greenleaf to my Lord King Elessar:
    When last I sent word to you, we had just entered the road beside the Great Chasm and met the Ambassador from Khand, and the Chieftain Ararrat, whose daughter the Lady Larissa was wed to Squire Atacar, the young Sardaran Cavalier traveling with us. They left us and joined the Caravan that was returning to Sardara. Dispatches were sent with Squire Atacar to King Darius and the Duke Askelon.

    This marriage between Larissa and Atacar may be more properly termed an Alliance, as it happens. Squire Atacar is the only son of old Admiral Atanatar, known as the Pirate Lord, who is close kin to King Darius and nearly every other Noble house in Far Harad. Ararrat is a powerful Chieftain, held by many of the Nomads to be their hereditary Overlord. He and the other Nomads have previously been, if not actively Hostile, opposed to the Claim of the house of King Darius to control of these huge Grasslands to the West of the Mountains, and South of the River Salasso. The ancient Hatred of Gondor was the one cause for them accepting any such Claim on the part of the Kings of Far Harad, operating on the old “the Enemy of my Enemy must be my Friend” adage. The chance Rescue by us of his daughter has opened Ararrat’s eyes and maybe his heart and mind to the Notion that Gondor is no longer his enemy, and that there may be much mutual Advantage to a friendship with your Kingdom. The fact that we are traveling with troops from the Households of both King Elessar and King Darius astonished Ararrat, and we sat far into the night as he Questioned me about your Rule and Policies. I hope, my Lord, that I was able to Answer him as I ought. While I am in no way an Official representative of you and your Council here, my long Friendship with you makes Care for your Concerns near to my Heart.............

    ....................We broke camp and continued our Eastern journey along the South edge of the Great Chasm. This is very Wild country, arid and rocky, but with a compelling grand Beauty that is most apparent at Dawn and Sunset, when the red rocks Glow in the light. I wonder at my Admiration for this land, because I had thought I could love no Place that did not have Trees, yet this is an aspect of Middle Earth that demands our Notice, and has an Enchantment of its own. It is a land of Eagles, they soar high, riding the Wind and surveying the rugged Landscape below them, seeking their prey. They dive with astonishing Speed upon some hapless little Creature, and sweep away on their great Wings to their lofty nests. They are enormous Birds; the nomads say they lose lambs and kids to these Eagles every Spring. There is not much Wildlife as we know it, but here and there one can discern, high on the ledges above, wild Goat-like beasts that climb from one tiny Outcrop to another, nibbling on scant grasses, moving about with careless Expertise on the nearly sheer walls. Yet, when we pause and stare into the Chasm itself, there seem to be no such Beasts on the chasm walls. There are birds’ nests, and we see little Lizards scuttling about, and strange insects, but of larger Animals, no sign..................

    ...................We had been meeting small Nomad parties about every other day. They have Wintered in the sheltered side cuts beside the Chasm, and are now leaving to go out onto the Plains, but we must surely have seen the Last of them, as we are now Seven days journey from where we met the Khandians. Now we will meet no one, they tell us, but Caravans going West as we go East. As before, the Sight of an Elf causes made these Nomads uneasy.

    .........................There was a wonderful Moon last night. He was in Full, and the landscape was Magical in that cool light. The little creatures of this land move about more at night than during the day, and I, taking the last Watch, sat on a Boulder and watched as a family of little Mice scurried about, gathering the seeds fallen from the Thorn bushes. They scattered suddenly as a great Owl swooped down, but instead of pouncing upon a Mouse, the Owl landed on a Thorn bush and stared at me. He had great golden Eyes, and what looked like Horns upon his head as Owls do, but this seemed to be no ordinary Owl. He sat so long that the Mice began gathering seeds again, only to Panic when he spread his wings and swooped away.

    I confess I was extremely Puzzled. There can be no doubt that the Owl was aware of my Presence, but more than that I cannot Fathom. The men slept on, of course, there had been no Untoward sound, but something had happened that charged the Atmosphere of the night for me. There are Wild Dogs in this country that generally Howl at night, but this night they were silent.

    In the morning we broke camp and set out once more to the East. We saw that the Mountains were closing in again, a Purple shadow in the East, so we decided to ride farther than usual, in order to camp at their feet. There was no Water at our last camp, nor is there likely to be any until we reach those Mountains.

    ...................We have reached a stream, it crosses our road after Falling from a narrow Cleft above. The water is Cold, so cold it numbs the hands. We are just into the Mountains again, ahead of us they close in, rising in knife-like ridges. There is little Fuel for a fire but dried dung, but it Burns clean and scentless, and it cheers the Men to see the flames. Taking the last Watch, I had let the Fire die, and was again sitting upon a boulder breathing the night Air, when the Owl appeared. This time there was no Doubt—the Owl settled on the ground about a fathom from my Feet, and regarded me with his great horned Head slightly to one side. I almost expected him to Speak. It seemed good to me to remain Silent, but I was tempted to greet him, I confess. After some time he reared up very Straight, spread his wings, and rose abruptly into the night.

    I lay down on my Blanket and rested my head on my Saddle, which is what all we Horsemen use for a Pillow, and awaited events. Again, the Atmosphere of the night had been Altered by the Owl’s visit, and I did not Fear I would sleep. The slightest sound reached me, perhaps not really a Sound, but a subtle vibration through the Earth—I turned my head very slowly and saw, standing half hidden behind a Rock, the outline of a Man’s form. I remained Motionless, but was comforted by the knowledge that the Horses were standing quietly—which would not have been the Case had there been any number of Men about. The keen ears of the Horses hear what no Man watching could hear, and they Scent other Horses long before we can see them, so I did not fear that we were under Attack, but instead, that we were being Studied.

    The sky lightened to the East, and as the Night faded, so did the Outline I had observed. The Man, if it was a Man, did not move—his figure just Faded with the Dark. The Eastern sky was now ablaze with the rising Sun, She seems to leap out of her rest in these wild parts, and it becomes Daylight nearly as soon as we can say it. The Men stirred and refueled the Fire and our Breakfast was soon underway. I have said nothing to the Men as yet, about our Nightly visitors, but I think I must today tell Them. I do not believe there is cause for Alarm, exactly, but I am Unsure what Forces we might be about to Encounter. Many thoughts stir in my Mind, I recall many old Tales. Yet this Country is unknown to me and my Kin, and it may be that my Memories have little to do with Things here.......................

    From Captain Roland: Dear Brother Ron,
    Well, here we are, still riding along the edge of the Great Chasm, journeying East to Khand. Now, does that not make your desk-bound heart long to be out in the Air? The skies are high here, and the air keen and fresh when we set out in the mornings. We see great Eagles soaring over us, and exotic beasts clambering about on the cliffs. This is an amazing place, beautiful and wild, and we go along as merrily as Nomads. Our main worry is always to find water for ourselves and our Horses, but we manage to find brisk little streams spilling down from the melting snows, and falling over the edge into the bottomless Chasm. It cannot be bottomless, of course, but it will take some other fellow to prove it. When I look over, my head goes light, and my breath comes short. Somehow it would not be so terrifying if we could see the bottom, no matter how far! The Elf Legolas talks of throwing a rope over and climbing down, but I doubt if we have enough rope with us, and I for one would rather he did not. Even an Elf would not survive such a fall, if he fell.

    Legolas is a great fellow, and has endeared himself to all of us with his carefree ways. There is nothing High-nosed about him and he seems as eager as any of us to explore, and to see things that none of our folk has ever seen before. I never thought an Elf would have much Woodcraft, somehow, but he is as knacky at setting up camp and foraging in the wild as any Ranger of old. He says he learned from a Master—none other than King Elessar, when they were on the Quest of the Ring. He has the Elven far sight, can spot a mote in an Eagle’s eye, as the saying goes, but he can shoot that mote out, too; his skill with a bow is astonishing. He seems never to tire, and is as fresh at the end of a long ride as when we set out. I have to admit I had some doubts about this expedition, I thought Elves were useful mostly at composing songs to the stars and gliding about in the Golden Wood, but Legolas is a good Leader and we all have confidence in him, even though his rank is a courtesy Captaincy. The Sardaran Cavaliers were very leery at first, when they were given their orders by King Darius, but now they swear by Legolas and think him a very fine Trooper. Most of them had been told a lot of balderdash about the wicked Enchantments of Elves, but they know better now........................

    .......................We do not meet many folk on the trail now. The Mountains have withdrawn on both sides of the Chasm so that it cuts through a flattish plain. Not quite flat, though, because enormous boulders of strange shapes are scattered here and there—some balanced on narrow necks of stone, some arching like bridges over long dry streambeds. There are no trees, but bushes that have a sweet perfume, and plants with thorns savage enough to catch my flesh through my leather leggings. It is a land of extremes—the days are hot, so hot that our helms cannot be worn and we wrap our heads in scarves to ward off the sun, and the nights so cold our water buckets have ice in them in the mornings. But so beautiful, Ron! The purple and blue of the mountains, the blaze of the sunset, the golden glory of the sunrise—dear brother, I am beginning to think I have some of your poet’s blood! You cannot live here, of course, even the Nomads do not graze their beasts here, there is nearly nothing for grazing beasts to eat. We carry fodder for the horses, and we have a good supply yet.

    Still, there are here and there signs that Men have lived here, not just journeyed through. We come across the ruins of clay dwellings at times, built into cliff faces like the nests of barn swallows. There are strange markings on some rock walls, stick figures and symbols carven into the rock, and in sheltered spots the markings retain some of the colour the ancient ones painted their carvings with. We have been told that when it does rain here it can rain a year’s worth of water in an hour, and that we must be careful not to camp in a dry streambed for fear of flash floods. I guess what I am saying is that a fellow needs to be on his toes here, it is a hard place, and will punish anyone who forgets to be watchful.....................

    .....................After several days riding, we approach the Mountains again, or rather as it seems, the Mountains approach us, closing in to the Great Chasm on either side, so that we once again will be riding on a narrow road beside that Awful deep. Today I noticed what I took to be Eagles again, but Eagles do not hunt in groups, and these birds, about a dozen, were together, circling slowly above and to the North of us. The Sardarans call them Kondors, they are Carrion birds, larger even than Eagles, and they are watching from on high as some creature dies below them. The Sardarans say they wait until their prey has not moved for some set time, then down they plunge to their dreadful feast. It is true that without such Carrion eaters the world would soon be hip deep in carcasses, but such things chill my blood. I recall only too well Father’s tales of the War, and its aftermath.......................

    Today as we breakfasted, Legolas told us of a Owl, and a Man, that he has been visited by during his Watch. Had any other told us of such things, we would laugh and dismiss his Tale as nightmares or imaginations, but coming from Legolas Greenleaf they must be taken seriously. We, even less than he, know what these visits portend.


    Well, you know Ron that I set out on this expedition seeking Adventure, and that little escapade with Naughty Larissa did not quite fill the bill. I have a Hunch something is about to Happen!

    (I'll carry on, if you like this.)



    Sophmoric Existentialist

  2. #2
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    So, should I post more?
    Sophmoric Existentialist

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    Stegodon PapSett's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by vison View post
    So, should I post more?
    Yes, please!! It is beautifully written and captures the imagination!

  4. #4
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    Chapter 2

    ........more from Legolas...........carrying on the tale: Legolas in the Blue Kingdom…..


    From the Journal of Legolas Greenleaf:


    It is true that in some old Tales, an Owl is always a Messenger. If that was so with this Owl, he was most Mysterious about his Duty, he told me Nothing. Not a sound did he Utter. It may be that his Presence alone was the Message, and one that I must Decypher, yet I do not have the Key.

    As for the figure of the Man, that faded like Fog before the Sun, what am I to make of that? Tall, he appeared, robed, not dressed for Riding. A Staff? Yes, I believe there was a Staff. Mithrandir bore a Staff, and Saruman. I remember how Mithrandir carried his Staff into the presence of Theoden—just the Prop of an old man, he said. Indeed, this may be so now, that our Visitor is an old man, walking through here at night, and that my eyes were Deceived. And the horses?................

    Just here the Great Chasm is very narrow. An easy bowshot, for the great Bow of Lorien that I carry. Across from our camp is a Cleft in the rocks that come down Steeply to the very edge of the Chasm. Beside the mouth of the Cleft, its roots clutching the very lip of the Precipice, grows a stunted Tree. It is the only Tree we have seen for Leagues, a Pine tree, twisted and lightning blasted, but Alive, and appearing to thrive. Yet I am not fascinated by the Tree so much as the markings I can perceive on the Rock behind it— carven into the rock is an Owl. Even Sergeant Daeron can see this much, it is not by my Elven sight alone.

    I sent an Arrow over, and it sank with great Force into the wood of the Tree, and attached to the Arrow was a rope. Now there was a Bridge that I at least could walk.


    More from Roland................

    This tale is now picked up two days after I left off. Something indeed was about to happen, and something Did.

    We had moved further along the Road to the East, along the South side of the Chasm as before. The Chasm was narrower at this point, and directly across from our camp grew a stunted Pine tree, clinging to the bare Rock. Legolas Greenleaf took an arrow to which he had attached a Rope, shot it across into the Pine tree, made it fast onto a boulder on our Side, and announced that he was going to Walk across it, as I might walk across a Footbridge in the Park.

    We all stood Aghast. He said it so calmly, as if it was Nothing, and we did not know what to Say, or Do. It seemed to me, at least, that he had announced that he was about to Kill himself, and expected us to watch Unprotesting!

    “Do you not see,” he said, “that there is a Carving of an Owl, upon that Rock face, over there?”

    Sergeant Daeron said he saw it, but I would not look. I would not assist in such Folly. So I said to myself then.

    We all protested, but in Vain. He shook off our Worries, and laughed, and said he was just going to Step over there, and see what he could see.

    “Legolas!” I shouted. “If you will not think of yourself, think of Us! What are we to do, if you Fall?”

    He laughed again. “ Captain Roland,” he said, “I shall not Fall. But if I do, why you are to carry on. You are on your King’s business, and must see it through.”

    Legolas divested himself of his Riding boots, and the Leather leggings that he wore, as we all did, to protect himself from Thorns. He drew his long Knife and ran his thumb over the Blade, and sheathed it. He tied the fringed flap over his Quiver, slung his Bow over his back, and stood on the edge of the Chasm for a moment. He looked up, as if reading the Sky, closed his Eyes, breathed deeply. Then he turned to us, smiled, turned away, and stepped out onto the Rope.

    I could not watch. I felt Sick, and sat down upon the Ground. Everyone held their breath, and all I could hear was the wind, and the high, far-off cry of a hunting Eagle. I opened my Eyes, and made myself look, and there he was, dancing across as the Rope swayed and swung over that awful Depth. In moments he reached the opposite side and stepped off the rope onto the narrow Ledge where the Pine tree stood. He turned and waved to us, and called back, “See! You doubters! Who is going to join me?”

    Sergeant Daeron shook his head. “I have bottom enough for most things,” he said. “But not for this.” Then he shouted, “Legolas! What do you see?”

    Legolas did not answer right away. He touched the Pine, then ran his hands over the Rock behind. The carven Owl darkened, became plain even to my eyes. An outline formed on the wall, the outline of a Door. Legolas stood with his head to one side, and he laughed. “I knew it,” he cried. “I knew it!”

    He ran back across to us. He ran. “So,” he said. “What should we do next?”
    Sophmoric Existentialist

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    Stegodon PapSett's avatar
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    I'm ready for more anytime now! :-)

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    Legolas Greenleaf travels in Far Harad, on the road to Khand, as an Ambassador of King Elessar Telcontar. He travels with Guardsmen of Gondor (including the gallant Captain Roland) and Cavaliers of Far Harad who are under the command of King Darius of Far Harad. They have traveled across the interior of Far Harad, even into Umbar, and are now in the Canyon riven by the Great Chasm. They have come to a Door………………


    Legolas in the Blue Kingdom

    ................more of Legolas.............



    The Men were frightened for my Safety, and did not wish me to walk the Rope, but I did not Dispute with them, rather I went quickly across. My first thought was that the Pine tree is indeed only a Pine tree, not an Ent, nor a Huorn, which possibilities crossed my mind, I confess. An ordinary Tree, but Planted in a not ordinary Place, for I do not believe it grew There by Chance. As I suspected, the carven Owl was on a Door, for as I touched the Rock, the Owl’s form became clearer, and the shape of a Door was revealed. I was Tempted to try to command the Door to open, but Caution prevailed and I crossed back to the Southern side of the Chasm.

    We spent some time discussing the Matter among ourselves, and decided that since the Day was wearing on, we would set up our Camp, and see what the Night would bring. Several of the Men gathered the dried dung we use for Fuel, several more picketed the Horses, and Sergeant Daeron began his usual preparations for our evening Meal. Captain Roland, who seems to suffer from a more than common Fear of heights, was lying on his Stomach, staring at the Tree and the Door across the Chasm. I sat beside him and and attempted to allay his Terror, pointing out that the Chasm could not reach out and fling him Down, and he admitted that just being near the Edge troubled him, but that he was intensely Curious about the Door.

    As we ate our Dinner, I spoke to the Men and told them what I knew of such Doors. I recalled especially the Doors of Moria, where Mithrandir had been puzzled, and the Hobbit Meriadoc had hit by accident upon the Clue that Mithrandir needed to tell the Doors to open. One of the Cavaliers asked what I know they all wished to know—did I know the Key for this Door? I said that I believed it would be only a word of Command, in an Elven tongue, and that I knew many. It did not seem likely to me that the Door would require a Spell, the Door’s location was in itself a Surety that no casual Visitor would try it—anyone who could stand in Front of it would have earned the Right to enter by simply speaking some version of the command to Open.

    The darkness fell quickly, as it does in these parts. The Sunset is always glorious, but the instant She goes behind the Mountains, it is Night. There is no Twilight. Our little Fire made a little pool of Light where we sat eating, and above the surrounding Mountain tops the Stars were bright and sharp against the Black sky. The Horses stood quiet, and we heard the Wild Dogs howling in the distance. Then we heard the Voice of an Owl, and there he was again. He circled our Camp, spiraling down near to our Fire, and the Men murmured among themselves, some Fear in their Voices. I spoke, and said, “Greetings, Master Owl.”

    He set himself down upon a Rock and again regarded me with his Head to one side. I saw that he had somewhat in his Talons, and that it fell as he rose into the Night and left us. I picked it up, and saw that it was a piece of Cloth. I took it into the firelight and could see that the scrap of cloth was Blue, even in that poor light, but that was all, the cloth was not a Wrapping, nor was it Written upon. Just a piece of Blue cloth that would about cover the Palm of my hand.

    Captain Roland took the cloth from me, and shook his Head. “Blue,” he said. “From the Blue Kingdom?”

    “So I would think,” I answered. “But what does it Signify? Is it a Warning?”

    Captain Roland shrugged. “How should we tell? We must go forward unknowing, if we do go Forward, Legolas. Or we must take it as a Warning, and leave this place.”

    The other Men concurred, and Cavalier Darsat said, “What do you wish to do, Legolas?”

    “I wish to open the Door,” I said. “But I will command no Man to go with me.”

    Now they all laughed. “Legolas,” Captain Roland said, “it would be of no Use for you to do so. None of us could walk that Bridge.”

    “Not as it is,” I agreed. “But it can be made so that a Man could walk it. However, we cannot all go, in any case. We cannot take our Horses across, and we cannot leave them and all our gear unguarded. It is in my Mind that we decide in the morning who is to Go, and who is to Stay. We must plan carefully, for there is no Knowing what we will find.”

    We sat long over the Fire that night, and each Man called to mind all that he could Remember of the Blue Kingdom, as it had been spoken of by Those we had met upon our Journey. It was not Much, but nearly all who had spoken had spoken in Fear, or had passed on some Tale of Fear. The Blue Kingdom, where those who enter do not Leave, or those who Leave are Changed. Even Ararrat had spoken of it, but he had dismissed it as Women’s tales, fit only for Children and Fools. Sergeant Axelder of the Cavaliers was the only One among us who had ever heard any Word of the Blue Kingdom before coming upon this Journey. He had been born and raised in one of the Mining camps in the Foothills, and his Mother had cautioned him and his brothers to beware of the Blue Kingdom, where disobedient boys were sent. He had always believed it to be a Bogey only, his Mother’s attempt to keep four wild boys in check, but he admitted that his Mother had seemed to believe in it, and that some Great Sorcerer ruled there. At last the Men settled to sleep and I watched.

    Again, just before Dawn, the figure of a Man appeared, but this time it was across the Chasm, before the Door. It seemed most like a Shade, not a real being, and did not Look across, but simply stood there. It took the form of a Man in a robe, holding a Staff, and the Man had long hair and a long beard. I could not see its Face. It did not come out of the Door, but appeared before it without Sound, and again it faded as the Darkness faded. It did not Trouble me, such things do not, but it caused me to Wonder if I ought to take any of the Men with me through the Door. Men are frightened by Ghosts and such. It struck me that if a Great Sorcerer ruled on the other side of that Door, it would be no great feat on his Part to keep any Knowledge of the place secret—he could easily have hidden the Door, for instance, and we would have passed by it unseeing, even an Elf such as I. The Tales could always be just Tales.

    No, it seemed to me that we were being Drawn on, but to what Purpose? Perhaps the Day would reveal it. The Horses stirred with the Dawn, and the Men awoke. I told them that I had again seen the Shadow of a Man, but that I was still determined to open the Door. When the light was bright day again, I took the piece of blue Cloth and turned it about in my hand. A bright Blue, deep and pure, the Cloth soft and finely woven. No more. No Markings, no stitching in Patterns. I put it in my pack, with my Share of the food and water we were to carry. I asked the men to each also fill a small Sack with dried dung for fuel, as we might have to Travel for some way under the Mountain, and we would need fire. Such Torches as we could improvise, we did. The Thorn bushes hereabouts give off a sticky Sap that can soak a rag wound about a stick, and that would have to do for Light.

    Most of the men vied for a place in the Group that was to leave, and I was not surprised that Captain Roland was among them. He has a bold Heart and a clear Mind, he is observant and careful. Still, it was necessary to draw lots with black Pebbles and white, to determine which three from Gondor and which three from Sardara were to go. Captain Roland drew a white Pebble and I saw his face express his feelings, the Terror and the Wish to go being about equal!

    I once again explained to those who were to Remain what was expected of them, should we Fail to return in five Days. Trooper Ephaz of Sardara was put in charge, he is an old Soldier, and commands the Respect of the rest. I then arranged two more Ropes to improvise a Bridge that Men could cross upon, and watched as Sergeant Daeron of the Guards went over, then five more. Captain Roland is equal to any Exertion, but I did not wish him to Fall from clumsiness due to Fear, so I calmed him as best I might, and stood so that his Eyes could see into Mine as he made his way across.

    The Door opened to my command of “Edro!” The blast of Air that was expelled was Stale, but not Foul, and since I had taken the Precaution of having the Men grasp the Pine tree for safety, no one was Blown off his feet, and over the Precipice. The opening loomed Black before us, and we had only to Enter..................



    .........More of Captain Roland’s letter..................

    Legolas was determined to go back and open the Door. We spent hours talking of it and I was Sick with Dread, for I knew I was going to go with him. The Terror of Height was not going to stop me, and yet I could not think of walking over that Abyss without my stomach sinking. Some of us were going to stay with the Horses, and at last in the morning we drew Lots, to end the disputing. Sure enough, there in my hand was the White pebble that signified I was to go, one of three from Gondor, and three from Sardara, with Legolas making the seventh.

    Legolas told us that he had again seen the shade of a Man, this time it appeared by the Door, and once again vanished with the Light. At this time he spoke to us all, and said, “I will command no Man to go with me. I do not know what we shall meet when we open that Door, it may be that such things as Terrify men will be there. Know now that any who wish to turn back then may do so, but once we have passed through, the Door will most likely close behind us, and then it may be too late to return.”

    He looked at each of us in turn and seemed satisfied with what he saw. I know he saw Terror in my eyes, but that was for the walk across the Chasm, not for anything we might find on the other side. Ghosts and bogeys I could face, I thought, if I could ever make myself cross. We got our packs prepared, each man to carry enough for three days, food and water. We also took some dried dung, in case we found no fuel over there, and we made some coarse half-hearted jokes about that, as we each tied a sack of it about our waists. The men who were to stay behind were told to wait no longer than five days. Then they were to start out again, for Khand. This was made an order, for they all seemed to think that five days was too short a time.

    Legolas prepared the bridge by taking two ropes across with him and fastening them so that a Man could walk with his feet on the first rope and hold one rope shoulder high and one rope waist high. Sergeant Daeron went first and signaled back to us by waving his fist in the air. Trooper Anborn went next, then Cavalier Sergeant Axelder, then Cavaliers Darsat and Gradaz. I was next. Legolas touched my shoulder and said, “I will cross before you, Roland. When once I am across, you look only at me, at my face. Do not look down!”

    Never will I forget that crossing, dear brother. Never, though I live to be an old, old man. The air was keen and fresh, and high above me an eagle cried his wild cry. The rope felt alive, and I felt every fibre of it as I grasped it with hands that were thick and heavy, and I felt every drop of my blood flowing slow as cold honey through my veins, and my head was light, as if it would float off my shoulders. I could see Legolas’ calm face, his eyes holding mine. There was no tension in his look, just that steady regard that pulled me across, causing me to put one leaden foot ahead of the other. I could hear the thudding of my own heart, beating painfully hard. I reached the other side and Legolas put out his hand and touched mine, and I stepped onto the hard rock, and immediately I cast up my breakfast and fell to my knees, too dizzy to stand.

    Still, I was across. In a few moments I was able to breathe as I should again, and I rose to my feet. Sergeant Daeron smiled at me and said, “Good lad! You’ll do now!” And the others slapped my back and I felt somewhat less of a fool.

    We rechecked our packs, adjusting the straps and so forth. Legolas stood before the Door and touched the Rock. “Hold on to the Tree, Men,” he said. “There may come a Wind from inside.”

    The image of the Owl was as sharp as if the carver had just put down his tools, the great wings outspread, the horned head bent as if it sought something. The shape of the Door was arched and it was wide enough for three men to stand within, about two fathoms high, the Owl’s image near the top. The wind stirred the Pine, and we could smell its clean scent. Legolas touched the Rock, and closed his eyes. “Edro!” he cried. “Edro!”

    He stepped back, and opened his eyes. For the space of a dozen heartbeats there was nothing, then the Door’s outline faded and darkened again, and a sound of rock grinding upon rock assailed our ears, very loud. The door swung open, and stale air rushed forth in a blast that might have sent us over the edge, had we not been grasping the tree. Legolas staggered back, then stepped ahead firmly. A black cave or tunnel yawned before us.
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  7. #7
    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
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    I can't wait until I have a quiet moment to read all this.

  8. #8
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    I can't figure out why it is double posting. I hit "submit" only once.
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  9. #9
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Anyone ready for more?
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  10. #10
    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
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    Yes please.

  11. #11
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Legolas in the Blue Kingdom, Chapter 4:

    From the journal of Legolas Greenleaf…………..

    We untied two of the Ropes and the Men remaining on the South side drew them back. They untied the third Rope on that side and I drew it over and coiled it and hung it over my Shoulder. Should we return this way, we will need a Bridge to regain the South road.

    The entrance opened into a large Cavern and when our eyes became adjusted to the dim Light, after the bright Day outside, we could see that it was only a Cavern, earthen floored. There were no marks on the Floor, no Sign that anyone had ever passed that Way, the dust was deep and soft. The Cavern narrowed and became a Tunnel, and it was plain to see that the Tunnel had been shaped by something other than Nature, the Walls were cut and the Rock dressed with some care. There was no moisture, no sound of dripping Water, and the Air was cool and quite Fresh.

    We had walked on for the space of about an Hour, in silence, going ahead by the flickering Light of a makeshift Torch, when we came upon another Cavern, a widening of the Tunnel. Benches had been cut into the Rock, and there were faint traces of a Hearth in the middle of the Floor. We were not yet ready to eat, but I judged it a good Place to pause, and talk to the Men.

    “I am relieved somewhat,” I said, “that the Door did not close itself behind us. It is not too late for any to Return, should he wish to.”

    The Men all shook their heads and I went on, “We are stopped in a Place designed for such a purpose. I would guess it was once the Barrack of Guards or gatesmen. So it is likely that we still have some Distance to go, until we reach the other end of this Tunnel. Have you noticed that we are going slightly Downhill? I think that this once was a natural Passage, and has been widened and leveled, with great Skill.”

    Captain Roland spoke. “Legolas,” he said, “No folk have more knack at such work as Dwarves. Do you think it likely that Dwarves made this Tunnel?”

    “I cannot say,” I answered. “My friend Gimli son of Gloin could, were he here. He could read the Marks left by the chisels, or whatever Tools were used, as another could read characters upon a Page, but I cannot. Whoever cut this Rock had great Skill, that is plain to see.”

    “You will notice,” I went on, “that our voices echo and carry in this place. We must strive to speak softly. It may be that by opening the Door, by stepping into the Cavern, we have announced our Presence to someone, if someone there be to care, but I wish to go Silently, if possible. Should we come upon some Folk, do not speak of the Owl, or the Shade that I saw, or the blue cloth. I believe there is Something afoot, that we are being led on.”

    “Are we entering a trap?” Sergeant Daeron asked.

    I considered long before I answered. “No,” I said. “I do not think so. I would not have brought you Here, had I thought so. But if we are indeed about to enter the Blue Kingdom of the tales, we have heard enough to make us Wary. Besides, a trap cannot work, if the Prey is aware of it.”

    Sergeant Axelder snorted. “That may only make it a cleverer Trap, Legolas! Still, I for one am ready to move on, and trust to events.”


    “We shall do so,” I said. “But we must be Cautious. We must beware of Pitfalls, for there could yet be some. So far we have come upon no side passages, but we may. Be alert!”

    We marched on for some time, stopping to eat a cold Meal at about what we judged to be late afternoon in the World outside. Then on we went until the Men were weary, and having reached another of these Rooms, we stopped and took our Rest. The Men could not bear that the Torch be extinguished, so I sat in its flickering Light until they slept. Having the means upon me to quickly rekindle the Torch, I put it out for a Time. I was visited by no Shade, nor did an Owl dare the passage. The only Sound was the breathing of the Men. After some time I relit the Torch and, wakening Cavalier Gardaz, I lay down to take some Rest myself.

    Another day’s March, another night’s Sleep. No Owls, no Phantoms. I slept, while the Men shared a Watch, and dreamed of Blue cloth, reams of it blowing in the wind on some far Hilltop..... The third Day...... we saw that the Smoke from our breakfast fire was borne strongly back along our path, and that the current had become a breeze strong enough to stir our Hair. The Floor was sloped considerably downhill, but appeared as before, smooth and unbroken. We marched quickly, as always I was in the Van, when suddenly, so suddenly it drew a Curse from me, the Floor fell away into an Abyss........

    from Captain Roland………

    The Men on the other side drew two ropes back, and Legolas took up the third one and coiled it to carry on his shoulder. We raised our hands in farewell to our comrades, and stepped into the wide opening, into a cavern.

    After the bright day, it took a few moments for my eyes to be able to see, but in any case there was not much. It was a large open space with a dusty unmarked floor. It narrowed at the back, the ceiling drew down, it became a passageway or tunnel obviously made by some hands, and this passageway we entered.

    Legolas went first, carrying one of the torches we had improvised, and while at first it seemed poor light, as we became accustomed, it was sufficient. To my relief there was no water oozing from the smooth walls, nor was there any sound of water dripping. There was no sign of any living thing, not an insect even. Just silence. Our steps made little noise, and we did not speak.

    We came upon a guardroom of some sort, large enough for a dozen men, with wide benches cut into the walls, and the remains of an ancient fire in the midst of the floor. Here we stopped and Legolas spoke, once again telling us we were free to turn back if we chose. He mentioned what I think we had all noticed, that there had been no sound of the door closing behind us. Upon being asked if he was leading us into a trap, he said he thought not. But he did say he thought we were being “drawn on” as he put it, and I was thinking so, too.

    He asked us not to speak of the Owl, or the figure that he saw, or the Blue cloth, should we come upon any people. The Owl I understood, it is a powerful signal of Sorcery, as we are taught. The Owl is wise, and sees much, especially at Night. The figure could itself have been a Sorcerer. But the Blue cloth, well that puzzled me. I wished for you, Ron, with your knowledge of old Lore, but I did recall reading some old tales, and was wishing I had paid more attention! We are all pretty well agreed that Legolas is the one to do the talking, should any be required. We are going to be his mute companions, as far as possible!

    We stopped to eat when we were all famished, and agreed that outside where the Sun was it would be early evening. It was decided to march along for a time before stopping to sleep, and so we did, walking until we began to stumble in weariness. Not Legolas. He stepped as lightly as ever, his tall form straight and his shoulders square as always. It is comforting, somehow, to travel with such a person (I nearly wrote Man). As luck would have it we came upon another wide place in the tunnel, a room as before with benches and a hearth. We made such beds as we could, and were in complete agreement that the Torch would be kept burning. Without it the Dark was unbearable, it was tried only for a few moments.

    Did Legolas sleep? I cannot say. When I awoke to the murmur of voices, he was standing near our packs, talking to Sergeant Daeron, debating whether or no to make a Fire. Since we had the fuel, we decided to have a hot breakfast. Trooper Anborn noticed that the smoke was drifting strongly back along our path, evidently carried on a current of Air coming from ahead. That was good to see, it would not precede us, at any rate. So we ate our porridge and drank something approaching Tea, then took up our packs and walked on, much refreshed. Another day passed as before, then another night. Again the air carried the smoke of our little fire backward, and we became conscious, as we walked on this third day, that the floor sloped more strongly downward, and the current of air was now a Breeze in our faces. At no time had we come upon any side passages, and the floor had been smooth and always unbroken beneath our feet. So it came as a rude shock when Legolas stopped suddenly with what sounded like an Elven curse, and we saw a yawning pit before him.......
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  12. #12
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Time for more?
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  13. #13
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Please! I just started reading this.

  14. #14
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Your wish is my command.
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  15. #15
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Legolas 205

    Still from Captain Roland . . . .

    We should have foreseen this, I suppose, but it was a nasty trick just the same, and did exactly what it was intended to do—it stopped us in our Tracks. The Pit, or opening in the Floor, went from one side of the passage to the other. There was no Shelf at the edge that we could Squeeze along. About 3 fathoms wide, it, like the Great Chasm, appeared bottomless as Legolas knelt and peered down, holding the torch. He stood, frowning. “Well,” he said at last, “I can clear this, I think.”

    Trooper Anborn swallowed visibly and said what the rest of us were thinking: “Legolas, we cannot make a bridge here, such as you made on the Outside! There is nothing to fasten ropes to.”

    “True enough,” Legolas replied. “But I think we can contrive. There must once have been a bridge of some Nature here, but there is not a Sign of it! No rings in the Rocks to hang anything upon....they must have carried it here, like a Ladder, and dropped it across......” He looked up at the ceiling, and at the walls, but there was nothing that a rope could be tied to. And even if there was—only Legolas could walk such a thing! He handed the torch to Sergeant Daeron, and shrugged off the rope that he carried on his shoulder, tossing it to the floor.

    “You’re going to jump?” I said, and I know my voice was a squeak. “Legolas!”

    He laughed. “Captain Roland,” he said, “if I do not, what are we going to do? Go back?”

    “But, Legolas,” I said, trying to speak calmly, “even if you can jump over, what about the rest of us?” All I could think of was having to cross another horrible Abyss, and I wasn’t sure I could make myself do it again.

    “Be of good cheer,” he said, smiling that Elvish smile of his. “I have a Plan.”

    Trooper Anborn thumped me on the shoulder. “Captain,” he said. “Has he let us down yet?”

    Trooper Gardaz of the Sardaran Cavaliers nodded at me. “He’s right, Captain. I ain’t real keen on crossing this ditch myself, but if I must, I must. And if anyone can get us over, it’s Legolas here.”

    “Stand aside, Men,” Legolas said. He took off his bow and quiver, and unfastened his knife belt. He rose on his toes, flexed his knees, and drew a deep breath, backing away from the edge. Then, swift as an arrow, he ran and leapt and cleared it like a Deer leaping into an orchard. He didn’t even land on his knees, but on his feet, and he turned quickly and laughed. “See! Nothing to it! Now,” he said, his face growing serious, “now comes the difficult part.”

    This was his scheme, and since no one had a better, it had to do: We threw him the rope, which he made fast about his waist, and he lay down some way from the edge. Sergeant Daeron and Sergeant Axelder made the rope fast about their waists, making crude jokes about being yoked together, and the rest of us held the rope behind them. Then, since he was lightest, Trooper Anborn crossed, hand over hand. There was a short piece of rope tied to each of his wrists, so that if his hands slipped, he would not fall. He went over very quickly.

    Now there were two of us seven on the other side. Gardaz went next. When he was across, he wrapped the rope around his waist, as had Anborn. Darsat crossed. Legolas came back. He took Sergeant Daeron’s place, and Sergeant Daeron went over. Sergeant Axelder was next, and I felt the strain in the rope as he handed himself over, with only Legolas and me to hold it on our side. I marveled at the strength Legolas had in his arms, and prayed that mine were strong enough.

    What the others had done, I could do. Somehow it wasn’t as bad as walking over the Chasm, but it was bad enough. At least this time I did not throw up, and as Sergeant Daeron said, that in itself was an improvement!

    Legolas laughed when we said he should leave the rope about his waist. “Think of it, Men,” he said. “If I should fall with this rope, I would swing like the clapper of a bell and smash myself onto the wall before you! No, no! The rope would hamper me......”

    He had thrown his gear over earlier, and now he did as before. He stretched himself a little, then backed up and leapt over, landing on his feet. “Well done, Men,” he said. “I think it is time to stop for Lunch, don’t you? Ah, I wish I had some Miruvor, but plain water will have to do!”

    “I only hope,” Trooper Anborn said, “that we don’t have to do that exercise again!”

    We did not. After our hasty lunch we marched on, and at about the time we were thinking of stopping for the day, we saw the glow of light ahead.

    Legolas stopped. “I am going to go ahead, he said, “and do a little scouting. Do you wait here, and if you can bear it, put out the torch.”

    He was not gone long, and we had become so accustomed to the very faint light that we could see his form against it as he approached. “Well,” he said, “there are no more pitfalls, and there is no door. We will come out upon a ledge and it is near sunset, so let us make haste. When we are arrived there, we will decide what next to do.”

    It was as he had said. We came out of the dark onto a wide ledge behind some Pine trees, and the air was tanged with their fragrance, and the sky was blue overhead. Birds sang. There was the sound of water falling. We stood in astonishment. We had left behind a desert land, all rocks and thorn bushes, and here we were in a valley as lovely as any I have ever seen.

    “It is like Imladris,” Legolas said softly. He breathed very deeply. “The Green smell,” he said. “Like water when we thirst.”

    .................from Legolas............

    The Men were greatly perplexed by the Difficulties of crossing this Pit, but with some Exertion the Deed was done. We resumed our March and at about the time we might have stopped to take our evening Meal, we saw the glow of Light ahead.

    I asked the Men to extinguish the Torch, and I went carefully to the Light. The Floor was level here, and there were no more pitfalls. Soon the Light took the shape of an Opening, and I stepped out onto a Ledge and looked about me. To my astonishment, a Vale opened before me that was as unlike the Land we had left behind as could be Imagined. Great Pines grew on the slopes before the Cavern mouth, and marched in ranks along the mountainside, up to the bare rocks that thrust Knife edges to the sky. I heard Water falling and Birds singing. I breathed the perfume of the Pines, and of many green and growing things.

    When I returned with the Men, they were as Astonished as I had been. “If this is the Blue Kingdom,” Captain Roland said, “no wonder no one who enters ever leaves!”

    Sergeant Daeron spoke. “Legolas,” he said. “Is that Smoke? To the North?”

    It was Smoke, a thin blue Column rising into the evening sky. Where there is Smoke, there is Fire, as the saying goes. And where there is Fire, there is usually a Hearth. Then we saw that there were other columns of Smoke, here and there, blue against the dark Hills.

    “It would seem,” I said, “that this Land is Peopled, as we suspected.”

    The Sun had gone behind the Peaks, and already the blue of the Sky had deepened, and a Star glinted in the North. “It grows late,” I said. “We will stay here for the Night, and in the Morning, we shall set out to the foot of this Slope, where I see a Path, and Stairs.”

    We did not make a Fire, but spread our Blankets beneath a great Tree, whose branches swept the Ground and made us a sweet smelling Room. We ate our cold Meal and refilled our water Bags at the nearby Stream. Early as it was, the Men were tired after the Exertions of the Day. I was weary myself, but took the first Watch for the pleasure of watching Night fall in this lovely Vale. I went back up to the Ledge where the Cavern opened and sat with my Back to the Rocks. The heat of the Sun still warmed them, and I fancied I was feeling the inner Warmth of the Earth, as if it were a living Thing. Seldom have I seen such a lovely Place, so perfectly suited to the Heart of an Elf.

    I woke Trooper Anborn and Cavalier Darsat about midnight, and went to my Rest. I lay halfdreaming under the great Pine. Its boughs swayed in the night Breeze, I could hear the very Heart of the Tree beating. In the distance I heard the voice of an Owl, but it came no closer.

    Breakfast again with no Fire, and we tidied ourselves as best we might. We had no clean clothes, and no means of Shaving, but we washed our Faces and Hands, and dragged combs through our Hair. I spoke again to the Men and repeated what I had said when we entered the Tunnel—“If we meet anyone, do not mention the Phantom, the Owl, or the Blue cloth.”

    We set out down the Path and came to a flight of stone Stairs, beautifully made, curved to follow the Slope of the mountainside, cut out of the living Rock, but covered with Lichens. The only other place I ever saw such Work was in Moria. At the foot of the Stairs there was a Pavilion made of Stone carved into Lace, and roofed with Shingles cut from Cedar now silver with age. Lichens grew on the delicate Stone of the Walls, and the openwork was full of Spiderwebs, the floor of the Pavilion littered with Pine needles and whatever the Wind had blown in. It did not look as though anyone had been there for a very long Time. There were even Birds’ nests in the Corners. We walked quickly along the Path, and the Men were silent for the most part. Down here the Trees were all Giants, nearly all great Cedars, and there was no undergrowth, except thick Moss, and clumps of Fern. Here in the Forest the Tree trunks were bare to a great Height, up to the Canopy that was nearly like a Roof. The air was cool and moist and the Sun shot through the Canopy in great Golden shafts, piercing the Shade under the Trees. I have never before been in such a Forest, and vowed that before leaving this Vale I would, if possible, return to this place where the great Cedars grew. I had a Fancy to seat myself upon a Moss covered Root and Contemplate the Time it would take to grow trees to such a size.

    We went slowly Uphill as the morning wore on and the Cedars gradually gave way to Birches and Aspens newly in leaf, and the occasional Larch. We waded several Streams, and the Path carried on, smooth and wide, yet it was plain to see that it had not been used for some Time. At about Midday we came to a Road, and had to decide which Direction to take. Looking about us, it seemed the Northern Mountains and the Southern Mountains were about the same distance away. Since we had seen the first Smoke to the North, it was decided to go that Way.

    We halted here, before we set Foot on the Road.

    “What about our Comrades at the Great Chasm?” Captain Roland said. “We are now gone Four Days, and they were to wait only Five.”

    This had been troubling me. “I confess that I did not think that we would need three Days and Two Nights to go through the Passage,” I said. “I am afraid they will move on Tomorrow.”

    “Well,” Sergeant Axelder said, “it doesn’t make any difference to us, now. They will manage without us, and we must manage without them.”

    Still, I chided myself, I should have foreseen this! I did not speak that aloud; I confess I have found the Weight of all these Men to be very Heavy. They have placed their Trust in me to an astonishing Degree, giving me the Lead in this Venture. It is not my Nature to rule others.

    We began to march North on the wide Road. The Afternoon wore on as we proceeded, as we walked through this beautiful Valley. Eagles soared overhead and Crows disputed in the Woods beside the Road. We saw several Does with Fawns, and once Trooper Anborn saw a wild Cat slinking into the trees. Ducks scuttered into the Air from the Ponds where they were Nesting, and everywhere was Peace and Beauty. The Sun was warm on our backs, and we walked in quiet Companionship.

    I became aware that there was Someone in the Woods beside the Road. Then I knew there was Someone on the other side. The Men drew closer together and we stopped, as Green clad archers came out of the Woods and encircled us. They had Arrows fitted to their Bows, but appeared relaxed, and several of them smiled as they looked at us in great Curiosity. One stepped forward and I saw that it was a Woman, clad as the Men in a Green Tunic and Leggings. Her Bow was slung over her back, and she held up one Hand in greeting.

    It was an Elf-woman, tall and shapely, the most beautiful Elf-woman I have ever seen, except for Galadriel and Queen Arwen. This vision of Beauty stepped forward and Smiled. She had deep, dark eyes and long, shimmering black hair, and her voice was low and soft as she said, “Greetings, Strangers.”
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  16. #16
    Stegodon PapSett's avatar
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    I really like your Legolas! And your story is intriguing. More when you're ready please!

  17. #17
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    Legolas in the Blue Kingdom, Chapter 6.

    ………………from Captain Roland…………

    We spent the Night under a great Pine near the Cave that gave us entrance to this Valley. We lit no Fire that evening, nor on the morning following. We had bread and cheese and water, and some dried fruit and that sufficed for both Dinner and Breakfast.

    Legolas took the first Watch, while we spread our blankets under the tree, and we could see him sitting with his back against the Rocks, gazing about at the beauty before him. If I ever saw or heard of an Elvish place, this Valley is it. And the next morning when we went down the Path and came to the stairs, it was even more Elvish. Some great craftsmen had made these Stairs, that descended some 50 fathoms or so in a long, curving flight cut into the living rock, railed with Stone carved like Wood. Near the foot of the stairs we came across a kind of Summerhouse, made of more carved stone, with walls of stone fretwork. It was roofed with silvery Cedar, and was as pleasant a spot as could be imagined. It was easy to think that some Elven lovers had made their rendezvous there on some Moonlight night, it was a place made for Romance.

    We still had seen no sign of People other than the smoke, and as we set out on the Trail we went along quietly, wondering when we might meet someone. The Trail took us though a Forest of huge Cedar trees such as I have never seen. Four or five men holding hands could not reach around the Girth of one of these giants, and they soared upwards for 40 fathoms or more. They were not like the Cedars that grow in the White Mountains, these had Bark that could be pulled off in long Strips almost like rope, and had a sharp, pleasant scent. The ground gradually rose and Birches and Aspens now covered the ground, their new leaves more yellow than green. We saw some wildlife, Deer and plenty of Waterfowl, and a wild Cat. When we came to a Road we decided to go North.

    Legolas seemed uneasy, but I think at first it was because we had discussed the Men we had left behind. If they obeyed orders, they would leave our encampment tomorrow. We had not thought it would take us three days to go through that Passage, but it was hard to be concerned about that as we marched through such a beautiful land. Then, after a time, Legolas was uneasy for the same reason we all were: we sensed we were being watched.

    Finally, the watchers came out onto the Road, and encircled us. We were seven, and they were nineteen Elves, all with arrows fitted to their bows. All but one.

    She was a beautiful Elven woman, dressed as the Archers all were, in a green tunic and leggings. She stepped forward and raised her hand in salute and said, “Greetings, Strangers.”

    Legolas raised his hand, and answered, “Greetings, Lady. I am Legolas Greenleaf, son of King Thranduil of Northern Mirkwood.”

    Her eyes widened. “I am Alanta,” she said, “daughter of Luinil, Lord of the Blue Kingdom, and his Lady my mother Nienna.”

    She looked at us Men, and frowned. “And these, my Lord Legolas? How come you to be traveling with these Men?”

    “They are my friends, Lady, and have journeyed far with me,” Legolas answered. “These in the Black livery are Guardsmen of my friend King Elessar, and these in the Scarlet are Cavaliers of King Darius.”

    We all bowed, and the Lady nodded. “King Darius I know of,” she said. “But who is King Elessar, and where is his Kingdom?” She shook her head. “We will not stand about here, Lord Legolas. I will take you to my father.” She turned to the Archers, who stood relaxed but alert. “Ardil,” she said, “do you take your Scouts and resume our patrol.”

    “Yes, Lady,” the Elf Ardil said. He gestured to some of his companions and they went off the road and seemed to vanish, their garments blending in with the colours of the woods.

    “I will walk with you, Lord,” she said to Legolas “Let us go.”

    “How far is your father’s house, my Lady?” Legolas asked. “My Men are weary, and thirsty. We were about to stop, when you chanced upon us.”

    “It is not far,” she replied. “You and your men will be made welcome with food and drink when we come there.”

    I smiled inwardly at her manner. She was evidently used to giving orders, and having them obeyed. She walked with the same long, easy strides as Legolas, and was nearly as tall. She was as shapely as any maiden needs to be, and graceful as a deer, and it seemed good to all of us walking behind to see her, with her lovely shape, and her long black hair shining in the sun. Of all the things I had thought to see, I had not imagined a beautiful Elf maiden dressed like a boy and striding about in the woods. Whatever was about to befall, dear brother Ron, the walk with the Lady Alanta was a pleasure.






    Sophmoric Existentialist

  18. #18
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Legolas in the Blue Kingdom, Chapter 7.

    ……………from Legolas……………

    We set out with the Lady Alanta and a half Dozen of her Archers. I waited for her to Speak, and wondered what she would Say. I could see that she was Eager to ask many Questions, but was being Cautious. I, too, was being Cautious, and prepared myself for the meeting with her Father.

    The name Luinil meant nothing to me except that Luinil is the name of the Blue Star. Many of our Kindred were lost to our Knowledge in the Dark Years, and many even since. The Tumults and Wars of my lifetime alone may account for many Elves passing from our sight. Lord Luinil could be one of those we call the Avari, who passed from our ken Ages ago. As for Lady Nienna, Alanta’s mother, her name too had some significance. Nienna was one of the Valier, sister of Mandos and Lorien, she was called the Lady of Pity and Mourning. I have a Kinswoman named Nienna, who sought the Havens long ago.

    As for the Lady Alanta, she strode beside me in silence for some time, and I found it pleasant to walk with such a Companion. Her Beauty and the beauty of the Day and the Woods filled my Senses, I felt as if I could be in Elder days in some long ago corner of Arda when the Sun was first showing Her face. Lady Alanta glanced at me several Times, her lovely face troubled.

    At last she spoke. “Lord Legolas, how came you here? There was no word from the Guards on the Pass, nor from the Watcher.”

    “Perhaps, Lady,” I said, “it is best to wait until we are with your Father before we speak of these Matters,” I said.

    She shrugged. “As you wish, my Lord. But tell me, if you will, where you were going, when we found you?”

    “To seek the Folk of this Vale,” I said. “Whoever they may be. It was our intention to make our Presence known, Lady, not to try to stay Hidden.”

    Again we walked in silence. The Men, who walked behind, did not Speak either, nor did any of the Archers. Still, it was a pleasant Walk in a lovely Place on a lovely Day.

    At last we saw the Roofs of buildings, and as we came around a Turning, under an Arch of flowering Chestnuts, we saw before us a great House, made of silvery Cedar logs, roofed as the Pavilion had been. A Porch ran the whole Front, with broad Stairs down to the walkway. A tall Elf stood at the top of the Stairs, robed in Blue.

    Many thoughts chased themselves about my Mind as I saw him. Tall he was, and Noble of bearing, his black Hair frosted with Silver, his eyes Keen, his face Elven fair. There was that in his Aspect that put me in mind of Master Elrond as I knew him, but yet there was this Difference, that Lord Luinil had less of Wisdom, and mayhap less of Compassion in his Look. Much may be seen in the First sight of a Face that may be lost in further Aquaintance, and indeed when Lord Luinil smiled and held up his Hand in greeting, I set Aside some of my first Impression of him. There was one little Thing that caught my attention: the blue of his robe was not the same Blue as the scrap of cloth the Owl had brought me.

    He came down the broad Stairs and held out both his hands to me, and as we clasped Hands,
    the Lady Alanta spoke. “Father, this is Legolas Greenleaf, son of King Thranduil of Northern Mirkwood.” She turned to me. “Lord Legolas, meet my father, Luinil, Lord of the Blue Kingdom.”

    “Welcome, welcome, Legolas Greenleaf son of Thranduil! Welcome and Well Met.”

    He held my hands long, and searched my Face with his keen Eyes. “The name of Thranduil,” he said, “is not known to me, nor is Northern Mirkwood. But much has happened in the World outside since first we came Here, I guess. We have much to Speak of. But, I forget my Manners, Lord Legolas. Come, my House awaits you. Come in, and be refreshed.”

    It seemed that he then noticed the Men for the first time. “Your companions,” he said, “will find themselves more comfortable in a Guesthouse, Lord Legolas. Let one of my Household show them there.”

    “Lord Luinil,” I said. “I thank you for your Welcome. But I do not care to be separated from my Comrades, and will gladly share whatever Quarters you may provide for them.”

    The shadow of Anger darkened his Eyes. He could not hide it, but it passed quickly. Yet I felt a Chill, that an Elf and Lord would feel Anger for such a trivial cause. Still, I had spoken from my Heart. I did not wish to be apart from the Men who had Trusted me so far, and who had Journeyed so Bravely with me, only because I was Curious.

    “As you wish,” Lord Luinil answered. He spoke to one of the Archers who stood beside us. “Ardil,” he said, “take the Lord Legolas and his Men to the Guesthouse and ask Arwela to see that they are made comfortable.”

    He smiled at me again, and went on, “Lord Legolas, when you are refreshed and have rested a little, please join me for the evening Meal.” He smiled again, most graciously. “You, and your Men, Lord Legolas, who you then can make known to me.”

    “We will be Honoured,” I said. “It will be good to sit at Table again, after so long a time on the Road.”

    “I am most interested,” he said, “to hear of your Journey. We have much to talk about, Legolas. It has been long since we had such a Guest!”

    As we followed Ardil along the path to the Guesthouse, I looked back. The Lord Luinil was standing where he had been, with his daughter beside him. Another Lady stood there now, clad like him in blue, and he had his arm about her Shoulder. Her eyes met mine for a fleeting moment, and I felt such a stab of Sadness I nearly groaned aloud. There had been a Plea in those dark eyes, and Fear. Surely not Fear of me?

    ..............another view of this meeting, from Captain Roland.............
    ...........My dear brother Ronceval.............
    We came before long to the House of Lord Luinil. It is a beautiful Log house at the Foot of a mountain slope and the path to it leads under an avenue of great Chestnut trees, just now in flower, and alive with Bees. The Lord of the Blue Kingdom met us at the foot of the stairs, a tall Elf clad in blue robes, his hair black like his daughter’s but touched with silver. He was, as are all Elves that I have ever seen, beautiful, and noble in his stature, and there was that in his face that put me in mind of the brothers Elladan and Elrohir that I saw in Minas Tirith when I was a boy. You remember, Ron, how we stood on the wall and watched as they entered the City, with the King? Yet they had a beauty, like the Queen’s, that touched the heart of all who saw them, whereas the face of Lord Luinil was sterner of aspect, and his expression was somewhat imperious.

    He met Legolas most warmly, clasping both his hands and speaking words of welcome. Yet that welcome did not include us Men, at least not at first. He invited Legolas to his House, but wished to shunt us Men off to a Guesthouse, more suited to our Kind, I think. Truth to tell, I was glad, I had no particular wish to stay with such a grand Lord. However that may be, Legolas demurred and asked to share our quarters. The Lord was plainly angered, but quickly gracious again, and he acceded to Legolas’ request with renewed politeness.

    The Lady Alanta stood by quietly, her eyes on her father’s face, as he and Legolas spoke. As we went with the Elf who was to show us to our quarters, another Elven lady came down the stairs and joined them. I guessed it was the Lady Nienna, as the Lord put his arm around her and smiled down at her. She too was robed in blue, and was dark and lovely as her daughter. I had then only a fleeting glimpse of her face, and I was struck by the sweetness of her expression, and the haunted look in her great dark eyes. Just a glimpse, no more, but as is so often the case, it was enough.

    The guesthouse was scarcely smaller than the Lord’s house. It was made of the same great logs, Cedar gone silver with age, and like the Lord’s house had a verandah along its front and low, broad stairs. We were met by the Elf woman Arwela, who bowed to Legolas with a look of wonder on her face. She took us in to a great room that had huge hearth at one end where a fire was laid ready to be lit. Soft chairs and couches were scattered about, and the room was warmly lighted by the late afternoon sun spilling in the great open windows. A door opened on a hall, down which Arwela led us to a series of bedrooms, and at the end, a bathhouse. It was not long before we had all bathed and shaved and dressed ourselves in the robes provided, and we met in the great room we had first entered, feeling, as Sergeant Daeron put it, ready for anything. Legolas did not look like himself dressed in robes instead of the tunic and leggings he commonly wears, but then I suppose I did not, either, and certainly none of the other Men did. We were all hungry as hawks or Hobbits, and wondered if we were to be led to Dinner, or if we were expected to find our own way.

    We stood awkwardly silent, our mouths full of questions we could not yet ask, and we all looked to Legolas, to read in his face what we could of his thoughts. He smiled an enigmatic Smile, very Elvish, and said only, “We ought to be comfortable here, think you?”

    “Legolas”..... I began.

    He put his finger to his lips and shook his head. “We will speak later, Captain Roland,” he said.

    Just then we heard a silvery bell, and Arwela entered the room. “That is the Dinner bell, my Lord,” she said to Legolas. “My Lord is waiting.”

    She led us back to the Lord’s house and up the stairs where we were met by the Lady Alanta, now dressed in a pale green robe and with what looked like Mithril chains about her neck and wound around her black hair. She had been beautiful in her Archer’s garb, but was even lovelier dressed as a maiden. “Welcome, guests,” she said in her soft, clear voice. “Please come with me.”

    We were led into the Lord’s dining room where a long, uncovered table was laid with cutlery and dishes, with vases of flowers in the centre, and low candles lit in clusters, making a soft radiance on the shining wood. The Lord was standing by the hearth on the far wall, beside a lady seated in a low chair before him. He beckoned to Legolas.

    “Legolas,” he said, “it is my pleasure to make you known to my wife, the Lady Nienna.”

    Legolas bowed over her hand and lifted it to his lips. “My Lady Nienna,” he said. “I am honoured.”

    Her voice was low and musical, with a tone of sweetness that immediately touched the heart. “Lord Legolas,” she said. “Welcome to the Blue Kingdom, and to my House.”

    Then she looked across the room to where we Men stood. “And these, your comrades?” she asked. “Will you introduce them to us, Legolas?”

    He gestured to us, and we went to where the Lady sat, and behind her Lord Luinil stood, his face unsmiling and his eyes holding a look that is very hard to describe. It was not contempt, but something akin to it, and it made me uneasy. Still, the Lady was kind, and I was again struck by the gentle melancholy in her expression.

    Legolas had named each of us, and each of us had bowed over her hand, when some functionary of the Household touched a mallet to the little disk-shaped bell on the table. “My Lady,” he said, “your dinner is served.”

    There was no more before Dinner talk. We were shown to our seats, and soon we were busy eating, and the food was everything one could imagine in such a house. While we ate, an Elf played a flute or some such instrument, I’m sure you would know, Ron, what it was. I have no ear for music, but it sounded pretty.

    It was not a merry meal, but pleasant. There was little conversation, as, except for the Lord and his wife and daughter, there was no one but us at table. We were hungry enough not to care that talk was in short supply, and thirsty enough to drink the cold, delicious wine like water. Sergeant Axelder was seated next to me. He nudged my shoulder and said in a low voice, “Captain, they are very free with this wine. Beware. I think they fancy to get us in our cups.”

    It may be that that was so. I only sipped at the rest of the wine in my glass, and so did the others, I noticed. The servants “topped” up the glasses whenever we took even a sip, so I think Axelder was right.

    The table was cleared, and the Lord pushed his chair back a little, leaning on one of its elaborately carved arms. “Here it comes,” I thought. “Now we shall pay for our Dinner.............”
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  19. #19
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Anyone still reading?
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  20. #20
    Stegodon PapSett's avatar
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    I sure am!

  21. #21
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Legolas in the Blue Kingdom, Chapter 8

    from Legolas…………………………

    We were shown to a comfortable Guesthouse near to the Lord’s dwelling. An Elf woman, Arwela, showed us to bedrooms and most welcome, a Bath house. We bathed and shaved, and when we came to Dress, we found that our soiled Gear had been taken away, and soft Robes were provided. Our Arms were lying as we had placed them, to Sergeant Daeron’s relief. He had half-jokingly suggested that our Swords and Knives and Bows might be made away with while we Bathed, but of course, such was not the Case. We were called to Dinner by the sound of a Bell.

    Lady Alanta met us at the door of her father’s House. She was more beautiful than before, dressed in a Green robe and wearing Truesilver chains. She rested her hand on my arm as we went in, and I breathed the sweet Fragrance of her Hair. Before we Dined we met the Lady Nienna. She is a gracious and beautiful Lady, thinner than is the usual wont of an Elf woman, and with some Fear or Care lying on her Heart. When I took her hand in Greeting, I could not but feel the rapid Pulse of her Blood, and when her Eyes met mine I saw again a look so Anxious it troubled me. However, she smiled and spoke words of Welcome to both me and the Men, and during the Meal she chatted easily with Sergeant Axelder and Captain Roland in particular. The conversation over our food was desultory and did not go beyond discussion of the Weather and the beauty of the Vale known as the Blue Kingdom.

    I noticed, as did the Men, that Lord Luinil caused his Wine to flow very freely and I was relieved to see that the Men drank little. If Lord Luinil had thought to make them Drunk, his plan did not succeed, but it was one more Cause on my Part to regard him with some Unease. Yet even while I thought of it, I was ready to see that he was merely trying to use any method to learn Who we were and Where we came from, although I thought he ought to try Asking before trying to muddle our Wits with Wine.

    Dinner over and the Covers removed, I knew we were in for an Interrogation, but it did not Begin as I had imagined it would, with questions as to how we had entered his Kingdom.

    “My daughter,” he said, “has told me that some of these Men are Cavaliers of King Darius. Tell me, Legolas, how you come to be traveling with them? I have never known an Elf to be friends with our ancient Enemy the Southland.”

    “I went to Sardara in January,” I said, “with Ships from Minas Tirith taking relief to the city after an Earthquake. Once I was there, King Darius allowed me and the Guards from Minas Tirith to go into the Countryside to survey for Damage, with Troops from his own Household. We have carried on from there, and are Aiming to go as far as Khand.”

    “Minas Tirith? You mean the city of Men, do you not? That was called Minas Anor? How came you to be there?” Lord Luinil leaned back in his Chair, turning his glass about and seeming to watch the Wine shimmer in the Light.

    “King Elessar of Gondor is my friend. I was visiting him when we had news of the Earthquake, and, with some other Folk, volunteered to go to the relief of Sardara,” I answered.

    “And King Elessar would be who? The name conveys nothing to me, Legolas,” he said.

    “King Elessar Telcontar,” I said, “is Isuldur’s heir, and came to the throne of Gondor and Arnor about 15 years ago.”

    “So! The Kingdom is renewed!” (Lord Luinil spoke surprised words, but I sensed that some at least of what I said was not News to him.) “And not only renewed, but blessed with a King who seeks out former Enemies and sends them Aid!” He went on, “How the world has changed, Legolas, since last I walked outside this Vale.”

    He glanced around the table and at some unspoken and unobserved signal, the Ladies Nienna and Alanta rose and left the room. He called for more Wine, but his was the only glass that had been Emptied. He smiled, and said, “You are an abstemious lot, Legolas. Perhaps you are Wise, to take little of my strong Wine. My own Lady sees to the vinting of it, and she understands that I like it to have somewhat to say to me, when I sup it.”

    I felt the Atmosphere at the Table change subtly when the Ladies left. Lord Luinil was less Courtly in his manner, and his Mouth was set in a thin line. “Well, Legolas,” he said, “I do not ask you how you entered my Kingdom, for I know how. What I want to know is Why you entered.”

    “I was Curious, my Lord. I saw the Door, and was compelled to try it,” I said.

    “Compelled! How compelled?” He laughed. “That door has not been opened these many years, Legolas! I did not know it could even be seen, anymore. I have been careless, I suppose. Still, you say you were compelled? Idle curiosity? Is that it?”

    “Not idle curiosity, my Lord. Very active curiosity,” I joked.

    He laughed at that. “And these Men? Did they share your active curiosity?”

    “To a degree, I suppose,” I answered. “We had been traveling together, and they too wished to see what lay beyond the Door.”

    “What lay beyond the Door. Hmmmm.” He nodded. “Yes, I can see that. And the Pit, at this End? How did that affect your Curiosity?”

    “We contrived to cross it,” I said. “Having come so far, we were not about to be stopped by such a trifle.”

    His eyes flashed with his ready Anger. “Trifle! Someday you must tell me how you contrived, but for now............Curiosity. Curiosity. Now what is that, about some Cat? Did you never stop to think that your Curiosity might lead you into Danger?”

    The Men had hitherto sat silent. Captain Roland now spoke, “My Lord, we are journeying, and we seek adventure.”

    Lord Luinil scowled at Captain Roland. “Adventure? To risk life and limb stealing into my Home? Did you never think that a place so carefully guarded might not wish to welcome any Adventurers?”

    “I am sorry, Lord Luinil,” I said. “We were thoughtless indeed. We did not intend any offense, my Lord, but I can see that we have made a Mistake, and that you see our intrusion as an Evil done to you. If you will allow us to take our rest here tonight, tomorrow we will, with your permission, be on our way.”

    He slapped his hand on the table and laughed. “Legolas! Do not take me up so! No, no, you have done me no Evil. But it has been so long since we had a visitor that I am ashamed to say I forgot my manners. Leave tomorrow? No, you must stay a little longer than that, my good Elf.”

    Sergeant Daeron spoke up. “My Lord,” he said, “I have traveled about the world a fair bit, and I never saw such a place as this. The trees, for one thing. Those Cedars, why they were Giants!”

    I glanced at the Sergeant and saw that he was regarding Lord Luinil with the simple Smile that has led so many to think him simple himself. I thanked him in my Heart, for turning the Lord’s thoughts, and easing the tension at the table.

    “You might well be astonished,” Lord Luinil said. “Some of those trees are five hundred years old, for I caused them to be planted, and I know. That end of the Valley was used to be very wet; nearly a Swamp, and those trees were most suited to be put there. This house, and many of the other houses here were built of Cedar logs, but those Giants near the Passage will never be logged; I will let them live out their lives in peace.”

    “There are other places in the world,” Trooper Anborn said, “where such trees still stand. Or so I am told. Mirkwood for one, and Fangorn for another.”

    “Fangorn!” Lord Luinil’s eyes widened. “Does the forest of Fangorn still stand? And Lothlorien? Does Galadriel still weave her fences around the Golden Wood?”

    “Galadriel has gone to the Blessed Realm,” I said.

    “Has she indeed? And her consort, Celeborn?”

    Again I thought that much of this was already known to the Lord, but I answered. “Celeborn too has left Middle Earth, and so have many others of our Kin.”

    He nodded and gazed into the fire on the hearth, as if lost in thought. At last he said, “And Master Elrond? Does he still rule in Imladris? Or did he leave with his mother-in-law? Now he smiled. Eternity with his mother-in-law, eh? It might make for an interesting life. Now, Elrond had a daughter, did he not? I recall a very beautiful Maiden.....”

    “Arwen Evenstar is Queen of Gondor,” Captain Roland said. “She was married to King Elessar at the end of the War.”

    The Lord turned and looked at Captain Roland, and eyes glinted with some unfathomable Emotion. I wondered what the purpose of his Pretense was—did he seek to trick us into revealing some Secret that he imagined we might Keep? At any rate, he turned away and again gazed into the fire. “The War? Ah, yes, the War,” he said. “Sauron has fallen into ruin, and Peace and Goodwill rule Middle Earth! And our Kin leave this all behind, to seek the Havens?”

    “The Third Age has ended,” Captain Roland said, “and the Fourth Age has begun. His voice was soft, and he spoke as if reciting some sad Poem.”

    “The Fourth Age, the Age of Men,” the Lord said. His voice was thick with contempt. “Men! Sauron destroyed, so that Men might rule. Ah, well, times change and we must change with them, eh, Legolas? And why have you not sought the Havens yourself?”

    “There are many fair things yet in Middle Earth,” I answered, “and many are unknown to me. Why, my Lord, had I taken ship to the West, I would never have seen your lovely Valley. And I have as yet seen little of it. If we are to be allowed to stay awhile, it is my hope that we might see more.”

    “To be sure,” the Lord said. “You wish to satisfy your active curiosity, do you not? You know, I have lived under this Sun for a very long time, and I was never once that curious. It is odd, is it not, how one Elf can differ from another? However I will see to it that you may see more. It is a beautiful place, though I say so myself. Some parts of it I will show you, but truth to tell, my daughter will make a better guide. She was born here, and knows every stick and stone of it. It is the only World she has ever known, and someday—when I seek the Havens, perhaps—it will be hers to rule.”

    Lord Luinil rose, and stood leaning forward with his hands on the table. “Well, my good Guests, I for one am weary. You will forgive me, if I am sending you to rest earlier than is your wont. Still, you have had an eventful day yourselves, and mayhap I am falling in with your wishes for an early night?”

    Trooper Darsat swallowed a yawn, and looked abashed, as the Lord’s eyes fell on him. We rose and bid the Lord good night, and declined his offer of an escort back to the Guesthouse. “It is only a step,” I said, “and there is no need to trouble any of your folk for such a purpose.”

    We did not, indeed, need any guide for such a short walk, but I suspect that we were watched nonetheless; to make sure we did not wander off. The Night was chill, and the Sky clouded, and the scent of Rain was in the Air, and it began to sprinkle lightly as we went up the steps. After our long Journey in the dry lands of Far Harad, and the road along the Great Chasm, the sound of Rain was welcome. I stood in my darkened bedchamber beside the open window, and listened to it I heard, far off, the Owl’s call, low and mournful. I heard, as well, the sound of footsteps, and saw a tall figure passing the Guesthouse in the rain. Perhaps only an Elf would have heard those footsteps. It was too dark for me to see the colour of the walker’s robe but I think it was blue, and I think it was Lord Luinil. Unable to sleep, perhaps, though he was so Weary.

    ............and Captain Roland has this to say..........

    Lord Luinil let us off easy, I think, in his questioning. He is a creature of quick mood, as unlike Legolas as can be. Now, I had thought that all Elves were like Legolas, or the Queen—calm and wise and sweet natured. You would know, brother, more of these matters, but upon reflection I do recall reading in old Lore of the quarrels and tragedies of the Elves in Elder Days, and it must be that Lord Luinil belongs rather to that Generation. He did seem inclined to take Offense at our finding a way into his Realm, but it passed quickly, and he would not hear of our leaving until we had seen more of this place. That is one reading of his remarks. The other is that we might not be able to leave when we wish, or even at all. However, I was not about to trouble my mind with that worry until needful, and sat and listened as Legolas fenced with my Lord, and answered his questions.

    When we have the chance to speak privately among ourselves, I know that all of us will agree that the Lord knew all, or nearly all, of what he asked Legolas to tell him. It was as if he was making conversation to be Polite, and to keep us from asking any Questions ourselves

    The Ladies soon left us, to my regret. I was seated across from the Lady Nienna and much enjoyed my brief converse with her. She was as I imagined an Elf lady to be, much like our good Queen in many ways, but evidently troubled with some Matter. She looked often at her Lord before she spoke, and I know he heard every word she uttered, even when he was in the midst of his own remarks. Truth to tell, she is afraid of her husband, and it takes no great perspicacity to see it. The Lady Alanta is not afraid of her father, but she had little to say, which rather surprised me, given her assertive manner on the Trail earlier. Company manners, perhaps, but she was watchful, and listened to us with great care. She was born here, her father told us, and it may be that any word of the Outside World is fascinating to her. However that may be, it is very sweet to look upon her Beauty. She would shine even at the Court in Minas Tirith, Ron, at least in Looks.

    We retired early, dismissed with charming Rudeness by Lord Luinil. Weary we were, weary he was not. Still, it is his House, and his Land, and if it suited his Mood to send us to bed, so be it. It began to rain as we reached our Quarters, and we all stood for awhile on the Porch listening to it fall, a welcome sound after so many weeks in Dry places.

    Each of us had his own bedchamber, a great Luxury for soldiers on the Road, and the rooms were pleasant, comfortably furnished with soft beds and easy chairs. Each room looks out on a Garden or on the Mountains, but this night looked out only on rain and darkness. I was not yet asleep when Sergeants Daeron and Axelder crept in; and I was indeed half expecting them.

    “Well, Captain,” Sergeant Axelder whispered, “what do you make of this Elvish Lord? Not much like our good Legolas, is he?”

    “Not much,” I agreed. “Why have you come in here? Just to ask me about our host?” I spoke low, as if the Walls had ears.

    Sergeant Daeron laughed very softly. “That would be it, Captain. That, and I smell Peril, if I ever did. This Lord would as soon see all us Men down that Pit, Captain. He made that plain enough, did he not?”

    I sighed. “Well, yes, he did. But we are fixed here for now, you know. And we are not raw recruits, we know when to be watchful....”

    “Watchful! And what are we to do about it, when we have watched, and seen?” Sergeant Axelder whispered. “We are caught, as sure as any coney was ever snared.”

    “We must trust to Events,” I said. “And to Legolas. That is all we can do.”

    “Well, I do trust Legolas,” Sergeant Daeron said. “But he is only one, and we do not know how many this Lord commands. What happens, if we decide it is time to take our leave, and he decides it is not?”

    Just then Legolas came in, on his soundless feet. “What? A meeting without me?” he said, but his voice was gently amused. “Come, you Men. Tell me what is in your minds, as if I did not know!” He spoke low, as we had been. “Look you. I know what worries you, and it worries me, as well. But there is some mystery here, and it is not why Lord Luinil is so Testy. And speaking of our host, he just walked by this house, only moments ago. Or at least I think it was him, it was too dark to see for sure. I do not fear him, not yet.”

    “You are an Elf,” Sergeant Axelder said. “You must be immune to his Powers, Legolas. But we are not......”

    “Your mother’s tales, Axelder? He cannot cast Spells, you know. Powerful he may be, but such Powers he does not possess. So do not fear being turned into Stone, or something of that Nature. His Archers have long Bows and sharp arrows, and they outnumber us, but such dangers are what we are used to, are they not? And let us not let our fears cloud our Wits—as yet we have met with nothing but Courtesy.”

    “You might not have met with anything but courtesy,” Sergeant Daeron protested, “but he seems to hate Men something uncommon, if you ask me!”

    “Shall we then leave tomorrow? I honestly do not think he would hinder us, if we were determined. Not while we know so little of this place,” Legolas asked.

    “No, no. We have come this far with you, Legolas, and I for one want to know what this mystery is,” Sergeant Axelder said. “I am willing to trust your judgment, as before.”

    “Then let us get some Rest,” Legolas said. “And let Captain Roland go back to sleep. He has yawned a dozen times since I came in here.”

    “Oh, don’t mind me,” I said sleepily. “Just go ahead and hold your confab over my recumbent form........”
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  22. #22
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Legolas in the Blue Kingdom, Chapter 9:

    I heard some sounds from down the Hall from my bedchamber and upon Looking, found Sergeants Daeron and Axelder in Captain Roland’s room. We had some Speech, and I attempted to allay their natural Fears, but I spoke more confidently than I felt. This Lord Luinil is strung very Tight, and when such strings break, they can wreak Havoc.

    I was not as Weary as the Men. Upon returning to my Chamber I sat and listened again at the window, hearing the Music of the Rain, and the grateful Sighs of the Trees as the soft water fell upon them. Captain Roland calls this an Elvish place and I suppose I understand what he means, yet rather I would call it Enchanted, and it puts me in mind of Lorien. I dismissed the powers of this Lord to Sergeant Axelder, but surely great Power is at work here. Nature alone cannot account for the Lushness of this Vale, given the place upon Arda that it occupies.

    Not much to my Surprise, the Owl arrived near Dawn, lighting upon the sill of the Window, and regarding me as was his wont, with great golden Eyes and his horned Head held to one side. He sat there for some time, indeed until the Dawn’s glow had nearly vanquished the Dark. Then he was gone on his great pinioned Wings and I could see that he flew East, over Woods. Then I lay down upon my Bed, and dreamed again of the Blue cloth like Sails against a pale Sky.............

    ............Captain Roland again.............

    Breakfast at the Lord’s table was a careless matter. Those who wished to eat could find Plenty, and could stroll in at any hour until Noon. We were still rather finding our Feet in this strange Land, and went as a Group to table, near mid-morning. The Lady Nienna was seated at the fireside with a great Dog lying at her feet.

    The Dog stood up as we greeted the Lady, and she rested her white hand upon his broad Head. “Lie down, Plato,” she said. “Good morning to all of you! Are you well rested? I always sleep well when it rains during the Night, do not you?”

    We all agreed. Trooper Gardaz knelt and held out his hand to the great yellow Dog and said, “Good boy, good boy. Plato? Is that what you called him, my Lady? He is a grand fellow!” He stroked the Dog’s head gently.

    She smiled at Gardaz. “You have a way with Dogs, young man. I never saw him allow a stranger to touch him before.”

    The Lord was sitting in his great Chair. He had eaten, his cutlery laid neatly across the Plate before him, but he was sipping something from a fragile looking Cup.

    Come and take a Seat Legolas, he said. “Let me pour you a cup of this Tea. Do you drink Tea?”

    “Yes,” Legolas said. “It is a habit I learned at the Court of King Elessar. My Lord, this is a beautiful cup—so delicate you can see the Light through it!”

    “Yes, it is a lovely thing, is it not? Made in Khand, so I am told. Captain Roland, will you take some Tea?” Lord Luinil gestured to a servant to approach the table.

    To my Surprise, the servant was a Man. He stood at the Lord’s elbow and only glanced at Legolas, and at us Men. “Bring more Tea, Malach, and tell the kitchen there are seven more for breakfast,” the Lord said.

    The Lord was affable this morning, and engaged Sergeant Axelder in conversation, yet seemed to keep the Reins in his own hand nonetheless. Nothing escaped his notice.

    “Where is the Lady Alanta?” I asked, after the servant had returned with laden trays and a great Tea pot.

    “Oh, she is out and about,” Lord Luinil said. “She often goes on Patrol with the Archers, as you know, since she met you yesterday. She is become my Lieutenant, if you like. I do not go far afield any more, liking my own Fireside. Here, Captain Roland, take some of this Ham—you will find it very nice. We rather pride ourselves on our table, the Lord went on. Or, rather my Wife does. She caters to my taste, of course, as a good wife should. Tell me Legolas, did you leave a wife behind to mourn your absence?”

    Legolas stiffened and answered, “I am not married, my Lord.”

    I was shocked at the Lord’s question, and I think Legolas was offended. Perhaps this was some breach of Elven manners, I do not know, but the Lord seemed oblivious of the look on Legolas’ face.

    “And you Men? Leaving a string of broken Hearts behind you, are you?” he teased, with a rather leaden Touch.

    All the Men shook their heads No.

    “It is true enough, I suppose, that none of us are married, but as for the Broken hearts, who can say?” said Sergeant Daeron. He glanced at me, and shrugged his shoulders.

    The Lord’s attempt at jocularity fell rather flat, but we gave him Credit for trying. He had none of the contemptuous air he had Shown the night before, and went so far as to say, with a fair attempt at sincerity, “I will be delighted to show you about this morning. You have as yet seen only my House and the guesthouse. Do you finish your meal, and I will meet you, here on the Steps. I have some matters to attend to, so I will leave you to the good offices of my Lady.”

    When he left, the Lady Nienna joined us at the table, and poured Tea and chatted with us. Her manner was friendly, with little of the anxious air of last night. Legolas sat wrapped in thought.

    After a time, Legolas seemed to have arrived at some decision. He fidgeted a bit, which in itself was unusual, but more unusual was his expression. “Lady,” he said, “will you do me the honour of taking a turn with me in your garden? I wish to have speech with you.”

    She looked at him with her great, dark eyes and managed a smile. “Why, certainly, Legolas. But another morning, perhaps? My time is taken up this morning with so many household matters!”

    “As you wish, Lady,” he replied. He looked at me and said, “Are you finished, Captain Roland? The rest of you? Then let us leave the Lady to her housekeeping.”

    We sat on the steps of the great House. Legolas spoke softly, “We must have a diversion, Men.”

    Sergeant Daeron looked at Legolas with a measuring look. “How diverting, Legolas?”

    His voice was softer yet. “That is something we must decide together. But for now I wish you to give it some thought. It is to our advantage that he thinks you are all fools, however.”

    Sergeant Axelder grinned. “Then we won’t do naught to make him change his opinion, will we? Here comes his Lordship now. So, my Lord. Here you see us, ready to go!”

    We were walked all over the Lord’s gardens and farms. We saw Pigs, we saw fields of Corn just green with new shoots, we saw the Oaken barrels his Wine was kept in. We saw Men at work, and Elves. We saw Horses and Cows and Sheep, and many, many Trees. I confess I had never thought that Elves needed to grow food like ordinary Mortals, and the eagerness of this Elven lord to boast about his livestock and his crops was astonishing to me. His hand was in everything, from the least to the most. About the time we were returning to the House for the evening Meal, the Lady Alanta appeared among us. She was dressed as an Archer, but was on Horseback, and looked more enchanting than ever.

    Legolas stroked the arched neck of the fine bay horse she was riding. She managed the fidgeting beast with casual ease, and her father smiled on her with paternal pride.

    “Tell me, Legolas,” he said. “Are you a Horseman yourself?”

    “I am, my Lord. I have seen the Horses of the Rohirrim, and the ones of Far Harad, but I have seldom seen the equal of this fellow!” Legolas smiled up at the beautiful Maiden.

    “Maybe tomorrow you could go riding with me,” she said. “We can mount him, eh, father?”

    Thus it fell out that the next day Legolas and the Lady Alanta went riding out together, just before Noon. We had breakfasted late, as we had the day before, and were lounging about the Garden, rather at loose ends, when the Lord Luinil came out of his House and approached us.

    “Are any of you Men anglers?” he asked.

    Sergeant Daeron spoke up. “Yes, my Lord. I have spent many an afternoon with a fly rod in my hand.”

    “Well, it might be a trifle early in the season, but my Steward tells me there is already some good sport to be had in the river. Would you care to try your luck?” the Lord asked.

    We all thought we would give it a try, and before very long we were being led down a trail to the banks of the little hurrying river. A Man took us, but we could not draw him into conversation. He almost did not seem to understand us, and at last Trooper Anborn nudged me and said that the fellow was probably a Natural, and unable to comprehend our words.

    We fished in silence for awhile, wondering when we would see if we were being watched. If we were, it was cleverly managed, for we saw nothing. We talked only about fishing, when we did talk. Trouble had been taken to get us away from the House, but there did not seem to be any way to find out why.

    ...........Legolas goes riding..........

    I was unable to be Private with Lady Nienna. What I might have said to her I am not sure, but I must have learned Something. As it was, I had nothing to act Upon, and saw that I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. That second night I was once again visited by the Owl, and then, just before Dawn, the Phantom appeared on the grass outside my window. It stood there, pale in the Night. The Lady’s dog Plato trotted through the Garden and seemed to pass right through the Figure unseeing, intent on some Dog errand of his own.

    In the Morning I went riding with the Lady Alanta. The Lord lent me his own Horse, a fine grey Beast with a great deal of Dash. We rode out along the road that the Men and I had been on when we were discovered, but I could not draw her into any meaningful conversation. I wished to learn a number of things that I could not seem to learn.

    “You spoke of the Watcher, my Lady, when you asked me how we entered your Valley. What is this Watcher?” I asked.

    “I do not know, Lord Legolas. Whatever it is, it reports only to my Father. If it tells him something, he will then tell the rest of us. I only know it is on the far Mountains somewhere. Anyway, I know now how you came here. You came through the Passage under the Mountain,” she said.

    “Yes,” I admitted. “We did. It was an amazing thing, that Passage. How was it made?”

    “Oh,” she said, “the Dwarves made it before they left.”

    “Dwarves? And they have gone?” I asked.

    She shrugged. “Yes. They left a long time ago, when I was only a child.”

    “Why did they leave? Do you know?”

    “No, I do not know. Are there still Dwarves in the World?” she asked.

    “Why, yes there are,” I answered. “My friend Gimli Gloin’s son is Lord of the Glittering Caves.”

    “I do not remember them,” she said. “But I have heard of them from my Father. Is it not very odd, that an Elf would be friends with a Dwarf?”

    Her manner was careless. She, at least, was hiding nothing. But she also could tell me nothing, I feared. So we rode along, and I gave myself over to the sweetness of it. Alanta was a charming companion and seldom have I passed an afternoon so Pleasantly.

    The Men had been entertained by being sent Fishing. And truly entertained, too, returning with a Creel full of silver-sided Trout. Trooper Darsat delivered them to the Lady’s kitchen, and was promised that we would see them at Dinner.

    All was serene in the Blue Kingdom. The Bees hummed in the Chestnut flowers, the Lord’s people hummed about his Domain. Evening came, and we Dined. The Trout appeared, crisp with a meal coating, fried in Butter. My Lord was jovial, and my Lady seemed at Ease. Yet I felt as though I had a grain of Sand in my Mind, irritating me.

    “Why, my Lord,” I asked, “is this called the Blue Kingdom? It is so verdant it might rather be the Green Kingdom.”

    Lord Luinil smiled. “I am the Blue Star, Legolas. So I called my realm the Blue Kingdom.” He stroked the cloth of his sleeve. “It is my Fancy to wear this Blue, as Lord here.”

    “When came you here, my Lord?” Captain Roland asked. “I never heard of Elves outside of the old bounds of Gondor.”

    “Gondor! There were Elves in Middle Earth before Men were even thought of, Captain.” The Lord spoke with some of his former contemptuous manner. “I came here long ago. Long ago.”

    Captain Roland persisted. “But when, my Lord?”

    The Lady Nienna spoke. “We came here when Hyarmendacil was King of Harad, when it was part of the Realm of Gondor. We had a Notion to travel south, once the roads were open. Rather like you, I think, Captain. An adventure.”

    The Lord shot her a look that said as plain as if he had spoken, “ Be quiet, Woman.” He said, “Yes, that is about it, Captain Roland. Not only Men go adventuring.”

    The rest of the Meal passed in near Silence. Once again the Ladies left us early, and once again the Lord’s manner changed when they had gone. But instead of being imperious, he was thoughtful.

    “Legolas,” he said. “I wish to have private speech with you after Dinner. Will you oblige me?”

    “Of course I will, my Lord,” I answered.

    “Listen, Legolas,” Sergeant Axelder said, “ we are about done. Captain Roland and the rest of us might as well shift ourselves, so’s you and his Lordship here can be private.”

    When once they had left, Lord Luinil sat without speaking for some time, and I began to wonder if he had changed his mind. However, he rose, and said, “Let us sit by the Fire, Legolas. Here, take a bit more Wine, come, come now. A little more won’t hurt you.....”

    We sat before the cheerful flames. My Heart misgave me, so strange was his Manner.

    He said, “Legolas, I want you to marry my Daughter......................”


    Sophmoric Existentialist

  23. #23
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Sophmoric Existentialist

  24. #24
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    Legolas, Chapter 10..............

    Once again a Pit yawned at my Feet. But this time I was truly Frightened.

    Lord Luinil laughed and put his Hand gently on my Shoulder. “I have caught you by Surprise, Legolas, have I not?”

    I could think of nothing to say. I stared into the Fire, then finally summoned enough Courage to look at Lord Luinil’s face. He was smiling, and I had to smile in return. “My Lord, I said. I do not know what to say! I never dreamed of such an Honour.......”

    “Stop, Legolas. Say no more, if you please, and listen to me. I know perfectly well that you did not expect me to ask you to marry my Daughter. But I believe in plain speaking, and I think it would be a most excellent thing, for both of you,” he said.

    “I have no thought of Marriage,” I said. I stared once more into the Fire and thought of Miriel Nenar, who had left me and Mirkwood for the Havens, so long ago.

    “I have no thought of Marriage,” I said again. “You do me too much honour, Lord Luinil. And what of the Maiden your daughter? She knows me not.”

    He shrugged. “She knows no one else, Legolas. Well, I have put the question to you, and that is enough for one night. Let the idea ferment, Legolas. Do not be hasty. Take your time.”

    He rose, and once again put his hand on my shoulder. “I can tell you this, Legolas. I would be very pleased to have you for a son-in-law, and so would my Lady. Alanta is a beauty, and biddable. You could go farther and do worse.”

    His hand was very hot, and I know it trembled. I did not answer him, but rose, and we shook hands rather formally. I knew the ground was very slippery about my feet, and that I must step carefully. “Good night, my Lord,” was all I said.

    I was glad to be walking alone when I went back to the Guesthouse. Anyone would have seen my Perplexity on my face, even in the Starlight. I felt foolish, and did not think I had acquitted myself well in that Interview. I thought I had Simpered like a Maiden—oh, My Lord, you do me too much Honour! I had to give Luinil credit for Boldness, though, and for making the unexpected Assault. He had made the first Move, and I had been attacked where I had prepared no Defense.

    Alanta was being offered to me on a Platter. Alanta, and what else? The Blue Kingdom? The Maiden alone was a great Prize, setting aside her father’s Domain. But a great Prize demands a great Price, and I feared my Pockets were empty.........

    ............Captain Roland............

    We Men have had to talk together, and another fishing expedition seemed as good an Opportunity as any. Legolas was again gone off with the Lady Alanta, to see something of the further reaches of this beautiful Valley, and the Lord was once again very affable and eager to see us entertained.

    We spent the long, slow afternoon on the River and if we had not had such Cares in our hearts, we would have thought we had landed up in the Blessed Realm. The murmur of the water gently hid the words we contrived to exchange, and the hiding was needed, for Elves were always nearby, and some of the strange Men that toil here for the Lord. Not that our words might literally be heard, but we knew that if we appeared to be huddled together in a group discussing our situation, it would be reported, and who knew what that might lead to? Well, it might lead to the Lord knowing that we understood our plight. I have never before been a prisoner, to put the right name on it, and was shocked at how quickly we came to regard the Others as the Enemy. All this, with not one word yet, not one act yet, that could make a sensible man afraid in the bright daylight! And yet we were.

    So many questions. This is a grand domain and grows much of what is needful, but the Lord trades somehow with the outer world. We had Tea with our meals, drunk from exquisite Khandian cups. Our robes were light Wool, the cloth woven from the Lord’s own fleeces, but my Lady and her daughter were sometimes robed in Silk, and that was not grown here. The Metal for the ploughs and swords and arrowheads—was it mined and smelted here? If so, we had seen no signs. A dozen more such questions tumbled about in our heads. Sergeant Daeron and Sergeant Axelder are both old soldiers with the keen eyes and the sharp wits that such men need to survive their hard lives. They both smell a Rat, as they put it: a great big Black Rat with long Whiskers.

    And these Men. Strange Men I call them, for they are passing Strange. Haradrim for the most part, but some like the folk of Khand that we saw in the Ambassador’s train, and they puzzle me greatly. They do not seem to speak any language we try them with, but regard us with Bovine blockishness, and plod along on their Lord’s business as if we were Tree stumps or Boulders. And where do they Live? Where are their Women, for the only females we have seen have been Elf Women, and not many of them. Where are the Children? I have never seen an Elf child, anyway, and come to think of it, I know no one who has, even in Minas Tirith. Mind you, by now the Queen will have had her baby, so if I ever get home I will be able to see at least a Half-Elven child! How far away Minas Tirith seems now, Ronceval my brother. Well, there is no use repining, for Adventure is what I sought, and Adventure is what I am getting. I have come to see the truth of this, as dear Mother was used to say—Adventures are only Adventures if you are frightened out of your Wits while you’re in one. Mother was right about that, as she was about everything, dear soul, trying to keep us from breaking our necks!

    Our Fishing afternoon was a success, both from the point of view of Fish, and our Peace of Mind. We had managed to share our concerns, and had even proposed some Notions as to how Legolas or one of us might do some Snooping about unseen. Notions only, but making a Plan is always soothing to the Nerves.

    Legolas returned with the Lady Alanta just as we sauntered back with our Fishing Poles, and as they cantered by Sergeant Daeron nudged me and whispered, “We catch Trout, Captain. But has that Maiden caught our comrade? Her hook is baited if I ever saw it, and mighty tempting, too!”

    I confess that I had thought of this as well. She is so beautiful that she muddles your senses, and not the least part of her charm is her innocence. She does not flirt or flounce or do any of the things that Maidens seem to do; this might be because she is an Elf, I do not know. I think it is her nature, at any rate, and I also think she admires Legolas a great deal. It would be odd if she did not.

    We did not have the Trout for dinner. The Lady’s cook, an Elf named Orodreth, said he would have them Smoked, and we would get them with Breakfast one day. Sergeant Axelder fell into a long conversation with Orodreth about the different ways of Smoking meats, and the rest of us sat on a long Bench looking over the Herb garden and listened to the hum of the Bees and watched a litter of Kittens play on the sun warmed bricks. Then we head someone shouting overhead, it was Lord Luinil’s voice for sure, and he ranted on for some horridly long moments. We could not hear his words, but the anger in that voice was palpable, and we shifted uneasily in our seats and looked at each other in consternation. Orodreth shook his head and grimaced, and was uneasy. Then all was calm again, the angry shouting over as suddenly as it had begun. We went to the Guesthouse and bathed and dressed and waited for the Dinner bell. Legolas joined us as we sat on the steps of the Guesthouse. He was once again dressed in his own clothes, as we all were; they had been beautifully cleaned and mended and returned to our rooms while we were fishing. Legolas was abstracted, but he did not look like an Elf in love.

    “We had some talk this afternoon, Legolas,” I said, leaning closer to him. “We must get answers to some of these questions! And we have made some Plans.”

    “I too have learned some things,” he murmured, “but not yet enough. We will speak later, when we have returned from Dinner.”

    As he spoke, the Dinner bell rang, and we went along the Path to the House. For the first time, there were other Elves at Dinner with us, two couples, all four of them tall and beautiful, all with the same gentle manner as the Lady and her large dark eyes.

    They were introduced to us by the Lady, who said, “ I wish to make known to you my brother Saeros and his Lady Morwen, and my sister Serindë and her Lord Tauron.”

    She named us all in turn, beginning with Legolas, and after we were seated, the Lord Tauron spoke to Legolas.

    “Lord Legolas,” he said, “I knew your father Thranduil very well, at one time. Does he still rule under Tree, or has he sought the Havens?”

    “My father is still in Middle Earth, Lord Tauron,” Legolas answered, and he smiled. “And I know your name, and the story of the wild Bull of Rhudaur!”

    Lord Luinil insisted that this story be told, and it was, but while Legolas and Lord Tauron were exchanging recollections, Luinil was watching them, and us. The Lady Nienna was seated across from me again, and I saw her smiling and thought how lovely she was when she smiled with her eyes as well as her gentle mouth. There was that in her face that made me long to protect her, but since the only danger she seemed to face was the face of her lawful Lord, my concern for her was bootless. It was interesting that Tauron was known to Legolas, this was one of the few bits of information that we had garnered about these folk, and their lives before they came here. I had the distinct impression that this happenstance was not to the Lord’s liking.

    The conversation turned to us. Each of us had somewhat to say about ourselves, but no one brought up our method of Ingress, and this made me wonder what Lord Luinil had told his other guests. Lady Serindë asked how long we planned to stay, and Legolas answered only that we did not know. No one asked us any questions about the World outside. Was it because they already knew everything, or because they just weren’t interested? Neither Lord asked anything about King Elessar, nor the War. Nothing. Well, it was all fifteen years ago, and maybe they had talked it out, I cannot say.

    It was the closest thing to a merry meal we had yet had in the Blue Kingdom, and even the Troopers, who rather wished than otherwise that they could eat elsewhere, were caught up in the mood. The Sergeants and they were seated at the end of the table, below the salt as it were, but I was between the Lady Alanta and her aunt Morwen, and thought myself very well placed. These Elven ladies are all beautiful, it would seem, and what man does not like to be near lovely women?

    We sat much longer over Dinner than we had before. When we returned to Guesthouse we put out our lamps and got into bed and waited until there was no sound anywhere in our hearing. One by one we crept into Legolas’ room and we held our whispered conference in the Dark.

    We each had plenty to say, and Legolas could answer our questions no better than we could ourselves. He and the Lady Alanta had ridden far, and he had seen nothing but Cropland and Forest, no Farmsteads beyond those we had already seen. The Men he saw were like the ones at the House and Guesthouse, indifferent to him, as far as he could tell.

    “Each night that we have been here,” Legolas said, “I have seen the Owl, and two nights I have seen the Phantom, there in the Garden below my window. As before, it is the Figure of a Man, with long hair and a beard, and he holds a Staff or Rod. More I cannot see.”

    “Rather you than me,” Sergeant Daeron said. “What does it mean, Legolas?”

    “I wish I could be sure,” Legolas answered. “If you wait long enough, you may see it for yourselves. I heard the call of an Owl, just before you came in, and the Figure always comes after the Owl visits me.”

    Sergeant Axelder laughed softly. “Speaking for me, Legolas, and likely for the lads here, I will take your word for it. I ain’t eager to see no Ghost.”

    “It is not a Ghost. Not what you mortals call a Ghost, at least. It is a Message, and a Plea. But a message from whom? And a plea for what?” Legolas murmured.

    “We need to do something to take this Lord’s mind from you, Legolas,” I said at last. “Whatever you seek, you cannot do it under his Eye.”

    “Whatever I seek?” Legolas said. “Captain Roland, I am being Sought. And I think the Lord does not know it. He watches all, he has his hand on all that is done in his Domain, but I think he does not know that I was Drawn here. I am sure he thinks that our Sighting of the Door was mere Chance. He did not press me to explain why I opened the Door, but seemed rather to accept that it was Curiosity. Why should not he?”

    “You may be sure, Legolas,” Trooper Gardaz said, “but you are an Elf, like him. When he looks at me, and speaks to me, my thoughts get confused.......”

    “Aye,” Trooper Anborn piped up. “And besides, he scares me half to death!”

    “Well, be that as it may,” Sergeant Axelder said, “all this gabbing ain’t getting us nowhere. We have to do something. But what?”

    “My idea,” I said, “is to get lost.”

    “You said that while we were fishing,” Sergeant Daeron said. “That we should go for a hike, and not come back for Dinner. He’d just send some of his minions after us, anyway.”

    “Not if Legolas told him we were making a run for it,” I said. “I don’t think he would come after us himself, no. But it would distract him a little, I am sure. Maybe enough for Legolas to do what he needs to. Which is what, Legolas?”

    “I need to follow that Owl,” Legolas said.

    “How? Is flying one of your Elvish powers that we don’t know about?” Sergeant Daeron asked.

    Legolas laughed very softly. “No, I cannot fly. But I need not. The Owl will lead me, I know.”

    “I wish I knew what it is you think you are going to see,” I said.

    “I will not say. Not until I am sure.” Legolas lowered his voice even more, “What you do not know, you cannot tell. This Luinil is ruthless, and will not tolerate any interference. Now, that is enough for tonight. We do not know that we are not being spied upon as it is. Go you to your rest. I will think this scheme over. Since I can come up with nothing better, it may have to do.”

    In the Morning we all met at breakfast. The visitors were not there, and Lord Luinil was not at table, either. Just the two Ladies, and we had a pleasant Meal with them. We sat at ease over our Tea, quite at home. The room is a homely room, made for the comfort of the Lord and his guests, and without him, we were comfortable.

    “Lady Nienna,” Legolas asked. “I recall that Lord Luinil mentioned that you see to the Wine. The Vineyards are yonder, are they not, on that South-facing slope? North of the little River?”

    “Yes,” she answered. “You cannot see the vines from here. Would you and your companions care to walk out there with me? I have not been up there this Spring, and it is a pretty spot. Do you finish your breakfast, and I will go and put on some better walking shoes. Alanta? Will you come with us?”

    The Lady Alanta left with her mother and we all looked at each other.

    “We shall see,” Legolas said. “Maybe something can be made of this.” He leaned over and lowered his voice to a whisper. “My visitors both came last night, as I told you they would.”

    A walk with the Ladies only was not to be. The Ladies returned and the Lord with them. He was going to be one of our party, so any hope that Legolas could have speech with the Lady was gone, and it had not been much of a hope to begin with.

    We straggled up the trail, and no amount of peering into the woods showed us anything but trees. We Men kept to the Rear, while the Elven folk went ahead. It was a pretty walk, and it was a fine day, but we could not work up much enthusiasm for grape vines.

    We had all had about enough of the Blue Kingdom and if it was not for Legolas, we would indeed have made a bolt for it. I was pretty sure that there was a Pass further North. Guarded, yes. But Guarded to keep folk out, more than keep them in, I thought.

    There were Men working in the long rows, hoeing weeds out, tying up straggling vines, cutting out suckers. They did not look up, but kept their faces down and again it was not so much that they were ignoring us as it was that they did not seem to see us. One of them yelped suddenly, the first sound I had heard from any of them, and he stood staring helplessly at his arm, that he had slashed with his knife. The blood poured down onto his tunic.

    The Lady Nienna exclaimed and went to him and took her scarf and wrapped it around his arm. “Poor fellow,” she said. “This is a bad cut—you had better let me stitch it for you. Come, we will go to the House......”

    The Lord grabbed her by the arm. “Madam!” he said, his voice harsh with anger. “Do not touch this creature! Look, there is blood all over your gown!”

    Then all was confusion. The Man with the cut arm suddenly screamed out something I could not understand, and he raised his knife—the Lady flinched away, crying out—the Lord stepped back, his face a mask of fear and anger—the Man screamed again and fled, he came at me with the long knife upheld—I tried to stop him, and felt the knife stab into my chest, just as an arrow thudded into the Man’s back and he fell at my feet. His eyes met mine as he died, a look of such agony I could have wept, but all was going black, and I reeled and fell. I saw the Lady’s face near mine, heard her voice......then I heard no more................

    (This bit was added by the gallant captain later, of course.)





    Sophmoric Existentialist

  25. #25
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Default Legolas, Chapter 11

    Legolas 211..........

    I sat long by the open window of my Bedchamber, my mind in Turmoil. Lord Luinil had nearly cut the Ground out from beneath my Feet with his Proposal. Any answer other than Yes will anger him, and here in his Kingdom the threat of his Anger seems to hold all in Thrall. I do not fear to draw that Anger down onto my own Head, but there are others more Vulnerable than I that must be considered, should my answer be No.

    The Maiden is beautiful. Of that there is no Doubt! She possesses a Charm that pleases me, and awakens my Senses, and it is not just her Beauty, it is more her Nature; she is a Comrade I could travel far with in this Life. Yet I am not of the Mood to take a Wife as a gift, even were I in Love with her. And I am not in Love with her. She is Charming and she is an Enchanting companion, but although she stirs the Desires of my Body, she does not stir my Soul.

    The Lord has not considered his Daughter. He offers her as an Object. I am certain the Maiden herself has no Notion of this Scheme, but I am not so sure about the Lady Nienna. That Lady gently glides away from Speaking with me, she has always some Reason to give, but I must and will Contrive to do it, nonetheless.

    And why does he offer her? To ensnare me? He does not seem like an Elf that is ready to seek the Havens, and should I wed her and remain here, he would not surrender his Domain to me. Mayhap it is some kind of Fatherly concern for the daughter he loves well enough in his Way-- mayhap he wishes to provide her with a Mate.

    The Men are in their chambers, asleep I suppose. Tomorrow night we will consult with each other, and I hope we will have some news to Share. I do fear these Meetings. I know we are Watched, and I wonder if we are Heard. But we must Speak, and it seems that the dead of Night must be the Safest. I have some Skill at setting a Guard about myself, and I must hope that my Power is sufficient to encircle the Men. The Study of these Arts has not been my Study, and this Lord is very powerful. Yet I too am an Elf, and should not be subject to his Spells, if Spells they be.

    As before, the Owl came.

    “Master Owl,” I said. “Speak to me, if you can. Who is your Master?”

    He turned his Head as Owls do, from side to side, but he did not Speak. Some time after he swooped away into the East, the Phantom appeared. Once again it stood on the grass below my Window, and once again it faded with the Dawn.

    The Men had been fishing, while Lady Alanta and I had been out riding, and since another Ride was on the Cards, so was another Fishing expedition. I know they Look about themselves as much as they May, and they are all Resourceful and Bold, but without them knowing exactly what it is they look for, I do not expect that they will Find it.

    Nor will I, not by Looking about in the Sunlight. The Lady Alanta and I rode wherever I wished. There was no forbidden Ground, no attempt to steer me away from any Road. So whatever it is, it is Hidden by being not Hidden. This Lord has great Powers, greater than any Elf I ever heard of except Galadriel. There is Sorcery at work here, I can smell it.................

    At dinner we met four Elves that we had not seen before. The Lady Nienna’s s sister Lady Serindë and her husband Lord Tauron, and her brother Lord Saeros and his wife Lady Morwen. This Lord Tauron is known to me, he was a Youth with my Father, and was a comrade my Father went hunting with. He spoke with me most Naturally, as did the others, and the Lady Nienna was more at Ease than she has hitherto been. Lord Luinil was unusually Silent, but I observed that he guided the Conversation most skillfully, so that no matter of Substance was discussed. The lack of Curiosity about the Events of the late War, and about the Change of Times puzzles me to my Core. But here are many Puzzles, and I feel that I am wearying my Being, attempting to Solve them. I begin to feel that I am a Fly caught in Honey, Alive and able to Move, but being worn down with Effort, and unable to pull Free. I confess that I am afraid that the Lord’s powers are telling on me.

    The Men all came to my Bedchamber during the small hours and we discussed as best we Might what we know, and what we might do. Strange to say, they do not seem to share this strange Weariness. I believe that the Lord has left them out of his Calculations, since he holds Men in such Contempt. It may be that he can move swiftly upon them, should they draw Attention to themselves, and that is the best Plan we can contrive at this moment—that they should do just that. Captain Roland suggests that they should “make a bolt for it”, and so distract the Lord from me long enough for me to either speak to the Lady Nienna, or make some Search on my own. This is a very Dangerous plan, and I wish I could think of a Better.

    So many Questions! We move in the Dark, against an Enemy with the night vision of a Bat.......

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Captain Roland lies bleeding and near Death in the Lord’s house. He was stabbed by one of the Lord’s workmen, when we were at the vineyard with the Lord and Lady. The poor wretch of a workman had cut himself and when the Lady moved to help him, the Lord most angrily pulled her away. The Man seemed to go Mad and raised his knife and in the ensuing melee he was confronted by Captain Roland who then took a knife thrust to the Chest. One of the Lord’s ever-present Archers shot the Madman in the back and killed him, but the Captain was nearly mortally wounded, and only the Skill of the Lady is going to help him now.

    The Lord seems almost crushed by this Happenstance, and this is the most confusing aspect of it. He does not care two Figs for Captain Roland. I suspect the Captain’s death would cause him not one pang of Pity. When the Attack occurred, the Lord stood seeming frozen with Fear. It was not Fear of the Knife, for he could have turned it Easily. It so happened that I saw his Face, and I thought for one moment that a Mask had slipped.

    The Lady sits by the bed that they have placed Captain Roland on, in a Chamber near her own. She holds Roland’s hand in hers, and his Life. She and I both laid our Hands upon him and strove to keep the spark of his Life burning, yet as we did so, I could feel that hers is by far the greater Power.

    I must use this Opportunity. I can do no more for Captain Roland. I do trust the Lady absolutely. However she may be subject to her Lord’s will, she will not allow him to interfere here. The Lady Alanta has taken up the reins of the Household, and the Lord has withdrawn to his own Chambers................

    The Men are sitting in the Great room of the Guesthouse before the Fire, and they are Subdued, and Worried for their Comrade and Captain. I am Weary, and have come to my own chamber. I did not come to Rest, although that is what I said before the Men and the Elf woman Arwela. The effort I had expended with the Lady Nienna has exhausted me in Truth, and I know that my face is drawn and pale. As I spoke, they all looked at me for the space of many Heartbeats, and I could read their thoughts as they were written in their Eyes.

    Sergeant Daeron drew some Dice from his pocket and began casting them from hand to hand. “Arwela,” he said, “I have long wondered. Can an Elf speak to the Dice? Come. We will have a long Watch, and this is as good a Chance as any for me to Prove my question.”

    Yesterday Arwela would not have considered his request. She would have smiled and refused. But she, no less than the Lord, seems a trifle cast down and somewhat unlike herself. She took the Dice and tossed them into the Air and let them fall on the Table. “I do not know,” she said. “Tell me, what is this Game?” She glanced up for a moment as I left the room, but Sergeant Axelder caught up the Dice and handed them to her and she turned back to the Men......

    The Owl came nearly as soon as I reached my Chamber. I slipped through the window and dropped silently to the Grass. The Lady’s yellow Dog sniffed curiously at my feet, but made no noise. I followed the Owl to the East, running as quick as I might. He flew low and slowly, and I could hear the sound of his wingbeats in the stillness. There came a moment when the Air seemed to Thicken and I felt it upon my body like Water, palpable and cool. It slowed me, and I knew it was some Barrier. I whispered a Word, then I was through, and before me the Owl sat upon a Stump with his Wings outspread and there was a Blue light, very faint, around his feathered Shape. I stood still and felt the hairs upon the back of my neck stand up. The Stump became a Shadow, and the Shadow became a Form and then he stood before me.

    His eyes met mine and I saw the Agony in them, and I put out my hand. He touched it, then grasped it. “At last!” he whispered. “At last you are come..........”.

    He was very like the others. Tall and bearded, with long grey hair. Robed, and in the Starlight I could see it was the same Blue as the scrap of cloth the Owl had brought me. He had no staff, but I knew him for what and who he was.

    “Greetings, Pallando,” I said. “I am Legolas Greenleaf, and I am come to Rescue you.”



    Sophmoric Existentialist

  26. #26
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Oh, vison. I'm so happy you're continuing this. I just have to point out this one line I love:

    Yet I too am an Elf, and should not be subject to his Spells, if Spells they be.
    This line just so utterly captures the voice of Legolas as provided by Tolkien. It's so poetic.

    And this part leaves me anxiously awaiting more:

    The Lord seems almost crushed by this Happenstance, and this is the most confusing aspect of it. He does not care two Figs for Captain Roland. I suspect the Captain’s death would cause him not one pang of Pity. When the Attack occurred, the Lord stood seeming frozen with Fear. It was not Fear of the Knife, for he could have turned it Easily. It so happened that I saw his Face, and I thought for one moment that a Mask had slipped.

  27. #27
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    There will be more!
    Sophmoric Existentialist

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