Title: Portend 1/3
King Thranduil smiled behind his hand at his son. The heartbreakingly beautiful 6-year-old elfling was stuffing, into a cloth sack, fruit and bread and nuts from the table where he, his ada and step-father were finishing their noon meal. This was a ritual that they had witnessed everyday for the past 18 months, 6 months after Legolas’ naneth perished at the hands of yrch.
After he’d put the last handful of nuts into his bag, the small male jumped down from his chair and ran over to his ada’s. “May I be excused, Ada?” He was shifting anxiously from one tiny foot to the other.
“Are you sure you have enough, Ion-nin?” The blond monarch inquired in serious tone that was belied by the amused twinkle in his green eyes.
With a small frown on his face, Legolas peered into the bag for a few moments at the contents before looking up again, “I have enough; my friend eats a lot, but this should just do.”
“Then you may go, if it is alright with Edrahil.” Legolas looked over at the auburn-haired elf sitting to the left of the King.
“May I go, ‘Da? Verno is waiting for me; he can only stay for a short time each day.”
“Of course you may go, Lassë—say hello for me.” Edrahil smiled at the happy look on their elfling’s face.
After Legolas had gone, Edrahil looked at Thranduil with a look of concern replacing the smile on his handsome face.
“What is wrong, A’mael?” The Mirkwood King asked.
“I was just wondering if perhaps we should encourage his fantasies; he is so young. I know that it is common for penneths to have imagined friends, but I have never heard of one having imagined bond-mates.” His violet eyes looked at the door where Legolas’ small frame had disappeared moments ago.
Thranduil smiled as he clasped his husband’s strong, pale hand. “He is only imitating our union, beloved; he was so withdrawn after his naneth died. He’d always loved and trusted you as his protector, but no one, save for myself, could get more than two words at a time from him, his grief was so great. It was only after you and I became closer that he started to smile and laugh again.” The King brought the hand up to his perfect lips, placing a kiss on the palm.
Continuing, he smiled broader, “You saved him...and me as well.” Thranduil’s voice hitched on the last as love welled in his heart and tears in his clear, green eyes.
“We saved each other, A’maelamin.” Their lips came together in a gentle, but passionate kiss. Pulling away (reluctantly), Edrahil spoke, “You are correct, Coramin; it is understandable that he would want what we have. I will cease to worry so.”
“That is good for I have other things to occupy your mind,” Thranduil said with a wink and then a suggestive leer to his consort.
“Oh, you do? Please tell me what these ‘things’ are that you would have me do.”
“I’d prefer to show you—it will be much more interesting that way!” Standing up, he pulled the taller elf to his feet and they both ran out of the private dining hall like elflings no older than Legolas.
In the Queen’s garden...
Legolas laid out the small bounty from his cloth sack onto the small blanket before his friend. “I brought more fruit this time; we did not have any of the cheese that you like, but I saved you my apples, too.” He smiled happily as the dark-haired boy reached for one of the shiny red fruit, his blue-green eyes excited.
“Thank you, Melyanna! You take very good care of me,” ‘Verno’ said, passing some strawberries to Legolas.
“I will have just one since I’ve eaten already—these are all for you.” Legolas watched as the boy devoured the fruit and then some bread followed by some nuts.
Legolas’ laugh was like small bells tinkling as he looked at Verno; his friend always looked sheepish after he was done with the food the young Prince would bring him. He never eats food where he was from, it not being necessary to live or grow; but he liked the taste of fruit and cheese and fish and meat and...He laughed along with Legolas. He knew that the young elf didn’t remember him from the Before-time, but he had missed Legolas so much.
His Guardian told him that they were destined to be together in one version of their futures, but that their destinies weren’t definite since every living creature had free will. There was one other possible future for him and one other for Legolas; that it would depend on whether they met after he was born—and he was not set to be born for another 675 years. He didn’t really understand it, he only knew that his heart broke when Legolas was sent to Middle-earth and he was left alone.
He’d only had one other friend that he cared for before Legolas came into his existence, but she (who had also been Elvish) had left long ago; he’d only been her friend for a short time, but she’d said that she loved him with all her heart. He had loved her, too—but not the way he loved Legolas. The only thing was (his Guardian told him), once a child (man, elf, dwarf or hobbit) left the Before-time (as the unborn called their home), they forgot everyone they met there; except for a few who managed to find each other again. Those few would feel a special connection with that special friend when they would meet again—some unnamed bond that draws them to the other.
Guardian said that sometimes it is only friendship; sometimes the unborn friends will end up as siblings; but sometimes it is more and those ones would share their lives together until death takes one or both. She said that it didn’t matter if they were male or female, man, elf, dwarf or hobbit; if they belonged together, it would be magical and happy. But, there were times when beings bonded with those that they should not and that is why she allowed him to find Legolas now instead of waiting until after he was born. She said that his life and his future were very important to Middle-earth and his future happiness was tied to the lives of many.
In one of his possible futures, Middle-earth is prosperous and safe; but in the other, the world would be destroyed by some un-told peril and that the good that is there would be no more. She didn’t say from what or why this was so; she only said that it was very important that he spends time with Legolas so that when they met again, their bond will have a chance to take hold once more and that they would be together forever. Legolas was key to his happiness and to Middle-earth’s happiness. He was glad, for he’d missed Legolas so much and wanted them to be friends forever. The Guardian told him to be careful not to say too much to Legolas about what she’d told to him because the Prince may feel the great weight of it and this may keep him from venturing from Mirkwood to find ‘him’ someday. Verno (as Legolas calls him) could handle all of this since he did not experience fear and he had the kind of wisdom far beyond his apparent age that all the unborn possessed. This was necessary so that unborn children would not feel apprehension and would desire to see the world they are destined to be a part of.
Legolas had been happy when Verno had told him that they could be together forever one day. He’d said that then they would be like his ada King Thranduil and his other ada Edrahil; they would be each other’s husband or Veru (married pair)—herven in Sindarin or verno in Quenya he had said. Legolas asked him which he liked best since that would be what the elf called him. He hadn’t liked being called ‘Herven’ so he’d chosen ‘Verno.’ No one had names in the Before-time; they just knew each other.
“How long can you stay this time, Verno?” Legolas asked his voice already sounding sad at their eventual parting.
“The usual hour; Guardian will come for me after that time has passed. I wish that I could stay longer with you, but I would be missed. I don’t want her to get into trouble for bringing me here; then I’d never see you again—unless we find each other after I’m born.” The dark-haired pre-mortal boy said, feeling sadness of his own at that prospect.
“I know.” Then Legolas, determined to enjoy what time they had, said, “What should we play today? Would you like to play treasure hunt or climb trees or do you wish to tell stories of our time in the Before-time?” Legolas inquired. He didn’t care which as long as they were together.
“Why don’t we climb a tree and I’ll tell you about the times we would cloud-sail?” Legolas’ beautiful face lit up with joy; he loved hearing of those adventures and he adored climbing trees. Of course Verno knew this which is why he suggested it.
The two children jumped up and ran to the edge of the garden to the large oak tree and started climbing—giggling as they went to the top. Legolas would have loved to take Verno to climb one of the huge mellyrns, but he was not allowed to venture so far from the palace unless one of his parents or one of his instructors or his muindor Elurín was with him. There weren’t any real dangers in the inner portion of the fortress, but his parents weren’t taking any chances with his safety. His naneth had been killed returning home to the palace from a trip to her former home in Lothlórien and since then, extra care was taken with the Royal family—his ada, his older brother Elurín, Edrahil and especially, Legolas himself.
Once they’d reached the highest branch where they could sit, Verno began to tell Legolas tales of their time together before the Prince was born.
Elurín had just returned from one of his many lessons that day. Shrugging off his quiver, he placed the bow and it on the table just outside the private dining hall. He’d missed the noon meal, but he knew that his parents would forgive him—again—for being late. He would someday rule Mirkwood should King Thranduil leave for the Undying Lands or...Elurín frowned; he didn’t wish to finish that thought. Just suffice it to say, he would make a better ruler if he honed his skills as a warrior; which is why Ada and Edrahil never complained when he didn’t join them for lunch.
He entered through the door and sat at the table so recently abandoned by his family and just as always, one of the servants appeared as if by magic to bring him something to eat. After he’d consumed more food than normal elves should, he stood up to go in search of the King. Before he stepped away from the table, he noticed a small barrette lying on the floor next to the chair where Lassë usually sat. He picked it up and smiled fondly at it; he loved his little brother so much, but he worried about him, too. Legolas didn’t have many elfling friends; truth be told, he didn’t have any of importance—the young one preferring to play alone with his imagined friend.
The only time the Crowned Prince recalled seeing his tôr dithen play with other elflings his age was when Legolas had his morning lessons. Whenever Elurín would ask Legolas why he liked playing alone so much, the penneth would say to him in a serious voice that he never played alone except when Verno went home to the Before-time. Elurín remembered a time long ago when he had a pretend friend, but he never seemed to be as close to his as Legolas was to this Verno.
Perhaps, Elurín thought, he could help Legolas abandon his pretend friend in favor of some real ones. He pocketed the small barrette and left the hall; instead of seeking out his ada and step-father as he’d planned, he went to the garden to find the little Prince. He would start spending more time with Legolas and wean him from Verno once for all.
Elurín entered his mother’s garden; as he caught the scent of the roses she adored, his heart clinched in his chest. How he missed her so. A sob escaped him and he sunk to the ground near a bush full of white blooms. These had been her favorite. Maybe this is why Legolas played with his ‘friend Verno’ here—to be close to their mother. This place was their naneth’s and she and Legolas would work on her roses for hours until Elurín or the King would come fetch them for meals. Elurín hardly ever came here anymore; if he was truthful—he never came here anymore. Well, that would change today! He was going to spend more time with Legolas in this garden. He leaned forwards and smelled a perfect bloom; making a silent promise to his naneth, Elurín got to his feet once more and turned to find Legolas.
He had only gone a short distance when he found the remnants of what was left of the fruit, bread and nuts meal Legolas had given to Verno. Elurín didn’t have time to ponder the scraps as he heard Legolas’ laughter from high up in the large oak tree.
“Lassë?” The older Prince called out as he peered up into the branches.
He could just make out his brother’s small form; but he could also see another one, but the elfling was on the other side of Legolas. He then heard another voice that was unfamiliar to him whisper something to Legolas just before the child climbed higher up the tree.
“Lassë, who is that with you?” The elder Thranduilion asked.
“It is my friend Verno; please, Elurín do not come up here. We only have a short time together before he must leave for today.” Legolas sounded so distressed that Elurín began to climb up to make sure he wasn’t hurt or something. But the younger Thranduilion’s next words stopped him.
“Please, Muindor-nin—do not come up! You mustn’t see Verno—only I’m allowed to,” Legolas’ sobs floated down breaking his big brother’s heart.
“Very well, Pen-vuil—I will not come up. Tell Verno he needs not fear me.” Elurín was confused; both their parents believed that this ‘Verno’ was imaginary—he believed it. But now...
He called up to Legolas, “When your friend has gone, please come find me; I’ll be with ‘Da and Ada. Lassë—do you promise?”
“I promise, Elurín—please go now,” Legolas said, sounding relieved.
“Come to the King and Consort’s sitting room.” Elurín admonished.
Elurín reluctantly moved away from the oak and moved back towards the palace. Everything in him wanted to hide so that he could glimpse this unseen child with Lassë. There were things of Evil in the world—some of them in Mirkwood. There was talk of Sauron and his minion; of the Dark Lord gaining strength again. What if this child was a servant of Evil? He shouldn’t leave his innocent muindor alone with this ‘thing!’ Elurín stopped. He was overreacting; there was no reason why he should think that Legolas’ friend was a servant of Sauron; the elfling was just shy is all. And Legolas was a very bright elfling with a vivid imagination. The two penneths were just acting out some fantasy or Legolas just didn’t want to share Verno with them just yet.
Everything he was saying sounded logical, but he still was apprehensive; he’d always been taught to trust his instincts, but was his feelings instincts, intuition or just remnants of his earlier sorrow over his mother and his guilt for not spending more time with Legolas? They had all been convinced that Legolas’ unseen meldir was not real since the little Prince never introduced the elfling to his family. But now, it would appear that Verno was very real, indeed. Elurín would inform Thranduil and Edrahil; perhaps they could convince Legolas to bring his shy friend and his family together.
With that decision made, Elurín left the garden and headed to the family wing to talk to his and Lasse’s adas—the nagging feelings of unease still with him.
When Legolas was certain his brother had gone, he called to Verno, “You can come back down now—Elurín has left us.”
When Verno did not answer right away, he thought that the other had already gone back to the Before-time. But then, he heard the slight rustling of the branches and leaves as his dear friend descended to sit beside him once more.
“I thought you had gone, too.” Tears were beginning to stream down flushed, unblemished cheeks.
“I would not leave without saying namárië to you,” Verno wrapped his small arms around Legolas and kissed his forehead. “I love you, Lassë.”
“I love you, too.” They embraced for several minutes more, but then a bright white light began to stream through the trees and a soft female voice called out to Verno—unheard by any save him and Legolas.
After they began to spend time together, each time he had to leave the first few days, the young Prince would worry over him since the elf didn’t know who was taking Verno away since he couldn’t hear her; Verno asked his Guardian to speak where Legolas could hear, too for he knew that Lassë feared that he would never come back each time. So the Guardian began to allow the elfling to hear her voice to allay his fears on that.
“It is time to go, Child,” she addressed Verno. Then to Legolas, “He will return to you tomorrow at the appointed time, Legolas.” The ‘Guardian,’ as Verno called her, said reassuringly.
She didn’t want Legolas to be distressed over their parting, so she always told him the same every day. She had allowed them to be together for a year and a half. She wanted their bond to grow stronger, for very soon, they would have to part permanently until the mortal child is born into the world; that way, their souls or (as the elves called it) their fëa would seek its other part and the future High King and his Consort would save Middle-earth from certain doom.
When the time came for the elfling and pre-mortal child to say that final farewell, she would place a veil of forgetfulness over Legolas; just enough that he wouldn’t grieve. The Prince would think of Verno as the imagined friend his family believed him to be. Legolas would simply outgrow him until one day (hopefully) they would meet never to be parted again.
“I have to go now, my Melyanna,” Verno pulled the elfling closer. “I will return to you tomorrow.”
“I can’t wait! I’ll make sure I bring you three different cheeses and some sweet pastries and...” Verno’s laughter made him stop and he laughed too—it was always the same.
“You must hurry, Child—we must get back.” The Guardian warned.
“Namárië,” the Prince said.
His cerulean blue eyes watched in fascination as the white light enveloped the small dark-haired child. Verno became transfigured and then as a wisp of smoke, he vanished.
“Namárië,” Legolas whispered to the now absent Verno. With the back of his hand, he wiped away an errant tear. “He will come back to me tomorrow; he always will come back.”
Legolas climbed down and with those happy words ringing through his mind, he went to find his family. He didn’t realize that the last part of his declaration was not true; for very soon, he and Verno would part indefinitely. The blissfully unaware elfling skipped over to the blanket to clear away the leftover scraps; then he hummed as he entered the palace to find Elurín as he’d promised.
Title: Portend 2/3
The Guardian (as Verno called her and others who cared for the unborn) watched as Verno walked away to sit in his and Legolas’ favorite place near a large elm tree. When the young Prince and the future mortal King met, they played all over and around the beautiful place the unborn called ‘the Before-time.’ But they mostly played and took their rest near the tree where the future King was now sitting and they had been inseparable. Now it was always the same when he and the Guardian returned—Verno (she smiled as realized she now thought of him by that name) would sit there until the next day when she would once more allow him to return to Legolas.
“Why do you persist in taking him to Arda?” Another of her ilk, a male inquired concernedly.
“It is necessary for our children who have gone before and the ones yet to,” she replied as she turned to him.
“You overstep your place! It is not for you to decide or to interfere with our children’s free will.”
“Would you have the ones who wait and the others who have not yet arrived be born into a world possessed by Evil? He,” she said pointing to Verno, “Is destined to fight this great Evil that is steadily gaining strength. If he is to be successful, then he needs Legolas to be by his side, loving and protecting him. I only do what I must!”
“Your duty is to watch over them while they are here; once they leave us, they become the concern of others more powerful than you or I. They put us here for this purpose alone.” The other touched her shoulder to soften his words.
“If that is so, then why tell us what is to come for our charges? Why do they let us care for them and worry for them as if they were our children? The boy needs my help—all of my children do! I will help them.”
“They know of what you have been doing; did you think they would not? I was sent to bring you before the Great One to answer for your actions.” Regret was in his voice and his eyes.
“Very well,” she glanced once more over to Verno before she was escorted away.
Elurín watched as his parents absorbed what he had to tell them. To say that they were surprised would have been an understatement; but Edrahil was especially anxious, his instincts as Legolas’ protector coming to the fore.
“I should have listened to my earlier concerns!” He berated himself; and then to Elurín, “You could not see this elfling closely enough?”
“Nay, ‘Da—he was sitting behind Lassë. I could only make out that he was similar in size, perhaps a bit broader, but not much older. I am sorry; I wanted to climb up, but Little Leaf begged me not to. I hated hearing him become so upset.” Elurín’s voice trailed away in regret.
“Why are the two of you behaving as if Legolas was playing with an orch?¹ I realize that it is shocking to think that his little mellon is not imaginary as we’d thought, but his is an elfling; one that has played with Lassë these past 18 months. Legolas is still the loving, happy child he always has been and nothing or no one has changed that.” King Thranduil walked over to his herven and looked deeply into his eyes.
When Edrahil gazed back, the King continued, “I would know if Lassë were in trouble or danger and I do not feel that. We will wait until he joins us and explains about Verno; I’m sure we will find that he is a normal elfling with loving parents like Legolas’ adas.”
Edrahil smiled as his heart tripped in his chest. Thranduil was so very beautiful and he would believe that Ithil was made of lembas if his love deemed it so.
“Very well, Melethron—I will calm until we speak to him.” Edrahil ran his fingers lovingly through Thranduil golden locks—the both of them nearly forgetting that their eldest ion was present as they continued to stare.
Elurín made a coughing noise and when King and Consort looked over his way, he rolled his green eyes dramatically and smirked, causing the older elves to laugh. They enjoyed their brief merriment until they heard Legolas’ tiny (nearly silent) patter coming down the hall. As Lassë entered the sitting room, three pairs of eyes stared in concern at him.
Fearing that he’d ruined his clothes or had smudges on his face, Legolas began to check himself. He would have gone over to the mirror, but Thranduil called him to him. “You are fine, Ion-nin—come here; ‘Da and I would like to speak to you about Verno.”
“Is something the matter, Ada?” Legolas’ lovely face frowned and his bottom lip quivered minutely. “I’m sorry that he couldn’t meet Elurín, but those are the rules; I am the only one who is allowed to see him.”
Edrahil’s brows rose at this statement, but he didn’t want to alarm the six-year-old. “Why can we not see him as well, Lassë?”
“Because he...” Legolas hesitated.
“Go on, Lassë—why is this so?” Thranduil encouraged.
“Because he is not supposed to be here. His guardian brings him here to be with me because we are destined to be bonded one day.” The blond child explained.
“Do I know this elfling’s guardian?” The King asked sitting down and he pulled Legolas onto his lap.
“No, Ada—she takes care of Verno in the Before-time.”
“The Before-time?” The King watched as the elfling nodded vigorously. “What is this ‘Before-time?’”
“It is the place where all good people live before they are born. There is one for people and one for animals like felines, canines and horses and birds and bugs and...” He continued until Thranduil interrupted.
“I see—one for people and one for animals; but where is this place.”
“I don’t know where exactly, but Verno lives there and I did once, too. We all lived there before we were born. There are Before-times for all creatures—some not so nice like trolls and dragons, but Verno and the other children can’t go there to play with them.
“He said that we used to play with puppies and kittens and birds and that I liked the seagulls; most elves loved the gulls. He told me that I should stay away from them now that I am here; he wasn’t sure why, but the Guardian said so.” Such a look of love and happiness crossed the small elf’s face every time Verno was mentioned.
Edrahil knelt next to the seated pair and took Legolas’ small hands into his larger ones. “Lassë—I know that you and Verno like to play these games of the ‘Before-time,’ but can you tell me and your Ada more about this elfling? What his real name is and who his parents are or his guardian’s name?”
“I have been telling you everything I know; he doesn’t have parents yet. They are in the Before-time, too and I don’t know what his guardian’s name is, but I’ll ask her tomorrow when she comes to get Verno after we play.
“And Verno doesn’t have a real name yet either—just what I gave him; and you should know, Verno is not an elfling. When he is born, he will be edain and a King like you, Ada; and I will be his Consort like you, ‘Da—won’t that be wonderful!?” Legolas nearly shrieked with joy, his blue eyes dreamy.
King Thranduil looked at his spouse and then to Elurín. Perhaps, he thought, there is something to be concerned over with this?
“Yes, Penneth—that will be wonderful. But I feel that we should meet with Verno and his guardian tomorrow when he arrives.” Legolas was about to protest, but the King forestalled it. “We insist, Lassë—if you and Verno are to bonded for life one day, then your family should meet him and his guardian.”
Legolas looked from Thranduil to Edrahil to Elurín. “I will ask, but I can not promise that they will; I’m just so afraid he will leave me never to return.” Large tears began to fall down Legolas’ lovely face and his ada pulled him close.
“I’m sure that he will return to you, Pen-velui—fear not.” The Mirkwood Monarch soothed as Edrahil and Elurín stood nearby, both as concerned as the King.
Later that evening...
King Thranduil rocked Legolas in the large rocking chair that had been the Queens; it had been in the elfling’s room since he was born. Edrahil stood nearby as his spouse sang to their youngest ion. Legolas had been very quiet since earlier that day when they’d insisted that they meet his previously-believed imagined friend. Elurín had tried taking Legolas riding and showing him how to hold and shoot a bow, but the six-year-old showed no interest in any of these activities; and later, he had had no appetite at supper.
When the citizens gathered in the courtyard to sing and to dance, instead of laughing and dancing along with everyone, Legolas remained quiet; he even began to cry when a certain song was sung. He said that he would sing that song to Verno; that it was the pre-mortal’s favorite. After that, Thranduil and Edrahil gathered him close and took him to bed; which is why the King was singing to the elfling to help him to fall into reverie. King Thranduil carefully stood up and carried the small being over to his bed and he and the Consort tucked him in.
After standing over Legolas for a few moments more, they reluctantly left the elfling’s bed chamber and stood outside in the small sitting room, Legolas’ toys scattered about. The King began to pick up the small warriors and horses; the miniature carts and stuffed animals. As he moved about, Thranduil vigorously fought back tears; he never cried unless it had to do with his children. Being a ruler, he had to appear strong and fierce—able to face any threat great or small. But he was very helpless when it came to his ionnath; he wanted them to be happy and well as any parent would.
Edrahil reached down and began to help his herven, knowing instinctually that telling him to leave the toys until the morrow wouldn’t help. When the floor was clear, Mirkwood’s Royal Consort gathered its King into his strong arms and the both of them just held the other for a while.
Thranduil was the first to speak. “I don’t want him to revert back to the way he was after his mother Eärwen died—was murdered,” he corrected as sob escaped.
Thranduil still felt pain and helplessness whenever he thought of his slain herves; he also felt guilt that he had found happiness again with Edrahil. He had adored Eärwen, but his love for her was never as deep as his love was now for the elf holding him. Thranduil had known Edrahil since the King was almost as young as Legolas; the warrior had served King Oropher for many centuries before the elder King fell during the Last Alliance and he continued to serve as guardian over Thranduil’s palace; then later, he guarded the King’s children—Legolas being the last until Queen Eärwen was lost in an Yrch attack.
Thranduil had always fought his affections for the red-haired ellon, especially during his marriage. But when grief threatened to destroy the Royal family, Edrahil stepped forwards and became the family’s emotional anchor and he helped them bear their loss and begin to heal. Afterwards, Thranduil no longer wanted to deny his feelings for Edrahil though he didn’t know if the elf felt the same for him. But he took a chance and declared himself; and after a respectable amount of time had passed, they began a courtship that eventually led to a bonding. Thranduil and his ionnath and Edrahil became a happy and loving family once more.
But now, the youngest member was in emotional pain and his adas were very worried. “He won’t; he is merely distressed over the prospect of losing his friend. I think that he and Verno have lived this fantasy for so long, that they believe that it is real.
“We have only to help them see the truth of things and let them know that their friendship can and will continue in the real world and not the ‘Before-time.’ When they face the truth, they will see that all is still well and that the two of them can have fun in many different games.” Edrahil ran his hands up and down the slender, but strong back of his King and love, his closeness helping to calm the monarch.
“Of course you are right; you ever have been. You are my light and my rock and my friend and my love; I would be lost without you.” Thranduil pulled slightly away to gaze into deep blue-violet eyes staring lovingly into his clear green ones. “I love you so much, A’maelamin—I will until I draw my last breath.”
“I feel the very same; melin chen, gûren (I love you, my heart), now and forever!” Edrahil avowed.
The two lovers kissed tenderly at first, but the love and desire that they felt for each other began to overwhelm them and the kiss deepened—their tongues meeting and dueling as each drank of the other’s passions. When air became a necessity, they had to pull apart briefly while they caught their breath, foreheads touching and hearts racing.
“Per...Perhaps we should go to our room to...finish what we started here?” The Consort suggested between breaths.
“...Is fine, Thranduil. We are only a short distance away should he need us.” The older ellon cupped the King’s beautiful face, kissing him briefly on the lips and his brow and finally at his temple.
“You are right—again!” Thranduil laughed softly though worry still etched his recently kissed brow. “Let us peer in at him for a moment before we retire,” he suggested.
Edrahil nodded and the two went back into Legolas’ bedchamber; after standing in the same spot in nearly the same manner as few minutes before, they left again after kissing the slumbering elfling. They said goodnight to the guard standing outside in the hall, the younger elf personally trained by Edrahil; after instructing him to keep close watch over Legolas, King and Consort entered their own chambers.
Back inside Legolas’ bedchamber...
A white light shown briefly in the room just before a shimmering transfigured being appeared next to the sleeping elfling walking in dreams. Verno stood over Legolas looking down lovingly at him. He then crawled onto the bed and ran his small hand down a soft, pale cheek—his fingers tracing winged brows and pert nose and perfect pink lips. How he loved Legolas.
“I will miss you so, my sweet Melyanna,” he whispered softly before placing a brief kiss on Legolas’ mouth.
Just like some fairytale that Legolas once told him, the young Prince opened his eyes to behold his meldir and future spouse. The smile that graced the young face was achingly beautiful and made Verno catch his breath at the sight. The next moment, the pre-mortal found himself in a tight hug that would have left bruises were he truly corporeal.
“You have come back to me—I thought that you would not! I feared that the Guardian would know of my family’s desire to meet you and keep you away; I am so glad she did not.” This was all said in a rush with barely a breath taken between.
“I...I...” Verno’s voice caught on a sob and he could not finish his thought.
Legolas loosened his grip and looked the other child in the face and he noticed tears—he had never seen Verno cry before though he had seen his sorrow daily at their eventual partings. “What is wrong, Coramin—my dear Verno?”
“I have come to say goodbye until we...”
“Until when?” Legolas began to cry, too.
“Until after I am born! We may one day meet again; if we do, we may be together forever and ever.”
“But we will meet again, won’t we? Verno?” Legolas pulled him closer, hugging Verno tightly once again.
“I will try very hard to remember you and you must try hard to remember me—here,” Verno touched Legolas over his heart as their foreheads touched much in the same manner as Thranduil and Edrahil had outside in the elfling’s sitting room.
“I will—I will, I promise!” As he spoke, the white light reappeared and the Guardian called to Verno, ‘though this time Legolas did not hear her.
She wrapped both children in the light and whispered to Legolas sounding like the wind.
Legolas’ eyes began to un-focus and he collapsed into Verno’s arms and he laid the elfling down onto the bed. Then the Guardian appeared in the room, standing by the bed.
“I must send you back now, Child.”
“No, please—not yet! May I stay with him for a while longer...Please?” Blue-green eyes pleaded and the sight touched her heart.
“Only for a brief time longer; I must place a veil of forgetfulness over Legolas and his brother as well as his parents. They must believe that you are imagined and that the incident with Elurín never happened.
“The young ellon must believe that Legolas was alone in the tree with his pretend friend and the family’s concerns are related to Legolas’ solitary play habits. When I return here, you and I must leave.” Her voice was calm, but firm.
She had been given strict instructions on how to repair the damage her interference had caused, ‘though she didn’t feel that there was any. She only hoped the time the two young ones had spent together would be enough to seal their fates to each other; only then would they have a happy future and Middle-earth as well.
She went quickly to the older Prince’s bedchamber; he was not sleeping, but he was reading a book. She could tell he worried over Legolas; she remembered him well from before he was born. As she waved her hand over him, she watched as his burden of worry became less. Next, she went into the bedchamber of the King and Consort. The monarch was sitting straddled the red-haired ellon—both in just their leggings. She could not remember ever seeing so beautiful a sight as the two of them kissing. She remembered these two as well from before, Edrahil being one of the first elves actually born of another.
She waved her hands over the kissing veru and as with Elurín, their worries over Lassë were lessened. With one final look at the two handsome males, she returned to Legolas’ room to find Verno lying next to him, holding the elfling and singing a sweet song.
When he had finished, Verno kissed Legolas’ cheek and stood next to his guardian. Then the white light engulfed them and the transfigured pair vanished.
Legolas breathed deeply and soft words escaped his lovely lips, “I love you, Verno—I will remember you in my heart.”
The next morning, Legolas knew that something was missing, but his heart was happy; he didn’t know what the something was, but he knew that would find it again someday. He skipped into the Feasting Hall where many of Mirkwood’s citizens were sitting awaiting the Royal Family. When all were seated, the last being Legolas, Thranduil sounded the tiny gong. After all were quiet, he led the blessing to give thanks to the Valar for all their blessings and to ask for continued guidance in the fight against Evil.
With that done, the servants brought in trays laden with fruit, bread, pastries and some meat as well. As some platters were placed before him, Legolas briefly frowned, but then it was gone and he reached for every one of his absent, nearly forgotten friend’s favorite foods.
Thranduil and Edrahil looked at him and then each other before smiling indulgently. “You must be hungry this morning, Lassë?” Edrahil inquired.
“I am—I didn’t eat much last night, ‘Da.”
“Are you well, Ion-nin?” Thranduil asked.
“I am perfect, Ada—I have to eat so that I can grow strong. The world will need me someday and someone very special will need me, too.” Legolas said as he piled strawberries and apples and nuts onto his plate.
“And who is this someone, Legolas?” Elurín posed. “Your imagined friend?”
Legolas looked at him like he’d said something silly and answered, “No, Muindor; there are no such things as imagined friends—don’t you know that!?”
King, Consort and Crowned Prince all looked at each other in surprise; but then they smiled. Legolas was growing up and now it would be easier for him to cultivate some friendships with other elflings his age.
Yes—everything would be alright, now.
The Guardian walked around the place she that she had spent so much time before being sent to the lush land of unborn animals. She had missed her children greatly; especially the one she had began to think of as Verno. She would occasionally see him when he and some of the others would spend time with her new charges, but it wasn’t nearly enough. But she was back now and she wanted to see him again. As she approached his favorite spot, she didn’t see him. She wondered where he could be and was going to go search other places he’d like when a voice stopped her.
“He is no longer here.” The other who had warned her about her actions so long ago approached her.
“Where is he?” The Guardian feared she knew the answer.
“He has been sent to his parents; he should be about two Middle-earth years now.”
“Is...Is he happy?” She hadn’t realized that so much time had passed, it being difficult to track time among the animals.
“He was, but he has lost one of his parents—his father to the Evil that is there.”
“No! Oh no!” She cried for her dear sweet boy.
“Fear not for his mother has taken him to safety with some of the Firstborn into whose line he was born. The elf Lord who cares for him is half-elven and his twin chose mortality—it is through that twin’s line the boy you called Verno was born.” The other explained. He knew that she would be cheered to know of his fate.
“I think that you should know that the elfling that you love has cultivated a friendship with that house, so your hopes may come true after all—it is up to them now.”
He waved his hand and she spied a small child of two playing in the grass as a dark-haired ellon watched over him fondly. She stared for a while and then the image began to fade as the elf picked the child up and kissed his smudged little cheek.
“It is up to you, now little Verno,” she whispered.
“He is called Estel now,” when she looked askance to him, he continued. “Estel is the Elvish word for hope.”
This made her smile the first real one that she’d had these past 677 years.
“It is up to you, now,” she repeated with a bit louder. “I have faith in you, little Estel.” Then she and the other left to see to her new charges as the image of Elrond and Estel faded from view.
Title: Portend 3/3
“Remembered Bonds & Promises”
Aragorn closed the door to his wardrobe after checking his appearance for the twentieth time (or so it seemed to the young man). He had only been home for a few hours and he wasn’t really in the mood to meet new people today; but there were guests in the Last homely House of Elrond Half-elven, and his ada expected him to dress for dinner this evening. He and his brothers Elladan and Elrohir had been away, traveling across Eriador with the Dúnedain Rangers of the North these past few months and had only returned this afternoon.
Before they’d left Rivendell, Elrond sat him down and told Estel of his heritage and what was expected of him—his future. Everything that he had learned that day had been surprising and awe-inspiring. But much later (after much reflection), he began to realize that somehow part of him had always known that something extraordinary awaited him in the future. Aragorn (he still had trouble thinking of himself with that name) had wanted to spend time talking to Lord Elrond in depth about his family’s past and his future; about Gondor—about everything! Only now, that would have to wait as he and his brothers were expected to entertain the visitors from Lothlórien and from Mirkwood.
Aragorn frowned. It was very odd, but since he was a boy, every time he thought of that Elven realm, he felt odd as if he belonged there or should be there. It was like waking up knowing that you dreamed, but you were unable to remember what that dream was about. The place seemed familiar to Aragorn. But of course that was utterly ridiculous as he’d only read about Mirkwood in books as he’d done with Lothlórien as well as the Grey Havens and the Elven Realms of old. He knew that someday, he would travel to Lothlórien or Mirkwood (or both) since his family (his Elven one) had close ties to both places; but he also knew that he would have to see the great realms of Men as well. None of this should make him feel homesick for a place he’d never even seen before.
Ai! These thoughts were making his head hurt. “I’ll take a walk to clear my mind before this evening’s feast.” He said to himself.
He had at least two hours before he’d be needed. So, the twenty-year-old left his chambers and exited the home through a back way that led to woods beyond Elrond’s garden. As he passed among the flowerbeds, the fragrance of blooming roses wafted to him. He smiled as he saw the large bushes—white roses. When he was a small boy of six, he’d asked his ada to plant some white roses as his pretend friend Melyanna liked them so. Lord Elrond had laughed, asking him why white ones when there were several gardens with roses of red, pink, yellow and every color imaginable. He had said that Melyanna liked white roses; he then asked him if he could plant them near the oak tree because Melyanna liked climbing oak trees, too. The Noldo Lord acquiesced and he and Estel began planting white rose bushes the very next day.
Aragorn remembered that he had been very anxious about how long it would take for them to bloom. It hadn’t taken too long (a month or so) since they had been large bushes and Lord Elrond had made a special plant food for them. It had warmed his ada’s heart to see the joy on his face when he saw the first bud. He and Lord Elrond had always been close, but they bonded in a special way as they worked together caring for the roses—well they and ‘Melyanna!’
Taking one last look at the full bloomed bush, he left the garden and began to sing a song. He started singing the ‘Lay of Lúthien’ as it was one of his favorite songs, but then he raised his hand to his face and the scent of the rose he had touched was still present, reminding him of long ago. Another song came to him—a song that he had learned from Melyanna. When he asked one evening after supper if he could sing a song to everyone in the Hall of Fire, Elrond said yes. Never a terribly shy child, he stood before all and began to sing. A hush fell over the room. His ada knew that he had a lovely singing voice, but the song he sang and the feeling behind it was very touching to everyone—especially from one so young. As he continued to sing, Lindir and several other musicians began to accompany him.
When the song ended, Elrond, Estel’s brothers and everyone had applauded, commending him on his performance. His ada asked him if Lindir (who was the six-year-old’s music teacher) had taught him the song, and he’d said, ‘No, ada—Melyanna learned it to me.’ Elrond forewent correcting his grammar as he was very curious to find out how Estel managed to learn an obscure lullaby that the Imladrian Lord had only heard once in Mirkwood centuries prior. Lindir, Erestor, the Twins and Arwen had been in Mirkwood that summer and at a concert they’d heard Queen Eärwen sing that song—a lullaby that she had composed herself.
At that time, Aragorn had been certain of the song’s origins, but later he thought that perhaps he had learned of it from one of the other elves or perhaps someone had sang it to him when he was sick the previous winter. It had been during that time that he began to see and hear Melyanna—first dreaming of him and then actually seeing, hearing and playing with him when he was well again. They had been friends for nearly two years (18 months to be exact), but then Melyanna went away; but even years after—even now sometimes—whenever he would talk to himself, his sweet Melyanna’s face would be there before him.
Aragorn’s heart became light and hopeful as he neared some birch trees; then he saw a dark-haired maiden dressed in silver and blue walking along the greensward. He paused and he caught his breath for she was beautiful like Lúthien of whom he had briefly sang moments ago. As he made to call to her, he heard his brothers’ laughter and Elrohir shout out to Elladan.
“Get him, ‘Dan!”
He didn’t see either of them, but he half expected one or both to jump out at him from the trees; perhaps they’d engaged the pretty elleth to distract him so that he’d be unaware until it was too late. He looked around anxiously on his guard, ready to protect himself as he’d had to do for years.
“Hello,” a soft voice said to him. It was the elf maiden and she came closer to stand before him.
Aragorn didn’t say anything for a moment as he thought that she was the loveliest elleth (nay female) that he’d ever met.
She laughed at the look on his face, thinking how handsome and charming he was. Then she paused, the smile leaving her face as she thought that he seemed familiar to her.
“Do I know you,” she asked him.
“I do not think so—I would remember meeting Lúthien,” he smiled and she laughed again. “I was singing of her meeting with my ancestor in the ‘Lay of Lúthien’ just moments ago—perhaps I wished you into being!” He waved his arm dramatically, making her laughed the louder.
Then he answered her question. “I was called Estel until of late, but I was born Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Heir of Isildur. And what is your name, fair maiden if not Lúthien?”
“I am Arwen Elrondiell and we are kin of sorts, removed by several generations.”
Aragorn was stunned. “I know not what to say! I have been raised here for the majority of my life—calling Elrond ada and his ionnath brothers yet I have heard nothing of you. How is this possible?”
“I have been living with my naneth’s people in Lothlórien for many years and have now come home. I am pleased to meet you, Estel.” She offered him her hand in the manner of Men.
He reached to take it, but he was startled as a streak of green flew between and passed them making them jump apart. Next came Elladan and Elrohir, the latter carrying a bucket that sloshed, giving off a mossy smell.
“You said that you had him!” Elrohir yelled.
“I did—but these wood-elves are slippery and devious!” Elladan propelled himself through the air and landed on the green-clad being, knocking him to the ground.
“Ha!” He said triumphantly. “I caught you this time, Legolas! Hurry, ‘Ro, before he gets free!”
“Don’t you come near me, you fiend!” A slightly husky voice yelled to Elrohir. “If you even think of putting that disgusting mess on me, you will regret it!”
Aragorn couldn’t see the other person as Elladan was sitting straddled his waist, blocking his face from view. But Aragorn became nervous for some unknown reason and he became rooted to the spot next to Arwen who was shaking her head in fondness at the three ellyn tussling on the ground.
“It is amazing how little things change even as centuries pass—the three of you are still elflings!”
“I am not an elfling; they are elflings!” Legolas declared. “Arwen, please help me—save me from these...these...creatures of mischief!”
“Don’t you dare help him, Thêl dithen—blood before honor!” Elladan said and Elrohir finished.
“What is that you have in that bucket?” Arwen inquired as she covered her nose.
“A moss shampoo for Legolas’ locks; he looks so good in green—I’ve said so many times!”
“Legolas?” Aragorn whispered, frowning. That was Melyanna’s other name. “But, I made up those names—didn’t I?”
“What did you say, Estel?” Arwen turned to him and became concerned at the perplexed look he wore. “Are you ill, Estel?”
“Nay, I am fine,” came the distracted reply.
He walked slowly over to where his brothers flanked the other elf. Aragorn could see long pale-gold tresses fanned out on the grass. When Elrohir brought out a handful of his and Elladan’s concoction, preparing to smear it on Legolas, Aragorn grabbed his arm and pushed it away; causing his sibling to tumble backwards, the mess hitting him aside his face.
“Estel! Look what you’ve done!” Elrohir glared at his tôr dithen and then Arwen when she giggled.
Aragorn didn’t hear him as he grabbed Elladan around the waist, pulling him up and off of the supine male who was slinging every curse he could think of (including some choice Dwarvish ones). When Legolas was free, he jumped up and away from his attackers and struck a defensive posture in case they came at him again.
“I thank you greatly for your help; I rarely have someone to come to my aid against their vile attacks! I swear I don’t know why they do these things when I never give them cause to treat me thusly.” Legolas’ voice was long-suffering and he fought to keep a smirk from his voice before the stranger.
It was a losing battle as Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen all snorted at his innocent act. The Sinda gave as much as he got—including the time he tied both twins up while they slept and shaved the opposite side of each their heads, making them look like the mirror images many saw them as.
Ignoring his friends, Legolas went over to the dark-haired male still struggling to hold back Elladan. Normally, Aragorn would be falling victim to both brothers, but Elrohir was still pulling moss out of his hair and out of the neck of his tunic instead of helping Elladan. Legolas knew that Elrond had a mortal foster child called Estel, but he hadn’t had occasion to meet him until now. The Prince stood behind Estel who finally let Elladan up when he stopped his struggles.
Aragorn heart began to beat in his chest and he couldn’t understand why he was so nervous about seeing this elf called Legolas. He knew that he was being irrational, but something momentous was about to happen—he could feel it. Aragorn took a deep breath and began turning as Legolas spoke to him.
“I am happy to finally meet you, Estel. Your brothers and ada have told me so much about you, I feel that we are already friends...” Legolas’ voice trailed off and the smile froze on his beautiful, but dirt-smudged face.
Cerulean blue eyes locked with blue-green ones and Legolas began to feel what Aragorn had just moments before. He frowned, shaking his head. The face seemed familiar—No, Legolas thought, it is the eyes. A pale hand reached up, but stopped a fraction of an inch from Aragorn’s bearded cheek. He curled his fingers and made to pull away, but Aragorn caught the hand and turned his face into it, placing a kiss on the palm.
He breathed, “Melyanna,” as a tear stole down his face.
He didn’t understand any of this, but Aragorn’s heart was weeping with joy and some empty part he never knew needed filling was whole again.
“Melyanna,” he repeated as he brushed his lips along the long digits. “My dear, sweet Melyanna!”
Legolas was crying, too. He was also at a loss to explain why this mortal felt so dear to him or how he could know of the endearment ‘Melyanna.’ Only one person—an imagined friend—had called him that; a friend that he had forgotten up until one strange winter, fourteen years ago. That night, he dreamed that someone special was ill and needed him. A beautiful child with dark hair and blue-green eyes...”
“Verno?” Aragorn paused and looked at Legolas again. He knew that name—his Melyanna called him that. “I remember you! Please tell me this is real,” Legolas whispered to him.
“I remember you, too. I thought that you were make-believe, but you are real—I feel you here.” Aragorn placed Legolas’ hand over his heart.
“And I feel you as well.” Legolas placed Aragorn’s other hand over his fast-beating heart.
The Peredhil brothers didn’t know what to make of the two—lovers?—for that is how they were behaving. But, the Twins knew for a fact that neither penneth had met the other. Estel never left Imladris unless he was with one of them or their ada; and the last time that Legolas was in Rivendell was thirty years ago—ten years before Estel was born. But here they were, speaking words of endearment—Legolas calling their muindor ‘husband.’
Arwen felt a sad sense of loss; she, like Legolas felt a familiarity with Estel. When they spoke a little while ago, there had been a spark between them and she had imagined that they could become close to each other and perhaps fall in love. But just as quickly, her sadness turned to acceptance and contentment for the two beings gazing so lovingly at the other. Besides, she thought, I now have a new brother (a younger brother) to boss around. She was no longer the baby in the family and she would finally get her proper respect! Life was good.
No longer able to keep silent, Elrohir asked, “Would either of you tell me—tell us—what on Arda is going on with the two of you?”
Elladan joined in with, “’Ro is correct—why are you calling Legolas by the name of your long-lost pretend friend, Estel?”
“I seem to remember Elurín telling me about Legolas having an imaginary friend as well. What was its name, ‘Dan?”
“I don’t remember exactly, but Elurín said that he would pretend that they were bond-mates or something; imagine a six-year-old having a husband!”
“That’s it!” Elrohir bellowed. “Lassë called him Verno.” The twins looked at each other and then back at Legolas and Estel.
“Well, Legolas, Estel—how is it that the two of you, who have never met or corresponded with the other, now call the other by the names of your imagined friends?”
“Yes—explain yourselves!” The younger twin demanded.
Aragorn and Legolas reluctantly looked away from each other to face the Peredhil siblings. “I’m sure we don’t know to what you are referring,” Aragorn stated evasively as he wasn’t ready to talk to anyone other than Legolas about what was happening.
Feeling the same way, Legolas nodded in agreement with his love. “No, we really don’t know.”
Elladan narrowed his eyes at them, “What are you two pulling here?” Then his gray eyes grew narrower and he looked at Elrohir, the two now wearing identical looks of suspicion.
“The two of you met earlier and cooked this little game up between you, didn’t you? Of course—that’s it!” The last was exclaimed by both gwenyn.
Arwen was dubious of her elder brothers’ deductions—believing the love between Estel and Lassë to be genuine. But she wondered just the same, especially with the next statements Legolas and Estel uttered.
“You’ve found us out,” Legolas said.
“The two of you are much too wise for either of us!” Aragorn stated, not quite able to mask the irony, but the triumphant gwenyn didn’t hear it as they congratulated themselves for figuring everything out.
“Well, next time the two of you will think better of trying to outwit us!” Elladan advised.
“Calling the other by the names of their pretend friends—bah!”
“We should have known better, Vern...Estel,” Legolas fast corrected. “After all, there are no such things as imagined friends.”
“No such things,” Aragorn repeated as he squeezed Legolas’ hand still held firmly in his.
Then the two of them headed back towards the Last Homely House hand in hand. Arwen understood what they were doing and silently applauded her new tôr dithen and future tôr dithen for she was certain that they would bond someday.
She said to the Twins, “You two should go get changed for the feast; and, ‘Ro?”
“Lassë isn’t the only one who looks good in green!” She laughed as Elrohir’s face glowered at her and then the now absent Estel for splashing him with the moss slush they’d prepared for their Mirkwood gwador.
He and Elladan stalked back to get changed, Arwen following. But then she stopped and looked around. She felt like someone was watching her, but then the feeling fled and she headed home to freshen up for supper.
She didn’t know it, but she was correct—she and the others had been watched for some time. A white light shone brightly and a beautiful female with a magical air about her stepped from behind the trees with a young pre-Peredhel by her side.
“Did you make them remember, Guardian?” The elfling asked her.
“Nay, Child—I did not need to help them remember. They did it on their own.” She smiled, happy that she didn’t have to interfere with them this time. Legolas’ and Estel’s (Aragorn, she corrected) bond is as strong as she’d hoped so long ago.
“I don’t understand something, Guardian. You say that they will be my parents when I’m born, but how can that be when they are both male?” The beautiful dark-haired ‘child’ looked askance to her.
“I don’t know yet, but I’ll figure it out in time for your arrival; you belong with them and I’ll make it happen somehow.” She put her arm around the smaller being as they were surrounded by the white light, both becoming transfigured.
As they started to vanish from Arda, she thought to herself, I know that I may get punished again for interfering with this young one, but I must. Laughing to herself, I just hope that pre-troll and pre-orc children are easy to manage! She knew that if she were found out this time, that’s where she is likely to end up. Oh well, she would face that possibility for her two special children of her heart. They deserved much happiness for everything that they will face in the coming years and the great sacrifice that Legolas will make for his dear husband.
Well, not to worry—they would see her again. Heaven (the place where mortals went when this life ends) is not so far from the Before-time. The unborn children could always use special guardians like Estel and Lassë. She will to put in a good word for them when they arrive. With one last look, they vanished.
Legolas and Aragorn faced their destinies bravely—losing good friends along the way, but they never lost each other and their lives were full and happy and Middle-earth prospered. They even had the love of a beautiful Peredhel child to care for and raise. How is this possible, you ask? The Guardian was very resourceful. Perhaps she could tell you about it someday when she isn’t quite so busy—pre-troll and pre-orc children are not easy to manage, after all!
Elvish Phrase glossary: