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Interrupted Journeys: Part Four--Journeys of Discovery

Chapter 7: Ents and Elven Princes

by ellisk

Chapter 7: Ents and Elven Princes

Hearing the stout knock on his bedroom door, Dolgailon raised his eyebrows and looked at his wife. Arthiel was sitting in front of her mirror, just tying off the ribbons that held her braids in place. In response to his silent question, she smiled sympathetically and shrugged, indicating she did not mind if he admitted the rather insistent visitor, who was already knocking again. With a sigh, Dolgailon strode to the door and opened it. Given the urgency of the knocks, he expected to see his father waiting to speak to him before he left for the training fields or, worse still, a messenger delivering some unwanted news. Instead, two elflings pushed past him and into his room.

“Fair morning, Dolgailon,” Legolas said cheerily.

Galithil only reached up and tugged on one of his brother’s braids while smiling impishly at him. Dolgailon smirked and joined in the ritual game by wrapping an arm around Galithil’s chest and pulling him backwards, half embracing him and half wrestling with him.

“Fair morning, indeed,” Arthiel responded, laughing at her husband’s behavior. When Dolgailon released his younger brother, Arthiel held out her arms and the elflings trotted over to receive a hug and kiss on the forehead.

Trying not to squirm too obviously, Galithil stepped away from her as quickly as he politely could. When he did, he immediately focused on the way she had arranged her hair—it was pulled back firmly into one long braid down her back and then looped up. After studying that a moment, he glanced at the simple dress she had chosen to wear.

“Are you going into the forest with Master Ruscil today?” he asked hopefully.

“Can we come?” Legolas added, his voice rising in pitch excitedly.

Arthiel drew her brows together slightly in response to their eager expressions. “I am sorry. I am going with Master Ruscil, but we are going all the way to the eastern border to look at a grove of trees that the villagers report have some sort of deformation on their leaves. We are staying for several days. I do not think your adars would let you come.”

The elflings’ faces fell.

“But nana and aunt Lindomiel are going to spend the day inside to supervise preparations for the Spring Festival,” Galithil said with a whining tone. “The stupid festival is still weeks away, but it is taking all their time.”

Legolas nodded. “They have been working on it forever, so we have not spent any time in the forest. Everyone is too busy to go out with us.”

“And there is nothing to do inside. We tried to explore the caves, but the guards will not let us go anywhere interesting and all the doors are locked,” Galithil concluded.

Dolgailon ruffled his brother’s hair with one hand as he reached for his sword with the other. “Do not forget that your own actions put you in this situation,” he said mildly. “And how well you bear the punishment will partially determine how long it will last—adar told you that. So I recommend that you keep your complaints to yourself.”

Galithil cast a scathing look at his brother and let out a long breath. “But we have behaved!” he protested. “For an entire month! I cannot do this for much longer.”

Dolgailon and Arthiel looked at each other, unable to conceal their amusement.

“You cannot behave for longer than a month, Galithil?” Arthiel asked, laughing again.

Galithil scowled. “You know what I mean,” he replied sullenly.

Dolgailon shook his head, worried that his younger brother’s attitude might try their father’s temper even further. He fixed Galithil with a serious look and spoke to him firmly. “You do not know how lucky you are—I was nearly twice your age when the beautiful spring weather first tempted me to sneak out of the stronghold at night. I was restricted to my room for a month and not allowed to do many activities with my friends until well into the next winter. I think you had better resign yourselves to remaining under adult supervision for a long time.”

Legolas and Galithil’s eyes widened at the idea that Dolgailon had ever misbehaved, but their jaws fell open when he described the punishment he had received.

“You do not really think ada will continue this punishment until winter, do you?” Legolas asked with an alarmed tone.

“He cannot,” Galithil replied with a mixture of panic and false bravado. “No punishment lasts that long.”

Dolgailon laughed. “When you have made a poor judgment and have to prove yourself capable of making better ones, the punishment can indeed last a very long time. And this is a punishment both adar and Uncle Thranduil are famous for.” He paused. “Do you know why I am in the capital rather than commanding the patrols in the south as I did for hundreds of years?”

Arthiel made a small noise, drawing Legolas and Galithil's attention. Her gaze was fixed on her husband. The children glanced at her forbidding expression and then turned back to Dolgailon, shaking their heads.

“Because as captain of the patrols, I made a poor judgment. As a consequence, I must remain in the capital until the troop commander and king trust me to make better ones,” Dolgailon responded dramatically, ignoring his wife’s frown.

“But you have been in the capital since I was born!” Galithil exclaimed.

“Since the year before you were born,” Dolgailon corrected, clearly amused by his brother and cousin’s obvious horror.

Galithil closed his eyes. “You are the most trustworthy person in the entire family,” he moaned. “You never do anything wrong. Ada and Uncle Thranduil will not let us out of their sight until the next Age!”

Arthiel shook her head, scowling reprovingly at Dolgailon as he turned his face to hide a smirk. “I do not think it will be as bad as all that,” she said, reaching out to stroke Galithil’s hair. “Before I leave this morning, I can ask my naneth if you can spend the afternoon with my brother Brethil in our cottage. At least then you could play in the yard,” she suggested.

Legolas and Galithil looked down.

“I think your parents are still angry with us for sneaking away that night,” Legolas said without looking up.

Galithil nodded. “They seem…different. So quiet and serious.”

Arthiel laughed lightly. “I am sure that is only your guilty consciences at work. I know nana and ada were disappointed with what you did, but they are not angry with you. You are still perfectly welcome to play with Brethil,” she said reassuringly.

Legolas and Galithil did not appear to be convinced, however. After a moment’s silence, Galithil looked pleadingly at his brother. “Can we come with you today,” he asked, picking up Dolgailon’s knives from the dressing table and handing them to him as he finished adjusting his sword.

Dolgailon took them quickly. “I am afraid not, Galithil. You are not allowed on the training fields and that is where I will be all day. Besides, adar said last night that Rodonon plans to have you listen to more of the elders’ stories this morning and then work with the minstrels this afternoon to begin composing songs from them.” He looked at Galithil meaningfully. “I believe that will conclude another punishment, at least once you help the minstrels sing the songs at the Spring Festival.”

Galithil folded his arms across his chest. “The Festival will be on the green. If we must sing during it, at least we have the promise of spending a few moments in the forest then,” he replied with a bitter tone.

“Unless it rains,” Legolas interjected. “Then the Festival will be in the Great Hall.”

That reminder caused Galithil to groan.

Dolgailon sighed. “You brought this on yourself, Galithil,” he said seriously. “As I said before, the better you bear it, the sooner you will convince adar to end it.”

Legolas bit his lip in response to his older cousin’s stern tone and remained silent.

Galithil did not show the same restraint. “You are mean, Dolgailon!” he exclaimed. “You like seeing us bored and miserable because you are so boring yourself.” With that, he pushed past his older brother, flung open the door to his room with a bang and stormed away.

Eyes wide, Legolas looked at Dolgailon and Arthiel a moment and then ran after his cousin.

Dolgailon watched them flee, shaking his head. His eyebrows rose when he noticed Arthiel scowling at him.

“What did I do?” he asked incredulously. “I am not the one behaving like a two year old.”

Arthiel rolled her eyes. “Galithil is a child, Dolgailon. And he is your brother, not your son. He needs you to support him, not criticize him. Brothers are supposed to stand up for one another.”

Dolgailon snorted softly. “What would you have me do? Galithil would not be the only one in trouble if adar caught him on the training field. And Legolas! Uncle does not like to see the forty-six year old participants of the training program practicing there. Can you imagine what he would do if he found out I took his son to watch them train?”

Arthiel sighed. “I am not suggesting you take them to the training fields with you, but you could appear to take their side by offering to speak to their parents. For example, I intend to mention this conversation to Lindomiel before the morning meal and suggest that she ask Master Rodonon to arrange for them to listen to the elders today on the green. ‘Lessons outside are always better than lessons in the library.’ I have heard the children say that many times.” Arthiel stood. “And I intend to ask Lindomiel if lord Amglaur has been playing with them outdoors. After all, he does not have many responsibilities here other than to entertain the children. I think rather than accompanying lord Thranduil on the hunts for the game that will be served at the Festival, lord Amglaur should spend more time playing with the children.” Arthiel placed a light kiss on Dolgailon’s cheek as she moved to exit the room.

Dolgailon followed her with a smirk. “I suspect that you know that such a comment will only provoke an argument between lord Amglaur and lord Thranduil regarding the proper rearing of elflings versus a daeradar’s duties. I think you like to incite trouble between Uncle and Aunt Lindomiel’s adar.”

Arthiel looked back at him with wide, overly innocent eyes. “Who would be so foolish as to provoke the King and the Prince of Lorien?” she asked, her tone mischievous.

*~*~*

Later that morning, Legolas sat nestled against the trunk of an old beech with his head resting on his grandfather’s shoulder. Eirienil sat on Amglaur’s other side, tucked in the crook of his arm. Beside them, Berior and Galithil sat on either side of their tutor, Rodonon, also leaning against the broad trunk of a beech. Along with several other children that had wandered by and joined them, the four elflings were listening intently to the stories of a group of the eldest citizens in the capital.

“We have since heard that the elves in the West called it the Time of the Trees,” one of the elders was saying solemnly, “but we called it the Great Darkness,” he concluded with an edge of sadness in his voice.

Another nodded. “It was a time when the peace and beauty we knew in the forest and along the Vales of the Great River came to an end and we were forced to make weapons for war rather than for hunting as we began to see more and more evil creatures.”

Galithil leaned forward slightly. “What evil creatures? Did you fight many battles?” he asked. The stories he enjoyed most were the ones his father told about the defense the forest.

The older elf regarded him disapprovingly, causing Galithil to frown.

“Orcs mostly,” the elder replied with a serious tone. “They swarmed over the land, clad in iron. Our bows could not penetrate their armor and many of our kin died, or worse still, were captured.”

“But the orcs were not the worst creatures,” another interrupted. “They were evil, true enough, and bent on destroying all that was green, but the Men were the greater threat. They did not stop at destruction. They desired dominion. And they were much more cunning in their quest to achieve it than were the orcs. Men are the enemy that I fear the most,” he concluded and received nods of agreement from most of the company.

“I do not think Men are worse than Orcs,” Eirienil said firmly. “All Orcs are evil, but some Men are our friends, so Men cannot justly be compared to Orcs.”

This argument was met with scowls from many of the elves present, but one elleth reached out and stroked Eirienil’s hair. “You are quite right,” she said, ignoring the murmurings of ‘Men are not to be trusted’ mumbled by many of the others. “And not all the creatures we met in those times were evil. Some were wonderful—the Hobbits for example.”

“What are Hobbits?” Legolas asked, glancing at Galithil. He had leaned back against the tree behind him and, instead of minding the lesson, his attention was now focused on two other elflings standing at the edge of the gathering—Anastor and Noruil.

Anastor’s twin sister, Maidhien, had dragged her brother and his friend to join the group of children listening to the stories. Galithil remained bitter that Anastor and Noruil had tricked he and his cousins into following them to see the moonbow, but their mere presence was not what inspired him to glare at them now. Noruil, Anastor and Maidhien had arrived on the green each carrying a small bow and a quiver of arrows. Galithil, Legolas and Berior had exchanged a stunned look when they noticed the weapons, and that reaction had elicited a haughty smirk from Noruil and Anastor. Ever since, Galithil had been torn between glowering at them openly and casting surreptitious, envious glances at their bows. Legolas knew that his cousin’s lack of attention to their lesson would lead to trouble, but Galithil did not seem to care. With a sigh, Legolas looked back at the elleth, who was already in the middle of her story about hobbits.

“It was a simple vase, little more than a pot, really, but the hobbit lass seemed fascinated by its shape and decoration,” Tavoren said, with amusement brightening her eyes and voice. “I remember her studying the flowers that I had carved and painted on it—she said she had never seen their like and she thought they were beautiful.”

Her gaze seemed to turn back to ages past.

“Of course she would not know those flowers. I remember them growing in the white sand on the shores of the Helcar and I have never seen them anywhere else, though I have lived in many places. I love them and their memory is dear to me, so I use them to decorate many things.” She pulled a ribbon loose from her hair. “Here they are,” she said, handing the ribbon to Eirienil. “I embroidered them on this just as I remember them. They were a vibrant blue as beautiful as the sea and they were shaped like the stars under whose light they grew.” She shook her head, returning to the present. “But the Hobbits—that is what you asked me to describe—they were delightful creatures in general. Very anxious to learn from us, or at least this particular group of them was.” She paused, thinking. “They called themselves Fallohides, if my memory serves.”

Legolas saw Rodonon and some of the other elves nod their heads in confirmation.

“The Fallohides were much less secretive than the other clans of Hobbits that we occasionally met,” Tavoren continued. “They preferred hunting to farming, so they came into the forest often. But this Hobbit that I met that day stands out in my memory because she was so different. She had married a Fallohide, but was from another clan herself. It was apparently very unusual for Hobbits to marry into different clans and I understood why after meeting her. She seemed horrified that her husband was so anxious to go into the deep woods and utterly panicked when he so easily spoke to the Elves when we made our presence known to them. She hid behind him and his brothers, even when we invited them into my cottage, and only opened up a bit when she saw the flowers on that vase.” Tavoren shrugged. “So I gave it to her and over the years that I knew her, I taught her to make similar pottery. We became good friends.” Her voice grew softer. “I have mourned the passing of very few mortals as I mourned hers and I was sorry when her descendents moved across the mountains.”

Tavoren paused. Seeing the sadness and lack of understanding on the children’s faces, she purposefully lightened her tone. “But that Hobbit lass’s family was known for their pottery for all the generations that I knew them and I like to think that I had little to do with their success,” she concluded with a smile. Then she nodded thoughtfully. “Hobbits are good people. Naturally honest, hard-working, brave. And every one of them I met, no matter their clan, loved and respected the forest and living things. You cannot say that about many creatures aside from Elves. Of all the peoples that I have met in my wanderings, it is the Hobbits that I think I miss the most.”

As Tavoren spoke, Eirienil handed her ribbon to Legolas after she finished studying the flowers on it. He squinted at the embroidery while running the silken fabric between his fingers. Then he passed it on to Galithil. His cousin took the ribbon absently and gave it to Berior without glancing at it.

Legolas stared at him a moment before turning back to Tavoren. “Why do we not see the Hobbits anymore?” he asked, only partially to distract Rodonon’s attention from Galithil’s rudeness. Their tutor was glaring at Galithil for his lack of attention, but Legolas loved stories about strange races.

“They were very secretive,” Tavoren answered when Rodonon did not speak. “We did not see them much at all. But they moved west over the mountains about the same time the Elves moved north to this stronghold—when the Shadow came.”

From the corner of his eye, Legolas saw Anastor and Noruil scowl in response to that answer.

Noruil tugged on Maidhien’s sleeve as her brother leaned over to speak into her ear.

“Can we leave now? We have better things to do than listen to children’s stories” Anastor whispered none too quietly, fingering the fletching of an arrow.

Maidhien shook her head and remained seated on the ground. “Leave if you wish, but I am staying. I want to see if there will be more stories. I like them,” she replied.

Anastor’s scowl deepened. “I am not leaving my sister in this company alone,” Legolas heard him say while glaring at Galithil. Legolas looked at his cousin, concerned that he had been up to some mischief, but Galithil was now slouched against the tree, staring sullenly at his lap. The voice of their tutor brought Legolas’s attention back to their lesson.

“Most of the Hobbits live now in a land in Eriador granted to them only a few hundred years ago by the Mannish King Argeleb II of Arthedain,” he was saying in the same tone he used when lecturing, “though some of them have returned east over the mountains and dwell near the Anduin again. That is how we learned where their cousins live now. But they are not of the clan that mixed with the Elves, so I rarely hear that our kin in the south have contact with them.”

Eriador was a land of legend and Arthedain a completely unknown kingdom to most of the children present, but Legolas and his cousins nodded in acknowledgement of their tutor’s explanation. They had drawn many maps of Eriador and so knew these names well. Seeing Rodonon note the curious expressions on the other children’s faces, Legolas and his cousins shifted nervously, fearing their tutor might be inspired to launch into an even lengthier explanation. They much preferred Tavoren’s stories.

Tavoren did not miss their concern.

“Speaking of friends we once knew from our wanderings, “ she intervened, directing a smile at the children though she was addressing Rodonon, “do you ever hear of the Ents? They are another people that I miss greatly.”

Rodonon shook his head, but Legolas’s expression brightened.

“I know a story about the Ents,” he volunteered eagerly. “My nana likes to tell it to me and she made a tapestry for my room with Ents on it. The story is about an Elven prince that wandered away and got lost and was found by Ents. They kept him safe until his adar came and found him. Then the Ents and the Elves were friends ever after.” He looked up at Amglaur. “Of course, nana tells it better—like a proper story. She said you told it to her when she was little and it was her favorite story.”

Amglaur smiled indulgently. “I did and it was, but unlike the stories you have heard today about King Lenwë’s time, that story is only a fable.”

Legolas’s face fell.

“But the Ents are real,” he added hastily in response to his grandson’s disappointment.

Tavoren and the other elders around them raised their eyebrows.

“Begging your pardon, my lord, but I do not think the story is a fable, if Legolas is referring to the one that I know,” said a voice from the side of their group.

Legolas looked towards it hopefully and smiled when he saw Tulus.

Amglaur looked towards him as well, his expression frosty. The one and only time that Amglaur had ever spoken with Tulus was on the day that Thranduil dismissed the former guard from his service for comments he had made about Lindomiel. Amglaur had been present, along with Thranduil, to overhear all that had been said and his memory was long.

For his part, Tulus was very aware of the animosity Amglaur still felt towards him, and he did not deny him his right to it. That was why he had not yet drawn closer to the group of storytellers, though Rodonon had invited him to participate as one of the eldest elves in the capital.

Legolas, however, knew nothing of Tulus’s history. In his experience, Tulus was simply another elf that worked in the stables—one who often indulged the children by allowing them to play with the horses and hunting dogs. So Legolas treated him with the same love that he showed any of the adults he cared for. Now he looked at Tulus eagerly, his expression encouraging him to continue.

“The prince in question was lord Denethor,” Tulus said in a soft voice, smiling at Legolas’s intense interest. “He was King Lenwë’s son. Lord Denethor was very young at the time—no more than twenty or so, I would say. At that time, we lived much further south and closer with our kin that now live in Lothlorien. Whereas many of us loved the waters of the Anduin, young lord Denethor always, even as a child, was most drawn to the trees and so he often played amongst them. One day he went into the forest to explore, but he did not return for the evening meal.”

Galithil snorted. “I bet he was in trouble for that,” he interjected wryly.

“King Lenwë was frantic, that is certain,” Tulus replied, looking at Galithil knowingly. “There are many dangers in the forest that a child so young could not contend with—predators, dangerous terrain,” he enumerated. Then he glanced at Anastor and Noruil. “And no child so young would carry weapons or know how to provide himself with food or shelter, so it was important that we find him quickly.” He turned back to Legolas. “I was with the guards that accompanied the King when he searched for his son. We found Denethor almost a week later many leagues to the south with the Ents. How a child could travel such a distance so quickly, we never understood. And what the Ents could have fed him, we never knew, but he was perfectly hale after all that time,” he said, laughing ruefully at the memory. “King Lenwë was so grateful to the Ents for keeping his son safe, that he invited them to remain in his lands and set aside an area to the south of Greenwood the Great solely for them. When the Darkness descended upon the North, the Entwives made beautiful gardens there that the Elves were invited to walk in and enjoy…until the Evil One destroyed them,” Tulus concluded.

Tavoren nodded. “I remember those gardens. I enjoyed wandering in their orchards. And the friendship between the Ents and Elves was very close for a long time. When I followed lord Denethor to Beleriand, we had the help and protection of the Ents while crossing Eriador. And once we arrived, the Ents came and went freely in our lands in Ossiriand.”

Rodonon had listened to this story with as much interest as the elflings, for he had learned the fable of the lost Elven prince from Lindomiel, but never knew the story was true. When Tulus and Tavoren stopped speaking, he looked over at Amglaur. “We did know that Lord Denethor and the Nandor had the friendship of the Ents in Ossiriand,” he said quietly. “And the Nandor did call on them in times of need, such as when Beren asked for their help against the dwarves that attacked Menegroth.”

Amglaur nodded. “Indeed, that friendship seems to have endured even until the Sindar came east. One of the first meetings my brother Amdir had as King of Lorien was with an Ent. They discussed the borders of Lorien and the Ents’ forest, but Amdir said the Ent had made it clear that the Sindar were welcome to walk in their forest and we had nothing to fear from them walking in ours. It was during that meeting that Amdir heard the story of the Elven prince. He said it took them an entire day to recount it and from its tone, Amdir assumed it was meant as a parable. We never knew it was historical fact.” He turned to Tulus. “Thank you for sharing that story, Tulus,” he said politely, though his voice was cool.

Tulus remained silent, replying only with a bow.

Legolas turned about fully to look at his grandfather, obviously anxious to ask some question, but he was forestalled when Eirienil’s friend, Aewen, spoke up first.

“My nana sings stories she learned from her daernana about lord Lenwë, and I know he fell defending the forest from orcs long before the rising of the Moon. But she rarely sings of lord Denethor.” She paused and looked at Tavoren, continuing with a questioning tone. “She says it was wrong of lord Denethor to leave the forest and when she says that, ada is always very quiet.”

Tavoren pressed her lips together and glanced around at the other elders before answering. “Not all the elves in the forest agreed with lord Denethor’s decision to cross the mountains and search for safety with lord Elwë in Beleriand. Your naneth’s family, I remember, remained in Rhovanion and retreated into the forest for protection from the orcs,” she responded in a very neutral voice.

Aewen looked ready to ask another question, but another voice interrupted her.

“The trees protected the elves from the orcs when one cowardly prince failed to defend them and now that the orcs and Shadow have returned, we again fail to defend ourselves and the forest,” Noruil recited bitterly.

Everyone present turned to look at him where he stood leaning against a tree. Next to him, Anastor nodded in agreement. Maidhien blushed and looked down at her lap, but Anastor and Noruil only stared back at the adults evenly.

In response to Noruil’s implied criticism, Galithil’s eyes narrowed and he sat up straighter. “My adar and brother, along with all the warriors in this realm, fight the Shadow every day, Noruil,” he said, his tone challenging either elfling to dispute that assertion.

Legolas also leaned forward angrily. “And lord Denethor was no coward. My adar told me that he died in the First Battle of the Wars of Beleriand and he was a brave warrior.”

“If he died in battle, it should have been in defense of this forest and his people, not of Beleriand and the Sindar,” Anastor retorted.

“Lord Denethor was defending his lands and people,” Tavoren said, interrupting the argument. “He died defending Ossiriand and the Nandor from the orcs—orcs that would have passed over the Ered Luin and eventually into Rhovanion if he had not helped to defeat them. He was a great king,” she said firmly.

“I believe he was a great king,” Tulus said softly. “But it is fair to say that many believe he should have stayed in Rhovanion to defend this forest rather than fleeing to Beleriand.”

Tavoren’s brow knit and she drew a breath to respond, but as she began, she noticed Aewen looking at her with wide eyes. Legolas and his cousins also watched her expectantly. She loosed a long breath and looked down. “The elves that followed Denethor will always see him as a hero and those that remained in the forest have a different view. This has been a source of argument for millennia—I doubt that we will resolve the disagreement today,” she finally said calmly.

“But it makes an excellent topic for debate,” Rodonon interjected, with a pleased expression. Legolas and his cousins turned to look at him apprehensively. “Before we move on in our studies, I would like for you to discuss lord Denethor’s decision to go to Beleriand. We will debate this in, say, one week. That should give you enough time to prepare,” he said, ignoring his pupils’ sighs and mumblings.

“Sorry,” Aewen said quietly, looking apologetically at her friends. “I did not mean to earn you more work.”

Legolas shrugged. “Debating is more interesting than listening to a lecture,” he said softly.

Rodonon did not seem to hear this interchange. “But today,” he continued, “you must meet with the minstrels to make songs from the elders’ stories for the Spring Festival. Do all of you think you have a story you would like to make into a song?”

Legolas and his cousins nodded dutifully, though they did not want this particular part of the lesson to end.

“Then I will take you back to the stronghold for midday meal and afterwards we will meet back here with the minstrels to make your songs.” He smiled at the other children. “You are all welcome to join us and help if you would like.”

Most of the elflings nodded eagerly. Much to Noruil and Anastor’s dismay, Maidhien returned Rodonon’s smile shyly, nodding along with the others.

Rodonon stood, signaling for his charges to follow him, and along with Amglaur, they all headed towards the gates of the stronghold.

Legolas took his grandfather’s hand as they walked. “Are there still Ents near Lothlorien?” he asked, eagerly returning to the topic that had interested him the most.

“To the best of my knowledge, there are indeed still Ents in the forest south of Lothlorien,” Amglaur responded.

Legolas’s grip on his grandfather’s hand tightened. “Did you see them? Did you go with your brother Amdir to speak with them? What are they like?”

Amglaur bit back his laughter in response to his grandson’s rapid-fire questions. “It has been a very long time since anyone has seen an Ent—since the beginning of this Age, I would think. And no, I never met one. I stayed in Lorien once we reached it and never traveled further south to their forest or east to their gardens.”

Legolas stared up at him silently for a moment. “You could have spoken to an Ent and you did not do it?” he finally asked. His tone made his opinion of missing such an opportunity obvious.

Amglaur did laugh this time. “I had just traveled across all of Eriador after fleeing Beleriand. I had no desire to travel further, pen neth. And after we settled, I had duties to attend to—I was the King’s brother.”

Tavoren, who was walking with them along the path to her own cottage, shook her head and smiled. “And there is a difference between the Sindar and the Silvan. My friends and I always resisted duty’s call much more easily than the call of the songs we heard in the Ents’ gardens. I spent whole seasons there listening to the Ents’ songs and enjoying the scents of the flowers.”

Amglaur frowned when Legolas and his cousins looked at her brightly and nodded, easily identifying with Tavoren’s perspective.

She only smiled more broadly in response to Amglaur’s disapproval. “I suppose that is why it is good that we have a Sindarin king to make certain that important tasks are accomplished,” she offered.

Amglaur raised an eyebrow, but remained silent.

Not caring in the least at the moment about the responsibilities of a Sindarin king, Legolas turned back to his grandfather and clutched the sleeve of his tunic. “I want to go to Lothlorien and meet an Ent. Will you and nana take me there?”

Amglaur laughed lightly at his grandson’s expression. “You are far too young to make such a long, perilous trip now, but when you are older, I promise you that I will take you to Lothlorien. I want you to meet my nephew Amroth and see the place where your naneth grew up. You will love Lothlorien—the trees there are very different…”

Legolas nodded impatiently. “They hold their golden leaves all through winter until new, green ones appear in the spring,” he interrupted. “Nana has told me about Lothlorien. But…”

“And I will arrange for you to meet an Ent when we go,” Amglaur assured him quickly, chuckling quietly.

“And us too, lord Amglaur?” Berior asked as Eirienil nodded.

“Yes, when you are older and the choice to make such a journey is yours, I will escort you all to Lothlorien.”

Legolas stopped in front of the bridge over the river, blocking his grandfather’s path. “That is a promise, daerada,” he specified.

Straight-faced, Amglaur looked down at the elfling before him. “Yes it is, Legolas,” he replied solemnly.

Legolas nodded and turned to dash across the bridge with his cousins, chattering with them excitedly. He did not miss the fact that his grandfather’s eyes danced with mirth when he answered. Nor did Tavoren’s sympathetic smile escape his notice as he waved goodbye to her. But he did not care if the adults thought he was amusing—at that moment all he cared about was the fact that he had secured a promise to go see an Ent. He could hardly wait to tell his father and mother.

*~*~*

Adar/ada--Father/dad

Naneth/nana--Mother/mum

Elleth/ellyth--Female elf(ves)

Daeradar--Grandfather

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Chapter name
Ents and Elven Princes
Created
19 Feb 2006
Last Edited
19 Feb 2006
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5972