Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Live

Chapter 10
Posted: June 7, 2013
 
*****

The next morning, Aredhel woke up to find Tarawiel’s side empty. Rising up, the blond elf looked around the room for his wife but to no avail. The Mirkwood Crown Princess was nowhere to be found. Suddenly, the door of the chambers opened and a very excited Tarawiel entered.

‘Good morning, Aredhel.’ She said, smiling broadly as she sat on the bed.

‘Where have you been?’ Aredhel asked; an angry tone tainted his voice.

‘I went for a walk.’ Tarawiel replied innocently. ‘Am I not allowed to?’

‘Not alone in the castle of men.’ Aredhel replied, crossing his arms.

The she-elf frowned deeply. ‘Then rest assured I wasn’t alone. I met Elladan out of the Guests’ wing and he graciously escorted me. Now, it’s time to get up, Melamin.’ She said, standing up. ‘You know we should join King Elessar and Legolas on their first day after their wedding.’

Aredhel sighed as he got up. Tarawiel laughed to herself, watching as her husband made his way to the bathroom with a scowl on his face.

She knew that Aredhel still hadn’t got used to the idea of Legolas marrying a mortal, and what made things worse was that Mallorn seemed to be enamored with one. Thinking of Mallorn, Tarawiel remembered her conversation with Elladan earlier, as she sat back on the bed. The young lord had shared the most interesting news about Elrohir’s feelings towards her brother-in-law. The older son of Lord Elrond had asked her to help him in bringing the two together. A request the spirited Princess of Mirkwood couldn’t refuse.

Tarawiel was suddenly snapped from her thoughts as dizziness washed over her, reminding her that she still had something to tell her husband.

When Aredhel emerged from the bathroom, dressed and ready to go, the she-elf jumped up and ran to him, taking him into her arms.

‘Aredhel,’ she said softly into his ear. ‘I have something I need to tell you.’

Frowning, Aredhel pulled away and stared at his wife suspiciously.

Tarawiel smiled sweetly. ‘The Valar has blessed us. I’m with child.’

Aredhel’s body tensed as he stared at her disbelievingly.

‘What?’ he whispered.

‘I’m carrying your child, my lord.’ Tarawiel repeated. ‘The healers back home had confirmed it before we left. I didn’t wish for this to outshine Legolas’ wedding, thus, I waited until now to tell you.’

Aredhel stared at her for a while before suddenly scooping Tarawiel off her feet and captured her lips into a deep kiss.

*** *** ***

“Legolas, Legolas,” Aragorn tried as he sat on the edge of the bed, trying to wake up the blond elf.

Legolas’ eyelids slowly fluttered before moaning and pulling the covers over his head. This was his first chance to a decent sleep after a month of sharing a bed with Mallorn, and Legolas was going to seize it.

“Legolas,” Aragorn persisted. “Your brothers, the twins and the rest of our friends are waiting for us. I told you that they would be having breakfast with us.”

“Alright, I’m awake. I’m awake.” Legolas mumbled as he forcefully pulled himself up. Aragorn chuckled as he stood up, giving way for his husband.

Legolas only managed to lower one foot on the floor when he suddenly froze. The Elven Prince sat back on the bed with a look of wonder gracing his face. He blinked as he marveled at the extraordinary sensation that suddenly filled his body as well as his soul.

Aragorn frowned, sensing Legolas’ bewilderment through their bond. The mixture of emotions that surged in him started to frighten him.

“Legolas?” he asked.

“Aragorn,” Legolas whispered, giving his husband an amazed look. “ The baby just kicked.”

Aragorn felt his body tense before a wide smile graced his face. He rushed to Legolas’ side.

“Really?” he breathed.

Legolas nodded, his blue eyes brightly twinkling with joy. Taking his husband’s hand, Legolas placed it on his stomach. Aragorn inhaled sharply as he felt a soft quivering under his hand.

“Legolas, it’s amazing.” He said, looking lovingly at his husband.

“She’s talking to me, Aragorn.” Legolas whispered. Joyous tears pooled in his eyes as he listened to his child’s voice.

“She?”

Legolas nodded. The slightest motions caused his unshed tears to slide down his cheeks.

“I’m being blessed with a daughter, Aragorn.” He whispered.

“We are.” Aragorn corrected softly.

Legolas smiled at his husband. He could clearly feel Aragorn growing-attachment to his child. His friend and husband had already considered his unborn child as his own, and, that for some reason had pleased Legolas greatly.

“I better go and get ready.” The blond elf said suddenly, standing up. “We don’t wish to be late for our breakfast with our families and friends, do we?”

“No, we don’t.” Aragorn replied with amusement.

*** *** ***

The breakfast was a delightful affair that Legolas found himself enjoying very much, especially after that amazing experience he had endured in the morning. The elven prince also discovered that that little incident had opened his appetite greatly. He couldn’t remember a time where he had eaten so much at a meal.

“Your appetite today surely would rival that of a hobbit, Laddie.” Gimli remarked amusedly as he observed the elf next to him.

Legolas blushed as he picked yet another piece of honeyed bread.

“It’s to be expected, Gimli.” Aragorn replied. “Besides, it is a huge improvement on his eating habits.”

“I agree.” Mallorn remarked. “Even back in Mirkwood, Legolas had always been eating less than average.”

“Will you all, please, stop discussing my eating habits?” Gondor’s Prince Consort said in annoyance. “I am fully aware what my body needs and therefore I eat as much as it needs.”

“Would you like to have some of my eggs, Legolas?” Pippin asked innocently, having listened to the ongoing conversation.

Legolas’ face became red with embarrassment as everyone present laughed in amusement.

*** *** ***

‘Melamin,’ Tarawiel whispered into Aredhel’s ear as the laughs subsided. ‘Would you like to announce our joyous news, or would you prefer me to do it?’

Aredhel looked at his wife, smiling fondly. Noticing the excited glimmer in her eyes, he placed one hand on her cheek. ‘You do it, Lirimaer [Lovely one].’

Nodding, Tarawiel stood up, gaining everyone’s attention.

“My lords and ladies,” she begun. “I’d like to congratulate King Elessar and Prince Legolas on their happy union and wish that the tree of their love never wither for all eternity. And I’d like to share with you all, a joyous news.” She looked at her husband, smiling before looking up at her audience. “In seven months, the Valar will bless Aredhel and me with a child of our own.”

“Tarawiel, that’s wonderful.” Legolas couldn’t help but to exclaim happily, jumping from his seat and rushing to his sister-in-law. He hugged the dark-hair princes tightly as happy tears slid down his cheeks. He knew how much his brother and his wife longed for a child. He also knew how much they grieved after Tarawiel’s miscarriage.

‘Congratulation, sister.’ He whispered softly in Elvish. ‘I’m so happy for you.’

‘Hannon lle, Legolas [Thank you, Legolas]’ Tarawiel replied fondly.

‘Congratulation, brother.’ Legolas addressed Aredhel.

‘Hannon lle, Legolas [Thank you, Legolas]’

Congratulations poured from everyone as Legolas returned to his seat. “I’ve noticed that Lady Tarawiel is the complete opposite of your brother.” Aragorn whispered to him. “Yet, the two seemed perfect for each other.”

“Aye.” Legolas replied. “Tarawiel has an amazing way to deal with Aredhel’s solemn nature.”

“Indeed. She’s rather on the cheerful side. When I first saw her, her face seemed awfully familiar. I felt that I have seen her before.”

“You’ve probably seen her younger sister.” Legolas said. “She’s Elladan’s betrothed.”

“Really?”

Legolas nodded, eyeing, with great pleasure, as his brother and his wife received their friends’ best wishes.

*** *** ***

After breakfast Legolas and the rest went to his and Aragorn’s living room while Aragorn, Faramir and Éomer excused themselves.

Tarawiel was fondly listening to one of Merry and Pippin’s tales when her eyes met up with Elladan. Smiling knowingly, she excused herself from the young hobbits’ company and walked towards Éowyn, who was talking to Gimli.

“If you would excuse me, Master Dwarf,” she addressed Gimli politely. “I’d like to have a word with Lady Éowyn.”

“Certainly, my lady.” Gimli said courtly, feeling himself infatuated by the Elven Princess, not really understanding why he always seemed to lose himself in front of elven females. “I think I’ll see what Legolas is up to.”

As soon as Gimli was away, Tarawiel faced Éowyn. “My lady,” she began. “It seems that we are the only females present in the company of males. And I’d be honored if you would walk with me in the gardens and give me a chance to be acquainted with you.”

“Of course, my lady.” Éowyn replied. “It would be my pleasure.” With that, the two princesses left the royal chambers.

*** *** ***

Elladan smiled as he watched Tarawiel taking Éowyn away. Leaning closer to his twin, he whispered. ‘It’s your chance now, Elrohir.’

‘What?’ Elrohir asked in confusion.

‘Lady Éowyn has left with Lady Tarawiel. Mallorn is all by himself. You two should go for a ride.’

Elrohir blinked before a smile formed on his lips.

‘Thank you, Elladan.’

*** *** ***

Mallorn frowned deeply as he watched the two ladies leave. He was waiting for his chance to talk to Lady Éowyn but then his sister-in-law came and took her away.

He was about to follow them when Elrohir came, asking him for a ride. Sighing, Mallorn agreed.

*** *** ***

The two elves rode through the streets of the city, surrounded by the people’s curious gazes.

‘Well, here is something common in humans and elves,’ Mallorn commented, enjoying the attention he and Elrohir were receiving. ‘The public can’t keep their eyes off the royalty.’

‘They are staring at us, because we’re elves not because we’re royalty.’ Elrohir remarked.

‘The same thing.’ Mallorn chuckled. ‘The point is we are the center of their attention.’

‘You are enjoying this, aren’t you?’ Elrohir asked, chuckling.

‘Who wouldn’t?’ Mallorn replied slyly. ‘In Mirkwood, I feel happy when Adar arranges for a visit to the villages of the Kingdom or a big party to celebrate a public event. It’s so much fun being the center of everyone’s attention.’

‘Well, your little brother doesn’t agree with you,’ Elrohir said. ‘He always complains about all the attention he receives.’

Mallorn laughed softly. ‘Not only does Legolas think that way but Aredhel does, as well. Legolas has spent most of his life free from his duties as a Prince, preferring to stay close to nature and enjoying his freedom. He hates to be restricted to any rules or customs. While Aredhel spent most of his life as the Crown Prince of Mirkwood, preferring to spend his time in politics, martial arts, horsemanship and lecturing me at every chance. I have never seen him enjoying a party or a hunting trip. He has never seen them as times of fun; instead, he always wears that boring serious mask of his and acts according to protocols. He never puts his boring mask down except sometimes with Legolas and when my father isn’t present.’ Mallorn paused for a moment, sighing deeply before he continued. ‘I was pleased when I learned about Lady Tarawiel. I had hoped that she might be able to get him out of his seriousness a little. His tight expression had loosened a little after their marriage.’

‘That might not please your Adar, though,’ Elrohir commented.

‘I doubt it,’ Mallorn sniggered. ‘Adar was pleased to hear that Aredhel found someone special like Lady Tarawiel. In his opinion, she is a fine wife and queen for Aredhel and brought more joy to his empty life.’

‘Well, that’s a pleasant thing to hear,’ Elrohir said quietly. ‘ Mallorn, I’m not giving up on my feelings.’ He said softly after a few moments of silence. ‘I love you.’

Mallorn halted his horse and stared at the elf next to him. ‘Elrohir, I thought we’ve already—’

‘I’m not giving up.’ Elrohir interrupted; a determined expression on his face. ‘I saw you courting with Lady Éowyn and I couldn’t stand it. I want you to give me a chance to win your heart.’

Mallorn let go a long sigh. ‘Alright.’ He whispered finally. ‘I will give you a chance.’

*** *** ***

Aragorn sighed in relief as he was finally freed from all his kingly duties. He strode as quickly as he could, heading towards his chambers. He hadn’t seen Legolas for the whole day, and it was supposed to be their first day after their wedding. He was so eager to see his husband, he barely acknowledged the two guards who stood at the entrance of their Royal chambers.

“Legolas,” he greeted as he entered the living room and saw his blond husband. The king was relieved to see his husband all by himself. Their friends apparently grew tired of waiting for his return and decided to retire for the night. Legolas now was sitting on a couch, wearing nothing but a plain creamy shirt and brown leggings and his feet were bare.

“Good evening, Aragorn.” The blond elf greeted, putting down the book he was reading on the couch.

After taking off his crown, Aragorn threw himself on the couch beside his husband sighing tiredly.

“Rough day?” Legolas asked, gaining a nod in response. “Did you have dinner?”

“No,” Aragorn replied. “Have you?”

“Yes, I had.” Legolas said. “But I don’t mind having a second dinner.”

“Gimli is right. Your appetite today would rival that of a hobbit.” Aragorn jested, earning a glare from the blond elf. “But, it is to be expected.” He mused. “After all, you are entering your eighth month now, am I correct?”

“Yes, Son of Arathorn.” Legolas replied, still annoyed with his husband’s remark. He stood up and went to summon a servant.

After dinner, Legolas was about to go to their bedroom when Aragorn stopped him.

“I have something I want you to see,” the man said as he stood up. Legolas watched in confusion as Aragorn walked to the small bookcase and gently pushed a book on one of the shelves. To Legolas’ surprise, the wall behind the unlit fireplace moved revealing a hidden passage behind it.

“Come with me, Legolas.” Aragorn extended his hand, gesturing for his husband to follow.

Legolas frowned as he approached the secret passage, noting how dark it was.

“Aragorn, you know that I hate dark places, especially tunnels and mines.” He said pointedly.

Aragorn chuckled in response. “Don’t worry, Greenleaf. You’ll only have to endure the darkness a bit. But the reward will be worth it.”

Legolas stared at his husband for a while before nodding his agreement. He allowed his husband to lead him down the dark tunnel.

“This is a secret passage that goes all the way to the outside of the city.” Aragorn explained as they descended a staircase. “It was made for the royal family to escape in case of a danger reaching inside of the castle.”

Reaching the first level of the stairs, Legolas watched as Aragorn pulled the torch hanging on the wall, opening yet another secret door.

Legolas gasped as Aragorn guided him into an exquisite garden. The Elven prince’s eyes darted in every direction taking in the sight of the golden trees of Lothlórien and the silver trees of Rivendell.

‘Lirima! [Lovely!]’ Legolas breathed in Elvish.

“This part of the gardens is a little isolated from the rest. I didn’t show you this part of the garden the other day.” Aragorn’s voice brought him back from his short trance. “I wanted to surprise you.”

“It’s wonderful.” Legolas remarked.

“Lady Galadriel and Lord Elrond were so gracious to gift me with those trees when I was crowned.” Aragorn said. “I often come here when I need to clear my head, and now, it is yours, Legolas.” He took Legolas’ hands into his, locking their eyes together. “As my wedding gift to you.”

Legolas stared into Aragorn’s eyes, feeling strange warmth spread through his soul. For some time, he had been feeling some growing attraction to the man. It frightened him how his feelings were starting to turn. He was supposed to be in love with Haldir, adding to that, he had no claim on Aragorn’s heart.

“A wedding gift, you say?” He spoke suddenly, snapping himself from his thoughts. “But I haven’t brought you anything.” He admitted shamefully.

“You’ve already given me a priceless gift, Legolas.” Aragorn whispered softly, slowly pulling his husband close to him. Last night, the king had made a vital decision as he lay next to the blond elf. He was going to win Legolas’ heart, no matter what happened. He would make sure that their marriage wouldn’t be a false one for long. Slowly but steadily, he closed the gap between their faces and met Legolas’ lips into a soft kiss.

*** *** ***

In another garden in a big mansion, not so far away from the castle, Lord Mortardur paced angrily. Their king had yet made another decision regarding his so-called husband, giving him privileges as same as the king.

The lords hadn’t even gotten over their abhorrence over the marriage that was forced upon them.

“He thinks that he can actually rule by himself and shove us aside.” Lord Mortardur growled. “And his elven warlock wanders around the castle with his magic growing inside of him as if he truly owns it.” Lord Mortardur let out an angry huff. He was counting that the lords and people would not allow such marriage. He was counting on them to start a protest against this marriage, but they didn’t. If any of them had any objection, they kept it to themselves. The lord huffed heatedly. The thought of questioning the Prince’s loyalty or his child’s legitimacy had crossed the lord’s mind several times but he knew better than to confront the king directly. It was in his authority to take the Lord off of the council and Mortardur had worked hard to be one of the Council’s lords and he wasn’t going to stay still and watch, as his power would be stripped away. However, he didn’t know how.

“If only the three of them would disappear from this world. “ Mortardur growled.

“Perhaps you could make them disappear yourself?” a low voice came from the shadows.

“Who said that?” Mortardur demanded, pulling out his dagger from between the folds of his robes.

“Calm down, mortal.” The voice replied. “I came here to offer you some assistance in getting rid of your elven Prince Consort.”

“Show yourself.” The lord demanded, still holding up his dagger. “Or else, I’ll call the guards.”

A soft snort was heard.

“You humans breath so loud, I could’ve shot you in the dark. Your guards will be dead before they even reach you.”

“You speak so bold, but you are afraid of showing yourself.”

Mortardur heard a soft sigh before a lean hooded figure merged from between the shadows.

“Who are you?”

The figure lifted his hood and Mortardur gasped, noticing the tips of pointed ears that showed between silver strands of hair.

“You’re an elf.”

“Aren’t you the observant one? You may call me Shadow.” The mysterious blond elf said as he eased himself into a nearby bench.

“Shadow isn’t your real name, is it?”

“It isn’t.” Shadow replied casually. “But knowing my name won’t add anything to you, Lord Mortardur.”

“You know my name, yet, I don’t know yours.” Mortardur said. “Wouldn’t that be a disadvantage to me?”

“You argue too much, mortal.” Shadow hissed. “I can help you to dispose of Prince Legolas and his spawn, without anyone suspecting anything. But if you weren’t interested, then I shall leave.”

“If you are an elf, why do you wish to assist me in getting rid of the Prince Consort?”

“Legolas is an elven prince. He shouldn’t have gotten himself bounded to a human.” Shadow said. “I’ll help you dispose of the child he carries, then I’ll take him away from here.”

Mortardur felt a smirk forming on his lips. “You lust for him.” it was more of a statement than a question.

“That’s not for you to care about, mortal.” Shadow said, reaching for something between the folds of his tunic. Taking a small leather pouch, he gracefully threw it to the man. “Make sure that you put a small portion of this powder into Prince Legolas’ drink once a day in the coming months.”

“And?”

“This drug will slowly but surely kill the child he carries, by the end of his term, he will surely give birth to a dead child.”

“I see.”

“Make sure that you only add a small portion of it once a day, or else someone is bound to discover it.”

“Alright.” Mortardur said, hiding the pouch into his robe. Lifting his head, the young lord was surprised to find his mysterious ally vanished.

*****
 
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