Slowly we made our way through Fangorn; from my place on Treebeard’s shoulder I was able to see the world above the tree tops. The sky was pastel blue and white clouds had been smeared across it. The mountains immortalised forever in snow and swirling most stood just on the horizon of my sight, bordering the vast forest which we travelled in. Nearby the vast Entwash trickled by splashing and diving in suicidal leaps as it swept past boulders and under tree roots. A scent of sweet fruit and wet grass filled my nose, a pleasant smell really; but lingering in the back ground I caught the scent of sulphur and smoke could be found.
In silence I sat, staring at the gem on my Love Ring as the rays from the sun drifted down and sent a sparkling glint dazzling in front of my eyes. A smile curved my full whilst I could feel my eyes beginning to prickle as tears of longing began to form.
Subconsciously, my hand raised itself to my neck and my fingers went to grasp the pendant that is usually found around my neck. Yet, I swiftly remembered that it was not there; I remembered that I purposefully dropped it in order to allow Legolas, and the others, in which direction we were heading at that I was safe; that all free of us were safe. Sadly I dropped my hand from my neck, despair filling me as they slumped into my lap.
“What’s wrong, Auth?” Pippin asked as he curiously peered around Treebeard’s large head.
“It …. It is nothing …” I reassured them whilst holding back tears.
“There’s something, I know it!” Pippin cried as he expertly clambered around Treebeard’s head and plopped down beside me.
“Yeah, tell us!!!” Merry agreed as he sat in some of the branches on Treebeard’s head.
“I am simply remembering …”
“Remembering what?” Pippin quizzed.
“Happier, simpler times which have long since passed. One time in particular.”
“Which was?” Merry questioned.
“An event which was held on a midsummer eve one thousand, three hundred and sixty years ago.”
“And that was?”
“The first, official meeting between myself and my love; my five thousand, four hundred and eight eighth birthday …”
A smile grew on my face as I walked through the people who had gathered in Imladris in order to celebrate. Many of the guests were Elves, but there some Men were present; as were a handful of Dwarves.
“Happy Birthday, Princess!” Someone called.
“Thank you, have a nice day!” I called back.
Continuing to walk on, smiling at each of my guests and looking in no particular direction; that was what I spent my time doing. Truthfully, it was extremely boring. Galadriel and Celeborn had disappeared into the crowd; searching for some noble to speak to.
Thankfully, my boredom was short-lived by the sound of three joyful voices crying two syllables,
Quickly, I spun around and went to wave a greeting to the joyful callers. Yet I was unable to do so for I was tackled by two pairs of strong arms into a bone crushing hug whilst an almost angelic voice lightly laughed. I was just able to see the top of two dark haired heads and a fair maiden with flawless features and dark braids were stood a few feet away.
“Hello there,” I was just able to splutter before I had to take in a gasping breath.
“Happy Birthday, Auntie!” The twins cried as they let me out of their choking embrace.
“Thank you, my dear nephews.”
Grinning at them, I held the boys at an arm’s length in order to closely look at them. They both looked extremely handsome in their smart robes of silver and black which magnified their tall build and strong stance. They were completely identical from their startlingly grey eyes to the way that they held themselves.
Gently, I placed a tender kiss on both their foreheads before turning to look to my niece.
“Arwen, why you look as beautiful as you Naneth.”
“Thank you, Auntie, but I doubt it; Naneth and yourself are the most beautiful of our kin. I know that I shall not match either of you in beauty.”
“You may think that, but remember this, Henig. Beauty is only an image of the flesh; people will only trust you when they know that all your soul is beautiful; that love and devotion fill you completely.”
Her flawless brow furrowed slightly as this piece of information registered in her mind. When she understood what my words meant, she gave me a soft smile and I placed a light kiss on her forehead.
“Elladan, Elrohir. How have you faired?”
“Well, thank you!” Elladan said with a smile.
“Oh, good!” I replied brightly.
“Auntie, we were sent to collect you,” Elrohir explained, “Lady Galadriel wishes for you to meet someone.”
“Then lead the way!”
My two glorious nephews did just that. Gradually, they marched through the throngs of guests with Elladan in front and Elrohir bringing up the rear; my own private guard. Arwen and I walked side by side in a comfortable silence.
“Have you met the Prince of the Greenwood yet?”
“No, well not officially. I helped bring him into this world; if you remember correctly.”
“Oh yes, and he opened his eyes to you.”
A sight tinge of red grew on my cheeks as I remembered that day just over six hundred years ago.
“That is not important …”
“But it is! You share a connection. You know the old saying,
When an Elf opens their eyes to a female in their family, they will be loving and caring.
If they open their eyes to a male in their family, then they will be strong and brave.
Yet, if the babe opens their eyes to a lady who does not belong to his family then …”
“Yes I know how it ends.
‘Then their bond will be great for he shall protect her from the dangers of this world and shall hold the same bravery, the same love as they would hold for both the genders of their kin.’
It means nought!”
“It means more than nought, Auntie. It is fate!”
Shaking my head slightly at her words, I allowed the corners of my lips to curl into a smirk whilst I subconsciously smoothed down the folds of my dress and tucked a piece of my flaming red hair behind my ears.
All too quickly, Elladan came to an almost sudden stop and if I had not been paying attention to him I would have crashed into him, none too gracefully might I add.
Swiftly, he stepped to the side and allowed me to approach the Lord and Lady of Lorien.
“À Authiel, there you are,” Celeborn said with a smile.
“Naneth, Adar!” I quietly greeted them, dipping into a curtsy.
“Rise, Henig,” Galadriel’s misty voice called.
Quickly I obeyed and I took my space at their side; holding myself as a woman should, back straight, head held high and my hand neatly clasped together in front of me, waiting for answers to the silent questions that I was asking in my looks.
“Authiel, you remember Thranduil; King of the Woodland Realm?” It was more of a statement than a question.
“Of course, it is wonderful to see you again, sire.”
“And you, Princess. I hope that your day has faired well.”
“It has thus far, my Lord. But thank you for your wishes.”
“Princess Authiel, My Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel, may I present to you my only son, Legolas, Prince of the Woodland Realm.
Time seemed to slow down as I watched a young Ellon step into my view. The first thought that registered in my mind was,
Is this one of the Valar who has decided to walk among us?
Which is an idiotic thought really; but I had good reason to do so.
The young Ellon was as tall as a young tree. Even though his skin was restricted by his clothes, his muscles were clearly visible. I dropped my gaze slightly and I was staring at his feet. He wore a pair of pale blue trousers which looked almost silvery. Over this was a brocade robe that was covered in intricate mixes of rich greens, blues, yellows and golds that sat on a pale blue background. All of it was outlined in gold. A tall collar stuck up close to his ears from under the robe, hitting that he wore some sort of shirt or blouse underneath, and two silver clasped that looked like leaves sealed his robe together.
He had long, blond hair that streamed down the side of his face and finished just past his shoulders. It was his face, however, that caused my heart to flutter.
His high cheek bones emphasised his pastel pink lips but it was his startling blue eyes were the items which captured my breath; he was perfect.
Gracefully I dipped into a curtsy and lowered my gaze from his angelic face; suddenly feeling self-conscious of my appearance when face to face with one of such beauty. As I lifted myself back to standing, the Prince of the Greenwood slowly bowed before he took my hand. Carefully, he raised it to his pale lips, staring me straight in the eyes, and placed a tender kiss on my cold flesh. In an agonisingly slow pace, he lifted his lips from my skin and gradually allowed me to lower my hand but his dazzling blue eyes never left my dull brown ones. My cheeks reddened slightly and I could feel an embarrassed flush spilled under my skin. This was highly peculiar; I had never felt like this. He made me feel so flustered that I had to force myself to drop my gaze and give him a shy smile.
“Now, Thranduil, myself and Celeborn have business to discuss with you. Authiel, I am sure that you will be able to entertain the Prince,” Galadriel said in her calming voice.
“Of course, Naneth,” I replied, attempting to hide the obvious blush.
And as quickly as she had said her words, they were gone; leaving myself and the Prince alone.
Nerves filled me, which is extremely odd for me since I am able to fearlessly charge into battle; armed with only a sword and a slightly shattered shield.
Yet, when faced with this Princeling I found myself trembling at my finger tips and a quickened speed to my hammering heart. Quickly, I took in a shaking breath and calmed myself down before I looked up at the handsome Prince. He had a kind smile on his face as his ocean like eyes watched me.
“It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance, Princess,” The Princeling said quietly.
“And it is a pleasure to officially meet you, Prince.”
“Officially?” He asked, cocking his head to the side.
“Well we have met twice in your past. When you were first born and when you were nineteen years old.”
“I see. I think I remember our last meeting, you taught me how to handle a bow.”
“Indeed I did.”
He sent me a soft smile before he lowered into a bow and held his hand out to me, saying,
“May I have this dance, Princess?”
“Only if you will call me Authiel, my Prince.”
“And I shall agree, if you call me Legolas.”
“Agreed!” I replied, placing my hand on his.
Slowly he led me into the middle of the ballroom floor; past the couples who were swaying to the music which I did not know existed until a few seconds ago.
Gently, he placed his hand on my waist and lightly pulled me towards him. He was only a few inches taller than me but I had to look up in order to be captivated by his beautiful eyes. His lips curled into a smile as I entwined our fingers and feeling the crease along my dress seam, I lifted it up and held up the correct amount of material so that my legs could freely move and I would not trip up.
Slowly and gracefully, we began to waltz to the beat of the music. I can only imagine how it looked to all those watching us. The Prince of the Greenwood and the Princess of Lothlorien dancing together. I could only imagine what they thought about the fact that our clothes seemed to have been planned to blend comfortably in with one another.
I wore a unique gown. It had a luxurious blueberry dupioni silk corset with delicate lacing and bead work on the edges for decoration. In front of the skirt there were layers of smoky silver and dark lavender chiffon which parts to reveal a flowery lace detail in lavender. The sleeves started partly down the upper part of my arm in a deep lavender that lightened as the floating material dipped downwards and fluttered in the wind. A top my head sat a silver and crystal tiara which glistened on my tightly curled, red hair.
“So tell me Authiel, what is life like in Lorien?”
“Lorien is a beautiful place. Our major buildings are nestled in the tree tops and the palace is twirled around the largest in the forest, with the main chambers in the centre of the tree. It is mystical.”
“It sounds it.”
I smiled up at him as out waltz slowed and both my hands seemed to drift to his shoulders where they were lightly placed on them; whilst his now free hand carefully nested itself on my spare waist.
“To speak the truth, Legolas, I was shocked when your Father accepted the invitation.”
“He barely leaves you realm. I was delighted and honoured that he would attend this humble event. Delighted; but shocked.”
A chuckle rumbled through his chest and I could feel the vibrations travel through my fingers.
“Since the appearance of the spiders and his battles with the drakes from the north, he rarely leaves the forest. And after the spiders attacked the palace …” His voice trailed off as his emotions tried to get the better of him.
“Your mother!” I gasped, “Oh how insensitive of me! I am sorry, it completely slipped my mind.”
“It is fine, Authiel. It slipped your mind, you meant nought by it.”
“I truly am sorry. If I had been able to reach your realm in time she would not have fallen so ill, meaning that she would not have had to have sailed.”
“Neither my father nor I blame you for her departure. She was thinking of departing a long time previous.”
“But you were deprived of a …”
“Authiel, please stop. The past is in the past; no one can change it.”
“You speak wise words for one so young.”
“I am hardly young.”
“Compared to me you are.”
“We have a four thousand, eight hundred and forty eight year gap between us. You are defiantly considered young in my eyes.”
He sent a smile to me which caused my face to involuntarily flush. I looked away from him, desperately attempting to hide my emotions, but I knew that he had seen the new colour to my cheeks for his slight chuckle was obviously directed to my actions.
However, it was then that I noticed something.
“I do not wish to alarm you, Legolas. But it seems that we are now the only two who are dancing and all eyes are on us.”
“Is there a problem with that?”
“No, but this piece of music is about to end and people may begin to talk if we are not careful.”
“I see,” He said with a sly smile before he dropped his hands from my waist, took hold of one hands and dipped into a bow.
“Walk with me?” I said once he had tenderly kissed my hand.
“Anything for you, Princess!” He replied, holding his arms out to me.
Slowly, I placed my hand on his and we strolled off of the dance floor, past the staring guests; into the gardens. From the corner of my eye, I noticed a very familiar lady watching us as we rounded the nearest corner.
“The Lady Arwen has been watching us for some time,” Legolas stated, “Why is that?”
“She wishes to see whether her theory is correct.”
“She seems to believe that we have a ‘connection’!”
A light hearted laugh mingled with his words as he said,
“Does he really?”
“Yes, due to the incidents surrounding your birth?”
We came to stop in a quiet clearing, far away from prying eyes. It was surrounded by large, green hedges and trees with delicate flowers underfoot; only a single, stone bench stood in the centre pf the private clearing.
“And what incident would that be?”
“When you opened your eyes as I was holding you in my arms. Just before I gave you my gift.”
Legolas took a step towards me so that we were stood face to face.
“Oh yes, I have been told of this many times. But what does this have do with us?”
Closing my eyes, I sucked in a breath and said,
“Apparently, people think we have a ‘bond’.”
“Ridiculous, I know.”
“What sort of bond?” Legolas whispered, his breath blowing into my face, causing me to blush at his closeness.
“It could be anything. Anything from archenemies to …” I paused as I felt my face flush to crimson,” … to … to soul mates.”
Calm down! What on earth is wrong with me, he is only a boy?
“Open your eyes!” Legolas whispered in my ear.
My heart fluttered in my chest at his closeness and at the softness of his words. Slowly I did as he asked and almost gasped at the sight that greeted me.
Legolas was stood so close to me that his nose was almost touching my skin. A blush spread across my cheeks. I went to take a step back; yet I was stopped. One of Legolas’ hands gently landed on my waist, stopping me from moving. I starred up at him, shock riddling across my expressions.
“And what dies the Lady Arwen suspect of our bond?”
I opened my mouth to answer his question but my heart was fluttering so much in my chest that no words would come out; instead I stood there opening and closing my mouth as if I was a fish out of water.
A soft laugh left Legolas’ lips and he smiled down at me. Tenderly placing a hand on my cheek, he whispered,
“Answer me, please.”
Taking a gulping breath, I swallowed back some saliva which had formed out of nervousness. Finally, I was able to whisper,
“She believes that our hearts are connected. That our souls are … are …”
“Yes?” He whispered as he stroked my cheek softly with the back of his hand.
“That our souls are … bonded.”
Shyly, I dropped my head and looked to the ground; suddenly feeling awfully embarrassed by my own embarrassment. But Legolas’ hand gently cupped my chin and tenderly re-lifted my head so that I could do nought but stare into his stunning blue eyes; making me weak at the knees.
“Do you know what I believe?” He whispered, his lips a hair’s breadth from my own.
I nodded my head, not daring to speak.
“I believe she is right!”
“What?” I gasped.
“I believe,” Legolas softly said as he smiled down at me, “That the Lady Arwen is right.”
And suddenly, his lips brushed against mine.
“Auth?” Pippin called, bringing me back to the present.
“Pardon?” I said, looking at him with a furrowed brow as I blinked my eyes a few times to allow the memory to fade.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes. I am fine, thank you.”
“What is it? What’s wrong? You were quiet for ages!”
“It’s nothing,” I promised as I stared down at the ring which was glittering in the now setting sun, “It was just a memory …”