The tall man’s dark eyes narrowed. The equally tall Elf’s light eyes brightened. They both loosed their arrows on a cue from another man standing in the shadows. Both arrows thudded into their targets. Aragorn moved out of the shadows. He checked the accuracy of Legolas’ arrow before looking at his friend. He smiled.

Moving to the other man’s shot, Aragorn conducted the same measurement of precision. When he looked up again, his eyes were sparkling with amusement. Aragorn’s voice too was filled with laughter as he told his friend, “Robin beat you,” stressing the last word, “again.”

Legolas glowered. His reputation for being one of the finest archers in Middle Earth had evaporated because of this human who had showed up. Elbereth, he didn’t even belong in Middle Earth!

At least, reasoned Legolas, he had had the grace to turn up after Frodo, Bilbo, Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond and Cirdan had headed out to Valinor. Legolas walked over to the man clad in green and gave a tight smile. This Robin returned, though with less tension.

As Aragorn began talking to Robin, Legolas ran ahead and whistled softly. Arod came pounding into view. Legolas easily swung aboard the stallion, turning him with cues from his lower legs. Arod gracefully galloped off, back towards home. In a short time, the white beast slowed his swift gallop to a mild canter. The Elf slipped from his steed’s back, whispering “Hannon le” before walking into the city of Gondor.

There the Elf found one of his greatest friends waiting for him. It was the dwarf, Gimli. His solemn face cracked into a smile as he watched the Elf drop all dignity and go into a rage at being beat (again) by that “Crazily accurate, tall, snotty human archer wearing green!”

Gimli gave one of Legolas’ braids a sharp tug. The Elf let out a gasp of pain and glared at the seemingly innocent dwarf. Gimli shrugged off the anger in his friend’s eyes. Everyday for a month it had been the same. Legolas’ heading out in the early morning with Aragorn and a tall other. Legolas’ coming back around noon and meeting Gimli in an alcove where his princely dignity fell away to a storm of frustration.

Moreover, losing to Robin was not the only thing troubling Legolas. His sister Sikadia had been captured by a rabble of orcs. Thranduil had been sending out regular patrols searching for her, but to no avail. Legolas was very worried for his sister.

She was a poor hand with the sword at best and her archery skills were atrocious. Gimli pulled the hood of Legolas’ cloak and said, “Let’s go, laddie.” Legolas nodded, his eyes dull and followed the dwarf out into the busy-ish streets of Gondor.

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