A/Ns: This is my first fanfic, so pretty please no flames!! If you don’t like it just don’t say anything.

This is kind of AU in that I made up some stuff that I’m not sure is canon, but I don’t think I changed anything too dramatically; just some gapfilling that I’m not sure of.

In this fic, I have Legolas coming to Rivendell for the first time for the Council of Elrond, but I know that probably wouldn’t really have been the case. As a prince, he would probably have been on many diplomatic trips to Rivendell but you know. Fanfiction.

No warnings

Anyway, on with the story!


I tried not to be envious. I truly did.

On the way here I had attempted to prepare myself, but now that the legendary beauty of Imladris is before me, I feel jealousy well up inside me.

It is not that I believe Mirkwood is not beautiful, but only where our realm is maintained is it so. And our realm shrinks year after year.

Here, this whole valley is filled with wonder. The trees are lazy but vibrant. The flowers bloom with no fear of being trampled by orcs. The birds sing their songs, but I can’t help but recognize the short whistles as signals we warriors use to communicate in Mirkwood.

I think of the cause of all this peace: the elven ring of Lord Elrond.

Few even in Imladris know that he keeps it, and I only know because my father was nearby when Elrond was given it by Gil-galad just before a battle of the Last Alliance of Men and Elves. My father had thought little of it at the time; they were close friends, Gil-galad and Elrond, and gifts were common enough between them. Father might have thought to be jealous had he known what was truly given, but I believe that even then he would have believed it foolish to be so; there could only have been two possible outcomes of the battle that was to be fought: Sauron would triumph, all would be lost and the Elven Rings of Power useless, or the Alliance would triumph, making the world beautiful and the rings meaningless.

Or so everyone thought. Who even among the Wise could have foreseen the actual outcome?

In any case, Elrond received the ring Vilya and, as is evidenced by everything around me, used it well.
For himself, that is.

Truly, what good is it being used for here? This valley is fertile enough; plants would thrive here even without the ring’s help. I think of our beloved trees in Mirkwood that have died from the dark vapor surrounding Dol Goldur. I am sure there would be little enough threat of orcs attacking here; orcs often dwell in the Misty Mountains which surround this valley, true, but they seldom venture from their caves and then in small parties. I think of the constant threat of the stronghold of Sauron and how many of my friends have been cut down by orcs.

How much more good could the ring be used for in Mirkwood? Ours is the greater need.

I find that I have wandered to a small hill overlooking a sort of training ground where two elves are mock-dueling. I sit down to watch.

They are young, younger even than I, which is new to me, as I am the youngest in my realm. Soon after I was born families feared to have more children because they would most likely be taken from each other in death. Many couples were heartbroken but had decided that this heartbreak was more endurable than that which would accompany the loss of a child.

My thoughts are pulled back to the duelers by a clear laugh. One of them had apparently claimed victory and was enjoying it immensely. Until the defeated one tripped him. They were both now wrestling on the field.

This entire incident is like nothing I have ever seen. First of all, what little I saw of their mock-fight I was not impressed with. They may be younger than I, but I learned the moves they were using when I was little more than a few centuries old. These are definitely not seasoned warriors.

Also, they are wrestling – playing – on a training ground. In Mirkwood, no one plays on the training ground. There is always someone waiting to use it, so such frivolous things are strictly forbidden.

Finally, they are still playing down there. They apparently have no interest in even perfecting what little skill they have in battle.

I suppose it is well that Rivendell is not often threatened. If she were, she would certainly be lost if these are the kinds of warrior commonly found in her.

Such lack of discipline in weapons training cannot be afforded in Mirkwood. I know it is wrong to be envious. But how can I not be? Many have said that I am naturally cheerful, even for a young wood-elf, but I could never take weapons training as lightly as these elves. I have been trained never to do so. I am envious of these elves’ innocence and lightheartedness, for I know I do not possess such qualities. I am envious of their home, unthreatened and beautiful. Of their youth, for I know they are the youngest elves I have seen. Of their peace…

Footsteps behind me. An elf. Of course – this is Rivendell. Orcs are not here. Stupid. I stand and turn around. Lord Elrond. Oh no… what did I do? Surely he did not merely happen to meet me here… A greeting is probably in order by now. I make a mental note to slap myself later for that and pronounce what I hope came out as a greeting. Elrond takes it so, so it must have been, and returns it.

He then sits down on the grass next to me. Feeling awkward standing next to him, I sit as well. He watches the duelers on the training ground – who are just now leaving – for a moment.

I have nothing to say, so I keep quiet, somewhat ashamed, though I do not know why. Surely he cannot truly read thoughts – those must be old wives’ tales.

“Belegil and Thoronel have improved much over the past few decades.”

I assume he is speaking of the duelers I – we – had just been observing. I can think of nothing polite to say. If that was an improvement, I can only imagine what they were…

“But I am sure they have far to go to rival you.”

What am I supposed to say to this? I finally speak: “More emphasis is placed on weapons training in Mirkwood. I have likely had the same training as they, only more rigorous.”

Elrond nods in response, then speaks again. “There is more need for it in Mirkwood than Rivendell.”

There goes the old wives’ tale theory.

“By the way, it is not so much reading thoughts as body posture and language.”

I realize I am staring open-mouthed at him and quickly look away. I hear a soft chuckle coming from him and realize he must have had lots of practice with that.

“Forgive me, my lord.” If he could tell that much, he surely could discern my jealousy. An apology seems the only thing to say.

“I forgive you willingly, as I have done for many years. Every Mirkwood elf, when in Rivendell for the first time, feels some jealousy, I expect.”

I look back at him. When he sees I have nothing to say, he continues. “But you even more so, I imagine, for as prince you realize to the fullest extent how your realm is shrinking and what Vilya could do for it.”

I decide to reply. “I confess it is so. I have seen much grief and sorrow lately and my father and I have explored every option concerning help that we can think of.” I sigh and look at Lord Elrond, not wishing to bore or depress him with our situation. He is looking at me as if expecting me to say more, however, so I do so. “Our numbers decrease every day, for warriors are killed and we have none to replace them. We have even been forced to allow some women into the army because our numbers are so few.”

At this I see my companion’s eyebrow rise somewhat. Apparently this detail had not been reported to him.

“Our training programs have had to be revised so that our warriors are ready for battle at a much younger age than before. We simply do not have time for them to progress slowly.”

I use the word “we” because it was a royal edict that revised the training programs and I am now a royal and involved in that process. In truth, however, I was very young at the time that this edict was issued and therefore had nothing to do with the processing of it. I was instead one of the warriors whose education was affected.

But I figure this is enough to express our situation. “I apologize again. I realize it is wrong to be envious and hope you know it has nothing whatsoever to do with you, my lord.”

I conclude with that, hanging my head. Lord Elrond moves so he is sitting in front of me.

“Thranduilion.” My formal name. I cannot ignore that and so look up. “I have already forgiven you – I see no need to do so again. As for your wishing Vilya was in Mirkwood, maybe I can help with that.

“Let us imagine that your father was given Vilya. He would take it to Mirkwood, of course. There was a relatively peaceful time in Mirkwood after the Last Alliance, was there not?” He pauses until I nod my head in agreement. “During this peace Thranduil would probably have used his new gift to beautify Mirkwood, as everyone would expect. He would have made gorgeous trees and flowers, probably looking much like here.”

I nod my head again, wondering where Elrond is going to take this fantasy.

“Maybe some families would even have had some children.” His voice grows suddenly sad at this. But he goes on. “So, here we are with an amazing forest now known again as Greenwood instead of Mirkwood and new, growing families.

“That peace, however, did not last very long. Your people would soon be attacked again. Their children would be forced to become warriors and the very reason families do not have children now would come to pass. Children would be killed in battle, their parents probably sailing West because of the grief. Your numbers would be less than they are now because of that.

“Sauron could not be defeated with this ring, for it can only protect and not overthrow. So Sauron would remain in Dol Goldur, undefeated, to continue his attacks on your realm. He would surely grow suspicious of such beauty, which he would certainly notice, living so near to it. He would eventually deduce that one of the elven rings was being kept there, in which case he would focus all his energy into laying siege on Mirkwood until you were finally defeated and he could take the ring.”

All I can do is stare at him and he pauses, recollecting himself. Finally he says softly, “So the only outcome would be that there would be no elven realm of Mirkwood and Sauron would possess one of the elven rings of power. I am by no means elevating myself as more worthy of receiving Vilya nor saying that your father is not worthy. I am merely stating what would most likely happen if things had gone differently… Do you understand?”

I look down. I do, of course, understand. I am merely ashamed of myself for not thinking through everything as I ought to.

I reply, “Yes, my lord. I understand. I suppose I should not question the doings of the Valar. They obviously know better than I how things should be.”

Elrond smiles and I return it. Let the young ones play at dueling. Perhaps it is better that they do not have to truly risk their lives. The real world comes to us all, sooner or later, and just because it came to me sooner is no reason for me to envy those it has not come to yet.

Elrond rises and I instinctively rise with him. “Thank you, Lord Elrond. I know there are and will be many things I will never know the reason behind, but you have helped me understand this.”

He smiles again. “You are very welcome. If you would, would you mind coming to the training ground tomorrow? There are, in fact, a few warriors here who patrol to the east against goblins from the mountains and I am sure they would appreciate some instruction.”

“Yes, my lord, of course, if you believe I could help.”

“Yes; they will be a little out of practice as they haven’t gone out on patrol in a few months and even if they had they could still learn from you, I am sure. As you said, weapons training is not emphasized much here.”

I want to point out that I didn’t say that; I merely said that it was not as important as in Mirkwood. But I fear that if I say that I will promptly taste a foot, so I satisfy myself with: “Thank you again, Lord Elrond. I will be here.”

We say our farewells and I go back to my room, feeling somewhat in a better mood than before.

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