Disclaimer: I own no Tolkien characters or places, as much as I would like to claim the Elvenking as mine! I mean no disrespect to Thranduil in any way; I merely strive to show that he does indeed have a fun side to him. He’s my favorite elf so I would never make fun of him! This story was inspired by Cenor as we chatted about another, more serious dancing story. I hope you all enjoy this strange tale; feel free to comment and tell me what you think!

No one knows what happened to the Elvenking that fateful night. Laughter filled the air as the elves continued their merrymaking, passing the wine around as they feasted on their scrumptious delicacies. The summer flowers wafted their heavenly smell into the air, blending with that of the smorgasbord. While in our world technicality states that the host sits at the head of the table and the hostess at the foot, it is done otherwise in the halls of the Elvenking. He insisted his wife sit at his right hand and son at the left, which satisfied them just fine, perhaps a bit too much on the part of the Elvenqueen Arabesque. Everyone around them laughed and enjoyed themselves immensely. Now, it must be understood that there were few elves in Mirkwood these days; most had either moved elsewhere or gone to the Undying Lands, since the War of the Ring had ended many years prior. However, they decided to celebrate because Legolas had come for a visit from Ithilien; he realized his father and mother needed him to visit and what better excuse for a party? Now that the world was pretty much at peace with itself, the elves could live their lives more like what they desired: quietly yet with some merriment from time to time; those who chose to stay wanted to enjoy the peace.
Thranduil himself took part in this festive time, chuckling at the corny jokes his subjects made and actually enjoying himself rather immensely. His wife, Arabesque, looked on in amusement. Just what had gotten into her beloved? However, whatever it was looked well on him, making him all the more handsome in her loving eyes. Although some suspect otherwise, he only had two glasses of wine; the rest of the time he drank either coffee punch or lemon water. Neither were the delicious mushrooms hallucinogenic; these fungi were no different than the elves would have at any other time. However, something affected stoic and somber Thranduil’s demeanor for the better. In fact, he could not recall the last time he had had fun. Feeling especially rambunctious, the Elvenking seized the opportunity to have a good time with his wife. He leaned close and his soft lips tickled her ear, “I love you, Meleth!”
As she moved closer, her hushed reply came, “And I love you!”
Then the Ruler or Mirkwood had an uncharacteristically cheeky thought, “How about we embarrass Legolas a bit?” he wagged his eyebrows enticingly, something his wife found hard to resist, and then he winked at her.
Arabesque daintily covered her mouth with a napkin to hide her giggles. Then she leaned even closer and he captured her lips with his in a long, sweet kiss. His lips tasted like chocolate and coffee and the Elvenqueen sighed with contentment.
At that moment, Legolas looked towards his parents and caught their public display of affection, thus he turned bright red. “Ada, Naneth, please!” he begged.
His protests were met with a bemused glare from both parents. “Is it now against the law for an elf to kiss his wife?” Thranduil challenged, utterly enjoying himself.
Their son knew better than to argue. “I suppose not. But do you have to do it in front of me?”
Arabesque grinned at her son. “Yes, I believe we do!” She kissed her husband again, much to Legolas’ chagrin and the bemusement of the other guests.
I must speak with the cellar keepers about this wine and coffee punch. It seems to be much too strong tonight. Just what has happened with my parents since I moved out? Legolas contemplated, then decided to ignore his parents and try to fellowship with the other elves. Turning to some of his musical friends, he had an idea. “Would you all mind playing some of our new songs? Perhaps this will help calm the strange spirit among us.”
“Absolutely! As long as the Elvenking does not mind, that is.” Being the only elf ruler left in Middle Earth, Thranduil was held in awe by most of the other elves, even those who did not live in Mirkwood. Thus they did not want to upset him with anything he might deem “nonsense”; they still saw him as the stoic and unemotional ruler he had been back in the days of Bilbo Baggins.
A female elf bravely turned her attention to Thranduil to pose their inquiry, noticing he and his wife had stopped necking for a bit. “Elvenking Thranduil, would you mind if my friends and I play some new music we have picked up in Ithilien?”
Husband and wife turned to each other, their gaze unable to be deciphered by anyone else. Then the Elvenking looked to the elf-maiden, “Go right ahead! I have grown rather tired of all our old Mirkwood ballads, Rivendell ditties, and Lothlórien chants. Something new sounds lovely!”
The elf sighed in relief, then gathered her friends to commence their playing. What they failed to tell him is the influence for all their new musical genres came from an unlikely source of which he might not approve if he knew.
The first song ended up being something like a salsa. Maracas, drums, and woodwinds dominated the catchy tune. Thranduil, sitting at the head of the table, could not help but sway to the beat. His feet started tapping seemingly on their own, and his hands began to delicately move to complement the music. Legolas had just stuffed his face with a huge bite of chocolate cake when his father questioned him, “What is this called? It is such a catchy tune!”
Choking and spluttering, the younger elf unceremoniously gulped down the mouthful and got a quick swig of coffee punch. “I think it originated in Harad and is called something like salsarion. A dance goes with it.”
“Interesting! It does have that desert sun sort of flavor, now that you mention it.” Soon he got up on the dance floor and attempted to dance to this exciting new music. A pretty female elf noticed his struggles and grabbed his hands. “Here, my Elvenking, let me show you how it’s done!” She started to sway her body to the beat, feet moving back and forth in a mambo. “When you go forward, I go backward. So for you, start with your left foot and it’s forward-two-three, and back-two-three. Once you feel confident, you can do it sideways and even turn!” Soon Thranduil caught on and was swaying around, not caring what anyone thought. Much to everyone’s amusement, his hips swayed in time to the beat, making his lower half seem rather Latino instead of elvish. Even his hand movements complemented both the steps and music perfectly and he would on occasion break from his partner’s grasp to add in some flare. What an interesting sight, the royally dressed Thranduil dancing like a Hispanic! Arabesque laughed out loud, then hijacked her husband as she picked up on the moves. Soon they were the best-looking couple on the floor, their hips swaying in perfect synchronization. “Thranduil, I wish we knew about this sooner! That beat is so amazing, much peppier than our usual music!”
“It is, isn’t it? We shall have to add this to our future parties!” They placed their hands on each other’s hips, feeling the beat as it course within their veins.
Legolas looked on, horrified at his parents’ display of indignity (at least in his eyes!). He ran up to his father, “Ada, what are you doing? You will embarrass the entire kingdom!” He turned to his mother, hoping to get a response from one of them. “Naneth, why do you allow him to do this?” But his mother only smiled and sashayed in his direction, attempting to make him join their dance, which he refused.
Turning back to Thranduil, Legolas grabbed his arm and tried to pull him away. “Why don’t you let me help you to your room and you can sleep it off?” The Mirkwood prince tugged on his father’s arm more fervently, but he effectively pushed him away, rather unamused.
“Legolas, you are the one who brought these elves here. Lighten up! You need to join us!” he laughed, enjoying that he’d horrified his son. Arabesque joined in the merriment, finding it humorous to embarrass her son after all the times he had mortified her. They wiggled their hips more vigorously in his direction, much to his chagrin. Legolas sighed and walked out to his own chambers, extremely discomfited. Why did he think visiting Mirkwood with some friends was a good idea?
Back on the dance floor, things got wilder. The partygoers moved outdoors under the starlight and some set up a large tent, which ended up full of moth holes. However, the starlight shone through the hollows, causing a plethora of light looking remarkably like that which shines from a disco ball. Then the visiting elves started playing something akin to disco. Drums pounded out a strange beat to the Mirkwood elves; the emphasis tended to be on bars two and four rather than one and three, as they were accustomed. A few woodwinds joined the drums, belting out an interesting ditty. The same elf maid showed Thranduil how the dance was done; Arabesque got a bit jealous when she noticed the lovely maiden sidle up to her husband. She came up as the impudent girl was talking. “Elvenking Thranduil, this style of dance is actually similar to the first. You can just stand and sway your hips back and forth, like this,” she demonstrated, and the Elvenqueen glared at her.
“Excuse me!” she exclaimed, a bit rude and gruff because she was upset and not afraid to show it; a woman can’t live with Thranduil for thousands of years and not pick up on some of his bluntness. “That is MY husband with whom you are dancing. Kindly unhand him and leave him alone!”
The elf maid cowered, never having seen a fierce Elvenqueen before. “Yes, your majesty, I’ll just go over there…” she quickly sidled off.
Thranduil laughed at his wife. “My goodness, a bit jealous, are we?”
He received a deep glare in return, so he kissed her. Arabesque felt better after that and they joined in the upbeat dance. Soon he did the mashed potato and other moves. Hips swaying fervently from side to side, he pointed his finger to the beat and bobbed his head. Arabesque was beside him and again complemented his moves, swaying her hips in the opposite direction, giving their viewers a rather seasick feeling as they tried to make sense of who was doing what. Then an elf ran up with a pair of newfangled things called “sunglasses” in bright colors (Thranduil’s was electric blue, and Arabesque’s hot pink) and shaped like stars. The rulers looked quite vogue in their new style! Then, the Elvenqueen started to shimmy around her husband, and he soon followed suit, now both shoulders and hips swaying in time to the beat as they flirted with each other. The visitors were rather impressed that the ruler of Mirkwood caught on so quickly; he was an amazing dancer, and so was his wife, for that matter! After a while, practically all the elves (except party-pooper Legolas, of course) joined in a hyped-up version of the electric slide. The Elvenking and Queen laughed and wiggled their hips, totally enjoying themselves as they scooted across the dance floor.
Yet another new score started, this time some swing and sounded rather like Glen Miller’s In the Mood, or Ray Anthony’s Drive In. The Jitterbug, on full swing, had never been danced so exuberantly or happily. The rulers of Mirkwood, aware only of each other, made up moves how they saw fit. At one point, the Elvenking and Elvenqueen stood back-to-back, then he leaned over and she flipped neatly off his shoulders to stand in front of him. Every so often he would turn her under his arm, sometimes so bold as to hug her or steal a kiss before returning to their moves. The couple smiled and laughed, not remembering the last time they had had so much fun together. Thus far, Thranduil though this was his favorite dance! He loved the carefree style and how he could move as he wished as long as he kept the same basic rhythm and stayed attuned with his partner, which never proved to be a problem since Arabesque followed his lead flawlessly.
The Rulers of Mirkwood, rather thirsty after all their dancing, made their way back to the table and sat down for some refreshments. “Thranduil, Meleth, I have not had this much fun since all those parties before we were married! And it has been so long since I’ve seen you so happy and carefree. It looks well on you!”
“Arabesque, my Meleth, I cannot recall the last time I enjoyed myself so much. Perhaps we could make this an annual event, or maybe even more than that!”
“Yes! Oh, how about we do a biannual costume ball, and also have a biannual regular party.”
“Capital idea! An event for each season. I vote for the costume balls being in spring and fall, and the regular parties in summer and winter.”
“This will be so much fun to plan!” Before the Elvenqueen could say more, they were interrupted by some of their guests.
“We want Thranduil! We want Thranduil! We want Thranduil!” they chanted.
The Elvenking shared a worried look with his wife, then stood and addressed the anxious crowd. “I am right here. There is no need to shout! Now would someone kindly tell me what this is all about?” He glared them into silence.
A brave young elf stood and looked towards the elf king. “Please, your Majesty, we would like for you to dance for us some more.” He sat back down, looking rather pale.
The Elvenking smiled, as did his wife. She whispered in his ear, which caused his grin to widen even more. “I would be happy to oblige my guests! Any requests?”
The musicians started playing some Russian-type music, so Thranduil got up on a table. Back as straight as could be, he squatted and kicked his legs out in front of him, from time to time leaping up in the air. The audience looked on in sheer amazement, clapping and cheering. However, as the speed of the tune increased, so did Thranduil’s dance moves. From time to time a full glass of liquid would get knocked into an unsuspecting elf’s lap, which caused quite a disruption that their ruler failed to notice. Then he jumped especially high in the air and missed the table entirely, landing in Arabesque’s lap. They both tumbled over in a mass of arms, legs, and tangled hair. Everyone ran to make sure they were ok, but by the time they got to them, the royal couple was laughing hysterically. In fact, they could hardly get up from their unseemly display of mirth, which left tears running down their cheeks. Soon everyone else joined in the merriment and they spent probably ten minutes just laughing until their sides felt as though they would split in two.
A tango began, and after a couple of elves showed off their expert moves, the Elvenking grabbed the nearest female elf (which thankfully happened to be his wife), pulling her onto the dance floor. He held her close and they danced cheek to cheek; he even dipped her from time to time, sneaking a kiss at each instance. “It’s a good thing Legolas retired to his chambers,” she whispered.
Thranduil smiled. “Yes, he would be quite embarrassed. I wish I knew where we went wrong with our son; there is no harm in sneaking a kiss once in a while,” he demonstrated his point.
“Perhaps he has not yet gotten over the War of the Ring. However, I think a party like this is just the thing he needs to get him out of his shell and lighten him up. He’s just too hotheaded and stubborn to see it.”
“Exactly! I wonder where he got that from?” he pondered, and Arabesque sent him an icy glare.
“Me?” In mock horror, he swiped his hand across his brow.
The Elvenqueen twirled away and gently punched his arm on the way back. “Yes, you. But I still love your royal grouchiness!” They shared yet another passionate kiss and continued dancing, reveling in the special time with each other.
All the native Mirkwooders wondered just what had gotten into their king; on a typical day, his solemn and stoic demeanor complemented the murk of the forest and merriment was all but forgotten at times. His life held much sadness, and even being reunited with his wife for nigh unto a hundred years now had not completely given him joy. However, the royal subjects enjoyed seeing their ruler this happy and having so much fun, so they joined in as well, despite their wonder at this sudden change. They certainly did not have the qualms about his uncharacteristic display of fun, unlike a certain Legolas.
Some funky swing started a dance called Chaos Mixer.* Apparently some of the new music had been inspired by a reformed orc named Urduk, who had joined the party. He wore a dazzlingly odd suit of a sparkly purple substance, frothy like the foam on grape juice when it is shaken and shimmery like new wine. The tune was dominated by drums and a baritone singing about the dance; it made absolutely no sense to anyone but fit with the music and contrasted with the higher woodwinds. It ended up that Urduk, of all people, grabbed Thranduil and explained the dance as they went in his gruff voice. “Walk a quick eight steps forward with the beat. Then we will turn towards each other and back away four small steps. Next are three quick stamps, followed by three quick claps. Now I will turn you, and when I let go grab someone else!”
The Elvenking never dreamed he would find himself dancing with an orc, of all things, but found himself having a wonderful time. Urduk had explained this was a party dance and it didn’t matter who you danced with as long as it was someone! Thus Thranduil, and everyone else, danced with pretty much every elf (and orc!) on the dance floor. Gender didn’t matter; occasionally men danced with men, and women with women. As the name of the dance suggests, everything becomes chaos at some time or another. From time to time someone would run into another elf or knock someone down and send him or her sliding halfway across the dance floor, which brought about much laughter after they made sure the embarrassed elf remained uninjured.
“Why didn’t I know about this sooner?” the Mirkwood ruler thought to himself. Then he remembered his son as the dance came to a close. “Legolas really does not know what he is missing! Wait until he hears about the exciting time everyone had!” An idea came to him, visibly lighting up his handsome face. He turned to Arabesque and whispered in her ear, to which she covered her mouth to contain the laugh that threatened to explode from her.
The Elvenking immediately turned to the musicians. “Attention, everyone! My son seems to have lost his sense of fun back in Rohan or Gondor somewhere, so I suggest we help him find it. I want you all to follow me to his chambers, where we shall attempt to persuade him to join us. After all, many of you are his personal guests and he is not being a very good host now, is he?” The whole court guffawed, anxious to see where this turn of events would lead. After seeing Thranduil in this strange state of mind, they had no idea what to expect from him and were eager to figure out his plan. Everyone followed the Mirkwood rulers back into the castle, straight to the Elvenprince’s room. Thranduil raised his hand and knocked on the door, signaling back to his subjects to be quiet. “Legolas!” he called in a stern voice. “I wish to speak with you at once.” He, and all the others, for that matter, had a hard time containing their mirth as the door slowly opened.
“Ada, whatever is going on?” he inquired warily, noticing the high concentration of elves in the hallway, some suspiciously and unsuccessfully hiding instruments behind their backs. Others turned away from him and shook with laughter, trying their best to hold back the mirth but failing miserably.
“We have decided you need to take care of your guests!” He motioned for the musicians to begin. They played an old elven favorite, one they knew the prince enjoyed immensely. Similar to a waltz, the music was fairly slow and haunting in its beautiful minor key. Arabesque grabbed her son and started to dance, and he could not help but follow. Thranduil watched, a large smile making his face even more attractive; he loved to see mother and son dance together. Actually, all Legolas knew about dance was learned from his parents, and almost as accomplished as his father, he whirled his mother around the room and down the hallways with grace and ease. Arabesque, joy radiating from her face, continued the waltz with her precious child, who at last had fun himself.
The feasting, dancing, and laughter continued through the night and well into the next morning. Each tune grew wilder than the next until everyone collapsed from sheer exhaustion, tired yet content.
Long after the fact, the elves still spoke of what a grand party that was, perhaps the finest and most fun ever. It became known world-wide as “The Night the Elvenking Lost His Mind”, although everyone who knew tried to keep that name from Thranduil himself. Being the observant elf that he is, he almost instantly knew about the name and was secretly proud of his new reputation, something only Arabesque knew. They would exchange knowing glances if they knew someone was whispering about that fateful night, and the Elvenking found the whole thing quite humorous.
The eyewitnesses enjoyed sharing their firsthand experience at seeing the Elvenking put off his stoic ways in exchange for something wild. They never knew exactly what got into him that night; as a matter of fact, he had no idea either. However, in retrospect Arabesque assured him that his momentary indignity actually moved him higher up in the eyes of his subjects; they now knew he truly was one of them, capable of being a normal person and having a good time. They loved to speak of how he did not seem to care what anyone else thought but showed his true self.

*Chaos mixer is indeed a real dance that I’m fairly certain Germany stole from a Scottish dance called Angus Reel. Anyway, it’s a lot of fun and the way I describe it here is typical of the way I do it (as of the moment, someone actually did fall down while he was doing it; don’t worry, he was fine!). Now that I’ve written this story, I always see Thranduil doing it too!

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