The Last Gift|
Summary: Thranduil receives a letter from Legolas.
Fourth Age 120:
Thranduil, King of Eryn Lasgalen,
hummed a tune as he sat in his study and worked on the bow. He paid
no attention at first to what he was humming but then he stopped and
chuckled, realizing he’d been humming one of Legolas’ favorite lullabies
when he was just an elfling. Thranduil shook his head and smiled for
no particular reason as he ran a practiced hand over the shaft, his
knowing fingers seeking for any flaws. There were none and he nodded
to himself in satisfaction. He gaze fondly at the bow, his eyes lightening
with unsuppressed glee at the thought of his son’s reaction when he
saw it. He had spent every free moment he had had for the last several
weeks working on it and it was nearly finished. He reached for a small
knife to finish with the notches when a knock came to the door. Sighing,
he put the bow down, wishing — and not for the first time — that
his kingdom could run itself for five minutes without him.
“Come,” he called out and
the door opened to reveal his steward, Galion, standing there somewhat
“Ah, Galion,” the king
said cheerfully, motioning for the ellon to enter. He held up the bow
for the other Elf’s inspection. “What do you think?”
“It’s beautiful, Thranduil,”
Galion said softly, running a finger down the shaft.
“Not as good as that bow
Galadriel gave him, of course,” Thranduil said with studied diffidence.
“He would treasure it solely
because it was made by you, Thranduil, by his own adar,” Galion replied
and Thranduil nodded in satisfaction. “So when were you planning on
giving this to Legolas?”
“His begetting day is next
month,” Thranduil answered. “I thought I would surprise him with
a visit to Ithilien and give it to him then.”
Some indefinable sound came
from the steward’s throat and Thranduil looked up, puzzled by the
pained expression on his steward’s face. “What is it, Galion?”
Thranduil asked and then noticed for the first time that Galion was
holding a leather pouch with a particular seal etched on its flap, one
that he recognized, and his eyes brightened with anticipation.
“A letter from Legolas!”
he cried out in delight, holding out an imperious hand for the pouch.
In his excitement he did not notice his steward’s reluctance to give
it to him. He did notice Galion looking at the bow and wondered at his
expression which seemed... sad for some reason.
“What’s the matter, old
friend?” he demanded softly. “Why that long face?” He blinked
in amazement as his steward’s eyes began brimming with tears. “My
“He sent you a letter,”
Galion said, impatiently wiping the tears from his eyes, pointing to
the pouch. “I think you should read it.”
Thranduil stared at the pouch
for the longest time, fear for what he might find inside gripping him.
Then he shook himself impatiently and uttered a snarl of contempt at
his own cowardice, reached into the pouch and withdrawing two items,
a letter sealed with the single leaf-and-crescent-moon seal of the Lord
of Ithilien-in-Edhil and a small square package wrapped in white silk
and tied with green ribbon. Thranduil reached for one of the knives
on the table before him to break the seal, opening the missive.
He read through the letter
twice before the import of his son’s words made any sense. He stared
at the vellum for the longest time before shifting his attention to
the small package sitting on his lap. He placed the missive down and
picked up the package, untying the ribbon and pushing back the silk
to reveal a small rosewood box. It was plain and unadorned yet it had
been crafted with beauty. With trembling hands he opened it and found
a ring nestled in white silk. It was made of white gold with the leaf-and-crescent-moon
emblem of his son’s realm etched into an uncut emerald. It was, in
fact, Legolas’ signet ring and the symbol of his lordship over the
Elves of Ithilien.
“He’s gone,” Thranduil
whispered in disbelief, staring at the ring that would never have left
his son’s finger unless....
He jerked at the touch of a
hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Galion’s eyes full of compassion
and sorrow, for Galion had loved Legolas as if he were his own son.
“I’m sorry, Thranduil,” was all he said and indeed, what more
could be said at this time?
Thranduil picked up the letter
and handed it to Galion, who read it over quickly before handing it
back to the king. “You knew this day would come, did you not, my friend?”
he asked gently. “We all knew this day would come. He only stayed
for Elessar’s sake and now that the king has gone to his rest, he
has no reason to stay. The sea-longing....”
“He has me,” Thranduil
shouted, rising from his chair, anger warring with the grief that was
overwhelming him. “He has me and you and all of his people. Are we
worth less in his eyes than a mere Mortal, however vaunted his lineage?”
“I have no answers for you,
my friend,” Galion said, tears running down his cheeks and Thranduil
instinctively reached out and held him, not to give Galion comfort,
for there was none to be had, but because he feared that if he did not
hold him, he himself would collapse, and he would not allow it... not
now... not yet.
After a few moments, Galion
seemed to gather himself and he stepped out of Thranduil’s embrace,
glancing at the bow lying on the table.
“What will you do with the
bow?” he asked, his voice full of compassion for the pain that he
knew his king was in.
Thranduil shook his head, unsure
how to answer such a question at this time. “I...I think I need to
be alone, Galion. Please see that I’m not disturbed.”
“Yes, Sire,” Galion replied
formally, bowing to his lord and exiting the room, closing the door
quietly behind him.
Thranduil stared down at the
bow. It was made of yew. He’d gone out and chosen the wood himself,
trusting no other to find the perfect piece for his son’s gift. It
was as much a work of art with its leaf-shaped finials and the carved
emblem of his son’s realm along the shaft as it was a tool and weapon
and while he acknowledged that the bow of the Galadhrim was a much finer
thing, he had poured all his love and pride into the crafting of this
And now Legolas would never
see it, never hold it, never know the love his adar had for him. He
felt suddenly weak and he slipped to the floor onto his knees and clutched
the bow to him, fiercely holding it as he rocked back and forth, the
tears he had refused to let fall earlier coming in earnest.
“My son, my son. I’ve lost
my son,” he cried out and wept the harder, his heart breaking and
he did not think it would ever be mended again.
All words are Sindarin.
of the Elves, Legolas’ demesne.