Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
Era: Third Age of the Sun
Genre: Drama, Action/Adventure (“AU”)
Rating: T / FRT
Characters: Legolas, Thranduil (, OCs)
Summary: Soon after Legolas’ birth, there was a bodyguard chosen for him, as had been the custom in the royal family. But how was Rafél chosen to this task, and did he accept his new duty immediately and without hesitating? How did the young Prince of Mirkwood receive his guardian? And most of all, how did they befriend and grew inseparable…
Part of the history of “The Last Journey”. Complete.
Warnings: Violence, mentioning of death.
“Please, could you pay attention, Shannai?” Thrénandu’s nearly agitated voice rang through the practice field. Some of the youngest novices giggled, and the small Elf addressed went bright red from neck up, light green eyes glancing fearfully at the mentor. “Now, please continue, Rafél,” Thrénandu nodded to the older warrior, folding his arms across his chest. He would have to remember to talk to Shannai after the lesson was over – and maybe to other novices in his group as well. It did not do that the Elflings weren’t paying attention when an important demonstrator was taking over. Even if all the children gathered here weren’t yet novices – Shannai being one of them – it didn’t mean that they should not pay attention.
Noticing that he would be able to start, Rafél drew his sword from its scabbard, the ringing round making all the small heads turn into his direction. With a light, swift movement, Rafél swung the blade through the air, a soft whistle breaking the silence. The novices watched in awe as Rafél danced with his blade, his movement unhurried and disciplined, creating a beautiful unity of moves. When finally the show came to an end, Rafél made a one more swing, and brought the sword back to its place on his side. Bowing to his audience, he clasped hands with Thrénandu.
“Hannon le,” Thrénandu said, and then turned to the younglings. “I hope you will remember this lesson for some time, for it is important: if you cannot master the sword and yourself, the there is no hope to master an enemy. Before you can win a battle, you must win yourself. You may go now. I shall see you tomorrow.” With a serial of joyous shouts, the Elflings and the novices scattered to four winds, a few of them lingering behind, throwing curious glances at Rafél’s direction.
Rafél smiled, looking after the children. They were not many, but certainly there was still hope for the Elves. “You have a full handful of work there, my friend,” he said to the captain next to him.
Thrénandu grimaced, nodding. “But seeing them grow and become adults is a great repayment of all the misery. I would count myself as a privileged one.”
Rafél thought about this, when suddenly another Elf joined them. “My Lords,” a young warrior said, bowing respectfully. “The King has sent for you, requesting for your presence when you have time,” he addressed Rafél.
“Well, better not to let the King wait,” Rafél replied, sending the courier away with a grateful nod.
“Indeed,” Thrénandu said, with a smile of his own. “Have a nice day.” With that, Thrénandu took off, a next class of novices already waiting for him.
Starting towards the palace, Rafél adjusted his clothing. He spared his mind from the riddling what his Lord would want, preferring more to wait and see rather than guess. A few words with a guard told him that the King was in his study. Heading there, Rafél made a quick transverse through the caves that created Thranduil’s stronghold.
Reaching the door of the King’s study, Rafél knocked the door, patiently waiting for a permission to enter. He didn’t need to wait long before a word from the inside invited him in. With a bow to his King, Rafél closed the door behind him.
“I hope I didn’t interrupt you from your tasks?” the King of Woodland Realm asked, facing the warrior.
“No, my Lord, I was merely helping Thrénandu with some young novices. I was already finished with my display when your call came.”
Thranduil’s face got somewhat troubled, and Rafél wondered if he had said something wrong. But Thranduil mastered his feelings soon enough, resuming his previous look. “Would you walk with me? I desire to speak with you.”
With a nod, Rafél followed his King out to the woods around the palace. They walked, speaking of the growing darkness in the south, their own patrols’ success to stop the flow of enemies to the north and of other things with little importance – Rafél all the while wondering when Thranduil would get to the point: these things surely were not the reason for summoning him.
Unconsciously, Thranduil led them to the part of the woods where his youngest prince had taken his first breath of life just few weeks ago. Stunned by this, Thranduil stopped, forcing his companion to do so to avoid collision. Rafél took a cautious step back, his eyes narrowing as he studied his Lord and long time friend. “Thranduil, what is bothering you? You have circled around the subject all afternoon like a cat around a bowl of milk, unafraid to approach.”
Sighing defiantly, Thranduil turned his head to look at the warrior behind him. “You read me terrifyingly well. But it is quite understandable: you have seen years uncounted on this earth before I was even born.”
Rafél smiled warmly, not wishing to push his Lord but his interest awoken. “So, what is this matter you wished to talk with me about? Surely you have already danced around the topic far enough.”
“I have,” Thranduil said, right now feeling all but the King of Elves. “You mentioned you helped Thrénandu with the youths today?”
Groaning inwardly, Rafél forced himself to answer without too much remark. “I did.”
“And how did you feel about it?”
Rafél’s eyebrows shot up, confusion plain upon his face. “I am not sure if I understand…”
Thranduil turned to face him, his eyes serious. “How did you feel about teaching the youths? Did it make you proud? Pleased? Frustrated? Annoyed?”
“I merely showed them how to move a blade and become one with it,” Rafél answered slowly. “I have done that before, many times, and it was not different from those: some of the children were awed, some interested, and some sought to be somewhere else. It is different with proper novices, for they already wish to learn and they know it is important. Why do you ask? Do you seek to make me one of the trainers?”
“Not exactly,” Thranduil said haltingly. “It is more my wife’s wish, and I do not entirely agree with her, but I promised her to try.” Pausing again, Thranduil seemed to struggle with finding the right words. “We have come to a decision to ask you to be our youngest son’s guardian.”
The moment of silence drew longer than either expected, Rafél being speechless and Thranduil too afraid to utter a word. Finally, the elder one of the two sorted out his thoughts, understanding what was asked of him. “You wish me to become Legolas’ bodyguard?” Rafél stated slowly.
“Yes,” Thranduil answered, relief in his voice. “But as you know, it is more than that. And I do not force you to decide now,” he assured. “Take your time to think this through. You are too great of a warrior to be wasted as a guardian, for my liking, but I understand why Galenrosiel chose you. Think over this, and then let me know.”
Rafél nodded, mutely, and Thranduil excused himself, returning back to his duties. Alone in the forest, Rafél leaned against a side of an oak, closing his eyes and wishing he knew what had just happened.
to be continued…
)Sindarin(: - Westron:
Hannon le – Thank you