I Aderthad (The Reunion)
A hush fell over the Houses of Healing as Elladan and Elrohir finished with the wounded elf that lay still and silent in the bed, leg and torso swathed in bandages, the soothing aroma of athelas wafting around him.
Almost as if it had been coreographed, the Noldor twins turned matching expectant looks on the Prince of Mirkwood, eyebrows arching in a disturbing mimicry of their father, Lord Elrond.
Legolas Thranduilion ran a hand through his hair, sighing. This was going to be difficult.
Almost against his will, his eyes strayed back to the still figure on the bed, blue gaze settling on the face that could've been his own.
Shaking his head, he moved to the door. "Not here," he told the Noldor twins, in a tone that brooked no argument.
After a last check to ensure that their patient was resting comfortably, Elladan and Elrohir followed Legolas into the Hall of Fire, settling into chairs facing their friend and waiting for his explanation.
Legolas stared into the fire for a long moment before turning his attention back to his audience, taking a deep breath before speaking.
"He is my brother," he said, voice so soft that Elladan and Elrohir almost had to strain to hear him.
Elladan frowned. "You've never spoken of him before, mellon nin
"We thought him lost," the blonde elf replied, raising his gaze to meet Elladan's curious eyes. "He disappeared the day the orcs killed our mother. We were seven." He paused, turning away to stare into the flames once again. "When the screaming stopped and I could bring myself to look, he was simply gone. Adar
sent search parties a hundred miles in either direction along the river, hoping we would find him. But there was no trace of him to be found. Finally, the search stopped, and Adar
resigned himself that he had drowned. We held a funeral, and Adar
never spoke of him or our mother again."
"How could he have survived, if he'd been taken by the river? Obviously, someone found him. Why would they not come
forward?" Elrohir questioned, mostly thinking aloud.
Legolas gave a shrug. "Who do you think found him, Elrohir? It wasn't elves. What Man would be foolish enough to risk the dangers of Mirkwood with an elf child? Adar's patrols would've killed them on sight. And that's assuming the ones who found him had any idea where he had come from."
"Whoever found him, at least, was decent enough folk. He seems to have survived alright. And someone had to teach him how to shoot and ride. He may have been raised by Men, but we all heard him speak Sindarin, and he handled his bow like an elf, not a Man," Elladan observed. "Not to mention the way his horse knew how to keep him mounted. Men don't have that kind of connection with their horses, save perhaps the Rohirrim."
Legolas' lips quirked in a slight smile. "Did you hear his accent, though? He was taught by Men, that is certain."
Elrohir laughed. "It was rather atrocious, wasn't it?" he agreed, then sat upright. "Wait...I think I've heard that accent before."
Elladan and Legolas both stared at him expectantly.
Elrohir frowned. "Around Carnenduin
, if I recall correctly. Somewhere in North Rhûn."
Legolas' eyes widened. "That's more than a day's travel from Mirkwood. You really think he could've gone that far
The Noldor shrugged. "It's certainly possible. If he was unconcious, he could've floated the entire journey without
thrashing about and drowning himself."
The Silvan Prince shuddered slightly. "I don't even want to contemplate how horrible that must have been. We were so young..."
Elladan gave a reassuring smile. "Well, it was several thousand years ago, mellon nin
. He probably hardly remembers
it, if he was concious at all. At any rate, he doesn't seem to have suffered too horribly for it. He'd have had to cross several rivers to get here from North Rhûn."
"Assuming he wasn't coming from the other direction," Elrohir pointed out.
Legolas considered that. "When we found him, it seemed as if he were coming from the direction of Hithaeglir
said. "Otherwise, he would've been entering Rivendell from the West. Either he was coming from North Rhûn, or he
took the long way from Angmar or Rohan."
Elrohir gave him a strange look. "Angmar and Rohan are on opposite ends of Hithaeglir
"My point was that he could've been coming from anywhere, and still come from the direction of the mountains," Legolas replied dryly.
"Could only have been North or East," Elladan pointed out. "Otherwise Lorien would've been closer."
Legolas sighed. "I don't see why we don't just wait and ask him when he wakes."
Elladan and Elrohir flashed matching expressions of innocence. "But, then how would we distract you from your reminiscing?" Elrohir inquired.
"If getting into all manner of trouble with your brother didn't kill me, I daresay I'll survive a few memories," the blonde elf replied, a definite edge of sarcasm lacing the words.
The Noldor twins snickered. "Estel is
remarkably good at getting into trouble, isn't he?" Elladan observed.
"Yes. Quite. And even better at dragging everyone around him into trouble, as well," Elrohir added, sounding just a bit too amused by that fact for Legolas' liking.
"Speaking of Estel, didn't you mention he would be visiting soon?" the Prince deftly changed the subject before the twins could start bringing up particular instances where either he or Aragorn had been literally carried home. Quite frequently unconcious.
Elladan shrugged. "He sent a message saying he would be later than he thought. He got caught up at court and doesn't
think he'll be free for another week or so."
Legolas frowned. "It seems his court seems intent on smothering him to death," he commented, annoyed. That would be
the fourth time Aragorn's planned trip to Imladris was stalled or cancelled altogether. Honestly, he didn't see why
Aragorn didn't simply leave anyway. It wasn't as if Gondor would burn to the ground in Faramir's care. That was
the point of having a Steward, after all.
Elladan stood and stretched the tension from his back that came from the hours they had spent working on the injured elf. "We need to go out and gather more athelas
, and probably tathar
, as well," he said.
"You think the fevers will return?" Legolas questioned, concerned.
"Probably not, but it is best to be prepared, and Ada took most of his supplies with him. He probably hasn't had much use for them, but he won't be back for at least a fortnight, and I would rather not be caught without if we should need them," Elrohir answered.
Legolas gave a nod. "Of course. Is there something in particular I should do if he wakens?"
Elladan gave an impish grin. "Try not to let him die of shock. I doubt his vision was clear enough to see you when we found him, and I daresay seeing the mirror-image of himself will be rather unnerving."
"You aren't half as amusing as you think you are, mellon nin
," the blonde elf informed him.
Elrohir chuckled. "Oh, I think it's very
amusing, Legolas. After all, I saw the look on YOUR face, right before he
pointed his bow at you."
"Go find your smelly herbs and leave me in peace," Legolas replied, waving a hand in regal dismissal.
The twins' laughter echoed back to him as they departed, leaving the Prince of Mirkwood alone with an insensate brother he hadn't seen in millenia.
Tinnûvion returned to awareness slowly, his acute hearing honing in on a soft voice singing in Sindarin, somewhere in the room he occupied.
Forcing his eyes open, disturbed to realize they had been closed in the first place, he took stock of his surroundings.
From the scent of athelas, and the feeling of tight bandaging over his torso, he guessed he'd somehow made it to Imladris and the Houses of Healing, though his memory of his arrival was hazy at best.
An attempt to sit up and gain a better view drew a choked cry of pain from parched lips, and the singing stopped abruptly, replaced by light steps approaching the bed where Tinnûvion rested.
Gentle hands eased him back into a more comfortable position against the pillows, and Tinnûvion froze as he gazed up into what appeared to be his own face.
The elf that looked like him gave a rueful smile as Tinnûvion gaped in astonishment.
"Breathe, muindor nin
. I promised the healers I wouldn't let the shock kill you," the blonde elf told him, a light edge of teasing in his lyrical voice.
The timber and pitch of the voice was the same as Tinnûvion's own, but the inflections were different, the accent strange to his ears.
"You-?!" Tinnûvion was unable to form a coherent sentence.
The other elf laughed. "If this is the look that was on my face earlier, Elladan and Elrohir were right. It is
Tinnûvion scowled, made to cross his arms over his chest, then thought the better of it as a hiss of pain slipped from between his teeth when he tried to move.
"Sîdh, muindor nin
. You are safe here."
Tinnûvion frowned at that. "Where am I?"
"Imladris, in the Houses of Healing," the other elf replied. "Lord Elrond is away, but his sons, Elladan and Elrohir, have seen to your care. They will return shortly."
Tinnûvion gave a nod, peering curiously at the elf who looked so much like him. "Who are you?"
"Legolas Thranduilion. Do you remember me at all?" the other elf questioned.
Tinnûvion frowned in confusion. "We've met before?"
Legolas gave a smile tinged with sorrow. "I should say so. We were born of the same Naneth
, mere minutes apart. I am
older, just so you're aware."
Tinnûvion blinked. "I...what did you say?"
"We are brothers. Twins. Though you were thought lost thousands of years ago," Legolas replied. "Do you remember nothing of where you came from?"
Tinnûvion frowned thoughtfully. "Very little. Before I was...adopted, things are rather hazy. I remember a river. There was screaming. But, I don't...I do not know what happened, or to whom."
Legolas nodded. "That is probably for the best. I remember a bit more, and wish that I did not," he said.
"What happened? How was I...lost?" Tinnûvion inquired.
"We went to the river with Naneth
. We should have been safe. There were guards, as always. But, we were taken by
surprise and surrounded. Naneth bade us to run, and we did. I climbed a tree and stayed there, too frightened to move. I did not see where you ran. There was screaming for a long time, and then silence for longer. By the time Adar
and more guards arrived in search of us, you had disappeared, and everyone else was slain."
Tinnûvion gave a nod. That matched the few blurry memories he had. "I think I fell, or perhaps was pushed, into the river. Naneth
-or, the woman I came to call Naneth
-told me she found me clinging to a log, half dead. She was...amazing," he said, love for the woman who had raised him evident.
"I was not well accepted by the Men of her village. She defended me as if I were her own blood, even though she never let me forget that I was not human, and I would live long after she perished. She paid Rangers to teach me what they knew of elves so I could look for my people someday without worry that I would not fit with them."
"What are you called?" Legolas questioned curiously, wondering if his brother had a human name, or several, like Estel.
"Tinnûvion ar Carnenduin."
Legolas gave a soft laugh. "It fits, somehow, though you were called Eirien before."
Tinnûvion arched a brow. "That is a bit...pretty, for my tastes."
Legolas smirked. "Then you have been among Men far too long, muindor nin
elvish names are 'pretty'. Or, at least those I have heard."
"Valar help us," Tinnûvion muttered, forgetting that he was not the only one with superior hearing.
That earned a laugh from his double and Tinnûvion scowled. "This is going to take some getting used to. I am accustomed to being able to say much without fear of being overheard."
"Oh, it gets worse," Legolas told him, a wicked gleam in his blue eyes.
"Worse?" Tinnûvion repeated, voice tinged with suspicion.
"Oh, yes. I have not yet explained who our adar
is," Legolas replied, giving an innocent smile.
"Why do I get the distinct impression I will either like this news, or hate it?"
"Because you will."
"That's not comforting, Legolas."
"It wasn't meant to be," Legolas replied, eyes twinkling. "Are you ready?"
"Shall I dignify that with a response or simply glare?" Tinnûvion replied, annoyed.
"You are entirely too much like a Man I know," Legolas mock-lamented.
"For Eru's sake, Legolas, just tell me!"
Heaving a long-suffering sigh, Legolas complied. "Adar
is the King of Mirkwood."
Tinnûvion blinked at him. "I must have misunderstood you. I thought you said our father was a king."
Legolas hadn't had this much fun since before the War of the Ring. Now, if he could just convince Tinnûvion to go along with it, he could play the prank of a lifetime on Aragorn. He had no worries that Elladan and Elrohir would protest. In fact, he would be surprised if the same idea hadn't occurred to the terrible twosome. It was a prank worthy of their cunning and mischievious nature.
Tinnûvion was staring into space, eyes slightly unfocused.
"Are you well, muindor nin
?" Legolas questioned, turning his attention back to the situation at hand.
"Yes. I believe so. You aren't making that up, are you? Should I not remember being son to a king?" Tinnûvion questioned.
"We were seven when you disappeared. I doubt either of us understood what a king was
at that age. I vaguely remember believing that everyone lived as we did until I was quite a bit older," Legolas responded.
Tinnûvion considered that in silence for a long moment. "What is Adar
like?" he finally asked.
is...hard to explain. At time he seems cold. He certainly is known for having a rather bad temper. I think most of that came about after Naneth
was killed. Mostly, he is fair and personable, if not exactly friendly," Legolas told him. "Estel could probably give you a better accounting as an outsider. He and Adar
are not what I would call close, but they respect each other, if only so they do not drive me utterly mad."
Tinnûvion arched an eyebrow at that. "You would have someone who does not particularly like him describe Adar
"Estel is a very good judge of character. You'll see, assuming he ever escapes," Legolas said, sighing.
"Someone holds him prisoner?" Tinnûvion questioned, confused by Legolas' seeming easy acceptance of such.
Legolas laughed. "No, I'm sorry. Estel is not truly being held prisoner, just delayed by matters of state."
"I begin to think you purposefully confuse me, Legolas."
The Silvan prince flashed a brief, teasing smile. "Perhaps. Estel is King Elessar of Gondor. He was supposed to arrive in Imladris over a month ago, but it would seem his court feels it cannot survive without him for more than five seconds at a time, and keeps delaying him."
Tinnûvion considered that momentarily. "Or, if half of what I've heard of the King of Gondor is true, they are simply afraid to let him stray from their sight for fear that he'll be waylaid in one manner of trouble or another."
Legolas laughed. "For someone who has yet to meet Estel, you know him well."
Tinnûvion gave a slight shrug. "I only know rumors that he was one of the Fellowship. To hear the tales, one would think they marched on Mordor itself."
Legolas colored slightly and murmured something too soft even for Tinnûvion's elven ears to make out. "What was that?"
Legolas met his brother's gaze reluctantly. "I said, 'We did.'"
Tinnûvion's eyes widened. "You
were the elf that joined the Nine Walkers?"
Legolas nodded. "Adar
was...less than pleased with my choice. Though, of course, I didn't hear of it until after we
returned from the war."
Tinnûvion gave a short chuckle. "I can only imagine what he said. I doubt it was pleasant."
"Oh, far from it. I believe he called me a 'mad elfling'," Legolas said, shaking his head.
Thus, Elladan and Elrohir returned from gathering herbs to the sound of laughter.