Disclaimer: I do not own Middle-earth or any of the known characters of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Author's Note: Hello! I'm back with another story. :) This is still a work in progress so please be patient with me. It was something brewing in my head that I decided to finally get out. Reviews are what keeps me motivated so if you want me to keep writing, you need to keep reviewing! I appreciate being added to your favorites or alerts too, whether by story or author-but reviews are the best!
I haven't written a new story in a while so we'll see how this one goes. I'm all about constructive criticism so feel free to give them. However, if you're just going to bash the story then don't read it. It's really that simple. Don't waste both our time. And, with that said...
In this story, Legolas and his father, Thranduil, do not exactly live in Middle-earth but somewhere in Europe instead. They chose to live in our World but still travel back to Middle-earth from time to time, at least Legolas does. Please be advised that I am NOT going by the book's events or all characteristics that Elves possess. The way the Elves speak in this story will be written in our time, instead of the proper way that they tend to speak. Remember that it's fan-fiction so anything goes!
The characters I own are Isa (eye-sah) Culver, Shohrae (sho-ray) Holone, and Ellessia Morningstar. There will be a few others characters later in the story that will also belong to me. I'm sure you can figure them out. The story will also be written in Isa's point-of-view. Thought I'd try something different. As the story progresses, I might do other POVs from the other characters but that's a maybe.
CHAPTER 1: ENGLAND
I stared out the window and saw nothing but forests and narrow two-way roads. We were a good ways from the city now, the kind of civilization I didn't want to be away from. I kept imagining throwing myself out of the moving vehicle and running back to the city to catch the next plane back to New York. Why did he have to live so far out in the country?
The road we passed reminded me of a place you would consider for camping trips with your family or hiking adventures with your friends…taking a dead body and hiding the evidence here also crossed my mind. With nothing around but trees and bushes, it'd be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But, I shouldn't think like that. If I ever had to walk this road on foot, I didn't want to think about a serial killer stalking me—especially at night. The people here would probably lock me away for running around like a madman. I quickly shook the thought away.
The driver stared at me in the back seat through his mirror, most likely speculating that I was having some sort of a nervous breakdown. I smiled at him politely and sunk a little bit more into the leather seat to hide my embarrassment. He slowly looked away and focused back on the road.
When I was no longer being watched, I traced my fingers on the leather seat. The inside still smelled like a new car. I'd been in town cars before, but this one looked like a newer model, a nicer model…an expensive model.
The man in the front seat was waiting for me outside the terminal gate of Heathrow Airport with a sign that read ISA CULVER when I arrived. The kind of sign you see held up for business people, diplomats and of course…celebrities. It made me feel a little special myself, minus the paparazzi.
"I am, Henry, your godfather's driver. Welcome to England," he greeted me. He was slim with sandy-blonde hair and in a simple suit with no tie. Somewhere in his fifties, I guessed. "Your godfather lives out in the country, so it'll be quite a drive." Two hours to be exact. He looked at me in the rear view mirror. I was already starting to get restless and the car hadn't even moved yet.
I looked out the window again, now wondering if my godfather's house would be some sort of cottage with one of those old-fashioned chimneys. It seemed like the kind of place for a cottage but it didn't fit the way he carried himself. He was some sort of English businessman so I assumed he had a nice house and a garage full of vintage cars. That seemed more like his taste.
The phone in my purse vibrated. "Yes, kydaraes, I'm in the town car...yes, I think we're almost there…mm-hmm…yeah, it was fine…okay…will do…bye."
It was my godfather, Thranduil Greenleaf. When I was younger, he wanted me to call him kee-dahr-ays and so I did. He said it meant 'godfather' in Gaelic or something. I used to love saying his name as a kid because it sounded so strange and cool to me, like a name out of a fairytale book with princes and princesses, and pretty unicorns. However, I've long outgrown those make-believe fantasies.
"We are almost there, Miss."
I sighed. Finally! I looked straight ahead at the road. His turn signal indicated that he was planning to make a right. The car slowly turned down a Private road. The way was still a little mucky from the rain they had the previous night. Any minute now and I would be free to stretch my legs.
"Here we are, Miss," he said after a few minutes.
I leaned forward to get a better look of what was ahead. Big black gates were coming into view. I sucked in a breath as we entered. I was completely wrong. My godfather didn't live in house, he lived in a castle! My make-believe fantasies briefly resurfaced and I was 5-years-old again. I couldn't believe my eyes! Seeing where he lived for the first time, it now occurred to me that I had no idea what he really did for a living. An English mobster perhaps?
Henry pulled the car over by the massive front door and turned off the engine. I was so busy looking at my new surroundings that I didn't notice he opened my door for me. He cleared his throat, obviously wanting me out of the car. I smiled politely as he waited for me to get myself together. He closed the door behind me and went to get my luggage out of the trunk.
I was still in awe of the castle and the garden in the front lawn. I wasn't sure how many acres his entire property sat on but it was much bigger than any golf course I've seen back home. I also noticed that a forest surrounded most of the backyard making it secluded from the main road.
"Isa!" I heard my name.
I turned around and smiled. "Kydaraes!" I walked over to his outstretched arms. He gave me a big hug, almost shaking me in his grasp.
"My, how you've grown!" It was something he always said when he saw me. "You look great," he kissed my head and examined me from head to toe. Thranduil didn't look like he had aged a day since the last time I saw him, but it had only been a year or so…at my mother's funeral. He had long, grayish-white hair that fell past his shoulders and in a well-kept ponytail. His stature what that of a businessman except the long hair. But, it suited him. Even for this age, he was still a handsome man with a warm smile.
Thranduil also still looked strong and healthy. I figured it was due to some special diet he was on. I rarely saw Thranduil since he lived here in Europe, but regardless—he never missed sending a birthday gift or holiday card. "I'm glad you're here, Isa," his voice was soft and sincere. "Stay for at least the summer and then, well…whatever you want to do I will continue to support you."
"Thank you, kydaraes...for everything," I half-smiled.
He hugged me again, but this time, a lot more gently. "There is nothing for you to be thanking me for, my dear. I promised your mother I would take care of you and I intend to do so. I know you're an adult now and free to do as you please, but remember…I am here for you and you'll always have a place to live. Consider this your home." And a big home it was.
My heart smiled at his sincerity. He truly was a good man. After my mother died, Thranduil paid for her funeral expenses and took care all of the necessary paperwork for her Estate. She had made him her beneficiary, which didn't bother me at all. The whole idea of having to take care of my mother's affairs was too overwhelming with everything that was going on at the time.
I had no known relatives but my mother considered Thranduil like family. My father died before I could remember him. Because I was no longer a minor, Thranduil couldn't claim me to be his legal guardian. He was concerned about me living by myself but I assured him that I was fine on my own. I'd been living by myself or with roommates since I was eighteen—when I moved away to college—so being without parental supervision wasn't new to me. When my mother passed he felt I was still his responsibility—my somewhat legal guardian—so he paid for my college tuition and occasionally sent me an allowance to live on, which was a lot more than I ever expected. I saved most of it in case I needed it for a rainy day.
Thranduil also kept insisting that I visit him for the summer when my finals were over. I couldn't deny him his request after everything he'd done for me, so naturally, I said yes. I took advance courses and only had a year or so left and planned to study some more while I was here. He offered to get me private tutors if I decided to stay past the summer. But, I wasn't sure yet if I was ready to give up my life and friends back home.
"Hello, there." A woman in a pinstripe suit approached us.
"Ah, Shohrae," Thranduil smiled in her direction. I had no idea who she was but forced a quick smile, anyway. Shohrae took her time getting to us, walking almost gracefully, like someone who took ballet lessons when they were younger.
She kept the smile on her face until she reached us. She moved the planner in her right arm over to her left and extended her hand to me. "I'm Shohrae Holone."
"I'm Isa Culver." I took the hand she offered me and shook it. She squeezed my hand more than I thought she would. My weak hand cowered underneath her grip.
"What a lovely name you have."
"This is my assistant," Thranduil told me. I smiled again, flexing out the fingers of the hand she shook at my side. "She will be taking care of your needs."
"Anything you need just let me know."
Her smile never faltered. She was slender and around five-foot-nine if I guessed correctly. Dark hair, darker than mine, that passed down her mid-back with a fair complexion. The assistant wore little make-up, but not that she needed to. She could have passed for a European model. Her brown eyes smiled in harmony with her lips. "Henry, could you please take Isa's belongings to her room?"
"Yes, of course," the driver responded. He took my backpack, even my purse, and my two luggages in his arms and walked into the house. I meant castle. I watched him pick up my belongings like they were empty cases. One luggage alone weighted at least seventy pounds. I didn't even see him put any effort into carrying them. "Thanks…" I tried to utter, but he was already at the doorway.
"Come, darling. You must be famished after your long flight." Thranduil placed a hand on my back to get me moving inside. Shohrae followed right behind us. My eyes were shocked again as I stepped foot on the onyx tile underneath my feet. The inside only seemed to fuel my notions that every piece in this gigantic place was taken from the medieval times and my favorite fairytale books growing up.
A big mahogany table was set in the middle of the spacious room. On top of the table was a bouquet of fresh flowers that filled the room with the scent of roses, lilacs, peonies, and lavender. Something about the smell seemed familiar to me. Other antique looking tables were against the walls with tapestries hanging above them. There were also multiple doorways on either side of me, each leading to a different part of the castle. Like a curious little monkey, I wanted to venture into each doorway and see what kind of décor they held.
But, my Louis and Clark expedition had to wait. Barely getting a chance to take in the new environment, I was being lead to narrower hallway to the right, next to the staircase. The steps were wide with ivory Kiran carpeting that forked into two more staircases, splitting East and West. Bedrooms, I guessed.
"Master Thranduil, is that you with your goddaughter?" I heard a man ask as the hallway was ending.
"Yes, it is, Markus," Thranduil answered him. I looked at him confused. He smiled at me and whispered, "It's our resident chef."
Of course my godfather would have his own personal chef. Why wouldn't he? He already had his own personal driver and personal assistant so there had to be more people on his staff to add to the personal fill-in-the-blank role.
The narrow hallway opened to the kitchen. It was more modern than the main room with more onyx tiling, hanging lights, marble countertops, electric cook tops and ovens, and stainless steel refrigerators. There was more than one of everything—except the cook.
"It is a pleasure to meet you," he placed his hands on my shoulders and kissed both cheeks. It wasn't something I was used to so I just sort of stood there with a barely visible smile on my lips. He had the same grayish-white hair as my godfather, except shorter, he was more plump around the mid-section. Markus sort of reminded me of a jolly looking Santa Clause.
My godfather must have seen the look of surprise on my face as he broke into laughter. "Markus has been waiting for you to arrive." I looked at him confused again. His laughter died down to a soft chuckle. "We never get too adventurous with our meals but now that you're here, Markus can…expand his cooking skills a bit."
"Anything you would like to eat, I will make for you." He smiled at me looking hopeful for something out of the ordinary like a hot dog or a pepperoni pizza from the American girl.
I took a moment to think of what I wanted. I was hungry after the long seven hour flight here from New York. Thranduil bought me a first class ticket but airline food was all the same to me no matter where you sat. I finally knew what I wanted.
"Umm…cheeseburger and fries?" I hesitantly asked for my favorite American meal. I thought he'd be disappointed at my lack of creativity but he just smiled even bigger at my request.
"Done!" He turned around and headed for one of the refrigerators that was actually a full size freezer and took out the hamburger patties and opened the other fridge to get the cheese. American, of course. He also picked up a few potatoes sitting in a basket on the other counter as he made his way back to us. "I will make you fresh potato fries that will taste better than your American 'French fries'," he said.
My godfather nodded at me as if to say to trust him. "Markus, make that two."
Markus nodded happily. Shohrae excused herself to attend to other business but said to call on her if I needed anything. She left after I thanked her. My godfather and I ate on the long glass table in the middle of the kitchen. It was sort of like an island with cupboards, but longer, that could sit eight people comfortably on the suede cushioning.
"So, tell me, Isa, what do you think?" Markus asked, eager to hear my answer.
I swallowed the last bite of my cheeseburger and nodded my approval. "It was really good. I really liked your potato fries, too," I gave him a big grin instead of full smile in case I had food stuck in my teeth. No need to embarrass myself again so early in my stay.
"Better than your American fries?" he raised a questioning eyebrow.
"Yes," I chuckled.
Markus clasped his hands in delight, which made me laugh a little. He was acting as if he had won first prize in some Iron Chef cook off.
"Excellent!" he smiled again.
My godfather was chuckling silently to himself as well. "I told you he'd been waiting for you." I let out another quiet laughter. The cook was already beginning to be one of my favorite people from the short amount of time I had been here. What an amusing man. Markus took our empty plates and put them in the sink. I casually yawned as I watched him, not giving much thought to what I was doing. "Oh, I forgot, you must also be feeling jet-lagged," Thranduil broke my gaze from the cook washing the dishes. "Come, I'll have Shohrae bring you to your room."
I guess I was tired without realizing it. I smiled at him as he rubbed my back.
He went over to the wall and pressed a yellow button on the intercom and waited. Immediately Shohrae's voice came through like a walkie-talkie. "Yes, Master Thranduil? What can I do for you?" It was strange hearing someone call him 'master' as if he ruled them or something. But, I suppose this is how they do it in England.
"Can you please escort Isa up to her room?" he pushed a different button to speak.
"Of course, I'll be right there."
We said goodbye to Markus and walked back to the main foyer to wait for Shohrae. But, when we got there, she was actually the one who was waiting for us. Again, she smiled. Thranduil turned me towards him and gave me a kiss on the forehead. "I hope you enjoy your stay here. Shohrae can take care of your needs but if you need me for anything, don't hesitate to let me know. All right?"
"Yeah…sure, kydaraes…thanks." He gave me another warm smile and squeezed my shoulder. We watched him leave the room until he was gone.
"Ready?" she asked. I nodded and followed her up the stairs. She walked smoothly on each of the twelve steps, not looking back once. We turned east at the fork-in-the-road and climbed up some more stairs. I probably already climbed fifteen steps in total and still, we weren't even close to the top yet. "Are you still doing all right?" she asked me with her focus still straight ahead.
"Yes," I lied. My legs wanted to collapse. My lungs were also begging me to stop to catch my breath, but I tried to endure it and kept my heavy breathing as quiet as I could. I wasn't ready to admit to myself—or Shohrae— how out of shape I was. That's what I get for cancelling my gym membership last year.
Shohrae kept the same pace ahead of me, not once breaking a sweat. "These stairs can be quite a challenge at first, but you'll eventually get used them," the assistant assured me. I hope she was right. If not, I might just have to convince my godfather to have an elevator installed…if he didn't have one already.
I was panting heavily by the time we reached the top. The hallway reminded me of a fancy hotel, except the lighting wasn't as bright. It would have been darker if it weren't for the light coming in through the windows.
I saw another set of stairs winding to a third floor and frowned. How many stories did this place have? Shohrae cut my attention away from my next would be challenge. "Don't worry, I won't make you climb anymore stairs," she chuckled as if she heard what I was thinking. I guess the panicked look on my face also gave me away. "Your room is actually just over there. Your luggages should be inside." Thank goodness! I saw more tapestries hanging on the wall as we walked a little further down the hallway.
"Here we are." She stopped at the first door on the left and let the door swing open. She walked in first turning on all the lights. I slowly walked in a few seconds later. My godfather's castle was still full of surprises. "Are you all right, Isa?" she asked looking a little worried. I hadn't noticed that I was still standing by the doorway. "If this room is too small for you or you just don't like it, there are plenty of other rooms you can choose from."
"No, no! It's not that…" I looked around the room again. "It's great, actually. I just didn't expect it look like this. It looks like a hotel room."
The assistant lightly chuckled again at my reaction to the bedroom. "Well, then, Miss Isa…consider this your penthouse suite. That is, of course, you'd like an upgrade?" another grin was forming on her lips.
"No…this will do," I assured her. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." She went by the door and pointed to the intercom on the wall. I failed to notice it as I was too busy gawking at everything else when I walked in. "There are multiple intercoms all over the property. The yellow button here," she pointed, "is how you get a hold of me. Your godfather holds the button down for a few seconds so I know it's him. For you, press the button twice, quickly, so I know it's you. Any questions?"
"Well, what if you're busy though? You can't be on call twenty-four-seven," I joked. "Or can you?"
She just smiled. "Don't worry about that. Just call if you need me. You can reach me anywhere on the property."
"Even outside?" I asked curiously. I couldn't imagine an intercom sitting on the side of a tree. But, after seeing what I've seen so far today, I could be wrong.
Shohrae pointed to the black pager on her belt. "If I don't answer, you can page me. Press the pound sign. When you hear the dial tone, dial 6-1-1-2. Once I get the page, I'll call you."
"Oh," I nodded at her instructions. They really did have the art of communication perfected. I was glad because I couldn't imagine running around this maze looking for anyone.
"Oh, and of course, the green button is your godfather's. Same instructions except if you need to page him, dial 2-1-2-5. All right?" I nodded again and repeated his number in my head. It was easy enough to remember. "All the other buttons are labeled for your convenience."
"I'll leave you alone now so you can get settled in. I'll come check in on you later."
She smiled again and closed the door behind her. I looked closer at the intercom pad and read the labels. The labels were marked for the kitchen, the indoor and outdoor pool, exercise room, garage, and laundry room. Out of all those buttons, the kitchen was really the only one I needed to remember. I had a habit of waking up in the middle of the night, hungry for a snack. Good thing that was the first location I knew.
I turned to face my penthouse suite—as Shohrae had put it—and sighed at the overwhelming room that would be mine for the summer. There was a small antique chandelier in the middle of the ceiling that gave the room the most light. I had a queen bed inside a four-post bed frame with sheer drapes that hung down the sides; something Sleeping Beauty could have slept in while she waited for her Prince Charming. On either side of the bed were bed tables, each one with a lamp with an ivory marble base. Straight across was a mahogany armoire with drawers and a plasma TV inside. In the far corner was a small couch where I could sit and read in comfort. It even came with a coffee table and fashion magazines that were neatly spread out. If I guessed correctly, Shohrae probably picked those thinking I'd read them from cover to cover. It was a nice thought, but I doubt I'd go through any of them.
My little couch was placed perfectly near the balcony. Yes, I also had a balcony. I could sit on my couch and look out to stare at the side of the yard through the glass-tiled wooden doors. Normally the side of a house wasn't very exciting, but it would be if you were staring at a sea of flowers.
The heavy drapes around the balcony door reached as high as the ceiling. They were beige and tied by thick golden ropes to hold them open. I looked up and saw that the whole design of the glass tile reached to the ceiling as well. I unlocked the door to see what kind of view I actually had outside.
I smiled at the cute little tea table set. This one was probably Thranduil's idea. It had everything you needed for a tea party. I walked out farther and placed my hands on the railing. The design of the balcony reminded me of a Roman layout with the thick coliseum poles. I leaned forward a little more to see what part of the backyard I could see. It only seemed like half of a tennis court and nothing more. I'll make it a point to venture outside when I can.
Something suddenly landed on the back of my hand. Something wet. I looked at my hand then up at the sky and saw dark clouds beginning to form. More drops hit my hand and soon my face. The clinking rhythm on the tea set was coming at a faster pace each time the droplets touched them. I ran back into my room and locked the balcony door behind me. I did some research on the weather in this area and it wasn't a good place to be if you were planning on soaking in the sun as it was supposed to be the rainy season. Great.
I ran my fingers through my hair to get some of the wet spots out. I opened my luggage that Henry placed on a bench and dug through my toiletries for my hairbrush. I yawned again as I was looking. My jet-lag finally returned. The food I just ate was also beginning to settle in, making me sleepy. I gave up looking for the hairbrush. There were so many pillows on the bed that I just threw most of them on the floor, not caring where they landed.
I crawled into the comfy bed with my hair already disheveled and drowned out the rain.
Author's Note: So, what did you think? Tell me! Hope that was enough for now to keep you wanting to read more. PLEASE REVIEW!