**DISCLAIMER** I don't own any Lord of the Rings characters, place names, places, songs, etc., etc., etc. All I own is Elwin, the Elven town of Firenzei, the Queen Aelfrela, or any other characters or places that I have made up.
Elwin – An Elf's Love
Note: Hey, this is just an edit saying that I have received a few comments talking about Elwin being a half-Elf (none of them mean, don't worry!) and I would just like to say that any new readers who aren't familiar with this story, then there is a note at the end of chapter 17 which explains the most frequent comments – if, after reading the note, you still have queries, then please PM me!
"The world was young, the mountains green,
No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone.
He named the nameless hills and dells;
He drank from yet untasted wells;
He stooped and looked in Mirrormere,
And saw a crown of stars appear,
As gems upon a silver thread,
Above the shadow of his head."
A deep cheerful voice penetrated the dark silence of the forest. It was rough and low and made the birds above my head flutter their wings and squawk uncertainly.
Intruders, I thought to myself, feeling a scowl contort my lips. The Queen won't be happy about this.
There were a couple of laughs, one light and silky, musical and familiar, and the other was rich and short, different from the one who sang. I could detect three different voices… three different trespassers.
Gingerly I drew my bow from behind my back and stole an arrow from my quiver, slipping it into my weapon and aiming into the bushes. Through the leaves and bramble I could see a strange ensemble of three men, each riding a sturdy horse. A Dwarf with bushy auburn beard and a battered war helmet forced over more wild hair; a rugged human man with sunken grey eyes and a stern, hollow face, with the thin wisps of a dark beard bearing on his chiselled chin. Black, tangled, shaggy hair fell to his shoulders, flecked with grey, and he was dressed all in worn black leather; and finally a strangely handsome Elf clad in green and brown, with hair as fair as the silvery moon and eyes as deep and piercing as a hawk's. He was leading in front of the other two on a white horse, and he too was equipped with a bow and a full quiver of yellow feathered arrows. He had a slightly sullen, concentrated look etched on his pale face, but he couldn't help but smile at the Dwarf's song.
"Please, Gimli," he said to the Dwarf in his musical voice, sending him a threatening look. "Stop your singing… I- I can sense something."
I winced, drawing in a sharp intake of breath. He may have sensed me, or caught my scent. I had to stop them from advancing any further though the forest now, or I might get caught.
I stretched my bowstring more, feeling the tender wood quivering in my hand.
Gimli – the Dwarf – and the man swapped a look. "Well, I thought my singing was fairly good," Gimli muttered and the man shrugged.
"What is it, Legolas?" he asked, leaving the Dwarf behind and trotting his chestnut horse over to the stationary Elf. Legolas held out a hand to the man, to silence him, and listened to the once more silent forest.
I stretched my bow further, as far as it could go, so it was ready to let my arrow fly.
Legolas, hopefully oblivious to my presence, continued searching the area around us with his keen blue eyes, then said, "I… feel something. I can sense someone. Another Elf…? Or a human? That I am not sure…" I winced. By the gods of Middle Earth, how could he tell that?
"Another Elf?" boomed Gimli, riding over to his companions (a little offended that they had left him behind). "Preposterous! There are no Elves about here! Only in Rivendell, Lorien and Mirkwood! It must be a human, Legolas. Your age must finally be taking a toll on your sense of smell!" he laughed a great thundering laugh.
Legolas glared at him. "You think I do not know the scent of my own kind?" he growled lightly, managing to control his anger. Something told me that this strange Elf was not normally as on edge as he was now. "I can smell both man and Elf."
"Are you sure it is not my human scent that you smell?" asked the man, concerned for his Elven friend.
"No, Aragorn. It is a new, different scent. Almost as if the bloods had been mixed."
"But that's impossible!" interjected Gimli. "It must be both a man and an Elf. No two bloods can be so crudely mixed, as you suggest."
Aragorn placed a hand on Legolas's shoulder. "It must be just another traveller. Come now, we must ride on."
Legolas nodded, but I could still see him thoroughly scouring the trees.
My heart quickened. If he could sense both the human and Elf blood then he may be able to spot me, despite my skills at disguising myself. I might as well make my presence known to them now than any later, otherwise it may be too late.
Legolas shook the reins of his horse and they began again.
Once more, I carefully aimed my arrow, following the Elf's movements – I didn't want to shoot him, just fire a warning to shot to him and the others. He just happened to be in front.
I waited until a good opening to shoot… then – I let my arrow go, feeling the string vibrate at against my hand and listened to the swoosh of air as my arrow flew through the bush and landed a hair's breadth away from the Elf's nose, sticking firmly in the tree he was passing.
He stopped abruptly, his eyes wide with startling shock, and his horse reared, almost throwing him off. Immediately his companions drew their weapons (a strong battle axe for Gimli the Dwarf and an ancient silvery sword for the man, Aragorn). Legolas, as swift as he was, had to calm his horse before drawing a great war-bow and whipping out one of his yellow feathered arrows.
"Who's there?" bellowed Gimli, bearing both his teeth and axe menacingly.
I fitted my bow with another arrow before stepping through the trees, holding my body as tall as I could. I could see all their eyes widen as the thought crossed their mind that they had been stopped by a woman – a girl, in fact.
"Who are you?" I demanded fiercely, aiming my weapon at each one of the men in turn. "What are you doing in this forest?"
Aragorn, once seeing who their attacker was, lowered his sword slightly and raised one of his hands. "We mean no harm. We are simply passing through."
My eyes flicked to their weapons, and Aragorn noticed this. "If you are nothing but mere travellers then why do you carry such weaponry?"
The dark man shrugged. "Protection. We come across many enemies in forests like these and if we did not carry weapons then we would surely be killed."
"Lower them, then!" I ordered. Aragorn relented, carefully placing his sword back in its sheath, and motioning for the others to do the same. Gimli hesitantly put down his axe but Legolas showed no sign of giving in to neither my, nor Aragorn's, orders.
"We have shown you we mean no harm. Now lower your bow."
"Not until he lowers his!" I snarled, aiming at Legolas and feeling very tempted to shoot one of my arrows though his pretty little face.
"Legolas!" shouted Aragorn, turning on his Elven friend. "Put down your bow!" You could see the pain on the Elf's face as he forced his weapon down, aiming instead at the forest floor. Aragorn smiled, and then looked to me, nodding down my weapon. I lowered it slightly, but still felt the need to keep my arrow notched. I wasn't sure if I trusted these men or not.
I skimmed my eyes over their funny group once more. "What business… do a man, an Elf, and a Dwarf have in this forest?" I asked them all, but felt myself directing the question more at Aragorn than any of the other two. "My Queen does not like people intruding on her land… especially not humans." I scowled at Aragorn. "Trespassing is not taken lightly in these parts."
"We did not mean to trespass," Aragorn insisted. "We are looking for a couple of our friends, two Hobbits. They would be mere children in your eyes. Have you seen them?"
I shook my head, feeling that this reason was enough to let them pass themselves off as just 'travellers' and lowered my bow to the ground. "Ai, I have not seen, nor heard, of any Hobbits around here. But the Queen may have. She has scouts all around this forest and asks us to regularly report back any sightings. If any Hobbits have been spotted then she would be the one to know."
Aragorn sent back an appreciative, dashing smile. "Thank you. Would you be able to take us?"
I nodded back, feeling a warm glow grow inside me from his smile. "Of course. But I warn you, human – while the Elf and the Dwarf will be able to pass through without problem, you humans are not looked upon in a kind light around these parts."
I couldn't describe the look on Aragorn's face, but he forced another (weaker) smile and got off his horse. I could only imagine what must be going through his head right now. But, being the gentleman that I figured the other two weren't, he introduced himself and the others, then asked for my name.
"I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn. This is Gimli, son of Gloin, and Legolas of Mirkwood, son of Thranduil. And you are?"
"I am Elwin, an Elf of Firien Wood." What was wrong with a small white lie? What they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. But that Elf, Legolas… he was dangerously close to finding out my secret, and we had only just met. If he found out then soon my whole human-hating town would. So what was wrong with the tiny lie that I wasn't fully an Elf… but part-Elf.