"Betrothed?" Legolas' eyes widened in shock. His father couldn't be serious, could he?

"Is something the matter, my son?" King Thranduil looked at his son, showing no emotion and appearing calm.

"You can't be wed to a girl you just met! You don't even have her approval!"

"I am a king, I need no approval. Besides, she will only bring our people more together."

"How? She is not even of royal heritage."

"She is a unique girl, probably the only of her kind. Surely other kingdoms will think we have the upper-hand. Also, our country shouldn't have a lone ruler."

"It wasn't originally that way." Legolas looked the other way, sickened by his father's words.

"It's been many years. Don't be naïve, my son. It isn't like I love the girl. She is just for show. A figurehead, if you will." King Thranduil's words only made Legolas more sick. The king wasn't only disrespecting the late queen and mother of Legolas, but using an innocent girl as a chess piece in a game she shouldn't be a part of. It wasn't quite shocking his father would do a thing, but Legolas was surprised how cold his father's actions were this time around. Sickened, Legolas stampeded out of the room, leaving his father to simply read more letters.

~*~*~*~*~*

As soon as I closed the door to my room, I walked over and flopped onto my back onto the bed. I had been walking for almost a full day non-stop. I wasn't very sleepy, however a quick nap wouldn't have hurt. Though, if there is to be a dinner tonight it'd be better if I changed. I walked to the closet Mirkwood provided, hoping there would be clothing. Not to my surprise, there was clothing for both males and females….however they were only for those of the elves. If I were to wear this clothing, the hem would drag down the floor and I'd surely look like a child. I sighed, gently closing the closet doors. My clothes were mostly clean, so I mustn't worry about looking too ridiculous.

I walked into the bathing room, figuring a quick bath would be good. As soon as I walked in, I walked over to the small oval mirror and began and found a clean new brush on the counter. I then began brushing my hair, giving myself a reassuring smile in the mirror. However, I knew I wasn't fine. How could one be after the hell they had just been through?

Everything was on fire, including humans both alive or dead. The dead were brutally killed, the Uruk-hai having no mercy and taking immediately pleasure in whatever they destroyed. It was amazing I had gotten away, but one of those disgusting creatures somehow realized I had ran off. They spoke of having the entire village killed, so whomever their master was wouldn't be happy having a survivor to tell the tale and spread the word.

I soon heard a knock on the bedroom door, taking me out of my thoughts. I didn't know whether to be grateful or saddened. Dropping the brush back onto the counter, I walked over to the bedroom door and immediately opened it. There was an elf with brown hair looking down at me, his face as serious as the rest. His attire made me assume he was a guard of some sort.

"King Thranduil wishes to see you in his private dining hall." he spoke. It definitely was a command rather than an optional statement. I nodded, walking out of the door. Before I could even close the door behind me, the elf had done so. Had I walked into a prison? No, I must be grateful for everything the king has done for me. If he had thrown me out, I'd surely be dead. The elf waited for me to take another step, but I froze. I wasn't ready to see the king. Something about him, however unsure I was about it, made me particularly nervous around him. I rather not appear to be fool - or worse - around him. I didn't want to say it, but the elven man actually terrified me.

Scared, I looked around the hallway wildly. What was I to do? Then, it hit me. The prince. He offered his help. Before I could think further, my fear had gotten to me and I ran down the hallway, knocking on his door. It only took a moment before it was opened. There was the tall prince, looking down at my curiously.

"Hello. How can I help you?" he asked.

"Would you please attend the dinner with the king by my side?" As soon as the words escaped my mouth, I looked down. I couldn't believe I actually blurted out such a question. I felt a kinship with him, feeling safer by the prince's side, since he was the closest thing to an ally I had. However, I aware I was unworthy of his kindness. To bother him like this is childish.

"I'm sorry, I must be bothering you of course. I'll take my leave." I curtsied, quickly turning around and heading down the hallway where the elven guard waited. His face still hadn't changed, reminding me of a statue.

"No, I understand. I'll come." I stopped in my footsteps. I looked back, showing concern.

"Are you sure?" The last thing I wanted to do was bother another being, especially the prince of Mirkwood.

"Yes. To my understanding, I am the prince. I can't see a reason how he could say no to the heir of the thrown." Legolas smiled. I am sure that this had been the first time I had seen him smile. It was calming, feeling my heart skip a beat. I couldn't help but smile back, feeling slightly more at ease. The prince easily caught up to where I stood and he began directing me to the King's private dining room, the guard elf raising an eyebrow at the prince's presence but not speaking a word. He only followed behind us.

Once we arrived, Legolas pushed open the doors. The king smiled at my arrival but that soon turned to a look of disappointment when he saw Legolas' arrival.

"Why are you here, my son?" I looked over at Legolas, feeling sudden guilt. Had I gotten him in trouble?

"I wanted to have dinner with my father and our new friend."

"Of course. It would be unlike you to not attend events such as these." Legolas grinned, gleaming from the King's obvious sarcasm. Legolas walked me over to the chair opposite of his father, pulling it out for me. I quietly thanked him and sat down as he pushed me in, then taking the seat by my side. It relaxed me knowing he was so close. I couldn't help but ponder why these two aren't closer. I can tell the King isn't the warmest person in all the land, but he is Legolas' father. "Tell me about yourself, little one." I was instantly snapped back to what was in front of me.

"What would you like me to tell you, my lord?" I looked down, beginning to feel my body ache as I remembered the uncomfortable position I was in. What did he want to know? To what detail was I to speak?

"To begin, where have you been?" he smiled, taking an apple and placing it on his plate. Most of the food were fruits, which must be odd to any outsider. The drinks given were either water or wine. I looked back at the king, trying to look as if I was calm and confident - the exact opposite of how I felt right now.

"Well, my lord, I have been to Rivendell when I was much younger. My family weren't elves of that area, but my parents and I used to live there until I began to grow into my teenage years. When they passed away, I couldn't handle living there anymore so I secluded myself amongst humans I guess. After a matter of time I had lived in a village, I would leave and go to the next human village. I've lived in six since."

"I'm once again sorry to hear of your parent's tragic departure from our world. Now tell me, what took their lives?" I felt by back sharpen, instantly remember what had brought them to their deaths.

"Ada..." Legolas immediately spoke. Was he trying to protect me? I couldn't be sure, but I did feel safer by his side.

"Um, actually they were murdered." I spoke, not wanting any heat to go onto the prince. He was surely being too kind to someone like me. Underneath the table, I was nervously fidgeting with my hands.

"By who?" the king question further.

"Uruk-hai."

"Why?"

"I'm not sure. We were on the outskirts of the area when there happened to be a large pack of them ready to attack anything in sight. It was one of the last wandering armies the dark lord had. They were simply ordered to kill whatever was in sight."

"How did you survive?"

"I barely did, actually, my lord." Before I could say another word, the prince had stepped in.

"You shouldn't be pressing her with such painful questions. Hasn't she been through enough in one day?" Legolas stood up, glaring at his father. My eyes widened, looking at the prince who seemed to have had just about enough of his father's questions. I looked back at the King whom had changed into a more gentle appearance. I could never tell what emotion from him to expect, which had only made me more uncomfortable.

"I believe that my son is to be right. I shouldn't harass you with all these dark questions. You should go get your sleep, my dear. We can talk more in the morning. Perhaps a feast in your arrival?"

"My arrival?" I questioned. Was it that grand? It possibly couldn't, unless they make them grand around here.

"Yes. The elves of Mirkwood would love of their new resident." I looked over to Legolas who rolled his eyes. I felt like I was missing a part of a puzzle.

"I'll take you to your room." Legolas interrupted, carefully pulling out the chair behind me. The king's face hadn't changed, so I gave him a light smile which I am sure didn't conceal my uncertainty. I soon got up and curtsied.

"Thank you for this dinner, my lord." I looked down, trying to be as gracious as possible. The king nodded and Legolas was quick to take my arm and lead me out of the room. I was relieved to see the statue guard hadn't followed us.

As soon as we got to my door, I turned to Legolas, panicked.

"Your father...what does he have planned?"

"Pardon?" Legolas' eyes widened, startled by my abrupt question.

"My apologies! I shouldn't speak so rudely. It's just, I feel so uncomfortable and I am unable to place my finger upon as to what the reason is." I looked down at the floor, feeling unworthy and ashamed.

"No, you're right. My father isn't a warm king, rather resembling that of a serpent." I looked back up at the prince. A serpent?

"Please, my lord. I can't help but be worried. Am I going to be killed?"

The prince smiled, calming me down slightly. "I assure you that your life will be fine."

"Yes, thank you, my lord."

"Without the formalities." I rose my eyebrows, surprised.

"Yes, Prince Legolas" I looked down, blushing slightly at my obvious uncomfortable feeling.

"Without the title." I was to call him by his name?

"Yes, L-Legolas." I spoke. The prince chuckled, making me blush further. I must appear to him as an idiot.

"You aren't going to be killed. Your life is safe, I promise you. However, he does want your hand." He then looked to the side, leaving eye contact with me.

"Hand? In what? The king needs my help" Legolas' expression then turned painful.

"No...hand in marriage." He looked down for a second solemnly before looking back at me.

"What!?" I almost yelled, holding a hand to my heart. I moved my hands to my mouth, in utter horror.

"I'm so sorry. I never wanted this, I assure you."

"I can't be married. Please, I can't. Not again….please" I began to weep, remembering some things of the past. Before I could reminisce in those horrible days, I felt Legolas put a hand on my shoulder.

"I understand. I will try my best to sway his decision." I smiled at his kindness. He was truly one of the warmest people I had met.

"Thank you, my lo - Legolas. I am forever in your debt. Again, I thank you for everything." he smiled lightly. His hand slowly moved to my cheek, making me blush deeper. He looked at me with something I couldn't place, but was surely warmth. He must pity someone like me. After a moment, the prince seemed a little startled at his actions and turned around, heading towards his quarters. I too became a little uncomfortable. Had I done something? Pushing my thoughts away, I opened the door to my room and closed it quietly behind me.