The Trouble With Good Intentions by Cassie Hughes

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"Not again!" The muttered words floated up into the air as the tall, elegant figure stalked by. "Why does he always have to do this?"


The golden haired elfling pushed back against the trunk of the tree he was hiding in as if trying to get under its bark. he knew he was in serious trouble this time and felt that it may be best if he kept out of the way until it had all blown over. Not that that would really happen, he reminded himself. His father had a remarkably long memory. He sighed, clambered higher, to the top of the tree and sat, lodged between the branches, slender legs dangling down, head tilted to the sky. He couldn't help it if he preferred conversing with the trees outside in the fresh air to sitting in stuffy rooms, listening to boring lectures on how princes should behave. He found the stone walls too constricting, suffocating even, as if they were pressing down upon him, burying him where he would never see daylight again. He shifted slightly as the wind blew through the branches making them sway and he rode the wave of movement with a joyful laugh. This was where he belonged. Not in some stupid, underground palace. His cupid lips pouted as his mind went back over recent events.


"Now, ernilen," the tutors eyes briefly closed before  he continued with a set smile. "Please, your father has specifically asked that I teach you the ways and customs of the men of Laketown and the etiquette required in readiness for when you begin treating with them."


"But that will not be for years and years, yet Arahaelon," the elfling whined, "and anyway,

ada always meets to bargain with them himself," he continued petulantly, "he says that if he does not they will rob him blind!"


"That is as maybe," the tutor ran one slender hand across his forehead, "but, your father will have good reason for wishing this and if he says we must do it, then we must." His stern blue eyes fixed upon the young prince in a manner which brooked no refusal.


"Aie," the elfling sighed most theatrically, "but it is so boring, Arahaelon and it is so dull and dark in here." Large green eyes began to plead, "I'm sure I would  learn much better outside, under the trees."


With a grimace of futility the tutor caved in. He knew that no work would be progressed whilst his young charge was in this mood.


"Very well, ernilen, you may take your books outside into the gardens, but," he held up his hand to forestall the effusive joyful thanks he saw bubbling to the surface and fixed the elfling with a stern stare. "You must promise me that you will see they come to no harm."


"Oh I will, I do, Arahaelon, I do," the prince was on his feet in an instant, gathering the hated books into a pile in readiness.


"And, you will stay in the garden." The tutors voice became stern as he began what the elfling always thought of as, one of his 'you will', lectures.


"Yes, yes, I promise," scurrying out of the door as if released from a dungeon the small figure began to run down the corridors, his tutors voice following swiftly as he shouted his last directions.


"And no climbing the trees!" Arahaelon stood watching the disappearing child and shook his head ruefully. "What have I done to deserve this." he muttered softly under his breath before following on at a much more elegant pace.


It wasn't as if he meant to get into trouble, the perched elfling mused as he looked down into the garden below. It was just that it found him. He tried to be good, he really did, but sometimes he got distracted and things just seemed to go wrong somehow. He watched as the fair head passed below him once more and sighed again. He knew he was only delaying the inevitable but he just wasn't ready to face his father yet.


It was all that stupid squirrels fault, he thought dolefully, if it hadn't come to see what he was doing none of this would have happened.


True to his word the young prince took great care to place the books down on the clean, dry stone bench beside the natural pool, which was his favourite spot in the gardens. It was always peaceful here especially when, like today, the trees gently swayed in the light summer breeze, birds sang softly, and small creatures played catch as catch can through the bushes and flowers, heedless of the elfling in their midst.


Seating himself upon the ground before the bench, with every good intention towards study he picked up and opened the topmost book, rifled through the pages until he found the pertinent spot then fixed his eyes on the words as if willing them to leap off the page and into his mind. This is where Arahaelon found him.


"Very good, ernilen." The prince raised his head as his tutor approached. He had known exactly where the youngling would head for so had not felt the need to rush. "I am pleased to see you deep in your studies. Now, I have an errand to run that will take but a few moments." He paused and bent down to turn the pages of the tome. "I hope you can be trusted to read through to, here," one slender digit marked the place referred to on the page, "I will, of course, be asking questions on my return." He stared down at the elfling, noting the frown of displeasure that flitted across the fair features at the notion of being tested. "If you do well, I may allow you a little break in the trees before we begin upon the subject of history." 


"Could I not take my book into the tree, Arahaelon," The princes eyes had brightened at the mention of his favourite pastime, "I promise I will take care not to drop it and I would read it ever so much better there." He turned his hopeful gaze to the tutor once more only to be met with the stern face he recognised from when he had pushed too far in the past.


"Certainly not!" The answer came sharp and fast, "Trees are no places for books, they could easily become damaged and I can not imagine how long it would take to get further copies." Glowering down he raised an eyebrow, "You will keep your feet on the ground or go back into the study, understood?"


"Yes sir." The elfling knew a rhetorical question when he heard one and nodded his head briefly in deference, he had no wish to be sent back indoors, then met his tutors eyes with his own steady, innocent gaze.


"Very well, I will not be long." Deciding the threat had been enough to cow the prince into staying where he was Arahaelon turned and walked back to the halls.


Watching the elder leave the young prince sighed once more, wondering why adults always made him do things he did not like. Dropping his eyes back down to the book again he tried desperately to read but the words wouldn't make sense and kept trying to slip off the page as soon as he looked at them.


A rustling noise made him look up after what seemed to be the thousandth attempt to read the same sentence and there, sitting upon the bench in front of him was a small, red squirrel, his dark bead like eyes staring defiantly at him. For a second the two sat, eyes locked together, weighing each to each, then the creature, deciding there was no threat, resumed the activity that had caught the ears of the elfling previously and his eyes flew open with concern.


"Nay, oh nay!" struggling to his feet the youngling watched in horror as the animal sat nonchalantly chewing the corner of one of his tutors precious books. "Stop it, please stop. Aie!"  Instinctively he waved one hand at the creature to push it away and was painfully surprised to receive a nip to the finger in return. "Why, you!" Unthinking reaction then caused the calamity he was now trying desperately to hide from as he threw the object he had clutched in his hand towards the creature, now sitting on its haunches scolding him loudly, in retaliation.


Time stopped as he realised what he had done, watching in morbid fascination the books trajectory as it curved through the air towards the space so recently vacated by the fleeing squirrel, continued over the bench and landed with a splash in the pool beyond.




The elfling looked down to see a pair of stern, silver blue eyes staring up into the tree and realised he had been spotted.


"Will you really make me come to you?" The calm, cool voice seemed much more threatening to the youngling than the oft heard  full on rant.


"Nay, ada," he sighed, as much as it would be fun to see his stern father climbing the waving branches he knew it would not be a good idea at this time. "I am coming down." Heart full of trepidation he began to descend.


"I really do not have time for this, ion nin." Thranduil began severely before the young princes feet had touched the ground. "I was in the middle of a very important meeting when Arahaelon informed me of your disappearance."


"I am sorry ada."


Legolas hung his head, he knew that to disturb the king when he was occupied with court business was a very grave offence and for his tutor to have done just that because of his behaviour was almost unforgivable.


"Are you?" The stony faced king glared, "Are you sorry for what you did, or for having me disturbed I wonder?" Placing a finger under the elflings chin he forced his son to raise his head. Silver tracks of spent tears traced a path down both porcelain cheeks and as their gazes caught Thranduil  saw the tell tale shimmer of more to come.

" Both, ada." The small lost tone of voice coupled with the sorrowful countenance melted the kings heart as always. He could never stay angry at his little leaf for long.


"What happened pen neth?" Speaking softly he dropped to sit beneath the tree holding out an elegant hand and smiling slightly as the elfling filled it with his own, smaller version, then knelt on the grass before him.


"'Twas an accident ada, I swear, I never meant to do it."  Moss green eyes overflowed and his voice hitched with emotion as he began to describe the mornings events. "I tried to dry the book out in the sunshine but 'twas too wet." He lowered his face once more and began picking at a stray cotton on the hem of his tunic. “Was Arahaelon very mad ada?"


"I think we could say that, yes."


The king grimaced as he recalled the tutor barging into his private reception room, practically baying for the young princes blood and almost hitting the visitor from Imladris in the face with the waterlogged book he was waving angrily in his hand.


"The Lord from Imladris was rather upset by the interruption also, I fear." He snorted, suddenly realising that the picture in his mind was in actual fact rather amusing and had to stifle a small chuckle.


"I am truly sorry ada." Still playing with the now rapidly fraying hem, a horrible thought suddenly struck the youngling and his head flew up, eyes wide to stare at his father again before gasping out, "Does this mean I will not be allowed outside again?"


"Oh, Legolas,"


As his heart lurched to see the look of desolation upon the elflings face Thranduil leaned forward and gathered him into his arms.


 "No, ion nin, I could never do that to you, although," he pushed his son away slightly to look him in the face once more, "Arahaelon may decide the study is the best place for you to do your learning in future."


He smiled at the crestfallen expression that appeared on the others fair face, then winked conspiratorially.


"For the time being at least."


He pulled the child into his arms once more and placed a light kiss upon the crown of his golden head as Legolas relaxed and snuggled into his embrace, happy in the knowledge that his beloved father would not confine him to the stony halls after all.




Suddenly the doting father became once more the regal king as Thranduil let go and rose to his feet.


"I have an irate Tutor to placate and a ruffled Lord to soothe, and you have an apology to make." Looking down at his son once more with a stern expression he raised an eyebrow. "I do hope there will be no more interruptions to my busy schedule?"


"No ada." The efling stood straight, looking his father in the eye. "I promise."


"Good," the king retorted but softened the sharp answer with a smile. "Because that would mean I had no time to read my favourite son a bedtime story later."


Eyes twinkling he reached out to ruffle his sons silken locks before taking his hand once more and leading him back to the halls.


" I believe cook has made honey cakes for supper,  ion nin, if you ask nicely she may allow you to test them."


Sharing a smile they entered the halls together, then separated, one to finish catching up on the news from Imladris over another bottle of his favourite wine, the other to begin charming the cook into her usual kindly magnanimity.







Chapter End Notes:

Sindarin Translations-


Ernilen - my prince

Ada - father

Ion nin - my son

Pen neth - young one



Arahaelon - noble and wise.

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