Knight Takes King: Part II
Chapter 2- The Look of Royalty
Legolas rolled the troll off the little girl and helped her to her feet. “I won’t harm you,” he assured her in a tender voice. “Are you injured?”
The girl shook her head, tears streaming down her face. Legolas pulled his arrow from the troll then pulled the dagger from the other. His intent had been to sheath the weapon in his belt, for he was sure it belonged to Akasha, but the uniqueness of it stilled his hand. The blade was as black as night, with silver woven into the metal. It was light but perfectly balanced for throwing, and evidently very sharp for it was buried to the hilt. Never had he seen a weapon crafted as this one.
“Akasha!” The little girl’s cry regained Legolas’ attention to the task at hand.
He jogged back over to where Akasha lay, removing the other arrow and dagger before dropping to his knees and once more inspecting the wound. Already the inflicted area was turning black and beads of sweat appeared on her brown skin, which was becoming ashen. Her vision seemed to be unfocused; although she was looking at him, she didn’t appear to see him.
“Please do not let my sister die,” the little girl begged.
“What is your name little one?”
“Jamila,” she answered, her young voice trembling with worry.
“I am Legolas,” he continued. “I promise that your sister shall not die this day, but the venom from the troll’s bite is moving throughout her body. We must take her to my people. Can you ride?”
She shook her head. “Akasha was going to teach me when I was older.”
“And so she will, but for now you will ride GrayStar.”
Legolas picked the child up and carried her to the two horses, placing her onto the unsaddled back of his before returning to collect Akasha. She groaned loudly in protest at being moved when he gathered her in his arms and headed back to the horses. Placing her in the saddle, he quickly hauled his body up behind hers before she would be able to topple over
“Hold onto him,” he instructed Jamila.
Gathering the reins in his right hand and securing his left arm around Akasha’s waist, he spurred the horse forward into an immediate gallop.
“Guardian…” Akasha muttered.
He listened for several moments, waiting for more words before realizing she was unconscious. Whether it was from the pain or the venom, he knew not. He kept her body pressed tightly to his, feeling the heat rising in her. The venom was moving; he could almost feel it traveling in her blood.
He glanced over his shoulder from time to time tracking not of GrayStar, but of his passenger, making sure she was still riding upon the horse. Forty minutes later the galloping horses waned to a trot as they cleared the north Sylvan Gates and arrived at the palace doors. Jamila was already off GrayStar and racing over to Legolas as he slid down, Akasha securely embraced in his arms.
*Legolas, your fa-* Salorien’s voice faltered and her approach halted when she saw the bundle Legolas carried in his arms. *What has happened?*
*Trolls…she was bitten. Call the other healers and send them to my bed chamber,* he ordered racing up the stairs and down the hall.
His legs moved him much faster then Jamila, the child forgotten in his haste to tend Akasha’s wounds. He needed to get her motionless as soon as possible, for the more she moved the quicker the venom moved. Already she had passed into a silent unconsciousness. Gone were the periodic whimpers of pain registering even in her subconscious. He laid her on the bed, quickly removing the ruined brown tunic. The wound had progressed to the festering stage and was giving off a rancid decaying odor.
*Are you hurt my lord?* inquired the first elf through the door. Following him were five others laden with wraps, salves and herbs. Salorien brought up the rear, almost tripping over Jamila who finally caught up with them and ran into the room.
“Akasha!” she screamed once more. She tried to push her way past the elves standing between her and her sister, and would have made it had Legolas not once again gathered her into his arms.
*She has an arrow wound in her right thigh and was twice bitten by a troll. The wound has already begun to turn.*
*We will do all we can,* stated the chief healer before joining the others. Already they had set about Akasha, blocking her still form from sight, their nimble fingers quickly inspecting the wounds to determine the best course of action.
“I want to stay!” Jamila protested when Legolas headed for the door. “I want to stay...”
“Shh,” Legolas smoothed the little girl’s long black curly hair away from her face. “We must let them work.”
“But…” Jamila cast a longing look back at the bed. Akasha was completely obscured from her sight. “You promise she’ll be alright?”
With a reassuring smile, he placed a kiss on her forehead. “She will be fine.”
“What happened?” inquired Salorien. Although she too was a healer, she was still in training and there was nothing she could add that the other six could not do themselves. She was eager to learn of what had befallen the two in the woods.
“They were attacked by trolls.”
Salorien frowned. “Trolls, in Mirkwood? Are you sure?” Legolas nodded.
“There have been no trolls in these woods north or south for over a thousand years,” she observed.
“Where is my father? He must know of this immediately,” said the prince, attempting to leave.
“Your father awaits you in the council room, but I must warn you, he is in a foul mood. You missed the meeting,” she cautioned.
The female elf gave him a pointed look. “Lord Baraldil...”
Legolas let out a soft groan. “Can you take the child?”
The young girl’s savior crouched before her, giving her a smile and a hug. “Jamila, this is Salorien, my friend. She will get you clean clothes and some food, if you are hungry.”
Jamila didn’t answer; instead she cast a glance at the door by which the female elf stood.
“We shall be informed as soon as they are finished,” he assured.
Wanting to ease the child’s weariness, Salorien offered, “Would you like some fresh amblerberry pie?”
Again Jamila remained silent, giving only a small nod. She stepped back from Legolas and slipped her tiny hand into Salorien’s, who headed down the hall with the child. Legolas cast a final glance at the closed door before heading in the opposite direction to the council room.
His father was no doubt greatly displeased that he had missed the meeting with Baraldil, King of the south Sylvan elves in Mirkwood. The meeting was the first of many, joining the north and south, a first in over three millennia. While Tehran, Thranduil’s eldest son, was away at Rivendell, visiting with Lord Elrond, Legolas had agreed to serve as his father’s second. As such he was required to attend the council meetings; that morning, it had completely slipped his mind. As it was, had he been there, both Akasha and Jamila would be dead now or worse, for trolls did not always kill their victims right away.
Legolas knocked on the door before entering. Thranduil sat at the furthest side of the round table, two advisors flanking him. He watched his youngest child enter and sighed internally. *Legolas, you are much too late for the council with Lord Baraldil.* He stated.
The prince moved closer and bowed before his king. *My apologies father. I was patroling in the woods.*
Thranduil gave another resigned sigh. He was well aware of his son’s preference to spending his days and nights in the woods. Even as a youth, Legolas much preferred the company of trees and animal to those of other elves, with the exception of his brother, Salorien and a hand full of others. He had always shied away from the more mundane duties of being a prince, and Thranduil had hoped with Tehran’s absence, Legolas would finally show some interest in what it meant to run a kingdom. Protecting its borders was only a small part of being a king.
*Leave us,* he ordered the advisors.
Bowing to both Thranduil and Legolas, they departed through a ready exit.
*Legolas… I know you adore your beloved woods, but you must understand you have duties to your people here. *
*It is because of these duties that I patrol the borders,* Legolas countered.
*Yes, but your people need you inside the walls as well. We have sentries to do that. And what if something was to happen to you? What would become of your people then?*
*But something did happen,* Legolas stated. *Trolls have been spotted in north Mirkwood.*
Thranduil looked up surprised, *Trolls?*
*Yes,* his son nodded.
*Are you sure? How did you come by this knowledge?* the king inquired.
*I have seen them with my own eyes. Sixty miles southeast they attacked two young girls.*
Concern now etched across his father’s face.
*And the condition of the victims?*
*The little one suffered no harm, but her elder sister was badly injured, she was bitten by a troll. The healers are with her now,* informed the elven prince.
*Have you any idea who they are or where they are from? If they are from Heedor, I should like to send word to their families.*
*I only know that they are Akasha and Jamila of Indolien on the border of Mirkwood, other then-*
*How did Akasha fair when you left her?* the King demanded, standing and advancing towards his son.
*The venom had a strong but incomplete hold; thankfully our healers are still skilled with the knowledge of such poisons.*
*Come,* Thranduil called to the dismissed advisors. *We must see to her immediately.*
*What is the matter?* his son asked slightly puzzled.
*You do not recognize the names?* Legolas shook his head as he followed his father down the hall to his chambers. *Akasha and Jamila are the middle and youngest daughters of Queen Relgan of Heedor.*
Legolas stared at his father. *She does not look the part of a princess.*
The corners of Thranduil’s lips turned up. *There are those that would say you do not look the part of a prince, my son.* Legolas seemed to turn that idea over in his head. *Come, we shall see to Akasha’s progress before sending word to her mother. I would like to send my own assurance that her children are out of harm’s way.*
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