Matters of the Heart: Part III
by Amber Wood-Brasher (rogue)

For the next few days before her betrothal, Senia saw the Prince only at dinner. She kept her head down and barely glanced in his direction. It wasn’t hard; Legolas certainly never spoke to her.

At night she stayed in her room, alone, trying desperately to get used to the fact that she was going to be here for the rest of her days, and she might as well get used to the fact. She poured her true feelings out only to a small volume, a book that the Lady had given to Senia when she was a child, writing very quickly as elves tend to do in delicate script.

“Only four days have I been here. The betrothal ceremony is tomorrow. The King has had his best seamstresses make me a dress, clothing more suited to the styles of those that live in the Mirkwood. I am not ungrateful; the dress is very beautiful. But my clothing from Llothlorien is almost all I have left of my home.

I wonder almost daily why the King chooses me to marry his son. I understand that he wishes to take care of me; he and my father were close. But my mother and I never wanted for anything at Llothlorien. We were happy…

I do not wish to sound ungrateful. I am a mature woman now. I know it will seem to anyone who may ever read these pages that I am a whining child. But I am afraid I will not find happiness here…”

Senia put her quill up and opened a desk drawer, carefully placing her book inside it. She left the page open to allow the ink to dry; if she closed it now, the ink would smear.

A gentle knock upon her door startled her, and she slammed the drawer shut just as the door swung open. Eowing stepped in, that same little smile she seemed to perpetually wear on her face. “Lady?” she said sweetly. “I came to see if you wanted a bath drawn.”

“I…Yes, thank you,” Senia said quietly. She eyed the girl suspiciously; their last meeting had not been pleasant, Eowing had seemed amused about something and somewhat cruel to her.

“Of course!” Eowing said brightly. She looked at the dress hanging in Senia’s room and that odd cruelness seeped back into her features. “Why, how beautiful! You will look lovely for your betrothal ceremony!”

”I suppose,” Senia said, reaching out and touching the fabric of the gown.

“I believe it was Lelandra who helped to design that dress,” Eowing continued as she flitted about in the bath area. “Which I found very odd, but she is loyal to the King…and to the Prince…so she’d do anything asked of her.”

Senia’s brow furrowed. “I’m afraid I don’t understand; why would it be odd?”

”Well, everyone knows she fancies the Prince,” Eowing said with another fake smile. “And I believe the Prince fancies her. But, of course, she’s a lowly servant girl with no noble blood…”

Senia frowned, knowing this servant girl’s words were meant to be cruel and hurtful, but refusing to be baited. “Really?” she replied, letting just a bit of an edge creep into her voice. “How very interesting…Thank you Eowing, I require nothing further from you.”

“Of course, Lady!” she said brightly, flashing another smile. “If you need anything else-“

”I most likely will not,” Senia said flatly. “I wish to be alone.”

She was pleased to see Eowing’s smile falter, finally, and the elven woman curtsied and left the room huffily.

Senia stared at the closed door for a moment. She sighed and rubbed her eyes, going back over to the desk and carefully pulling her diary out of the drawer. She picked up the quill and dipped it into the ink, continuing her writing.

“And no one wants me here. That is most obvious. Now, I begin to see why it felt to me at first that much of the palace had a sort of animosity against me. Now I see perhaps why the King was so bent on me marrying Legolas…and I understand, and now almost sympathize with the Prince…


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And so it was done.

The exact details of the ceremony, Senia would never remember. She had purposefully kept herself, her mind, and her thoughts distant from that around her. She remembered her brother placing her hand in Legolas’s, remembered that neither of their grips were very firm or welcoming, remembered her mother sniffling quietly to one side of her, remembered the pride in Thranduil’s voice as he announced that this was the maiden his son would marry. She remembered Legolas kissing her cheek, if one could call it a kiss. He did little more than bump her cheek lightly with his lips. Not that she would have actually wanted anything more.

She remembered how quickly they let go of each other’s hand, after the ceremony was finally over. She remembered her mother hugging her tightly and saying she couldn’t be more proud of her as she cried quietly, remembered Delithral also hugging her, telling her that he loved her very much, but that it was time for him to leave again.

That was when Senia had refocused, and came back to reality.

“You could not stay at least another day?” she asked pleadingly, reluctant to see one of the few friendly faces in the palace leave.

“I am afraid not, my sister,” Del said with a sad smile, squeezing her shoulders. “I am needed in Rivendell, and soon. I will be back, though, that I promise you.”

Senia swallowed, telling herself not to cry, that she would see him again. “I love you, brother. Please, be careful…I do not know what mother or I would do without you.”

“I will,” Del smiled. His expression grew serious, and he pulled her over to the side, away from the ears of others. “Sister…I am going to ask you this before I go, and I want you to tell me honestly…are you happy here?”

She contemplated lying to him, she truly did: anything to give him peace of mind while he was away, in the middle of a war against the Dark Lord. But the way that he looked at her did not allow lying, no matter how much she wanted him not to worry for her. “No. No Delithral. I am not happy here.”

Del’s brow furrowed. “Why?”

Senia sighed, placing her fingertips to her temples. “Would you like being forced to marry someone you did not know? Living in a strange place for the rest of your days?”

”It will not be strange after a while,” her brother insisted, his eyes full of worry, as Senia had feared. “You must at least give it a chance-“

”The Prince will never love me, Del,” she said softly. “The best I can hope for is that after I bear him a child, an heir, he will let me be.”

Del shook his head. “No. I know Legolas. That will no happen.”

Senia was silent, and Delithral touched her face. “The war will not last forever, and when it is over, I will return here…Make no mistake.”

“I know,” Senia said, smiling. “I know. Go on, my brother. I know you are anxious.”

Del hugged his sister again, and then made his way over to Sothiel to say his goodbyes to her.

Senia waited until he was well out of eyesight, then let the tears that had been fighting their way up fall. She quickly wiped them away, and then left the room quietly, unnoticed by those chattering and talking.

Or so she thought.

* * * * * * * * * * *

For the past four nights, Senia had fallen into much the same routine she’d had in Llothlorien.

At least at night.

Every night, she had snuck out of the palace and into the woods. The first night, she had found a place…a place that over-looked much of the palace, and of the forests as well. And every night, she returned to this place, climbed the same tree, perched on the same branch, and she sat.

Sometimes she wrote in her small volume, sometimes she slept…Sometimes she simply thought.

This night, she came there to cry.

The emotions that she’d kept bottled up inside, that she’d been so determined not to let show, finally came rushing out. She buried her face in her hands and wept bitterly, knowing that out here, at least, no one would hear her.

“Are you all right?”

Senia jumped, almost falling off the tree branch she was perched on. On a tree that was next to the one she was sitting in, balancing nimbly on a branch, was Legolas. She wiped frantically at her cheeks, noting that some of the animosity had dissipated from his features, at least for now. He was still cool towards her, but he actually seemed to show some concern. “No,” she finally replied. “I am not all right. I am worried, I am angry, and I am confused, if you truly wish to know the truth.”

Legolas regarded her for a moment, and then began to hop from branch to branch, making his way closer to her. And with great skill, Senia couldn’t help but notice. Elves were all very nimble and quick, but she doubted that she could jump around trees like that. Legolas halted on a branch that was adjacent to the one she was perched on, and sat down. Senia turned away, looking out at the landscape, slightly embarrassed that he’d caught her at a moment like this. It wasn’t that she cared; she simply hated for anyone to see her crying.

Neither of them spoke for a few moments. It was Legolas who finally broke that silence, clearing his throat. “I’m sorry your brother has to leave so soon.”

Senia looked back at him, slightly surprised. “As am I. But it cannot be helped.”

Legolas nodded. “If it were up to me, I’d be going with him.”

Senia glanced sharply at him. “You want to go fight in the war?”

Again, Legolas simply nodded. “My father…He would never allow it.” His expression hardened a bit. “Especially not with you here.”

Senia clenched her teeth. “My apologies for being here, then, my Lord. I did not want to be here anymore than you don’t want me here.” Senia began to get up, carefully, so as not to loose her footing on the branch, and began to make her way to the trunk of the tree.

She heard motion and, in what seemed like just a split second, the Prince was beside her. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “I have behaved appallingly and I know it. I have said and done things hurtful to you, and I know that none of this is your fault. I…I hope you will accept my apologies.”

Senia’s jaw fairly dropped open, her eyes wide as she regarded the Prince almost as if she’d never seen him before. The Prince had looked away, looking towards the ground, a slight flush darkening on his high cheekbones. Senia took a deep breath, remembering what the servant girl, Eowing, had said earlier. “They are accepted, my Lord,” she said quietly. “I also apologies. You were right. I have not even given the Mirkwood a chance.” Or given you a chance, she thought. “I think I should be getting back, Lord.”

“Please,” Legolas said, flinching. “You may call me by my name. You may call me Legolas.”

Again the Prince had surprised her. “All right,” she said quietly. “Legolas, then. And if you wish, you may call me Senia.” He nodded, still looking away. The moment was awkward for both of them. “I really should be getting back, my Lo-…Legolas.”

“Of course.” Legolas nodded, and turned, leaping nimbly back to the branch he’d first been sitting on.

Senia watched him as he did this, and then shook herself mentally. He’d actually apologized to her. It looked like she’d severely misjudged him, and even though she still had no desire to marry him…Perhaps they would be actually be able to get along.


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