A Cold Heart Warmed: Part I
by Pharassero

Kalay had been refered to as being cold-hearted for a long time, but never to her face. She knew well enough what the other elf women called her 'cold halfling' and 'witches spawn'. They thought the only way a human could get an elf to lie with them was by magic, well if you called love magic then yes that is what it was. When one of Lord Thranduil's guards fell in love with a human woman that had accidentaly wondered into the forest and wed her, Kalay had been born shortly after that. Her mother had grown old and died, and her father soon after from sorrow at losing her, but Kalay lived on after choosing to live forever as an elf.

She was sitting alone on a bench one day thinking to herself about leaving Mirkwood, when something green flashed by stopped turned and grabbed her by the wrist. The figure pulled her to her feet, and told her to hurry before dragging her off without waitng for her reply. Looking up to see who had so boldy grabbed her and started dragging her around, she was surprised to find that it was Prince Legolas. She said nothing as her dargged her all the way to his father's council chamber where others waited. Pushing her gently into a seat and then seating himsefl to her right, he looked at his father and said, "Here she is, she was alone...again." At this he gave her a half grin to show he was only joking with her, she however could only return a rather startled statement.

"Kalay, I have asked my son to bring you to this meeting for good reason. The Ring has been found and a council has been called to go to Rivendale. I want you to go with them, and be Prince Legolas' sworn protector. It isn't as if I don't have great faith in his abilities, I would just feel better if someone could keep a closer eye on him, who is just as good a fighter as he in case of trouble." Thranduil announced to her.

There were a few murmers of disagreement, especialy from the younger elf who had been picked to accompany Legolas to Rivendale. Kalay paid no heed to them, just letting the announcment sink in. Legolas was more like a best friend or a brother to her than anyone else here, he had always comforted her when the others had hurt her with their name calling and rudeness. Thranduil quickly silenced them and told them, " It is my choice to make and I have made it, that is if Kalay chooses to accempt it." He gave her a pointed look and awaited her answer.

"I would be honored to go and protect my prince, m'Lord'" Kalay replied a bit excitedly.

"Good, because we leave as soon as you are ready'" Legolas told her.

"Oh....may I be excused then, I don't want to keep you waiting," she waited just long enough to be excused before she jumped up and hurried off. King Thranduil, Legolas and many of the other elves laughed as she scurried off to pack.

Rushing to her room she thought about all the things she would need to take with her, her crossbow and sword, plenty of arrows, and some provisions. She stopped by the kitchen quickly for the last and then hurried to her room wher she quickly packed up traveling clothes, her weapons, and a small flute. She threw on her traveling cloak and ran out the door to find the others, almost running into Legolas on her way.

"Sorry my prince, I was in a rush and not watching my direction," she apologised to him, a bit breathles in her hurry.

"Nonsense and drop the formality, we've known each other too long to start that," he scolded her in a teasing tone that made her smile. "There now, if you are ready shall we go?"

"Yes, of course," she said quickly. He led the way down to the horses, and helped her in mounting hers even as she protested that as his protector she should be th one helping him.

"Ladies first, I'll be fine getting myself up on the horse, don't be so serious." She gave him a look that made him laugh loudly, and when he recovered his breath he told her, "Now don't look at me that way, I know what this means to you. You will do your job well enough if you just act natural and be yourself."

They made for Rivendale as soon as all were settled on their mounts. Kalay's mind began to run as fast as her horse to the adventur ahead. What would happen, what exactly is this ring everyone talks about as if they fear it, and what part do I have to play in all this? These questions and many others raced through her mind as they journeyed to Rivendale.

| Part II |
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