Breathing Fresh Air

Thranduil yawned as he opened his eyes. He shifted, pulling his arm out from under Legolas’s head. He rubbed the numbness out of his arm before sitting up and squinting into the bright light streaming into the room.

“I am glad to see you awake,” Healer Jailil said drily from the door. “I have excellent news; this day I pronounce you fit to leave bed.”

Legolas jerked awake and flung off the blankets, exclaiming, “Really? I can? I really can?”

“Yes, Legolas,” said the Healer with a suffering look.

As Legolas prepared to bolt from the bed, Healer Jailil presented the catch, “But there will be no running or shouting. You need to rest and grow accustomed to your own two feet again before you can exert your energy on things beside healing.”

Legolas’s face fell.

Thranduil stepped out of bed; stretching his cramped muscles, glad to get the blood flowing in his legs again.

“I permit you to take short walks,” Healer Jailil said. “But you must sit down if you feel tired. And you can, of course, take a bath and tidy up out of your wretched state. I feel safe allowing you to sleep in your rooms from now on.”

Thranduil shot the elf a glare. “It is because of you I find myself in this state! Come, Legolas, I cannot wait to pick up my comb again!”

“I wonder if it is dusty?” Legolas said thoughtfully. He took his father’s hand and skipped out of the room with the boundless well of energy he felt within him.

Thranduil looked with pleasure at the sight of his bedchamber as he walked through the door. Harune had kept it dusted and tidy. Humming a tune, he proceeded to change into clean robes and comb his hair. Legolas fidgeted while his father worked through the tangle his hair had become.

“Where is daerada?” Legolas asked. He added, “Ow!” to a jerk at his hair.

“He and Landion are most likely having fun together,” Thranduil answered.

Legolas dangled his legs over the chair. “Ow. Where do you think he is?”

Thranduil put down the comb. “I have no idea but I wish to see the trees. Will you come with me?” He held out his hand.

Legolas grabbed it. “Yes!”

Father and son were halfway down the hall when the door to Harune’s room flew open and the bedraggled occupant demanded, “Wait! We will come with you.”

Thranduil eyed his father’s untidy nightclothes and disheveled hair. Beyond the door, he could see Landion sitting on the bed in an equally messy state, a huge grin on his face. He smiled drily. “You might want to consider changing first.”

Harune held up a finger, “I intend to. One minute.” The door banged.

Thranduil thought with a surge of satisfaction that Harune seemed in high spirits and very happy. When the door opened a few minutes later, he thought Landion, holding onto Harune’s hand, looked happy to. His cheeks were rosy and his eyes bright. Harune was tying back his hair, a pin between his teeth. Sticking the pin into place, he said, “I am ready.”

Restored to his usual neat appearance, Harune followed Thranduil down the hall, looking from Thranduil’s tall, regal form to the happy, slender elfling walking beside him with a bright smile on his face.

As the four walked out into the sun, Thranduil breathed in the fresh air, acknowledging the greetings of the guards flanking the palace exit. Crossing over the stone bridge leading over the river, he walked into the forest on the winding path.

“My lord, I am beyond relieved to see you looking so well,” Hyrondal said, coming toward Thranduil with open arms.

Thranduil smiled, accepting the embrace. “I am feel well indeed, and will soon be even better.”

Hyrondal peered at Legolas with a sincere face before he grinned and ruffled Legolas’s hair. “And no doubt you will be back to causing mischief soon to, eh?”

“Maybe,” Legolas said. He knew he was too shy to play tricks on the guards. Being chased frightened him, reminding him of old times with Lord Katar. But Hyrondal liked to tease him because he had naughty eyes. At least, Hyrondal said he did.

“I heard the news,” Hyrondal continued, turning to Harune.

“Now I wonder who could have told you already?” Harune said with raised eyebrows.

“It was Healer Jailil,” Hyrondal said. “We had a drink last night; he needed cheering up. Anyway, may I offer you my most hearty congratulations?”

“Certainly,” said Harune. He smiled down at Landion.

“Why are you so jolly today?” Thranduil asked his Captain of the Guard suspiciously.

“Ah, many great things have happened today. You are well, Harune has a new son, Landion is happy, and Talion has completed his training. It is always inspiring when a trainee completes their training.”

“Talion?” said Thranduil. “I cannot place the name.”

“He was the one who found Legolas in the forest,” Hyrondal supplied helpfully. “After he had run away from Lord Katar. He wanted to be a scout, you see, so I sent him on borderland patrols. He has good eyes and he is not too bad with a knife. I must be off now; I am joining my fellow commanders for a strong celebratory drink. Would not want you to see me drunk!”

Grinning, Hyrondal jogged away with a last wave at the royal family.

Thranduil drew in a deep breath of forest air, enjoying the smells of trees and earth and moss. It was good to be back on his feet again, and able to enjoy the beauty of his homeland. He wrapped an arm around Legolas’s shoulders and gave his son a squeeze.

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