It had been a long battle this time and Thranduil was never so glad to be back at the palace. As much as he would like to go to his chambers and forget about being a King, he could not. There was much to do, parchments to be signed and such. Tonight there was to be a celebration for the returning warriors, one that Thranduil was expected to attend. The one thing that he would not compromise however was a visit from Lebeth, his favorite lady of the court. She knew how to soothe his tired muscles, cure his scratches and bruises and then make him forget about being a king. Not only was being at the borders hard on the body, but hard on the libido as well. He really wanted to sink into a comfortable hot bath, but even more to sink into a warm and willing elleth. Long had it been since he felt the soft flesh of a female beneath him.
That evening at the celebration, Thranduil was scanning the filled ballroom looking for his favorite companion. He wondered why he had not seen her yet. Lebeth was never too far from his sight during these royal galas, yet she had been absent all night. He was not pleased. His yearnings needed tending to and there was no other better for the job.
Just as his temper was about to rise, someone caught his eye. Across the room, there was a beauty he had not yet seen. Tall and slender, golden hair flowing down her back, ample bosom and shapely hips, this elleth stood out amongst the others. She was very fine indeed and Thranduil felt himself calm a bit as he observed her. She was talking with a group of ellyn, smiling and laughing as they each tried to woo her away. The King noticed that she did not budge nor did she look upon any of them with favor. She raised her wine glass to her mouth and Thranduil studied how her pink lips ever so lightly touched the glass. Ai, but she was a fine specimen and he wanted to know her better. Again, his eyes scanned her body as he imagined her out of that dark green gown, lying naked in his bed. He felt a twitch in his loins and it reminded him that he had yet to set up a visitor for later. Maybe this one would be his companion for the evening since Lebeth was nowhere to be found.
* * *
Alya was enjoying herself at the celebration tonight. This was her first invitation to such an affair. Tonight was reserved for only those returning from the borders and their families. Only a select few that did not fit into this category were invited. Alya was asked to come because in just a couple days, she was beginning her new job as messenger to the court. Up until now, she had only run messages back and forth from the kitchen to the staff. She hoped to meet and speak with some of the nobles she would be working for in the near future. However, what she really wanted more than anything was to catch a glimpse of the King of Mirkwood. Long had she fancied him. To her, he was the perfect King, the perfect elf. He was beyond handsome with his strong shoulders and chiseled features. He was at times very stern. Still, there was always an underlying softness in his eyes that she found to be most alluring. Thranduil was a great leader and the people loved him, but none more than Alya. He was the reason she sought a future in court politics. To be able to serve in the King’s court was a lifelong dream, but to be able to be close to him was paradise.
She had been watching to see when the King would show, but so far, he had not. She was introduced to a group of fellow messengers and struck up a conversation with them. Each of them had the same goal in mind, to become members of the court and taking a job as a messenger was the first step. As Alya was getting to know her fellow workers better, a feeling came over her that warmed her very core. She felt a pair of eyes on her as if someone in the crowd was watching her closely.
* * *
As Thranduil’s eyes bore down on her, the elleth turned her attention from her company to turn her head, looking over her shoulder and scanning the crowd. Thranduil never lost contact and hoped she would find him. And she did. Her sight finally fell upon Thranduil and their eyes met. She could do nothing now. He captured her and held her in his blue-eyed gaze. Her smile faded and her lips parted. Eyes as green as the shallow sea looked back at him. Her beauty was stunning, and he wanted her.
Alya saw that it was King Thranduil himself that picked her out of the crowd. He was absolutely breath taking and he was watching her every move. She could not budge, as if she were in a trance. Her body warmed and shivered at the same time under his steely glare. Only in dreams had she ever seen him look at her like this, but this was no dream. The King, the object of her secret desire, was fixed on her and only her.
While she watched, Thranduil let his eyes drop to her breasts, her waist, her legs and then slowly travel back up her body. He could see her gasp across the room from his seductive stare, as he undressed her with his hungry eyes. He set his goblet down and was about to take a step forward to go to her when someone stopped him.
“Sire, your attention is needed. Message comes from the borders. Our soldiers have captured one of the orcs. They think they can get some information from him and want to know if he should be held at the border or brought to the dungeons for further questioning,” said the elf, or the intruder, as Thranduil thought of him at the moment.
The King sighed and looked once more across the crowded room. She was gone of course. He knew she would be as soon as he broke eye contact. Feeling his anger and frustration grow once more, he turned to the waiting elf. “I am on my way,” he said in a tone that said he was not at all pleased.
* * *
The next day, Thranduil sat in his office at his desk. He looked over the different papers before him. His advisors stood behind him ready to explain anything he did not know about, being he was away for so long. He came to a particular parchment that caught his attention and read it.
“Why was this not brought to me first?” Thranduil asked.
Brannor, the advisor standing, to his left bent down and looked over his shoulder. “This is only a request for trade from Lake Town,” he answered.
Thranduil read the request. “They wish to make a trade for ten barrels of wine. That is a hefty amount. I am sure there are things we need. What shape are we in with our supplies? Is there a list?”
Landion, the advisor to his right, searched quickly through some other parchments and finally pulled one out, handing it to Thranduil. He looked over it mumbling to himself, took a quill and ink then wrote on a clean paper. When he was done, he folded it and sealed it in wax. “This should have already been taken care of,” he said in a stern voice while shoving the note to Brannor. “If they agree to everything written on here they may have their wine. Ten barrels, no more, no less,” he said to no one in particular. “Now send for a messenger to deliver this right away.”
“Yes, Sire,” Brannor said, and he hurried towards the door.
“Oh, and send for Lebeth,” Thranduil added before the advisor left.
“Right away, my King.”
It was a well-known fact that Thranduil had certain ellith he would call upon when the mood struck him. He was, after all, the King. And Brannor knew that the King never sent someone else to call upon Lebeth. Thranduil himself called upon her, escorting her from her quarters to his own and vice versa when they were through. However, the King was in rare form lately. Three days he had been back and no elleth was seen coming or going. Now he was sending Brannor to call upon Lebeth. He knew if the King did not get his messenger or his companion soon it would be like opening the gates of Mordor around here. So hurriedly, he walked along headed for Lebeth’s quarters, but there were two tasks to complete. He needed a messenger.
Brannor passed by the library and spotted a friend, Sadron. He desperately waved at him and ran over. “You must help me. The King will have my head if I do not hurry. Would you take it upon yourself to locate and send a messenger to Thranduil’s office? There is a letter of trade that must be sent right away.”
“Of course,” Sadron said. “And where else are you headed to?”
“I must find the King’s mistress Lebeth. You wouldn’t happen to know where she is would you?” Brannor asked.
“No, I have not seen her recently. Maybe she is home.”
“That’s where I am headed now. Never mind that, just get a messenger there before Lebeth and all will be well,” Brannor said and took off once more.
Sadron made his way down the hall looking for anyone that might be a messenger. It seemed messengers were scarce today. And if what Brannor said was true, it seemed the King would be none too pleased if one did not show soon. On he went down the empty corridor until finally he saw someone up ahead.
* * *
Tomorrow was Alya’s duties as court messenger were to begin tomorrow, so she had spent part of her last free day in the bathhouse with friends. Now she was on her way back to her quarters, dressed in only a robe, not a stitch on underneath, when she heard someone coming up behind her. She turned and saw an ellon in such a hurry she thought he was going to run her over. He stopped just short of knocking her to the floor.
“My lady, would you by chance happen to know where I might find a messenger? I am in dire need of one for the court.”
Alya smiled. “Why, it seems you have found one, but actually I don’t start until--.”
“Oh bless me. You have saved my friend’s hide. You must come with me right away. It is urgent that. . .” He paused and looked down. “Where are your clothes, my dear?”
“I was just at the bathing house and. . .”
“Never mind,” Sadron continued. “I know where the employees’ closets are. Surely there should be a uniform in there.”
“Well, if you would just let me retrieve mine from my quarters--.” Again, the desperate elf interrupted Alya.
“There is no time. The King calls for a messenger right away, some important business in Lake Town. He should not be kept waiting long and he is already in a foul mood. Come along unless you do not want to have a job tomorrow.”
Alya’s eyes grew wide. The King, she thought and her heart began to pound in her chest. She did not expect to see him just yet. She hadn’t even officially started her new position and already she was expected to meet King Thranduil, the very handsome King of her dreams who had watched her silently the night before. As Sadron pulled her along the corridor, she started to get flustered. “But. . . I. . . I don’t. . .” she stuttered, unsure of what to say. Suddenly they were standing in front of a door. Sadron turned the handle and they entered.
Sadron led Alya into a small room and pointed to a closet. “You should find what you need in there. Spare uniforms are kept on the left. I do hope the laundry came back already,” he went on. “Now hurry and get off to the King.” He turned and left the room, closing the door behind him.
Alya looked around the room. There was a table and chairs, a small desk with a quill and ink and a very large oak wardrobe. It seemed like a workers room, a place shared by others, maybe for taking breaks and what not. She went to the wardrobe and opened the wooden doors. To her horror, there were no messenger uniforms inside, only dresses. She moved them aside and looked over every square inch. Nothing. Panic set in as she realized the laundry had indeed not been done. She looked through the dresses again. Certainly, she couldn’t show up in one of these, but what choice did she have. Her first assignment and already there were problems. Alya thought about going to her quarters, but it was too far away and she had already wasted enough time. King Thranduil was waiting and he would not appreciate being kept for too long. She either put on one of these dresses or showed up in her robe. “A dress it is,” she said to herself and grabbed the first one, a burgundy gown, floor length, with a low back and a slit up the side that came up mid-thigh. “Who in Middle-earth wears these and why are they here?” she wondered. “I guess I should be thankful.”
* * *
Thranduil paced the floor of his office, Landion nervously waiting by. “Where is everyone?” the King said.
“I’m sure they will be here momentarily, Sire,” Landion answered. Silently he prayed that Lebeth showed first.
“Have I been away so long that my own staff has forgotten how to keep things moving smoothly around here?” Thranduil said, his voice echoing off his office walls.
There was a soft knock on the door. Thranduil stopped pacing and turned to face the door, standing very tall and looking every bit the king. “Enter,” he called.
The door slowly opened and a set of slender fingers wrapped around the edge of it. Thranduil released a breath of relief. His sweet lady Lebeth had finally showed.
Alya opened the door just enough to step through. The sight before her was surely one she would never forget. There stood King Thranduil, the most powerful elven king in Middle-earth. He wore fine leather black boots, dark green wool leggings and a white tunic with a high collar. She immediately thought of all the times she had daydreamed about seeing him in nothing but those leggings, a delicious bulge in them, and her hands caressing him. Quickly, Alya shook the thought from her head and went back to observing him.
Around his shoulders, he wore a beautiful shimmering green cloak made of the finest material. It was edged with a rich tan fur, possibly that of a stag. His hair was the color of ripe wheat, straight and sleek. And upon his head he wore a silver circlet, probably made of mithril. The metal was twisted in the shape of intertwining vines adorned with small star-like jewels, diamonds perhaps. His face was stern, jaw set, and high cheekbones below almond eyes. And oh, his eyes, she thought. They were as blue as the summer sky and at the moment, they bore right into her.
Thranduil eyed the elleth as she stood just inside the doorway. “Your name?” he said.
“I am Alya, Sire. I have come to--” Thranduil held up his hand to stop her. Obviously, she was not used to being in the court. One did not give the King more information than what he asked for.
The moment seemed to last forever when Thranduil finally turned to Landion. “You may go now. I will call for you.”
Worried about the message for Lake Town, Landion started to speak. “My King, the correspondence.”
“You may leave,” Thranduil said rather sternly. Landion knew better than to press on. He bowed, hand over heart and quickly left the office wondering who she was, why Lebeth hadn’t showed yet, and when a messenger would arrive to deliver the trade agreement.
Again, Thranduil’s attention came back to the beauty in front of him. She was still close to the door so he motioned for her to come further into the room, which she did.
By the gods, she was beautiful, he thought as he held her in his stare. He dared not let his eyes roam down her body. She seemed nervous enough as it was and he did not want to scare her off. First, to find out who she was and why his regular lady was not here.
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