Elrohir stretched, easing the aches that even a night’s sleep hadn’t completely cured. However, despite the lingering fatigue from his long journey, he was eager to explore the mysterious Woodland Realm.
He pushed back the sheets and, pausing only to pull on a robe, strolled out onto the balcony that linked his room to Elladan’s. The moment he took in the scene, he forgot all thought of rousing Elladan. The trees, which yesterday had stood starkly bare and grey against the darkening sky, now sparkled with frost and bent under their burden of snow. The clearing was a carpet of pure white, touched only by the spidery prints of birds. The river that separated the clearing from the huge stone gateway to Thranduil’s stronghold creaked beneath a thick layer of ice; the bridge shone as though encrusted with diamonds. As Elrohir watched, a fresh flurry of snow fell from the slate-grey clouds.
The muffled thud of horses’ hooves dragged his attention from the clearing to the road that approached from the south. Five warriors rode in, apparently returning from patrol. Elrohir’s eyes were drawn to the warrior at the head of the troop. Dressed in identical green and brown to his fellows, he stood out nevertheless. Tall and straight as a spear, his head was crowned with hair the colour of winter sunshine. Even had his hair been covered, the aura of power that surrounded him would have told Elrohir that he was looking at Thranduil’s son, Legolas. And was it his imagination, or did the trees bend, bowing as he passed, or was it merely a passing breeze that shook the snow from the branches? Whatever the cause, Legolas laughed as he cantered through his own personal snow flurry and shook his head, dashing the snow from his eyes.
Elrohir’s pulse beat an uneven tattoo. Legolas was beautiful; there was no other word for him. He leaned over the balcony rail, drinking in the sight of strong brows and exquisitely chiselled cheekbones. He didn’t utter a word, but just as the prince passed beneath the balcony, his head snapped up as though responding to a call and gazed straight at Elrohir. Kingfisher blue eyes pierced Elrohir’s soul.
Say something! Don’t just stand there like a lovestruck maiden. But Elrohir’s tongue clove to the roof of his mouth while Legolas swept him with his gaze. Before his lips could form a greeting, the prince turned away and horse and rider clattered across the bridge.
Elrohir followed his progress until his was lost from sight, then let out a soft sigh that sparkled in the air.
This visit promised to be even more interesting than he’d imagined.