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Mirkwood and Beyond

Chapter 16 / ?
Authors: Mary A and Malinornë
Pairings: Mainly Thranduil/OFCs
Warnings: Adult sexual situations, nudity, naughty feather play, other naughty activities involved with threesome sex...
Disclaimer: Written for fun, not for profit, with characters and setting borrowed from JRR Tolkien.
Chapter summary: Mary and Mal prepare for their night in Lord Celeborn's talan and are not disappointed when the time comes to be alone with him.

~ Mal ~

A light puff of air against my face woke me up, and for a moment I felt disoriented. Then I noticed the head on the pillow beside me, with a few blond strands of hair moving over his face by the wind, and the events of the night came back to me. Rúmil had been so sweet, but also so very naughty that just reminiscing made my cheeks heat.

Looking at him resting in the grey light just before dawn was a treat, but by now I was convinced of the real reason why I had woken up so early. I needed to pee. In Mirkwood that hadn't been a problem, with all the ingenious plumbing and flowing waters through the caverns, but here it would at the very least entail climbing down to the ground.

While picking up and putting on various items of clothing that were strewn across the talan, I muttered to myself about the less practical sides of beautiful Lórien. I should have known that would alert Rúmil, if he hadn't already felt when I left the bed. He jumped up, was momentarily at my side, and embraced me in all his glorious nudity. It was quite distracting.

"Will you leave me already?" he asked, with a pout that was betrayed by the merry glow of his eyes.

"I'm sorry. I really need to... do something. In private."

"I will escort you, then."

"Thank you, but I need to be alone, please."

"In that case, you will find what you seek if you follow the path starting three telain to the left." I nodded, grateful that I wouldn't have to go all the way back to the party tree by the fountain. "It is not far," he added with a wink. "You will be back quickly."

I told him that I had enjoyed the night with him very much, and that we might meet again during Mary's and my stay in Lórien, but for now I needed to be alone. And not only to take care of the small physical need, but to bring some order to the conflicting thoughts in my head about the awaiting visit to his lord. But of course I didn't say that.

He demanded a kiss before I left, and it was not hard to acquiesce to that wish. It was equally easy to let him repeat the kiss, and to put his hand inside my bodice, although it was very difficult to deny his mouth entrance to the same place. But I had to do it, or I would not be able to leave before the situation got truly uncomfortable. He was not offended, but he seemed to make a point of letting me see as much as possible of what I was missing.

When I had washed in a small stream with cold, clear water, I was very tempted to return to the elf and be warmed up by him again. However, as the morning mist dissipated, the first rays of the sun shone alluringly from the opposite direction, and before I had really made a conscious decision I found that I would rather not go back to bed just now.

A little white bird was cleansing its feathers in the sand on the path, and as it flew away, jubilantly twittering, I followed. The forest became denser, and the tree trunks thicker, which should have told me that I was on my way back to the great mallorn in the central glade, even if the wall of trees shut out most of the sound from the fountain.

As it were, I was surprised to find myself in a garden, a very wild one, with vines everywhere and flowers seemingly growing wherever it suited them to grow, but still obviously a garden. There were benches to sit on, and neat, pebbled paths weaving in an out among the greenery, and I think there was a kitchen garden on my far left -- at least the vines there looked suspiciously like peas.

Further away, a few steps of sand-coloured stone led to a terrace, and as I looked in that direction I saw a woman in white approaching me. It was Galadriel, and she smiled amiably.

"Greetings, Malinornë. I trust you enjoyed your welcome to our wood?" I wondered how much she could read from my mind, or guess, of what had passed between me and a certain warden of hers, and it embarrassed me. I would have preferred to behave more worthy of her hospitality.

As I lowered my head to at least avoid her deep gaze, I noticed that she was barefoot. How odd for a powerful lady! I looked up at her face again. She was still smiling, as if she didn't know, or didn't care. It was impossible not to feel welcome, even here in her garden.

"Welcome to my garden," she confirmed. "Now that you have found your way here, will you use the opportunity offered?" She swept her right hand towards the terrace, and I immediately realized what could be found there. I politely declined.

"Will you not look into my mirror?"

"No. No, thank you."

"A wise decision. Or maybe not. Elbereth alone knows what the mirror shows, or why. It is a deceitful advisor." She indicated one of the benches instead, and I was happy to sit down for a while. I don't know why I had said no to taking a peek at my future, but the impulse to decline had been strong.

"Then, will you take my advice?" she asked. "You must make your choice to believe me or not, but the Lady speaks more true than her mirror." She laughed at that, and then continued: "He loves you, for as much as is possible for him. Do not seek the unobtainable, but have peace with what you are given. Do not be afraid."

It was ridiculous, but the moment she uttered those words I knew that it was true. Thranduil had tried to tell me the same, and to show it, by his actions and in that other way I hadn't wanted to accept, but I hadn't believed him, or even been prepared to listen. And now I was completely convinced by hearing it from this elf-woman, whom I had barely met. I felt stupid, but very happy.

But, as the first wave of happiness had subsided, I felt apprehension. I would not spend this coming night reconfirming my love for the Elvenking, but in the talan, and bed, of that I was sure, of her Lord Celeborn. I don't know how I found the courage to ask.

"And... what about... tonight?"

"So, you know already?" She laughed again, the innocent kind of giggle one would hear from a small girl. "Then your king will have an easier task today." She took my hand, and arranged her features in that all-knowing, benevolent expression sometimes found in pictures of saints.

"Do not be afraid," she said slowly, looking into my eyes. "Do not seek to change what you cannot. Accept the gifts that come upon your path. And, above all, do not fear. No malice lies in the heart of the elves, although perhaps a few will harbour a little greed, an inclination towards hastiness, such things that are usually closer to men."

Both of us grinned as she said those last things, and I knew whom she meant. Perhaps she had even said that because she saw him coming, as, when I turned to look behind me, Thranduil was standing there.

I thanked Galadriel for her advice, rose and put my arms around the king. I felt so light-hearted that I would gladly let him peek into my mind to watch my night with Rúmil, if that was his desire.

"My concubine needs more rest," he stated with his usual, well-masked tenderness. "I will take you to your talan, and there you may show me the cause for this lack of sleep."

~ Mary ~

Thranduil and I set that Lórien bed swinging a bit more wildly early the next morning, when chirping birdsong and glittering flashes of daylight peeking through the leaves had woken me in the arms of my king. He left me there afterwards, and I had slept for hours longer before he came back to wake me for breakfast. When he got back onto bed, it started swaying gently, and I felt like a baby being rocked in a cradle.

"Will you attach my bed back home in Mirkwood to the ceiling? I don't think I ever want to sleep in a bed with feet again."

"This bed was not made for sleeping," explained Thranduil. It was hard to tell if that was an editorial opinion or a fact.

"Well, maybe not for elves, but for me it was wonderful being rocked. You don't have to sleep in my bed, so why can't I have one like this there? How hard could it be to suspend a bed?"

After I asked, the king grew thoughtful and cocked his head at me before answering.

"I will grant your request," he said. "If you will grant one for me without complaint."

"What is it now?" My heart started pounding while I tried to imagine what he was willing to bargain over with me. "I am not negotiating on the carriage," I added, before I agreed to anything.

"After breakfast, I will tell you," was all he would say for the moment. "Malinorne is part of the decision, and she will need to be present when I issue my next command to the both of you. Get dressed."

"Command? Hey, just a second ago you said request."

"For you, it is the same thing, supposedly. Now, get dressed."

"In that same old thing I wore yesterday?"

He sighed and handed me my dress without another word.

There were more fresh strawberries at breakfast, but no naked king to dribble the cream on. He left me there with Mal and Galadriel, after nodding politely to both of them, and was gone. I smiled as nicely as I could manage at both of them without having had any coffee. The tea the elves served was marvelously stimulating and soon I was awake enough to feel friendly.

However, shortly after I had sat down, the Lady left us alone with only a mysterious smile, but as soon as she was gone, Mal stopped smiling and clutched my arm.

"Did you hear those plans for us?" She spoke quietly, although we were alone. "Between Thranduil and Celeborn, last night during the feast, with Galadriel?" I remembered them talking together, but I had no idea what they had said.

"Plans? Is that what they were yammering about? Plans for us? Mal, you know I can't understand Sindarin, unless the elves talk slowly, or when I am alone with the king. I can always understand him but I think it's because he never says words that I don't understand. Did I ever tell you about the time when he...?"

"Yes," She sounded a bit impatient. "You told me everything numerous times, and I di..."

But, I could not wait for her to tell me anything, when it occurred to me, as it did at that moment, what I had figured out about a certain Elflord. Before she could finish her sentence, I interrupted her again.

"Celeborn is the swan." I said. The look on her face was priceless.

"What?" She was breathless.

"I figured it out last night," I said. "The silver hair, the pretty eyes, the lovely mouth... and while you two were dancing I saw his ring. He wears one, right here." I pointed to my left hand, third finger. "I remember how it glimmered when he played that night at the inn. I thought he was married to his canary, but I can see she wasn't Galadriel in disguise; she was much shorter and, well, bustier."

"I will tell you something else about him," Thranduil said, from right behind me. "He is very interested in getting to know you better."

Luckily, I didn't spit tea on anyone else, or the tablecloth, besides myself.

"The both of you, tonight," added the king. I thought he was referring to another interview with a full body inspection, like we had with Lord Bard of the Hands, to make sure we were being taken care of by our monarch. As if Celeborn could not just ask us.

"I bet he does!" I answered. "We are just a couple of glowy mortal maid dolls for him to play doctor with, right?"

"You will both be guests in his talan, tonight. All night." And the king announced this as blithely as if he was telling us that we were going to have tea with Galadriel by the fountain at noon. But something in his eyes told me he would rather have us doing that, instead.

Mal blushed prettily, but I could tell it was not a surprise for her. Of course, that must have been the plans that she had overheard the night before. As I digested the information, while the king stood there, waiting, something horrible occurred to me. 'Mary,' I told myself, 'don't ask. You already know the answer, there is nothing you can do about it, there is no way that you can stop it, and it is better than being beheaded.' But would I listen?

"Where are you staying tonight?" I asked. Stupid me. And then I added, as if that was not enough, "Or should I say; who are you going to be staying with?" I already knew it was not Haldir. But Thranduil did not answer, because he does not waste his time pointing out the obvious. "You know," I said. "It's bad enough having perfect Mal around every day as an alternative, but now there's Galadriel, too? Why did you bring me here?"

"You were invited."

~ Mal ~

The breakfast in the now cleaned-up party flet was delicious, with all kinds of berries, and bread so fresh that the oven must be located just behind the next mallorn. But it was hard to concentrate on the food when all I wanted to do was to be alone with Mary to tell her the strange news of what adventures would await us tonight.

It was good to see the king again, because he had simply sent me to sleep without taking the slightest advantage of my newfound willingness to share my experience with him, but as I thought about the impending night, it almost felt like I was losing him again. I wanted to be with him now, not the silver-haired ruler of Lórien, and I couldn't even tell him that out loud.

He didn't stay long after depositing Mary and I hoped that the Lady would go, too, but no such luck. The minutes that passed until she wished us a good day dragged out endlessly.

But, as soon as I saw her graceful figure disappear up into the tree, I clutched Mary's arm. I wouldn't wait another second to let her hear everything. However, instead of listening to me, she began chattering, and much too loud, about how she doesn't speak Sindarin and, by the way, she had something to tell me. True, it was interesting to hear her theory of Celeborn being the same elf as that singer in Laketown this spring, but I wouldn't have believed it just like that if not the king had come back, and confirmed it.

He also confirmed what I already knew, but Mary didn't. Despite her high spirits while discussing 'the Swan', she now reacted with shock and dismissed the Lórien lord as just another lewd ruler who wanted a sample of whatever Thranduil had. Perhaps that was all there was to it, but I had enjoyed being 'examined' by the human Lord Bard, and receiving the same treatment by an elf didn't seem too bad a prospect.

It would have been useless to protest a royal command. Besides, Galadriel had said that it had to be done, and was nothing to fear. If only Mary would have listened earlier, I could have told her that. Instead she asked Thranduil questions, as if she had suddenly forgotten that he never gave any answers. I was flattered by her jealous complaint about 'having perfect Mal around', but would rather not listen to the whole argument, so I sent the king a compassionate glance and went back to my tree-house.

On the way, I passed on the outskirts of a glade where Thaladir was lecturing a group of half-grown young elves. He had abandoned his long robe for a tunic and snug pants, which made him look more the warrior and less the seneschal. His audience listened to him with such concentration that I just had to hear what he was telling them. Probably heroic stories from the days of king Oropher, or something similar, but no doubt reducing the significance of his own role to a minimum.

However, when I came close enough to hear, I was baffled.

"... will often involve the giving of gifts and bestowing of small favours upon the selected party. It has frequently been observed, as well as properly described in prominent literature, that aforementioned objects of unusual colour, size, or quantity, will work the most favourably towards reaching the desired goal."

I had no idea what he was talking about, but apparently at least one of the young elves did.

"Lord Thaladir, eh, Excellency, do you mean that we can kiss more girls if we give them flowers first?" The old elf looked somewhat strained, but he nodded.

"Aye, young friend, you will find that seemly behaviour befitting a warrior, in combination with selected items of flora will increase your chances of achieving this." Now it was the young one's turn to wrinkle his forehead, but he grinned wildly when one of his neighbours whispered "yes". I suspected that the part about 'seemly behaviour' was lost on the way.

"Can we start practicing now?" Another youthful voice chimed in, and there was stirring and chatter in the group, but this stopped instantly when the seneschal opened his mouth to answer.

"As your limit of absorption appears to be reached for the time being, you may begin applying the knowledge gained." The elf that had asked the questions had a blank expression in his youthful face, but again his friends saved him. "He said 'yes'", they whispered, and then they all scrambled to their feet and were gone in an instant.

Acting on a whim, I plucked one of the small, blue flowers at my feet and approached Thaladir with it. "Does it work the other way round, too?"

He had been aware of my presence from the beginning, of course, but it was clear that he hadn't been prepared for me to act on his lesson. He put on his seemliest expression and cleared his throat.

"Although the effect cannot be ignored, the current situation is unprecedented in my personal experience." I took that to mean that he at least wouldn't mind a little peck, even if he didn't want to admit it. I looked around to make sure that there were no obvious onlookers, and then I stood on my toes to kiss the seneschal. His lips tasted good, and I wondered why it had been so long since last time. I wanted to do it again, but he hindered me with a firm hand on my arm.

"My lady, you have exceptional duties in the evening," he said apologetically. "You need to rest." I wondered how many elves knew where Mary and I would be spending the night, but I knew that it was useless to argue with him. So I continued to my talan and laid down for a while.

When I saw Mary later that day, she appeared to have come to peace with her fate, and I chose not to bring up the topic again. We had fun walking around in Caras Galadhon, and just as before, everyone we met was friendly. At one point, when Orophin and Rúmil turned up, I feared that they would be even too friendly, but I was happy to be wrong. For as long as they accompanied us they behaved like perfect hosts, and I even missed them when they left.

~ Mary ~

In the end, Thranduil had to convince me that it was a good idea to obey him and participate in the planned exchange of partners. He promised that he would 'show me' everything that happened with him and Galadriel the next time we were alone together. I had to wonder what he was planning to 'show' her that night. Maybe there was going to be a mental orgy with all five of us involved, in one way or the other.

And if anyone was going to have the biggest share of the pleasure, then it was going to be the king, who had the minds of his two bridges to tap into and through us would get to spy on Celeborn at the same time. The ultimate voyeur. Again he left Mal and me alone, and we spent the rest of the day mostly in each other's company. We both napped since neither of us had slept much the night before.

The weather was balmy and perfect, not too hot and not ever chilly at all, even in the deepest shade. As Mal and I explored the city later that day, some clouds moved in overhead and sprinkled us, but the elves did not seem to notice. Our clothes dried quickly when the sun peeked out again so it was no hardship to be caught in the rain shower. If anything, it made me want to get wetter.

"I need a bath," I told Mal while we stood and admired the fountain. "Do you think they have tubs here?" One thing I had learned about elves is they are not averse to bathing in cold water if that is all there is to use. Mirkwood had hot springs that fed the royal bathing chambers but the majority of the wood elves who lived outside of the gates bathed in fresh river water. None of them had tubs in their telain. I could not imagine that the Lórien elves did either, although maybe the royals had sturdier accommodations that would allow one.

"If you are seeking a place to bathe," spoke a voice from the shadows in the trees behind us, "then perhaps I can be of some assistance?" It was Haldir, I knew that before he even stepped out into the sunlight, and his deep silky voice drove all thoughts of bathing from my mind. But not of the getting naked first part.

"We haven’t had a decent bath since we stayed at that awful inn a few days ago," explained Mal with fluttering eyelashes. The March Warden seemed momentarily mesmerized and he just stared right back at her.

"Where do you take your baths?" I tugged on his tunic hem to get his attention while I asked, and to hint that he might want to remove it and join us. "You look like you could use one," I added, although he really did not.

"I dare not," he answered, although his naughty smile spoke of regret, "because the place I will take you is off-limits to me. It is for females only."

Mal and I raced to our guest-telain to grab clean clothes, even though we never wore them as it turned out, and we picked up some other items we might need, like a hairbrush and some clips to keep our hair up while we bathed. Neither of us had thought to bring soap and we just hoped we would find some wherever it was Haldir was taking us to bathe. It turned out to be a crystal-clear stream that had been diverted from a larger stream to fall over a series of ladder-like steps, which had been cut into the earth and covered with smooth river pebbles.

In a few areas, the stream bed had been deepened and the water slowed into pools that were deep enough to cover our heads, but not wide enough for swimming. There were splashes of sunlight through the trees and flat rocks to sit on and dry off after. Haldir left us there and promised that no one would disturb us, as it was well-known to all of the inhabitants of Lórien to be for Galadriel and her maids' private use only. Mal and I felt honored to be allowed to bathe there.

We had soaps, too, special kinds that did not pollute the water and left our skin feeling softer. Mal washed my hair with it, but when I turned to wash hers I jumped when I saw two grinning faces peeking out from behind a nearby mallorn.

"It appears that fishing conditions in Lórien have vastly improved since last we visited, brother," said Elladan.

"Vastly," agreed Elrohir, with a leering grin.

"You are going to get it!" I shouted. Not that I should have felt modest in front of either of them, nor should Mal have, but still, we were promised some privacy there. "As soon as the Galadhrim catch you!"

"Do you mean them, up there?" Elrohir pointed to some branches overhead and I was quick enough to see leaves rustling as if someone had only recently moved about through them, but nothing else.

"Well, they are going to get it, too, as soon as I talk to Galadriel."

"That will not be necessary, Lady Mary, these young lords are just leaving the vicinity." Thaladir did not look at Mal and me while he spoke, but it was not hard to imagine that he already had an eye-full before we knew he was there, too. "As I am quite sure that they understand how deeply they are in breach of protocol under the laws of the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood."

"What about them, up there?" I pointed to the place I had seen the leaves moving, and thought I saw a glimpse of flaxen hair this time.

"We were just leaving," I heard Rúmil say in a business-like tone. "Now that we know our mortal guests have more than adequate protection from anyone who might try to invade the area and disturb them."

"Yes," I heard Orophin answer, "we are grateful that Thaladir showed up to relieve us of our... duty." He did not sound very grateful though. The leaves parted, and both of the Lórien brothers smiled down at us, before saluting the seneschal and disappearing back into the mallorn branches.

"Woe is us," said Elladan sorrowfully. "I can tell that this means no fresh fish on the menu for us, dear brother." At hearing that, Thaladir cleared his throat and the twins immediately apologized for their peeping and their fishy remarks, before disappearing into the shadows of the mellyrn.

"Party pooper," I remarked, out loud, to no one in particular. But he knew who I was talking to, and I do not think he cared.

~ Mal ~

Having a bath was an excellent idea, and I suspected nothing when Haldir showed up to lead the way to a wonderful, secluded stream with small pools in it. He seemed tempted to join us, especially when Mary tugged at the hem of his tunic, but said it was not possible for him to bathe there. I should have understood then that something had been planned for us, or he could have taken us somewhere else.

I wasn't too surprised when Elladan and Elrohir showed up - I know by now that they have a knack for always being around when there's an undressed female in the vicinity. But Haldir's brothers in the tree were a little too much - they must have known that we would go to this particular place.

Then there was the soap, which had a totally different fragrance from the fresh, flowery one I had smelt from Galadriel this morning. This one was sensual, sweet and heady with the scent of some kind of wood, possibly in combination with honey. Her bath, but the soap was not hers. And, there was also Thaladir, who apparently had duties that went far beyond making sure we could bathe in peace.

The seneschal did well in his attempt to appear ignorant of our nude shapes in the water, but at the same time he kept close watch on our doings. He pointed out, with a heroic expression of indifference, whenever there was a spot on our bodies that needed more attending to with the soap. It quickly became a game for us to ignore the parts that would be the more embarrassing for him to mention.

By the time we were finally finished it was late afternoon, almost evening, and it was not so hot anymore, only pleasant, and still warm enough to be comfortable without too much clothing. That proved good, because the outfits that were presented for us to wear were very light, almost inexistent. However, they had been deemed suitable for the current situation, as Thaladir expressed it, and that brought back some of the tension we had felt earlier.

Mary and I were used to wearing thin, veily things that accented more than they hid, but it felt different to put them on knowing that they would not be removed by Thranduil. We dressed for Celeborn now, and the moment of truth was approaching fast. I knew that I had looked forward to it, but now I suddenly felt as nervous as Mary looked. Her hands were shaking, and I think she was relived to have Thaladir's steady arm to hold on to.

I felt very self-conscious walking through the Golden Wood like this for everyone to see, as if a herald had gone with us announcing that here comes Lord Celeborn's entertainment for the night. However, the few elves we met on the way to the great mallorn were very polite. Thaladir usually has that effect. v As soon as we came to the top of the stairs our escort discreetly left us. Mary looked like she was ready to panic, but she managed to control herself when our host appeared on the threshold. It was hard not to stare at him. He wore a thigh-length robe of some shimmering blue satin-like fabric, and his lean, well-formed legs foretold of a warrior's body hidden beneath. His hair shone like silver, and I knew his eyes were the clearest blue. I didn't look.

"Welcome to my humble abode," he said politely, making a sweeping gesture into the talan. His voice was calm and somehow reassuring, as if it was a normal occurrence for him to receive guests as scantily clad as himself. There was no bed in the talan, at least not immediately in front of the door, which was relieving. Instead he had a long, deep, curved couch that was covered with fat cushions stuffed with down.

He gently put his hand on my arm, steering me in that direction, and I felt my skin tingling under his fingers from only that light touch. We were led to sit on either side of him, and offered wine. I gratefully drank a whole glass of it during those first minutes of casual conversation, and soon I found myself wishing for more tingling.

I moved a little closer, just so much that our thighs were almost touching, and then he took my empty glass. While putting it away, he put an arm around my back, and held me close, just for a short moment. Anyway it was enough for me to feel the strength of his body, so similar to the king's, and still so different. The Lord of Lórien was only a little heavier built, but his scent was his own, and his touch too. But it was nice, very nice.

His eyes glittered with merriment after this tentative embrace, and I smiled back at him. I studied him further as he turned his attention to Mary, and I noticed that his robe had ridden fairly high up his thigh when he sat. Without really thinking, I straightened the fabric, and then his hand covered mine, trapping it there for a few seconds.

The three of us continued to exchange tentative caresses, but I could tell that Mary was still wary. I might have been a bit nervous too, but it was quickly disappearing, and I was most of all expectant when Celeborn said, in a particularly melodious voice, that he wanted to show us something.

It turned out to be just a feather, white and fairly large, but I was happy to oblige when he asked me to lie down on the couch, on my stomach. I gasped when I felt the light touch on my leg, but soon burst out in giggles as the feather trailed across the sensitive underside of my feet. I could hear Mary giggling too, and then the touch felt different, as if they were taking turns tickling me.

I wiggled, and kicked my feet, in a half-hearted attempt to get away, and the tickling stopped. That was only for a moment, because the next I knew I could feel it again, slightly firmer now, and moving up along the inside of my leg. First one, then the other, stopping at the knee. Once more. And a third time, but without pausing, only going higher. I held my breath.

~ Mary ~

I do not know why I was so nervous when Thaladir came to escort Mal and me to Celeborn's talan. I could not stop thinking about my king in the arms of the most beautiful creature in Lórien, who was immortal like he is, and has a fancy ring of power, too. How could I compete with her? What if Thranduil was hoping to trade straight across with Celeborn, us two glowy maids for one Lady of Light? What if he fell in love with her because she knows how to please an elf better than any human female ever could?

"Are you afraid of me?" Celeborn asked after we sat together and he served Mal and me some wine, the one that the Lórien elves made out of herbs and perhaps berries, too, in this case, as there was the slightest hint of fruitiness in the potent vintage. I wondered if he could read my mind although I did not believe it so. He seemed genuinely curious, so I answered him honestly.

"I am a little afraid." It was hard not to gulp the wine in order to feel more relaxed. He smiled warmly at me and put his arm around me gently. It was not aggressive at all, just a kind gesture, and after a moment he spoke again.

"And here I was under the impression that you prefer elves to men?"

"I do, usually. But... wait, what else do you know about me?"

"What are you afraid of?" He asked without even a pause at my attempt to change the subject.

"Your wife, with my king."

With a warm laugh the silver-haired lord pulled me closer, but he still did not touch me anywhere naughty. It was amazing that here I was, finally, next to the elf of my dreams, the silver-haired minstrel with the merry blue eyes and the beautiful singing voice. Despite my earlier skepticism, now that he was next to me it was hard to remember why I would not want to be alone with him, like this.

When the king had blindfolded me for Thaladir to play with, I thought it was the elf who wore the mask of a swan. And the entire time that dirty old seneschal had his merry way with me, I was under the impression that it was the hands, lips, and other parts of the silver-haired minstrel that were bringing me pleasure.

I had sold them both short.

Celeborn is nothing like Thaladir, or Thranduil, but he was like nothing else period. Thaladir was efficient and Thranduil is demanding, but the Lord of the Golden Woods was elegant. In all of his motions, and maneuvers, and overall style.

He started with a feather, joking about not wanting to singe his fingers on our skin. The Elflord seemed delighted with our reactions to his tickling, and the naughtier he was with his feather, the more Mal and I giggled to spur him on. He let us both try using it on each other, and try to guess who was wielding it.

And then the feather was dropped, but neither of us minded. Celeborn's hands were cool and smooth. They glided effortlessly over our bodies and seemingly ceaselessly, and neither of us was slighted from his attentions. He touched us the same way he had with the feather by starting out more friendly than seductive and his caresses grew more intimate and daring as the two of us grew more relaxed with him, and aroused.

"Do the two of you share the royal bed every night?" The Elflord's voice sounded wistful when he asked, as if he could not imagine such a situation. We sat up again.

"Not usually," I answered. "We take turns."

"But sometimes both of us are involved," said Mal. She was doing her seemly concubine routine with downcast eyes and a wavering smile, so I took the opportunity to reach between Celeborn's legs, slip my hand under his robe, and find out what he had to offer a girl. And although I made him jump slightly with surprise when I touched him, he did not deter me from my explorations. I was not disappointed with my discovery; it turned out to be quite a lot. He was definitely related to Thranduil.

"Perhaps we should move to my bed," he suggested. By then Mal had noticed where I was touching Celeborn, and she pouted so prettily that he kissed her to make her smile and then added, "I am interested to know how a mortal maid serves a king."

"Do you want us to undress, first?" Even though the garments we wore barely covered us, I was hoping Celeborn would take the hint and remove his robe so Mal and I could see more of him. But he shook his head and smiled with a bit more heat in his gaze before he answered, lifting his hands and rising up off of the couch while he did.

"May I?" While we stood before him, he removed our shifts and had us turn around to show ourselves to him from all sides. "Marvelous," he breathed, "the same, yet different, and oh so unusual." It made me wonder if he had ever seen a mortal woman in the nude before then. The canary may have not been Galadriel, but she was not human either, or fully so, if my memory of her cute pointy ears served me right.

"What about you?" I said finally, when Celeborn showed no signs of disrobing while we stood there bare naked in front of his admiring eyes. "May we?"

With a broad, lewd grin, he stretched his arms out in surrender and Mal and I hastened to remove his robe to reveal the Elflord's magnificent form to our view. And now the king's concubine knew what I had already learned about the tell-tale kinship between Celeborn and Thranduil. We let him lead us into his sleeping area.

Celeborn lit candles beside the bed, while Mal and I climbed up on it and waited for him to join us and show us what he wanted to do next. For a moment, I wondered about Thranduil again, and what he was doing with... her.

The king was very interested in what was happening in Celeborn's talan, I could feel it, and his interest grew when the silver-haired Elflord climbed into bed between me and Mal, and she grew even more demure, to her own detriment. Before being asked or told what to do, I demonstrated, to all of the parties involved, present or invisible, one sure way that Thranduil likes to be serviced by a mortal maid. With my mouth.

Mal was not left with her own talents being neglected as the lusty lord drew her up to kneel over his chest and caressed her magnificent backside while he licked and kissed her between her legs. I knew how good she tastes, so the surges I felt as his fleshly scepter seemed to swell even bigger between my lips as he pleasured her that way were no surprise. He was enjoying himself, immensely.

Thranduil's unseen presence filled me like a rush of wind as his interest reached a new peak and I wished I could tell if Mal knew he was there, although she was sure noisy about how good she was feeling, so I doubted it. But I did not dwell long on the question when Celeborn's groans indicated he was reaching his own peak. He tastes just as good as the king does, too.

To be continued...

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Chapter posted: July 6, 2005

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"Long live Thranduil, great Elf-king of Greenwood!"