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Mirkwood and Beyond


Chapter 8 / ?
Authors: Mary A and Malinornë
Pairings: Mainly Thranduil/OFCs
Warnings: Adult sexual situations, lots of time spent in lots of different beds, no one has clothes on hardly – it is summer after all.
Disclaimer: Just playing with Tolkien characters, for fun, and not profit, do not claim to have created them. Helca and Thaladir, the king' seneschal, are our own creations and we will lend them out if asked for permission in advance.
Chapter summary: Mal and Mary wake up with elves, and plans for the trip to Lorien get rolling. Thaladir keeps his head through it all.
Feedback: Not required but always appreciated! Write to: thaladir@yahoo.com


~ Mal ~

In the morning, Elladan and Elrohir wanted to do a double take of everything that had passed between us during the night, just with reversed roles so that each of them could experience the same thing as the other had. Now that's a novel aspect to fairness between siblings!

I can't say I was too reluctant about carrying out the idea. Waking up between them, with one on each side, snuggled up as closely as possible, was so cosy that I immediately forgave them for not being Thranduil. They looked so innocent with eyes closed in pretended sleep and I just had to ruin it by tracing my fingers over their faces. Those long, dark eyelashes were simply divine.

Neither of them reacted visibly when I gently touched their noses, turning to each of them in turn, and their cheeks and chins were safe areas too. Not a hint of facial hair there, I have to say. I had been curious about that, of how much their Mannish inheritance would show.

Then I touched Elrohir's lips, and of course he nipped me. It didn't really hurt, but the combined effect of the sudden movement, him opening his eyes and his brother clutching me from behind, was enough to make me shriek.

At that point, full war broke loose. There was tickling and laughing and shrieking and flinging pillows about, and just generally jumping around in my poor bed to the extent that it actually began to creak. That had never happened before, and the unusual sound first made us all quiet as three little mice, and then we laughed again.

That was when the twins suggested moving on to other activities, and as the suggestion was accompanied by elaborate touches to strategic places, I was soon in on the idea. Elladan insisted that we move from the bed, though, for reasons having to do with my well-being, as he put it. It reminded me of Thaladir's lecture on how it wasn't good for mortals to spend too many hours at a time lying in bed.

But I soon found out that Elladan had ulterior motives. He moved a chair from the desk so that I could kneel comfortably on the floor cushions in front of him, while he sat in the chair. Elrohir was behind me, kissing and caressing, and as soon as his brother had reached the peak of his passion, he made me feel like that fish again, with his fishing-rod.

In the middle of it all, Elladan stretched out one of his legs and put his feet between my thighs. He turned out to have a very flexible big toe that got to play an important role in my pleasure, something he reported over and over again until I was excited beyond noticing his voice.

All in all, it was a very interesting breakfast, although lacking in nutrition. I was pleasantly surprised, after a quick tour to the washing room down the corridor, to find the resourceful twins in bed again, now balancing a wide tray of delicacies on their laps.

I crawled up in between them, with my dressing-gown on, to their dismay, and there was some rearrangement of the garment before they were prepared to concentrate on the food.


~ Mary ~

If drifting off to sleep in Thranduil's arms in the royal bed, after making love to him, is one of the best ways to fall asleep, then waking up with him there is always the best way to waken. Seeing his face above me when I opened my eyes the next morning was better than sunshine. Better than coffee.

"Hey! No hunting trip? What happened? Were the twins too tired to run around in the woods after doing guard duty all night?

"Something like that," the king smiled, and then he added, "They are otherwise engaged."

"Good, I hope they went fishing instead, then. They really can catch fish better than they can hunt anything, besides orcs, and then maybe we can have some fresh trout for breakfast? And will you tell me what is so funny?"

There was something about what I said that amused Thranduil, but he never would tell me, and there was no fish on the breakfast menu, either. However, there was plenty of fresh hot Elfking. He did act like he knew something that I did not know. But that is always the truth, no matter what was going on. A little later, I decided to investigate anyway.

"What did the twins do to deserve sentry duty last night... did they get into your wine cellar again?" Thranduil and I were lounging in bed, propped up slightly against the pillows, after our breakfast there. It was wonderful to have my whole morning with him, and rare.

"Why do you believe the Peredhil are being punished?" When he answered, I could feel the vibration from his chest against my ear. I lifted my head to look at him when I replied.

"Well, for one thing, they hate to stand still even when they are hunting for orcs. And, I could tell that they were probably dying to whack at each other with those spears you gave them, but I am just as sure that they feel naked without their swords. As naked as Thaladir would feel without his robe on."

"For some it might seem a punishment to serve in my halls." The king smirked and added; "But, for others a reward..."

"A reward for what? It would be punishment for me to have to stand still and not crack a smile for hours and hours. What a boring life. My own door guards don't ever smile at me or even flinch if I do this."

I lifted myself up onto one elbow on Thranduil's chest and snapped my fingers under his nose. Not surprisingly, he did not flinch. However, he did not look happy either. Just like my sentries. I put my head back down on his chest, quickly.

"I hope that you do not do that to them very often," he said slowly and evenly.

"Not... often. Only every time I see them is all, and they don't even blink, it's incredible."

"It would please me if you would not harass your sentinels."

"Then how am I supposed to tell if they are even awake or not?" I looked at him again, adding; "They could be standing there with their eyes open and be asleep for all I know! A whole army of orcs could invade while they stand there reverieing about a thrilling night with some elleth back in the day when they were younger and had more spare time to have any fun ever, the poor things."

"That is very unlikely, and I do not believe that 'reverieing' is a word."

"What is very unlikely? That they had thrilling nights in their past to reverie about? Or that they ever had any spare time to have fun? What? Were they born standing guard? I wouldn't be surprised, because they don't even flinch if I do this."

This time, I had to sit up in order to clap my hands three times in a row in front of Thranduil's nose. "They just stand there. It's amazing, really, but disturbing, like I said."

"No, that is not what I was referring to..."

But I was bored talking about my silent door guards and their irritating habit of ignoring me. Instead, I traced my finger down his chest and over his gorgeous rib cage while I changed the subject.

"How come you wouldn't let me wear my little dancing skirt for you last night?" Before I got an answer, my hand was stopped, and I was flipped over on my back and pinned.

"You do not have to wear anything to get my attention, but I do think it is time to shut you up again for a while."

I thought he would never take the hint.


~ Mal ~

I had trouble making up my mind of how it felt to walk about the Mirkwood halls with two sentinels in tow. In one way, it made me feel important, but in another, I felt a bit like a prisoner, as if I couldn't be trusted to walk about on my own.

The twins were silent on their feet, but now and then there was a rustle of leather armour, or a suspicious sound that just had to come from one of them poking the other with the blunt end of the spear. I never caught them at it, of course, though I turned around several times.

The prisoner-like feeling was emphasized by their constant commentary on where I was going and why, if I would be more likely to turn left or right at the next junction, and what benefits such excellent sentinels ought to be entitled to, next time we would pass a dark alcove or deserted hallway. But most of the time, it was just amusing to listen to.

"Brother, does not our charge's behind look particularly comely from this angle?"

"Surely it does. It is unfortunate indeed that we have to carry these spears..." Elladan didn't finish the thought, but there was no need to, as his twin was quick to continue.

"...or we could pinch her so much better."

I must have jumped a little, because the next comment was calming, at least to some extent.

"Ah, not pinch this sweet flesh, merely caress it..."

Of course it had to happen. At the next turn of the winding corridor, Thaladir was standing, with arms crossed and wearing his famous sour lemon smile. I'm sure he has no idea how irresistibly cute he looks with his face puckered up like that, wrinkled nose and all, but seeing how we were in a most public place I didn't even think of giving him a peck, at least not much.

"A most interesting conversation, young lords, and certainly an appalling one," the seneschal said. "Although His Majesty in his wisdom and kindness did not specifically place you under my command, I must protest this indecency, and doubly so with respect to its occurrence during sentinel duty, an occupation which ought to be performed with uttermost dignity, and, furthermore, in silence."

"If he only knew..." snickered Elrohir, which earned him a whack in the chest from Elladan. Not that it had much effect. Thaladir glared at him, and then he became surprisingly quiet.

"I apologize for our playfulness," said Elladan with that serious, responsible attitude he's so good at displaying whenever called for. "No disrespect to this house was intended, and I assure you that my brother and I are fully qualified for the task assigned to us." Both of them suddenly stood at perfect attention, with facial expressions of fierce determination instead of mischievous grins, and for a second the seneschal seemed to forget how displeased with them he was. But only for a second.

"I do not doubt your abilities, young lords. Your demeanour, however, is intolerable, as is your blatant ignoring of decorum, and, furthermore, the lack of finesse in courting a lady, if that is indeed how your crude attention to her, hm... physical appearance, is intended."

Elladan and Elrohir just grinned. Thaladir pursed his lips together, even tighter than before.

"The thought of your impending departure is most comforting," he finally added before turning around and walking off with billowing robes. Unfortunately he seemed to be headed for the same place as I was; the king's study.

In a way, that was good, because it probably meant that the king was there and this tiresome, although amusing, sentinel charade could be put to an end. I had already looked for Thranduil in the throne room, the great hall and all of his personal chambers, including the bedchamber, and felt a bit too self-conscious to want to venture outside of the gates with my elven escort in tow.

None of the elves we had met so far had indicated in any way that something was out of the ordinary, but that could only be expected. There would hardly be anything the king's mortals could do that would surprise them, after they had accepted that Mary and I were there in the first place.

I knocked on the door as respectfully as I could, in an attempt to soothe the seneschal's nerves if he was still upset. A small bow and a "your Excellency" whispered in awe did the rest. He probably wasn't happy to see the twins again so soon, but at least he didn't show it.

The king was standing by the bookcase, studying one of the larger volumes. I had read the titles of them enough times to know that it was the one dealing with the warfare of the Silvan elves of Lorien.

"How is my concubine this morning," he asked, without turning his head. "Still feeling robbed of her pleasure?"

His suggestive manner of pronouncing 'pleasure', together with the way he finally turned to look at me, made me feel exactly that, even though I had until then been quite happy with how my lonely night had transformed to a rather crowded one.

"Devastated, my liege." It wasn't entirely untrue. I had missed him a lot before the twins showed up, and that feeling was quickly returning now in his presence, with his magnetic gaze locked on me.

"Ah, your suffering is obvious." The mirth in his voice told me he could see exactly how satiated and content I was. His eyes narrowed slightly as he spoke again.

"Thaladir, what is the punishment for lying to me?"

"The act of providing misleading information to the ruler of Mirkwood, his most high and glorious majesty, king Thranduil Oropherion, constitutes an offence bordering on high treason. The customary method of correcting such behaviour includes spending the required amount of time in the deep dungeons." He pronounced that in a perfectly calm, droning voice as if reciting a law book. He was probably doing just that.

"Guarded by fierce warriors," added Elrohir with emphasis on 'fierce', but with a grin that ruined most of the effect.

"Majesty," Thaladir cut in, "as I informed you previously, this particular pair of sentinels would be highly ill-suited for such a task, as I have every reason to believe that they would use the opportunity to further press their inappropriate attentions upon the lady."

Then Thranduil laughed. A loud, hearty laugh that took everyone present with surprise.

"Do not fear," he told me. "There is no time for dungeons, or I would escort you myself and personally ensure that the time spent there would be well used."

He put the book on the desk, took a scroll from a drawer and tucked it into his tunic. Then he headed for the door, beckoning for me to come with him. The twins apparently decided that they were invited too, because they followed as closely as before. Thaladir muttered something inaudible, but I got the distinct impression that he was pleased with not having to look at them for at least the next few minutes.

"Ithilwen will assist you in preparing for departure," the king told me as I walked beside him, trying to keep up with his quick pace. So it was really true that I would travel with him then!

"Although I prefer to keep you safe here, I would not deprive myself of your service for the period of the trip." I was happy to hear that too, and was already looking forward to sharing his bed the coming night.

"I also know," he added when we stopped just inside the great gates, "that you are eager to see the land of the unbearable March Warden." He winked and I felt my face heat. I hoped he wouldn't say anything about seeing Haldir himself, and he didn't.

"As for the proud sentinels," he told the twins, "I release you from this duty and thank you for services well fulfilled." If he only knew exactly how they had fulfilled them!

"Thank you, your Majesty," said Elladan.

"We can help Malinorne pack," said Elrohir.

"That will not be necessary." Thranduil nodded to all of us and disappeared out the gates that had chosen that particular moment to open. They closed again behind the king, with a little snap, as if to say that there was no use to try to follow him. I looked at my, now former, guards and hoped they wouldn't insist on helping me. I didn't trust myself to concentrate on my luggage if they came along.

"You have some packing of your own to take care of, don't you?"

"No," Elrohir said. "Rangers travel lightly," added Elladan.

"So we are free to help you," continued Elrohir. I rolled my eyes and they took the hint.

"We will take our leave, then," they said in chorus, and to my ease they didn't follow me as I went back into the caverns. I wondered for a second if they would keep the spears and armour, but the answer soon passed me in the form of an elf carrying the no longer needed sentinel gear. And I had other things to think about, like how are you supposed to pack properly for a place you don't know much about, and for an unspecified length of stay?


~ Mary ~

"Now, I do not want you to make a nuisance of yourself today by seeking me out and pouting for my attention." And I could tell Thranduil meant it by the tone of his voice.

"Who said I was seeking you out?" We were down at the royal stables, or he was, and I had finally found him, even though I was surprised that he was there. I had not come seeking him out, exactly. After we had risen from his bed, he had told me to amuse myself for the rest of the day, as he would be busy. And I was doing just that.

"I told you I would have some planning and to do and preparations to make," he said now as he walked around the side of one of two dainty new carriages that were parked there. I tagged along behind him.

"What if I told you that I came down here to go riding?" I had to try. As if I could fib to him. He turned to me.

"You are wearing a gown," he pointed out and then he glanced down lower. "And you have bare feet." He sighed. "Try to avoid Thaladir in the halls." I waved at an imaginary seneschal in dismissal.

"My shoes aren't that far away, I left them by the river," I said. "I was going to go wading near the bridge but I heard and saw..." I stopped and waved my hand towards the carriages beside us, with their noisy wheels. The fact that I had come to take a closer look did not take mind-reading abilities to figure out. I really had not expected to find him there.

"What are these little wagons for?" I pointed at the one next to us. It really was not a wagon, it had a proper roof and a door, but I imagined that the arrival of these extra vehicles meant we must be taking even more of the royal house with us this time. I was hoping that Mal, Miriel, Ithilwen, Helca, and I were not going to be crammed into one of these raggedy, flimsy excuses for a carriage.

"This is your private carriage," said the king. He opened the door and gestured for me to look inside.

"All mine?" After he nodded yes, I screamed. And I jumped up and down a few times. It was the most absolutely adorable and most marvelously made carriage in Middle-earth. And I would not have to share it with Helca.

"And now I think that you have some packing to do." With that parting remark, Thranduil patted my bottom and then turned away from me again to inspect the wheels of my lovely new carriage. But then I remembered why I had come looking for him.

"Packing? We are leaving so soon? Darn it." I sighed, heavily. "I was hoping, well... What I wanted is..." It was hopeless; there was no time now to waste on this. I gave up quickly. "Oh, never mind." The king turned back to me.

"Say it." It was an unwritten rule that as long as I did not say a thought out loud, it could not be held against me. But the king loved to hear me ask for things.

"I wanted you to ask Thaladir to start giving me Tengwar lessons again."

"I did not ask him to stop. You quit." He is always so right.

"Well, what do you think would happen if I went to your study after lunch today? And just sat down and started practicing my stems and bows?"

"Why do you not simply ask him?"

"Oh, gosh, you know why." But he waited, clearly not willing to make it easy on me. I continued. "I am sure he will say no, to teach me a lesson in manners after how rude I was about quitting. Never mind."

"On the contrary," Thranduil said, suddenly jolly. "I think that he would be pleased that you want to resume your lessons." He paused, stopped smiling, and continued in a serious tone, "So pleased that he would be delighted to continue them immediately."

"Wait a minute. We are speaking about the same elf? Thaladir?" The king slowly nodded.

And right about then is when I jumped about a foot in the air when the throat clearing signal came from inches behind me. I may have shrieked a little when I jumped, too. But the seneschal did not even blink. Instead he handed me my shoes and then turned to Thranduil.

"Sire?" He did not even notice how badly he had scared me.

"What is it?" And neither had the king, it seemed.

I stood there with my mouth open because I could not believe that neither one of them even cared that my heart had almost stopped beating on the spot. And it was apparent that neither one of them understood what my problem could possibly be, if they even understood that I had a problem.

"The messenger has arrived," said the seneschal "I believe that you have a letter that you desire be delivered?

"Yes, of course." Thranduil smiled at Thaladir warmly as he reached into his tunic and withdrew a scroll. "Thank you for taking care of it for me, sadron nín."

"Yes, my lord." Then the seneschal turned to me and said, "My lady Mary, I ask you to forgive me for startling you, as it was not my intention to do so, and your Tengwar lessons will begin directly after lunch; do not be late."

His voice was nearly drowned out by the sound of another large vehicle rumbling over the king's bridge, much louder than the two small coaches, and I had to stay to see what was coming.

Another horse-drawn carriage was arriving, and by far the largest wheeled conveyance I had seen in Middle-earth that was built solely for personal comfort and not for hauling goods or livestock. The elf-high metal-clad wheels thundered over the bridge, drawing every one else who had not already come to see Mal's and my carriages when they had arrived.

There it stood in all of its gleaming glory, for it was too large to fit within the doors of the stable. Even the gathered elves' eyes were wide. It was painted a glossy black, and sported polished brass fittings and trimmings, but not gaudily. When it approached, it was so large and nearly fierce in its initial appearance that I had clung tightly to Thranduil for my dear life.

Okay, it was not that scary, but it was a good excuse to hug the king in public, and it even kept the seneschal from clearing his throat at me unnecessarily. Elves are suckers for the damsel-in-distress routine, unless they are mind-readers, like the king. But he was too proud of himself to care.

The carriage was drawn by a team of large, plodding draft horses, four of them, with enormous hooves. They looked tame enough to me. But when I asked if I could pet one of them Thranduil told me to run along from the stables, before I got stepped on like an insect.

Naturally, His Majesty would not answer any questions about his enormous new carriage, but when I finally left the stables, I noticed that the blacksmith had shown up, and a few of the elves who were handy with tools. I assumed that these carriages would be remodeled first to make them even more comfortable.

But the king did tell me that I could return and more fully explore both the exterior and the interior of my own carriage after my Tengwar lessons, for by then all of the horses would be stabled and the area, and my feet, safer.

How could I forget that Lord Celeborn wanted to check out both Mal and mine's health? And a stomped-on foot would not look good on the final report, or whatever the heck it was that elves did with the information from their investigations.


~ Mal ~

It was good for me that I had Ithilwen to help me, and no twins to disturb me. She was no more informed than me about the estimated length of stay in Lorien, but she was certain that there would be someone assigned to assist with laundry, there as well as here. The facilities would hardly be as convenient as here, with constant access to water from within the caverns, but then the climate there was milder too. Anyway, with two rivers flowing through the Golden Wood, water supply would hardly be a problem.

Thus we agreed that there was no need to bring even half of the contents of the spacious room in my corridor that served as my wardrobe. Just two or three of the more formal-looking floor-length gowns, and the same amount of the ones with shorter sleeves and skirts, would do fine. My boots would have to come, of course, and, by order from the seneschal, two warm cloaks, including a hooded one. I groaned a little at that... it was summer, after all! At least he didn't make me bring anything lined with fur.

I put my green suede riding costume to the side, as it seemed to be the most convenient wear for the journey, but Ithilwen insisted that I would be just as comfortable in a light summer gown. When I looked at her, bewildered, she just giggled, holding her hand before her mouth in a girlish manner. Then she explained that there was something exciting outside the stables, something I just had to see.

Then I quickly decided on packing my cream silk dress instead of the golden one, thinking the Galadhrim had enough golden hues around them at all times and would prefer to see something different, and then I left the rest of the wardrobe choices in my helper's able hands.

She had been right about the need to go and look at what went on outside. The courtyard reminded me of a heavily trafficked street with elves walking in all directions and carrying various items. A number of them seemed to just hang around and watch whatever it was that happened. Or had already happened and I just missed it.

It was quieter outside the stables, but that was possibly due to the fact that there wasn't much space for anything beside two horses being groomed and the three vehicles that stood parked there.

They were carriages; a monstrous-looking oversized one, and two of more normal proportions. The one closest to me was made from oak; it was waxed and seemed to glow in the sun. When I came closer it turned out to not be as small as it had looked at first; it was rather the design of it that was dainty in a lady-like way, like a slender deer, built for speed and looks rather than sturdiness.

I stood on my toes and thus managed to peek inside without having to open the door. I didn't dare touch such a new thing; for all I knew the wax could even be so fresh that it would leave stains on my dress. I didn't want to be caught snooping too blatantly, either.

What I saw surprised me, in a good way. The interior was neither austere nor cramped, but had walls of the same glistening wood, except for the back half, where the upholstered seat back continued all the way up to the ceiling. I couldn't see the seat itself, but from the look of the armrest I decided it must be well padded.

I was interrupted in my thoughts by the familiar voice of the seneschal.

"I assure you, my lady, that every precaution will be taken to ensure your comfort, and more important, your safety."

I thanked him for his most kind and competent attention to every aspect of my well-being, but decided to go back and help Ithilwen rather than risk a lecture on road safety or some other, equally fascinating, topic.


~ Mary ~

I went back later, after my lessons, which were held in the parlor-like dining room in the royal chambers. The study was off limits now that it had been turned into command central for the plans and preparations. I had no idea how boring Tengwar can be on a sunny day; the last time I had practiced it was still raining a lot, right before we left for the wedding in Dale. Spring had just arrived.

But today, I was more interested in checking out the king's new carriage and my own, than in learning how to make elvish letters. Mine was cuter, but his big black beauty was more intriguing. Thaladir did not hang around after setting me up at the table with parchment, pen, and ink. So I could not amuse myself with him, either. I hurried through the writing exercises and left for the stables.

As soon as I got close enough, I could hear the sound of voices coming from inside the large royal conveyance. There was a clever little ladder that folded down in order to climb up to the door; the carriage was too high off of the ground to just step in. The door itself was closed, but not latched.

When I peeked inside, the twins were sitting there, with a jug of wine, on a short bench seat across from the door. Everything was upholstered. Except the floor, it was carpeted. It was hard to believe how comfortable-looking it was on the inside.

"Did Thranduil give you permission to play in here?" I asked.

"He did not exactly say that we could not," answered Elladan.

"Of course, we did not ask him first, either," added Elrohir, helpfully.

That was good enough for me. I accepted some wine gladly and marveled at the lush interior.

"Darling," said Elladan, right into my ear, soft and low, after they had talked me into sitting on the seat, in between them. I looked up at him, but I did not smile as I spoke.

"Don't call me that, you know I can't stand it."

"You used to love it," said Elrohir, into my other ear, "darling."

"I didn't say that I didn't love it," I explained, while trying not to let their nearness have any effect on me. "I said I can't stand it, those are two different things."

"But you are a darling." Elladan was not drunk, but he was feeling very good, I could tell.

"And we miss you, darling," added Elrohir, who was also not feeling bad. With something of a shock, I realized that they were just being themselves, sunny and warm. Friendly.

"Do you not miss us at all, ever?" Elladan asked.

I thought about it.

"You know what? I actually could have used you around here a few times," I admitted. They grinned at each other, triumphant. Until I added, "I would have missed you, that is, if I had known how good you both were at distracting His Excellency's attention."

"Well, he has a long memory, that one." Elladan stared into his wine glass and shook his head slightly.

"But," said Elrohir to me, "I am not so sure that I like the way he looks at you sometimes." His twin sat up straighter and nodded in agreement. I wondered why they thought I would care what they liked.

"I do not think His Excellency keeps his 'eye' on you as much as he can not seem to keep his eyes off of you." Elladan said this with his chin tilted up, as if he suspected there was more to Thaladir's interest in me than just checking the seemliness of my behavior at any given moment. This had gone far enough for me.

"Do we have to talk about him?" What was up with these darn elves? Whenever I was alone with any of them, the conversation inevitably ended up with the seneschal.

"Of course not, what would you rather do, darling?" Elrohir had his arm over the back of the seat, and now he started to play with my hair.

"Stop it," I said. But when he moved his hand away I added, "I mean calling me 'darling'. You can keep petting my hair, I like that."

"Did you know that there is a bed in here?" Elladan lifted his eyebrows suggestively when he told me this and then he glanced over to his brother.

It did not seem possible; there was another bench seat on the other side of the carriage, and at one end there was a table with actual chairs, which were all bolted to the floor. The chair seats swiveled out, which the twins were happy to demonstrate for me, they were that impressed. We practiced sitting to dinner. All we had was the wine.

At the other end of the carriage were a tufted ottoman and two large plush armchairs. Behind them, and dominating everything, was some cabinetry containing doors and drawers, with brass hinges and handles, built right into the back of the carriage wall. I tried to imagine the delights that might be held within them; little did I know that the whole thing swung down and had a feather mattress on the other side.

It was very soft. The bed sat on top of the armchairs, which were really only there to support its platform. An elf-woven blanket was tucked around the fluffy mattress. We had to take our shoes off to get under it to feel the sheets. The twins decided they needed more skin contact with the linens, and removed all of their clothes. Tunics and leggings went sailing through the air.

I do not exactly remember when my dress came off.

To be continued...


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Chapter posted: February 22, 2005

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