Disclaimer: characters and situations belong to J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien.
Of Rewards and Wishes
Shadows crept through the forest, covered the leaf-strewn ground, their fingers brushing at the maiden's illuminated form. She had been walking for four days, in from the shore. Food was plentiful in this land; the trees bore upon them fruits, warmed in the sun and sweet upon the tongue, and bushes were laden with berries and leaves. Brooks leapt across beds of rose-coloured rock, their waters clear and cool.
On the fifth day, she was waylaid by a band of elves, hunting in the forest. They were the servants of Varda. Their leader, Olondwë, was tall and stately, and of few words. The maiden was brought to Valimar, and there greeted by Varda herself, and beside her Manwë, high king of the Valar.
'We welcome you,' said Varda, 'to our city. We know of you, protected of the Ilúvatar; you will always have a place among us.'
The maiden nodded graciously, but was confused, for she knew not where she was. Indeed, she did not know even who she was, or why she was there.
The star queen sensed her trouble. 'Do not fear,' she said. 'All will become clear with time.'
A feast was prepared then. Food was brought before the throne of Varda and Manwë, and all the city rejoiced, for--though none knew it then--the maiden was to prove vital to Valinor.
She was named Emmelyn, and given a place in the palace of the high king and queen. For the Ilúvatar wished it, and he was not to be thwarted.
One day, an eagle messenger flew into the city. Emmelyn, ever curious, followed its path to Manwë's throne, and there listened.
'Gwalhir,' said the high king. 'What new do you bring?'
The eagle, his eyes bright, spotted at once the elven maiden in the shadow of the door, and recognised her as the lone figure washed onto the beach. But he kept silent, for his eye was sharp in more ways than one, and he could foresee that this maiden would be great one day.
'A ship sails for Valinor, my liege,' said Gwalhir. 'The great Legolas Greenleaf, renowned warrior of the War of the Ring, approaches with Gimli son of Gloín.'
Manwë sat back, a frown marring his unearthly features. 'We shall welcome them, then. Let it be known that both are to be received at once into the palace.'
The great eagle bowed his head, and flew.
Emmelyn turned and crept away. A prince was coming to Valinor! She shivered in anticipation. She had heard great tales sung about him, about his boldness in the War of the Ring, fighting alongside King Elessar and Mithrandir to support Frodo on his mythical quest. She was eager to meet these travellers.
And so it was that Legolas Greenleaf, son of Thranduir of Mirkwood, arrived in Valinor. The feast was prepared as the ship pulled into harbour. Great celebrations greeted him, and everywhere, elves and men alike welcomed him.
They did not forget the dwarf, who, for all that he barely reached the waist of any elf, his courage was legendary. He would forever be an elf-friend, and welcome in Valinor, revered above its people as a hero. And, despite the long-winded rumour that crept through the streets--most of them spread by a malicious, fat old man named Peter Jackson--he was quite gracious and kind, and always knew the right words for the right circumstance. Oh yes, dwarf-born no less, Gimli son of Gloín was as noble as any elf, and no less favoured by the high king.
The two were taken through the streets of Valimar and led to the palace, there to be greeted by Manwë and Varda. But, as they climbed the steps to the thrones, a flash of movement to the side drew Legolas' eye, and there was the most beautiful maiden he had ever seen, with moonbeam hair and sea-blue eyes that pierced to his very soul.
And Emmelyn, standing to the side of the procession, found that she could not move with wonder. For the elven prince was strong and fair, his stance exuding strength, his eyes wise and at once merry with unsurpassed mirth. And she thought then that the songs did him no justice.
So the two stood, gazing at each other with lovers' eyes in that moment that seemed an eternity, until the procession was once again pushed forward, and their gazes broken. But their fate thereafter would forever be changed.
The people burst into cheers at the approach of elf and dwarf, and Manwë and Varda rose from their thrones. Manwë, his mantle shining grey, bowed to the pair, and spoke, his voice clear and noble. 'Welcome, Legolas son of Thranduir and Gimli son of Gloín.'
They bowed, their eyes wide with awe. We thank thee, Manwë Súlimo, great king of the Valar.'
Manwë smiled gently, and his smile to them was Laurelin breaking through the clouds. At once, their weariness disappeared. 'You will always be welcome here, in my palace, in the palace of Valimar.'
Said Legolas, 'that is a great honour.'
Manwë stood. 'For your contribution to the War of the Ring and to Arda, Legolas and Gimli, I grant you each your one desire. Name it, and it shall be yours.'
And his voice then boomed across the crowds, and they gasped in awe, inching closer to watch the two heroes. Gimli spoke first. 'Nay, lord, let us have peace, and we shall be content.' But Legolas did not speak.
'Is there nothing you would have?' asked Manwë. 'Anything we may grant. Pray, lord, choose something; this honour should not be left to waste.'
'Very well, then. I only ask that I be allowed to practise my craft in peace, when a time comes that I should wish to take it up again.'
'It is yours. A mine, then, and a furnace to forge your craft.' Manwë turned. 'And you, Legolas son of Thranduir? What do you desire?'
Legolas stood, silent, thinking back. His heart was torn. He closed his eyes. 'Aníron…' he whispered. I desire. At length, when the crowd had begun to fidget and whisper amongst themselves, he turned, and saw, as if waiting for him alone in the crowd at right, Emmelyn, and all question was washed from his mind.
'Lord,' he said without turning back, 'I would choose a maiden.'
The crowd tittered. He blushed fiercely, but stood strong.
'Ah,' said Manwë. 'Which?'
Legolas reached out, and Emmelyn, following his beckoning, stepped forwards to stand beside him, staring up at Manwë in defiance.
The king drew back, alarmed. 'You aim high. That is not merely any maiden; she is the protected of the Ilúvatar. He would be greatly angered.'
'Allow me to try, lord.'
'Very well,' he said, then sighed. 'The Aerysil was a jewel of red fire, forged by the sons of Feänor in the First Age after his death. It was brought to Valinor by Celberin during the Second Age, and lost on his journey across the Valley of Ungolianth. It is in that valley that you must find it and bring it here, to offer to the Ilúvatar. Only then may you wed Emmelyn.'
Legolas bowed. 'It is there, then, that I will go.'
So saying, Legolas ran from the thrones, intent upon his mission. Emmelyn turned to Manwë in anger.
'Why do you send him,' she said, 'on such a quest? Countless others have tried and failed to recover the Aerysil.'
The high king heaved a deep sigh. 'Child, do you not know your powers? You are the chosen of the Ilúvatar. You are his favoured. No mere elf would he suffer for you! I send him on this quest only for you. If you should bring down the Ilúvatar's wrath, you shall regret it. It is on pure chance that I am riding, in sending him to Ungoliant. For if he succeeds, he shall be the most revered elf in all Arda!'
'It is folly! What need have any of you for a jewel? You deem to kill him!'
Emmelyn turned then, and fled, leaving behind her a mighty throng of very confused elves and two saddened Valar. Down she ran, through the streets of the City, past the gates, until at last she had caught up with Legolas at the edge of the forest. She called out to him.
The Sun had set by this time, and a bloated Moon cast its cool gaze on the land. Legolas turned at her voice, and saw, running toward him, a vision of silver, her beauty enough to rival the Moon and the Sun. It is Lúthien Tinúviel reborn, he thought, into a body of light. Naturally, the stirring in his loins had something to say to that, as well.
She came to a halt before him, slightly out of breath. 'My name is Emmelyn,' she began, then faltered, unsure.
'Emmelyn,' he repeated, half to himself. 'Thy name is as fair as they self, gracious maiden.'
She blushed--rather becomingly, he thought--and cast down her eyes, her lashes dark against her cheek. She licked her lips nervously.
The stirring had become by now a rush.
'I have come to aid you in your quest--if you'll have me.' She ducked her head. 'I am learnèd in magic; I can weave slight enchantments and brew draughts against danger.' She paused. 'Manwë was not justified, sending you on this quest.'
Legolas said nothing, only embraced her in relief and gladness of companionship. She smelled to him of perfumed water and long-lingering flowers. Her body against his was soft and yielding. The rush promptly turned to an infusion of fresh blood; he drew away hastily lest he embarrass himself, and bent as if scouting the earth.
'We shall rest here tonight.'
So they sat under the tree, and, in hindsight, cursed themselves for not thinking to bring provisions in their haste to embark upon their quest. And each grew uncomfortably aware of the other, as elven eyes need not be closed to rest. And so, when at last the noises of the night disappeared in the coming of the dawn, and the noised of the day had not yet begun, they stood, thankful to be concentrating on the task ahead, and set out for the Valley of Ungolianth.
A/N: the author thanks you for sticking with this (admittedly) insufferable, blatant Mary Sue fic, and hopes that the little amount of humour was enough to make up for it.