“That will be all, Galion.”
“Are you certain, Thranduil? I would be more than happy to help you.”
“I can manage one personal letter,” the Elvenking replied in a gruff voice. “Now please go. We have much to do this afternoon.”
Galion nodded and quietly left the room, making certain to close the door tightly behind him. He didn’t envy Thranduil this onerous chore.
“Are we gonna write my letter now, ada?”
“Yes, Legolas.” Thranduil fought back a sigh. “You tell me what to write, and then you can sign your name.”
“Ok, ada.” Legolas promptly climbed on Thranduil’s lap and sat down, causing the Elvenking to grunt slightly. “I wanna watch you write words.”
“Very well but you must be still, ion nin.”
“Yes, ada.” Legolas began to wriggle with excitement as he watched his father remove fresh white paper from a drawer and tested the sharpness of the quill before dipping it in ink.
“Now remember Legolas, no wriggling. Be still.”
“Yes, ada.” Instantly, Legolas became like a statue as his father wrote the date at the top of the paper.
“Now then, what do you want to say?”
“ ‘Dear Lord Elrond…’ ”
Thranduil obediently scratched away, and then paused. “And…?” He prompted.
“ ‘Thank you very much for the chess set you sent for my begetting day.’ ” Legolas looked up at his ada. “How is that?”
“Very good, Legolas.” Thranduil replied, patting his son’s head and Legolas smiled proudly at his father’s praise. “Anything else?”
“Oh! Yes! ‘My ada is teaching me how to play chess and I think it is a lot of fun.’ “
Thranduil smiled and nodded once more as he penned the line.
“What should I say next, ada?”
“Now you need to close the letter.”
“What does ‘close’ mean?”
“It means you are done writing and you are saying goodbye.”
“Oh.” Legolas thought for a moment. “How about ‘hugs and kisses’?”
Thranduil felt the tips of his ears turning red and he was thankful that Galion was not around to witness this new embarrassment. “We only say ‘hugs and kisses’ to parents or grandparents or very dear friends, Legolas.” He finally managed to say, proud that his voice was calm and steady.
“How about ‘your very dear friend’ then, ada?”
Thranduil took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He felt another headache coming on. There was no possible way for three-year old Legolas to know that ‘very dear friend’ implied a romantic relationship between two adults. Instead, he signed it ‘sincerely your friend’ and hoped that Legolas was not quite clever enough to notice the difference.
“Now you may sign your name, ion nin.”
Legolas took the quill from his father and stared at the letter for a long time before carefully printing his name.
“Can I draw a picture at the bottom here? There’s lots and lots of room left.”
“Very well, Legolas.” Thranduil dipped the quill in ink once more, and handed it to his little son. “But remember that it will soon be lunchtime.”
“Yes, ada. I will hurry.” Legolas smiled brightly at him and Thranduil knew that he would gladly be late for any number of lunches, just to see that smile.
Legolas bent to his new task, and Thranduil idly watched as the sketch of a tree began to emerge, occasionally refilling the quill with fresh ink.
Finally Legolas said “All done!” and hopped down from his father’s lap.
Thranduil glanced briefly at the letter, noticing the tree had seven stars around it, and there was more writing underneath before he stood carefully and stretched. Legolas was already racing out the door, and Thranduil knew he had to hurry if he was going to catch up with his young son.
Later, Galion stopped by Thranduil’s private office and made sure the letter had been properly blotted before adding it to the dispatch case for Imladris.
“That must be a very important letter.”
Elrond looked up at Glorfindel’s voice. The blond Elda was leaning in the door of his study, a faintly amused look on his face.
“Are you going to tell me what is in it? I would appreciate knowing ahead of time if my usual patrols are to be changed.”
“I thought it was a simple thank you. But now… tell me what you think.” Elrond held the letter out, watching as Glorfindel glanced over it before handing it back to Elrond.
“I see that young Thranduilion has learned to spell his name, and he fancies himself an artist. So?”
“Don’t you think these marks form a word?”
“Hmmmm.” Glorfindel looked at it once more. “Well, I suppose you could say it forms a word but I think that would be stretching things a bit.”
“Perhaps.” Elrond sighed and carefully locked the letter in his desk before leaving the room. “I suppose Celebrían sent you to make sure I did not miss another meal.”
“You are right about that.” Glorfindel laughed and followed Elrond out of the study. “Besides, Cook has prepared your favorite dishes. The least you can do is eat before the twins do.”
Elrond laughed as he walked beside Glorfindel down the corridor but his mind remained occupied by the letter. Cirdan had once told him that very young children were exceptionally gifted at foresight, though they might be unaware of the gift.
//Young Thranduilion has drawn the White Tree and written the word ‘estel’. It did not happen by mere chance…//
But as he entered the dining hall, he was distracted by the cunning glance the twins shared while Erestor glowered at both of them. And so Elrond forgot all about the thank you note – until one night several centuries later.