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The Bead Carved From The Aspen Tree

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At the end of summer, Frodo Baggins—heir-son to Bilbo Baggins and a Hobbit of the Shire—on the day he came of age learned he was to be married to the Elf prince Legolas Thranduilion of Mirkwood, to fulfill a clause in a treaty made twenty years before his coming of age.

Frodo had been…well, “resistant” would be too light a word. The first month of their betrothal, he had put his husband-to-be through nothing short of a walk through Mordor, if he were to be asked, because at the same time he learned of his engagement to Legolas, he had fallen in love with a Dwarven prince known as Kili of the line of Durin, an heir to Thorin Oakenshield: King under the Mountain.

It was a dark and bitter autumn for Frodo and he didn’t make it easier on his betrothed, only realizing his error after he fell ill and Legolas nursed him back to health. Things got better and by the time winter set in, stormy though it had been, he and Legolas were a little more than friends. His Elf (once Frodo managed to still his rage and think properly) was kind hearted and passionate.

But his heart still sang for Kili despite having learned to beat for Legolas. Knowing this, his Elf proposed a solution: they would ask Kili if he would be opposed to entering a triad with them: a relationship where three persons were bonded in a consensual and legal matrimony…


Frodo stretched, rubbing his neck and got out of his warm bed roll to stoke the fire back to life. The grass beneath his feet crunched, warming the frozen dew. As he poked the fire back to life with stiff limbs and shivering in the cool air, he searched for Legolas. He spied a foot hanging from a branch high above him and sighed.

“Legolas, how dry’s the wood up there?” he asked. “The fire’s nearly dead.”

The foot retreated into the branches and he heard a few snap of branches. He watched the Elf climb down and pat the trunk, whispering Sindarin to it before handing Frodo the branches. He grinned and thanked him, feeding the broken twigs to the fire.

“I hope you plan on making good use of the fire,” Legolas said, stretching. “I won’t have you making me destroy a tree solely for the sake of warming up.”

“I’m sure trees had been destroyed for less noble causes. But I think we got bacon strips left if that makes you feel a little better about it. And we can make a pot of tea. It’s early yet…” he mused, scratching his chin and yawning. “Hungry.”

“I am, Melleth,” Legolas said, picking up a tea kettle. “Thank you. I’ll be back in a bit with that water.”

“All right. Be careful!”

Legolas kissed his cheek and fled toward the river, leaving a dagger with Frodo. He focused on building the fire up enough before gathering the pan and the last of the bacon. Frodo sighed, setting them down to blow his breath into his hands.

Is it really March? he thought, trying to warm his hands up enough to move. He wrapped his cloak tighter around his body. True, the calendars said it was March. And the storms had receded enough for him and Legolas begin their journey to Mirkwood. Perhaps they might wait till the weather was really favorable to continue on toward Legolas’ home.

He set the pan on top of the fire, waiting for it to warm up as he gathered a wooden spoon to cook the bacon with. It wasn’t much of a breakfast, but something hot to go with the lembas bread would be preferred.

Speaking of, he glanced at the bread and took a loaf in hand. Though it was usually hard so it could withstand long journeys, it felt a bit harder than it should. He sighed, taking the loaf with him to warm up so it wouldn’t break any teeth when he and Legolas ate.

He waved his hand over the pan, feeling heat radiate off the iron. He put bacon strips on it and listened to the harsh hiss and pop the meat made. Frodo glanced around the forest, scanning for Legolas’ frame to come through the trees and hand him the now, surely, heavy kettle.

A bird called overhead and flew to another tree, wings flapping beneath him. A branch snapped behind him, startling Frodo. He gasped, getting off the ground, eyes scanning the trees for an image—anything. He seized the dagger Legolas left him, held in front.


No answer.


Still no answer.

Frodo bit his lip, trying to calm his heart and think. His hands shook in front of him. I shouldn’t have suggested tea, he thought. He saw something come toward him and he ducked, lying flat on the ground. It flew overhead and when he glanced behind him, he blanched at the black arrow.

Vrasta!” came a sharp, guttural scream from the trees.

Three Orcs raced at Frodo and he scrambled to his feet, breakfast forgotten, and ran toward where he saw Legolas disappear into the trees. The orcs chased after him, and he ran from side to side to avoid capture. The Orcs screeched. Whether in amusement or anger, Frodo did not care to know. He tripped, rolling down the hill, the knife fell from his hand. The Orcs surrounded him.

Mubullat,” the Orc Frodo guessed was the leader taunted, waving at Frodo to come near. The other two circled around him. “Mubullat, smazan.

One of the Orcs screamed and Frodo looked at it. An arrow stuck out of its neck and two more flew by. The remaining two ducked, snarling. The leader roared, raising his bow and aiming. He let the arrow fly. It hit nothing as far as Frodo knew.

A presence dropped from the trees and he turned to Legolas. Worried that Legolas was injured, Frodo scrambled to his feet, running toward him. The second Orc seized Frodo around the waist.

Legolas!!!” Frodo shouted, struggling against the vile creature’s grasp.

Legolas raised his bow and shot an arrow into the Orc’s shoulder. It screamed and Frodo broke free of its hold, hiding behind Legolas as he let loose a second arrow, which embedded into the Orc’s eye. It fell dead. The leader roared and rushed at them.

Legolas ducked, pulling a dagger free and jamming the blade into the leader’s leg. The leader roared and raised its sword. Legolas seized Frodo and rolled aside. “Hide,” he ordered, climbing off him in time to parry an attack.

Frodo hid in behind a tree and knelt, shaking. Why am I so useless? he asked himself, hugging his knees. A loud roar made him cover his ears and whimper. I hate this. He closed his eyes.

Two hands took his away from his ears and he opened his eyes. Legolas peered at him. “Are you injured, Melleth?” Frodo shook his head. Legolas smiled and kissed his forehead. “Good. Let me get the kettle and go try to save the bacon.”

Frodo nodded, lips turned into a smile. He didn’t think Legolas knew that idiom, but there was time yet. “How much longer until we get to Rivendell?” he asked Legolas as he returned, kettle in hand.

Legolas hummed. “I’m guessing three more days. If you don’t mind, I’d rather stay until the weather’s warmer.”

“I have no complaints about staying in Rivendell.”

“Even though Bilbo is there?”

Frodo sighed. “I admit I’m still upset with him,” he said. “But I also understand that his decision is affected by his experience. But it’s his experience. Not mine.” Definitely not mine, Frodo thought, taking Legolas’ hand in his. “His dislike of our decision is only to be expected. I only hope he’ll understand. Or at the very least try to.”

“Will he?” Legolas asked.

He bowed his head, staring at the ground. “I don’t know,” Frodo admitted. “To be honest, Bilbo is unpredictable even on the best of days. He might’ve changed his mind. But it’s not very likely.”


Legolas sees the archway when they are still several miles away from it. It is a comforting thought, Frodo finds, as they settle down for their last night before reaching Rivendell. Legolas stays awake, insistent that Frodo get the sleep he requires.

Legolas pulls him into his lap, arms wrapped around Frodo’s torso. When Frodo turns his head ever so slightly, he can hear Legolas’ heartbeat and is lulled to sleep by it…

“Frodo, wake up,” Legolas whispers. Frodo opens his eyes. It’s still dark.

“What’s going on?”

“We’ve company.”

“Friend or foe?” he asked. “If it’s a friend, then I’m going back to sleep.”

“Could be either, really,” Legolas said. He wrapped Frodo in his own cloak before Frodo could protest and stands, resting a hand on his dagger.

“Hail, Friend,” a deep voice said.

“Dwarf, I do not know you, so how can we be friends?” Legolas said. Frodo opened his eyes and watched the exchange. The Dwarf is red haired and bears twin battle axes on his back. His braids began at his mustache and flowed into his beard. Frodo sat up, pulling the warm cloak around him more.

“Gimli!” Frodo shouts joyously. “What are you doing here?”

“Scouting. Needed to make sure there were no Orcs roaming about.”

“You know him, Frodo?”

“I do, his father is a friend of Bilbo’s. He was at the party back in September.” Legolas hummed, staring at Gimli with a hint of distrust while he and Frodo recounted the winters. Frodo, tugged the cloak around him tighter. “And what of Kili?” he asked Gimli with a measure of caution. “How is he?”

“He’s well, considering,” Gimli said. “But he’s dispirited, as you can imagine. Gone too serious for my liking. He acts way too much like his uncle these days…majestic you know.”

Frodo coughed to hide a laugh. “So he’s been brooding?”

“Aye. The King’s had longer practice at it though.”

“I imagine so.”

“We’re actually stopping in Rivendell for a bit. The King’s come down with a cold. The old coot’s insisting he’s fine, but our healers aren’t able to get him to rest properly, so Prince Fili decided we should stop there so that the king can get some care.”

Frodo and Legolas exchanged a glance.


“Bilbo is in Rivendell,” Legolas said.

“Oh,” Gimli said. He tugged his beard thoughtfully. “That could pose a problem.”

“They’ll live,” Frodo said, sighing. “They managed it in the Shire. Rivendell may be far smaller, but it’s not as though they’ll be in each other’s presence much. Besides, Legolas and I have something to discuss with Kili.”

“What sort of something?”

“Well…” Frodo glanced at Legolas.

“It’s a private matter,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck. Gimli glared at them.

“Now look here, Frodo,” he began. “Kili still loves you. Whatever ‘private’ matter you have in mind, I ask you to be careful. I don’t know what might send him over the edge these days—”

“What do you take me for?!” Frodo snapped. “Whatever it is you’re thinking, Gimli, that’s not it! It’s, well, a solution to this whole mess I got the three of us into.” He stared at the fire. “I don’t want him to hurt more than he already does,” he finished quietly.

Gimli hummed. “I see. You best discuss it with him now then.” Frodo’s heart leapt and squeezed. Could he face Kili now? Gimli stood. “I’ll get him. Then you talk. But may I at least ask what this ‘solution’ is?”

“After we discuss it, if Frodo and Kili are all right with you knowing, then yes,” Legolas said. “But only if Kili agrees or at least thinks about it.”

“Fair enough for me. Wait here.” Gimli left into the trees, branches and leaves cracking under his feet.

~Black Speech~

Vrasta: vras ta=kill him/it

Mubullat=closer/come closer

Smazan: sma zan=little elf