"Tauriel, have you taken leave of your senses?"
"Nay, kinsman. But if you continue to speak thus, I will believe that you have!"
Raised voices exploded from a ring of oak trees outside the walls of the city. Elves inside the city heard the shouting and wondered greatly at it.
Three figures stood inside the sheltered glade formed by the oaks. Two of the figures had dark hair; these were the Princess of Doriath, Tauriel Melianiel, and the lord of Eregion, Elrond Half-Elven. The third figure was a slender one, with shining golden hair; this was the Crown Prince of Greenwood, Legolas Thranduilion.
"But he is young!"
"And I am old?"
"No, lady, of course not! But you are much older than him!"
"As was my sister much older than Beren!"
The lord of Eregion wrapped his hands around his head and began to pace. Tauriel watched him with a slight amount of bemusement.
"Elrond, we have been close since the day I come to this place. I may be your great aunt, but you are all the kin I have left in these lands and you are dear to me! I value your judgement highly, but if you naysay me in this, I fear I shall be forced to go against your wishes. I know my own heart and, deceitful as it may be, in this I know it is true. My love is young and with him near me, I feel young again also. Do not deny me this, my beloved kinsman! Do not fear that I will leave you, as long as I stay on these shores I shall help thee in any way I may. But, having said that, if you draw a line between us because of my love, I shall not cross that line. I shall depart and go to the Greenwood and dwell among the people of Thranduil."
"Thranduil?" Elrond exclaimed angrily, pausing in his pacing. "He is naught but a Sindarin upstart!"
The elleth drew herself up sternly. "You forget to whom you speak, Elrond Half-Elven! I am of the Sindar and I will suffer no evil to be spoken of them. If you continue to speak thus, I shall leave now and shall not return." Tauriel's eyes flashed as she spoke.
Legolas, watching from the shadows at the edge of the glade, was amazed at how angry she appeared.
"Ah, Lady Tauriel, forgive me. I spoke in anger." The Half-Elf paused for a moment, collecting himself. "You know that I would never speak thus of our people. I fear what will become you if you give your heart to this prince." He turned towards Tauriel. "Help me to understand, I want to believe that he is worthy of you, but my heart cannot." His voice became pleading. He wanted the best for his kinswoman.
Tauriel laid her hands on his shoulders and looked into his eyes.
"Dearest Elrond, I believe that he is worthy of me, can you not trust me as you have done so often before? And as for giving away my heart, that has already been done; it cannot be undone!"
Elrond bowed his head.
"Then let it be so," he murmured. "But I like it not."
Closing his eyes, he turned away and left the grove.
Tauriel watched him leave then turned to Legolas standing behind her.
The Prince had remained in silence as Tauriel and her kinsman spoke, now he wordlessly opened his arms to her. With a small cry, she ran to him, burying her face in the soft silk of his shirt. Legolas could do nothing but hold her gently as she wept quietly.
"I had hoped it would not come to this," she whispered.
Legolas raised her chin with his hand and looked deep into her eyes.
"Do you have any regrets?" he asked hesitantly. "My love, if you wish me to leave, never to return, I shall. I would not do anything which will cause you anguish."
Tauriel smiled through her tears. "No, my love," she said firmly. "I gave my heart to you freely and I have no regrets."
Legolas pulled her tight against him.
"So be it," he said. "Perhaps my father will be more understanding!"