Dear Readers: This story follows the timeline of the War of the Ring, detailing what happens in Mirkwood while the Fellowship makes their journey toward Mordor. This story does have some major characters that first make their appearance in my other story, Wanderlust, but I also think it can stand on its own.
Beautiful Cover Art by Kimberly80 on DeviantArt.
July 3018, The Third Age
The night was already late and well into the early hours of the morning when Legolas met with his father, not in the throne room, but in the king's own private study. It did not escape Thranduil's notice that his son's eyes were weary, and his usual immaculate appearance looked rather unkempt. His son was exhausted, Thranduil decided, and rightfully so. For the past week, his patrols had searched desperately for that miserable creature, Gollum, but with little good fortune, and orc raids had tested the border patrols every night. As Captain of the guard, Legolas had shouldered every responsibility, but also every loss as well, and the cost weighed on him heavily.
"How many?" Thranduil asked quietly.
"Three more, Father," the prince answered bleakly. "At this rate, we will not be able to hold our border against Dol Guldur any longer—"
Thranduil cut him off. "Stop the search for Gollum, Legolas. We can ill afford any more losses on our borders and could use the extra guards to reinforce the southern ridge."
The prince's eyes flashed. "What? And just let him go back to the enemy? Father, you know what Estel said about keeping him safe!"
Thranduil placed a calming hand on his son's shoulder and sighed. "I know, Legolas. Estel was wholly right about that creature's penchant for mischief, I fear." He picked up a loose piece of parchment from his desk and passed it to the prince. "And now Elrond has sent word, again." The king crossed his arms and waited for Legolas to scan the contents of the Rivendell lord's latest missive.
After a quick perusal, Legolas glanced up. "Father, you must let me go to this council. It was my fault that Gollum escaped. I should bear the news to Lord Elrond myself."
Thranduil's eyes darkened. "It was no one's fault, Legolas, except that accursed creature."
"Father, please. Please let me do this. You know that I have traveled to Imladris before and can make the journey quickly."
"What of Thaliniel, Legolas?" Thranduil hedged. "You know that she will want to go with you."
"She has made the journey with me in the past, many times," his son countered. He knew his wife would want to go, even if the road was more dangerous than ever.
Thranduil dropped back into his favorite chair and picked up his glass. He swirled the contents for a moment, before taking a slow sip, hating the words he knew he must say. "You may go to Imladris, Legolas, but please be careful and return as soon as possible. I need you here."
Legolas nodded, and his eyes were grave. "Thank you, my king. We will be careful." He picked up his weapons at the door and paused. Rarely had he seen his father look so fatigued. "Father? I called Narylfiel back from the front lines."
The king looked up sharply. "She will not thank you for that, son," said Thranduil. "She will not want to stay in palace long when the fight has turned so deadly on our southern rim." He tiredly pulled off his crown and unceremoniously dumped it on the table near his chair.
Legolas frowned. "Yes, but she will follow her captain's orders. It will put my mind at ease to know that she is safe in the palace."
Thranduil drained his glass and stood. He knew he would find no rest that night, but he might as well take refuge in the comfort of his own chambers and fully stocked wine closet. Picking up his crown, he followed his son toward the royal quarters, neither speaking, for their hearts were heavy. The king stopped the prince before entering his chambers.
"Thank you, Legolas," said the king, meeting his son's eyes, and with a good night, shut his door. He offered no explanation for his thanks, nor did he need to.
Author's Note: Woot! New story, and I am super excited. This will be my first Thranduil-centric story. Long live the party king!