The Song Of Sunset
“Gil,” Elrond threw a fork at the king making him snap out of his thoughts and start, “Is there any problem?”
“No, Elrond ,” Gil-Galad sighed, “I was telling Galadriel about the prince’s excursions here with his lover.”
“Was it necessary?” Elrond asked incredulously, “Both of them are not Galadriel’s wards or yours! Anyway it is not as if she cannot see it through her mirror.”
“The Princess of Lothlórien’s honour has been endangered, it is a serious concern, Elrond,” Gil-Galad said in a voice that brooked no argument.
“Thranduil is too honourable to do anything of that sort,” Elrond said firmly, “He has given Erestor his word.”
The King said bluntly, “For one who has been deflowered by him, Elrond, you defend him very well. For my part, I do not trust the word of Thranduil Oropherion.”
“I have never regretted the deflowering, cousin,” Elrond said coldly, “Indeed I enjoyed it. We have a body because we are meant to find pleasure with it. Something that I thought you would appreciate after being away from your mate for twenty long years. But no, you have higher priorities like mindspeaking with Galadriel.”
“What do you imply?” Gil-Galad asked angrily.
“See Galadriel’s marriage, Gil. That is where yours will end up if you persist,” Elrond said frostily.
“But I am the King. The High-King,” Gil-Galad emphasized, “Nobody will dare approach my mate.”
Elrond raised an eyebrow before saying quietly, “You are the heir to your father’s house, cousin. But the claim to the high-king’s throne has always been that of the house of Fëanor. Never forget that. You know what has been the price the rest have paid for it, including your own father.”
“Lord Elrond The Wise, I must remind you that the house of Fëanor have never been worthy enough to lead the Noldor,” Gil-Galad sneered, “ Granted Maedhros was uncommonly handsome, and that Maglor was a gifted singer, but they had twisted minds and a cursed oath. You call them worthy?”
“I grew up in their fostering, Gil,” Elrond got to his feet silently, “I know them worthy. They became dispossessed because it was meant so in the song of Illuvatar. The same song has decreed that their house is the rightful holder of the Noldor throne.”
“Wise cousin,” Gil-Galad said dangerously, “If I pay for the high-kingship with my life, then so be it. But tell me, will you not do the same when you take up the throne?”
“I will do nothing of the sort,” Elrond said firmly, “Herald I am and Herald I shall remain.”
Thranduil rode at a canter up the narrow mountain pass. He shivered at the cold winds, winter was setting in. They would have to halt their monthly meetings soon. He did not want Anoriel risking these fell paths in the winter.
Thranduil’s mare whinnied suddenly and he felt an alien presence in the surround. Not orcs or wolves or Sauron’s creatures, he decided as he probed with his mind gently. This was far more ancient and powerful.
He suppressed a curse and hailed loudly, “Lady Galadriel!”
A moment later, Galadriel appeared at the head of the pass, mounted on a brown mare, her pale features enshrouded in a long silver cloak.
Her eyes appraised Thranduil coldly before she bowed haughtily saying, “Young Prince Oropherion.”
This was not his father’s realm and she knew it well. She did not have to bow to his authority. In this wild, it was a matter of who had more power. Though she did not doubt Gil-Galad’s tale, she knew that Thranduil was not old enough to have accumulated the wisdom that she had.
“My Lady, greetings,” Thranduil said politely, “May I ask you where you are bound for on this cold night?”
He wondered if she would deliberately hurt him. No, he decided, she would not. She was here simply to test him, though he did not know the reason. But, he reprimanded himself, I should have thought of this after Erestor warned me that Elrond had told Gil-Galad of our escapade from the slavers’ hands . A cold wind blew and Thranduil shivered again.
“Come, Ernil,” Galadriel said in a superior tone, “let us seek shelter. I forget that you have not endured as many winters as I have nor have your forefathers crossed the great Ice.”
Thranduil said truthfully, “That is so, Lady, yet I am not so young. Has your husband not told you of warming my bed one night not so long ago?”
Galadriel remained impassive, yet the sudden flash of fury in her eyes told Thranduil that he had struck his mark. Good, he congratulated himself, he would survive this night somehow.
The lady turned her horse and rode away unmindful of the winds, Thranduil followed cursing her silently. She was not heading for the valley, nor to Lothlórien. She led her horse up a rarely used path that led to a small cave. Thranduil cursed again, he hated caves after their imprisonment by the slavers. Galadriel dismounted and led her mare into the cave. Thranduil followed suit. She watched silently as he unwrapped a saddlebag and took out dry twigs and flints. He lit a fire and pulled his cloak closer about himself as the wind intensified.
“Strange to find a young princeling on these mountain paths on such a night,” Galadriel said softly, watching with amusement as he shivered again.
Thranduil spared her a withering glance before saying sharply, “You know where I was bound for. Let us not play cat and mouse. What is it that you want?”
“What is it that I want?” Galadriel said thoughtfully, “There are many things I want, princeling. But what I seek from you is revenge for that night with my noble husband.”
Thranduil looked at her worriedly, “Lady, I admit it was a mistake. But it is in the past now. How would you have me atone?”
Galadriel smiled, Thranduil Oropherion was as chivalrous as his father, it could well prove his downfall. Now it was time to truly make him sweat, she asked nonchalantly, “Princeling, if you thaw my ice tonight, I will consider the wrong forgiven.”
“I cannot touch a woman with that intent,” Thranduil said looking shocked, “I am about to be betrothed, and I have given my word to Anoriel that I will not think of any other woman thus.”
“So you know well the sanctity of bonds,” Galadriel said sternly, “Yet you would touch a married man.”
Thranduil shrugged, “I apologize for my conduct regarding Celeborn. I respect him almost as much as I do my Ada. Indeed, he is as unto a father to me in many ways. I accept your anger, but not your moral lecture.”
A colder gale of wind howled outside and Thranduil began pacing the cave in a bid to warm himself. Galadriel smiled, the Prince reminded her in so many ways of her long dead brother, Finrod Felagund, who had met his death in the pits of Morgoth. The same frankness, chivalry and sharp thinking. Then Thranduil paused pacing to pet his uneasy mare, Galadriel’s smile vanished, he was different from her brother. Finrod had never shared a rapport with animals or trees, preferring the company of men which had led to his downfall.
“My Lady?” Thranduil’s voice had a tinge of impatience.
“Yes, Ernil ,” Galadriel asked enjoying the flash of irritation in those jade green eyes.
“If you have finished with your thinking, then perhaps you might wish me to settle down your mare. The poor creature is cold to the bones,” Thranduil said irritably.
He did not wait for Galadriel’s permission as he led the mare to his own mare’s side and settled them down whispering smooth words in Sindarin. She watched as he took off his fur cloak and wrapped it around the flanks of the two mares. They nuzzled his hands gratefully. He patted their heads and then began pacing again.
Galadriel watched him trying to suppress a shudder as the winds became steadily colder. Perhaps she should take pity. He was young after all, she conceded. And she owed his father gratitude for her now happy marriage.
“Come here, Ernil,” she asked him, “Take my cloak. I am used to the cold.”
“I will not deprive a lady of her cloak!” Thranduil said shocked, “Not even if you were living on the Ice.”
Galadriel laughed, humour glistening in her eyes after long years, she said warmly, “Come, princeling, atleast sit by me.” She watched with amused interest as he looked at her bewildered before unwillingly moving to sit beside her.
Oropher came down to the courtyard to meet the riders from Lothlórien. He wondered distractedly if his uncontrollable son had directly ventured to Amdir’s talan itself to seek his bride. A ridiculous vision of Amdir chaining his son and leading him to Greenwood rose in his mind.
“Lord Oropher,” a young flaxen haired elf bowed.
“Prince Amroth,” Oropher asked frowning, “Is there anything amiss?”
Amroth looked at a point above Oropher’s shoulder as he muttered, “Lady Galadriel has ridden in stead of Anoriel to meet your son this time. He does not know.”
Oropher sighed in frustration, between his son’s stubborn wooing and Amdir’s reluctant alliance, he had enough sleepless nights. Now, Galadriel would certainly add to it. Why did his son have to do everything the difficult way?
“Should we go to his aid?” Amroth asked fearfully mistaking Oropher’s irritation for worry.
“No, no, Amroth,” Oropher said shaking his head, “He will manage well on his own. Galadriel will not hurt him though she might hurt his considerable pride,” humour flashed in Oropher’s green eyes, “A night in each other’s company will help them learn a lot, I think.”
Galadriel watched the young prince toss about restlessly in his sleep mumbling his mother’s name over and over plaintively. The vulnerability and grief on his handsome features coupled with his shivering body thawed her usually cold mind and she rose to her feet. Unclasping her cloak, she laid it on his shivering form, watching satisfied as his hands pulled it closer. Smiling at her own behaviour, she sat down by him and sung softly, an old hunting song, she had learnt from her days spent with Maedhros and Fingon.
“You sing well,” Thranduil mumbled drowsily, “Though the wind drowns your voice. Can’t you find sleep?” he snuggled into her cloak deeper and then realized what he was doing and wide-eyed, sat up apologizing, “Your cloak, I have no idea…”
“Hush, Ernil,” Galadriel said suppressing outright laughter at his startled expression, “You have broken my song,” she guided his head gently into her lap and began singing again softly of Orome and his hounds.
The next day at dawn, Thranduil woke slowly to find Galadriel’s blue eyes crinkled in amusement at his sleepy-eyed face. He felt a smile breaking on his own features despite his healthy dislike of the Lady.
“You know,” Galadriel watched smiling as Thranduil carefully avoided her eyes while getting up from her lap, “I have never done this before even while raising my own daughter.”
“That is as well,” Thranduil muttered as he folded her cloak neatly before handing it to her awkwardly, “Not many elflings would appreciate hunting songs as lullabies.”
“Nobody will believe this,” Galadriel stretched out her legs lazily unmindful of the hard floor that must have already ruined her dress.
“I stole your cloak, deprived you of your sleep and you were unusually charitable and forgiving, singing me to sleep,” Thranduil averted his eyes, “Nobody will believe it, I guess, you are too haughty usually.”
“Yes,” Galadriel nodded pensively, “I came to give you a hard time, I will not deny, but now I am glad that things are what they have come to. I did not foresee that the haughty prince of Greenwood could invoke maternal feelings I did not believe existed in me?”
Thranduil looked into her eyes astonished as he replied softly, “No woman has ever said so to me. I,” he faltered struggling to meet Galadriel’s steady gaze, “I have never hungered for a mother’s love. I know it is unfair, but I have the best father in elvendom. Those like Elrond and Erestor have been deprived of both their parents’ love. Am I not better off?”
“You may not need a second parent’s love. But it is yours if you wish ever,” Galadriel said quietly, then she smiled, “I do not know what draws me to make all these impassioned declarations to those from your house. Celeborn has endured many passionate speeches of mine during our courting.”
Thranduil laughed, “Indeed lady, I think you have a weakness for my father’s blood. As Elrond has a weakness for the house of Fëanor,” he watched sorrow cross her features, “Your daughter is walking into a mess.”
“No,” Galadriel sighed, “They are all honourable. My daughter will not suffer at their hands. She will have respect, if not love.”
“I know you have your reasons,” Thranduil said quietly, “But Gil-Galad is unaware of Elrond’s love as it stands now. If he knows, then things will be unpredictable. I do not wish for Erestor to suffer. He will bear the brunt of it.”
Galadriel smiled, “No, ,” she laughed at the irritation in his eyes, “You are young, Thranduil. You saved Erestor from Gil’s wrath before their marriage. But now, Elrond is wiser at hiding his feelings. He has come to accept his betrothal. You do not have to worry. If ever Gil knows of his real love, I will protect Erestor. He is also of my grandfather’s blood.”
Looking at the thoroughly disbelieving expression on his face, Galadriel laughed merrily, the ages disappearing from her gaunt face.
Thranduil scowled and said firmly, “Though it is good to see you relaxed, I fear your mind has been disturbed. Now, I am riding home, Ada will worry. And so should you.”
Galadriel nodded and walked to him and raising herself to the toes, kissed his cheek tenderly whispering, “You have my affection whether you wish it or not, . Fear never to call upon it.”
Celeborn and Amdir watched with increasing apprehension as Galadriel rode into Cerin Amroth, dishevelled and tired.
“Are you all right?” Celeborn asked worriedly, helping her dismount.
She hugged her husband before saying lightly, “I am tired, husband. Else, I am fine.”
“How did it go with Thranduil?” Amdir asked curiously taking in her dirty dress, “You look as if you had a tumble on the forest floor.”
Celeborn started and Galadriel said serenely, “We had a tumble, but unfortunately, Amdir, it was of a different kind, though pleasing indeed.”
She did not even tell Celeborn what had transpired in the cave. It was her secret for centuries afterwards, offering her a smile when things were at their worst. For his part, Thranduil kept their night at the Misty Mountains a mystery from everyone except his father. Though his criticism of Galadriel never weakened, it was often coloured by humour in the later days.
Gil-Galad was summoned back to Lindon by the arrival of Elendil the tall, his sons and grandsons. Mordor was threatening the whole of Arda again. Erestor went with him while Lindir was in charge at Imladris. Elrond went to Lothlórien, escorted Galadriel and her daughter to Lindon for the high-king desired his aunt’s counsel greatly. Glorfindel accompanied Elrond, faithful to the vow he had sworn to the line of Idril.
“You know,” Elrond said helpfully as Celebrían purposefully lagged behind yet again to keep away from her mother, “I could appoint you the rear guard.” She seemed even ready to tolerate him as long as she was away from her mother’s side.
Celebrían spared him a scornful stare before muttering, “If you had a mother like mine, you would have prayed for her to get the call of the sea, Lord.”
“’Bria,” he said teasingly, he had long decided that Celebrían was far less vicious than her mother, “I am glad that my mother did not prolong matters that much. I gave up on her long ago,” he sighed, “though she had sworn no oath, she was besotted by the gems.”
“Sometimes, ‘Rondie,” she taunted repaying him evenly for calling her by the pet name her father used, “I feel that you adopted the Fëanorians. For my part, I prefer my Sindarin ancestry to the Noldorin.”
“Well,” Elrond said thoughtfully, “I love my Sindarin ancestry well, but I would not be here but for the kindness of Maglor. Even Maedhros was quite kind to me and Elros, my twin.”
“Was he fell as my father says?” Celebrían asked curiously, “Or gentle as my mother says?”
“He was gentle with his kin, with his brother and with his followers,” Elrond said thoughtfully, “But he had endured much, and it had affected him. They say he was fell in war and council.”
“You know what,” Celebrían said peacefully, “We can make this marriage work, as long as we don’t have to breed. I enjoy your company.”
“As I do yours, ‘Bria,” Elrond placed his larger, darker palm on her white, elegant hand, “You can suffer me at daylight and seek anyone you wish at night.”
“Do you not mind truly?” She laughed at his frankness.
Her mother was not going to be happy. But Celebrían truly had begun appreciating Elrond’s nobility. She had a queasy feeling that she did not even find herself disturbed by the thought of having his children. She could now see his strange beauty, with human earthiness and elven grace. There was an approachability about him that was not there with her playmates in Lothlórien.
“Frankness,” Elrond grimaced, “Is an unfortunate after-effect of having slept with your royal cousin. Truly, I do not mind.”
“You slept with Thranduil!” she asked in surprise, “Never let my mother hear that! She told me you were a virgin.”
“I was,” Elrond admitted smiling, confiding in her was as easy as confiding in Thranduil, she did not judge, “I hope you are not scandalized.”
“I will break off the betrothal,” she began, and then laughed at his fear-struck face, “Unless you tell me how he was, you know, in bed.”
Elrond stopped riding involuntarily, too shocked to notice that his guards were looking curiously at his crimson face or that Celebrían was galloping away from him, a merry tinkle of laughter flowing from her fresh lips. He sighed, he did not need to ask anyone from which of her parents, she had inherited that wicked sense of humour.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.