6. Chapter 5: Retribution
"What do you want, coward?" said Oropher. "Don't think I haven't noticed how you hide behind your wide and your 'non-violent philosophy'. I'm ashamed to call you kinsman."
"No Oropher, it is I who should be ashamed to call you kinsman," said Celeborn. "I only pray that my cousin does not find out what you have done to her only child."
"How dare you bring Celedulan into this?" said Oropher.
"How dare you blame an innocent for her death?" replied Celeborn.
"I don't have time for this, Coward, what do you want?" demanded Oropher.
Oropher was bringing to exhaust Celeborn's patience.
"I want you to formally and permanently surrender your parental authority over Thranduil to me," said Celeborn.
A smirk crossed Oropher's lips as an idea came to his mind. He believed he had come up with a way to keep Thranduil and humiliate Celeborn at the same time. Oropher had always believed Celeborn to be a coward and a weakling. First he hid behind his cousin then his wife. The truth was Celeborn had sought since the time of his majority to stand on his own. It was Celedulan who unintentionally thwarted these attempts. Celeborn loved his cousin, but he found her presence smothering at times. Right up until the day he married, she treated him like an elfling.
"I can't believe you're serious," said Oropher.
"I am," said Celeborn. "I will not leave until you relinquish your authority over the elfling."
"Very well then," said Oropher. "Meet me in the training grounds in fifteen minutes. I challenge you to unarmed combat. If I win Thranduil comes with me. If you win, which is highly unlikely, I will relinquish my authority over Thranduil."
Celeborn agreed. Oropher had always underestimated Celeborn, but Celeborn would not make the same mistake as Oropher. Fifteen minutes later Oropher met on the training grounds. With Celeborn, Gil-Galad and Glorfindel had come as witnesses. Gil-Galad had every confidence in Celeborn's skill; otherwise he would not have allowed this. He had fought Celeborn once as a young elf. Celeborn had accidentally insulted the young elf and apologized, but the hot tempered Noldo would not accept the apology. Celeborn had held back, at the time he could have seriously hurt the young Noldo, but did not. Celeborn chose to simply defend himself instead of attacking; he blocked everything Gil-Galad threw at him until the young elf's anger exhausted itself. Celeborn would not be so forgiving with Oropher. With Oropher came two elves from Greenwood.
"Oropher, I'll give you one last chance to back out. No one will think any less of you," said Celeborn.
"Why don't you back out, Celeborn," said Oropher. "I already know you're a coward and a weakling.
Gil-Galad reached for his sword. Anyone who insulted his friends like that would have to deal with him. His hand was already upon the hilt when Celeborn raised his hand and motioned for him to stop.
"Swords are not needed here, mellon nin," said Celeborn. "I appreciate your concern, but I can handle this myself."
Gil-Galad released his grip on the hilt. Celeborn and Oropher entered the sparing area. Once the combat began, Celeborn decided to make a point to Oropher by focusing on blocking his moves. After a minute or two Celeborn attracted Oropher with speed that only and elf could have followed. With in minutes Oropher was on the ground a bloody mess. The Greenwood Elves took their king back to his appointed room.
"M'lord, shall I have a healer sent to Oropher?" asked Glorfindel.
"Yes, please, I want him hale enough to travel by morning," said Gil- Galad. "And Mellon nin, have I not told you that I wish no formality between us?"
"You have, about 823 times so far," said the younger elf.
"Then make this the 824th and I hope the last time," said Gil-Galad gently.
After Gil-Galad left, Celeborn put his hand on Glorfindel's shoulder reassuringly.
"I'll send Evenyatare," said Celeborn. "She is my apprentice." Celeborn was in addition to being a powerful Elf Lord, he was also a healer.
"Do you think it wise to send someone inexperienced?" asked Glorfindel.
"Oropher is not seriously injured and Evie can hold her temper when she has to," said Celeborn catching the real meaning behind Glorfindel's question.
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