"Your invasion of my kingdom is yet to be explained," the king of the Silvan Elves demanded of the men who stood before him.
Their leader stepped forward boldly, undaunted.
"Our men were ruthlessly attacked by Orcs, my lord, as we passed through the northern fringes of your great wood. We are all that remains of the band that sought no quarrel with any. We could not defend ourselves, and instead fled within the safety of the trees. We do not mean to trespass, and neither do we bear any ill-will to your people."
Thranduil did not respond.
"We did not know of that goblins resided there."
"Speak no further, Fenmir, son of Eilmar. I will send my patrols to investigate further. In the meantime, we will hold you here for your safety. Rest assured that all your men's needs will be attended to, and their injuries looked after."
Fenmir bowed, and the party was escorted out by members of the Home Guard.
When that was seen to, the Captain of the Home Guard, a tall, broadly built Elf entered the room.
"My lord, what is to be of the men?"
"Felnor, tell me. Was I right to send my son away?"
"My lord? Why speak you thusly?"
Thranduil sighed, his long years threading the earth suddenly all coming down upon him.
"My sons; they are lost to me."
The captain took an uncertain step forward.
"Thranduil - "
The king seemed to break out of his trance. He blinked, and looked his captain in the eye.
"Felnor, give the order to treat the men well. I shall question them further about the attack. They might yet have information useful to us."
A perfunctory nod was the reply.
"Your Majesty, how feel you
"I did not realise I was speaking out loud, Felnor. I am grateful for your many years of service."
"It is my duty and honour to serve you, sire. There seems much on your mind. Perhaps you should rest, for the day has been long."
"Indeed, Felnor. I wonder how fares my son this very moment."
Felnor took a step back. In all his long years in service, he had never heard the king speak of his younger boy is such a tone. Thranduil had allowed the gap between himself and Legolas which had formed in the wake of his wife's death to remain, and had always been distant to Legolas since. While he had positively doted on his younger son when he was a mere child, the king had put his disapproval of Legolas's apparently flippant nature at the fore of most of their relationship.
"Strange it is. Three sunsets have gone by since I have not been able to keep my thoughts off the boy. The lost years between us haunt my every breath."
"My lord. Dwelling on the past will not aid you in the present. Your kingdom needs you." The Captain stepped in as he saw the tears well up in the proud monarch's eyes.
The king nodded mutely, attempting to keep his emotions under control.
A tapping on the door brought both back to the present.
"Your Majesty, Milinral requests an audience."
Thranduil was not surprised. He had been expecting a visit from the exile since the Orc-attack
Milinral stepped into the throne room, head held high, neither prostrating himself before the king nor obeying any formalities.
"Legolas is in danger, Thranduil,"
The effect on the king was great. He struggled hard to maintain his calm while waiting impatiently for the other to elaborate further.
"I would not have come to you had it not been imperative that you get a warning out to your son. I questioned a straggler from a party of Orcs that passed through the fringes of Eryn Galen, and he revealed a plan that involved Legolas. You might not care very much for what happens to your son, but you must know that the fate of your kingdom is tied to that of the boy. It is his birthright."
Thranduil did not answer.
With that, Milinral bowed mockingly in the direction of the king, his derision barely concealed. He then nodded curtly at Felnor, before departing the room.
"Your Majesty - " began the captain. He too was deeply concerned, for he had watched over the little Elf growing up, and was his personal tutor, responsible for most of his training.
The king leapt up suddenly from his seat, and flung open the door, only to be greeted by the sight of an empty corridor.
He frowned, and turned towards Felnor.
"Speed the swiftest eagle along the way. I want my son to be aware of this threat."
"Yes, Your Majesty, as you wish."
Once outside the palace confines, the captain found the exile waiting for him. Stepping up to the old Elf, the old friends embraced.
"The situation is grave indeed, much worse than Thranduil gives it credit for."
"Do not be too harsh on him."
"Thranduil is blind. He manages not to see the gifts Legolas possesses. How a father can feel naught for his son is beyond my reckoning."
"He is proud of his son, Milinral."
"Legolas never had a father. The hour grows late for rectification."
"Thranduil loves him."
"Yet, the boy does not blame his father. There is much love in him. I fear he gives too much," Milinral said.
"Whatever warmth Thranduil lacks in his heart, his son makes up for it tenfold." Milinral smiled wistfully as he recalled the numerous injured animals the little prince had taken back to his chambers, attempting to heal them, and the subsequent disaster that was brought upon the household when they had escaped into the palace.
"His Majesty has been hit hard by tragedy. Do you blame him for the way he reacted?"
"Legolas was but a child! Valar, he is still a child!" Milinral exclaimed. "He almost died when Thranduil cut him off - "
"He did not want his son to grieve. He did not Legolas to give too much!"
"And yet his does. I fear for Legolas. He has already gone through - and survived - so much. But yet, there is more waiting for him."
"He is strong, Milinral. He has the support of many who care for him. We will make sure he gets through this!"
There was a whooshing of wings and a huge bird descended upon them, its golden features shining in the early morning sun.
"What news, Lord Felnor?" it said, a deep, throaty voice rising from its brilliant chest.
"His Majesty wishes it that a message be sent with all due haste to Prince Legolas."
"Tell him to avoid the High Pass at all costs. He should turn his tracks South, following the river, before crossing. If that is not possible, bear them across the Misty Mountains yourself, leaving the steeds behind. Fell deeds await them at Caradhras!"
The sudden interjection by Milinral startled Felnor. He frowned at his companion, wondering at the deviant information as compared to what he had told the King earlier. Still, he nodded to the puzzled eagle, indicating for it to convey the message.
"Very well, my Lord, I shall speed on the way."
Felnor turned questioningly towards Milinral once the eagle had departed.
"There is no use, letting Thranduil in on any of this, for it would only serve to worry him unnecessarily."
The other reached out and squeezed his shoulder comfortingly, in spite of the anxiety he felt growing in his own chest.
The dark creature grinned sardonically as it methodically ripped apart the still form of the bird it had just brought down. Satisfaction pulsed in its veins as it slashed at the golden feathers, ripping apart the throat. Greedily, it began to drink the still warm, sticky liquid that gushed out of the gaping holes within the flesh.
Who is going to save you now, my young Princeling?
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.