17. Leaving the Nest Part Two
“Ada?” Thranduil arrived worriedly, his features set in a frown, he had obviously been searching for his father, “There you are!” he smiled and walked swiftly towards Oropher. He flopped down on the ground, resting his head on his father’s shoulder before whispering, “Why did you leave? I was scared.”
“I wanted a dramatic exit, my son,” Oropher reached up to ruffle his son’s hair, “Why did you braid your hair thus, it reminds me of the ill times you rode out to battle,” he unbraided the golden hair swiftly.
“It was a battle of sorts,” Thranduil said wryly as he played idly with his father’s robes, “But do not change the topic, Ada, tell me, why did you leave thus? Celeborn had an argument with Amdir after that, Erestor and Elrond was hard put to restrain Glorfindel who wished to throttle Haldir.”
Oropher sighed, “I wish to tell you something, my son.”
Thranduil snuggled further into the warmth of his father’s robes before drawling, “Adar, have you finally agreed to take a mate? If so, I can have a sea side wedding arranged for tomorrow.”
Oropher said sadly, “No, my son, it is not something jest worthy that I wish to tell you. It is about your mother.”
Thranduil took his father’s hands in his and kissed them lovingly, his silent support saying more than words could.
Oropher began, “I was the seneschal of the Sindar when I met your mother. I was young, wild almost. She was older than me. As beautiful as the clear skies above our woods. It was love at first sight for me. I lost my heart to her when I saw her standing on the deck of her father’s ship off the shores of Beleriland. She told me later that it was thus for her too. We used to meet on the sea shore, Círdan and cousin Celeborn often aiding her to escape her guardians. Long walks and longer talks made up our evenings. Then I had to leave to lead the army against the enemy. I took up the sword and bid my good bye to her. She felt the same sense of desperation that I did, we made love that night, I remember it well, for it was the night of the first full-moon of that winter. It was on the seashore, with only the sound of the waves crashing upon the land, the moonlight shining down upon us. We lay together peacefully till dawn before she left for Círdan’s palace and I, for war. It was during the war that I learnt of her pregnancy. And the rest of our sad story has been sung far and wide by minstrels. The strange thing was, however much I grieved at losing her, as she left me with an year old elfling in my hands, I did not regret that night.”
Thranduil asked him quietly, “You made love only once, that night alone?”
Oropher said heavily, “It was so. My greatest mistake, I took her away from her family, I took you from her.”
Thranduil said incredulously, “Ada! You are a fool! I want you to take a partner to your bed! How can you remain celibate for so long? It does nobody good!”
“You do not condemn me?” Oropher asked his voice tight with emotion.
“Ada,” Thranduil looked up into his father’s eyes, “I love you. I would follow you anywhere. Even if you take a mad oath like Fëanor and his crazy breed, I would follow you to damnation.”
Oropher said wearily, “And the Valar forgive me if I have already doomed you.”
“How so?” Thranduil queried, “By spoiling me? That is not a serious sin, Ada. Anoriel actually found it touching that I was spoilt to the hilt.”
Oropher said sighing, “Anoriel loves you. If I had never been so determined to see you married, none of this would have happened.”
Thranduil said nonchalantly, “I did warn you about that before you embarked on this plan. Who cannot love me, Ada?”
Oropher said sombrely, “Amdir will not take it lightly that she admitted her love so bravely. I was proud of her.”
“So was I,” Thranduil smiled, “She is a firebrand, Ada, she will burn our forest into ashes if we anger her.”
“Our forest? Why our forest, my son?” Oropher asked curiously.
“Ada!,” Thranduil complained, “After hearing all about your love, do you really think I would settle for one less exciting? I am going to win her hand, at whatever cost. And I will certainly execute a kinslaying if Amdir tries to send her across the sea. I shall not give up her to any elf.”
Oropher pondered silently as his son prattled on about other topics. He knew that his son would stop at nothing to marry Anoriel. But at what cost? He decided firmly, he would make Celeborn his messenger and try to talk sense into that fool Amdir. He could not risk his son’s life becoming an echo of his own.
Aldor caught up with Erestor as the latter walked away from the room, a pile of parchment in his hands.
“My Lord Erestor, could you spare a moment?” Aldor asked nervously. Whatever Glorfindel had said about the Chief Counsellor, Aldor found it difficult to believe. His counsellors were ill-tempered always after a meeting with Erestor. And Aldor could not blame as he too had experienced Erestor’s sharp intellect.
“Yes?” Erestor smiled warmly, “What may I do for you, lord Aldor?”
“I was wondering if you could enlighten me as to Lord Glorfindel’s whereabouts now,” Aldor hesitated, then took the plunge, “I wished to speak with him certain matters.”
Erestor said easily, “Of course,” Aldor wondered how such a cold mannered diplomat could morph into this warm, helpful creature, “Lord Aldor, I suggest you come to my study after the mid day meal. He will be there.”
Elrond and Glorfindel walked together towards Erestor’s study. The counsellor had arranged for a lunch there. As Elrond was keen to avoid Galadriel and Glorfindel, avoiding Aldor, they found this arrangement pleasing.
“I hope Gil does not ask me to explain our defences to your kin again,” Glorfindel sighed, “If he does, you can take over. I’ll do your paper work,” he offered.
Elrond said fairly, “Aldor is wise for his years and he will understand if you tell him that his attentions are not wished for. Why don’t you do that?”
Glorfindel sighed, “I am no good at matters of the heart. I have a good mind to throttle Erestor for all the blatant encouragement he has given Aldor.”
They opened the study door, Erestor was singing to himself softly as he placed the dishes on the rug before the fire. Elrond took off his formal robes and draped them about a chair before sitting down cross-legged.
“You have laid for four,” he observed.
“The Prince is coming,” Erestor replied as he set about filling crystal goblets with Dorwinion, “the wine’s courtesy him.”
Glorfindel asked concernedly, “Is Gil still grappling with that hangover?”
Erestor shrugged, “He was not in a very good temper when I went to look in on him after the council, he told me to inform the guards not to let anyone in till evening because he wished to seek counsel from Galadriel. I am tired of all the councils and the squabbling and did not wish to play the diplomat at yet another meal, so I arranged the repast here. I presumed that both of you were not likely to take the meal in the hall and asked you to come.”
Elrond took a sip of his wine and remarked, “I had never thought that a single marriage could cause so many arguments.”
“It will when it is Thranduil getting married,” Erestor said wryly.
Thranduil jumped in through the open windows lightly and took his place between Elrond and Glorfindel.
“You look as if you have been in a mudfight,” Erestor observed as he passed on a goblet to the prince.
“I was with Adar,” Thranduil explained, “In the gardens, and I rolled about a bit in the grass.”
Elrond looked him over and said, “You are well?”
Glorfindel groaned, “We should never have let you become a healer.”
Thranduil shrugged, “I am well enough, though Adar is not. At the moment it is Haldir who will need a healer.”
“What happened?” Erestor asked curiously as he helped himself to a particularly large piece of the plum pie.
“It seems Anoriel innocently left a cushion littered with sharp pins on his seat, and the result was, well, you know, I could hear the scream from the gardens,” Thranduil smirked, “So all those who challenged him to a duel shall have to wait for a month atleast, unless Galadriel patches him up.”
Glorfindel laughed heartily before saying sombrely, “She is nothing like her stupid, cowardly father. We used to be irritated so by his messages during the war.”
Thranduil nodded, “He used to send us message ravens. Thalion had them shot and gutted. Now we are selling them to the men and dwarves of Erebor. Of course, none of this should reach Ada’s ears. He’ll have Thalion and me skinned alive.”
Erestor said grinning, “You should be grateful that we Noldor are kinder towards the messenger birds. Else your falcon would have been inside a dwarf’s stomach now.”
Thranduil snorted, “My falcon would have better sense than to end up in a dwarf’s stomach! I trained it, after all!”
Elrond suppressed a smile and asked something that had been bothering him, “You met Anoriel after the council?”
“Yes,” Thranduil said easily, tugging away a piece of pie from Erestor, “She was nearly scared out of her wits after her father and Celeborn came to blows.”
“You do know that your father has promised the Lórien people that you will not pursue her?” Glordindel cautioned him worriedly, “Your father will be in a lot of trouble with Amdir if the latter hears of this.”
Thranduil shrugged, “What I like, I get usually. Now, I love Anoriel, so I mean to claim her hand in marriage.”
Glorfindel gave a low whistle as he appraised the Sindar Prince from above his goblet and said quietly, “You are confident. I wish we were all so in the matters of the heart.”
Thranduil smiled as he unsuccessfully tried to snatch the last slice of pie from a marauding Erestor and said softly, “My father has suffered for his confidence in love. Mayhap it might be my destiny also. But never the less I shall not give up Anoriel. Not even if I have to fight the entire army of Lórien!”
Erestor licked clean his fingers before remarking, “You will not have to do that, . You will just have to outsmart Galadriel for it is she who runs Lórien.”
Elrond nodded miserably, “She is evil, whatever Gil says!”
Thranduil said firmly, “Elrond, you are brooding again. This will not do. Come with me. I leave tomorrow.”
Glorfindel said quietly, “The prince is right, , you should stay away from Galadriel and her scheming for a few days.”
Elrond muttered darkly, “Gil will never let me go with King Oropher!”
Erestor said dismissively, “I will manage Gil. You do not have to worry about that.”
Thranduil said briskly, getting to his feet and brushing off the crumbs of food from his soiled tunic, “Then we are in accord. Elrond, tomorrow at dawn. Now, let me go and do some wooing.”
“You might change your tunic before you go,” Glorfindel advised.
Thranduil grinned saying, “It is well suited for I plan to woo in a more original manner.”
Elrond shook his head muttering, “I don’t want to know what your scheme is! Anyway it will be the talk all around tonight.”
Thranduil merely laughed and leapt out of the window.
Erestor got to his feet and looked out worriedly, but his frown disappeared as he remarked, “He has landed on his feet, the nimble rascal!”
A soft knock broke the ensuing silence.
Erestor said blandly, “Would you answer, Glor? All the pie I ate makes moving difficult.”
Glorfindel squinted at him suspiciously, but went to answer the door. It was Aldor, wearing a richly embroidered black tunic and silken leggings that showed off his broad, muscular body to its best. Elrond suppressed a smile as Glorfindel tried to catch Erestor’s eye in vain.
“Lord Glorfindel,” Aldor said bravely, “Would you walk with me?”
“I..,” Glorfindel had always been bad at inventing excuses, a skill he should have learnt from Erestor, he thought furiously, “I am afraid that”
“That you have beaten him to it,” Erestor finished the sentence smoothly, “He was about to call on you.”
Aldor’s eyes widened as he asked breathlessly, “Was it so, Glorfindel?”
“Yes,” Glorfindel cringed on seeing the hopeful expression in the human’s eyes, “Come, let us not tarry,” he offered his arm to a delighted Aldor and walked out, taking care to make his displeasure known by banging the door behind them.
Thranduil looked about carefully. There were only a few elflings playing hopscotch. He smiled at them and proceeded with his simple plan. He climbed easily onto a window ledge and determinedly scaled the stone walls. He knew that the third floor housed Amdir’s family. Now, he wondered, he just had to find out which was Anoriel’s chamber. He pirouetted gracefully onto a balcony on the third floor and silently opened the curtains, and closed it with an alarming alacrity. He most definitely did not wish to watch Amdir and his wife make love. Wrong room.
He lightly jumped onto the next balcony. The door leading into the chamber was closed. He considered his options. It might be Anoriel or Amroth. Amdir was notorious for keeping his family together. He knocked softly.
The doors opened and Anoriel stood before him clad only in a light, yellow gown that clung to her body. Thranduil quickly cupped his hand on her mouth as a soft scream betrayed her shock. He waited until her features relaxed and then lowered his hand.
She beckoned him in and drew down the curtains. As she walked across the room to lock the door, he looked around curiously. There were large half-finished oil portraits that were propped up against the walls. A large bed concealed by curtains stood to a side. There was a bright fire in the room. Thranduil wondered why she would need a fire during mid-day. It was hot.
She said apologetically, “I light a fire when I feel lonely. Shall I douse it?”
Thranduil said smiling, “It is of no consequence. But,” he looked around the room taking in the paintings, “you did not tell me of this marvellous talent of yours!”
“It is merely a past time,” she blushed lightly, “nothing to tell anyone about.”
He asked her, “May I see them?”
She said fidgeting, “If you wish. Why are your clothes so soiled? Never have I seen Thranduil Oropherion thus?”
“Climbing three floors does that,” he said nonchalantly, noting her stunned expression with relish.
“You scaled the walls!” she gasped.
“Yes,” he smiled, “I wished to see how you were faring and I did not want to displease your guardians.”
She shivered as she imagined him climbing on the smooth walls. If he had but slipped once!
“Are you well?” he asked concernedly.
She said weakly, “If ever you attempt this madness again, let it be for a more reasonable errand!”
He looked into her eyes and spoke softly, “What greater reason than this shall I have?”
She shuddered inspite of the warmth of the room. The elf before her would not rest until and unless he made her his.
Thranduil walked to the paintings and said softly, “Would you give me a painting? I leave Lindon tomorrow at dawn and may not be able to see you for a few seasons atleast.”
She felt a sense of loss. She had known that they would be separated but that did not make her reconcile to the idea. How easy was it to fall in love!
“Anor-nîn?” he asked her.
“What?” she said scandalized, “If Adar hears that!”
“Well, he might chop off my tongue,” Thranduil said matter-of-factly, “But that will not change the fact that you are my Anor, the sun in my life.”
She smiled like a fool before hastily collecting her composure and walking over to her paintings and pondering quietly. Most of the paintings she had done after meeting him figured him. Except, she remembered, for one. She drew out a long scrolled up painting and handed it to him.
He unscrolled it carefully. She watched his eyes show the depth of emotions as he greedily drank in the painting. Joy, love, respect and an ever-present regret flashed across his features.
Finally, he met her eyes and whispered, “I will value this forever. It means a lot to me that you understand.”
She smiled, “My prince, I have given my gift, what would you give me to help me pass my days without your company?”
He said uncertainly, “I am sorry, but I did not bring anything with me.”
“Would you give me something that you can right now?” she asked him seriously.
“Of course, Anor-nîn,” he replied immediately, though I do not even have a single jewel on me now.”
Anoriel said quietly, “There is a jewel that I value and desire above all else, Thranduil, your hair, it has captured me so since the first time I lay my eyes on it. So rare and rich, give me but a lock of it to remember you and feel your scent each lonely day.”
Thranduil frowned saying, “If I had known my hair fascinated you so, I would have taken care to wash it!”
She laughed, “You are vain!”
“Well,” Thranduil admitted, “I do have an overlarge ego at times,” he unsheathed a small dagger suspended from his belt and cut out a lock of his hair and gave it to her saying, “I wish there was something more precious I could give you.”
She asked him softly, “Would you give the kiss you denied me yestereve? I desire it so.”
Thranduil looked into her eyes uncertainly, but there was only love and confidence in them, he drew closer to her inhaling deeply of her fragrance. She was only a few inches shorter than him. He bent down to catch her lips with his reverently and carefully knitted his hands around her waist.
“I am not made of glass,” she whispered, “You need not, Ah!,” she gasped as his tongue delved into her mouth without any warning, she moaned into his mouth as the overpowering taste of pine, cedar, fresh mint and strong Dorwinion assailed her senses. His tongue explored her mouth thoroughly, taking its time with every nook and cranny. Their noses bumped causing them to giggle softly.
He withdrew his tongue and brought their foreheads together whispering, “I lose myself when I look into you eyes, Anor-nîn. I cannot promise to wait.”
“Nor can I,” she said weakly as she rested her head against his chest.
There was a sharp knock on the door followed by a sharper voice, “Anoriel, Adar and Naneth are coming. Ask the Prince to leave.”
Thranduil pressed a chaste, lingering kiss on her forehead before whispering softly, “Till we meet again.”
She nodded, not trusting herself to speak. He bounded across the room, the scroll in his hand and leapt down fluidly. She rushed to the balcony to see him land heavily on Celeborn, who helped him up. She hastily shoved his lock of hair inside the bodice of her gown and gathered her composure to meet her parents.
Glorfindel watched Celeborn chastise the Prince. He sighed, if Thranduil continued his campaign, then Amdir might have to contend with a grandson out of wedlock. The Prince feared nothing and certainly would stop at nothing.
“Glorfindel,” Aldor’s voice brought him back to his reality, how was he going to turn down the human painlessly.
“ Aldor,” Glorfindel said uncomfortably, “I am sorry that Erestor has given you encouragement regarding me. But, I am the worst choice at the moment. A woman I love to death has rejected me, chosen another, become betrothed to him. So that will give you an idea of my lack of sense.”
Aldor said quietly, “I am young, Glorfindel. Yet, I am married to a woman I do not even understand, have heirs who are tutored by my counsellors in, rule a land which is yet to forget my father’s rule and after all that, I have fallen in love with you.”
Glorfindel said aghast, “You cannot be in love with me! It is merely lust, a desire for a fellow warrior, I understand that completely, please, Aldor, distinguish love and lust always lest you break a heart! Love comes only once to us, and we must be sure before we say thus.”
Aldor smiled sadly, “My race is shortlived, Glorfindel. We really do not have your time to distinguish love and lust. What our heart says is right, is what we take to be right. We cannot wait for elven time to make sure if the one we love is the one for us.”
“Yet, I am an elf,” Glorfindel pointed out, as he watched Thranduil flirt with one of Lindon’s warriors, “I live by elven standards. I wait for happiness.”
Aldor followed his gaze and remarked, “There are some even among elves who do not waste time, who live each moment to the fullest.”
Glorfindel sighed, “The Prince is an enigma amongst us, Aldor, the feyest of the fey folk, the dwarves call him.”
Aldor said, “Be it so, but Glorfindel, do you understand lust?”
Glorfindel nodded saying, “Yes, I control it well usually, but,” he looked into the dark, cobalt-blue eyes of the human, “I am barely able to suppress my lust for you. Take me not wrongly, it is merely the elven way to not hide our feelings when asked. I am not propositioning you. Lust is powerful, but it is not love.”
Aldor said boldly, “But I am propositioning you, Would you accept?”
Glorfindel said weakly, “You are young.”
“If I could fight a battle alongside you, can I not be an equal in this?” Aldor smirked.
It was dark. And empty. Where was he? He looked around, he was in a dungeon, stinking corpses and half-dead forms surrounding him. It was sickening. But in the midst stood shackled an emaciated, ragged, yet, noble figure, whispering harsh words of defiance.
There was a sudden creaking and orcs entered the room. He gasped as they were followed by something more evil than anything he had seen or felt thus far. It was a shadow trying to break his soul, to pull him into the void. He backed involuntarily.
But the figure did not notice him as it approached the shackled elf and asked in its high, harsh voice, “Will you tell me now?”
There was no answer, but a proud chin lifted in defiance. The voice laughed coldly as it said, “Then you shall know more of my dungeons, Ringmaker, and that will change your mind.”
As if on cue, the orcs pushed down the elf and ripped away his clothes violently before starting to whip him raw. The cries of the elf rose higher and higher, yet the persecution continued, until the elf stopped screaming and fainted from pain. The cruel voice laughed and jeered. There was a golden ring on its finger. In the faint glimmer from the ring, he could see the profile of the fallen elf.
“CELEBRIMBOR!” Elrond shouted loudly, rising to his feet.
“Are you all right?” warm hands pushed him down onto the chair where he had fallen asleep reading a book, “A nightmare?”
Elrond sighed, “I dreamed that he was being tortured in Barad-dur. I hope it was just a dream.”
Erestor poured him hot tea saying reassuringly, “It was probably the Dorwinion,” he took the open book from Elrond’s lap and placed it back on the shelf murmuring, “I had been about to retire when I saw the lights in the library. So I came to douse them. That was when you screamed and scared the wits out of me. Come, let us retire. You have a journey tomorrow at dawn.”
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.