4. Chapter 4: Demons
Chapter 4: Demons
Legolas was aware that his ada was watching him. He wondered just how much did his adar want to disgrace him or even banish him from his homeland the way Elrond did.
Legolas turned away. He did not wish to face his father; he feared he would see the hate and shame in his adar's eyes.
Thranduil noticed this, and found himself unable to speak. Much as he wished to comfort or unburden his son, he could not find the right words to help his son. With a heavy sigh, he left the room.
Galdor, standing in the hallway, turned to the king as he came from the room.
"Is there something I could do, my king?" he asked.
Thranduil turned distractedly, not knowing what he should answer. His mind was still trying to recall if there could have been any cause for Elrond's anger.
"My king, is there something I could do?" the guard repeated.
The king seemed startled at his voice, then shrugging his concerns off, he replied his loyal friend and guard, "Keep an eye on my son; I need to be alone for a while."
"I will do as you order." Galdor said and bowed.
"It was not an order, mellon, it was a friendly suggestion." Thranduil smiled and looked on as Galdor entered the room, sat in the chair the king had vacated and watched the prince. He knew that Galdor was also wondering why Legolas was becoming so distant from everyone.
Thranduil headed for his room, letting his mind drift back to the past as he thought on Elrond's attitude toward his son…
It was just before the War of the Last Alliance as Thranduil, the son of Oropher, stared at the delegation that came from afar.
"Lord Elrond, how can I help you in this surprise visit?" Oropher asked, while keeping his son close to him.
Elrond bowed and turned toward the king, noticing how his son stood close to him, and his eyes filled with a sadness at the knowledge of what pain his coming would bring.
"War has come to our doors," Elrond replied with a heavy heart. "Sauron is getting his strength and power, and with the ring he has made, he is unstoppable. He wishes to conquer Middle-earth and we need every help that can be found." Elrond sighed. "This is why I have come; I hope you will join in this fight for our homeland and people."
"And you expect me to leave everything, including my son, and to join you in hopeless war?" Oropher asked, feeling his son shake slightly beside him in apprehension.
Elrond swallowed the lump in his throat and replied, "I do, for the sake of our people. For the sake of those who I love, whom I have left for this war."
Oropher looked pensive. "Give me a moment alone," he ordered.
The delegation and the guards quietly left the king with his son.
"Thranduil, my son…" Oropher tried to say, only to be cut off by his prince.
"Do not leave me…"
"I will be back, I give you my promise." The king cupped his son's face in his hands, looking into his eyes, then he added, "I love you, ion, do not ever forget this."
The prince stared at his ada, not quite convinced, he asked, "But… but what if something happened to you?"
Oropher ran his fingers through his son's hair, feeling how his son seemed as vulnerable as a child, and he replied with a heavy heart, "Then, you, my son, will take care of the elves, making sure that nothing can harm them in any way, and not live in fear every day."
"But… I do not want to lose you… I've already lost naneth… please ada… do not go and leave me as well…" Thranduil pleaded with his father.
The king could see the anguish in his son's eyes. He glanced outside at the stern faces of the delegation and knew that many of them had made the same decision as he had.
"I know… ion… but I have a duty, as king, to make sure that you and our elves do not get hurt. You know how it pains me to see you bleed or cry; I don't want you to ever get hurt." Oropher said, feeling his eyes moisten.
"But what about you? I do not wish to lose you." Thranduil gasped and swallowed the tears that now fell freely from his eyes.
Oropher gently wiped the tears from his son's face."Remember that I'm always with you, here." Oropher placed his hand on Thranduil's chest, where his heart was beating faster than ever.
Then the king hugged his son, gathered his weapons and headed to where Elrond was waiting.
Once he mounted his stallion, Oropher turned for a last look at his prince, his only son, and then he turned around and sighed, riding toward the horizon as a lone tear left his eyes.
Thranduil's tears fell unbidden as the pain of the memory struck him.
He placed his hand on his chest – he missed his ada so much. His mind wandered to when the delegation returned from the war…
When the news came that the war was over, Prince Thranduil could not get any rest or even eat, as the worry for his ada ate at him every day.
The guards could sense that the prince was growing weaker and they all feared that if their king did not return alive, the prince might be lost in grief. They could only hope that King Oropher was constant as the rain.
Thranduil heard the hard galloping of horses, and thought 'This is it, the moment has come. I hope that ada was not hurt that badly.'
The delegation entered, and his heart missed a beat when he did not see his father. At that moment, Thranduil felt the rage flood his mind, he vaguely knew that he was gripping his sword very tightly, and then he let it fall to the floor.
He stormed toward where the delegation was, and they quickly halted at the fierce determination and rage that marked his face.
"Where is my adar?" Thranduil asked and locked his eyes on Elrond.
Elrond tried to turn his eyes away from the new king but could not, as he felt the pain and rage that radiated from Thranduil.
"Your Adar… I mean… he fell…" Elrond looked away uncertainly, not knowing how Thranduil would react. After all, now that Thranduil had lost his adar, he had no one but the guards to watch his back, and besides that, he also had to carry out his father's kingly responsibility – without anyone to guide him.
"Why did you not did something? Anything?" Thranduil said, trying to contain his rage before he spoke something he would regret.
"Thranduil…" Elrond started, noting how the guards seemed tense at his familiar address.
"King Thranduil," Elrond started again, sighing before he continued, "We all did our best to watch out for one another, to save as many as we could, but it was war – we… we did our best."
And the healer could see how the usually calm Thranduil had an expression he had not seen before.
"Did you?" Thranduil asked and stepped forward to Lord Elrond.
Elrond stood rooted, though he could feel his heart beating as though he had run from Lothl?rien to Imladris with orcs on his tail.
"We all did the best we could." Elrond voice seemed like a whisper to Thranduil.
Thranduil looked away. "Have you at least brought something of him?" he asked.
Elrond silently walked back to his horse, and returned with a long sword covered in ashes and dried blood.
"Hannon le," Thranduil thanked him, his eyes locked upon his adar's sword. Then, he continued, "You may leave now."
With that, Lord Elrond and the delegation of the survivors bowed and left. Even in his grief, Thranduil saw how their numbers were so much smaller than when they had come for his father.
With that sad memory, Thranduil left his room with an idea that he hoped could settle whatever it was between Elrond and his son. He had been through enough and he did not wish to lose his own heir because of Elrond, the healer who had previously helped his heart mend.
Thranduil walked through the hallway and stopped at Legolas' room. He could hear Galdor whispering softly, and could not stop himself from smiling, and yet when he saw how his son remained emotionless, he feared more than ever that he might lose his son.
He stepped in, and asked Galdor to ready the horses.
The guard left the king and the prince alone while he went to do his duties.
"Legolas, ion," Thranduil pleaded, seeing how Legolas had not even changed his position on the bed, "Please, look at me…"
But Legolas could not. His heart was filling with darkness as he heard the conversation between his adar and Galdor, and how they spoke of horses and leaving. His mind was overwhelmed in the fear that his ada, the great king of Mirkwood, now wished to ban him from his only home.
Thranduil moved to the other side of the bed where Legolas' face was still staring into the distance and caught his gaze, noticing how dull and empty his son's blue eyes were.
"Legolas…" he started, as a tear left his eyes.
"I wish to say… I will be leaving with Galdor and a guard for Imladris…" the king spoke.
Legolas did not respond, and Thranduil could only hope that his son had heard him.
With that, the king left the room, hoping that Imladris would give him the answers he needed to see his son smiling and with joy when he returned.
After his ada left his room, the prince sighed softly. He could hear the sound of the birds calling him, yearning for his presence, and also the darkness that enveloped the room.
He gathered what arrows he had left and picked up his bow. His fingers brushed against his sword tentatively, but he left it behind. He did not dare to set his eyes on it ever again.
Legolas left his room, heading for the palace exit. It was time for the changing of the guards and they barely noticed him as he walked through the forests hidden by the shadows. He left his stallion behind, after all, he did not know where to go, or if his stallion would even bear him. He felt so alone now in the knowledge that no one could ever look at him, except as a murderer.
End of Chapter 4.
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