17. Chapter 17
The Woodland Halls: The rooms of healing.
Her mind echoed the voice that called to her. It seemed to be coming from a world away yet it was nearer to her than what she could comprehend. Her mind was swimming with the thoughts and emotions that the king's kiss had instilled into her; conflicting and disconcerting with her judgements.
She continued to stand there in a daze, her fingers still touching her cheek where the Elvenking had kissed her, staring off into nothingness.
'Adlanniel? Speak to me!' The voice had become louder and more desperate to break through the barrier that was engulfing her consciousness. Yet her eyes remained glazed and unresponsive.
Suddenly, the elf before her took her by the shoulders and shook her hard, trying to bring her back into the world of the living. She snapped her head up in shock, her eyes frightened.
"L...Legolas?" She stuttered.
"It is I..." He confirmed as he gazed into her sullen eyes, concerned for her state.
"Where were you just now?" His voice was full of worry.
"I don't know..." She replied, her voice becoming choked by tears.
The elven prince was not surprised when she burst into crying, for he expected it to be due to the anguish that they were forced to suffer that night. Indeed, for a large part that was the reason. But the real truth was due to the guilt she felt at wanting the forbidden. The desire was savage and overwhelming; something that a mere kiss on the cheek had provoked. But, had it really? All the memories of the times her body and loins had burned whilst being in the Elvenking's presence flooded to her mind. She knew then that through all that time she had desired him, for he emanated something that set her inner fire truly ablaze, that drove her basic instincts wild with lust and desire, something that Legolas had not yet been able to truly give her. The thought pained her deeply. Though she tried to remind herself of all the pleasure and unequivocal love and devotion Legolas had given her over the centuries to try to vanquish her desires for his father, vanquish they would not. They continued to burn within her like the sun; incessant and unabating.
"My love, what can I do to abate this sorrow you feel?" Legolas pleaded to her desperately, wanting her so very much to show him her radiant smile.
She looked up to him then, equally as desperate. "Kiss me Legolas. Deeply and intently. Make me forget some of this anguish that so plagues my heart."
Looking down to her sympathetically he caressed the side of her face, the same side where Thranduil had kissed her, making her pang with guilt once more. Before the guilt could engulf her again he took her head with both of his hands and drew her in to a deep and impassioned kiss. His tongue forced its way into her mouth and whipped around hers fiercely. The fervour of it enabled her to forget her forbidden desires for only but a short while, for they soon engulfed her yet again; making her wish that it was the Elvenking's mouth that embraced hers.
"Thank you..." Was all she had managed to say when he pulled away from her.
He sighed as he continued to gaze down at her, his eyes saddened and worried.
"Come let us bathe now and prepare to lament those who fell this night; May their fae reach the Halls of Mandos."
"May their fae reach the Halls of Mandos..." Adlanniel repeated.
Legolas looked over to the young man then and gave a slight frown.
"I hope that he holds information worthy enough for the lives that were lost to save him..." The young elf could not help but feel bitterness, having lost five of his companions; elves that had seen the world change through their immortal eyes, eyes which held both wisdom and knowledge that men could never possess.
Adlanniel nodded in agreement, her heart heavy and weighted. "But they will be reborn to live on in Valinor. We will see them again when, and if we choose to sail over the seas."
Legolas, sighing again, nodded. She was right. He lifted his head then as the melodic voices of song drifted through the grand spaces of the palace halls. Though, they were songs of lamentation and mourning and thus weighed heavily on the air.
"Now let us go and leave this man to his slumber." Legolas began after a few moments of silent listening to the distant singing. He placed his hand gently on the small of Adlanniel's back to lead her out of the room.
"For we shall soon lay our kin to rest, so that they may return to earth from which all life is born."
Adlanniel nodded, tears beginning to well in her eyes once more as Legolas calmly led her out of the room. How he could hold his composure in such a difficult time she could not comprehend. Perhaps he was holding himself together for her so that she would not suffer more so. But nothing could quell the burning lust and guilt that entwined her heart.
The Grand Courtyard
Each of the fallen was carried on a bed of white lilies and roses woven within streamers of white chiffon and silk that fluttered in the early morning breeze. The awakening sun cast an orange glow upon the procession as it made its way to the pyres that had been set up in the largest and most beautiful courtyard of the Woodland Halls. The solemn yet beautiful melodies of mourning continued to be sung; both Adlanniel and Legolas joining their voices to the lament. The hymns, though solemn in nature, not only mourned the passing of those that were lost to the physical world, but also celebrated the long and full lives they had lived.
The elves gathered in a large circle around the pyres as the bodies were set upon them, Legolas going to assist those that were lifting up the fallen captain onto the largest of the pyres. Adlanniel could see that Legolas could not bottle up his emotions as he gently held Idhrenion's body in a last embrace of friendship and brotherhood; tears were clearly rolling down the prince's smooth cheeks.
A gentle hand took hers as she watched the preparations of the pyres. She looked up, suddenly surprised, her heart skipping a beat as she looked into the Elvenking's eyes that were sympathetic and saddened as they looked into hers. Despite the sorrow that was in them, she could see a longing in his gaze, perhaps for comfort from all this anguish or perhaps for something else. However she was not given enough time to dwell as he looked back over to where his son stood; Legolas, his eyes still dampened from the tears that clung to them, was singing a prayer in the ancient language. His voice deep with sorrow yet melodic - a distinct virtue of the Eldar.
Thranduil tightened his hold on her hand ever so slightly as she continued to gaze up to his beautiful, yet composed face. The burning that they had both felt for each other only a short time earlier was not so apparent then, perhaps due to the nature of the current situation. He was so calm as he watched Legolas. She wondered then how he could keep his composure during such a dreadful time, but knew that as the greatest Elvenking still in Arda, he had to remain poised for he was the beacon of his people. She too averted her eyes to where the prince was, but for a while longer she remained deep in thought. What had happened between her and Thranduil in the rooms of healing? What was the fire that they had both felt in each others presence? Why did it burn so intensely, engulfing the both of them? Why did they allow these forbidden feelings to take hold, and what was the true reason behind them? Was it purely lust or was there more to it?
"There will be a time to think on it Adlanniel." A voice came down to her calmly. Looking up to the king again she knew it had been he who had spoken to her.
"But now is not the time..." He said, not looking down at her as he slowly released her hand and turned, walking away from her. Her heart sunk at that moment as she thought that he was displeased with her having clearly been able to sense what was rambling on in her mind. Perhaps he did not feel the way she had expected...
But he turned his head slightly and gave her, though weak due to his sorrow, a reassuring smile over his shoulder.
"Worry yourself not, hiril vuin." He said gently before he continued to walk towards the pyres, his sterling robes shimmering in the morning rays as he ascended the steps up to where his son was awaiting with a torch. Legolas bowed to his father in respect and Thranduil touched his son's shoulder in both sympathy and reassurance as he took the torch from him....
The Rooms of Healing.
"My lord...forgive me..."
"Do not blame yourself, you were not to know. We are glad that you have come back to the light." Thranduil reassured the young man.
It had been a full three days since the man had been brought to the Woodland halls having only regained consciousness the previous evening. Thranduil had explained to him all that had occurred since he was found, including the lives that had been lost to save him. Thus, the man could not help but feel a strong guilt.
"We of the Eldar will always be reborn, but the souls of men never do. You are lucky to have survived. Perhaps you would not have if it had not been for the Lady of Imladris over there." He motioned to Adlanniel who stood quietly near the window at the far wall of the room. The man strained himself to sit upright, the king assisting him to do so, before he placed his hand above his heart in thanks.
"My lady, I am forever indebted to you. I am but a mere messenger and my family only farmed sheep and some goats before we were besieged...how can I ever repay you for saving my life?"
"There is no need." Adlanniel smiled kindly as she walked over to where they stood, her heart beating faster as she came nearer to the king. Though why it did so suddenly, she could not grasp.
"It is the duty of my kin to heal those in need. But I do hope you have some information to help our understanding of why our scouts came across you in the first place..."
Thranduil glanced at her sideways, frowning slightly at how direct her voice had sounded then, though the information they needed was indeed urgent.
"O...of course. I came to warn the Elven realm of the attack upon our villages...I had intercepted a message...I am sure you already found it on my person?"
Thranduil gave the man a nod in confirmation.
"The vermin from Mordor and the Easterlings of Rhûn are planning to join forces. So far they have amassed an army large enough to have easily overtaken our lands in the south, as well as some of the towns and villages of the Gondorians. If successful I am sure their malice will continue to spread, even as far north as here. The Easterlings had not yet arrived when I left to come here on my errand...but I know that the orcs keep spewing from the depths of Mordor. We are but mere woodsmen in the villages of the south...we have little means to defend ourselves with and the Gondorians that came to our aid have been outnumbered and virtually wiped out. I was lucky to have escaped with my life....others fled west to the Gondorian kingdom, not venturing north into this realm as orcs had already started to venture here..."
"Which we are well aware of..." Thranduil added, his voice hardened and stern. He knew that there was no avoiding the evil that was seeping into east where his realm was situated, threatening the peace that the free-peoples had arduously rebuilt after the calamities and wars of the Second Age.
"I am not sure if the survivors made it to Gondor...I know nothing of what has happened since I left...but I fear the worst..." His voice dropped and had become choked.
"I was sent here to give you warning and to plead for military aid. Your realm is the closest to ours after that of Gondor...and I have just relayed to you what had happened to their legions...they had not sent enough reinforcements to begin with...it was suicidal...we were hoping that the alliance between men and elves still remained and that your realm could perhaps lend us your forces, being those most feared in Middle-Earth, to aid us and smite this evil once and for all..."
Legolas had quietly entered the room at the beginning of the man's explanation and had stood just behind Adlanniel, listening intently. Yet she had not noticed his entrance, which concerned him slightly. But he did not dwell on it for long as he thought that it was most likely due to the anguish she was still clearly feeling...or so he thought.
"Very well...." Thranduil agreed after but a moment of contemplation.
"Do you know the numbers that they have amassed?"
"That I am not sure of, great king." The man replied shamefully.
"But the numbers that flooded into our villages, I would guess over a four thousand. And when the Easterlings join them...who knows..."
"When our scouts return, we will know." Thranduil sighed.
"It will take at least two more days to assemble and ready the army. I have already sent word to Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn in Lothlorien to be on guard so I shall call for arms from them as well. I am sure that Lord Elrond would also be more than willing to send aid to the cause." Thranduil said as he glanced over for but a moment to where Adlanniel stood.
She could not help but feel her cheeks flush a hot red when he did so, and so attempted to cover her face more so by the shawl that she was wearing.
"When my army is ready I will march them south to the aid of men. So, my dear friend, please rest easy." Thranduil smiled kindly as he placed a hand on the man's shoulder, gently pushing him down so that the man would lay back onto his pillows. Adlanniel's heart sank deep into her chest at Thranduil's words.
"Thank you kindly, my lord. You and your kin will be revered in song and poetry for your deeds."
"I am sure." Thranduil laughed softly, turning to face the commander of his army that was standing near his side.
"Ready the army and our cavalry. We ride out at first light on the second day."
"Wait, my lord!" A familiar voice came from the shadows. Those present in the room turned to face the young prince.
Adlanniel stared at him, astonished that she had not sensed him present; she felt her heart quicken once more. Yet, she was curious and albeit worried about why Legolas had suddenly cut in.
"Please...allow me to lead the army into battle father." He stated seriously and with a strong determination.
Those present stared at him surprised, mummers began to circulate through the room and Adlanniel stared at him mortified in shock. Why had he not confronted her and confided in her before making such a drastic decision?
"I wish to revenge the death of Idhrenion and the others...and make those snivelling bastard orcs suffer!" His voice was full of anger and hate, enough to make his father feel a great concern.
"Legolas, you do not have experience enough to lead an army into potential war." His father began seriously, wanting to sway his son's determination down a less dangerous path.
"Father, am I not considered the greatest warrior in all of Arda after yourself and the great Glorfindel? It is said that I could rival the golden warrior..." Legolas's voice was somewhat smug as he argued, a virtue that Thranduil found to be somewhat treacherous, especially in an elf as inexperienced in actual war as his beloved son.
Indeed Legolas had been trained in the arts of war and strategy since adolescence. Yet, due to the peace that had continued since the Second Age he had never had the chance to fight any battles of note. Of course, he had fought various skirmishes of orcs, goblins and trolls as well as bands of thieves and vagabonds but none were in comparison to a true all out war.
"Do not overestimate yourself Legolas." His father warned him sternly. However his father's words only fuelled his stubbornness and determination further.
"How am I supposed to gain any experience and become a potential leader myself someday if you will not allow me to take charge? How can I bare to stand in front of my family if I am unable to protect them in times of turmoil?"
His words pained Adlanniel greatly. Though, what he was saying was true, she feared for him and her lust for the forbidden seemed to vanish as her heart was directed to him; to the chance of losing him either in death or in mind for war could break even the greatest of warriors.
"Legolas.....no....." Her voice came out in a mere, hoarse whisper. She could feel her body weighted down from the heartache she was feeling. Yet no one had heard her and Legolas continued, "You yourself, father, said that I had to protect my family. I wish to bring vengeance on the orcs on behalf of the families of those that had fallen to save our human messenger."
The young man averted his eyes in shame again and seeing this Thranduil sighed, feeling sympathetic to the young messengers plight.
"You must allow me to go in your stead, father. Besides, you are needed here. Allow me to go and fight and bring the wrath of the Eldar upon the evil that threatens our world. I will not take no for an answer." His voice had been forceful then, enough so to even surprise the Elvenking. Thranduil turned himself away to think on it for a moment, but the anticipation for an immediate answer agitated the prince even more.
"Father!" Legolas pleaded impatiently. Thranduil, sighing in a rare defeat, nodded.
"Very well..." He said. "You may lead in my stead. But you must listen to the commanders of my legions and take any advice they give you without question!" Thranduil ordered sternly.
Adlanniel continued to look on at what was unfolding before her like as if she were in a bad dream. She felt a lump well in her throat as she tried to speak. However, seeing Legolas look like an excited battle hungry young warrior then made all of her emotions overflow.
"You must not!" She cried in anguish, all turning to face her as she did.
"You can not go! I disallow it Legolas! Absolutely do I forbid you to go!" Heavy tears cascaded down her cheeks like a waterfall as she shouted in despair at him.
Legolas looked to her, feeling somewhat guilty and pained for going against her by not confronting her of his wishes, yet his decision remained steadfast. The Elvenking too felt a great sorrow for her plight. Yet, his son's words had been true; he needed to learn first hand the arts of war - something that women often had difficulty understanding.
"My love...I must..." Legolas tried pleading with her, his voice more gentle than what it had been.
"No!" She shouted. "I cannot allow you to potentially go to your death. Especially NOW that we have our lives together!" Thranduil had to agree with her words then, and in a low voice directed to his son said, "Her point is true..." But Legolas only shot him a sideways glare to which the king stayed silent. He knew that he could argue with his son till the end of days and still be not able to sway his decision now that it was set. Legolas had without a doubt inherited his mother's stubbornness.
"Please!" Adlanniel continued to plead desperately.
"You know I cannot." Legolas said, his heart heavy yet his mind still unwavering. He reached out to try to comfort her but she angrily pushed his hand aside, shocking even him. "How dare you!" She glared at him then through gritted teeth, her despair and anger at him engulfing her senses. "And you!" She turned to the king then, her eyes full of fire and fury. "You are just as horrid! Damned you both!" And with that she turned and bolted out of the room, her eyes bawling with tears, Legolas calling out desperately to her but to not avail. The man continued to look on in a shocked horror, as he had never fathomed that those of the Eldar could hold such passionate tempers. Yet, he had been unable to understand most of what had been exchanged during the heated argument as the elves had switched to speaking their native Sindarin.
Legolas went to go after his fiancée then but his father caught him by the arm to halt him.
"Let her be Legolas." His father said gently. "You do not want to face a woman whilst she is in a fury. Let her calm a while before you speak to her. She will come around to your decision." He assured. Legolas let out a doleful sigh then, still looking towards the door she had fled out of.
"I sure hope so, Ada...I sure hope so..."
Elvish - English
Hiril vuin - beloved lady
Ada - father
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.