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A/N: Conquistadora! I hope you do not mind but I am thinking of some of the history you wrote for Thranduil in your wonderful Trilogy, “We were young once,” when I wrote for Thranduil in this chapter. I’m referring to the idea that Thranduil has had dealings with Sauron in his guise as Annatar in the Second Age and inserting it as a part of my Thranduil’s memories. I hope you don’t mind. It was so wonderfully and vividly written. MM 😊 Readers! If you haven't read "We Were Young Once" You should! It is long but it is epic in scale and it is so worth the time you will spend with her wonderful characters!
Ch. 3 – Of Shadows and Memories
Thranduil sat very quietly and then looking intently upon Gandalf he nodded slightly for him to continue. Gandalf began. “You know the story of Isildur and the Ring of Power.”
Thranduil’s eyes flashed impatiently as his voice dripped with irony, “I have heard of it once or twice. It was lost long ago, was it not?”
Gandalf paused and Thranduil felt the air thicken slightly with foreboding, “Yes…and no.”
Thranduil gaze intensified on the old wizard, “Mithrandir, I know of your habit to speak in riddles. I would have you stop. Speak plainly.” He said with a leveling stare.
Gandalf wore a chagrinned look upon his face and sighed, “Very well.” He gave the ElvenKing a look that said, ‘you asked for it.’ “The ring was lost, but I believe it has been found. It is only a matter of time until Sauron realises this and begins to look for it in earnest.”
At the mention of the Deceiver’s name, Thranduil felt a knife blade slash through his heart. He had felt the Deceiver’s footprint upon his beautiful Greenwood. So much so it was now known as Mirkwood. He knew what the Deceiver was capable of. Thranduil closed his eyes against the pain of memory and then said, “What is it that you wish me to do?”
Gandalf grieved as he saw past sorrows drape themselves around Thranduil’s shoulders. He continued, “There is a gangrel creature who has had the Ring deep in the Misty Mountains lo, these five hundred years.”
“The creature I saw with you as you walked to these chambers?”
Gandalf said only, “Yes.”
“Why? What importance does he hold? Does he still hold the Ring?”
“No,” Gandalf admitted, “He does not.” Again, he paused with reluctance to tell the next part of the story.
Thranduil looked Gandalf and it was clear that the ElvenKing’s patience was drawing toward a close, “Mithrandir! You are not telling all. I cannot risk my people. I will not risk my people unless you tell me what you are not telling me.” Thranduil spoke forcefully, stressing each word. “I cannot make a decision on the reasons you have given me. In fact, you have not given me a reason…yet!”
Gandalf reluctantly continued, “The ring was lost to him and he left his lair in the Misty Mountains to seek it again. It was in Mordor he was captured and tortured until he revealed what he knew of the Ring’s whereabouts.”
Thranduil sat listening with his eyes closed and reflexively rubbing one eyebrow, almost as if he could ward off these ill tidings with such an action. Legolas became concerned watching his father receive this news, the strain of which seemed to age him as Gandalf spoke. Thranduil paused at length. When he opened his eyes again what Legolas saw shocked him. His father’s eyes lightened to an ice blue when he was upset or angry but never had he seen his father’s eyes like this, so full of memory and strain. Thranduil stated in a constrained voice, “So, I am to understand that the Deceiver knows that the One Ring is out in the world again and this creature in your keeping has told him what he knows.”
Gandalf nodded and replied simply, “Yes.”
Thranduil breathed in, trying to keep his anger at bay. The anger within that wanted to rage at Gandalf for bringing this evil within his realm, within his very house and among his people. “And you want me to house this creature within my realm and among my people. To what purpose, Mithrandir, should I do this?” he ended softly.
Gandalf admitted more of the story, “He did not escape from Mordor. He was released.” Holding Thranduil intense gaze, Gandalf soldiered on, “If he wanders Sauron thinks Gollum will lead him to the Ring. It is why I ask that you keep him here so he cannot roam free.” Thranduil remained silent, the war within raging. Gandalf continued, “I would not ask if it was not of greatest necessity. You would be doing all of Middle Earth a great service.”
At that Thranduil’s eyes flashed, “Do not speak to me of service,” he said with great vehemence, “I know what it is to serve! And I know what it is to sacrifice! And so did my Adar!” His eyes revealed the mental and emotional wounds three thousand years old. The losses taken at the Battle of the Last Alliance had never really healed; Thranduil bore scabs and scars on his heart that he guarded with vicious privacy and now it was all being revisited. He sat trying to calm his raging blood. “Leave me! You will have your answer tomorrow.”
Gandalf spoke, “Thranduil King—”
Thranduil cut him off. His ice blue eyes flashing, “I said I will give you my answer tomorrow! Now I ask that you give me leave! Do not force me to command it!” he finished in clipped tones of restrained anger.
Celebren looked to the visitors, “Please, let us do as my Adar has asked.” As he started to guide them away, “Let me show you to accommodations and a cell shall be provided for our ‘guest’ until Adar has spoken.”
Legolas stole a look back at his Adar as they left the auxiliary chamber and saw that Thranduil sat completely still staring into nothingness. It frightened him. He had never seen his normally fiery father looking so subdued. He looked at his oldest brother and Celebren gave him a chagrinned smile and put a brotherly hand on his shoulder. “Let us go,” he said gently as he guided him away.
Thranduil waited for silence to signal that he was alone. He stood up and straightened his shoulders and was driven to the only place that could solace his heart, his forest. He rode Alagos, his white stallion, to a glade near his halls. He dismounted and felt a beginning calm as his boots touched the ground. Sparse January growth covered the glade. He sat on the ground with his eyes closed,
his head bowed, his hands palms down on the ground and allowed the forest to sluice away his sadness and anger and anxiety. A soft voice reminiscent of his beloved wife inside his mind said gently, “Thranduil, my love. Why are you troubled? I could feel your sadness, your anxiety. What is it?”
Thranduil thought, “Oh my love, my beautiful Lasgalen. It is beginning again.” He opened his eyes, or so it seemed, to see his beloved Lasgalen sitting across from him looking at him with concern written in her green eyes. The green eyes she shared with their eldest son.
“What is beginning again, my love,” she held his gaze lovingly.
“War.” That one word that ripped his world apart. “The Deceiver is back again and this time not hiding who and what he is.”
Lasgalen’s eyes clouded with shadow as she shook her head, “Valar preserve us! And I cannot be there with you this time.”
“But you are…right where you are now. In my heart.”
Lasgalen smiled, love in her eyes, “You have always been a sweet-talker.” She sobered and then said, “What is being asked of you this time?” her voice laden with compassion and empathy.
“To hold a captive…and risk the peace and safety of my people in doing so.” He looked her in the eyes, “it is a small enough ask and I will grant it. But the Valar preserve us all in where this will all lead.” He sighed, “Oh Las, I am so tired of this fight. We fight it over and over. I so want to see you again…”
Lasgalen looked at her beloved and saw the marks of exhaustion on his soul, truly the only way an Elf ever aged, “You will, but it is not your time yet. There is still work to be done.”
Thranduil looked longingly at her, aching to touch her, but somehow, he knew he couldn’t. He sighed resignedly. “Yes, I know there is. And I will do my duty, cost what it may. But Las, I miss you so much.”
Lasgalen smiled and said, “Close your eyes.”
Thranduil did as he was told. Contravening what he perceived could be, he felt a touch of lips on his. He reached to hold her and…there was nothing there. Yet the feeling of her lips on his lingered for a few moments longer and he heard within, “I will be waiting for you, my love, in the halls of Mandos. Do what you must do.”
Thranduil opened his eyes and he looked around the glade. It was a vision or perhaps a waking dream or her portion of their twinned souls speaking within his heart. Regardless of what form she took, whether a dream or a gift from the Valar, once again Lasgalen filled his heart and if it was not filled with hope necessarily, it was at least filled with resilience and resolve. Her gift to him, to salve his weary and exhausted soul. He stood and turned his face to the overarching branches above allowing the song of the wind through the leaves to blow through his soul sharing with him their own calm resilience. “Come Alagos! We must return and render our answer!” he said as he mounted his white stallion. He would face whatever came his way with strength and resilience. He did not know what the cost would be, and he was wise enough not to ask.
Legolas sat in his window seat that overlooked the courtyard. He stared with unseeing eyes. He heard a knock on the door. Breaking from his reverie of imponderables he looked to the door and saw Aragorn.
“Hello, mellon nin! May I come in?” asked the grim-faced Ranger.
“Yes, of course, mellon nin!” He started to get up from his window seat.
“No-no, Don’t get up.” Aragorn insisted. Legolas stilled his motion and turned his attention once again to the scene from the window.
Aragorn walked to the window and looked out. “You know, every time I come back to Mirkwood, to your father’s halls I am once again overcome by the beauty of the place and how your father keeps it under control.”
“Yes, well he wasn’t keeping anything under control today, was he?” Legolas looked from the window to his old friend, confusion stamped on his fair face, “Aragorn…I have never seen Adar like that. He looked almost…defeated. He is the most strong-willed elf I have ever known. If I am half the elf that he is then I will account myself well. But today…” He shook his head, “It scared me.”
A/N: after researching the idea I could find nothing definitive on whether Thranduil knew about the history of the Ring and the other rings of power. I have concluded that as he was at the Battle of the Last Alliance and in charge of what remained of his army that he would have known about the One Ring and Isildur had taken it and was killed. Beyond that he does not know any more about it. He knows the story of Isildur but not the ring’s fate in the intervening millennia.
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