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Reunion in Mirkwood  by Mirkwoodmaiden

Ch. 7 -- That which is spoken


Thranduil sat at the table that served him as a desk and he was studying a dispatch sent to him by a courier from the Southern Marches, burying himself in work as he tried to quell his worry about Legolas’ delayed return from patrol the night before.  He told himself not to worry but with little success.  As ever he could not help but worry about his youngest for reasons both apparent and others buried under layers of pain he did not dare acknowledge.  Taking another deep breath, he returned his eye towards Sadron’s sprawling hand as he read a report of observed activity near Dol Guldur that had been increasing in recent months.  They were encountering more brazen Orc incursions on their southern borders.  Skirmishes rather than attacks; almost as if, it was deemed in Sadron’s judgment, that they were testing defenses.   Movements that lead outside Mirkwood were tracked heading north.  Sadron was unsure where that particular small band of Orcs was headed but they did not follow because the pack had left Mirkwood.  Thranduil ran one slender hand over his face rubbing one eyebrow reflexively as he pondered Sadron’s missive.  A knock came at his door. 

“Come!” he said sharply, though he did welcome the interruption to his unpleasant musings.  Thalion entered, “Your son—” Legolas burst forward even before Thalion could finished the announcement.  “Adar!” He strode forward and performed a hasty bow.

Ion nin!” Thranduil’s eyes lit with delight and relief upon seeing his youngest. “Where have you been--.”   He immediately sensed something had indeed gone wrong. Legolas looked him in the eye and Thranduil saw within his eyes and about his person that Legolas had been involved in a conflict of some ferocity.  He told himself that the blood he saw could not have been his son’s.  A father’s sentiment and a King’s need to know colliding as he rose quickly from his chair.  Thranduil gripped his son’s shoulder in a father’s need to assure himself that Legolas was whole and at the same time, the King questioned sternly, “Legolas, what has happened?”

Legolas schooled his expression as he began as slowly as he could, making an official report, warrior to King, not son to worried father, “We were on protective patrol for Gollum’s supervised visit and I sensed something was wrong.  It was time to return and I called him down, but he did not come.  I called again but he still did not come.”  Dread filled Thranduil’s heart as he listened to his son’s recitation, “I decided that we would stay the night and wait him out.  He has done this once or twice before, but he had always come down by morning.  That however was not the case last night.  Shortly after moonset we were attacked by Orcs.”

Thranduil paled at the news of how close Legolas came to harm but he with great effort placed that to one side. “Continue.” The King intoned and made himself return to his seat to receive the rest of the report.

“I had set Maethon and Eithediriel to guard the base of the Old Tree that Gollum had climbed. And as battle commenced, I did lose track of what was happening at the tree.  When the battle was over I ran to the base of the tree and,” Legolas’ voice broke slightly as he continued, “Maethon and Eithediriel had been slain…” Thranduil closed his eyes in an effort to ward off the pain of the sorrowful news. Even in his sorrow though he was thankful that neither had been taken.  Their deaths had been mercifully quick and not the horror that his beloved Lasgalen had been forced to endure.  Legolas paused in his recitation of events as he saw pain shutter through his father’s face.  Thranduil opened his eyes and Legolas was stunned to see the naked pain within the deep blue.  He steeled himself and continued, “I performed the blessing of passing myself.”  Thranduil nodded.  “Gollum is gone,” Legolas pronounced, “but one thing was very odd,” Thranduil looked at him inquiringly, “After the initial attack the Orcs did not stay to fight…It was almost as if they were specifically causing a diversion.”

“A diversion?” Thranduil queried, “To what purpose?”

Legolas continued reluctantly, “To allow Gollum to escape…”

Thranduil just looked at his youngest.  “Do you think this is true?”

“It is an explanation that makes sense.”

Thranduil thought of the missive that Sadron had sent speaking of the Orc pack that had been heading north.  He templed his slender fingers and mused, “Sadron made mention of an Orc pack that left the Southern reaches heading North.  I can only think this was the pack.  This must have been their destination but for what purpose I do not know.”  He shook his head.

Legolas paused for a moment and then spoke, “I think I do.”

Thranduil looked at his son, “What do you mean?” he said curiously.

Legolas sighed, “It was something that Gandalf said when he was here to give Gollum into our care.”

Thranduil looked sternly at his youngest, “What did he say?”

Legolas looked into his father’s eyes, “That he thinks the One Ring has been found. He was leaving here to confirm its presence in the Shire.”

Leaving aside the monumental news that the One Ring had seen the light of day once again, “Why did he not tell me this himself?”

Legolas found it hard to speak. He did not want to repeat the reason that Gandalf did not impart this information, “He knew that you would faithfully act in a way that would protect your people and he said he could not take the chance that you would expel Gollum from your realm if he had the possibility of bringing harm to our people.  He needed your co-operation.”

Thranduil closed his eyes and tried to breathe past his seething emotions in this moment.  “So, I am considered selfish and cannot see beyond my realm, never mind the sacrifices that I have made for the greater good as it were, cost what it may,” he spat out,  “That explains his reasons,” he continued in somewhat clipped tones, “But what remains to be explained are your reasons for keeping this from me.” He looked upon his youngest, stern blue eyes awaiting explanation.  Legolas looked his father speechless in his explanation, not knowing how to voice his opinion or how to voice an opinion that would not cause hurt to them both. “So,” Thranduil spoke into the silence, “You share this opinion.  So say you by your silence.  You side with Gandalf and think me a fool who cannot make the necessary decision.”

“NO!  Adar!  That is not true.  I do not think that!” he avowed, but next in words risen from the bottom of his soul he said softly, “But for once someone trusted my judgment.  Someone trusted me with an important decision.”

Thranduil looked at his son and saw Legolas’ eyes look away lest they should reveal his innermost thoughts. “Legolas, look at me.”  Legolas resisted.  “Legolas, what you did mean by that.”

Legolas turned eyes of hurt borne of centuries of denial upon his father, “You don’t trust me, Adar.  You never have.” His voice tortured with denied pain and doubt built over centuries. 

Thranduil recoiled from the accusation, “How can you say that?  You are my son.  I love you.  I trust you implicitly.”

“How can you say that?”

“Because it is true!”

“You ‘trust’ me so much I can never be allowed outside our woodland.  You ‘trust’ me so much, I wasn’t even considered to be the envoy to Erebor and Dale.  You ‘trust’ me so much I am not allowed out on patrol without two body retainers to follow me at all times.” Legolas shouted centuries of restraint bursting forth passed all desire to control it. “So yes, I kept something from you because somebody finally trusted me enough to make a decision.  I see now that it was the wrong one, but it was mine to make.  And for that I take responsibility.” He ended fervently.

Thranduil looked stricken, unshed tears forming in his eyes, “I only wanted to protect you.  You were my last gift from your mother.  I could not bear to lose you.”  His grip on his emotions so perilously close to failing that he straightened his shoulders and in a desperate bid for control over them he let his kingly façade of cold imperious dignity fall into place, “I am sorry life has been so unbearable for you!  That you cannot understand.  When you have a son maybe you will understand but until then I will not explain myself further!  Leave my sight!  I can no longer trust you.”

Legolas turned shocked eyes upon his father at this abrupt dismissal.  His father whose eyes had turned to ice blue.  Legolas knew that look; he had seen it many times but never had it been turned upon him.  He knew there would no further explanation.  Nevertheless, he opened his mouth as if to say something, anything to bridge the chasm that opened between them, but he closed it again.  There were no words possible in that moment. He bowed, his heart breaking, and took his leave.

Thranduil heard the door shut and with at that slight sound his icy resolve cracked.  Pain flowed through him unabated.  He had done this to his youngest and most beloved son, never intending to cause harm but he also had never suspected how it had affected Legolas. So blinded by his own pain, he never really thought about anything else.  He blindly sought to protect his youngest son from the harsh realities of the world.  He reached for an old goblet that had been set aside for reasons unknown, blew out the dust particles and poured half the contents of a bottle of wine into it and gulped it down.  He could not think; He needed to feel cool air on his face.  He found himself in the stables saddling Alagos, ignoring all else.

He came to his glade, heartsick and weary.  The forest trying to salve the wounds upon his soul they sensed but he gently rebuffed them.  He deserved to feel this pain for he had caused it.  He had not meant to say what he had said.  His eyes burned with unshed tears.  He would not let them fall because they would do no good. 

He dismounted Alagos and immediately fell to his knees amid the moss and soft grass of the glade.  The weight of his mistakes and the grief that caused of them these two thousand years too much to bear.  He was unsure how long he sat there berating himself for his past transgressions.  Against his will the tears fell anyway, and he then felt a gentle light within his heart.

“My beloved…what has caused this pain I feel?” Lasgalen’s voice touched his heart.

Thranduil opened his eyes from within, “My beloved, I …”  he closed his eyes.  “I do not even know how to begin.  I have failed.”

Lasgalen looked at his stricken face with its moistened tear tracts gliding down the face she always held so dear. She wished she could stroke his cheek and give him comfort, but such a transgression would not be allowed again. “How have you failed, my love?” she gently questioned.

He inhaled deeply, so wishing he could catch scent of lavender and rose that was his Lasgalen, “I protected him too much!  I did so because I could not bear to lose him!  But I have lost him anyway.  He believes I do not trust him!  And why should he?  I never let him grow!  Never let him prove himself to show who he had become!  Never let allowed him space even to make mistakes! Never told him how proud I was of him!  And now I have sent him away in anger all because of my own foolish pride and unwillingness to show weakness!”

Lasgalen sat and listened as she pierced together the source of her beloved’s pain. Legolas.  “Oh my love.  Go back to him. Swallow your pride and apologize to him.  He will accept it.  Our youngest has a joyful and forgiving heart.  You know this to be true.”

Thranduil looked upon his beloved, “How can I when I have made such mistakes?”

Lasgalen looked him in the eye, “Everything you did was from loving too much.  Give him the chance to forgive you.  You know his heart.  He will forgive you anything.  Go now.  Heal this rift as soon as can be.”

Thranduil felt his heart lighten and he saw a clear path.  “Thank you, My love.”

Lasgalen smiled and as she departed, she left a smote of light to remain with his senses to light his way back.

Thranduil opened his eyes and felt Alagos nuzzling him.  He smiled, “Come let us return and right what we can…”


Legolas left his father’s study in a daze of hurt and confusion.  He did not know quite what had happened.  He had gone to his father to report the loss of Gollum as would any leader of a patrolling group would, and he left being summarily dismissed having been told he could no longer be trusted.  He corrected himself.  He wasn’t just another patrol leader, he was the King’s youngest son, protected and cossetted against his wishes since he came to his majority.  He had always borne it so well.  He understood why his father was the way he was.  He accepted that and had not rebelled in any meaningful degree because he had no wish to cause his father pain.  That was until this day.  No, if he were honest with himself this had been coming for a while and when Gandalf entrusted him with the knowledge of the One Ring he had not realised the yearning in his soul to be treated as a grown and mature elf. To be trusted to make his own meaningful decisions.  And he had not handled it well.  He had withheld the information for what he now understood to be the wrong reasons.  He knew something that his father did not know and if he were honest with himself that was the reason he did not say anything earlier.  He partially agreed with Gandalf, but had he really examined his thinking his faith in his father would have seen him tell Thranduil what Gandalf had said.

When he had told Aragorn that if he could be half the Elf his father was, he would account himself successful he had spoken truly.  He had always held his father in the highest respect.  He thought of his father’s cold-eyed stare as he dismissed him.  He still did respect his father as much now as ever, though he would not blame his father should he come to a different conclusion after Legolas’ display of disrespect.  Breathing in and out in, he tried to quell his shame at the way he had spoken to his father.   He found himself at Celebren’s door, was about to knock when he realised this was the time of day when he spoke with his father’s advisors about what was going to be the focus of the next council meeting. But Legolas could go no further though and he stepped into his brother’s empty chambers.  Both he and Teliriel were off performing their daily duties and he was alone with his thoughts.  It was not company he welcomed.  He poured himself a goblet of wine from his brother’s decanter and tossed it back hoping it would dull the pain he felt weighing on his heart since his abrupt dismissal.  It did not.  He tried to think of a way he could make amends for his poor decision-making.  He was about to pour himself a second goblet when a voice from behind him said, “You do realise that you have a decanter of wine in your own chambers as well without stealing mine.” 

Legolas turned around and saw his older brother standing in the doorway.  “Celebren, you are done with your meeting?” Legolas said trying to sound casual, but apparently his emotional turmoil was written all over his face.

“Yes,” Celebren walked in and saw the trouble in Legolas’ face. “But that is unimportant right now.  What has happened, Muindoreg nin?”

Legolas was unsure how to begin.  He poured another goblet of wine, sat down and started from the events of the previous day.  “Gollum is missing.  He is gone and because of me Maethon and Eithediriel have been slained in an Orc attack in which he has gone missing.” He took another gulp of wine. “I came back to inform Adar of these happenings.  He mused that an Orc pack that Sadron wrote of in a missive  and was heading north was indeed the same Orc pack that instigated this attack.  It quite possibly was.  I think it was an attack designed to as a diversion to allow Gollum to escape.”

“That is a very concerning turn of events,” Celebren stated. “I can see—”

“That is not all.” Legolas interrupted, “In winter when Gandalf and Aragorn brought Gollum to us, one night we were talking and Gandalf told more of his reasons for wanting us to hold Gollum.”

“And those reasons were…”

“He had read in the ancient archives within Minas Tirith an account of the Ring.  The Ring that Gollum had.  The Ring that he thinks is now residing in the Shire with a certain hobbit.”

Celebren’s brow furrowed, “That is most concerning, but why didn’t he tell this to Adar?”

Legolas stumbled over his words, “He -he did not trust that Adar would keep Gollum within our borders knowing that it could bring harm to our people.  And that would be his only concern.”

Celebren shook his head and sighed, “And Adar bristled over this accusation.”  Legolas nodded.  “But what I do not understand is in knowing this and knowing Adar, why did you not tell him yourself.”

Legolas took a third gulp of wine, “That is where my shame lay.  Gandalf trusted to my judgment when to tell Adar.  I know now that I should have but I did not.  I knew something that he did not.” He shrugged his shoulders, “I had been trusted and he had not been.” Legolas set his goblet down and buried his head in his hands, “It was childish and immature and now Gollum has gone and Maethon and Eithediriel are slain.  Their blood is on my hands.”

“Surely not and I am sure Adar does not see it that way.”

Legolas was silent, and then said somewhat frantically, “I don’t know what he thinks right now, Muindor!  I said I didn’t tell him because he doesn’t trust me.  If he did trust me then why was I never allowed to leave the woodland, why was I never given consideration as the envoy to Erebor.  Why did I still have body retainers out on patrol?  Why because he didn’t trust me.”

“Oh Legolas…why did you say that?”  Celebren was aghast, “You know that isn’t true.  You know why.”

Legolas “I know.  And I am ashamed.  The look of pain in his eyes it will live with me forever.”

“What happened then?”

Painful remembrance crossed Legolas’ face, “He turned cold and imperious and told me I could not understand until I had children of my own.” Legolas paused, “He ordered me to leave his sight, saying he could not trust me.”

Celebren sighed, “He did not mean that.”

Legolas looked his oldest brother, “He did, Celebren.  You did not see the look in his eyes, ice blue.” Legolas paused and calmed himself as he seemed to make an internal decision, “I cannot face him again until I have made amends.  I have to make this right!  It is my responsibility.  I will make this right.  Thank you muindor for your words.”  Legolas tossed back the last of his wine and stood to depart. 

“Legolas, what are you going to do?”  Celebren questioned, alarmed by the look of determination on his little brother’s face.

“I am going to make this right.”

“Good, go to Adar.  Talk to him.  He will listen.”

Legolas looked at his brother, “I will.” He bowed his head and departed.  He would talk to Thranduil -- after he had made amends and took responsibility for his childish behavior.

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