Without warning a volley of arrows came from behind the small group,
driving into the floor of the tunnel. Faster than they could
comprehend what had happened, more elves materialized out of the
passage behind the King’s party, but these newcomers had their weapons
pointed at Doriflen’s troops, not the escaped prisoners.
The now outnumbered usurpers halted, confused by
this turn of events
Legolas looked down as a familiar presence fell in
beside him. He
smiled, relieved and surprised.
“Lay down your arms! Let the true King of
Mirkwood pass! Or
suffer the consequences!” Trelan ordered fiercely. The elves
behind him shifted their weapons slightly, emphasizing his words.
With the tables now turned, the outnumbered guards
began to comply.
“Traitors!” Amon hissed at them. “Stand and
But the elves weren’t listening. They did not
have a cause they
were willing to die for. Not anymore.
Nynd and Amon sprang forward alone. Their
attack was intended for
Thranduil, but they never reached the king. The elven warriors
Trelan had brought with him stopped them before they reached their
goal. There was a swift, lethal struggle, and the two traitors
were dead before anyone had realized what happened.
“No wait!...” Legolas started to say, but it was too
sighed, turning his eyes away in sorrow at the loss of elven life, no
matter how twisted. He didn’t want bloodshed if it could be
avoided. Elves had not killed elves in countless centuries and
for it to start again now, in his home...
The rest of Amon and Nynd’s troop gave up without
any struggle and the
warriors took them into custody.
Legolas was just staring at the bodies on the floor,
a sad, distant
look in his eyes.
“Legolas? Legolas?” Aragorn shook his friend
slightly, a worried
expression on his face.
“I knew them,” Legolas turned his gaze on Aragorn
and it was full of
sorrow. “I knew them before he took them away and twisted
them...” Legolas closed his eyes. No need to specify that
Doriflen was the ‘he’ of whom the prince spoke. “He tried to
twist me that way once... it was horrible... I cannot imagine what
living with him for thousands of years would do to one...”
Thranduil overheard the soft words and touched his
gently. Legolas started, not having meant for his father to hear
“They were corrupted by him, I fear. Doriflen
planted his own evil in
their souls. But it is not so with all of them...” the king
looked at the frightened, young faces of the troops his men had just
taken into custody.
“No more blood is to be shed unless there is no
other option,” the
Elvenking’s last statement was spoken louder and directed to his
warriors. The elves nodded. They did not wish to have to
Legolas and Aragorn turned to find Trelan, wanting
to know how he came
to be there, but the shorter elf had moved away and was talking softly
The little elf’s eyes were burning hotly and he
touched his friend’s
back gently. “Who did this to you, Ran? I’ll kill
Raniean smiled somewhat ruefully. “That has
already been taken
care of I think,” he said, his eyes glancing towards where Amon and
Nynd’s bodies were being taken away. “But I’m all right,
really. It is the prince and the king who concern me.”
Trelan looked up quickly at Legolas, Aragorn and
Thranduil as they
approached. He had not noticed before for they covered it well,
but it was now obvious that none of his friends were in very good
“Na vedui Trelan,
mae govannen; Hail and well met,” Thranduil greeted
the small warrior. “And what brings you to our aid just in at
the right moment?”
“And couldn’t you have made it little sooner?”
Legolas put in with a
Trelan pointedly ignored his friend and spoke to the
returned yesterday. Everything seemed in turmoil. The
people are much confused and distressed. They don’t know what is
going on in here, and seem to think that you are away, Your Majesty...
but there are nasty rumors going around that something more ill is
afoot. Yet Doriflen has set his pervasive lies in action once
more. He’s blaming you for what has become of Mirkwood these past
years; saying things would have gone better if he’d been here
instead. I fear the people don’t know who and what to
believe. I came to the palace to find out what was going on, but
Galion caught me first. He told me what you told him, Legolas,
that neither you nor Strider had been seen or heard from since.
We both deemed that the time had indeed come to act. We were on
our way to search the dungeons with as many of our faithful as have
managed to escape Doriflen’s scourge thus far and that’s when we found
you,” the elf explained quickly and concisely.
“And we’re very glad you did,” Aragorn said with a
leaning against the wall a little. His leg was still giving him a
lot of trouble.
Legolas gave the keys to his friends and Raniean and
Trelan quickly set
to work freeing the prisoners in the dungeons, most of whom were also
their comrades and fellow warriors. Amid the joy of being freed
and ready for action once more, it was saddening to see how many faces
were not there. Doriflen had not dealt lightly with those that
refused to follow him.
“Your – uhm, Your Majesty?” one of the captured
elves spoke up
hesitantly as they were placed into the now empty cells and Thranduil
turned towards him. The rank mark placed this youth as being a
lieutenant, ranking above the others here, although he had obviously
been under Amon and Nynd.
“Doriflen is holding a huge meeting in the main
hall. Most of the
people are there. He intends to tell them that you and your son
have been killed in a tragic accident abroad and he is assuming the
throne. The doors of the hall are locked and barred with guards
all around...” the young elf hesitated as if ashamed of what he was
saying. “Any who refuse to accept him as Lord will be
killed.” That stroke had obviously almost been too much for even
Doriflen’s followers to swallow.
Legolas’ face paled. “We must get up there
now, we must stop
this!” The people would never stand for this, but somehow in his
twisted mind, Doriflen thought he could make them, and whether or not
he could, carnage and bloodshed would be the result if they could not
act in time.
“Indeed,” Thranduil nodded. “I thank you for
the news,” he added
to the elf as the warriors prepared to close the cell door between
“I-if I have pleased you, my lord, a request,
please, one only,” the
young elf stammered slightly. “When our time comes, my men and I,
Thranduil turned back once more with a somewhat
He glanced at Legolas but his son didn’t understand either. Yet
the fear in the young warrior’s eyes was very clear. It crossed
the King’s mind that this lad was probably quite a bit younger even
than Legolas; barely into adulthood.
“W-we know the rules, we do not expect mercy and we
are not afraid to
die...” the young elf said quickly when it was clear the King did not
follow him. The quaver in his voice belied that last statement
however. “But-but I would that death come quickly, for my men at
least, if not for me.”
Legolas blinked and looked away. The rules...
Doriflen had always
been big on whatever he considered to be the rules. He pitied the
young lieutenant. He pitied anyone caught under his uncle’s
ruthless thumb. He remembered only too well what it had felt
The King actually felt his heart go out to the boy,
but it was Legolas
who spoke first.
“You surrendered willingly into our custody; we have
no intention of
executing any of you. That is not the way things work here,” the
prince shook his head.
Thranduil inclined his head in concurrence. “I
told you before, I
am not my brother and I think you will find my hand much gentler than
his. Be of good hope. Freedom is coming for everyone, if
they choose it.”
The young lieutenant smiled gratefully, stunned
speechless at this
unexpected and undeserved grace as the cell door was shut and
Their ranks swelled by the many, many elves released
from their cells,
the group made its way towards the main hall, making a detour by the
armory once more to outfit the rest of their party. Surprisingly,
there were no guards posted there anymore... all of them having been
called away to control the great gathering Doriflen was conducting in
the upper halls. The elves’ pace increased.
Aragorn lagged slightly, but with so many others
about he didn’t think
anyone would notice. However, he was wrong.
“Aragorn?” Legolas’ voice was soft, but it still
human. “Are you all right?”
Aragorn grinned ruefully “Not really, how about
Legolas gave a small chuckle. “I suppose we
have both been
better. But... Strider... truly, I would not think less of you if
you stayed behind. My father was right, this is not your fight,
though I treasure the fact that you have stood by me in it.
However, I would not see you further hurt because of this.”
Aragorn just shook his head, his smile turning
“Haven’t you learned yet that you can’t get rid of me that easy?”
“All right,” Legolas grinned as they swiftened their
pace to catch back
up with Raniean, Trelan and his father. “But if you get yourself
killed I am NOT going to be the one to tell your brothers!”
As they approached the main hall, they could hear
Doriflen’s voice, his
rambling speech to the converged throng of elves in the great room
echoing through the tunnels as they drew near. Thranduil’s face
was set, his eyes hard as he walked swiftly towards the meeting
chamber. The elven warriors and the ranger ran to keep pace with the
Elvenking as he determinedly approached the hall.
“So my dear elven brothers it is with deep regret
that I inform you of
the loss of Thranduil and his beloved son.” Doriflen’s sorrowful
speech had almost ended by the time they reached the huge carved
doors. The inside of the entry was guarded by a mixture of the
insane elf’s brigade and part of Raniean’s own troop. Legolas
doubted that they had been informed of the violent suppression tactics
that Doriflen’s men had been commanded to perform. He was sure
they never would have gone along with this if they had.
At the sight of their commander and their lord, a
collective intake of
breath swept through the ranks of Raniean’s men and they dropped
quickly to one knee. One of his captains came forward, nodding to
each in turn, “Raniean, my Lord.” The elf fell to his knees
before the royals, disbelief, joy and fear warring on his face. “We
were told you were dead. We have searched for you
everywhere. When we would not follow Doriflen’s leadership he had
some of our men flogged, some beheaded. We had no choice.”
The captain dropped his eyes, obviously feeling like a traitor.
Thranduil’s gaze softened as he looked on the
warrior and he nodded
slightly to Raniean.
“Rise, Brenyf. It is well. We know well what
Doriflen has been up
to.” Raniean leveled a pointed glare at the closed door between them
and the one of whom he spoke. “Usurping and attempted
murder! Trelan and I have returned and Thranduil and his son are
back. Help us reclaim the throne.” As the warriors rose and
nodded pledging their allegiance, Trelan stepped forward.
“And as for you, those who have come here serving
that madman, you have
two choices...” The smaller elf’s threat was cut off as Thranduil
stepped around the warrior, approaching Doriflen’s guard.
“He is right, you will have two choices and you will
make them now. You
may suffer with your master or you will fall in with these men and
serve me. Either way the choice is yours. You are free from your
exile but you will not be tolerated in this house unless you know your
place.” The King's eyes were mere slits as his hard gaze fell on each of
the outcast elves. “CHOOSE!” He thundered at them. Those
closest to him flinched but one by one they fell to their knees and
surrendered their weapons. The moment the true king walked past
these doors they knew the game would be up, for the people would never
follow Doriflen over Thranduil if given the choice. They
themselves had followed Doriflen for years, but those years had begun
to disillusion them about him. Now that they were actually free
once more, they were not about to follow him into ruin again.
They had had enough.
“Fall in behind us then,” Legolas ordered,
The sound of Doriflen’s platitudes and placating
filtered through the heavy doors. “We will rebuild our
kingdom. We will take back what is ours. I promise you a
His words were choked off as Trelan and Raniean
forced the doors open
and allowed Thranduil and Legolas entry into the hall.
The elves attending the council jumped to their feet
with gasps and
quiet talking as the royalty walked down the long corridor between
their seated subjects. A few shouted at Doriflen, accusing him of
When he reached the foot of the steps leading to the
held his hands up and the hall immediately quieted. Legolas’ eyes
were riveted on his estranged Uncle. His gaze was hard and cold
and his lips formed a thin line on his fair face, his rage barely
concealed under the civility that was required and expected of one in
Aragorn stood just behind the King and his son. He
glanced back at
Raniean and Trelan and motioned with his head to the far side of the
great meeting place where several more of Doriflen’s men had stood and
were gathering themselves together. Trelan notched his bow and
sent two arrows flying across the room to bury their heads in the wall
behind the conspirators. Doriflen’s men stopped and glanced at
the elven warriors.
“You will desist immediately.” Raniean ordered
the crowd he raised his voice, “The king is not dead and the one who
claims he is is a traitor! All who follow Lord Thranduil and
serve him will come to me now. This deceptive charade is
The contest of wills had not ceased at the front of
Doriflen smiled softly as dropped back onto the seat
of the throne
behind him. He spoke quietly so that only those directly in front of
him could hear his voice, “You think you have won? You cannot
banish me, brother, and I know you will never kill me; you don’t have
in you. My men may claim for the moment that they will follow you
and your pitiful alliance. But in the end they are loyal to me,
unless you want to kill them all and just prove what kind of a monster
you are.” He toyed with the carved arm of the throne, running his
fingers idly over the marble pattern, relaxing further into the large
stately chair. “The throne is mine now, as it always should have
The hall was filled with noise as Thranduil’s
warriors stood from their
seats and gathered behind Raniean and Trelan. The small warrior
still held his bow at the ready, another arrow notched. The room was
filled with tension.
Doriflen rose in one smooth motion and walked to the
edge of the step
that the throne sat upon. “Good people of Mirkwood.” He called out into
the hall, his voice quieting the murmurs of the elves. “It
grieves me to address you as such. I should be addressing the
people of Greenwood the Great! But alas it is not so because of this
one and his son.” The insane elf spat the word at Legolas intending it
to be a slur. Aragorn tensed beside the elf and the prince calmly
reached out bracing the human back.
“Peace, Strider. This is not your fight,” he
whispered to his
The human stepped back but did not relax the hand
that gripped the
pommel of his sword.
“Must I remind you again that it is directly because
of this one that
you have allowed to rule you that your fair woods are overrun by
spiders, and worse yet that portions of them have fallen to darkness
and shadow? How many of your very own were taken the last time
these two, the very ones who are to protect you, allowed the spiders
free access to you and your children? To your husbands and your
daughters? And do you think they’ll not do it again? Their
own lives they value above yours or have you been blinded by their lies
and their promises?” He glanced quickly at the king, a wicked
smile on his face as the murmuring in the hall began to grow
“Enough of this!” Aragorn pushed Legolas aside and
leapt onto the
marble stairs, his rage uncontained.
“If you want lies you are being hand-fed them right
glanced over the heads of Legolas and Thranduil.
“Aragorn!” Legolas tried to get his friend’s
attention but the human
would not look at him.
“Who was it that made the steppes free for you to
roam in? Why
are your forests now clear of the dwarves that trapped your bounty and
wounded your hunters? Why is Tairach dead and buried and her
spawn chased back to Dol Guldor? Who is responsible for
this? Are your memories so short that you have already forgotten
why countless of you stand alive and are not still waiting for the
spiders to end your sorry existence?” His gaze was full of anger
and fire as he looked upon the gathered elves. “And did you not
wonder where your King and his son were? Had it ever occurred to
you in the slightest that they were being held captive beneath your
very sight, imprisoned in their own castle!? Who of you came to
look for them? Who of you questioned? And what happened to
those who did? Why are they not among you now?”
The elves began to talk and agree amongst
themselves. The ranger
was making sense. No one had really challenged the imposter and the
ones who had were conveniently sent out of the area on errands from
which they never returned or so everyone was told.
Doriflen’s face was a mask of rage. He had
hated that ranger
since he had laid eyes on him. Jumping lightly down the flight of
stairs he backhanded the human, catching the man beneath his jaw and
snapping his head back with a vicious cuff. The blow threw
Aragorn to floor of the hall and he lay where he landed unmoving for a
few seconds until the room stopped spinning. His injuries
screamed. Of course Doriflen had known just where and how to hit
him to inflict the most amount of pain, since Doriflen was the one who
had given him those injuries in the first place.
“STRIDER!” Legolas jumped forward and knelt by
Thranduil had had enough. He turned his back
on his brother and
addressed the crowd. “You may choose whom you wish to serve. The
choice is yours.” His hard eyes lighted upon his own warriors at
the back of the hall. He wanted them very aware and on
guard. Raniean nodded in understanding and nudged Trelan who
brought his bow around and sighted the tip of his arrow just above
“This kingdom is under my rule once more. All
who entered this
realm with the intent of taking it by force under the guise of the
false claims of Doriflen may suffer his fate or may align themselves
with my house. That choice is being offered now and now
only. Any who hesitate will not be shown mercy.” The sounds
of bows being notched throughout the room silenced all talk as
Thranduil’s warriors took charge of the hall.
A soft snicker made the king turn quickly back to
gaze on his brother.
“And just what will you do, little brother?”
Legolas stood from Aragorn’s side as the human
gained his feet.
“I should think that time spent down in our dungeon,
my brother, would
do you some good. It might be nice for you to revisit some of our
old haunts, wouldn’t you say?” The king’s words were dark and hard and
he let them hang in the air between them for the span of a few seconds
not backing down to the evil glare that masked Doriflen’s face.
Without another word, Thranduil turned back to the
hall. “This council
is adjourned. Your rightful King is back. Arrest this one
immediately and take him to the lowest dungeon in chains. He will
live out the remainder of his immortal years there and so will anyone
else who challenges me or supports him.”
The king’s high guard stepped forward and swarmed up
In retrospect no one could really say how it all
happened, the sequence
of events moved so quickly that it was difficult to tell.
Thranduil, with Legolas at his side, proceeded to walk to the outer
doors of the hall, intending to head home.
Doriflen saw his demise as the elves in the hall
stood one by one, in
groups of ten or twenty and turned their backs on him. His own
contingents, faced with the prospect of an immortal life in chains and
darkness or the grace of service to another king set their weapons down
and allowed themselves to be taken into custody. The power of the
ruling family was uncontestable and with Thranduil alive and back,
Doriflen had no hope of overthrowing his kingdom. Madness and
rage flashed in his dark eyes. He rushed down the steps, pulling
an elven blade from the back of his belt and threw the knife at the
form of the retreating King.
Raniean shouted at Aragorn when he saw the elf rush
from the platform. The ranger turned, swiveling to look behind
them as the deranged brother drew the hidden knife.
Trelan instinctively pulled the arrow back against
the drawstring of
his bow and released the projectile.
Aragorn threw himself at the royals, knocking
Legolas into Thranduil
and dragging them both down beneath his weight, his hands protectively
covering Legolas’ head as he held them down, shielding them.
Trelan’s arrow flew over their heads and drove
straight into Doriflen’s
heart. His blade clattered to the floor a few feet in front of
where Thranduil lay on the thick carpet. Aragorn glanced behind
them, wide-eyed as he watched the King’s brother fall silently to the
ground, a look of surprise forever etched onto his face as his life
The room was completely silent as Thranduil pushed
himself up onto his
hands and looked back at his brother. When the guards rushed
forward to help him to his feet the hall erupted in noise and
Trelan dropped his bow and gasped as he watched
Doriflen fall dead, his
eyes huge as he realized what he had done. His reaction had been
automatic and he had fired without thinking. Insane as he may
have been, Doriflen was still Thranduil’s brother and the elf had just
killed him. Raniean picked up Trelan’s bow and pulled the smaller
elf back against himself and out of the way as the hall began to
quickly empty of the elves.
Aragorn moved aside and allowed Legolas to
stand. He helped the
prince to his feet, careful of his injured hands. “Are you
alright?” He questioned softly as Thranduil walked back past them and
approached his brother.
Legolas only nodded as they followed the king with
Thranduil knelt beside the body of his brother and gazed into the
unseeing, empty stare of the last member of his father’s family.
He gently laid his hand on the dead elf’s face and carefully closed
Doriflen’s eyelids. “Now may you have peace,” he whispered.
Sound erupted from the back of the hall as Trelan
broke free from
Raniean and raced to the front of the room. Legolas caught the
elf as he tried to pass them and held the smaller being still.
“I’m sorry, my lord, it was an instinctive
response. I only meant
to wound him, not kill him.” Trelan shook his head, still somewhat
stunned and begging Legolas to believe him. “Please, my
Raniean followed quickly and quieted his friend as
Thranduil walked back to the small group of warriors
congregated around the elves. Trelan looked to the floor, afraid
to meet the gaze of his liege. He swallowed hard as the King stopped in
front of them.
Aragorn glanced at Legolas who returned the
“Trelan,” the King’s voice was soft so only those
near could hear his
words, “What you did is what I expected you to do.” The younger elf
looked up into the piercing blue eyes that gazed down at him, “It is
what you were supposed to do. You are a warrior and your duty is
to protect the King and the kingdom. Today you have done both and
for that I thank you.” When the elf bowed low to him in gratitude
Thranduil continued, “I am well pleased with you Trelan, son of
Telrayn. You have my gratitude.”
Raniean clasped the smaller warrior on the back and
Legolas. The prince returned the gaze with his own brilliant
smile as he sighed.
Aragorn looked about the hall and wrinkled his nose.
in decorations leaves a lot to be desired.” He noted the dark
tapestries that hung on the walls and the blackened drapes that were
swagged over the frame of every door. “It needs a good cleaning out. I
hate to think of what he did to the palace rooms.” He muttered
absently to himself.
The sarcastic comments were rewarded with the warm
laughter of the King
and his son. Legolas draped his good arm around the ranger’s
shoulders and steered him to the door, “Why don’t we go find out?”
Thranduil gestured to several of Raniean’s men and
motioned to the
front of the hall. “See to Doriflen and dispose of his body. Have
the servants clean this place up tomorrow.”
The warriors nodded and moved back towards the dead
watched them for a minute and steered Trelan out the door behind
Thranduil and Legolas.
Aragorn glanced back at the small elf and smiled.
“Not a bad shot for a
Silvan elf,” he teased, trying to lighten the mood. Raniean and
the warriors that had remained near the King broke out laughing as the
guards opened the doors and let the small group of elves out into the
waning light of evening. A chill was just settling into the air and the
warnings of snow hinted on the breeze that blew stiffly down the
“What shall we do with the traitor’s guards, my Liege?” Raniean
questioned, bringing up the awkward subject. The outcast elves
been rounded up and were being held inside the courtyard by a
contingent of Thranduil’s warriors. The King glanced over at the
elves. Not a one of them looked up or met the piercing
gaze. The fear of whatever lay ahead radiated from them.
They had been exiled with an insane leader who ruled them with a cruel
hand and now they were at the mercy of a King that they had only heard
horrific tales about. Their future was no more certain now than it had
Thranduil thought on the situation for a moment. No
one spoke, no one
moved. A small voice floated across the courtyard carried on the
evening breeze, “Isn’t that Garilien, your son?”
The King turned towards the soft conversation and
watched as an older
elf approached the group of outcasts.
“Garilien?” The elf in question didn’t move or
name. “Garilien, my boy, is that you?” The warrior glanced up
quickly and gazed into the older eyes of the elf.
“I know what to do with them, Father.” Legolas
whispered to Thranduil,
The King nodded and smiled as he crossed his arms
and watched his
son. Legolas glanced at Trelan and Raniean and nodded at the
elves. The prince tugged on Aragorn’s sleeve and bid him follow
The four of them approached the prisoners.
Gently Legolas moved
the older elf aside and glared at the one he had been talking to.
Aragorn stepped next to the prince, curious.
“Are you Garilien?” Legolas addressed the elf.
“You best speak up when you are asked a question,”
when the outcast did not reply.
The elf glanced at Legolas. “I am the one he says I
am. He is my
father.” The imprisoned warrior looked over at the elder elf and
swallowed hard, trying to keep his emotions at bay.
Legolas nodded slightly and followed his gaze.
He smiled softly
at the elf that stood just behind them; tears stained the elder’s face
as he watched his son, his son whom he had not seen for hundreds upon
hundreds of years.
“You are free from your exile.” The prince turned
back towards the
prisoners. “How many of you have family that may still live under
Many were the hands that slipped carefully up.
A few did
“I’d like those that don’t have family if you would
allow me, my lord.”
Raniean stepped up near Legolas on his left. “My company was
harder hit than some of the others, nearly decimated by Doriflen. We
could use the extra men.”
Legolas nodded. “Can you handle them? Can you
put them down if
you have to?” He spoke quietly but loud enough so the prisoners
“Yes, my lord. It will not be a problem.” He
looked over the
outcasts. “Whom of you have no family left in Mirkwood?”
Seven elves shuffled to the front of the
them,” Raniean ordered the guards. “You belong to me
now. I am your family. And my men are your family. If
you choose not to join me, I will take you to the edge of Mirkwood and
throw you out myself. If you want to, you can make a good life
here. I know you have heard stories of your people that are
untrue. Trelan and I are here to teach what is true. Will
you have us?”
One by one the orphaned warriors consented and
Trelan and Raneian
walked them slowly back to the barracks where the warriors trained and
spent a lot of their off time together. “You’ll like it here,”
they heard Trelan talking as he walked alongside the others. “It’s
nothing like what you’ve heard.”
“As for the rest of you,” Legolas addressed the
elves. “We will find your families for you and you will be
returned home to them. You will have responsibilities and you
will be held accountable. You have been lied to and have been
living a lie. It's time you learned the truth. Your
know and they will help you to find it again.” He stepped forward
and took the proffered knife from the closest guard quickly severing
Garilein’s bonds. “Go home. Learn what it is you have lost
that you may find it once again.”
The elf nodded slightly to his new lord and walked
hesitantly over to
his father. The older elf grabbed his son and pulled the errant
child into his arms. “How I missed Gari.” He whispered in the elf’s
ear, “It’s so good to have you home, son.” He draped his arm
around the younger elf and pulled him tightly to his side as they
walked out of the courtyard. Garilien glanced over his shoulder
and smiled slightly at Legolas, his tears unhidden as he mouthed a
silent thank you.
“Nice going.” Aragorn leaned towards the prince as
he watched the small
family turn out of sight.
“Find their families.” Legolas turned back to
the guards and
instructed them, “Bring the elves up from the dungeons below as well
and see that they are all returned to someone or give them over to
Raniean for training.” He turned and walked away from the group
of prisoners and glanced up at his own father. Thranduil had
watched the whole proceedings with a smile on his face.
“Well done, my son. I hope they can all return
to a full
life.” He stepped down next to the two friends as they approached
him and turned them towards the palace. “Meanwhile, you and I
have a lot to talk about, Legolas. I expect a very good tale out
of you over what exactly caused the errant Prince of Mirkwood to miss
the yén festival this
Legolas stiffened slightly and flushed a
little. “Yes...” he
nodded slowly, glancing sideways at Aragorn. “A tale it is
indeed... and more than one. But... Father? I really am
sorry... about everything.”
Thranduil shook his head with a smile. “I’m
not angry, Legolas. At
this moment I don’t think I could be angry about anything,” he
chuckled. “Besides,” he raised an eyebrow with a rare, teasing
glint in his gaze. “If I were going to disown you for it I would
have done it the first dozen times...”
Legolas smiled, enjoying his father’s good
mood. “You exaggerate, Father, I haven’t even lived long enough
to see a dozen of them yet!”
he protested good-naturedly.
“Yes, and the way you behave sometimes young one I wonder if you will
ever live to see that many,” Thranduil chided with a smile.
Aragorn could not help chuckling because he had
heard that often
enough at home from his father and brothers.
Thranduil wrapped his arm gently around his son’s
shoulders and gave
him a light squeeze. “So, shall we go see how much cleaning needs
to be done to our apartments? I fear my late brother’s
preferences in décor always left a lot to be desired.”
Aragorn started to laugh, “Well my lord, if it’s
anything like what he
did to your hall, then you will have your work cut out for you.”
“Don’t you mean we’ll
have our work cut out for us?”
stopped walking and stared hard at his friend. He drew in a deep
breath and let it out, his breath frosted heavily on the evening air as
the sun dipped below the trees. “Do you know what that means?” He
smiled wickedly at the ranger.
“I am afraid to ask.”
“That means the snow is coming and the pass back to
Rivendell will be
closed for some time.” Legolas laughed lightly at his friend’s
surprised look. “I think you will be staying here and helping us
clean up after Doriflen after all.”
“Not to mention the fact that you look like I sent
you out to battle
and you lost,” Thranduil spoke up. “There is no way I am returning you
to your father looking as you do or in the shape you are in. I
will send him word that you will be wintering with us.”
“What? I’m fine,” the ranger lied to the king,
trying to hide his
limp as they walked slowly across the courtyard.
Legolas reached out and gently tapped the ranger on
the side of his
ribs causing the human to groan and pull away.
“Fine?” Thranduil raised one eyebrow and walked into
the palace in
front of them, “You’re as bad as Legolas! Do you know the penalty
for lying to the king?” He called back with amusement.
Aragorn rolled his eyes, “It can't be any worse than
it is at
“You’d be surprised.” Thranduil smiled warmly at him
as the ranger
walked past, accompanying Legolas slowly to the upper rooms. “I
will send the healers up to see to you both shortly.”
“Come on, Strider, before you really get yourself
The prince slowly mounted the steps, careful of his own injuries.
“Let's go see what that guest room of yours looks like.”
“All I want is there to be a bed in it,” the ranger
mumbled as he
returned the king’s smile and mounted the steps behind his friend.
“I only hope my bed is still there too,” Legolas
commented dryly. “It
will be really nice not to have to sleep on the ground for a
A small smile crept onto Thranduil’s lips as he
listened to the youths
talk back and forth. He turned back towards the entry and looked
out across the courtyard over the tops of the trees to the stars that
barely twinkled through the growing clouds.
A group of relatives had accumulated in the outer
eager to find their lost sons. He called a servant to him and requested
that extra lights and warm drink be brought out to the families that
were reuniting with their loved ones. Mirkwood may not have been
what she once was, but at least she was at peace again and all her
children had come home.
Extended scene for the handling of the prisoners
Stories > Series
> Next story in the Mellon Chronicles: "Legolas'
No Good Rotten Day"