Siege of Dread

Chapter 16: Explanations and Healing

by Cassia and Siobhan

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“Raniean, have you seen Legolas?” Thranduil inquired of the younger elf.  Raniean and Legolas had been together in the gardens earlier in the day, but now Raniean and Trelan were lounging around a low table near the fireplace with Moranuen and Arendur, playing some game of chance that Thranduil was unfamiliar with. 

Raniean and Trelan both started to rise quickly.  Mimicking his companions, Arendur did the same.  Thranduil quickly gestured them back down.  There was no need for that.  Bowing, Raniean and Trelan returned to their seats, once again shadowed by the young ranger who was about as nervous around the Elvenking as Strider had once been. 

Moranuen smiled up from where he reclined on a low couch by the table.  “Forgive me, my Liege, I would rise, but I fear Estel or one of the twins will pop out of the woodwork and growl at me again.”  He lowered his voice and glanced conspiratorially at Arendur who had undergone the same amount of babying.  “They’re everywhere you know.” 

Arendur nearly choked laughing and Raniean and Trelan chuckled.  They were greatly enjoying their stay in Rivendell.  They had stayed on in the once more peaceful valley for over a month now as Elrond would not let them leave his care until he was satisfied that all his charges had been rested enough.  The twins and Aragorn had seen to most of the injured and were given to prowling around the grounds to be sure no one was pushing themselves too hard.  Moranuen was truly recovered more than enough to be up and about, but Estel had been very overprotective of him the day before, and was quickly becoming a running joke between the guests. 

It seemed all those who called Rivendell home were finally beginning to recuperate from the losses and wounds that the warg riders' attack had inflicted upon them.  The halls of Imladris held a deepened strength and a protective peace that stayed the darkness that had touched its soul.  It was good to rest here and Thranduil was in no hurry to leave.  Half of his royal contingent had been sent back to Mirkwood, the rest had remained behind with Raniean and Trelan to escort the king and his son home when they finally desired to return. 

“I believe that Legolas is outside with Strider,” Raniean answered his liege’s question of a moment ago. 

Moranuen grinned wickedly, shuffling through the flat playing tokens he held.  “He was far more hurt than I, and Estel lets HIM up and about...” the playful, dark-haired elf was not going to his old friend live this down any time soon. 

“That’s because nobody tells Legolas what to do,” Trelan chuckled, laying down one of his playing pieces.  “Ha!  I win again.  Pay up.” 

The small elf’s companions groaned. 

Thranduil quirked an eyebrow.  “What on earth are you playing?” 

“A game that Halbarad taught us,” Raniean said ruefully as he pushed his coins towards his friend.  “I am going to get that back from you, mellon-nín,” he added in a quieter, taunting tone to his short friend as Trelan made a show of gleefully collecting his winnings. 

Arendur scowled good-naturedly.  “Yes, then he literally lost his shirt and didn’t want to play anymore... I’m thinking I might join him.” 

Thranduil chuckled.  “A wise plan.  Well I shall leave you to it.  I wish to find Legolas.”  With that the King took his leave and went again in search of his son.   His arm was nearly healed and the initial fears he had held onto so tightly after their return had waned as the days passed in the peaceful valley.  Legolas grew steadily stronger and the last wisps of Thranduil’s nightmare were almost lost to memory...


Actually, that’s what he wanted to talk to Legolas about. 

Thranduil finally found his son laughing quietly with the ranger as the two talked and rested on the Library balcony. 

The King stepped quietly and unnoticed out onto the huge, sweeping veranda that measured the length of the study hall and overlooked the Bruinen. 

Aragorn burst out laughing; trying to defend whatever position he had just taken in their argument. 

“I did not!” he challenged. 

“You did, and you know you did.  You just didn’t want anyone else to know it and I do!”  Legolas countered as he lightly ducked the feinted smack. 

“You are so...” Aragorn stopped as he caught sight of Thranduil out of the corner of his eyes.  “My Lord, please.”  The ranger quickly stood and offered the Sinda elf a seat on the stone couch he and Legolas occupied. 

“I did not mean to interrupt,” Thranduil answered, suddenly very aware that he was not sure how to proceed.  He had hoped that now that everything was quieting back to peacefulness and all their wounds were mending, it would be a good time to take up with Legolas the subject of his troubling dreams that they had been forced to leave unfinished that night in the orc camp. 

“Father, you aren’t interrupting anything, well other than Aragorn trying to profess his innocence, which no one is believing.” The elf’s light laughter caused his father to smile as the human walked behind the prince and smacked the back of the elf’s head. 

“Careful!” Legolas protested playfully.  “I’m still healing don’t you know?  And Mora says we all have to be so careful...” 

Aragorn rolled his eyes.  “I am going to kill that elf for making such a big deal out of such an innocent comment.” 

Thranduil smiled.  It was good to hear his son laugh after being forced to hear him cry at the orcs’ abuse.  Thranduil watched the two friends interact together.  As much as he had hated the friendship and been against it in the beginning, the ranger had been good for his boy, had drawn the elf back out into the world of the living after so many years. His eyes drifted over Legolas, looking for signs of the torture to which he had been submitted. 

There were few. 

The prince wore an open-fronted shirt.  He had not laced it fully up, relaxing casually here in Rivendell as he was not privileged to do at home.  Two red stripes across his chest attested to the fact he had once borne much deeper wounds.  He was healing quickly in this place that seemed to weave its charm on all that stayed beneath its rafters.  A slight limp was the most obvious outward marking that Legolas retained and he most often tried to hide that.  As usual, the elven prince was bouncing back with his normal resiliency. 

The human, however, had not healed as fast.  A bandage wrapped around his temple, winding through the curly locks of wayward hair that hung about his face.  His shirt was unfastened as well but for a totally different reason than Legolas’.  Thranduil could see the cloths that bound the wounds to his collarbone and shoulder and his arm rested in a homemade sling that Elrond had contrived.  He moved stiffly and much more slowly than his immortal friend.  Carefully he removed his still healing arm from its restraint and shifted it painfully. 

Legolas’ reprimand brought the King out of his musings. He watched with humor as the prince jumped to his feet and gently, but forcefully made the human use the sling once more. 

“And where do they get off teasing me anyway?  You’re worse than Elladan!” Aragorn fidgeted with the cloth restraint and moved out of the elf’s reach, “Stop it!” the ranger laughed, unable to escape the elf’s ministrations. 

“Father, help me here will you?”  Legolas laughed as he forced the ranger back down on the stone divan.  As the younger elf leaned over, Thranduil could see that many of the other marks on the prince’s chest were still in various stages of healing.  It brought home again the reason why the elf lord had set out to find his son. 

“Legolas, I sought you out for a very different reason, my son.”  The elf lord sighed slightly. 

“What is it, Father?” The two friends immediately felt the change in the older elf.  Legolas was leaning gently on the ranger’s shoulders, careful of the human’s wounds. 

“I wanted to continue our talk from the day we were captured by the orcs,” Thranduil answered softly.  Part of him was afraid his son would shy from him again and part of him wanted nothing more than to demand the information at once.  Something had happened that Legolas felt unwilling to share and that frightened him more than he wanted to admit. 

Legolas’ eyes shadowed slightly.  He had hoped that topic could remain forgotten.  That confirmed Thranduil’s suspicions.  His son was hiding something. 

“I’ll leave you two alone then,” Aragorn broke the awkward silence as he stood to his feet.  This was obviously something between the King and his son and the ranger knew when it was best to let those things stay within the family.  However, he was stopped from leaving when Legolas’ hand clamped around his wrist and held him in place. 

“I would that you stayed.”  Legolas’ eyes implored his friend not to go.  He could not answer his father’s questions, he couldn’t. 

“Legolas...” Aragorn was suddenly at a loss.  He glanced between the King and his son.  “I’m not sure I can help here.” 

Legolas had not turned to look at his father.  He could not meet Thranduil’s gaze, fearing his soul would give his secrets away, so he kept his eyes locked onto the ranger’s silver ones. 

“My father has had nightmares about me.”  Legolas did not release the human as he explained, “He... saw me beg someone to end my life.” 

Aragorn shot the King a surprised glance.  He had not realized that all elves had some small abilities in foreseeing.  The Sindar Elvenking’s abilities were minor and latent at that, but they were there.  Thranduil had not realized that part of what he had seen had been the past and part the future.  It lay heavily on his mind that some event yet to come might still take his son from him.  He needed the truth, but Legolas could not give it to him. 

“I...” Legolas’ soft voice faltered, “I cannot tell him, Aragorn.  Will you answer his questions for me?”  The plea was nearly a whisper. 

“Oh, Legolas.” Aragorn shook his head slowly; he knew exactly what the elf was asking of him and wasn’t sure he had the courage to tell his friend’s father either.  Relating the story once to his own family had been bad enough; telling it to Thranduil, in front of Legolas no less, was not something he had expected to be called upon to do. 

“Please, mellon-nín.” 

The look of utter horror and shame that radiated from the prince’s eyes drove straight through the ranger’s heart.  He could not tell Legolas no.

Gently, Aragorn squeezed Legolas’ hand that wrapped so tightly about his wrist. 

“I will,” he whispered before turning back to Thranduil. 

Legolas walked to the far side of the balcony, his back turned to the elf and the human.  He could not bear to watch his father’s reactions.  Leaning against the balustrade, he closed his eyes and listened as Aragorn quietly began to speak. 

“What would you like to know?” the ranger asked somewhat hesitantly.  He seated himself on the opposite edge of the bench as far from the Elvenking as possible.  He glanced up hesitantly at the older elf through the hair that fell into his face.  It was hard not to fidget. 

“What is so terrible that my son cannot tell me himself?”  Thranduil stared at the prince’s hunched shoulders with growing alarm.  It was unlike Legolas to react to anything like this.  “Has what I saw already happened?”  His fear mounted even as he asked the question. 

Drawing a deep breath, Aragorn pushed the hair out of his eyes with his good hand.  Resting his elbow on his knee he braced his forehead against the palm of his hand, unwillingly to look into the king’s eyes.  “Yes, my lord, it has already happened.”  His voice was a whisper.  He knew the elf could hear him.  Both elves could hear him. 

“Do you have an explanation for that answer?”  Thranduil’s voice was a trifle sharp, but it always came across more sternly when he was upset. 

“Father.”  Legolas’ quiet plea checked the older elf.  He already felt miserable for sticking Aragorn in the middle like this, the last thing he wanted was for his father to be upset with his friend for undertaking the task.  “Tell him everything, Aragorn.” 

“Forgive me,” Thranduil apologized as the ranger glanced back at him.  “Please continue.” 

“When Legolas came out to visit me in Gondor, he became inadvertently involved in a conspiracy stirred up by a traitor to the Steward of Gondor.  During one of the battles, Legolas was captured by the Corsairs and I lost him.”  Aragorn swallowed hard, shaking his head with the dark memories the confession was stirring up. 

Thranduil’s frown deepened.  He had heard of the Corsairs, but nothing that shed any light on the ranger’s tale. 

After a few moments of collecting his thoughts, Aragorn continued.  There was no other way to tell the elf King what had happened than to be straightforward with him. 

“The Corsairs deal in slave trading.  Among other things, they supply Mordor with its cache of slaves.”  The ranger winced as Thranduil gasped quietly.  His voice lowered a notch as he picked up the story; “I tracked Legolas as soon as I was able to.  He had been taken to Mordor and sold to a band of orcs that were procuring slaves for Sauron.  When I finally caught up with them, Legolas had been separated from the humans and the orcs were using him for sport.”  Aragorn’s voice dropped to a mere whisper. 

“He...” closing his eyes, the man sighed deeply and forged on, “Your son begged me to take his life before the orcs could follow through on all they had planned for him.  His light was gone and he wanted to leave.” Aragorn stopped speaking.  Even so long past, the events of that time hurt his heart deeply. 

Legolas’ knuckles whitened against the balustrade and his head slid forward to rest on his clenched fists.  He knew this was an unavoidable revelation now, but he had not wanted his father to know this, not ever.  Perhaps it was dishonest of him, but he desperately had not wanted the Elvenking to know his son’s unforgivable weaknesses and how far he had been broken.  Legolas knew he could not lose Thranduil’s love, but he dreaded losing his respect almost as much.  He was so ashamed he had trouble breathing and his eyes burned. 

Thranduil was surprised to see tears form in the corners of the ranger’s eyes as he spoke. 

“I could not,” Aragorn choked out the words.  A soft sob from the elven prince made the ranger wince and he caught his breath.  “I couldn’t.  I couldn’t free him right away either, but later that night Ilúvatar gave us the chance we needed and we both escaped.”  He shortened the version of the tale he told the elf king.  That they had been recaptured and escaped a second time was something he had not the heart to tell the father that sat across from him. 

“He showed remarkable strength throughout our escape, even having to take care of me when my own folly rendered me defenseless,” the ranger added quickly as he watched the anguish and shock playing across the Elvenking’s features.  The last thing the ranger wanted to do was damage Thranduil’s image of his son; he knew how important it was to Legolas for his father to think highly of him.

The look on Thranduil’s face and the pain resurfacing in his own heart was too much.  Turning towards Legolas, Aragorn begged to be released from the retelling, “Mellon-nín, please...” 

When Legolas turned towards the ranger, tears were streaming down his face.  “Ada, forgive me.”

Thranduil was on his feet in an instant.  Rushing forward he pulled the younger elf against him.  “Greenleaf... Tyndolhen.”  He used the name Legolas’ mother had always called him by.  He had not done that in many, many, years.  “There is nothing to forgive,” he whispered as Legolas buried his face against his father’s shoulder. 

Quietly, Aragorn stood to his feet and headed back into the library, intending to leave the two elves alone.  A soft, broken voice called to him before he could escape. 

Hannon le, mellon-nín.”  Legolas whispered softly.  He was staring at the ranger over his father’s shoulder. Thranduil had not yet released him, unwilling to let go after learning the terrible truth about his nightmares. 

At the sounds of the quiet thanks, Thranduil turned to look at the man, his hand protectively covering his son’s head, holding him gently in place.  “Yes, thank you.”

With a slight bow, Aragorn excused himself.  His gaze locked onto Legolas’ for a brief moment and he could read the relief and gratitude there in the blue depths.  The ranger smiled and nodded at his friend; it would be well.  He needed to go find his own father.  Right now he needed to be with his family as much as Legolas and Thranduil needed time alone.  Quietly he slipped out of the library and headed for the northernmost balcony.  He was sure he would find Elrond there. 


The eastward mountains of the hidden vale of Imladris were cloaked in the last rays of the setting sun.  The high peaks colored in a deepening crimson reflected the light and kept the last Homely House warm late into the evening.  Drafts of cooling breezes wafted up from the Bruinen below. 

Elrond was seated on the northernmost balcony of Imladris, his thoughts far away, his eyes slightly glazed over, lost in memory.  Absently he touched the bandage that wrapped around his head.  The gash to his temple was healing well, if slowly.  The rest of his wounds were nearly imperceptible; the ones on his heart were still open and tender. He did not notice when Elrohir walked up the steps on his right and quietly seated himself on the floor next to the cushioned bench that his father sat on.  The youngest of the twins leaned back against the bench, a small sigh escaping his lips as he gazed across the vale. 

He loved this balcony.  It held many memories for him; it was a refuge.  Elrohir started ever so slightly as Elrond’s hand rested gently on his head. 

Barely turning beneath his father’s touch, Elrohir glanced up at the elven lord. 

“Ada, are you all right?”  His soft question could barely be heard over the sounds of the rushing river and the noises of the woods about them. 

“I will be.”  Elrond’s deep voice held a weariness to it that echoed in the elven twin’s heart.  Elrohir leaned against his father’s leg and nodded in understanding.  The past month had been hard.  It was still difficult to believe that they had all made it out alive and he found himself at times surprised by the relief that flooded through him.  It had affected them all. Elrohir had caught his father on several nights simply standing in one of their doorways watching his sons sleeping.  Last night Aragorn had awakened to find the elven lord asleep in his room, sitting in the large chair that occupied one corner of his bedchambers. 

The silence stretched comfortably between the two elves.  It was good to simply sit near one another; there was no need for speaking. 

A soft chuckle from the elf lord broke the silence and Elrohir glanced up once more to see his father smiling.  Before he could question Elrond, the elf spoke quietly. 

“Estel, come and sit with us; it is warmer out here than there in the shadows.” 

With a start Elrohir leaned around the couch and caught sight of his human brother standing at the back of the veranda, wedged into a corner.  The sling on his left arm and the bandage that could barely be seen underneath his collar stood out in stark contrast to the darker colored tunic he wore.  The loose fitting shirt was untied at the top, allowing for ease of movement with his still healing wounds.  He smiled slightly at the two elves, a weary, contented smile. 

“How long have you been there?” Elrohir questioned playfully, the corners of his lips turning up slightly, mirroring the smile on the man’s face. 

“Long enough to wonder if the two of you had fallen asleep out here.”  Aragorn laughed softly as he stepped from the shadows.  As he approached, Elrohir could see he held a thick blanket about his shoulders.  This time of the evening it was chilly on the balcony, something that the elves he lived with did not experience.  Pulling the warm covering more tightly about him, Aragorn sat down on Elrond’s left, his gaze easily falling to rest on the far mountains. 

The sun had fled the valley and the mountainside was clothed in shades of purple and blue as night chased the light from the sky above them, replacing the sun with its softer, mirrored glow.  Celboril could be seen in the garden below lighting the lamps set about the house.  He moved stiffly and slowly but would not allow anyone to help him, his pride having gotten the better of him.  It had just been a few days since Elrond had given him the permission to do anything in the house other than rest. 

“What were you thinking?” Aragorn asked quietly, unwilling to disturb the peace that they had settled into once more. 

The question struck the elf lord as odd and he turned to face his youngest son. 

“Its just that...well, you seemed lost in thought,” Estel explained himself further, “and I wondered where you were when I was watching you.” 

The smile that spread across Elrond’s face was hesitantly mirrored in the human.  “She would have loved you,” he answered quietly, gently brushing Aragorn’s hair out of his eyes as he had when the man was much younger. “You do have her heart.”  Elrond swallowed hard, his eyes tracking back out across the valley. 

Aragorn was beginning to think that he had spoken when he shouldn’t have, but his father’s soft voice banished the thoughts.  “Celebrìan would often ask me that very same question when she found me out here.”  He smiled once more but the laughter did not reach his eyes this time.  “I was remembering her.  Remembering those days after she was returned home and how desperate I was to keep her near me and never let her go again...ever.”  His voice trailed off as old emotions surfaced.  “I could not understand her pain.  Her desire to leave this leave us.” 

“Ada, you do not have to...” Elrohir was interrupted as his father gently shushed him. 

“But I do.”  Elrond glanced between his sons, one human and one elven.  “For you see, I understand now why she had to go.  I understand how deeply her heart was wounded by the evil that touched her.” 

“You cannot think to go. You cannot leave.”  Aragorn panicked, unable to fathom being in the world without his father.  After all they had just gone through to save him, losing him now would be horribly unthinkable.  His silver eyes searched the blue ones that turned towards him.  “Please...” 

“Estel,” Elrond quieted the man, his hand gently touching the ranger’s face. “I have no intentions of leaving any time soon, my son.  I was merely telling you that I finally understood her need to leave.  She is well and whole where she is and I would not wish her back to this place, though my heart has long desired it.  You asked me what I was thinking and I was thinking of her and telling her in my mind that I have accepted it.  I am at peace now with her leaving and I am very glad that she was not here to see what happened in her beloved house.  That was all, you need not fear.” 

“Besides,” Elrohir spoke up, his tone hiding a hint of mirth, “if father left now you and Legolas would surely get each other killed one way or another.” 

“I heard that!” 

Their attention was diverted as Legolas stepped out onto the balcony.  Night had fallen and the stars twinkled brightly above.  The prince’s soft glow lit the stones beneath his feet as he walked towards them.  He smiled as he watched Aragorn, “And I take exception to it as well.  I would most certainly never get Estel killed.  He on the other hand excels at getting us into the most dire predicaments.”  The prince laughed as Aragorn stammered in protest.  “Do not argue the point, my friend.  Who was it that dragged us beneath the falls, down Dwarven water holes and into an orcs' den, and not for the first time, mind you?!” 

“What?!” The ranger followed the elven prince with his gaze as Legolas walked around them, stopping in front of his friend and leaning stiffly against the ornate balustrade.  “That was the first time we have ever been there and it saved your life as I recall.” 

“It certainly wasn’t the first time we have been up against more orcs than I have ever cared to witness,” he forestalled the inevitable argument, raising his voice above the ranger's, “nor the first time that I have been in Dwarven halls and tunnels.” 

“Probably not the last either,” Elrohir commented darkly from his seat on the floor. 

“Elrohir, you are not helping.” Aragorn growled at his brother. “Besides if I recall it was not I who led us into Mordor, nor I who took us home from Bree by way of the shale valley, nor I who nearly got us hung for chicken thieving.” 

“By the Valar, what did they do to you during your stay in Harad? You have the memory of an oliphaunt!”  Legolas teasingly kicked his friend’s booted foot.  “And you blame those instances on me?” he asked, disbelieving. 

“Silence the two of you, the evening was peaceful.”  Elrond half teasingly stopped the age-old argument.  He pulled Aragorn close, his arm tightening around the human’s shoulder. “No one is going anywhere for a very long time. Including you, young prince, nor your father, not until both of you are more fully healed.  This family needs the rest and the only way I seem to be able to get any of that is by keeping the two of you within my sight.  There will be no Grey Havens for any of us for quite a while I do believe.” 

“Ada always wins,” Aragorn teased softly as he glanced at Legolas. 

“Yes, that is why I am the Adar and you are not.” Elrond kissed the top of Estel’s head before releasing him. 

Elrohir, who had remained mostly quiet for the entire exchange, spoke into the silence that followed, “I am glad everyone will be staying on for a time, I have missed having you here, Estel.  You have grown into an adult so fast and it seems that we have missed it all.” 

“And we have,” an identical voice echoed from the archway into the house.  Elladan walked out and nudged his twin gently with his knee.  “Glorfindel says that dinner is ready.  He would like to know if you want it served in the dining hall or on your balcony?”  The eldest twin directed his question to Elrond. 

The elf lord raised one eyebrow and tried to stifle the smile that tugged at his lips, “Glorfindel?” 

Elladan was not so successful at hiding his mirth. “It seems that he was caught near the kitchens earlier and Celboril, thinking he had nothing better to be about than snooping around his work area, commandeered him and gave him something useful to do.”  The snicker of the elves seated around Elrond provoked the mirth in the older elf and he could not contain himself.  “At least that is what Glorfindel said.” 

“Well then, I am afraid I will never hear the end of this. I asked Glorfindel to check in on Celboril to make sure he wasn’t over-stressing himself.  I hadn’t thought he would be clumsy enough to be caught.”  Elrond laughed, standing slowly to his feet.  “In that event, I suggest we take our dinner out on the balcony or I fear we shall have to endure the Balrog Slayer’s wrath all evening; you know he hates the kitchens.” 

Elladan chuckled.  “Well, I have word that Beoma heard what happened from some of the wood-elf warriors on their way home and is on his way here.  So we should have no lacking of help in the kitchen soon.” 

Elrohir seemed delighted.  “Honey cakes!” he said with a laugh.  Both the twins loved the old Beorning baker.  Obviously the feeling was reciprocal considering the journey Beoma was making just to aid his elven friends. 

Legolas helped Aragorn stand and Elrohir rose stiffly next to him.  They were all in various stages of healing and the little party moved slowly into the inner chambers. 

“Shall I fetch King Thranduil?” Elladan offered. 

With a laugh Legolas declined, “No, but I thank you. I think I shall bring father myself.  I have seen Glorfindel when he is angry and do not wish to suffer his displeasure again.”  The elven prince moved in the opposite direction as they gained the upper hallway. 

“Oh and when was that?” Elrond turned an inquisitive look on his young guest.  Behind him Aragorn was making shushing motions trying to get his friend not to speak. 

“Well it was when he caught Estel in his...” Legolas’ tale was cut off as Aragorn stepped around his father and pushed his friend down the hallway. 

“Enough, Legolas.  My father does not need to hear that tale, right now!” he growled as he steered his friend away from his family. 

“When shall he know then?” the prince giggled as Elrond called out to the human to explain further. 

“About the same time I tell him of Kaldur’s fate,” Aragorn whispered fiercely, wincing as his father called to him again.  “And if you are not careful, that will be sooner than I wish!” 

“We shall meet on the terrace, gwador-nín,” Legolas replied for the human’s ears only, “and may the Valar be with you.  I would love to hear how you get out of this one.” 

“You will be the death of me yet,” Aragorn chided playfully. 

“Funny, that’s what Father’s always saying about you!” Legolas called back as he stepped away to retrieve the elf in question. 

“Estel,”  Elrond’s voice stopped whatever retort Aragorn had in mind. “Walk with me, my son. I believe there are some things you and I should discuss.”  With a shake of his head Aragorn stepped back next to his father, allowing the elven lord to pull him in close.  He treasured these times with his father and brothers, all of them, especially the ones that fate had brought to him.  He glanced over his shoulder as Legolas knocked softly on King Thranduil’s chambers, entering the room with a smile. 

Turning back to his own father, Aragorn blushed as Lord Elrond’s questions were met with elven laughter and the young human in their midst tried to talk his way out of trouble once more.

The End

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