(Fic 5- The story continues with Part 2...)
Part 2 of 3
The Elvenking was not given to reflection and rarely regretted his actions, yet he could not silence the impressions intruding on his mind as they headed home. They came with the clarity of eyes opening again to the world that had long been closed behind gates of wood and stone.
The march was slow for the sake of the wounded and there was little else to do but think in the hush of the battle-worn army. And so the pictures of the past few days came and grew like the shadows on the road...
"I... can not go back." (Legolas to Thranduil)*1
"I can bring her back." (Legolas to Thranduil)
"You have two days." *2
"Legolas said you fought well today." He returned her smile. "He has grown very fond of you."
Tauriel was shocked at the revelation. "...I assure you, my Lord, Legolas thinks of me as no more than a captain of the guard..." *3
Then he remembered her first detail as captain of the guard a mere 600 years ago. "How far did they travel?"
"We tracked them as far as the Great Oak Clearing," Tauriel answered proudly.
"And you killed them?"
"Yes, my Lord."
"You killed them all? You did not think to keep one of them alive?"
"It was dark and we were outnumbered."
The pride was gone and his fingers curled as he cringed at the weak attempt to defend her actions. She gulped and blanched, wondering what she had done wrong.
"I don't care if you are fighting alone and blind! I do not accept incompetence from the captain of my guard." He paused, seeing abilities in her that she was not yet aware of and did not want crush her spirits or potential. He dropped his voice to a wintery whisper. "You have skill and cunning. You could go far." *4
She stared at him in wide-eyed wonder, then lifted her chin proudly, meeting his eyes with the unwaveringly clear confidence of the young determined to succeed.
He relaxed his fingers as he smiled at her retreating back, pleased he had put her on the right path.
"...Legolas thinks of me as no more than a captain of the guard."
"Perhaps he did once. Now, I am not so sure."
"I do not think you would allow your son to pledge himself to a lowly Silvan Elf." Tauriel replied respectfully with true deference to his authority and her status.
"No. You are right, I would not. Still, he cares about you. Do not give him hope where there is none."
She gulped and swallowed hard at the pronouncement.*5
"Where will you go?"
"I will go with you." (Legolas to Tauriel)
"If you harm her, you will have to kill me." (Legolas to Thranduil)*6
"We cleared the forest as ordered, my Lord, but more spiders keep coming up from the South." Tauriel said determinedly as she started pacing back and forth, formulating a means of attack. "They are spawning in the ruins of Dol Guldur. If we could kill them at their source—"
"That fortress lies beyond our borders. Keep our lands clear of those foul creatures, that is your task."
"And when we drive them off, what then? Will they not spread to other lands?"
"Other lands are not my concern. The fortunes of the world will rise and fall, but here in this kingdom, we will endure."*7
"...Is this how you treat travelers to your lands?" (Dwalin) The surly, strongest looking dwarf disdainfully asked as he came up to the dais to stand at Thorin Oakenshield's left side—his customary position as lieutenant.
Legolas and Tauriel had brought in the bound line of disheveled dwarves before him. He studied the rag-tag "company" from the superiority of his throne with serious suspicion.
He took his time in answering to be sure all eyes and attention were upon him. "Only the ones that annoy me."
"Is it a crime now to be lost in the forest?" (Balin) "To be hungry and thirsty?" The thoughtful older dwarf was not as quick to gain the dais, but was no less wise and brave. He took up his position as advisor and confident on the Dwarf-king's right—though he had a feeling that that most of that wisdom went unheeded.
"It is a crime to wander in my realm without leave. You forget you are using the road my people made."*8
Thorin Oakenshield... ...one king to another.*9
"We came to you once starving, homeless... but you turned your back!" The Dwarf-king's rich voice resonated through out the realm from the dais. "You turned way from the suffering of my people and the inferno that destroyed us!" (Thorin)*10
"Wait! Please wait. You would go to war over a handful of gems?" (Bard to Thranduil)
Bard the Bow-man...
My people also have a claim upon the riches in that mountain. Let me speak with Thorin." (Bard to Thranduil)
"You would try to reason with the Dwarf?"'
"To avoid war? Yes!"*11
"If I'm not mistaken, this is the Halfling who stole the keys to my dungeons from under the nose of my guards."
"Yyyesssh..." Bilbo admitted sheepishly. "Sorry about that, but I came to give you this." The Hobbit went up to the table as he pulled something out wrapped in cloth from his inside coat pocket. He put it down, unwrapped it and then stepped back so that they could all see it.
"The Heart of the Mountain. The King's Jewel."
"And worth a king's ransom. How is this yours to give?" Bard asked with mixed suspicion and awe.
"I took it as my share of the treasure."
"Why would you do this? You owe us no loyalty."
"I'm not doing it for you...I would save them if I can. There will be no need for war."*12
"Since when did my counsel counted for so little? What do you think I'm trying to do?" (Gandalf)
"I think you are trying to save your Dwarvish friends, and I admire your loyalty to them, but it does not dissuade me from my course. You started this, Mithrandir, you will forgive me if I finish it."*13
Gandalf... ...I can see you know nothing of wizards...*14
"My Lord, dispatch this force to Ravenhill!" The Wizard hurried into the market square to block his path."The Dwarves are about to be overrun. They must be warned!"
"By all means, warn them. I have spent enough Elvish blood in defense of this accursed land. No more!"
Still seething, he pushed past the Gandalf back to Feren's company. They fell in step behind him only to find Tauriel standing there alone with the courage of her convictions defiantly determined to block his path. "You will not turn away, not this time."
"Get out of my way," he snarled savagely.
"The Dwarves will be slaughtered!"
"Yes, they will die," he responded with casual contempt. "Today, tomorrow, one year hence, a hundred years from now. What does it matter? They are mortal."
In the blink of an elvish eye, Tauriel drew her bow and arrow and aimed it at his heart. "You think your life is worth more than theirs when there is no love in it? There. Is. No. Love. In. You."
He averted his eyes, astounded at her blatant insubordination and insult. How dare she threaten him and speak to the value of his life and compare it to a mere dwarf's?!
He felt the guardsmen behind him tense, ready to defend him, but he would deal with this affront himself. Who was she speak to him about love? He tightened his grip on his sword. Like lightening, he lashed out, shockingly smashing her bow out of her hands before the point of his blade came to rest over her heart, ready to pierce it.
"What do you know of love? Nothing!" He spat the words out at her. "What you feel for that Dwarf is not real!" His voice dropped to a dangerous decibel. "You think it is love? Are you ready to die for it?"
He was so consumed with anger that he did not sense his son's approach. He only saw the sudden appearance of another sword stopping his own.
"If you harm her, you will have to kill me." Legolas declared angrily. His son's blue-gray eyes, full of fire and fortitude, bore into his own. He looked away, too stunned to speak.
Legolas turned to Tauriel as he sheathed his sword. "I will go with you."*15
"Those gems were not all your wife left you, my friend." Gandalf said kindly. The Wizard stood on a nearby staircase, leaning on his staff. Presumably, he had witnessed the whole affair and yet there was no judgment in his voice or eyes, only the wisdom of sympathy.
"She gave you a son." The Wizard's words pierced his heart as though Tauriel had released her arrow. "Tell me, which would she have you value more?"
He looked up at the wise wizard, still groping for inner balance. All he could do was shake his head and look away.*16
All the emotions from the past thousand years whipped around his heart in a whirlwind of loss, regret and mistakes against the truth of the wizard's words. He let the dark storm in his soul run its course until it finally found its place in his life and he was centered again in a new light.
"Where will you go? ... Go north..."
"...Azog was sent to kill them. His master wants the mountain, not just for treasure but its strategic position. This is the gateway to reclaiming Angmar in the North." (Gandalf)*17
Angmar... where she died...*18
"...what is his name?" Legolas asked with half-hearted interest.
"He is known in the wilds as "Strider. His true name..." He dropped his voice significantly to gain his son's attention, "you must discover for yourself."
Legolas gave his father a small smile of appreciation before turning away with no parting of goodwill. His son was maintaining the calm demeanor of the Eldar as though there was no love in it. Was that truly all that was left between them? Polite respect?
Suddenly he realized he would never see his son again and hundreds of years worth of regret pressed down upon his heart like a heavy hand.
His son stopped but did not turn back to him.
He continued in almost a rush. "Your mother loved you. More than anyone, more than life..."
Legolas half turned back to him, but could not meet his eyes, instead he hastily gave him the formal parting of goodwill—head bowed, right hand over heart then extended to the other person.
He returned the gesture, but his son was gone before he could complete it. He sadly shook his head before looking down in a moment of morning as tears formed in his eyes. So much to say, so much his son should know—should have known. He had hoped mentioning his mother's love was enough to give his son some peace. It had to be, his son was gone... but Tauriel was still here.*19
"...If this is love, I do not want it. Take it from me, please!" (Tauriel)*20
You think it is love? Are you ready to die for it?"
"The Dwarves will be slaughtered..."(Tauriel)
Yes, they will die ... What does it matter? They are mortal."
The Hafling and his Shire, Bard the Dragon-slayer and his race of men. Even the dwarves... Each one of them were mortal and yet had proven themselves beyond measure amongst all the bloodshed of the battlefield and he realized it did matter.
It mattered a great deal...
*1., *19. & *20. =B5A-43, "The Sorrow of Elves".
*2.=DOS-Appendix 9 (extended release dvd), "The Halls of the Elvenking"
*3., *5 & *7. =DOS-13, "King and Captain".
*4.= B5A-The Appendices Part 12 (extended release dvd), "The People of Middle-Earth, Thranduil"—This was taken from Lee Pace's audition and since it was an early draft of the script, it's still technically movieverse and I thought it would be fun to include here.
*6. & *15. =B5A-37, "Blood of the Eldar".
*8. =DOS-Appendix 9 (extended release dvd), "The Halls of the Elvenking"—It's scenes like this that kind of inspired me to write "Reflections" in the first place, because they just add so much more depth and definition to the character. Personally, I would have included it in the movie...
*9. & *10. =DOS-11, "The Woodland Realm".
*11. =B5A-14, "The Elvenking's Aid".
*12. & *13. =B5A-21, "Thief in the Night".
*14. & *17. =B5A-18. "Last Move in a Master Plan".
*16.= B5A-The Appendices Part 12 (extended release dvd), "The People of Middle-Earth, Thranduil"—And this, this is at the center of why I wanted to write this whole thing in the first place! This tiny little scene thrown in as an extra in the very last disk of the dvds that totally explains his change of heart and gives way more weight to scene 43 and they didn't include it in the movie?!
*18. =B5A-17 "The Shadow of Gundabad"—where Leggy tells Taury about his mother dying there-and my own fic of what happened in "My Queen of Starlight".
[No dvd extras, including Mr Pace's audition, scene titles or the slow marching elven army were harmed during the production of Part 2.]
Thranduil and the world of the Hobbit movies are the property of Warner Bros. Entertainment & MGM directly; Sir PJ indirectly and Mr Lee Pace embodimently because he is—oh my yes!—Thranduil. I was just visiting because I really wanted to get into Thrandy's head and not for profit. jk2017 tyl]