A/N1: watches in chagrin as people keel over from the shock of seeing an update A/N2: This is it, folks. The End. The Final Frontier. The End of the Road. Thranduil's feeling pretty good about that, really ("About time!" he says.). Anyways, enjoy the story, and let me know what you think of it!
Thanks to everyone who's stuck with me so far! It's really appreciated!
For Disclaimers, see part 1.
Thranduil's Longest Day
Both King and Prince instinctively fought against the hands that reached out for them, until one of the hands' owners had the sense to call out: "Sire!"
At the sound of the voice --an Elvish voice, and familiar at that-- both Thranduil and Legolas paused in their efforts to get away, at last taking the time to look at this new band of people. Recognized them; members of the Royal Guard, all.
Both royal Elves sagged in relief, feeling the delayed reaction set in as all that they had endured that day closed in on them at the ebb of fear-born adrenaline. Wounds started to ache out of proportion to their size, spider-poison acted on them as well, making them both sluggish and nauseous. They were, they had to admit, rather worse for wear after that day's events.
There was a loud crashing noise through the nearby wood, coming steadily nearer.
The Elven guard placed themselves in a protective ring around the ill and injured royals, faced the threatening noise with weapons drawn and ready.
The sounds of crashing came ever closer, accompanied now by the sounds of snapping twigs and unstealthy footsteps, gutteral-voiced curses. Then a nearby bank of underbrush disintegrated beneath the rush of the noisemakers.
The dwarven archers.
They came to an abrupt halt at the sight of the armed band of Elves, though by no means did this mean that they became silent. Indeed, the lot of them stood in a group, stomping and shuffling about, grumbling, panting...
Thranduil thought it could be nothing but a miracle that they had managed to make it that far into Mirkwood and not be caught by one of the nests of giant spiders. Though perhaps they were as unpalatable to the spiders as they were an annoyance to the Elves.
He could still hear Legolas' frightened voice calling for his Ada as he fell helplessly from the branch, still wrapped firmly in spidersilk.
He glared, though he doubted it looked very fearsome --ill, hurt, and bedraggled as he was-- and held Legolas tighter against him. The young Elf was green-faced, barely conscious, held firmly in the grip of spider-venom.
"There they are," one of the dwarves in question said to his companions, pointing to where Thranduil and Legolas sat on the ground in the midst of the Elven guards. Then he turned to the two Elves in question. "Hey! You! We want our reward! You owe us! Give!"
"Reward?" one of the Elves in the ring asked Thranduil in an undertone.
The dwarf showed himself in posession of good hearing. "Yes, reward! He --the big one-- promised us a reward if we got him and the other one down from the branch where the spiders had put 'em. Then he ran off, said he wouldn't pay up. And we want our reward!"
The Elves knew there had to be more to the story than that; all knew how generous the monarch could be when the welfare of his son was involved.
Thranduil filled in the blanks in the dwarves' story. "They dropped us. I went so far as to beg them not to drop him --to let him down gently-- but they did just the same. They dropped us."
"Who'da thought they wouldn't land on their feet? Thought Elves was like cats!" another of the dwarves said in defense.
"Was kind of funny, though, wasn't it?" another said softly with a sinister chuckle. "The smaller one yelling 'Adaaaaa' all the way down. What did he think it was, a magic trick? Him yelling 'AbracAdaaaaaabra' and poof! he's on the ground?"
The dwarves shared chuckles, oblivious to how their telling had more than upset the Elves. When they turned back to them, they were shocked to see them all livid and glowing with barely-suppressed anger.
"What?" one of the dwarves demanded. "It was funny, and it's not like they got hurt!"
"You dropped them from the branch?" one of the Elves managed to grind out. "Onto the spiders' boneyard?"
Finally seeing that the Elves weren't inclined to see the humor in the situation, the dwarves straightened. Unfortunately, straightening didn't give them more sense, nor tact. "Yeah, so?"
"One of the bones they landed on could have gone right through the spider-wrappings and into them! It could have injured --or even killed-- them!"
"But none did, and they're fine," argued the dwarven spokesman. "And who are they anyways, that you care what happened beyond that? Look at them! They're filthy, their clothes ragged. Why should you care what happens to some nameless rifraff, beyond to acknowledge that they're well?"
If anything, the Elves' angry glow brightened further, and they closed ranks against the dwarves, hiding their two charges from casual view. "Their names are Thranduil and Legolas."
A sigh at the ignorance of dwarves. "The King and Prince of Mirkwood."
"Oh." Then the dwarf shook his shaggy head. "Those ragged urchins rule Mirkwood? Ha! Not likely. It'll take more than you saying so to convince me of that!"
Coming steadily nearer from the direction of the palace, Thranduil could hear the barely-perceptible sound of a troop of Elven reinforcements. And so, knowing the additional troops could support them in the endeavor, he gave the order he had wanted to give since seeing the fear in Legolas' face, hearing it as he plummeted from the branch.
"Arrest them," he said, voice ringing with quiet authority.
King and Prince were carried back to the palace on a pair of litters made by the Elven guards, and were soon tended to by Healers, washed, fed, and tucked warmly into their beds to rest and finish healing.
The dwarven troop was disarmed after a small struggle (which the arrival of Elven reinforcements swiftly quelled), and escorted to the palace, to be placed in the dungeons.
Thranduil awoke slowly, languidly. He stretched in the large bed, bare skin sliding easily over the slick silken sheets even as he blinked sleepily up at the canopy above, a canopy made of layered sheer green silk cut to mimic leaves and ferns, the posts elaborately carved with the flowing vines and curves of which the Elves were so fond.
For a long moment he lay there, drowsing in the warmth and softness, not yet willing to admit that he was awake, that the day had begun.
At last, though, it was time to rise. If nothing else, he had to both visit Legolas and see to the sentencing of the dwarves he had had imprisoned the day before.
The full bath, sitting in its usual spot in front of the fireplace, caught his eye and he made his way toward it, pulling his nightshirt smoothly over his head as he went.
Or at least, that was his intention.
In actuality, the nightshirt got caught halfway on its way over his jaw.
Thranduil let out a small sound of disbelief, a sound easily swallowed by the enveloping fabric. This can't be happening,he thought to himself, stumbling a little as he tugged at his nightshirt, only managing to trap his arms in the fabric over his head. Not again!
With a bit of struggling, he managed to pull the nightshirt back down over himself. I am not repeating yesterday!he thought to himself as he walked back toward the bed, carefully stepping around the rug that had betrayed him the day before. Climbing back onto the bed, he pulled the covers back up over himself and slipped off into warm softness, eyes going blank as he drifted.
Betcha didn't think I would finish it, did you? ;oP
Poor Thranduil. He's had one lousy day. But at least he knew better than to try his luck at it a second time!
Anyways, thank for sticking with the story this far. Hope you liked it! If you did, please do click the button down there and let the plotbunnies and I know! We absolutely love reviews (they're one of the best snacks ever!).