Call To Council
by: Isil Elensar

A knock on the door interrupted Thranduil as he studied the documents in front of him. "Enter," he called and he looked up as the messenger entered in.

"A letter has just arrived, my lord. The courier said it was most urgent."

He watched the messenger carefully as the fellow bowed low, righted himself, then brought him a letter. The messenger bowed low once more before retreating to a respectful distance. He did not squirm under Thranduil's scrutiny. Taking the letter in his hands, Thranduil's curiosity rose. The seal was not familiar. The sealing wax was blue in color, and the seal itself was a single flower. Thranduil broke the seal as he opened the letter and read it swiftly. Not sure he read it rightly, he read it again, this time more slowly. When he finished it, he looked at the messenger in silence for a moment. He put the letter down, then responded.

"Bring me my March warden, his lieutenant, and my son," he said firmly. The messenger bowed low, then left the room, closing the door softly behind him. Thranduil ran a hand over his face and sat looking at the letter. It was from Elrod, Lord of Imladris. The seal itself had been made so as not to give away the letter's origin. Only the courier knew, and he was to return as soon as it was safely delivered to Thranduil's houshold. He picked up the letter once more, to make sure he had read it correctly.

To Thranduil, King of Mirkwood, does Elrond of Imladris send greetings.

I only wish that I had easy news to send, but this is by no means easy. I write with tidings that are dark indeed. The Shadow of Mordor has lengthened and threatens life on Middle-earth as we know it. The Ring has been found. I have called for a Council to be held here in Imladris for the free peoples of Middle-earth. I ask that you send a representative from your realm with all possible speed.

Namarie.

He sat in silence, waiting for those he sent for. Soon, a knock at the door sounded and Legolas entered first, with the March warden and lieutenant behind him.

"What news, ada?" Legolas asked. Thranduil looked upon his son's face and saw confusion and worry written on his face. His son. Legolas was the only one he could trust completely on this mission, and yet he did not want to send him. Legolas was his only son, heir to this realm. Thranduil could not bear to think that he'd never see his son again, and yet, he had to go.

Sighing, Thranduil stood and spoke. "I have had word from Lord Elrond. A Council has been called and he has asked that I send him a representative from Mirkwood. I have chosen you to go."

"Ada, are you certain?"

"Yes, my son, I am." Thranduil smiled gently. He knew very well his son was willing to go. "This is a very important task, Legolas, and I know I can trust you to complete it."

Legolas nodded his head once and looked at his father. Thranduil could see his son's face straining to remain calm and serious, but he was failing miserably. He shook his head and then looked beyond Legolas at his March warden.

"Hebron, I would like you to go with him..." he began.

"Ada..." Legolas interrupted. Thranduil read the indignation on his son's face.

"I know you can take care of yourself, but I am not taking any chances. Not now. Hebron, I want you to choose one other to go with you. One you trust completely. I am entrusting my son into your protection."

"I am honored you trust me with this mission, my lord. If it pleases you, my lieutenant, Candirith, will take my place and I will take Sarnon with us."

"Very well," Thranduil looked at his son once more. Then he sat down and took out some parchment, a quill and ink. He jotted a quick note to Elrond, then folded and sealed it. He handed it to Legolas who looked curiously at it. "It is only a response to Elrond, son. I told him I have sent you to represent our people." Legolas nodded. "Legolas, you and Hebron and Sarnon will leave at week's end."

All three bowed and began to leave. "Legolas, stay a moment," he called to his son. Legolas turned and came to stand in front of his father. They looked at each other in silence, then Thranduil gathered his son in his arms.

"Take care of yourself, son. Come back to me alive," he said softly.

"I will, Ada. I promise," Legolas replied.

Thranduil stood back from his son and smiled weakly. He embraced his son again and then released him. Legolas smiled in return, then made to leave again. Before he got to the door, Thranduil said, "I love you, son." Legolas stopped midway through the door and turned, looking back over his shoulder.

"I love you, too, Ada," and then he left, closing the door behind him. Thranduil turned and walked to the window that overlooked the courtyard of the palace. He watched as his son met with the March warden, discussing their preparations. Then the two left the courtyard. For a moment more, he stood looking at the empty courtyard.

"Come back to me alive, my son," he said quietly.