by: Isil Elensar
It was a warm, sunny afternoon in late summer, and Thranduil had only half-heartedly gone over the documents in front of him. Despite the urgings from his counselors to sign this policy or read that treaty, he could not bring himself to think of them this day. On top of the relatively small mound of documents lay a rather worn out letter. He had read it over many, many times, and he picked it up to read it again.
I have offered my services to protect the Ring bearer on his quest. We will be leaving soon, from Rivendell, on our way to Mordor to destroy the One Ring. We are nine, and consist of four very determined young halflings, two Men, a dwarf, myself and Gandalf.
Ada, I do not know when I shall return. Do not despair, for I intend to keep my promise to you. Once we are finished, I will send word of my homecoming.
I love you, Ada,
The letter was brought to him at mid-winter, when Hebron and Sarnon came back with reports from the Council. He had kept it with him ever since. He had received no other word from his son since he left from Rivendell, which had just passed a year. Worry nagged at Thranduil, and maybe just a little sadness, but he would not despair. He remained ever hopeful to see his son again. Since Legolas left, no day went by without a cherished memory emerging. Various memories of various stages in his son's life. The memories often brought a smile to his face.
Looking up from the letter, Thranduil looked toward the golden light of the afternoon sun that filtered into the room through the sheer curtains. He rose up from his seat behind his desk and went to stand by the window. It overlooked the courtyard, which stood silent and empty. He had only visited it twice after Legolas left.
Sighing heavily, he went back to his desk and tried to read another document. He only managed to get halfway through before putting it down again. 'Do not despair,' he thought, repeating his son's request. 'I must not despair. I have to get out.' He rung the bell to summon a messenger. When they arrived, Thranduil rose again and smiled kindly.
"Tell my chatelaine and exchequer that I will meet with them tomorrow," he said quietly yet firmly. The messenger bowed lowly and was about to leave when Thranduil stopped him. "Let it be known that I am not to be disturbed." The messenger bowed once more, and waited patiently for anything further. The king nodded and sent him on his way with a smile. Standing alone for a moment in silence, another memory surfaced.
5-year-old Legolas was scampering about the courtyard riding his loyal steed. No matter that the steed itself was the wooden variety. To Legolas, the horse was real enough. He was laughing as he played, his long golden hair flowing behind him. His nursemaid was sitting quietly on the single bench, mending a tunic he had torn the day before. She kept her eye on the boy and smiled often at him. From the entrance of the courtyard, Thranduil watched with a smile on his own face. 'You ride marvelously, my boy,' he called from where he stood. He took a few steps into the courtyard, and almost immediately, Legolas dropped his horse and ran into his father's outstretched arms. Thranduil lifted him up and held him close. They did not see the nursemaid who had put down her mending and watched them with a smile gracing her face.
Moving away from the window, Thranduil went out of his office and strode purposefully down the hallway. He nodded in friendly acknowledgement to those he passed, but he did not stop. His destination was the sunny courtyard, where he could sit and remember more happy memories.
The walk was not very long at all, and when he arrived at the entrance to the courtyard, he slowed his pace. More memories flooded his mind as he came to a stop in the center of the courtyard. Legolas as a child playing his games; Legolas as a student finishing his schoolwork and studying; Legolas as a grown man, talking to his friends at an afternoon party. Many years of memories waiting to be remembered. Thranduil was so lost in his memories that he did not hear the newcomer arrive.
Legolas stood for a moment, looking at Thranduil. He could barely contain his pleasure at seeing his father after being gone for over a year. He cleared his throat, trying to gain Thranduil's attention. The man stirred, but did not turn around.
"I left orders that I was not to be disturbed," he said with a slightly irritated tone.
Legolas smiled as an idea came to him. "I did not mean to intrude, father. I shall leave you to your reverie," he replied. Watching him intently, Legolas saw his father's head slowly turn over his shoulder. Happy realization dawned on his face as he looked at the speaker and then he fully turned around. No other thoughts crossed Thranduil's mind except, 'He has returned! My son is home!' In rapid movement, they met each other and father embraced son enthusiastically.
"I am so happy you returned, my son," Thranduil spoke softy as tears of joy ran down his face.
"I promised you that I would, ada," Legolas replied through tears of his own.
They held on to each other for a while longer before pulling apart. They walked back into the palace and to Thranduil's office where he ordered a great feast to be prepared tomorrow in celebration of Legolas' return. Tonight, they would eat together, alone, as father and son reunited.
"You must be tired from you journey, son. You should rest before dinner arrives," he spoke with care in his voice.
"Nay, ada. I am not tired at all! Let us sit and talk. I have much to tell you," Legolas replied.
And so they sat until dinner was brought. Legolas telling his father of his travels and of the friends he made. Thranduil stayed silent mostly, listening to his son's adventures.
'Thank Iluvatar my son is home,' he thought to himself with a smile on his face.