Chapter 7: Forgotten and Found
Rafél advanced Thranduil's room, halting for a moment to knock. No answer came, but the warrior waiting outside knew that his Lord was inside: he had met Thranduil's aids and they had informed him – rather cautiously – about their King's current location. Sighing in frustration, Rafél opened the door, entering the dim room.
Thranduil stood in the middle of his room, his eyes staring at the bed on one side, though Rafél guessed that his Lord didn't actually see anything. Not at least what now lay before him.
"My Lord, I would wish to speak with you," Rafél started, waiting an answer more of out curiosity than of real belief that he would get one. He didn't get one, either. "Your youngest son is not well, my liege," he continued. "I am worried for Legolas."
There may have been a shift in Thranduil's posture, but nothing more revealed that he even knew that he was not alone.
Rafél drew along breath, his temper rising. "By the Valar, collect yourself, Thranduil!" he said with an authority he hadn't used towards his Lord for ages. "You may dwell in your sorrow if you wish, and well I understand you in this, but will you also doom Legolas with your actions? He needs his father."
Shadowed eyes turned to meet Rafél, a light of recognition slowly returning to them. "My son…" Thranduil began, his voice rough.
"He needs you," Rafél said with a low voice, stepping forward and placing his hand upon Thranduil's shoulder. "I am worried for him, and I would do everything in my power to help him, but he needs you."
Thranduil shook his head, his eyes turning away again.
Rafél's hand tightened around his Lord's shoulder, making Thranduil flinch in pain. "I will not see Legolas' sprit falling into shadows because you cannot master your own feelings and emotions, son of Oropher. What would Galenrosiel think, seeing his youngest suffer like this, while you do nothing to help him?"
The fury in Rafél's voice finally brought Thranduil back to reality, his eyes blinking as if after a long sleep. He met Rafél's eyes, a dry smile slowly forming to his lips. "At the moment I do not wonder why she chose you to guard Legolas: you still do not hesitate to guide me like an erratic child."
Rafél answered to the smile, bowing slightly. "Perhaps that is because I have seen more years on this earth than you, my liege."
Thranduil frowned, seeing the truth in the other's words. Rafél was his senior, even if they were a King and a subject now. Yet Thranduil remembered the days – long before Oropher had set his foot on the Greenwood the Great – when he had looked up at Rafél with respect. He still did, of course. The only reason why Rafél had ever bowed before him was that Thranduil was a son of Oropher, and later a prince when they came to their new home on the eastern side of Misty Mountains.
"You said Legolas is not well," Thranduil finally asked, pulling himself away from the memories.
"Yes. He disappeared yesterday after I left with the army, and none saw him before I found him from his room this morning. He must have come back there after the healers checked his room for the last time. When I asked him where he had been, he couldn't tell me."
"Why is that?" Thranduil asked, his brow furrowing.
"He couldn't remember," Rafél replied. "And I see no reason as to why he would lie. And there was confusion in his eyes."
Thranduil nodded, deep in thought.
"He is still young, and can't understand death, Thranduil. We have all left him alone to cope with his fears after the attack, and even when he sought to be in our company, we were forced to push him away because of our own deeds and sorrow."
Thranduil swept one hand over his forehead wearily, sighing. "It never crossed my mind that Legolas was not well. But I drowned in my own sorrow, forgetting all else. May the Valar forgive me my selfishness, and may it be so that not too much harm has fallen upon my son." Turning towards the door, Thranduil clasped Rafél's hand, squeezing it firmly. "Hannon le, mellon nîn."
Rafél bowed, and then they both stepped out of the room, making their way to Legolas' room. When they reached the Prince's door Thranduil halted, indicating that Rafél should wait outside. Then the King entered, never seeing the smile that took over Rafél's features.
Thranduil walked quietly to the side of his son's bed, standing there a good while, sad but fond smile upon his face. Slowly he sat down, staring down at the small pale face. Only now he truly realised that he had almost lost Legolas also, and the thought pained his heart. Of all his sons, Galenrosiel had loved Legolas most, and now it would be Thranduil's task to take care of the child. Bowing down, Thranduil kissed Legolas' temple softly.
When Thranduil drew back up again he felt Legolas stir, the small being stretching and blinking sleepily. "Ada!" came a joyous shout and suddenly Thranduil found his arms full of small Elfling.
With a smile on his own Thranduil hugged Legolas close, cherishing in the warmth of the small body, feeling the steady heartbeat under his hands. "My little leaf, please forgive me. I promise I will never…" Thranduil lost his words, not sure what he was apologising for.
"Ada…" Legolas mumbled happily. Then he rose his golden head, his eyes fearful as he looked at his father. "Will you leave me now? Like Nana?"
"No, my dear Legolas, never think so!" Thranduil said fiercely. "I will never leave you, and I am sorry if I made you think so. I love you far too much to let anything happen to you. It would kill my heart, if something would happen to you. Please, forgive me."
Legolas sighed happily, resting his head against his father's chest. "It is alright, Ada. I love you, too." Slender hands locked themselves around Thranduil's neck, and for the first time after his wife's death, Thranduil felt peace, and ready to live again.
Pressing his son close, Thranduil closed his eyes, humming softly a song that Galenrosiel had always sang to Legolas. He felt the small body relax against him, a high voice joining to his. Together, they sang, sorrow momentarily forgotten.
In the corridor, Tirifëa and Lossaurion approached Legolas room, planning to see their brother. They both felt guilty that they had not spent more time with the youth, but they had decided to fix that errand at once. As long as their father was not well, it would be their task to take care of their brother.
They both halted when they noticed Rafél standing before Legolas' door.
"Is something wrong?" Lossaurion asked, alarmed, his hand reaching for the knob.
Rafél motioned the brothers to stand back, smile upon his face. "All is well," he said softly, his sensitive ears hearing the voices through the door. "All will be just fine."
Sindarin: - Westron:
Hannon le – Thank you
Mellon nîn – My friend