Isn't it amazing? I have finally updated! For those who care, I returned from my vacation in Europe on August. 23. I admit I have been lazy in writing. Forgive me, hopefully this chapter will make up for the time I have spent. Thank you all my reviewers who reviewed my last chapter and while I was away. It ment alot to me. Anyways I'd like to thank my wonderful beta (drum role)
She did a wonderful job with this chapter. Go read her new story, its spectacular! (and about Thranduil)
Anyways, this is my LAST CHAPTER! I will be writing a sequel, I promise the next story will move along much quicker then this one. Unfortuantly Elladan and Elhorir will not appear in this story, but in the next one.. (GRINS) They make quite a few apperances (GRINS EVILY). Please enjoy the chapter. I hope you all enjoy it.
Life passed on as usual, as usual as it could outside the Black Gates of Mordor. The sky was ever a horrifyingly dark color; the sun never rose. The men's morale was quickly disintegrating, and even the most hopeful souls despaired. To win a war where the odds were so desperately against them just wasn't possible. To many, there was simply no hope of winning.
Two leaders of elves, however, appeared almost blissfully unaware of the dark shadow. One was inseparable from the other, and little passed without the other knowing. They were friends, forever connected too by a shared love of a young elf currently residing in Lothlórien. Indeed, history muses that Elrond's companionship saved Thranduil during the dark times and kept him from fading.
A throat was cleared outside Thranduil's tent to announce Aramas. Both royal elf and his friend looked up from a map and a bottle of wine to view the warrior's entrance. Aramas bowed formally to both of them before speaking: "Caun-nin, there is an elf out here who demands to see you."
Thranduil raised one eyebrow as he took a seat. "How many times have I asked you not to call me that?"
Elrond held down a snort as Aramas' ears turned bright red to the very tip. "Perhaps you should have him flogged as the humans do their soldiers," he said with mirth.
"I must protest, sir, it is not that much of a mistake," Aramas replied nervously, glancing at his leader in utter horror.
Thranduil allowed himself a small smile before answering. "Valar knows I'd never order something like that. I don't know an elf in camp who would do it." As the warrior flashed him a relieved look, he shook his head. "Good Valar, do you know me so little?"
"Well, sir… A few days ago you told every human in camp that if they disobeyed your order you'd turn them into frogs – female frogs."
As Elrond laughed aloud, tilting his head back and letting dark hair fall off his shoulders, Thranduil glanced at him. "Oh, quiet. It was worth seeing their expressions. They have never met an elf before this, so perhaps I can turn them into frogs to the best of their knowledge, if they continue to annoy me so."
"Aye, if you have a wizard on your side," Elrond retorted, taking a sip of his wine.
"Let m'lord Elrond not forget what good friends Thranduil is with wizards," Aramas said seriously.
"Oh, Aramas," Thranduil chided, leaning back in his chair and resting his feet on the edge of the table. "Do not lie to Elrond. The last time I met a wizard, I strung him up in a tree by his hands and left him to a swarm of bees. I don't think any wizards are on my side." Suddenly he changed the subject, like a child distracted. "Who is the elf waiting outside?"
Elrond bit back another laugh as he listened to Thranduil. Being around someone slightly younger than he made him feel alive again. It was almost like having Elros back again.
"He will not give his name, but he says he has a letter of introduction from somebody you knew," Aramas replied.
"I hope it is no recommendation from my father, because I will not accept him. Send him in," Thranduil sighed. "We will see what good it does."
Aramas nodded deeply and turned swiftly on his heel, narrowly missing one of the main poles in the tent in his haste. Thranduil grinned like a jester at Elrond, although it vanished as a tall blonde elf entered the tent. He stood at attention, his eyes staring hard at the back canopy. His hair was more yellow than Thranduil's silver hair, and he looked younger than most of the elves enlisted. His body was lithe, but mostly thin, and his clothes did not appear to be elvish make. Elrond observed the lad. Something in the way he stood or perhaps in his face reminded him of someone he once knew. His mind returned to the funeral of the great Glorfindel. He had been just a child then, but it was the first time he had ever seen an elf...dead.
Thranduil got to his feet and nodded at the young elf. "What can I do for you? Are you seeking to enlist?"
The newcomer was silent. He slowly removed his eyes from the back wall of the tent to meet the eyes of the royal elf standing before him. As Thranduil gazed into them, he knew that this adolescent elf standing before him was not inexperienced in the act of war.
"I am seeking Elrond of Rivendell. Once I find him you will know my reason for coming here." The elf paused; his speech was slow and deliberate. His accent had a slight trace of Greenwood in it, but something else overpowered it, another accent that had not been heard in Arda for some time. "I promised a youngster in Lothlórien I would deliver this letter to you."
As he was handed a thin envelope by the mysterious elf, Thranduil felt shaken. Was it possible that this stranger had seen his son? He slowly took the letter and sat down before fully looking at it. There was no name on the front, but he turned it over nonetheless to uncover the letter inside.
Although Elrond was deeply happy for his friend, he could not help but stare at the visitor. "Who are you?" he asked suspiciously. "Why do you seek Elrond of Rivendell?"
The unknown elf slowly moved his gray eyes across the tent. "I am charged by the Valar to protect him from any and all harm."
As Elrond raised one cynical eyebrow, Thranduil looked up from the letter in disbelief. "But how can this be? Who are you?"
"I am what the letter from your son says. Glorfindel of Gondolin. Reborn."
The battle was soon to start. The commanders had chosen a date and a strategy, and had created a burial ground for many hundreds of elves and humans. As they waited, the men were nervous. Even with adrenaline rushing through their veins, few were eager to begin fighting. The elves controlled themselves more than the mortals. Every human was tense, their minds reviewing all their past memories as their lives started flashing before their eyes. What the elves did, none could tell, for they showed nothing. Not even the hint of nervousness. But they certainly felt it.
Thranduil stood in front of his battalion of men. Waiting, watching the horizon for light that would never come. Somewhere in the far depths of his imagination he hoped that the Valar would suddenly appear and vanquish all evil on the land. And yet, he knew he would have to fight his own fight. Perhaps even survive it.
He was beginning to see the dark rising on the horizon. Darker then usual. He could almost feel his men quaking behind him. Though they showed no physical fear, he could feel it radiating off of them. Thranduil turned; he would die willingly to save their lives. But his life would not be enough.
"My friends." He spoke loudly above the tumult of preparation for battle. "I come to you not only as a leader, but as a father who has a son. A husband who once had a wife. I know that each of you have ones whom you love. Though they are far away they are still near to your hearts. Do not think for a moment that if you fail to give your all they will live. If we do not defeat this evil then it will overcome the land. Ravaging it, making it the very evil that we abhor at this moment. If we do not stop this evil here and now then it will overcome your homes and families. Be strong, my friends, and know that the battle is not over until not one of us is left standing."
The elves pranced lightly on the balls of their feet. Ready to fight and die for what they knew they were protecting. Thranduil knew he had to speak no more, for they were strengthened by his few words. This was truly the difference between men and elves. One never knew with humans when they felt renewed and energized. But with elves one could always sense it.
He took his position in front of his men. He would be the first to die if necessary. He heard the sound of two galloping horses. Horses were scarce and decidedly not to be used in the immediate offense of the alliance. They were saved for the last moment of defense, when nothing else could save them.
I turned my ear slightly towards the horses before lifting my eyes up to see those who approached. Elrond slid off of his unsaddled horse next to me, his hair pulled back from his eyes, thick armor surfacing his chest and a helmet on his head.
He acknowledged me quietly. I noticed Glorfindel in his usual place behind Elrond, ready and prepared to do the duty he had been charged by the Valar. As they came closer, the dark haired elf grabbed my arm and held me in a brotherly manner. I did not enjoy physical touches from anyone other than my son, yet he was bold enough to reach out.
"If anything happens to me, Thranduil…" His voice was soft; I could feel his heart breaking with every word. "My wife, my two sons. Promise me you will watch over them."
I found myself using my free hand to touch his shoulder. "I swear it, Elrond."
He seemed somewhat relieved by my promise, though I found myself wondering why I did not. I was more likely to die than him. He had a protector; I had the Valar, and they had done very little for me. Before I could stop myself, I spoke: "Will you swear that you will watch over Legolas and take care of him, should I be willed by the Valar to Mandos?"
Elrond didn't hesitate, and nodded his affirmation. "I swear it."
"May the Valar give you strength," I said quietly.
"May the Valar protect you," he responded.
Glorfindel was near enough to hear our conversation, and I let my eyes make contact with him. "I pray we will never see each other in Mandos."
"It was miserable," Glorfindel smiled tightly. "I have no intentions of returning. Nobody else here should have to be taken there."
A trumpet from the distance sounded. It was a sign that all commanders should return to their legions and begin to advance. Elrond caught my eye one last time, fraternal love shining through the grey pools. Somehow I felt as if I might lose a brother that I never had. He leapt deftly upon his horse and rode swiftly back to his command. I turned my own eyes to face the battle ahead.
It was going to be a bloody battle.
The first row of arrows came down on us; my men and I were deftly behind our large shields which protected us sufficiently from the potentially fatal assault. After the first attack from the arrows had thinned, I gave my archers the order to fire on anything that moved. The other men and I prepared our shields and swords as we waited for the first wave. It came sooner than we expected.
Our enemy was disgusting, and for the first time I found pleasure in killing. My body responded in a graceful manner. The moves that I had been taught by my instructors came out in fluid movements. I had nothing to worry about; I was safe, until I became tired.
I heard a cry to my right. I looked just in time to see one of my archers fall from an arrow that had gone straight through his head. Fury overcame me, and I fought without thinking. Grace had little to do with it now.
As I attacked the creatures over and over I thought little else but of revenge against my father. The anger that had welled up inside of me began to pour out in torrents, giving me the energy to fight. My men apparently fed off of that energy.
As my anger burned less and less, the energy that I once had left me. I felt weakened and drained. Looking at the sky I knew that we had been fighting for over four hours. Even the most seasoned of warriors would find it difficult to continue over such strenuous fighting, but wave after wave poured into my men and the alliance.
I lost count of the waves; my mind became unconscious after a time. I almost did things mechanically. I watched my men fall besides me. Some of them I knew dearly, others I had met only briefly. I kept my eye open for Aramas. Thankfully every time I looked he always had my back and I his.
The creatures came stronger and stronger and I became weaker and weaker. I lost count of how many times I felt the poisoned blades of the enemy descend upon my immortal skin. I lost count of how much blood I had lost. I only had one thought left in me, protect my son.
Suddenly time stopped. Everything froze. Then suddenly a bright light exploded and the ground opened. For a moment I thought this was what death would look like. I was wrong. This was death, but not for me. The ground had swallowed the creatures up. It spread like wild fire, killing off our foes faster than any dozen of elves could. I knew that the battle was over. But who had survived?
Everyone was in shock. I found myself a rock and sat heavily upon it, leaning on my sword sticking into the ground. It was the only thing keeping me from collapsing and giving up for death.
It seemed like hours passed as I sat. I didn't know what to do. Bury the dead? I sat and watched, my mind too much of a daze to accomplish much. Solider boys ran around calling to healers after checking each man and elf on the field. Most were having something laid over their body as a sign of death. I slowly began to move around my men, seeing who was alive and who had died.
I returned to my rock to find Aramas leaning against it, his mind as dazed as mine. I sat heavily on the rock and patted his shoulder. He had survived, and for this I was grateful. I heard the sound of footsteps behind me; I turned slowly to find Elrond. I offered a small smile. Elrond was covered in dark blood of orcs, his hair full of mud and Valar knows what else.
I didn't offer any greetings, and he didn't either.
"The Lord of Lothlorien has been killed. As has High King Gil-galad."
"What exactly happened back there? Did the Valar come to our aid?"
"Isildur. He destroyed him."
"Is it over? All of it?" Aramas asked. Elrond didn't have to answer, for a loud shout came from behind him. Thranduil and Aramas both shifted their weight to look behind, only to find Glorfindel dancing around the dead bodies of orcs.
"How does he find the energy to do that?" Aramas questioned rhetorically.
Glorfindel jumped over three bodies of humans to grab a healer and dance in circles with him.
"Good Valar, he's still alive?" Thranduil asked sarcastically.
Elrond chuckled. "Glad to see you're still alive."
"I think I am too," Thranduil answered lightly, a smile gracing his features.
As Elrond returned the smile, a young elf entered into their vision. He limped slowly towards them and looked the royal immortal in the eye. "Are you Thranduil son of Oropher, King of Greenwood?"
Thranduil narrowed his eyes at him. "I am. Who are you? What message do you bring from my father?"
The elf did not answer but swiftly kneeled and drew out a sword. "Your father was killed in the battle, m'lord. You are the rightful king of Greenwood the Great."
Thranduil stood slowly. "He is dead…"
"Yes, my king."
"Rise," Thranduil spoke softly.
"I was there sir, when your father was dying. He died quickly but I was near him. He told me to give you his sword."
Thranduil took the sword from the squire and looked at it. It was bloodied with orc blood. It had several jewels encrusted in the hilt, and he shook his head as he looked at the young elf. "You take it, give it to your children and tell them about this battle. Make sure they never forget it."
The squire took the sword slowly and held it, unsure of what to do. The emotion that crossed his face was unreadable. "My Lord, the rest of the army will escort you to Greenwood."
"Thank you," Thranduil smiled slightly, "but tell the men to return to their homes and their families. I can escort myself home. I must return to my son, he is residing in Lothlorien at the moment."
The elf nodded and turned around to walk away before stopping again. "My Lord, your father… Before he died, he told me to give this to you as well."
The elf pulled a small necklace from his pocket. It was a mithril pendant with a small object hanging on the end of it. It was his mother's ring. The same ring he gave to Elranna.
"He also said for me to tell you that he was sorry."
Thranduil inhaled sharply as he grasped the necklace in his hand. The blood on his hand marred the mithril slightly, but it was his wife's ring. His love. Nothing else mattered.
He felt his eyes shut and his body crumble. Somehow in the back of his mind he heard the voice of Elrond and the sound of Aramas catching him. But he did not care; his body was exhausted from the loss of blood and excursion. But they had the won the battle, he was king, and his ring had returned.
Did you enjoy it? Did I please you? Please write a review, even though I don't deserve it. Thanks for sticking with the story.
Anyways I hope you guys will stick around for the sequel. I promise it will be longer! With more cameo apperances to!