Disclaimer: The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien owns the rights to Middle Earth and all recognizable characters. I do not recieve compensation in any form for any work of fiction I have produced appearing anywhere on this site.
Author's Note: As the age of Legolas is in doubt, I am taking a few liberties by using him as the viewpoint and central character of the story. And as there is not much detailed history written of this exodus, I do not feel as though I am "messing around with canon" and can take a few artist liberties to tell a story.
And a big thank you to my Beta!
A thousand years had passed since the Battle of the Last Alliance. It had been a thousand years to the day since Oropher's death, and that very morning King Thranduil decreed that the realm would move to the north east of the forest of Greenwood the Great and there be established. Over great murmurings, Thranduil had explained how the shadow of Sauron had returned and ever encroached upon the forest and the elves of Greenwood. Legolas sat pondering this on his bed. He remembered Oropher's last words to him on that fateful morning before leaving to go to the great battle.
"For the various races of Elves, Men or anyone else, the peace of this land shall not exist until the overthrow of Sauron. And I would have you, Greenleaf, know the joy of freedom and peace in your life. Because I love you, I go now to battle." Legolas could almost hear his grandfather's voice echoing through space and time to whisper those words again to him. A proud Oropher had led the Silvan warriors away and joined with the smaller army of Amdir of Lorien. Legolas' eyes misted over, for he felt an emptiness in a part of his heart, the part that had belonged to Oropher. And now, the realm was being removed to the north east of Greenwood. There, there were no memories of his grandfather: no paths that they had ridden together, no places they had hunted, no greens they had picnicked upon. There was nothing there to remind him of his grandfather.
He felt an immense pain stab at his insides and he doubled over, crossing his arms one above the other, clutching his abdomen. He felt as if he was losing his grandfather again. He felt no shame as the tears of his sorrow flowed freely down his cheeks.
There came a gentle knocking on his door and Legolas quickly wiped his eyes and face. He ran his hands over his hair and called out, "Enter."
The door opened to reveal his father and king, Thranduil. "Greenleaf, I thought I might find you here."
"Yes, Ada. I was just.."
His father cut him off. "You are upset. There is no need to hide your emotions from me, my son."
"I know, my Greenleaf, I know. I have many memories here also. But those memories live in here," said Thranduil as he tapped his own chest over his heart. "In here, no one and nothing may take them from me. Do you understand?"
Legolas looked up at his father. He knew this already, he was no longer an elfling. Still he appreciated that his father was trying to comfort him. "Thank you, Ada. Your words comfort me. It was just that here, there are physical reminders of him, and things we did together. Where we are moving...I do not understand Ada. Why must we move? We have so much invested here."
Thranduil sighed. "Because the shadow has fallen upon Greenwood, and here we are vulnerable to the enemy. We must remove ourselves to a place of strength from which we can defend ourselves. Long have I had scouts searching for such a place, and indeed I have been and have inspected it with mine own eyes. Where we are going, it will be a stronghold of safety for our people should the need arise. And my son, I sense that we will indeed need such a place, for war comes again, and we must be ready. We will not flee and hide away in the west like so many others, but will stand and fight for what we love and hold dear. We are no cowards son. And never again shall our people die for lack of armor and weaponry. There, in our new home, we shall build our forges and smithies, and fill our armories to overflowing. Never again shall our people fall because of pride or folly."
Legolas absorbed his father's words. Another war. His father had talked little of his own experiences in the war that had claimed Oropher's life, saying one thing only; that when he looked south the horror of Mordor would revive again in his memory and that he knew that though the power of the dark one was seemingly broken, it would rise again. Those words had been permanently stamped into Legolas' memory. He often reflected upon them, in the quiet of the night, noting the scars left upon his father. Not physical scars, but emotional, and he wondered if his father would ever be free of them.
Those same scars had left his father mistrusting of others, and led to Legolas' own sheltered existance. This protectiveness had often led to heated discussions behind closed doors, for Legolas longed to visit his cousins in Lorien and to dip his feet into the Nimrodel, but his father always denied him the excursion. Legolas knew that it was those same scars and fears that prevented his father from allowing him the freedom he desired to explore Middle Earth. And now, they were moving from their home in Emyn Duir, farther away into isolation from all that he did know. In the end, he knew he had no choice but to accept the will of his father and king.