A lot of you guys said you don't like Tauriel, I noticed, and understandably because of that BS love triangle that they added. I actually didn't like that, either, but I do appreciate her. I liked that Feast of Starlight scene a lot—the one with Kili and all—but I saw it more as a friendship rather than a romance. Personally, I think that Legolas was useless in the movies (don't kill me) and actually thought that they gave Tauriel more of a relevant role than him, so that's one of the biggest faults they made when writing the script.
"Well, Cyrulan," you may ask, "If you like Tauriel so gosh darn much, why don't you add her in the story?"
Er. That's because I don't know if she's going to live after the Battle of Five Armies.
What a cold, busy month. Really sorry for the lack of update last week. BUT. I appreciate your guys' reviews, faves, etc.
Oh yes, this is important, you guys. I'm a bit careless when writing, so I cannot guarantee that there won't be any spoilers for the Hobbit or any other Tolkien fiction. I sort of just… unthinkingly add descriptions without realizing that some of you guys haven't read/watched the Hobbit. Sorry!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of Professor Tolkien's works.
"Winter is coming much sooner than I expected."
Areth was unfeeling to the chill that fell over the lands while she was within the heart of the Elven King's Realm, but beyond the closed gates, the bite of the frost could hardly be ignored. Only days previously did the wind hum with calm, but the grown strength now only spoke of the coming harshness of the new season.
"Aldamir has gained his strength," said Areth as she leafed through the book in her hands. She had not been paying any particular attention to the words, but she did appreciate the illustrations. "Not for lengthy travel, but surely enough to reach Esgaroth."
Sipping from the crystal of his wine, the Elven King leaned his weight against the arm of Areth's seat. Areth idly brushed away the loose part of his robe that caught her shoulder when he rested his palm on the back of the chair.
"I shall prepare a guard as the Gondorian's guide should he decide to leave," Thranduil dismissed as his keen, cerulean eyes lingered on the pages of the novel in her hands.
"That is unnecessary," said Areth, glancing up at him, "as that is my duty."
"Then you will be leaving soon," the King stated coolly. The impassive expression on his fair face did not once falter, though the grip that his one hand had on the wine glass perceptively tightened.
"Yes," Areth murmured quietly, slowly bringing her forest gaze back once more on the book that did not hold her attention.
"Should you decide to return to this realm," Thranduil uttered slowly, the evenness of his smooth lilt not once dissipating, "know that you will always be regarded with welcome."
Perhaps his words were said to pacify the sadness that was reflected in her voice. Regardless, the King did manage to lift the small burden that fell over her chest at the prospect of leaving this Elven realm. The edges of her lips lifted to form a slight smile—a smile that she thought was seen only by the unseeing pages of the book. It was not lost to the keen eyes of the Sindar.
"That is kind of you," she uttered quietly, turning the page.
Thranduil's thick brow rose as he spied the fading illustration of a dancing Elven woman in possession of long, flowing dark locks. Even in image, though her beauty could not even be given proper justice, it still managed to capture, to a small extent, her majesty and grace.
Diverting his glance towards the mortal, he leaned slightly towards her and said, "Are you not already aware of the ancestry of the peredhil?"
"Hm?" she uttered absently, tracing her finger along the edges of the book she said, "The Half-Elven?"
Thranduil's stare was dead-panned, if not slightly exasperated, but his expression held a small hint of amusement. Areth tilted her chin upwards and stared at him in question. The elf's eyes slid to the novel in her hands, and her green eyes soon followed.
Upon seeing the image of grace on the open page, Areth then understood.
"Is something distracting you from reading?" he uttered evenly, though even she could hear the slyness that pervaded his smooth lilt.
"It is rather hard to keep focus when my attention is constantly being diverted from a good story," she uttered dryly, hiding her face from his view by inclining her head towards the open book. It did little to keep her attention, as the words all blended together into one.
With only a slight movement of the King's head, he was able to see the sheepishness on her face. Thranduil hid the slight twitch of his lip behind the wineglass. He then tilted his head back as he drank the last remnants of the fine wine.
Thranduil lightly touched the top of her head with the lightest of caresses before moving away from her side and towards the bottled wines. Areth stiffened at the sudden action but, far too used to the Sindar's peculiarities, merely responded by lightly swatting away at his hand.
The mortal idly flipped through the pages by carefully bending at the edges without any particular intent. She stopped the quick turning of the yellowing leaves upon finding an eye-catching illustration of a realm that much resembled the Halls in which she at the moment resided in.
Reading the name of the place at the brief description, she then asked, "Have you ever seen the majesty of Menegroth?"
"Indeed," he uttered smoothly. Areth could hear the soft clinking of the crystal glasses as he filled his beverage. "The High King Thingol and his Queen Melian had welcomed me into their realm during the days in which I was absent of my great title."
Though she was certain that Thranduil meant nothing by it, Areth could not help but perceive the high airs depicted in his tone.
"Indeed, you must be rather old," she uttered dryly. However, she found herself intrigued. What stories he knew, what histories he must have witnessed, and, certainly, what tales he must have played a part in. It made her wonder how it was he tolerated her company.
Thranduil threw her a sharp look, though his cerulean eyes lacked any severe frost.
"Careful, now," he warned lightly, "You have grown bold in your time spent with me. I would hate for you to utter words that you may later regret."
"Should I have a cause for worry to speak but my unrestrained opinions? I had thought that we are friends," she uttered evenly as she closed the book and placed it on the empty space beside the cushions.
"And still I have yet to hear you address me by any other than King," he said, sighing in a rather histrionic manner.
"I would hate to call you by any other name," Areth retorted with a faux, dry sort of reverence, "Your title is deserved."
"But unnecessarily used, especially when in company of no other but our own."
"You are rather insistent," she said as she watched him. Pausing, she then uttered deliberately, "Thranduil."
"Hearing you say my name is rather satisfying," he gratified. Areth could hardly discern his sincerity with such an even tone. He took a small sip of the dark-colored wine.
"The reason is lost to me, and I care not to find out," Areth responded. Resting her chin indolently on her palm, she then said, "Will you tell me of it—of Doriath?"
"What is it you wish to know?" he said as he lingeringly took his quiet steps once again beside her, the ends of his blue robes trailing about the ground.
"I'm willing to hear anything that you wish to tell, mellon."
Thranduil hummed slightly. Tasting a small gulp of the imported wine, he clicked his tongue before finding a proper grasp on words and said, "I built my realm whilst keeping the Great Caves in mind. In truth, the majesty that you see here is nothing more than a small shard of broken glass compared to the jewel that is Menegroth."
"I did not think you had it in you to be so humble," she jested in dry humor.
"I give credit when it is due, which it has been so rarely as of recent."
"Have you ever been to Gondolin?"
Indeed, Areth was aware of how oddly eager she was to inquire, as she was usually not one to initiate further conversation. However, to speak with someone that was a witness to the great tales of old—stories that she had often heard and read about as a child, stories that had lived on the earth's soil and passed on upon the arrival of proceeding generations—brought out in her such curiosities.
"Of course. Many times, in fact, despite its isolation. I have yet to forget the fall of the once great city…" he trailed off. For a moment, he seemed lost in his memories. But then, his head shook slightly, bringing movement to the light locks framing his fair face. "But I imagine that Lord Glorfindel would be able to provide for you the entire account in great detail, should you wish it."
"I find it amazing that you were actually alive when Beleriand thrived."
"I would not use the word thrive so lightly," he said with only a small hint of emotion that seeped through his voice. "My time as an elfling in the far West was anything but prosperous—filled with wars and ill intent."
Areth shook her head. "I just seem to forget how long you have lived upon this world."
She wondered what on earth he was doing spending his time with her.
Steering the conversation, Thranduil then said, "Tell me of your travels to Imladris. How fares my distant kin to the West of the Misty Mountains?"
"They are well as can be, I would imagine. I have not been there for a while."
Thranduil merely sipped idly on his drink.
"Your realm is a stranger to Lord Elrond's company," Areth said in a form of subtle prodding.
"Is that so?" the Elven King then uttered dispassionately.
"Indeed. Many have grown wary of your isolation. Why is it that you remain so distant from your kin? I have heard that Lothlorien and Imladris are not so separated despite the distance, so the reason must lie with the King's decision."
"You forget that Lord Elrond is married to the White Lady's daughter, thus closely tying the two realms." Thranduil then made a small movement which could be perceived as a small shrug. "But I do not deny it. I stray my people from the Lady Galadriel's influence."
From the corner of her vision, Areth saw the entrance of a worn, auburn-haired guard, clad in full armor. Had she not been facing the open doorway, she certainly would have missed his pronounced presence, for he made no sound.
"Pardon my intrusion, my Lord," he uttered quietly, feeling a bit out of place as he looked between his King and his guest.
Thranduil turned to him with an impassive face, though Areth could easily discern the slight irritation that seeped through his smooth tone.
"Speak quickly, Arphen, and say what you must."
He looked even more nervous as his dark eyes glanced briefly at the mortal. The Silvan guard then took quick strides towards the King until he was merely a few distance away. Whatever he said, Areth was unable to comprehend it, for his voice was lowered and hushed, and his accent was thick. Whatever words he said were evidently meant only for the King's ears.
When Arphen had finished speaking, Thranduil did not even bother to lower his voice as he had. Instead, he nodded and said, "Very well. Summon the border captains on duty. I wish their presence before the fall of the sun."
Arphen inclined his head in reverence and spared Areth a glance before taking his leave, the mail of his armor not once making a sound.
"Is everything alright?"
"Do not worry yourself over such trivialities, mellon nin," Thranduil uttered mildly, his jeweled hand running gently over the arm of the chair. The King's long fingers eventually found his side when the length of the arm trailed into nothing. Quite suddenly, he said, "It has become rather late. Would you allow me to be your escort?"
Areth correctly perceived his words to be a dismissal. Although she was not at all offended, as it was, indeed, rather late, she did wish that he would speak more plainly.
"Do not trouble yourself," she said, standing, "I understand that time cannot be wasted to one of your position."
"What is time to one who lives forever?" Thranduil questioned with no particular thought.
"Something very precious, I should hope."
Although the silken clothing given by the Silvan Elves provided both comfort and an elegant appearance, Areth was rather thankful to be clad once more in her more practical garb. The wool of her cloak may not be the most pleasing to the eye, but it at least kept her very warm from the chill of the oncoming winter.
Aldamir, however, accepted the Elven clothes, as his were ripped and stained with dark red. He did not mind, as he kept the sigil of Gondor close to his heart.
The bite of the wind was even harsher while they were on the water. Areth no longer held feeling on the exposed portion of her arms as she continued the circular motion of rowing the wooden boat. Although Aldamir felt rather guilty for having her do all of the work, he knew that he was not much help with his injury.
A brief silence ensued in which nothing was heard but the rustling of the trees, the soft blowing of the wind, and the shifting of the current.
Aldamir was the one to break the quiet.
"Have you decided what you are to do after we part ways?"
"I may linger at the North," Areth said absently, her strength not once faltering, "Seldom have I ever gone about these lands—they are unfamiliar to me."
"You are always welcome to stay with me in Esgaroth," he unthinkingly. Aldamir then shook his head, berating himself for the hope that filled his tone.
If Areth noticed, she did not point it out. She then uttered in her even, jesting tone, "You speak as if I cannot stay without your leave."
"I begin to wonder whether Gildhel wished for my death by sending me in your way," the scholar jested right back. While Aldamir did not truly believe so, he did wonder what it was Gildhel wished to accomplish by sending Areth as his guide.
"Or perhaps he has utter faith in my abilities—faith that you seem to lack."
"But do you not think it odd that he would suggest a guide who had not any experience at all in the Northern lands?" he said. Aldamir then shrugged but winced upon the slight pain in his arm. He had forgotten for a moment of his injury.
Spying the traces of pain on his face, Areth's green eyes became rueful.
"I am sorry," she uttered.
"What ever for?"
"I deemed you well enough for this travel, but perhaps I was too hasty in assuming so."
"It matters not," Aldamir attempted at dismissing with a straight face, if only to stop his companion's worry, "As you said, it is necessary to reach Lake-town before winter reaches its full strength. I would surely decay in that realm if I were to live another stagnant day."
The regret in her eyes disappeared when her brow rose.
"You are a rather ungrateful creature, Aldamir. Would you rather a departed soul and a decaying body?" she asked ironically.
"Don't be foolish—of course I am grateful," Aldamir scoffed.
"You certainly do not seem it. I doubt that you even expressed this gratitude by voice to King Thranduil."
"Do you think me an ill-mannered brute?" Aldamir uttered, affronted, "Of course I did. I sought his audience right before we departed from his Halls. Not that my words meant very much to him," he scoffed, "I wager that he would not have noticed my absence at all if you did not leave also."
Areth remained silent.
"I assume that you are returning to the Woodland Realm when you are rid of my presence," Aldamir continued. A part of him did not wish to stop their conversation, as it most likely would be one of their last.
Areth seemed to understand that, as well. But as she had no reply, she simply uttered, "Perhaps."
"I do not doubt that the King expressed his welcome," he uttered blandly. A hidden jealously was underlying in his tone. "I do not pretend to understand him. Do you not find it suspicious that he befriended you so easily if he is truly as cautious as you say?"
"Of course. I am not blind, Aldamir. Whatever purpose my friendship serves to him, however, is no concern of mine and is undoubtedly short-lived. I welcome his friendship, but I know that our ways will inevitably part."
"How cheerful," Aldamir said, dead-panned, "If not parted by death, then perhaps by circumstances."
"It is true, is it not?"
"If you truly think that, then would it not be better to keep in the company of your kin? Perhaps with me, at Esgaroth?"
"My, how insistent you are against departing from my presence," Areth said in amusement as she pulled on the boat's oars.
"I find it ridiculous how highly you think of yourself."
Areth's lip twitched but she continued to row.
"Although, I will not deny that I will miss you," Aldamir relented.
Areth smiled slightly.
"I look forward to the day when our paths will once again cross."
"The patrol on the borders had been strengthened, my Lord. You worry needlessly," Melhros' rather dreamy voice drifted about the King's throne room.
"You believe me to be worried?" Thranduil responded dully, absentmindedly clasping his hands behind his back. His light eyes were directed at a faraway nothing. His mind was not fully invested in Melhros' words.
"I have known you for a long time, mellon nin," he said knowingly, "You hide behind this impassive face, but there is little you can hide from me."
"I certainly hope that to be a lie. My thoughts are my own."
"You are far easier to read than you believe yourself to be."
When cerulean eyes met amber, Melhros was quick to note the affronted look on Thranduil's face.
"The mortal is past our borders, Thranduil," Melhros attempted at reassuring his King, "Whatever happens now is beyond your control."
"What has she to do with these savages that dare bring harm upon Greenwood?" Thranduil uttered, his tone filled with distain as he traced the metal vines that curved along his finger.
"Feign ignorance does not suit you, my Lord."
"Your tongue has grown rather bold over the centuries, Melhros," the King said evenly, "Perhaps I should cut it off."
"Oh, but then what use have I in your council?"
"None, save to agree with my decisions. Without your words, you would not have the ability to rebuke my will."
"I resent that."
"What brings you to me, Melhros? Surely you did not come here with the sole intention of prolonging such niceties."
Melhros' mouth opened to finally address his concern, but before he could express his words, a loud shuffling could be heard from the far entrance of the Throne Hall. Turning his attention on the far distance, with his keen Elven eyes, the counsellor was able to discern the lithe figures of his nephew and the king's son leading forward a rugged mortal man.
Narrowing his eyes, he then tilted his head to regard the mortal. He was soaked to the bone, shivering against the slightest chill, and he left a trail of liquid for every step he took. He was dirty and of heavy build, possessing dark, long hair that looked to be unkempt and unwashed. In the wise Elf's mind, only one thing remained certain—this intruder was not from any near lands.
"These mortals are getting more foolish by the passing of the years," Thranduil remarked idly. He brought his clasped hands to his front, adjusting his loose robe.
"Years do not guarantee wisdom, as they say," Melhros added with a sigh.
Thranduil eyed him with a slight look of disbelief.
"Never would I have thought to hear you speak badly of the race of Men."
"I am doing no such thing," Melhros defended. His glance once again returning to the dripping man, he then said, "But he must not be so wise to enter these woods with ill intent."
"Indeed," Thranduil uttered dryly, tilting his head slightly to one side.
"I wanted a chance to speak to you before the council meeting," Melhros said finally. With a sigh, he then continued, "But perhaps it will not be so."
"A mortal who dare enter my Realm with a desire to do harm," Thranduil uttered coolly. His head tilted as he took a deep, calming breath, but then stopped. His sharp nose then twitched and regarding the mortal in sudden distain, he then said, "I see that not even the River could wash away the revolting stench that insists on clinging onto your skin."
Despite the calm that he exhibited, Thranduil was livid.
His light steps lingering as he took a turn about the small platform, he then continued, "It is oddly fitting, for it matches the evil in your heart"—his eyes then hardened— "Now tell me what I want to know—what purpose have you here to threaten my people with harm?"
The wild man, staring up at the tall Elven King with wide eyes, was on his knees before his presence. He did not know why he was there, for the last memory he possessed was of his home in front of a warm fire. Indeed, who was this creature before him? Where was he? Had he done something so horrible that that made a knife at his throat necessary?
When the man only looked about him in a panicked confusion, Thranduil's cerulean eyes merely looked up in a stifled exasperation.
"I take full responsibility for this, Father," Legolas, who stood at the mortal's right, uttered. Placing his long sword back in its sheath, he then continued, "Had I been quick enough to reach him, he would have the answers that we seek. However, he fell in the Enchanted River."
Thranduil only sighed and closed his eyes briefly.
"Shall we let him go?" said Ernil, preparing to lower the steel weapon from the bearded man's neck.
"No," the King uttered in his tongue. Regarding the mortal with finality, he then said, "Kill him."
"But he is not in possession of his memories!" Ernil interjected. While the grip on the weapon did not once falter, he was not sure if he could hold the pretense of his calm for much longer. "Forgive me, my Lord, but surely it is unjust to condemn a man to death if he does not remember his crime."
"To send him away would bring his inevitable return," Thranduil uttered with a calmness that he did not feel, "If this little endeavor of his then becomes successful, do you truly believe that he would spare your life as you had his? What good would mercy bring when you are dead?"
"But, my King-" Ernil attempted at a protest.
"Enough, Ernil," he said, his voice possessing the strength of a king. His hard, cerulean eyes silenced the guard, and Ernil inclined his head in acquiesce. Nodding at his son, he then said, "Legolas—return to the borders."
Legolas held an indescribable look in his blue eyes as he regarded their prisoner. So lost, he looked, and so undeserving of this fate. However, he understood the will of the King. He would not interfere. With a final nod directed at his father, the Prince departed.
Thranduil addressed the man once more and said, "Speak your last words wisely."
"Please, I beg your release," he uttered in an unfamiliar accent, thick and rough, "I am of no use to you!"
"And what a pity that is," Thranduil uttered evenly, tilting his chin as he regarded the mortal with half-lidded, dispassionate eyes. The King turned, straying his eyes from the prisoner, and his long hair followed the slight movement. His long robes followed after him as he ascended the stairs leading to his throne. "Ernil," he said, and with a tone of finality, he ended the life of a man, "dago hon."
Ernil's eyes hardened as Thranduil turned his back, but he could not defy the will of his King. With his light eyes lowering to the wooden platform, he then allowed a final sigh. He knew that he was in no position to change the wish of his King.
Lifting his eyes from the ground to look at the lost eyes of the man, he then lowered the dagger until it was away from his neck. Misunderstanding the Elf's intentions, the mortal regarded him with gratitude as he breathed his last breath.
"Goheno nin," the sentinel uttered quietly.
He pulled the dagger back, and those light amber eyes were the last he saw of the world.
So what are you guys looking forward to in the next movie?
If you have any questions and all, want to comment, or just want to chat, you can PM/review. :)