Story Image Credit: Touch by Lucife56, deviantart

Skin Deep

Prologue: The Elvenking
Second Age 3441

Thranduil tore the crown from his head and placed it ungently upon the dressing table. He hated the wretched thing and had to fight the urge to lash out at the counselor who first laid it upon his head. The crown had to wait. He had needed all his focus to hold back the fury burning bright inside him in that moment he was first hailed king and during the long hours of feasting following his coronation. He could not allow his emotions to overtake him, else the glamour fade in full view of the court. He could not have that – not on this day, nor any other.

Alone now in his chambers he allowed his anger freedom and as he stared into the mirror he watched tears fall from a dead eye onto a hollowed cheek that was, as always, without feeling. It was a horror he allowed none to behold, not since the early days after Morgoth fell when he was still too weak to shield the injury from others. He had cursed the dragon then, but as he watched another tear fall upon unfeeling flesh a thought came to him, unbidden. If only the deadened nerves of his face could share their secret with his heart, he might yet bless the dragon that disfigured him. It would be easier to feel nothing than to suffer the burden of his father's death and the other losses to the Greenwood. Greenwood the Great was his now to protect, but part of him felt betrayed by the wood, itself, for he could even now hear the echo of his father's voice – a promise spoken now an age past.

'We will know peace, my son, here beneath the Greenwood.'

He had believed his father then, and for a time, it was so. But the darkness rose again as it is want to do, and this time it took more than a pound of Thranduil's flesh. His father was dead and thousands of his people lost. And what had Thranduil to show in return for this great sacrifice? Nothing but a heart seared by rage and his father's hideous crown.