Login

Lost Password?

Create New Account

Interrupted Journeys: Part Two--Journeys Perforce

Chapter 7: News and Rumours

by ellisk

**********************

But during the Third Age Galadriel became filled with foreboding, and with Celeborn she journeyed to Lórien and stayed there long with Amroth, being especially concerned to learn all news and rumours of the growing shadow in Mirkwood and the dark stronghold in Dol Guldur. But his people were content with Amroth; he was valiant and wise, and his little kingdom was yet prosperous and beautiful. Therefore after long journeys of enquiry in Rhovanion, from Gondor and the borders of Mordor to Thranduil in the north, Celeborn and Galadriel passed over the mountains to Imladris, and there dwelt for many years…Unfinished Tales

**********************

Aradunnon and Thranduil relaxed in the family sitting room drinking wine. It was very late on the evening before the king’s departure to Lothlorien. Hallion had just retired after reviewing the details of various matters he would have to manage in the king’s absence. Thranduil had noticed his brother was unusually quiet during that conversation. Knowing that his role in governing Eryn Galen expanded significantly when Thranduil made an extended journey, Aradunnon normally had significantly more questions for his brother during these last moment briefings. His apparent lack of interest particularly concerned Thranduil given that Aradunnon, busy commanding his warriors in the south, had not attended a single council meeting this season other than the ones he attended this week. He was looking at Aradunnon intently as they sipped their wine. His brother was studiously avoiding his gaze.

“You are quiet, Aradunnon,” Thranduil fished, trying his best to hide his irritation and only succeeding marginally.

Aradunnon still did not look at him nor did he reply. After a long moment, he spoke quietly. “I would like to ask you a question, my lord, and I hope you will answer honestly and directly.”

Thranduil frowned. Aradunnon almost never resorted to titles and formality, much less in a completely private setting. “I find direct, honest answers the easiest to make,” Thranduil answered dryly.

That made Aradunnon smile and look over at his brother with amused eyes. He quickly grew serious again. “I would like to command the troops from the capital rather than from the field. What say you to that idea?”

Thranduil’s eyebrows went up involuntarily at that question. He stared at Aradunnon a moment before composing his face in more neutral lines. “I would approve of such a decision, Aradunnon. It is increasingly difficult for me to communicate with you since you spend so much time in the south. I think the border patrols and the guards on the Forest Road suffer for that.” Thranduil watched the expressions play across his brother’s face at that reply. Surprise. And a very odd mixture of happiness and disappointment. After moment, Thranduil continued. “Hallion and I have been worrying over exactly this point. We have been debating whether it would be better for the realm to insist that you come back to the capital or to have Engwe act as troop commander and leave you in the south. I value your direct leadership in the south but I need a more easily reachable troop commander.”

Aradunnon frowned at that. “I do not think Engwe would make a good troop commander, Thranduil,” he said curtly.

Thranduil shook his head and smiled slightly. “He is much more conservative than you, Aradunnon. I will admit that he cannot analyze information and make tactical decisions as rapidly as you can but that is what makes you a good commander in the field. Engwe would make an adequate troop commander and one I would see eye-to-eye with more readily.” Aradunnon looked at his brother angrily and Thranduil held up his hand. “But I recognize that the point of having advisors is to hear differing points of view—not merely to have someone reinforce my own ideas. I am not anxious to have Engwe serve as troop commander or to loose you in that position. And I think your captains in the south can manage the troops there.” He paused for emphasis. “I do want to know what has motivated this decision.”

Aradunnon looked down. “I admit it is motivated by personal concerns,” he said quietly.

Thranduil found himself blinking and staring at his brother again. “You say that as if it is unforgivable,” he replied in a concerned voice. “Aradunnon, I knew that. If you want to spend more time with Amoneth, I support that. I would be more than happy to help you manage that however I can. We both must serve this realm but we need not sacrifice our entire existence to it…”

“You might feel differently if you spent more time in the south,” Aradunnon interrupted, still in a quiet voice and without looking at his brother.

“…but you do not seem entirely pleased with this decision. Do you want to return to the capital or will you do it because you are being pressured into it?”

Aradunnon’s brows knit together. “I cannot say, Thranduil. I love Amoneth but she and I can have no relationship when I am in the south. She suggested that I establish a central command here and said you would support that change. I promised her I would speak to you about it. I do think I can command the troops from here. I see the value of doing so for overall defense. And you apparently would prefer such an arrangement.” He sighed. “But I cannot escape the feeling that I am needed in the south. The situation there is very difficult.”

Thranduil studied his brother silently for a moment. Then he leaned over and placed a hand on his arm, drawing Aradunnon’s eyes to his. “I have watched you over the last yén with Amoneth, muindor nin. You have changed a good deal—no longer flirting so much, no more gaming and carousing with your friends. I have wondered if these changes have been the outward signs of you growing into a different role or you being smothered into a life you do not want. Can you tell me which it is?”

“I love her, Thranduil. You surely do not deny that she was right to ask me to stop flirting with all the maidens in Eryn Galen.”

Thranduil smiled. “I cannot deny that,” he said with laughter in his voice. “But are you happier now that you have made that change? Will you be happier in the capital than you were in the south?”

“Definitely. I hate being there and seeing the destruction of the forest and the death. It is as bad as Mordor. And I want to be with Amoneth. I feel happy simply being in her presence. But I will feel guilty leaving my captains in the field.”

Thranduil nodded, knowingly. “Do you think I do not feel guilty letting my brother handle such dangerous tasks? Do you think that I do not personally feel the death of every warrior when it is reported to me? I am responsible for sending them to those battles.”

Aradunnon looked at Thranduil sharply. “A lot of good it would do this realm if you were killed fighting a skirmish in the south. And warriors sometimes must die so that others may live in peace.”

“Exactly.”

Aradunnon sighed and they were silent for a moment. Finally Aradunnon looked back at Thranduil. “If this arrangement is satisfactory, then I would like to travel to Lorien with you.”

Thranduil’s eyebrows went up again. “Why?” he asked simply.

“Because I want to speak to Amoneth’s parents.”

A delighted smile lit Thranduil’s face as he finally understood the full significance of his brother’s decision to return to the capital. “Have you spoken to Amoneth and nana about this conversation you would like to have in Lorien?”

Aradunnon smiled also. “To Amoneth, yes. She agreed provided that I stay in the capital. I needed to arrange that with you before there was any point in speaking to our parents.”

“Well, I am leaving at dawn. You had better go speak to nana now,” Thranduil said standing and reaching for his brother’s arm to push him out of the sitting room.

Aradunnon purposefully remained seated, one of the few people in Greenwood that would dare not stand when Thranduil did. He looked up at his brother teasingly. “You are just aching to marry me off, are you not, Thranduil? May I ask why?”

Thranduil grinned back at him. “Because I am hoping that Amoneth will continue exercising her good influence over you,” he said pulling his brother to his feet and propelling him out the door. “And because I am enjoying finally seeing my little brother so hopelessly ensnared.”

Aradunnon only laughed as he departed for his mother’s chambers.

As he drew closer to them, he found himself hesitating. Somehow, the prospect of this conversation made him nervous. He knocked lightly on his mother’s door and opened it. She was seated in front of her mirror preparing for bed with one of her ladies brushing her hair. He walked over to her and placed a filial kiss on her cheek causing her to look sharply at her youngest son.

“Nana, may I speak to you,” he asked in a soft voice.

Dieneryn turned to him fully and eyed him suspiciously. “What have you done, Aradunnon?”

Aradunnon laughed lightly as Dieneryn’s maid wisely exited the room with a knowing look at her queen. “I am completely innocent, nana. I want to speak to you about Amoneth.”

Dieneryn grew more serious at that declaration.

Noting her expression, Aradunnon raised his eyebrows slightly. “I would like to travel to Lorien to ask her parents for a betrothal,” he said directly.

Dieneryn patted the bench she was sitting on and moved to the side to give Aradunnon room to sit. When he did, she looked at him closely. “I assume you and she have spoken of this?” she asked.

Aradunnon frowned at his mother’s solemn tone but nodded. “We have. She agreed.”

“Indeed? I was under the impression that she did not approve of the amount of time you spend in the south.”

Aradunnon looked away. “I will no longer be commanding the warriors from the field. I will stay in the capital. Thranduil and I feel that will facilitate communication with him and with the other patrols.”

Dieneryn’s eyebrows rose dramatically. “Do you believe that? And whose idea was it. Yours? Thranduil’s?” She paused. “Amoneth’s?”

Aradunnon sighed. “Nana, Amoneth suggested it to me. I discussed it with Thranduil and he said he had planned on mentioning it to me…” he began defensively.

Dieneryn placed a hand on her son’s shoulder. “Aradunnon, I ask only because I must ensure my son is happy. The reason you must ask my permission to become betrothed is because occasionally your elders have more wisdom than you do.”

“Amoneth makes me happy, naneth,” Aradunnon replied shortly. “I am not an elfling. I know my own heart.”

“I know, ion nin. I know you love her and that she loves you. But I worry about all she asks of you…”

“I thought you approved of my recent ‘maturity.’ That is how you referred to it, is it not?” he interrupted, his tone now slightly snappy.

Dieneryn raised her hand to Aradunnon’s chin and forced him to look at her, fixing him with a harsh gaze. “I do approve of your new maturity, Aradunnon. And I agree with Thranduil that he needs to be able to communicate more readily with his troop commander. These are not the issues. The issue is—why does Amoneth ask for these changes? Does she understand you and your responsibilities? I am not certain that she does and that concerns me greatly. She did not ask you to command the troops from the capital because it would be better for this realm. She asked you to do that because it would be better for her. Her reasons were selfish and that is not acceptable, Aradunnon. Our station in life does not allow us to be selfish. It requires personal sacrifice and dedication to something other than oneself. Is she capable of that? Can she be happy as the consort of a prince? Have you discussed this with her?”

Aradunnon turned his eyes away since he could not turn his face. “I admit that we have not discussed it directly, naneth.”

“Do you agree with me that it should be discussed?”

“Of course, naneth,” he said tiredly.

Dieneryn frowned at his tone. “Do you understand the damage she can do to Thranduil and to you if she does not respect what is required of you?”

Aradunnon sighed. “I do, naneth. And so does she. She was raised in Amroth’s court…”

“Yet she still does not understand your duties,” Dieneryn stated flatly. “Aradunnon, you are an adult. You have lived an entire age. I know you understand your responsibilities to this realm. I trust you to make good decisions. If you have chosen to marry Amoneth, I will not stand in the way of my adult son’s choice or happiness. But before I give my consent, I will require your word that you will not set a marriage date until you are certain that Amoneth understands fully the meaning of your position in this realm.”

“You have my word, nana. I will speak to her and the betrothal will stand until I am certain she understands my role.”

Dieneryn let out a quiet breath. “I love you, Aradunnon. Please do not think I am trying to stand in the way of your happiness.”

He shook his head and embraced his mother. “I know you are not, nana. I agree that this betrothal may very well need to last longer than a year.” He let out a short laugh and sat back. “The Valar know the courtship has been long enough. I know there was a reason for that.”

Dieneryn nodded. “As long as you recognize that. That is all that I ask.”

*~*~*

The next morning, Thranduil and Lindomiel strolled to the stables arm-in-arm surrounded by a flurry of guards and advisors. Lindomiel listened with some amusement as Thranduil gave last minute instructions to Hallion and as the captain of his guard, Conuiön, spoke to his lieutenant, Tureden, about the family’s security in his absence. Trips to Lothlorien, whether business or pleasure for Thranduil, were always fun for Lindomiel but they certainly caused a stir. Lindomiel’s eyebrows went up dramatically when they reached the stables and she saw Aradunnon and Amoneth in traveling clothes and checking their horses as well. She let go of Thranduil’s arm, leaving him to his advisors, and walked over to them.

“Are you coming with us?” she asked, surprise evident in her voice. Aradunnon and Thranduil were almost never both absent from the capital.

Amoneth looked at her friend with a radiant smile but Aradunnon’s expression matched Lindomiel’s—he was clearly surprised. “Thranduil did not mention it?” he asked.

Lindomiel shook her head.

Amoneth drew her gaze with her smile. “Aradunnon is coming to speak to my parents about a betrothal,” she said with obvious joy.

Lindomiel’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped. She looked silently between her friend and Aradunnon for a moment before composing her face to more appropriate lines. She pulled Amoneth into an embrace. “I am very happy for you, Amoneth,” she said, still looking at Aradunnon over her friend’s shoulder. “I must say that I am surprised though. I thought you both were uncomfortable with the amount of time Aradunnon must spend away from the capital.”

Amoneth released her friend to take Aradunnon’s arm. “He will be here most of the time now. He is going to command the troops from the capital,” she declared happily.

Lindomiel blinked and she looked back at Aradunnon. He looked at her somewhat uncomfortably. “Well, I am certain Thranduil will appreciate having you nearby, Aradunnon. I know he has found managing the troops difficult recently with you gone so much of the time.”

Aradunnon looked back at her with a neutral expression, very tired of this topic. “It is very convenient that my personal desires and my responsibilities to the realm both could be addressed with this decision.”

Lindomiel nodded. “Indeed it is. That is very rarely the case.” She raised one eyebrow as Aradunnon flinched slightly at that response. Noticing the other members of the traveling party beginning to mount their horses and aware of a groom standing by with her mare, Lindomiel turned to her friend. “Amoneth, I want you to ride with me so we can discuss your betrothal. We can plan the feast to celebrate it,” she said while firmly taking her friend’s arm and leading her to her horse.

Aradunnon watched them for a moment before mounting his own horse and joining his brother. As Thranduil led the party from the stables to the path that led to the Forest Road, Aradunnon looked over at him. “You did not mention to Lindomiel that we had spoken last night?” he asked curiously.

Thranduil smiled slightly. “No, I did not,” he answered quietly.

“May I ask why?”

Thranduil laughed. “I know my wife well enough to know how to avoid a fight with her,” he answered.

Aradunnon raised his eyebrows. “And what is that supposed to mean?”

Thranduil looked at his brother with laughter still plainly in his eyes. “Be thankful it is not Lindomiel’s permission you need to marry Amoneth. Or even mine, for I would not dare cross Lindomiel by granting it. Lindomiel does not approve in the slightest of this match, muindor nin. Though now that it has been made, you may count on the fact that she will make sure Amoneth corrects the behaviors she sees as inappropriate. That elleth is more formidable than nana. I fear her and right now, so should Amoneth.”

Aradunnon’s eyebrows climbed higher. “Might I ask what Lindomiel finds unacceptable about my betrothed wife, her best friend?” he asked stiffly.

Thranduil only laughed in the face of his brother’s indignant attitude. “You know the answer to that as well as I do, Aradunnon. And I am not stupid. I know nana talked to you about it too. Nana and Lindomiel are both correct. I am certain you understand that so I will not waste my breath lecturing my little brother. You should be thankful for Lindomiel’s help. She will see to it that Amoneth understands the importance of respecting your position.” Thranduil snorted, looking at the two ellyth riding behind them and obviously engaged in a very intense conversation. “I would not want to be in the middle of that,” he commented wryly.

Aradunnon looked back as well and cringed, looking away quickly before he drew either elleth’s attention. “Valar save me,” he whispered. “I am in the middle of that.”

Thranduil laughed heartily and urged his horse to a trot.

*~*~*

The King of Greenwood the Great rode into Lothlorien two weeks later to a welcoming party that he did not expect. Amroth awaited him in the courtyard. With him stood, Amglaur and Limmiel, Lindomiel’s parents. That was customary. But also with Amroth stood Thranduil’s cousin, Celeborn, and his wife Galadriel. Their presence was completely unforeseen and Thranduil could not help but tense slightly seeing them. He still did not feel entirely comfortable with his cousin’s choice of a wife. He could not deny that he was eyeing her suspiciously as he greeted his host.

Amroth embraced Thranduil warmly. “I have the King of Eryn Galen here. I have representatives from Imladris. Perhaps I should invite Cirdan to Lorien. It has been seven yén since our last council. Maybe it is time for another. I certainly am finding Lorien to be the center of a good deal of activity of late,” he said cheerfully.

Thranduil’s eyes flashed briefly to Celeborn and Galadriel at that statement. “Perhaps it is time for another council,” he replied quietly before turning to Celeborn. He smiled, sincerely pleased to see him. “It has been too long since we last met, cousin. After all the effort you made to persuade me to admit that I would welcome your lady wife in my realm, you have not visited me once in nearly a millennium.”

Celeborn chuckled softly. “Yes, your enthusiasm for seeing us now makes me regret that dearly,” he replied mockingly, ignoring Thranduil’s proffered hand and pulling him into an embrace instead. “Behave yourself, cousin,” he whispered into Thranduil’s ear. “You may find you have more in common with Galadriel than you think.”

Thranduil blinked at Celeborn in response to that cryptic comment as he stood back. Then he reached for the hand Galadriel offered him, bending over it courteously. “It is a surprise to find you both here, my lady,” he commented.

Galadriel looked at Thranduil coolly but he could detect a playful light in the recesses of her eyes. The delight that Galadriel took in shocking him was one of the reasons he felt uncomfortable in her presence and he was already certain, given Celeborn’s statement, that this encounter would be no exception.

“You may chastise my lord husband as you wish, Thranduil. That is your affair. But it just so happens that he and I were on our way to visit you in Eryn Galen when we heard you were coming here. So we stayed and waited for you.”

Thranduil raised his eyebrows. “Is that so? I am very glad we did not miss each other,” he replied politely.

Galadriel did not display the amusement she felt at that reply, certain as she was of its insincerity. But she did read his curiosity and was all too happy to satisfy it. “Indeed. Celeborn and I are very much looking forward to discussing Amon Lanc with you,” she said. The playful light behind her cool expression danced merrily for a moment.

Thranduil felt his wife and brother’s eyes upon him as he forced himself to show no reaction to that declaration. He could be every bit as inscrutable as Galadriel and he refused to be baited by her. “Convenient, for that is exactly the topic I am here to discuss with Lord Amroth,” he replied neutrally.

She simply nodded at him as Amglaur, Amroth and Celeborn struggled not to laugh. Amroth seized Thranduil’s arm. “Come on Thranduil, let us get you and your party to your rooms so you can refresh yourselves. You and Galadriel can spare at dinner. It will make for good entertainment for the rest of us.”

*~*~*

The next day found Thranduil, Aradunnon, Amroth, Amglaur, Celeborn and Galadriel in Amroth’s office. As they settled themselves, Thranduil leaned back in his chair and studied Galadriel openly. Her eyes met his as she felt his intense gaze upon her, and much to his surprise, she allowed his scrutiny without challenge. He was aware of Celeborn watching him carefully as he considered his wife but Thranduil found no reason to make the reaction to her that Celeborn clearly feared. He had to admit that he did not see what he expected to see in Galadriel. She was filled with the same foreboding about the presence in Amon Lanc that he was and nothing more. The King of Greenwood was shocked to see only an ally in her.

He sat back, a thoughtful look on his face and arms folded across his chest. “Tell me about your interest in Amon Lanc, my lady,” he asked quietly, taking the liberty of opening their discussion despite the fact that he was in Amroth’s realm.

“I believe that Sauron rises there,” she replied directly, plunging them all into the heart of the conversation.

Everyone present leaned forward at that, including Celeborn. It was Aradunnon that spoke.

“I was there less than five weeks ago, my lady. I saw orcs, certainly. And spiders. And shadow. I admit that I felt a presence there like the one I felt in Mordor. But to say that the Evil One himself rises there—that is quite an assertion.”

She turned her unreadable eyes to Thranduil’s brother. “It is what I believe. I was never convinced that Sauron was destroyed. The survival of the Ring and the foundations of Barad-dur are evidence of that.”

Aradunnon nodded once, looking at Thranduil. “I agree,” he said resolutely.

Much to the obvious amazement of everyone else in the room, Thranduil nodded slowly. He clearly believed it as well. Galadriel had landed on a fear that Thranduil firmly shared. Sauron had not been destroyed.

“Why are you here?” Thranduil asked. He wanted details. “What are you doing in Lorien?”

Celeborn intervened. “Galadriel and I have been traveling for several years throughout Rhovanion and even to Gondor and east to Mordor. We are trying to find information about Sauron’s fate.”

Thranduil raised his eyebrows, both at the statement and the fact that Celeborn interrupted Galadriel to make it. “What have you found?” he asked calmly.

Galadriel looked coolly at her husband. “We found little evidence of any presence in Mordor and the Men in Gondor feel confident Sauron is defeated. But we have been to Amon Lanc, Thranduil. We have seen the fortress and shadow there. We know that the Ring was lost near there. Whether that is coincidence or not, I cannot say. But as I have advised Amroth, the power that rises in Amon Lanc is dangerous. A decisive response to it must be made and soon.”

Thranduil’s brow furrowed. “You have been in my forest?” he asked stiffly, glancing at Aradunnon.

Galadriel returned his gaze placidly. “I have. I recommend that you be less concerned with the fact that a few elves crossed your borders and more concerned with the pits of orcs fortified in your mountain, Lord Thranduil.”

Thranduil narrowed his eyes at her but Aradunnon spoke before he could respond. “How close did you get to Amon Lanc and how recently?” he asked curiously.

“To the clearing around the base of the mountain nearly two months ago,” Celeborn responded quietly.

Aradunnon’s eyes widened. “How could you get that close? I cannot get within a league of the mountain.”

Celeborn opened his mouth to reply but Galadriel spoke first. “I have very strong magic to protect me.”

Thranduil’s eyes narrowed even further at that statement but Aradunnon again forestalled him. “Well, any information about the nature of their fortification that you can give me, I would appreciate it greatly. It has been a very long time since I could approach within sight of the mountain.”

Galadriel nodded. “I would be happy to discuss what we saw in detail with you.”

Thranduil took a deep breath. Whatever aversion he had to Galadriel, she clearly was as committed to the destruction of this threat as he was. If she could help him, he would accept her help. Schooling his features to calmer lines, he returned to her earlier statement. “You said decisive action is needed. There are those in Eryn Galen that want to drive what ever grows in Amon Lanc out of the forest. Now. Before it grows too large,” he said casually and watched for her response. It surprised him.

“I will fight with you if you make that choice, Thranduil,” Galadriel replied swiftly.

Thranduil raised his eyebrows at that. He knew Galadriel was a formidable warrior. He let his eyes slip to Celeborn. His cousin nodded, indicating he would as well. Thranduil’s eyebrows climbed higher.

“I do not have the warriors or the arms for such an attack. My standing army has five hundred warriors in it. I could arm two hundred more with swords if I called up citizens to fight. But we estimate there are one thousand orcs in Amon Lanc. We would need more warriors than I can provide alone to attack a fortified position,” he replied quietly. Now Thranduil turned to Amroth. “I had hoped to convince you to join me in this, Amroth. Amon Lanc is much closer to your capital than it is to mine. Surely it concerns you that the Evil One is gathering his strength there. Between us, we may still be able to defeat this evil before it becomes too strong.”

Amroth had a bitter look on his face. “I am not convinced that you and Lady Galadriel are correct about the source of the evil in Amon Lanc, Thranduil,” he replied.

Thranduil looked at Amroth evenly, unperturbed. “Regardless of whether it is Sauron or not, we know there are orcs. They attack our villages. Kill our citizens. Make travel difficult between our realms. Interfere with commerce. Surely that is a threat that requires response.”

Amroth’s mouth formed a hard line. “Thranduil, Galadriel has discussed this with me as well and I was not moved. I will tell you plainly—I am not involving Lorien in another war. My father followed yours to Mordor. I will not repeat that mistake. I cannot imagine how you can. How can you bring your people to war again?”

“I have over one thousand orcs in my forest, Amroth. I would say a war has been brought to me,” Thranduil replied hotly. “How can I not respond?”

“Eryn Galen is a large forest, Thranduil. Respond by moving your people away from Amon Lanc, not by killing them in a war. We all suffered heavy losses in the last war and we have only just recovered. The memory of elves is long. I am not anxious to return my people to battle.”

“My memory is long as well, Amroth. I was in Mordor along with you. I do not care to have Amon Lanc become the next Barad-dur or for my forest to be the next Dagorlad. What if the orcs move north along with me? What if they move south to you? They will continue to grow in strength as they have over the last fifty years and I think it would be best to eliminate this threat before it is too large for us to handle.”

“Then may you have the blessings of the Valar in your endeavor, Thranduil, but I will not be involved.”

Amglaur had sat quietly through this interchange, frowning severely. Now he broke his silence. “My lord,” he said looking at Amroth, “I must agree with Lord Thranduil on this. When we were speaking of attacking the orcs alone and you were hesitant to do so, I could clearly understand that. But with Eryn Galen’s aid, would it not be wise to eliminate this threat?”

“I agree,” Galadriel said firmly. “Mark my words, it will be worth driving this evil from Amon Lanc.”

Amroth glared at her. “To where will we drive it? To the dwarves in the mountains? Where will they drive it? To Imladris? What can we truly hope to accomplish with this action? An alliance of Men and Elves could not destroy Sauron. How can we hope to do so? They are concentrated there. I say let them stay there.”

Thranduil frowned. “They are concentrated a seven day march from my capital, Amroth. I do not want them to ‘stay there,’” he exclaimed, now angrily. “You may want to consult a map because they are a two day march from your capital.”

“I am well aware of that, Thranduil,” Amroth said icily. “I am satisfied with the measures that I have taken to ensure the safety of my people. I will not involve them in a war. That is my final word on this issue.”

Amglaur looked away from his nephew bitterly as Thranduil continued staring at him in amazement. “Perhaps you would care to share with me what you have done to inspire such confidence, Amroth, that I may do the same. I do not feel nearly as secure as you apparently do and my people are much further from Amon Lanc than yours.”

Amroth looked at Thranduil uncomfortably for a moment. Then his eyes drifted to Galadriel briefly before he looked away entirely. He remained silent. Thranduil glanced at Galadriel and Celeborn before Amglaur’s expression drew his attention. His eyes glittered with anger.

“Is there more going on at my borders that I should be aware of?” Thranduil asked, voice rising slightly.

Amglaur glowered at Galadriel. Thranduil knew that whereas he distrusted Galadriel, Amglaur openly despised her. “I am certain you would be interested to know what that Noldo has done here, Thranduil.”

Thranduil’s eyes turned to Galadriel, demanding an explanation.

Again Celeborn intervened. “Amroth is a fine leader, Thranduil. But Galadriel has foreseen that Lorien will be a pivotal force against the Enemy,” he began.

“I have powers to protect this realm…magic…that far exceed Amroth’s,” Galadriel interrupted her husband in a soft voice.

Thranduil looked at Amroth. “What does that mean?”

Amroth finally returned his peer’s gaze evenly. “She has used the magic she spoke of to strengthen our borders,” he answered vaguely.

Thranduil frowned and glanced at Amglaur, who looked ready to explode at that topic.

Amroth glared at the elves gathered around him, silencing them before the fight could erupt. “I am the King of Lorien. I will defend this realm as I see fit. I will not destroy it in wars. I will make the decisions that I think are best for my people and I have made them. As I have already said—that is my final word.”

Galadriel inclined her head to Amroth as did Thranduil. “I respect your decision, Amroth, though I cannot understand it or agree with it,” Galadriel replied quietly.

Thranduil found himself in silent agreement with that sentiment.

Amroth looked at the elves assembled before him for a long moment before he spoke again. “If that is all of this discussion, I do have other business to attend to today.”

Recognizing the obvious dismissal, Thranduil, Aradunnon, Galadriel and Celeborn stood and made to leave. Celeborn and Galadriel flanked Thranduil as they passed out of Amroth’s office. Celeborn took Thranduil’s arm, pulling him to the side and Aradunnon and Galadriel followed.

“It pains you, Thranduil, but you know Galadriel is right about the situation in Amon Lanc,” Celeborn said quietly in Thranduil’s ear, mindful of Amroth’s servants and courtiers.

Thranduil frowned. “You must also know that I do not trust any magic Galadriel has used here in Lorien. I can guess its source and I do not like the idea of employing such dangerous tools on my borders.” He paused and looked at Galadriel. “You have foreseen that Lorien will be pivotal against the Enemy,” he quoted. “I do not like the idea that you have your eye on Lorien. You came to Middle Earth seeking a kingdom to rule, my lady. Tell me, do you think you have found one in Lorien? What would you do to conquer it?”

Celeborn’s eyes hardened and his fair complexion flushed with anger at Thranduil’s implication. “You govern your tongue, Thranduil,” he began coldly.

But Galadriel merely laughed. “Are you suggesting that I would usurp Amroth’s rule, Thranduil? Kill him perhaps? I have never slain an elf in anything but self defense. Nor do I intend to slay another, lest it be you in one of our arguments.” Thranduil’s jaw dropped and he stared at her with wide eyes. “I will not take any kingdom by force. But Amroth distracts himself with lover’s pursuits and more will have to be done to protect Lorien than what is done now. Let us try to keep this discussion focused on our true enemies, rather than creating new animosities. That would only serve the forces of evil.”

Thranduil and Aradunnon silently stared at Galadriel, shoulder-to-shoulder, their eyes cold, hard emeralds.

Celeborn sighed and spoke in a conciliatory tone. “Indeed, cousin, let us not distract ourselves. The question before us is what to do about Amon Lanc if Amroth will not aid you and you feel you cannot defeat the evil there alone.”

Thranduil’s eyes slid to Celeborn’s and he glared at him a moment before speaking in a cool voice. “I do not see what I can do. If I cannot fight, I must move my people to protect them.”

Thranduil felt his brother tense by his side. He knew Aradunnon strongly opposed another retreat but he would never gainsay Thranduil, much less in the presence of foreigners.

Celeborn looked at Thranduil cautiously. “If you truly want to fight this, rather than ignore it as Amroth has chosen to do, a messenger brought me some interesting news from Imladris several days ago. Elrond sent word that several powerful allies against Sauron have recently arrived in his realm. He wants Galadriel and I to return there to meet them. Perhaps you would like to come with us to investigate who these allies are.”

Thranduil looked between Galadriel and Celeborn silently for a moment. “I will consider it. I appreciate the invitation.”

Galadriel fixed Thranduil with an intense look. “I am your ally, Thranduil, not your enemy. I want to see Sauron destroyed and our people free of suffering. Nothing more.”

Thranduil frowned and looked down for a moment before meeting her gaze. “I know that, my lady. I will likely never trust you completely, but I do trust that. Nevertheless, Imladris is a month journey one way. I must send a message to Eryn Galen before I can decide if I dare travel for so long. And I have other business to finish here in Lorien. When do you plan to leave for Imladris?”

“We were already leaving when we heard you were coming here. We plan to leave as soon as possible,” Celeborn responded. “May I ask how long you remaining business in Lorien might take?”

Thranduil glanced at Aradunnon, who smiled at Celeborn. “It is difficult to say,” Aradunnon answered. “I am here to ask Amoneth’s parents for a betrothal.”

Celeborn and Galadriel brightened at that topic and Celeborn grasped Aradunnon’s shoulder. “Well, we will wait to see the outcome of that at least. I know my youngest cousin very poorly. Perhaps we can rectify that situation somewhat while we are all here.”

Aradunnon nodded. “I would like that, Celeborn,” he replied warmly.

Celeborn turned back to Thranduil. “We will leave you to your business then. But consider my offer, Thranduil. Elrond’s message is intriguing, if nothing else. And you never know what allies you might find in Imladris. No harm can come of exploring all your options. After all, retreating in front of Sauron will ultimately become impossible.”

Thranduil merely nodded to that. Celeborn offered Galadriel his arm and with a nod, they left Thranduil and his brother alone.

Aradunnon moved to his brother’s side. “What a day for you,” he said teasingly in a voice meant only for Thranduil. “To have both Galadriel and Amglaur agree with your arguments about Amon Lanc. That must have been rather disconcerting for you.”

Thranduil snorted quietly. “It is enough to make me believe fighting the evil at Amon Lanc might not be a good idea,” he responded in a joking tone. “But you should go join Amoneth and her parents—you have your own conversations to pursue today.”

Aradunnon only smiled.

Thranduil and Aradunnon followed Celeborn and Galadriel at a distance as they all walked to the courtyard. Once there, Aradunnon went to find Amoneth while Celeborn and Galadriel wondered off together down one of the many beautiful paths in Lorien. Thranduil sat on a bench and found himself a little jealous of how easily everyone around him seemed to turn their minds from the meeting they had just attended to other pursuits. Thranduil might not like Galadriel but he did acknowledge her talents. If she felt Sauron rose in Amon Lanc, he believed her. Since that had long been his worst fear, hearing it confirmed was both expected and terrifying. Orcs were one thing but Sauron himself! Thranduil could not imagine fighting that evil alone.

*~*~*

Muindor nin--My brother

Yén--an elven measurement of time, 144 solar years. Elves like to measure in twelves.

Naneth/nana--Mother/mum

Ion nin--My son

elleth/ellyth--Female elf(s)

Chapters

Jump to chapter

Chapter name
News and Rumours
Created
18 Oct 2004
Last Edited
18 Oct 2004
Hits
348
Words
6737