Liquid Diamonds

BY : Avgust
Category: +Second Age > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 808
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Tolkien's world (Silmarillion/Lord of the Rings/Hobbit), nor the characters from it. No money is made from the writing of this story.

The dark of the moonless night shrouded the cloaked and hooded figure in its shadow. Even though he was veiled under the dark of night, he knew his presence had been sensed. This area, just outside the valley of Imladris would be heavily guarded. Even without seeing the numerous guards, he knew that they were close to surrounding him. He dismounted his horse to show them that he was no threat or harm. Security was on high alert he knew, for the kings and commanders of the alliance were all camped in this peaceful valley, planning their final battle plans.

"Who goes there?" An Imladris sentry stood before him, while the others flanked around him, encircling him as he had done but just a few years ago to that other who had captured his heart, and who still caused a yearning to burn within his soul.

"I come from the Greenwood as a messenger from King Oropher." Thranduil kept his voice calm and ever charming, seducing with his rich tones. " I wish to see Lord Elrond, for I have business for the High-King concerning King Oropher and the Greenwood." Thranduil lowered his hood to reveal his face to the guards. He watched as their eyes widened when they recognized him to be from the Greenwood and of elf-kind.

"Yes, we will take you to him at once."

Thranduil let a guard take his horse before he followed the leader of the guards down a path that would lead to the Last Homely House. Although the dark of night obscured most of the details, Thranduil still could tell that this was a fair place, and he was looking forward to seeing the valley once the day had broken. Now in the peaceful valley and surrounded by a great and mighty watch, he let himself relax, and he felt the safeness of his surroundings ease all of his worries.

His travels through the lands had been rushed and in silent urgency. The perils were many and the stakes were high. The agents of Sauron would look to stop any communications and he knew to travel carefully. He passed by the easy roads and took instead the paths of cover, even though it slowed him considerably. No longer did he care to be rash, but he moved on the side of caution. Under brush and under heavy cloak he passed the nights without a fire, stopping only to let his horse pause for needed breaks. It had all been exhausting, but Elrond's fair home was soothing with its serenity, erasing the trials he had experienced while on the road.

Passing through the heavily guarded courtyard, he entered into a vast hallway that was lit under the soft glow of lanterns. Thranduil did his best to gauge the details of his surroundings, but the shadows were strong and the light was diminished. The guard showed Thranduil the door he needed to take to find Elrond, and Thranduil politely nodded his departure. He entered into Elrond's study, inclining his head respectfully to the Lord of Imladris. Elrond in turn, with his surprise, blinked his eyes and spoke a wordless sound before he finally could utter his visitor's name.

"Yes, Elrond, it is I. I had been told of the valley here and had to see Imladris myself. Your Lord Glorfindel really spoke with such regard, and I could not dispel it from my mind. I only lament that I did not time my arrival better, for the moonless night casts such dark shadows in the valley, and I am afraid that I have missed the subtle nuances of your home."

Elrond listened to Thranduil's words, wondering what had brought him across the lands to Imladris. Thranduil had never journeyed here before, and now that the time for war was on them, Elrond wondered at the meaning of his arrival. He continued to stare at Thranduil without any words, as if he expected the other to speak. But Thranduil did not. Finally gathering his wits about him in his wonderment and impatience, he spoke to his unexpected visitor.

"Thranduil, welcome to Imladris, my humble home. Do forgive me for my interlude of silence, for I was not expecting you. But please know, I am most happy to have you visit me here." He looked Thranduil over again, wondering if something was amiss or had happened to the Greenwood. But Thranduil was ever an enigma and Elrond could not tell if he came due to tragedy, on business, or simply for his own amusement.

As if Thranduil could read Elrond's thoughts that pondered on why he he had came here, he plopped himself on a chair, tossing his cloak aside and said. "I am here because I bring a message from my father for Gil-galad and the other leaders of the alliance. I came to see you first, for I am in need of a meeting with them. I would imagine you are the one who can arrange such a meeting if Gil-galad is not within the boundaries of your home. The message will be of great interest to everyone, and I would beseech we speak as soon as possible, and without delay."

"I see, and may I have the message please so I may read it?" Elrond wanted to know what exactly it was that had caused Oropher to send his only son on such a mission to bear a message on his behalf. Did the Greenwood no longer have fleet footed messengers who cared to travel the lands?

"Have the message? My dear Elrond, I AM the message." Thranduil laughed a little. "And before I can tell you what my father states, know that I am thirsty. Have you any decent drink here in Imladris that can quench the thirst of a weary traveler?"

Thranduil gave him a pouting look, which caused Elrond to smile and to call on Erestor who was working in the room next to his. Erestor entered Elrond's study and regarded Thranduil with awe and shock, while he listened to Elrond's request to go fetch some refreshments for their guest. Erestor was quick to depart the room to see to the task, although his deep grey eyes seemed little to believe what they saw. Once that task was completed, Elrond turned his attention back to Thranduil.

"And how is the Greenwood?" Elrond asked, not really having heard anything from that realm since Glorfindel had returned from the distant forest. Oropher had been strangely silent, refusing to respond to any of their correspondence. No messengers entered the realm, and no messages came out. Elrond had figured that Glorfindel's visit had angered the Woodland realm immensely, and communications had been severed forever.

"Ah, Elrond, nothing will I say about the Greenwood until my thirst is quenched. My travel was long, and will you really make me beseech the courtesy of your home?"

"My chief-advisor will have some wine brought shortly." Elrond explained, knowing that Thranduil had heard the request.

"Erestor!" Thranduil giggled a little. "To think that he is now your chief-advisor. I still remember him from my days in Lindon. He was so quiet, and so shy, and sometimes was so easy to tease into anger. And he seemed to always follow you around like he was but your shadow. Still, I think he is a good choice for your chief-advisor. I remember him to be cunning and wise beyond his years."

Thranduil's face clouded a little while he thought of Erestor, remembering the reports that he had heard. "I am glad he survived the fall of Eregion. I was most disheartened when I heard of what had happened to his family. At least his soul was sparred, to which I wonder was wrought by your will when fade was all that he wanted."

Elrond's expression mirrored Thranduil's own sad face.

"You know I could not let him go." He also took a seat, seating himself next to Thranduil.

Thranduil regarded Elrond, and his eyes shifted with the gleam of his remembrance of sad tidings, to that of the wonderment of the unknown future. "You were always so found of him, and your friendship, as I recall was so deep and true. Perhaps there is something more to it, or has someone else enchanted your heart?"

Elrond smiled before he responded back to Thranduil, as he was not at all surprised that his astuteness had somehow uncovered something more indeed.

"Erestor has healed but his heart is locked away. He would not look to me for what I want, so I have indeed looked to someone else."

Thranduil watched as Elrond moved his hand absentmindedly to his chest, as if he gripped at something that was hidden under his robes. His hand lingered there for a moment, and his deep eyes closed, as if he was lost within the good of memories. When Elrond's eyes opened again, he spoke once more.

"I hope to someday wed the Lady Celebrian. But with the given threat of the Dark Lord, now is just not the time."

"Lady Celebrian." Thranduil whispered to himself. "She is a noble lady, and will be a fine match for you. Celeborn is still very dear to me, and I would wish for the happiness of his family. I know that you will bring this to them."

Elrond smiled, and he saw that Erestor reentered the room, carrying a bottle of wine along with some water. Beside him, another carried some glasses and snacks, and they placed their contents on Elrond's desk.

"Please join us." Thranduil bade Erestor before he could turn to leave. "The years have been many since I have seen you last, and I am not yet ready to retire for the night. I would like your company before I rest, Erestor."

Erestor smiled, knowing it would be rude for him to decline Thranduil's offer, so he seated himself beside them. While they talked, Elrond sent word to Gil-galad for the meeting. They would meet in the morning, and Thranduil could then speak his message at that time.

After the refreshments had been drank and eaten, Thranduil rose, smiling at Elrond. Understanding the weariness that Thranduil had, Elrond as well rose. He walked with Thranduil through the halls and he showed him a room. It was a small room, no bigger in size as to hold one bed and a night stand, for Imladris now was the headquarters for the western troops of the alliance, and space was almost exhausted. The room was just perfect to Thranduil, as he was weary and grateful for any place to rest his head. They bid each other goodnight, and Thranduil watched as Elrond walked away.

After refreshing, the weariness that should have pulled Thranduil into slumber just would not find him. The hour was not so late, but the moonless night painted the night as being later than what it really was. Thranduil felt restless, and his thoughts could only drift now to Glorfindel. He was here somewhere within these halls, and Thranduil yearned very much to see him. Even though the years had passed and their love was no longer a flame between them, still he found himself pinning and longing for Glorfindel's touch. How vibrant were his sapphire eyes that still flashed within his mind? Time could never erase the love he had for Glorfindel. With the longing in his heart, Thranduil roamed the halls, wondering where Glorfindel's room was.

Thranduil was not sure how long he searched, and he little noticed the other inhabitants and visitors that he passed. The peaceful halls that Glorfindel had described to him years ago within the Greenwood, were anything but. Despite the hour of the night, he passed by many, and he listened as an interloper to their tidings and gossip. A collective buzz seemed to pulse through the valley, and Thranduil could feel his own heart beat with the anticipation of the coming days of
war.

His walk led him through a hall now that was less crowded and had the lantern lights turned down low. Thranduil began walking down it, but was soon to pause. He turned around to see Glorfindel standing behind him. Beneath the soft light of the lanterns, Glorfindel seemed grave, his face full of wonder, but it was also cast in the shadow of disbelief. He moved quickly to Thranduil, as if debating who stood before him was real or was nothing but a dream.

"Thranduil?" Glorfindel called out to him, and as he finally deduced that Thranduil was real, he let a smile cross his face. "Just when I would have been content to retire for the night, it is you who comes to me now. What pulls you from your home and hither to our valley?"

Thranduil didn't respond to the question, but instead returned the smile. "Is there somewhere we can go where I can answer your questions, my friend?"

Glorfindel nodded, and motioned for Thranduil to follow. While he led Thranduil, his heart suddenly beat with the excitement of this unexpected reunion. As the years had passed, Glorfindel had let his heart fall to the full engrossment of other fancies, and his desires no longer raced with the yearning of Thranduil's affection. Instead of fantasying with desire over Thranduil, he was preoccupied now with the planning of war. In the years that had followed since his departure from the Greenwood, his prediction had come true. Thranduil, who had once burned as bright as Anor within his heart and memories, had faded to the soft impression of Ithil's rays that were wrapped within the dark night sky. He was diminished but still there, and now that he was before him again, a curious reaction occurred. Glorfindel's heart beat quicker, and and his mind raced.

Where he had once believed that the years had stifled his desires for Thranduil, now he was not so sure. Was it not true that the resettles nights in which he would aimlessly stroll the paths of Imladris in unsatisfying thoughts on Thranduil, a distant memory that was no more? The longing, the yearning, the fond memories of his desire had simply ceased to be. He had thought this, or at least, he had allowed the illusion of this truth to trick him. Glorfindel knew it had all been a lie.
Seeing Thranduil before him now returned within him the whirlwind of emotions that had once burned so brightly to him before. Despite his restraint, his heart beat faster, even as his breathing paused.

Glorfindel regarded Thranduil, who looked as inciting as the image that he had seen that night of the feast, years ago. Glorfindel had locked that image within in his mind. Even though the road was far between Imladris and the Greenwood was far, the tolls of travel seemed little to paint their impressions on Thranduil's face. As weary as he must have been, Thranduil smiled gently to him, eyes as warm and dear as ever, although Glorfindel could read that he had very much changed.
Something was very different about Thranduil, but Glorfindel could not discern why or what it was.

They entered into Glorfindel's room, and Thranduil cared not to comment on the surroundings. He seated himself on the lush divan beside Glorfindel, eager to converse now with his friend.

"Will you answer now what I had asked you, my friend?"

"Ah, my dearest Glorfindel. How long have the nights been through these years that have seen us sundered despite what I would have wanted." His voice was thick with the emotions that had once driven him to the sweet seduction of Glorfindel.

"I have missed you too, Thranduil." Glorfindel honestly answered. "Even though my days and nights have been busy in passing, it was often that I thought of you and my time in the Greenwood. And again, I would ask, what brings you to us?"

"Much has changed in my fair forest home. The armies of Sauron are beyond the mind's imagination, or so our scouts would say."

"You bring news to us? Has the Greenwood been attacked?" Glorfindel interrupted Thranduil.

"No, not yet. We still remain safe in the arms of the forest, but my father worries and has built up his forces in response. No, I come to you now for another reason." And Thranduil felt himself get swept within the deep blue eyes of Glorfindel. Still Glorfindel would cause his heart to beat with the excitement of his want, and tinge his heart with the melancholy of his yearning.

"Ever would you move me to journey to your side." Thranduil sighed as a lament. He didn't mean for Glorfindel to hear his words, but he said them all the same, unable to stop the regret that poured within his heart.

"There was hardly a day that my heart did not lament for you. And oh how I would have came running to you, if but you had just called for me just one last time. But that call never came. Even though my mind understood one truth, my heart would not accept it. And here I am, and here I am speaking words that I should not , and still I am yearning for one whom I should not yearn for."

Thranduil's eyes gleamed as if tears of frustration and of his forlorn love threatened to fall. And with the words that Thranduil spoke, Glorfindel could do no other but to reach for Thranduil, even though his mind told him to stop. Thranduil was not the same, and he had finally accepted that his love for Thranduil was over and could never be.

At first Thranduil accepted his embrace, taking comfort in it, as he melted in the lost and forbidden strong arms of Glorfindel. But Thranduil was then soon to break away from the embrace, and he smiled bittersweetly at the one who years ago had taken a piece of his heart. Where once he would have moved mountains to be with Glorfindel, now he could no longer touch him, even though he was right before him. The undeniable love that he had for Glorfindel would never leave him. But he was no longer free to give his heart to Glorfindel. Perhaps he never had been free, and the truth of the matter was that his heart had never been his to give. Had Glorfindel not said to him that their love was never meant to be? Thranduil understood that everything burned much brighter for them, and forbidden love was the strongest of yearnings, and was the cruelest of pains that he had ever felt.

Thranduil looked into Glorfindel's blue eyes, which were regarding him in question. Thranduil knew that Glorfindel could sense a change about him. It was time to tell Glorfindel just why he moved away from him even though his soul still cried out for him. But words just would not come to him, so lost was Thranduil within those deep blue eyes.

"Ah, Glorfindel."

Glorfindel smiled, but his eyes were sad, as he was not so sure that they should reignite their love. As if Thranduil sensed where Glorfindel's thoughts had moved, he spoke.

"I am married now, Glorfindel." Thranduil stated as if his words were nothing more than announcing that the sun rises in the east.

"You are married?" Glorfindel couldn't believe the words his friend had stated to him. "When? To Whom? Why?" Glorfindel wasn't sure why he asked why to Thranduil, as they both knew that they could never really be together.

"Ah Glorfindel, some people have romances and a courtship that are worthy of the troubadours singing their love about, while others best tragedy or trials and quests to claim their loves. And then there are stories, like mine, where the feelings are right and the push you need is finally given. I married a Lady who was a dear friend of mine from my days in Doriath. She was a Lady I had once professed my love for. But the years of our circumstances got in the way and I thought our paths would never cross again. But fate, or intervention, would see otherwise, and now I am hers, and she is mine."

"And yet you said you came because you thought of me and was moved?" Glorfindel knew he would never be able to understand Thranduil.

"Yes, I thought of you and I was moved to make this journey. And." Thranduil smiled, and leaned closer towards Glorfindel. "Oropher has finally decided to answer Gil-galad's call for alliance. Lorian as well will join in with alliance. Someone had to deliver the news to Gil-galad, and Oropher asked me to bear this message."

Glorfindel's eyes went wide on hearing yet another revelation that was both shocking but most welcome. His heart now beat with the excitement of their alliance, instead of with the yearning he still harbored for Thranduil. Glorfindel didn't know if he was more surprised that Thranduil was now married, or that Oropher was willing to work with the Noldor.

"But I thought my mission had failed. I left the Greenwood without an agreement of alliance, and now all these years later, King Oropher agrees to align?"

"How many times did I tell you, Glorfindel, that the Greenwood moves ever on its own accord." Thranduil smiled to him, and he listened to Glorfindel's laughter.

"Yes, I remember your words, and I understand why I put my faith in you. Somehow I knew that you would convince Oropher to join us. But tell me, what caused Oropher to change his mind?"

Before Thranduil could answer, he thought back to the long years that had passed since Glorfindel had called on the Greenwood for alliance. He had never relented on trying to sway Oropher, but his words were brushed off and little resonated with Oropher. It hadn't been him who had finally convinced Oropher to join in the fight to destroy Sauron. Instead, it had been someone else:

It had started like any normal day, although there was nothing usual about it. Frantic voices had filled the halls, sounding the joyful news. Thranduil's first child had been born, and the Greenwood celebrated the occasion. Even as the world grew ever grimmer, joy was still to be had. They had celebrated deep into the night and Thranduil had stepped outside, alone in silent reflection.

But this was not to be, and he sensed his father approach. They had spoken of the birth and to Thranduil, Oropher had never seemed happier. So kindled in his eyes was a certain tenderness and joy. And Thranduil reflected just how changed Oropher seemed this night. It was as if the years of turmoil and heartache had never occurred.

"Today I have felt in my heart a rapture that I had almost come to believe was beyond me. I do not tell you much Thranduil, but you are my pride and you have always had my love. How lucky are fools to have at their side a subtle wisdom and guidance. And in these last years I have witnessed just how capable you are."

Oropher paused, smiling tenderly and sincerely at Thranduil. "You have to understand one thing about fools, Thranduil, we are always distrustful of reason and good advice. Verily I say now that I should have taken your advice when Glorfindel came knocking at our door. We will join Gil-galad's alliance, and I will lead my army to fight at our enemies door alongside them. I do not truly yield my authority to Gil-galad, but I will answer his call to align."

Oropher's tone was grave, but his face was gentle still. His eyes smiled, as if his thoughts drifted to something precious to him. "The need to preserve the innocence here would move me now to offer even my own life. Because it is true, if the alliance fails, Sauron will cover even the Greenwood in his shadow. I dare not wait for him to try to make claim on what I hold dear. We will destroy him, alongside with the Noldor, and we will prevail."

Thranduil's heart had stopped but now was pounding, and he bowed his head respectfully, accepting his king's words with gladness.

"Thranduil, please forgive me for what I ask of you now, but I know that you will understand the necessity of my request. I have prepared a request for Lorian to join us. Journey there and seek their agreement to join us. If they agree, send word back to me and then hurry on to Gil-galad. Let him know that the Greenwood marches to preserve peace. March back with them, and meet me on the plains of war."

And as much as Thranduil had wished to protest and remain with his family, he knew the importance of their joining the alliance. He could not put his own selfish wants before the protection of their realm. With sadness, he bid his family goodbye and set out as quickly as he could for Lorien.

In Lorien, the agreement to march with Oropher was quickly agreed on, and Thranduil had word sent back to Oropher that Lorien would march with them and meet them at the time and place that Oropher had requested.

Without delay, Thranduil had set out for Imladris, eager to offer the Greenwood's aid.

Coming out of his thoughts, Thranduil turned his eyes back to Glorfindel and away from his thoughts.

"As I mentioned." Thranduil finally answered. "Much has changed in the Greenwood. Oropher has decided that the protection of his people will only be maintained if Sauron is destroyed. This fight is ours, and we come now to offer our pledge of alliance."

"There is precious life to preserve." Glorfindel understood the implications from Thranduil. "Even though the hour is late, we are glad to have our woodland brothers join us."

Thranduil stood, finally feeling the weariness of his hasty travels hit him with all the weight of the miles. "I will see you tomorrow, Glorfindel. Much do we have to discuss, and much do I have to hear and learn. I would take what rest I can find now, and I excuse myself from your company."

"My heart is glad to see you again, Thranduil. My peaceful dreams find you."

And Glorfindel watched as Thranduil left his side. His heart was pained with the news that Thranduil had told him, but the rationale within his mind reminded him that a love between him and Thranduil just could not be. Thranduil had never been his, nor could he ever be his to have.

----------------

The faint light of the stars could scarcely light the dark canvas of the night sky. And there was no one around. The land was dark, yet every detail of the silent dread could be seen. He walked through it, strangely, numbly, void of thought or emotion, as if what was around him was nothing more than an illusion.

Slowly the solid ground gave way to a watery path, but he continued on until his waist was submerged in a flowing river. He looked around him, seeing gentle waves roll pass him. The river flowed by him, and what once was water that had flowed as crimson, was now a fast and raging current of black. The waters rose higher and higher, until he was submerged beneath the flood. He was covered, sinking, drowning.

Was this what it felt like to die, to feel engulfed with the shadows of a deep abyss into which he sank? There was no light, no warmth, no world beyond where souls could heal. All that was around him was an endless black void of nothingness……

He awoke with the lingering affects of the dream still washing over him. That same star light seemed to sinisterly filter in through the window. The room seemed bathed in a wash of crimson and the wind was silent, the stars were almost absent. And Thranduil felt neither fear or sadness, but instead just the stillness of the pause of wake. He blinked, his eyes caring not for further rest dispute the long weeks of travel. Thranduil felt restless and only wondered about his dream. Was this dream a new warning or was it nothing more than his own anxieties and fears now that war was on them? He rose, and only wondered briefly if he should try to drift back to sleep.

Even with the lateness of his arrival, and the long night hours he had spent conversing with Glorfindel, Thranduil felt no weariness. Instead of trying to fall back into slumber where dreadful dreams would find him, he decided to rise and greet the day. He had spent the early morning walking the delightful gardens of this valley. It was evident that he had been called to the gardens, since he now felt peace, and the lingering unrest from his dreams were absent from his mind and soul. In silent reflection, he watched the splendor of the morning unfold before him with its glorious manifestations over the valley.

And as the unfolding sunrise opened up before him in sweeping swatches of oranges, yellows, and pinks, Thranduil could feel the presence of another. He moved his eyes from the glorious sunrise to that of deep grey and ancient eyes which regarded him this early morning. Thranduil recognized the other who gazed at him so intently. He had seen him in Gil-galad's court, long ago when he had dwelt in Lindon.

The ancient before him was a high-elf, who had journeyed from Aman, but that was all that Thranduil knew about him. He was always in the fringes of the court, whispering his advice in the shadows. But Thranduil knew that he was as wise as he was mysterious. He wondered what the other wanted, and Thranduil mused on why he watched him.

"Lord Thranduil, I sincerely hope that I am not disturbing your reflection this early morning." The other seated himself by him.

Thranduil did not respond and regarded him under veiled eyes, wondering if he would introduce himself, for he could not remember his name.

"Ah, but perhaps you do not remember me." The other spoke so softly, voice no louder than a faint breeze. He let his eyes move to the vibrant sky, which he seemed to worship, almost as if he had forgotten about Thranduil.

Thranduil waited for an introduction of self, for although he had seen this one before, he knew neither his name nor what he did within the service of the High-King.

"What do you see, Thranduil, that leads you to loathe your dreams?" That ancient voice asked him now, as he was once again interested in Thranduil.

Thranduil was a little annoyed that the other could read him so easily. "And to whom would I be giving my response. You are so quick to move beyond the pleasantries of a simple introduction to that of the conversation regarding your cryptic question."

"You are correct, and you have my apologies." The other chuckled. "I did just say that you must not remember me. I am Curumil, the High-King's lore master." Curumil finally got around to introducing himself.

"Master Curumil." Thranduil had heard this name many times before, but did not realize that this was him. "What has drawn you to seek answers from me? Does somehow the distant inhabitants of a land you know not catch your fancy this morning?"

"It is often a strange set of events that can bring about a circumstance in which paths finally do cross. You would know this to be true. Just before the sun was set to rise I felt an urge to stroll through the gardens. This should have struck me as peculiar, for this is something that I never do. And then I went on this unusual walk and what do I see before my very eyes, but none other than the son of Oropher who had seemingly vanished from our memory here in the West, into the very folds of the Greenwood."

"You are not one to believe in arbitrary meetings, I gather." Thranduil still felt no desire to open up to the ancient Curumil, despite the infinite wisdom he possessed.

"I believe there is always a balance of chance with that of fate. However, I am also very certain that the worry in your eyes tie in everything together. Worry is such an exhausting endeavor, that leaves the soul weary. I offer my assistance to ease this heavy weight that bears down on you now. Would not some conversation ease what you try to lock within your mind?"

Curumil's words deeply moved Thranduil, and he was able to discern the sincerity of them. It could little hurt to open up to him and speak of what haunted him in his dreams.

"I have dreamt of a nightmare year after year." And Thranduil opened up about the dreams that had haunted him through the years.

"Ah, dreams. Now I do understand just why our paths would cross. You seek answers to your dream, but, the choices you have long pondered have already been made. Do you still seek to hear my interpretations, or do you let what you fear to remain buried in your mind?"

Thranduil smiled as he understood that Curumil as well saw death in his dreams. Thranduil already knew this. He needed not to be reminded of what awaited him in this war. He let his eyes drop to the garden ground, and he watched some leaves blow beneath and around his shoes.

"I can read that you have already interpreted the dreams perhaps with your own lore-masters in Greenwood. And yet you march to war?"

"Yes, willingly I do. Under the command of Oropher, do I gladly go." Thranduil answered, voice steadfast and resolute.

"Lord Oropher is set on his path and all that I will reveal from your dream is that your fates are not the same." Curumil sighed, and a dread pierced to his soul as he realized just how much blood would be shed in this war. Their lives would never be the same. But even as he felt the piercing of the cold of dread shoot through to his heart, he smiled. "The tides of war will shift the sands of order. For when back do souls return when the hard fought peace is won, I fear much will be changed."

Thranduil's eyes went wide, and his mind seemed to turn another possibility about his dream. No. He thought. His original interpretation was correct. Curumil must have foresight, but surely what he saw involved the Noldor. And he wondered about Gil-galad and Elrond. And then his thoughts moved to Glorfindel. Thranduil could feel his heart skip a beat. He was still in love with Glorfindel. Distance and time had little dimmed the flame that burned within for him, even though he was no longer one that his heart should dwell on. Thranduil moved his gaze to the balcony just outside Glorfindel's bedchamber. But Glorfindel was not on it. He turned his gaze away and back to Curumil, afraid he would give away the secrets of his heart.

"I do not fear what war may bring me. The fear of not acting is far more worrisome."

"I would advise you to dwell not on your dreams. Dreams are not always concrete, and do not always influence our lives. Death will come hard and swift to many, but that is the nature of war." Curumil sighed, before he continued.

"Much will be gained in this war, and much will be lost. And the beating of hearts will grow cold while others will flame with a fire anew. And you, Thranduil, are already fighting. Remember that every choice you make closes the door on other paths forever. Turn away from where your thoughts and heart may pull you. For to focus on the wrong emotions will end for you in disaster."

Thranduil didn't respond, but he smiled, understanding the stark advice although he didn't realize that he had revealed his heart's longing. He hadn't even realized that he had given Curumil any clues regarding Glorfindel. But perhaps his eyes had given him away as he had sat starring at Glorfindel's balcony, as if he was trying to will the other to come out to him.

Thranduil sighed within, and listened as Curumil gave his words of parting. Thranduil continued to linger in the garden, awaiting the hour when their meeting would commence. But that hour was still not yet on him.

-----

In this early morning, Glorfindel had woken. He had only drifted off in intermittent moments of light slumber since the sweet reprieve of sleep and dreams remained just beyond his reach. His spinning mind looped, and he was not sure just why. Was he actually upset that someone he had walked away from and that he had told to think of him as just a memory, had actually moved on? Glorfindel was not sure why he dwelled on Thranduil still. He did not need to bind himself to anyone.
Certainly not to someone like Thranduil, who was now bound to the soul of another.

But still the early morning splendor did not chase away his uncertainty. If anything he only frowned more while he watched the sky awaken in oranges, pinks, and yellows. Glorfindel was quick to dress and the thought of walking to clear his mind appealed to him now. It was not fair to Thranduil whom he would soon meet to be confronted with any of his irritations due to his mood.

Some of the things that Glorfindel loved most about Imaldris were the gardens and the mighty waterfalls. Both appealed to him this day, but he decided to go to clear his mind now in one of his favorite gardens. As he paused on the steps that would lead him to the garden, he saw Thranduil sitting there alone. Glorfindel had lingered on the steps watching like a voyeur. The early morning sun highlighted his hair in a sheen of silver vibrancy, and the peace of the valley seemed etched on his face. He felt his heart pause and he stifled the yearning in his heart. Even though Thranduil could not be his, still his heart beat with yearning for him. Shaking his head and freeing his heart desires, Glorfindel made his presence known to Thranduil.

"So this is where you have gone to pass the early morning hours. How was your night, Thranduil?"

Thranduil smiled, losing himself within the rich tones of Glorfindel's voice, and that voice brought back such fond memories and feelings. He breathed deep, trying to suppress them. But Glorfindel's voice drew his focus on him, and he looked into the deep blue eyes. Even as time had passed and he had turned to a new love, still Glorfindel very much pulled at his heart. He hadn't realized just how strong his feelings had been, lingering ever as the years had passed.

"The long hours of my night were marred by the dreams that come on the eve of war. Dark have my dreams turned, despite the joy that has found me."

"Dark are most of our dreams, for that is the nature of the waiting of war. And soon, with much heartache, will our dreams turn to the living reality of nightmares. The embrace of death may very well come to be known by us all. And I have felt that embrace once, and I can tell you that I fear it not. Gladly would I sacrifice myself to keep others safe."

"Ever do you bring me such comfort as I would remember from you." Thranduil smiled. "I can only hope to fight along side you in this war. I have trained harder to be not just a healer, but instead as a soldier, although this is all so new to me."

Glorfindel smiled, although he thought of the bitter memories of Thranduil's once brush with death. "I do believe you have, Thranduil."

But Glorfindel could speak no further because a bell now tolled that signified to them that the time for their meeting was now on them. Thranduil was led by Glorfindel to the council room that they used to discuss the war preparations. King Elendil would not be present, he learned, because he had gone to attempt to recruit some holdouts, but was expected to return any day now. Thranduil was introduced to a big man with fierce and fiery eyes, King Elendil's youngest son, Isildur, who was taking the king's place in this meeting. Gil-galad arrived not soon after their introduction to Isildur, along with Elrond. They all exchanged pleasant greetings.

"I could scarcely believe the news I received when I learned of your arrival, Thranduil. Please, delay no further the news from your lord." Gil-galad stated, seating himself down on a chair while the others joined him by sitting.

"Oropher has agreed to join in with your alliance and has secured the forces of Lorien to join as well. They will await your arrival in the east and will march to fight in this war with you."

"This is excellent news." cried Isildur, who clapped his hands once with his outburst. "My father had given up on King Oropher, but he will be glad to know that we can now add the bows of the Greenwood and Lorien to our might."

Gil-galad smiled cynically at Isildur, somewhat annoyed at the useless comment he uttered. But he commented on it not. Instead he turned his attention to Thranduil, and said.

"You do bring good news indeed, Thranduil, but yet I feel that you have not disclosed all that there is to be known. What conditions is on this agreement that Oropher has contrived?"

Thranduil sighed within, displeased that he now had to disclose just how stubborn Oropher still was.

"He marches as an independent army, free of your command. And so do the armies of Lorien."

Gil-galad frowned, but he withheld the ire of his displeasure. Such a fool, he thought of Oropher, and he saw just how troubled and despondent Thranduil was regarding his father's decision. Even though Gil-galad was angry at the news, this was not the time nor the person to unleash his venom on. There would be another point in time to debate the folly of Oropher's decision, but only when he was finally face to face with Oropher.

"So he answers the call, but ever on his own terms." Glorfindel commented in exasperation, somewhat dismayed even after all those years that had passed in which he had failed with convincing Oropher to align.

"Might I ask, Thranduil?" Elrond joined in the conversation now. "What has caused this change to Oropher's mind? The hour grows late, and we are on the dawn of war. Does he even have the proper time and resources to join us?"

"We have been preparing and training our forces not soon after Lord Glorfindel departed. Regretfully, the preparations were for a woodland defense and fight, so our army is armored lightly, to allow for quick and stealth movement through the dense forest trees. But our king does try to change the armor to better suit an open land war or siege. The Greenwood is ready to do what we can because just like you, our King realizes that peace will only be had with the defeat of Sauron. Oropher pledges to fight alongside that Noldor to ensure peace."

Thranduil noticed the transparent worry in the other's eyes and Gil-galad nodded respectfully to Thranduil. "Gladly I accept our Silvan brother's offer. You help our chance for victory with the skill or your archers and the heart of your people. It is not long now before we march to the east. I will hold a meeting with Oropher then, for much do I need to converse with him."

Gil-galad paused and he gave a gentle smile to Thranduil. "I personally want to thank you Thranduil, for your part in making this alliance happen. I recognize that you were an instrumental part of our first and important victory in this war."

Thranduil shook his head. "No. I had little part in that. It was Glorfindel who bore the brunt of my father's stubbornness. All I did was chip away at the cracks that he had already planted in my father's mind."

"Do you journey back soon to your kin?" Isildur asked.

"As much as I would like to return to my home, I know that I will not take that road until this war is over. My father's forces will march soon and he has bade me march with you to meet him in the camps of war. With your blessing, I will remain and ride under your banner until I am reunited with my people."

"You are more than welcome to stay and march with honor under my banner." Gil-galad responded.

"Gladly do I accept." Thranduil responded.

"Now that we have heard the news from the Greenwood, let us fill you in with the summary on what have discussed in these long years." Gil-galad turned the topic to their battle plans.

And for the rest of the day and for most of the evening, Gil- galad shared their developments with Thranduil, for there was much information that Thranduil had to be caught up on.

------

Morning broke like the sound of a thunderous storm was bearing down on the valley of Imladris. But when Thranduil looked out from his small window, he was greeted with a clear and peaceful awaking morning. He scanned the horizon in wonderment, but the land was free of any storms. The very air around the valley held an electric vibe to it, as if the collective anticipation of what they gathered for seeped from the thousands of minds and into the very air and earth. It hummed in the wind that blew throughout the valley, singing like the strong emotion of excitement and might. Thranduil could not contain his curiosity, and he dressed and soon joined with Glorfindel who was heading out to the courtyard.

"More troops have arrived from Lindon to join in this fight." Glorfindel explained to Thranduil about what he had heard in this early morning. "And word is that Elendil has been able to convince some hold-outs with joining, and they will be joining us shortly. They now join the armies that are camped around this valley. And it is here that we all wait for the order to march to the east."

And just as Glorfindel had finished speaking his words, the horns of Elendil sounded in the distance. Loud and clear they pierced, summoning all to pay attention. Glorfindel smiled at Thranduil, motioning for him to follow him to the courtyard to await Elendil's arrival. Gil-galad, Elrond and Erestor were already present, and Isildur too was there, and his face showed that he eagerly awaited for his father's return.

Elendil arrived with the royal guard. Tall and grave they rode with the air of their might and strength. Thranduil watched as Gil-galad greeted King Elendil, who had dismounted from his horse. Thranduil noted just how tall, and strong this king was, and he felt his heart rise as he finally began to understand just how mighty their alliance would be. He mused that maybe even on seeing King Elendil, that Oropher would rethink his reluctance to march under Gil-galad's command. If such a mighty and strong king like Elendil would work with Gil-galad, Oropher would be a fool not to. Thranduil knew that Oropher's mind had been changed once, and he still had hope that Oropher could be swayed again.

Thranduil was brought out of his thoughts when he noticed that Elendil was regarding him. Thranduil nodded his greeting to him, understanding that Gil-galad had just informed their ally that the Silven armies now joined them. Elendil's face remained inscrutable, and Thranduil wondered if he too were displeased with the lateness of their agreement. But if any anger was to be had within Elendil, Thranduil could see none, for his stern eyes shone on him gently with the warmth of his greeting.

He followed alongside Glorfindel and entered back into the council room. Here their morning was spent in pre-war councils. And of the terrifying news that came from Anarion's scouts was word that the host of Sauron was millions of orcs, but that was not the most frightful yet. Nazgul, foul beasts, trolls, and men were under the command of the witch king and Sauron. It was evident to all that the forces they would be up against would be both terrible and mighty. But despite the strong and evil makeup up Suaron's armies, they all knew that failure could not come to pass. Danger would find them all, but if the fates would allow it, they would evade the plans of Sauron and would prevail. They doubted this not, for to fall into doubt now would doom their alliance before they even marched. In the end, they agreed that the time to go to war was now on them, and without delay they would make their march to the fields in the east. There they would unite with the final armies of their alliance, and together they would face the might of Sauron together.

Although the meeting ended with the anticipation of the great trials of war, Elrond smiled still, inviting the gathered to join him for just one last dinner. This night, they would celebrate in peace, just before the uncertain future may sunder that from them forever.

-----

Evening came soon enough. This night, even though Thranduil was weary and the other leaders as well were laden with the weight of what reached for them, all gathered for the dinner, eager to unwind in the serenity of the peaceful valley. Many tables had been set up on a balcony and the delicate evening sky hung without any clouds above them. The evening was just about to break, and the evening stars were just about to shine their lights.

The mood was both somber, but yet, held hints of joy, for although they had been brought together on the eves of a great war, still they focused on what peace there was for them, even as Gondor was in battle.

Thranduil allowed himself to fall into ease, although he decided it was best to keep his distance from Glorfindel. For now at least, for he was stunning this night and Thranduil vowed no longer to let the desire that he felt burning for Glorfindel to overwhelm him. But still, his eyes revealed what his heart still harbored, even though he tried to hide behind a mask of indifference.

As if he knew that Thranduil battled something strong within, Gil-galad came to him, driven by his own curiosity of Oropher's mindset.

"It is good to have you back in the west again, Thranduil. The years have been long since you walked my halls in Lindon."

Thranduil smiled. "I have missed Lindon, and." His smile soon faded. "I have missed those who still dwell there." Thranduil responded with a lament in his voice.


"Your sister has happiness, take joy in that. Maybe once this war has ended, my eyes will see you in my halls again, if just for a visit. You are always welcome in my halls."

"I would like that, but only if my lord gives me leave."

Gil-galad smiled. "Yes, loyalty to home must come first, but remember, do not forsake the desires of your own soul. You were loved in Lindon, and I know that you enjoyed your life there. The Greenwood must be an enchanting place if it has replaced in your heart the splendor that is my home."

"It is, indeed. And I wish that you could see my forest home yourself." Thranduil sighed as his thoughts drifted back to Oropher. And though the night was peaceful, still a worry settled in his heart.

"Do not dwell on your frustrations. And though I had originally sought you out to discuss the matters of the Greenwood, I will not burden you further with it. I can read that a weariness is on you Thranduil."

As Gil-galad spoke, Thranduil let his eyes drift to Glorfindel. Glorfindel was beyond stunning this night; beautiful, mighty, noble and wise. His eyes shone with a light that Thranduil could never get enough of. And even though his heart shouldn't have longed for him, Thranduil just could not will his feelings to turn away from Glorfindel. 

Gil-galad's gentle laughter brought his gaze back to him. "Enchanting, is he not?"

Thranduil let his face fall into an inscrutable mask, or so he tried. He looked into Gil-galad's eyes, but he did not respond to his question.

"I thought that I was the only one who yearned this night, although it is not for Glorfindel for whom I would turn my eyes to. Instead, my eyes would linger on someone who to me, is ever just as charming. I had this other once, but like a fool, I let time and distance come between us. And now another would see to divide us. We share uncanny similarities, is this not so, Thranduil?"

Thranduil smiled as he let Gil-galad's words sink into his thoughts. He knew that Elrond had use to yearn with a fever for Gil-galad's affections, and that Gil-galad had returned his pinning with the toying of his heart. Gil-galad was the last person that Thranduil wanted to discuss the matters of the heart with.

Luckily for Thranduil, Elrond called for Gil-galad now, and with an apology, Gil-galad made his exit. Thranduil was relieved, and he exhaled as if to personify that his exasperation was finally over. But his solitude was short lived when Glorfindel sat next to him.

"Thranduil, the wine has been flowing for hours now, and I have not yet sought you out. You have my apologies." Glorfindel smiled to Thranduil. "We march soon to the east. Those days are now upon us, and still I wish we could linger under the starlight, and forgo the coming of the dawn."

Thranduil listened to Glorfindel's lament, and his memories crashed back to another place and time in which his heart had cried for the same want.

"Tomorrow always comes, for the better or for worst." Thranduil sighed. "I just lament that although I will greet that tomorrow with you, truth is, I will not. Aligned but divided, we will not fight as one…"

Thranduil stopped speaking and he laughed gently to Glorfindel. "The fates are cruel yet again, because ever would a divide come to define us, instead of what I would have wanted with you."

"Thranduil." Glorfindel sighed. "Still does my heart burn for you, but I will let those embers die. What we can not have in love, may we share instead in our eternal friendship?"

Thranduil's green eyes closed and he nodded. "Yes, friend I will be to you for the remainder of the years that the Valar grace to me, for your friendship is a precious gift to have." With saying those words, Thranduil felt a peace in his mind, but still, an empty void ached within.

Glorfindel hated the words they said now, but he knew that this was all that could come between Thranduil and himself. And as much as he wanted to speak with Thranduil, his heavy heart could just not make the small talk that was needed. 

Thranduil too, felt an unease wash over him, and Glorfindel's presence, which should have been comforting, was instead far too heavy, and was far too troubling for him. He didn't like how he felt with Glorfindel so near to him. This wasn't right, but this was all that they had now. He needed to escape, for his mind spun with his sadness and his disquiet. Thranduil abruptly stood, as he now only wanted to be alone for the rest of the night. Not even the good that was Glorfindel, could ease his spirit now. 

"I will take my leave now, and do so for the refuge of sleep. Until the morning, Glorfindel."

Glorfindel felt a lament cause his heart to grow cold, but he understood what caused Thranduil to leave. It was for the better, and with pained expression he nodded his farewell to his friend.

"Sweetest dreams, Thranduil, my dear friend." Glorfindel frowned more, as he watched Thranduil leave. Despite his want to embrace and comfort Thranduil, he knew he couldn't. Empty would his arms be this night.

Although the night was not too old, and the guests at the dinner still chatted in merriment, both Thranduil and Glorfindel had left the party. Elrond watched them leave, and he worried for them both.

-------------------

The early morning was cool, as the fogs of autumn blanketed the valley. Winter would soon be approaching and like the soon to be slumbering land around them, the gathered were silent and heavy laden with the knowing that soon their world was about to forever change. Just outside the valley of Imladris, the great host of their alliance had been camped, and they were now ready for the march to the east to meet up with their Silvan brethren.

This day, they all would march, and Thranduil could feel the growing emotions that buzzed like a collective mindset from all the vast armies that were now gathered behind him. Countless they were, almost like the stars in the darkest of nights. Their force was both terrible and mighty, but even still, Thranduil knew that Sauron's host was more numerous. Soon would come their days of trial, and every single soldier understood just what they would be marching to.

Thranduil watched and listened to Gil-galad and Elendil address the armies, and he saw the great Narsil rise high in the air, signifying that their march to war had now begun. Under Gil-galad's banner, Thranduil rode alongside Glorfindel, into the east, heart full of hope, but also of a lingering dread that he just could not stifle.

- - - 

Not beta read. Sorry for the mistakes



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