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.

Glorfindel had been walking through the forest for what seemed like all day, and in his walk he had found nothing that was like the images he had seen within his dream. There had been no signs of the orc host, no signs of Thranduil, and he had felt nothing at all from the forest. No clues, no feelings, not even that horrid dream crossed his mind or tugged in his heart with an added clarity to the situation that he now found himself in. In fact, the more he walked the more he realized that he was simply going in circles.

The forest and its vast trees seemed to wrap around him. The trees obscured any paths. They blocked the sun. The oppressive coppice seemed to grow thicker, tugging at his boots, trying to force him to slow in his movement. Glorfindel thought he was heading one way, only to end up where he had walked not too recently before. He was going in circles which was beyond his belief. He was of elven-kind. Elves did not become lost in the forest easily. They were able to commune with the ancient and powerful trees and could tread quickly and lightly in the most direct and quickest paths. And yet the day had presented to him its hours in these maddening circles that he was trapped within.

Something was simply amiss, his thoughts now concluded. The forest was playing tricks on him. And Glorfindel began to frown with the doubt that was escalating within his mind. The uncertainties and confusions were pulling more at his heart. Lost within this new doubt, and with the forest's frustrations, Glorfindel wondered if he had somehow been tricked to wander around the Greenwood, deceived to forfeit this meeting that he so desired with Oropher. He wondered if it had somehow been Oropher who had poisoned his mind with deceit, and had somehow turned this very forest against him.

His frown deepened, his brows furrowed, and Glorfindel had decided to turn to where he thought would lead him back to Oropher's citadel. Glorfindel was certain now of the deceit he had been fed. What else would have caused him to stumble around the forest without being able to grasp a clear bearing on what was east or west, north or south? Somehow Oropher had orchestrated this all, and it all made sense to him now.

Galion's assistance. How strange it should have seemed to him. Galion seemed to know exactly what to say and what to do. This should have struck Glorfindel as curious, but he had been blind. And in his blindness he had fallen for the deceit that the Greenwood's king had fed to him. Oropher was cruel, and Glorfindel was sick of these games. He was weary of all the deceit. This request that he had been sent on to deliver to the insufferable Oropher was doomed to fail, and he was starting to realize that it never stood a chance.

Glorfindel could feel his heart sink as his mind now wondered if he was too quick to despair. But the more he thought, the more it seemed clearer to him now. It was time to leave, he concluded. He would never be able to break through to Oropher, and he no more wanted to be used as a game for the Greenwood's King. It was finally time to return to his own home and away from this land of enchantment, deception, and of madness.

Despite his dour mood, he was still able to laugh a little, musing now that finally he and Oropher agreed on something. Glorfindel felt as his sadness now pushed his furry away, leading his heart to sting with a longing for Thranduil. It was not often that Glorfindel did not get to taste the fruits of a forbidden flower, especially for one that offered himself so willingly. But he knew with Oropher's iron will, and this doomed alliance that this would have to be one of those times that he would not be able to indulge. Maybe some other time, under different and better circumstances if their paths should ever cross again would he get to know Thranduil better. But perhaps it was with his interest in Thranduil that he had sealed the alliance's doom, he mused.

Why had Gil-Galad insisted that it was he who had to come to this wretched forest? Why had it not been somebody else who would have been better focused as Oropher had stated? Oropher had recognized his weakness concerning Thranduil. He had seen just how much he desired him, and how he had also caused that same want to rise within Thranduil. Somehow with that very knowing, Oropher had cast this deception into his mind that now found him lost and walking in circles outside of Oropher's realm within the expansive Greenwood forest.

Glorfindel seemed to know now that it had not been the Greenwood that had called to him through his dreams. The forest no longer was a soothing beautiful woodland, but had become instead a frightful deceiver, entrapping him within its eerie silence and fallacious calm. The unease, the dire foreboding, the tugs that had tortured his soul and his mind this morning were absent. There was simply nothing in its place. And Glorfindel doubted. It was as if he had once again lost another game, much like that deceitful chess game he had lost to Thranduil. Glorfindel sighed aloud, knowing that he had been nothing more than a pawn in Oropher's hands this day.

Still wrapped within his dubiety, Glorfindel paused and looked around, trying to decide which way to turn to to make his way back. He had only taken two steps when he was forced to pause, hearing the forest's voices scream to him. The forest, once silent and calm, now cried out with the wind, it cried with the leaves, it cried with the movements of the fowls and the beasts.

"Go now."

The forest's winds blew up the leaves around him, and Glorfindel was snapped to attention. He watched the debris blow now towards a path behind him that he had not noticed before. Before him in his wonderment, the forest had seemed to change.

"Do not tarry."

He heard, as he was compelled to follow the path that had suddenly opened up to him as if drawn by an invisible hand. His heart froze, and his doubt and trepidation were instantly erased. He ran.

'No time to think or reflect, just act.' He thought as his heart wrenched with a sting that was worse than a dagger's stab. And so Glorfindel ran with a speed that he had never had to call on before, as he listened to the forest lead him further on down this strange and winding path.

--------

After the leader of the orcs had given his commands, Thranduil had let the magic of the forest free him from the present world around him. He did not see the orcs circling around him with their sneers, their smirks, and their gleaming eyes filled with such hate. He did not hear their laughter, their stomping of their gruesome feet, nor the cruel words of their spite. And his mind blocked out the agony his body was screaming, the bleakness, all the vile words of a future he could not stop. And even as his eyes made out the movements of a sword being raised above him, and the sword's dull metal catching the rays of the waning sun, his eyes would just not see it. His mind refused to perceive it. The world seemed to stop. And that ever curious deceiver known as time seemed frozen, ticking out its progression in distorted fragments.

He should be fearful, fighting, struggling for his life, but he was still and docile, as if in a far off dimension where nothing could ever reach him. Not the orcs, not fear, not even the impending death that was soon to claim him. Instead, he waited with an almost calmness for the cold hand of death to touch him. He waited to feel and know the halls that claimed all the departed souls from Arda. How many souls had made the journey there before him? And now it was his time to join his ancestors. He waited for what seemed an eternity for a blow that did not come.

Instead the silence that had muted out everything around him was suddenly broken when he heard the sounds of metal clashing with other metal, and the screams of a surprised orc host who were suddenly under ambush. He heard these sounds from what seemed to be born of his almost extinguished hope. He kept his eyes closed, not wanting to see the bitter tricks his mind now played on him with this cruel deception.

And still Thranduil waited for that death blow, but the screams kept coming. He felt that awful oppressive presence of the orcs leave his side. As he slowly returned back to the present world, his ears could pick up the sound of an elvish blade singing through the air around him. And with the recognition of that sound, Thranduil finally opened his eyes to see the wonderment of Glorfindel cutting down the orcs. His sword moved as a great force, inducing chaos, and in their anger the orcs turned their attention to the attacker, leaving Thranduil all alone.

And as he watched the scene unfold he let himself fully return to the present, back from that liminal world that he had drifted to in anticipation of his death. The pain, the carnage, the blood, this new hope all crashed within. And in this overwhelming mixture of sensations, he collapsed onto the forest floor, no longer able to support himself without the orcs holding him up. Laying on the forest floor, he still managed to watch as Glorfindel fought. In all of his glory, Thranduil had seen nothing that compared to his might in all his long years. Long strong limbs wielded a sword with a skill that was unmatched by any other. Not even Oropher could fight with the proficiency that looked as an art and a dance to his eyes. But even as he watched the fighting that he tried so hard to stay focused on, the overwhelming sensations of pain and fatigue engulfed him, trying its best to pull him under.

He lost the fight. Suddenly the Greenwood went dark to him.

-----

Day after day of frustrations, of yearning desires, of being scorned and out of place, of seeing his friend with his head hanging down awaiting a death blow, all collided within Glorfindel. These emotions and thoughts helped fuel him in the slaughter of the orcs that had surrounded Thranduil. The orcs had been so engrossed as they stood around to watch the death that he had been able to attack with surprise. With all the skill he possessed, he cut through the orc host easily, drawing them away from the badly injured Thranduil. Quickly they fell and Glorfindel stared into the faces of the few that remained. It took him only a little effort to bring down two orcs who rushed at him. Still, just a few more remained and they all charged at him at once. With all of Glorfindel's might and skill his sword matched their blades, blocking their blows while he was able to find the window needed to cut them down. He let his frustrations and his hatred for these orcs who had hurt his friend rain down on them. His sword was ruthless, slicing through them with the vengeance he now sought on them. The ones that remained were of little match for Glorfindel, and only the leader of the orc host was his last adversary.

"You'll pay for your actions, elf!" The orc hissed. He walked onto the lifeless bodies of his fallen comrades, caring not that his gruesome boots tore into their flesh and snapped their rib bones under his weight. "It is unwise to come between an orc and his prey, and you just spoiled our fun. Now, you must die."

"You have uttered your last words, orc." Glorfindel smirked back to him, and he blocked the orc's powerful blow with a stealth and speed the orc had not anticipated. Glorfindel knew to fight with his emotions calm and checked, for this orc was larger than the others he had killed, and was far more powerful and skilled.

The orc again lunged his assault at Glorfindel, relentlessly swinging his sword with all of his force. Sure the orc was strong, but he was of little match to him, and he easily evaded and maneuvered around the death swings. If not for the injured Thranduil, Glorfindel would have taken his time with this orc, thoroughly enjoying the toying with his own prey before the kill. But he needed to be quick, knowing that Thranduil was hurting and needed his aide. In a swift move that the orc did not anticipate, he was able to land the death blow to the creature, who instantly fell silent onto the forest floor.

Glorfindel looked around one more time just to make sure the threat was over. There were no more orcs standing, and the forest seemed serene again. Satisfied that the danger was at last over, he took in the sight of Thranduil. Thranduil was crumpled on the forest floor. He was covered in blood, and Glorfindel supported him into a sitting position. He held his breath as he searched for signs of life, and when Thranduil let his eyes flutter open and focus on him, Glorfindel let his relief wash over him. He smiled at seeing that he lived, and gently moved back the blood stained hair from Thranduil's face.

"Thank the Valar." He sighed, while he he grabbed one of his own daggers, and cut the binds from the other's hands. The horror of his dream had not come to pass, or at least not yet. An uneasy worry was settling into Glorfindel's heart as he let his eyes examine the extent of the damage that he could see. It was obvious that Thranduil's injuries were numerous. Blood covered him almost everywhere, his face was swollen, his flesh was bruised and cut, and his clothes were torn and bloodstained from the injuries hidden beneath them. But, still, Thranduil was alive with eyes open, staring at him in wonderment.

Glorfindel reached for a pouch that was buckled on his belt, and with his free hand he retrieved a small flask of medicinal miruvor that Elrond had insisted he take with him. Glorfindel knew the strengthening qualities that the drink contained, and he helped Thranduil drink some of it.

"How did you know to find me?" Thranduil's voice was soft and cracked, heaving through the abuse the orcs had put him through. His eyes were pained, showing every single sting and ache his body felt, yet the deep green orbs still revealed his deep gratitude and wonderment. Glorfindel the might warrior had come to him with all his glory, saving him from what would have been his death. "How did you know my life was to end?"

"Be still now, do not let your mind worry about such details." Glorfindel's voice was soft, as he tried to look Thranduil over, making sure that his life was not in immediate danger with the extent of his injuries. He wondered what he could do to ease the pain that he saw reverberating through Thranduil's core. He wasn't sure just how to proceeded with the healing and the tending of the wounds, and in his panic, his worry was getting the best of him. His head was spinning, and the air around them was poignant with the stench of orcish blood. Glorfindel tried not to frown, but the overwhelming stench of the blood was making him feel dizzy. The forest floor was saturated with it. It covered Thranduil. It covered him.

"No, I need to know."

The words were now no softer than a whisper, but Thranduil's determined eyes bore into Glorfindel. He was still knelt beside the wounded Thranduil, brushing his long silver-hair from his eyes. 'So stubborn.' He thought, but he grew less panicked now. His feelings led him to feel protective over the one for whom the forest had once again cast into his dreams.

"Greenwood would see to your well being, for I dreamt this whole event last night. Surely as you are here now, and the orcs lay dead, I saw you at this spot, with the knoll behind you, the trees heavy with vines."

He felt it was best to leave out that he had dreamt of Thranduil's death. But he knew that deep within Thranduil, who was teetering between awareness and unconscious, that the other knew the full extent of the dream. And Thranduil's words that he still somehow managed to force out confirmed that very knowing.

"You saw my death and hence you found me, my friend."

Glorfindel's presence seemed to will Thranduil to keep from giving into the pulls of his injuries. He remained in a seated position, feeling some of his strength return from the miruvor He kept his eyes open, regarding Glorfindel, recalling just how glorious he had been when he fought. His beauty, skill and strength were otherworldly as if he were more than flesh and blood, but instead a higher being.

'So beautiful…' he reached his finger up to Glorfindel's hair, brushing it against the soft of his locks. Thranduil let a smile cross his face, even with the blood still pooling at his temple, and the swelling sting on his check. But then he suddenly remembered that Oropher and Glorfindel were suppose to meet this day, and his smile vanished as quickly at it began.

"What of your meeting with my father?" Thranduil asked Glorfindel, who was now working on making strips of cloth that he would use to wrap the bleeding wounds.

A laugh escaped Glorfindel's lips, as he thought about just how stubborn Thranduil was. Thranduil seemed to care more for a meeting that had not happened, instead of on his own serious and numerous injuries.

"I will answer that in time, but first, I need to bind your wounds. The bleeding must be stopped now." He worked quickly as he crudely wrapped the cuts, ensuring they were tight enough to apply the needed pressure to stop the loss of precious blood. If his actions pained Thranduil, he did his best to keep that knowledge from Glorfindel. However, the closing of his emerald eyes told Glorfindel everything that Thranduil tried to hide.

Glorfindel was surprised with just how numerous the injuries were, and he couldn't help but frown as he thought about just what the orcs had put Thranduil through. Thranduil did not look good, but he was awake and responding to his words.

'Yes'. Glorfindel thought. 'Keep Thranduil engaged in conversation until he could get him to a more secure location.' With his new plan of action, Glorfindel finally answered his worried question.

"In my worry, I did not attend the meeting. Instead, when I had found out that you had left the capitol, I too left thinking only of you." Glorfindel continued to bind the wounds, trying his best to not to hurt Thranduil.

"I am sure Oropher is angry at me and I might have just lost the one chance I had to plead the case for alliance." Glorfindel's eyes remained with joy even as he spoke his fears aloud. He let his face smile on for Thranduil's sake, even as he hastily wrapped the torso wound that peered through the torn and bloodied tunic that Thranduil wore. It looked horrible and caused Glorfindel unease, but he tried his best not to let his worry show.

"I would not have my dream come to pass. You simply are someone that I would not want to loose. And I know Arda would be much less without you in it." He decided to add a more positive statement, and he looked down to see that Thranduil smiled at hearing this, even with the pain he was in.

"If this alliance is meant to be, the Valar will see that it is done. I will not fret about it anymore." Glorfindel finished his words, and he continued to look Thranduil over for more wounds, ready to wrap them on their discovery. He had finally decided to take to heart the words Thranduil had been telling him all along regarding his actions towards this alliance.

Thranduil took the words in, and motioned for Glorfindel to stop with the tending to his wounds. Sure the pain was beyond what he had felt before, and threatened to pull him ever into a world of enveloping dark sleep. But he was strong, he would show Glorfindel just how strong he was.

"I am fine, Glorfindel. There is no need for this." He hissed a little, forcing himself to stand to emphasize that he had not been beaten. He moved away from the lifeless orcs, not wanting to be around the carnage anymore. The overwhelming stench of their blood was dizzying. He needed to escape from this area now. He wanted to forget this, to erase forever their awful words that still spun through his mind. He desperately needed to breath the forest air that was not corrupted with the stench of the black orc blood.

Glorfindel watched his injured friend stagger away, and he grabbed Thranduil's scattered daggers that were laying near the area of battle. He moved by his side, swiftly, ready to support Thranduil just incase he were to fall with the weight of his injuries. Thranduil seemed to regard him with a slight frown on his face, and Glorfindel wasn't sure if it were the pain or the worried look he was giving Thranduil that caused his expression.

"I am sure Oropher is angered." Thranduil pushed the words out, forcing Glorfindel to focus on anything but the frailty he exhibited now. This was not how he wanted to present himself to the fabled Glorfindel whom he thought was perfection personified.

"However," he paused, breathing through a sharp pain that almost pulled him down to his knees. He gripped his side, curling his spine down. And Glorfindel was holding him, his concerned words were telling him to stop now, to rest. But Thranduil only shook Glorfindel's words off.

"No." Thranduil continued, intent on finishing the thoughts that went through his mind now. He needed to speak, and he need to keep on walking back to his home.

"I would imagine my safety will still his fury and in time, I am sure that he will hear your words." Thranduil tried to give Glorfindel a reassuring smile, even with his evident display of the creeping defeat from his wounds. Still, despite the sheer agony he was in, Thranduil's mind could little only wonder of the day's events: the horrible news of the latest attack from Sauron, Glorfindel's skipping of the meeting. He himself held doubt on how his father would react. He knew he had been sent away for a reason, to be separated from Glorfindel once and for all. Oropher was the master of these lands, and did not like when his will was denied.

Under the weight of those thoughts and his body's agony, Thranduil stumbled, and he knew he would not be able to walk much longer without rest. "Home is still far in the distance." Thranduil commented as he scanned the area around them. "My body is weary but I will walk as much as I can."

Glorfindel frowned. He knew the struggle that Thranduil was going through. Elves were strong and their bodies could withstand much abuse, but Thranduil was badly wounded. He needed to rest and forgo the long journey back to the citadel until he was more rested and healed.

"No, do not even begin to think that you are walking through the forest this night. Your body needs pause to rest, to heal."

"I am fine." Thranduil snapped, trying to show no weakness, and he set his eyes as hard glacial stones in emphasis of his point. His eyes reflected the very same eyes his father often used to demonstrate that his will was not be challenged. But when Thranduil saw the sincere worry and concern in Glorfindel's face, he relented, deciding that he simply did not have the fight within him any longer. He decided it was best to give into Glorfindel's assessment on how to proceed now.

"You are right, my friend. We simply should not walk through the Greenwood at night so far from our guarded borders. I do know of an area where there is a pond and one of our outpost shelters. We can pause there so I can tend my wounds, and you can also rest from your own battle exertions."

Glorfindel nodded, but he bit his tongue, deciding not to comment on the statement Thranduil had made regarding his own need for rest. He walked just behind Thranduil, who slowly led him through the forest, limping more noticeably now. His pace slowed and Glorfindel came to his side. The last few minutes of their walk saw Glorfindel fully supporting Thranduil now, who indicated that their walk would end just beyond a bend in the path. Thranduil, all but exhausted with pain, allowed the assistance, caring not to protest for he knew his pride would simply not help in this situation.

They reached the spot that was a tranquil area as far as Glorfindel could tell. Although by the time they had reached it, the night had already obscured the details to him. But just as Thranduil stated a small stone structure covered heavy in vines and moss stood near a small pond.

Glorfindel helped Thranduil into the shelter, and he let his eyes adjust to the dark of the room. Near a window was a cot that was illuminated by the beams of Ithil's light. Carefully he helped the limping Thranduil onto the cot. In the dark he did his best to scan the room some more, but the slight light made it difficult for him to discern if there were any candles or lanterns he could light. In his determination he stumbled around the structure until he bumped into a table. Glorfindel noted not to curse aloud as his hip collided with the sharp of a corner. Breathing a little in annoyance, he instead felt along the top of the table, relieved when he felt a lantern on its surface. The illumination from the lantern was enough to saturate the room with the much needed light that he needed to work in, and Glorfindel knew he could really get to work with helping Thranduil now.

"Now let us really see to your wounds, now shall we?"

Thranduil was pale, exhausted, and didn't care that Glorfindel had begun to remove his boots and leggings to better view the wounds. He was exhausted, but he willed with every fiber of his being to stay awake. Even though he was not a worrier like Glorfindel was, he would show him just how strong he was.

Glorfindel seemed not to notice Thranduil's internal battle, and he let his eyes scan the bruises, the welts, and the cuts that covered his body. A tear in his flesh on the upper thigh showed that an arrow had pierced him, and Glorfindel frowned. Orc arrows often carried poison, but not all did. Glorfindel was not too sure which type of arrow had pierced Thranduil without the arrow-head around.

He then pulled the ripped and blood stained tunic off of Thranduil. His frowned deepened at what he saw. The cut he had wrapped on Thranduil's arm was soaked in blood, but the cut to his side was fairing better. Thranduil was covered in cuts and scrapes and torn flesh from head to toe. The sight of this made Glorfindel all the more determined to help him. Again he pulled his flask and bade Thranduil to drink some more, and he smiled as Thranduil sipped the cool liquid down.

"Let's get you cleaned up then." Glorfindel capped the flask once Thranduil had finished and tucked it back into his belt. He noted to keep his voice soft, knowing that calmness was needed in this situation. He headed outside to the pond where he took what was left of his cloak, and began to cut it into pieces which he then wetted with the pond water. The water was cool and Glorfindel knew that the water was free of any dangerous organisms which could lead to infection. The cool night wind blew across the forest, and the trees whispered to Glorfindel letting him know they would be safe for the night. WIth a lighter heart he went back to Thranduil who was trying to pull off the wrapping that was around his arm.

"Here allow me." Glorfindel offered. He unwound the crude binding he had made and he looked at the wound. It wasn't horribly deep, but he knew it needed to be cleaned properly to avoid infection. Glorfindel used the wet cloth to clean the wound. He noticed that Thranduil winced, and Glorfindel was more bothered when he did not bother to mask it. When he was satisfied that the cut was cleaned, he applied some healing ointment on it. He had packed this small tin of balm with him when he had been preparing to set out and find Thranduil. He knew this balm would help Thranduil heal much more quickly, but he also hoped that it would also deaden the pain he felt. Glorfindel was glad that Elrond had packed the powerful healing balm with him before he left, although at the time he had only rolled his eyes at his sometimes over-worrying Lord.

"You come prepared, I see." Thranduil recalled the smell of the balm that Glorfindel used now. It brought him back to his days in Lindon, where he had learned to make that powerful and almost magical healing balm with Elrond, so many years ago. He saw Glorfindel nod, letting his face turn to smile.

"Is that one of Elrond's balms?" Thranduil already knew the answer, but he asked it all the same.

"Yes, this is one of Elrond's medicines. I have no choice but to travel prepared, for you see, Lord Elrond makes sure that I take his care package before I leave his lands. He is always worried that I would have gotten into some sort of trouble with something when I am abroad." He laughed, hoping the light of his words would soothe his injured friend. He applied a generous amount on Thranduil's arm, who smiled as if he was doing it all wrong. But if he had applied far too much of the ointment, Thranduil did not say. With a dry piece of his cloak, he wrapped the wound.

"Now my friend," he looked Thranduil in the eyes. "Let us see to the other ones."

Glorfindel now looked over the gash to his side. The rigged tear to the flesh ran from his upper ribcage and down to his navel area. Glorfindel took great care with cleaning the wound, fearing infection. He applied another generous helping of the balm to the wound, while Thranduil just leaned his body against the wall, closing his eyes, seeming not to be in too much discomfort while Glorfindel tended him. Glorfindel then moved his care further down Thranduil's body. He cleaned the wounds to his legs, using the remaining balm on all the cuts and bruises that covered him from head to toe.

"Now." Glorfindel stated at the finishing of the care he had administered, "Let's get you into this." He removed his outer tunic, leaving only a light shirt for him to wear. He gently pulled his own tunic onto Thranduil, letting it cover his torso and groin area.

Thranduil regarded him through half lidded eyes, smiling at the care he gave to him. "Thank you, my friend." He whispered. "I keep finding myself indebted to you today." The long events of the day brought him weariness and an almost dizzying fatigue struck him now.

"A night off that leg will do you good. I hope your father will not worry too much when you do not return." Glorfindel added, while he let his eyes roam down Thranduil's long alabaster legs. He was sitting with just that tunic on, and although the cloth covered his undergarments, his thighs were bare, showing the rest of his legs. They were long and alabaster underneath the bruises and cuts and they were deceitfully lithe. But Glorfindel knew just how toned and strong Thranduil was. He frowned however, at the sight of the abuse that had been paid to the slender body. He watched as Thranduil moved his bare feet up onto the cot, as if the other did not seem to want to have them touching the stone floor. Glorfindel was snapped from admiring his form though when Thranduil started speaking.

"Wonder, perhaps, but worry not so much." Thranduil's response was delayed, and he looked as if in a daze at the dressings on his body, before he lifted his eyes back to Glorfindel's face. He had not seen Glorfindel admiring his form. Instead he was focusing on the relief his body was feeling as the pain that had been consuming him was slowly fading with the effects of the balm. The salve brought him relief, the pain continued to leave him, dulled by the powerful healing medicines that only Elrond could make. The powerful medicine was already healing his damaged skin and tissues, and Thranduil knew, that because of Elrond's medicinal skills, he would soon be healed.

"You should sleep now." Glorfindel stated as he began to remove his own boots. "You need to let your body rest to do the healing it needs." He added watching as Thranduil battled fatigue, his eyelids fluttering.

"Sleep my friend," Glorfindel's words fell into a lull, hoping the melodic cadence would settle the adrenaline and pull Thranduil into the slumber he needed. Indeed his words wound through the room, like a strong enchantment, pulling Thranduil down onto the cot. Slowly he lowered, silver hair spilling down around him. His long lashes finally closed over his bewitching emerald eyes.

Glorfindel watched Thranduil fall into slumber, but he continued humming, looking over his sleeping charge. He gently covered the weary Thranduil with his own cloak. His words continued on, soft and palliative, even as Thranduil was clearly sleeping.

Satisfied that Thranduil was finally deep in a healing sleep, Glorfindel stopped his song, and seated himself on a chair by the table. He listened to the night's wind blow through the trees. The forest was serene and echoed with the insects and night's owls. Glorfindel focussed and strained his hearing wondering if he could hear any news from the forest. To his relief, not a sound of distress could be heard. Still, despite their safety now, Glorfindel did not want to let his guard down, intent instead on keeping watch in this strange forest.

He leaned back into his chair, finally letting all the frustrations of the day's events fade into forgotten memories. The stress and tension seeped from his core as he let himself clear all of the doubt that had consumed him this day. He now knew that Oropher held no part in this day's event. It had to have been something more divine and Glorfindel was a little bewildered. Through his years in this new age, he had been granted dreams and knowings that he knew would come to pass, but they were sporadic and often spaced decades apart. But now the feelings came sooner to him, and Glorfindel grew alarmed. How strong was the threat of malice when the lands could do no other but cry out their warnings? Glorfindel could feel it in his core, the warning rolled across the sky. It poured down from the heavens, washing over anything that cared enough to listen. But even though the lands of the weary peoples wept, there were still those who turned a blind eye to it all. He understood it not. How one who was in a position to defend his people and their peace could remain so obstinate to the cold and hard facts.

Glorfindel sighed, even as the peaceful forest tried its best to lure him into his own rest. But Glorfindel ignored it, intent instead with the piecing together of the events of the day. He rose, and looked over the slumbering Thranduil. He looked so peaceful now in his rest. His eyes were closed in a healing sleep and Glorfindel could not make out any signs of distress from the other as he slept. But still, Glorfindel placed his hand on his sleeping friend's forehead, and whispered to him a blessing of peace and strength in his sleep, hoping his words would keep any lingering and uneasy thoughts away.

The night's gentle breezes blew again and Glorfindel felt more compelled to pause and listen to the dulcet rustling of the leaves, making their own chiming of a soothing serenade. He fought to stay awake, wanting to keep his watch over his sleeping charge. But the Greenwood had other plans, and a warm breeze blew now, scented heavy with woodland aromas and the good of the earth. They enveloped his senses, tugging at his own weariness like the earlier song he had sung to Thranduil. His strong warrior will was of little match against the enchantress that was the Greenwood forest. Its voice penetrated the air, shards of its magic swept through the canopy of the night.

In a battle of will, Glorfindel was on the loosing end against this witch of a forest. As if in a trance that was cast on him from the forest, he was seated back on the chair, and his head and arms leaned down onto the table just before he was out in his own peaceful and pleasant sleep.

------

Oropher sat late into the night alone within his study. This night was not so unlike the other nights in which he would let himself reflect and lose himself within its beauty. Just as ever, the forest was peaceful with its early fragrant summer breezes. The fireflies lit the forest up around him in a show of whimsical light. The awakening of the nocturnal inhabitants of the Greenwood called their voices out in an enchanting symphony. But Oropher reflected on none of these things however.

Instead his thoughts kept turning over the reports from the returning guard who had ventured into the south-lands of the forest. It was with great displeasure and worry that he had heard that his only son and his only heir had foolishly stayed behind. And now that Ithil had long burned her light into the sky, Thranduil still had not returned.

He worried over the words of his guards. They had reported the days events to him, indicating what they had seen and heard. There were visible signs of the orc attacks to the woodland villages in the south, and the men who lived there lamented in the uncertainty of the growing darkness. And with Thranduil staying behind without the needed eyes and defense of the guards, Oropher knew he would find no rest this night. Instead he would loose himself within his mind. Oropher allowed himself to sigh, as he gave into and acknowledged his worry. He hoped his son would not encounter any trouble on his way back. Worry was nothing
new to Oropher, but this familiar routine weighed more heavily on him this night with the concern for Thranduil.

This whole day had been an annoyance to Oropher. First there had been the meeting that had not occurred with Glorfindel. Although he really wasn't going to commence with the true nature of a meeting, he was still looking forward to actually purging his realm of Glorfindel once and for all, but that had not occurred as was planned. And there was the uncertainty of not knowing what delayed his son's return. Galion's actions as well caused Oropher to have unease. He had his suspicions with Galion. There was no perceivable explanation to explain how Glorfindel could have moved through his kingdom unseen. The eyes of his guards were everywhere, but not a single one of them had seen him leave his halls and move beyond their boundaries and out into the Greenwood. He was not within the citadel either. Oropher had instructed his guard search high and low around his halls and within the city, but all the reports kept informing him that Glorfindel was missing. Vanished even. And this annoyed him more than what he cared for it to.

Oropher was certain though that the mystery of it all would lead him straight to Galion. But if Galion knew anything on the matter, the other only had held his tongue this day. Oropher expected as much from the sometimes distant Galion. He had often thought about having Galion removed from his personal service with the sometimes mischief he would cause. But still, Galion had proven to be exceptionally loyal to him, brave even, and was usually a comfort to him. And tonight, even with whatever role he had played with the disappearance of Glorfindel, Oropher's thoughts moved to wanting to have Galion's presence near him. He almost yearned for Galion's calming presence, hopping it would help soothe his spinning mind.

The King of the Greenwood rose, tiring suddenly of his cell-like setting. He tugged on his outer robe with little elegance before he stepped into the hall. With a wordless stare, he summoned Galion to join him while he walked down the hall, passing corridor after corridor within his grand home. If Galion would not come to him to speak his thoughts and mind, Oropher would keep him by his side in hopes his silence would finally be broken. And Oropher let a smile cross his face, thinking just how much he would delight in finally learning the truth of what had occurred this day. Galion was quick to follow, and the two ascended through the citadel where they reached a room that was open to the forest canopy around them.

Galion was good at reading his lord-king and knew as well that Thranduil had not yet returned. He also knew just how much distress it was causing his king, whose eyes had looked at him with a certain knowing in his annoyance. Galion minded to stay inscrutable. This was a trait that he was a master of, even masking his thoughts and emotions from both Oropher and Thranduil.

He followed behind his king, knowing why Oropher climbed to this spot. He knew that his king wished to commune with the forest in his hopes that the Greenwood would enlighten him about Thranduil within its whispers this night. And when Oropher motioned for him to stand right beside him atop the forest observatory, Galion did so, assuming his usual stance by his king's side.

The two stood listening to the whispers from the trees long into the night. But all that the trees relayed back to them was the confusion of the darkening corruption of the southern reaches of the forest. Oropher knew the Dark Lord was ever pushing his vile poison into the south-lands, and he grew even more annoyed that the forest told him nothing on what he truly sought. Still he stood on, straining his hearing beyond what could be heard with his fine elven senses, desperately wanting to hear just a single clue as to what kept his son from arriving home. In his worry, Oropher cared little now about his thoughts on Glorfindel.

Galion could read the concern of his king and stifled as best he could his own feelings of worry. He didn't want his own anxiety to fuel the worry of Oropher. Galion wondered just how well he was masking his thoughts however. The day had turned out to be most confusing, and he inwardly mulled over the events. He still could make little sense of Glorfindel's strange behavior. Then there were the strange feelings that he had with the assistance that he had provided to Glorfindel. Both were baffling to Galion.

But the more Galion reflected on the day's events, the more he began to wonder if he had simply been mistaken. Maybe the pull he had felt to help Glorfindel had all been a simple misunderstanding of what he had read from the other. With this new realization of what may have actually occurred, Galion began to wonder more about Glorfindel and of Thranduil. But the more he thought, the more perplexed he became about the motives behind Glorfindel's sudden and persistent need to venture from the citadel. And what of Thranduil's missing presence from his father's city? The coincidences very much did lead one to draw such conclusions of if the two were together.

The answers that both sought came neither to them quickly nor definitively from the forest's winds. The minutes seemed to roll into hours and Ithil started sinking beyond the Greenwood Forest. Yet Oropher still stood stoic staring south into the forest as if Thranduil would soon appear. And Galion continued to watch on as well as the ever silent companion loyal to his king. Through the side of his eyes, he let himself study Oropher who stood so straight, his face very much transparent with the annoyance of not knowing.

As if Oropher could feel Galion's eyes on him, he turned slowly, locking eyes with him and simply stated. "They are together."

Oropher frowned, wondering how Glorfindel knew exactly how to find Thranduil. His anger boiled within, as he definitively concluded that it was none other than his own treacherous son who had told the invader where to find him. Thranduil had persuaded Galion to sneak Glorfindel out into the forest, and somewhere beyond his eyes, they were out there together.

Moving quickly from his statuesque vigil, Oropher suddenly bottled down the stairs and descended down to his ground floor council room like a mighty storm raining down on his halls. Galion followed quickly, having to double his steps to keep pace with his king.

"Summon my chief of guard!" Oropher fumed, wondering if a status report was ready from the sentries he had sent to locate Glorfindel. He wanted to hear that Glorfindel was still missing as a means to confirm his suspicions, and he impatiently waited for his guard to arrive. It took only a few moments before Galion returned with the ancient chief of guard at his side.

"My King." The guard approached Oropher, waiting for him to address him.

"What have you to report on the search for Lord Glorfindel?" Oropher's stare was piercing, intense and steadfast, awaiting the words he knew would come.

"He is most skilled, my king. He left neither track nor clue and evaded even our unwavering watch." The guard paused, accessing Oropher's frown and hard glacial eyes.

"And any news of Thranduil?" Oropher moved now to a cabinet, pulling out a bottle of wine and goblet in his calm acceptance of the news. He motioned to Galion that his assistance was not required before pouring his own glass.

"There has been no sign yet of your son's return. Our southern sentries have also not reported anything on the two." The guard fell silent while he studied Oropher, who held onto his goblet, his face was unreadable, showing neither displeasure or intrigue, worry or concern, just the ageless mask of the first-born.

Oropher seated himself on a chair within the council room. He sat stoic, stating nothing with nothing with words nor with body. He neither dismissed his guard nor drank from his wine cup. Not even his eyes could show his thoughts. Time seemed to stand still, but Oropher was even stiller. And the pause of his words and movements froze everyone in the room along with him.

"Return to your duties." Oropher's lone command echoed in the room, finally piercing the silence that had weighed them all down. The chief of the guard nodded respectfully and left his king, following Oropher's command.

Galion remained after the guard had departed, mirroring the same unwavering vigil that Oropher kept. The king's deep green eyes were locked on a south window searching for answers that just would not come. Despite Oropher's indifferent approach towards Thranduil, Galion knew the one thing that was dearest to Oropher's heart was his only son. The long years of immortal life had claimed all others that had been dear to him. Thranduil was the only family that Oropher had left. His knowledge of Oropher's life was like a sketch to Galion, incomplete but still providing him enough details to piece together what exactly had happened that had molded the king as he knew him.

Thranduil hadn't been the only child that his king had loved, but his daughter had long ago been lost to him. The two had been close, but when Oropher had decided to move to the east, she had decided to stay with the Noldor in Lindon. Oropher had not approved of her choice. There had been words, and hurt on both sides. But much like her father, the Lady was just as stubborn and set. She had refused to be part of the household Oropher led over the Misty Mountains and into the Greenwood. And with her choice, she had became lost to Oropher. Despite his daughter's choice, Thranduil had been loyal to his father. And although he was also close and adored his older sister, and had loved his life in Lindon, Thranduil would simply not be sundered from his father. Galion knew that his king would have been even more lost if Thranduil were not here with him in the Greenwood. It was his son alone that could still bring out the little joy that was left in Oropher.

Galion had been told of this rift between father and daughter, and how it had hardened Oropher even more. This had been told to him from the chief-advisor, who had been friends with Oropher since they were elflings in Thingol's realm. The chief-advisor had in confidence painted the picture of Oropher's life to Galion, thinking that Galion must understand the background of the king he was to serve. Little had been told to him about Thranduil. Just the ever antidotes of his eccentric charm and allure were mentioned, but nothing really beyond that. What Galion had learnt had been from Thranduil himself.

Thranduil as well had told him about Oropher, although he did not often speak of his father, nor of his life in Doriath. But when he did, he vividly portrayed the heartache they had all felt when the home they had loved had been broken. He spoke little of Oropher's heartache through the ages, only painting slight impressions of those painful events.

But Thranduil was also quick to speak about the happier times and of their history. Galion had been told with wonderment in Thranduil's voice of the awakening under the stars, a tell which had been passed down from his grandfather. He was told of their kin tarrying in the great forest, while their leader was held in a trance. Thranduil had told him how his grandfather chose not to travel to the undying lands, but instead helped King Thingol build and govern Doriath as one of his lords. That time had been peaceful and Oropher was born long before King Thingol had renounced the Noldor and banned their tongue.

Oropher was a young lord then, working in Thingol's court. The young Oropher was known in Doriath for being cunning and sharp, but he was also strong and rash. But despite his strange temperament, he had found an elleth who could still his heart. She alone could bring peace to his stormy disposition, and could genuinely pull a smile from his often hard and brooding face. And Oropher adored her. Both Thranduil and the advisor made sure Galion understood that. Oropher had married under a peace, and before the Noldor had been banished from Doriath, his first child had been born.

It was when Thranduil spoke of his sister that his eyes both gleamed with joy and with sorrow. Galion could see the love he still had for her. Their bond was still strong despite the years of their separation. His sister was the apple of Oropher's eye, a beautiful jewel who was even more headstrong than her father. The young elleth loved the stories from the exiles and was quick to learn their tongue and songs. She delighted with her meeting with Galadriel who would come to visit her father's kin Celeborn.

And when the Noldor had been banned as kinslayers, Oropher's second child was born. Thranduil rarely spoke about his own childhood or of how Oropher had been to him in his early years. The stories Thranduil shared were mostly of his grandmother and mother and of his dear sister. But Thranduil spoke most fondly of his mother, and the chief advisor also echoed that sentiment that she was a charming and spirited Lady, full of life and enthusiasm. Thranduil had stated that he favored his mother more so than he did Oropher, inheriting her deep emerald eyes and ivory skin. She was carefree and jovial and he had inherited her gift of foresight and of the healing arts.

From time to time Thranduil would weave anecdotes with Elu Thingol in them, and would even share tales of his grandfather and of Oropher. Thranduil spoke in broken impressions, painting a picture to Galion of a content and peaceful life in the hidden kingdom. The memories were not shared often, but when Thranduil spoke, Galion always listened with great interest.

It took Thranduil many years after he had befriended Galion before he shared his memories of the dark days of Doriath. Galion knew just how hard it was for him to speak about those times, for when he did, he spoke as if in a trance. He stated very little about the day they had witnessed the dwarves slay King Thingol. And then the dwarves had marched and sacked Doriath, and Thranduil spoke of the death that ensued with a detached lamenting. So many had been lost in those days, his grandfather, his friends, his king, and all of their serenity. And then the unthinkable had happened after they had all worked so hard in attempts to rebuild their broken lives. The Noldor had marched, crazed by the Silmaril, and in their madness they had sacked Doriath again. And Thranduil still trembled under the weight of his tears when he spoke of all who had died; his grandmother, his beloved mother.

His mother's death had been devastating to Oropher. But instead of crumbling like Thranduil thought he would, his father had only seemed stronger. He did not show his grief. The loss of his friends, his parents, and his wife had transformed Oropher into a hardened and distant soul. And Thranduil's words on this transformation seemed to be his greatest lament of all.

But even though Oropher was at best, aloof, Galion knew he was caring and a fair ruler to his people, guarding their freedoms and lives with the all of his strength. And the King loved Thranduil, once even mentioning in a brief comment how he saw his wife's kindred spirit living on in him. Even if his King cared not to show it, Galion knew that Oropher worried greatly now.

Now standing silent beside Oropher, Galion too let himself drown in the worry he felt for his king and for Thranduil. Galion knew if Mandos were to claim another member of Oropher's family, his king would retreat further into his dark memories. The Greenwood could not survive an attack from Sauron with a king who was defeated within his own mind. He knew of the stakes, of the growing presence of that evil, of that impending war. They would never survive if Oropher were to loose his reason to even more grief. This simply could not come to pass. Even though Oropher was strong, Galion worried for him now.

Thranduil would never leave his father willingly, Galion knew. It was something else that kept him away, and Galion's mind spun as he frantically wondered what that could possibly be. This delay and the strange forbidding look within Glorfindel's eyes made Galion uneasy. In his worry, he wondered if he should speak of what truly had happened with Glorfindel to Oropher. Before he could speak his concern, Oropher's words snapped him from his thoughts. Galion blinked to see that Oropher was staring right at him, a knowing look written on his face.

"Thranduil will return." Oropher's voice was calm and low. The deep rich undertones were eerily soothing to Galion's spinning mind, and he felt a little serenity.

"I must admit that I am curious as to what or whom has delayed him though." Oropher stood to leave, taking Galion in one last time, who stubbornly refused to speak of what he knew to him.

"Take your rest, Galion. For I feel that tomorrow is going to be an eventful day. We will talk on the morrow."

Galion respectfully inclined his head, and Oropher watched him leave, knowing very well that Galion had a part in the events of this day. Whatever that part was, he would learn of it in time. Now that he was alone, Oropher finally took a drink from his wine goblet. But the wine simply did little for him this night, and he set it aside, deciding that a retreat to his private chambers was what he needed now.

He knew it was not for rest that moved him through his halls. He was beyond angered, and his flowing thoughts would prevent any sort of rest this night. What had ever possessed his foolish son to stay behind in that village of man while he sent the guards on? Even if it was to learn just a little more of what occurred just beyond their lands, that did not justify the actions that Thranduil had made. What madness had possessed his son this day? Although the Greenwood was not an overly dangerous place, just yet, the recent reports of the orcs in the south reaches should have caused his son to think and act with better judgement. Oropher shook his head, realizing that he and Thranduil shared many traits. Thranduil still thought himself invincible, having never been close to death himself. He had only suffered minor injuries along the way and seemed to always dance his way out of major trouble or harm.

On reaching his chambers, Oropher seated himself at his desk, where he absentmindedly pulled out a sheet of paper, ready to compose a letter. Thranduil had finally pushed him now to write the words that poured onto the paper. These silly infatuations were causing Thranduil more harm than not. He had deliberately defied his orders, somehow convincing Galion to help him smuggle Glorfindel out into the Greenwood, where heaven knows what they were doing at this very hour.
Oropher bothered not to control the scowl that had distorted his fine features. Those silly infatuations clouded Thranduil's mind, endangering his life and those around him. He needed to find his grounding. He needed to find real responsibility. With the ever growing threat of Sauron, Oropher realized that the Greenwood must be strong and prepared to carry on into the future, free of any influences or interference from the other realms. The words he wrote steamed from these thoughts and flowed across the page, filling it at length. He looked it over one last time, letting the ink dry, before he sealed it for its intended party.

Rising, Oropher now looked out into the forest, for the night had wrapped the forest as a dark beauty. The night veiled the city around him. It dulled the distant voices. It silenced the hum of the trees. Despite this calm of the forest and of the city around him, Oropher frowned within. Thranduil had told Glorfindel of his day's activities. They were together. He once again was losing control over the few thing he still cherished. He wanted Glorfindel gone from his realm, but first he wanted him found so he could unleash all his frustrations and vile at him.

Oropher hadn't realized that his hands had now turned to fists, and even the calm forest could not still him any longer. Defeated, he turned from the forest vista. There was no reasoning he could use that would silence his frustrations. Galion had told him that he had not noticed anything unusual between the two during their time together. There had been no flittering or any innuendoes and Thranduil had spoken to Glorfindel only of the Greenwood. Oropher trusted Galion to accurately report if the two had something going on between them. Galion did not see it. Oropher however, was positive of an attraction that swam in his son's jeweled eyes. He should have done better to have kept them isolated from each other.

Even as the night grew ever later, Oropher was weary not. As one of the first born, he could easily go days without rest. Even if sleep he wanted, he knew it would never find him due to the anxiety he held. If Thranduil had truly been in danger, the Greenwood would have told him. Oropher again looked back out into the forest, straining his eyes and his hearing to try to discern even the faintest of a whisper.

Silence. The forest was still. It did not speak to him this night. Again, he turned from the vista and headed deeper into his personal chambers, knowing the two were together this night.

------

Galion departed Oropher's chambers, turning now to the corridor that would lead him to his own rooms. He strained his hearing as he walked, hoping to catch any news of Glorfindel or of Thranduil. But there was no such news, just the silent halls that echoed back the uncertain disquiet that enveloped the realm within the dark of night.

He reached his modest room which was even darker than the night sky that would soon move on with the breaking of the dawn. The room had not a single window, but Galion didn't mind this architectural oversight. He rarely even spent his time within his chambers. Instead he seemingly was always going right and then going left, moving all around the citadel all day long with his service to Oropher. Galion enjoyed this. He found comfort with this constant motion his life now presented to him.

He cared not for idle leisure, imploring instead to keep his probing mind occupied and out of the mischief he somehow always found himself getting into. As he continued to think, Galion seated himself onto his bed. He had no intent of sleeping at all, for he knew the lure of slumber would be of little match against his formidable and ever looping thoughts. He let the words that Oropher had spoken earlier fill his mind again.

"They are together."

What was this together? Galion wondered, and he began to resume that notion that it was something other than trouble that now kept Thranduil from arriving to these halls. Had it been something other than a dream that had compelled Glorfindel to escape into the forest? Had Thranduil indeed lured him to meet with him beyond the scrutiny of Oropher's unwavering eyes?

As his thoughts moved from concern to those of jealously, Galion felt the unmistakable tinges of those bittersweet emotions surge within his core. They were futile he knew, for some eyes just never would loose themselves within his own yearning gaze. But Glorfindel had managed to do what he could not, and Galion understood why. Glorfindel was everything that Galion was not. He was the golden sun to Thranduil's mithril moon, while he himself was the dark earth who could only uplift his gaze towards those celestial bodies.

"What a life." Galion mused to the pitch black chamber that enclosed him. Somehow he had thought that entering into Oropher's service would have given him his life a purpose, and with that purpose his unsettled mind would ease. But no, the fates just would not let him find his own peace. Instead he had worked his way to ascend to the very position as butler to his king. This had brought him ever closer to the object of his hidden desire. But the longing he felt could never be. Although there was friendship between the two and a confiding honesty, there had never been anything beyond that.

Although he enjoyed and held dear that friendship that was offered to him so willingly, he still craved something more. Galion knew that sometimes the sun did not shine equally for everyone. Where some basked in its warm light, others instead only were given its cold shadows. He let his thoughts filter back to days ago when Thranduil had asked him about his yearning for another.

That night was still so hazy to him as the wine had been too potent, and he had simply drank far too much. He hoped he had not revealed anything to Thranduil that would disclose what his true feelings were for Thranduil. Even though the wine had impacted him, he had still been able to see that subtle recognition from Thranduil.

Thranduil could never know what was really deep within his heart. And Galion frowned with this thinking. If Oropher was wrong about his suspicions and Thranduil had instead ran into trouble, who knew if his friend would even return for him to find out. Galion shook his head, not wanting his mind to travel down that dark path this late night. Oropher was wise, and Galion trusted Oropher's conclusions, even if he did not like the theme of his thoughts.

All that he had was the days that progressed with the same duties and the infrequent invitations into Thranduil's life. All of these events he mulled over, wondering, trying his best to derive his own conclusion that did not result with Glofindel and Thranduil together. But nothing he could formulate would cause his heart or mind to think otherwise. Galion had seen desire reflect within those emerald eyes, and he had seen the same look returned from Glorfindel. There was no denying that.

He sighed, allowing his attention to meander now. Soon the breaking of the dawn would awaken the still city. Galion knew that hour was growing ever closer, so he finally retreated from his thoughts, and lit a candle, content now to simply focus on the early preparations of the impending day.

- - - -

Not beta read. so sorry for the mistakes. 



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