Liquid Diamonds

BY : Avgust
Category: +Second Age > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 767
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.

Galion had passed the early morning hours alone in his chambers. He had leisurely bathed, and then had dressed in his usual tunic and leggings. The hours could not pass quickly enough, and he waited in an uncharacteristic impatience for the time when he could go to see his friend. It was still far too early for him to even think about visiting Thranduil, and he was fidgety. He neither wanted to sit nor stand, so he paced the length of his room. Back and forth, he walked the short distance that spanned from wall to wall within his chamber. He thought about his day, and just how much longer he had to wait while he paced. The healers ran a tight schedule, and only allowed visiting after the breakfast hour. Galion frowned. Breakfast was still an hour or so away.

His annoyance of the slowly progressing dawn had finally festered to a tipping point, and Galion sighed loudly, finally letting his frustrations out to the emptiness of his room. He tried relaxing on his bed, hoping the comfortable and soft blankets would change his current state. His mood now was so uncharacteristic, but then again, the last week had been so unusual. He ran through the events; the arrival of Glorfindel into their realm, the attacks by the orcs, Thranduil's brush with mortality, it all put Galion on edge. He was anxious, as if he had absorbed the worry that had burdened Oropher. It was hard not to adopt those feelings, for the night that had just passed had never seemed so grim to Galion before.

Impatience was something that Galion was little use to. He wanted to see Thranduil now, but the rays of Anor had yet to filter through the dense forest. Galion knew this, even though he sat within his windowless room. But he had a deep connection to the land in which he lived, and with this connection, he was sensitive enough to know the changes that comprised a day. The forest still was wrapped in a sunless morning, although he knew that soon the breaking of the dawn would once again transform his home into a land of dim beauty.

Growing tired of his room, Galion rose from his bed. And although he had been relieved from his duties this day, he still found himself walking his usual morning route, not sure what else he could do this very early morning. The other servants within the citadel were just about ready to begin the serving of breakfast. Galion let himself look into the dinning hall, noting that Glorfindel was nowhere to be seen. He was a little surprised by Glorfindel's absence, but he didn't let his mind linger too long on the topic before he walked away from the dining hall. Breakfast did not appeal to him this day, so he continued his slow walk that would eventually lead him to the healing wing.

Passing by the grand vistas that opened up to the glades and forest around, Galion could finally see the warming rays of the early sunlight. He smiled, letting the beautiful dawn great him with all its vibrancy and wonder. He could feel his endless patience wain ever more, for he had such a strong desire to see Thranduil this morning. He thought it would be pleasant to watch the sky open up together with Thranduil, and they could behold the vibrant colors that the Valar themselves had painted across the morning sky. But he knew that his entrance would be barred. Soon, however, he knew, he would find himself at the doors at the healing wing, and then those doors would open to him. Soon he would spend his day with Thranduil. Galion was curious for the details of the attack and wondered if it was yet too soon to talk about what had happened to him. It probably was, he concluded.

Perhaps he should instead focus on more positive themes, and use words that would only focus on pleasant and calming topics. It was still so soon from the attack that had almost stolen Thranduil from them. Galion even doubted that he truly wanted to hear of just how dire the situation had been for Thranduil, and maybe Thranduil cared little to discuss that horrid day. No, Galion decided. He would try to bring laughter, joy, and hope to Thranduil to ease the scars that may try to settle into his soul. He just hoped that Thranduil was healed enough for a day of conversation.

Or, he mused more, perhaps Thranduil would want to talk about the attack after all. Galion simply did not know, since he sometimes little understood the curious moods that Thranduil would pull on him, often acting the opposite of what he would have expected. Perhaps he would just let his friend dictate the conversation as he typically did. Galion simply did not know how this new day would find Thranduil's condition to be, and it was with lingering uncertainties and worries, that he walked quickly down the corridors of the citadel.

The healing wing was empty this morning. The only movements in the long corridor were the shadows that danced along the stone floor. The gentle light from the morning sun filtered in through the large windows that spawned the length of the long hall. Galion smiled, seeing that the doors that led to the healing rooms were already opened. He moved quicker down the hall, passing through the open door, anticipating the time he would soon spend with Thranduil.

The healers who worked in this area smiled their greetings when they saw Galion enter. Before he could enter the room where Thranduil rested, the master-healer motioned for him to come over, and she cautioned that Thranduil was still not to be over exerted today, and that his visit could only be short. Galion nodded, a little disappointed that his visit would not get to spawn the entire day, but he understood the words from the healer. He understood that the healing rest was central to his friend's recovery, and the healers would little allow that needed slumber to be disrupted.

He entered quietly into the room, cautiously ensuring that he would not wake or disturb his friend with his intrusion. Thranduil's healing room was empty of any other visitor this early morning. The lone window in the room was open, and it allowed the morning breezes to gently blow in with the fragrant hints of the early summer forest. Galion could smell the dewy ferns and the mossy earth, and fragrant forest flowers, strong with the morning's dew. He inhaled deeply and he felt the good of the Greenwood fill his soul. His heart settled and he let his eyes move to the central bed that took up most of the space in the room.

Thranduil was already awake and his large emerald eyes lit up when he saw his friend enter his room. He was laying still in bed, head propped up with large pillows. Thranduil was quick to smile, despite the bruises and abuse that marked his fair face. The marks were still present, but slowly fading as the day of the attack grew slowly as a memory.

Had Galion entered but just an hour before, he would have been greeted by a different Thranduil. The day had rudely crashed onto him in the early hours, as a great and mighty wave of torment and hurt throughout his body. It was strong enough to tear him from his slumber, throwing him back into the circle of death that beat down around him. He could see the faces of the orcs and he could hear their words of poison. The images were as strong as that day that had seen Glorfindel come to him. His darkest hour had yet to be realized, although he knew it was still waiting for him, somewhere beyond the horizon.

Thranduil had tried to remain strong, and keep his torments to himself. But the sharp hearing of the healers had heard his subtle cries, and they had came to him with their medicine and their concern. Slowly the pain of his healing bruises and wounds were subdued, and the demons in his mind had been dulled. He could no longer hear the vile words of pure hate echoing through his mind. The sedative qualities of the medicine had been effective, and it was with a genuine smile of pleasure that Thranduil could great his friend, for he was glad to have the sweet distraction of a kindred spirit to lift his soul this day.

"Galion!" He let his voice call out to his friend. "How happy are my eyes to see you."

Galion was about to move a chair by the bed to sit on, but Thranduil shook his head no, motioning instead for him to seat himself on the bed. Galion smiled gently at Thranduil, so glad to see that he was awake and with a healthier glow to his skin, and acting just as he had expected him to. He seated himself on the bed, and he minded to be as gentle as he could, careful not to cause any pain to him.

"How are you today?" Galion could see the subtle hints of the lingering pain, reflected within his friend's eyes. Thranduil's usual vibrant and shining eyes gleamed less this day. The usual emerald orbs swam with the torment of what had befallen him, and told Galion all that he needed to know. He almost bit his lips, wishing that he could somehow take all the suffering away from him.

"There is no need to worry for me, Galion. For now I am wrapped within the protective embrace of my father's realm, under the watchful eyes of the Greenwood. I am safe under their guard of my sleep. My body recovers and my mind will only grow more impregnable. I am sorry that you must now see me this way, my friend." Thranduil's words only grew more softer as his words went on.

Despite the almost plea of Thranduil's words, Galion could only shake his head. Thranduil's eyes told him everything, reflecting as the very mirror to his soul. But Galion knew to keep his own strength and not give in to the lament that surged within for Thranduil. He remembered the words from the healer. Tears do not bring the essence of healing. But his tears that gleamed in his eyes were the expressions of his love for Thranduil. They were his darkest confession that he would never speak to anyone.

Thranduil could see the emotions in his friend, although the true extent and meaning he knew Galion was hiding from him. He sighed but just a little, not wanting Galion to shed tears for him, and not wanting him to worry. He was alright, alive, and healing.

"Here we find ourselves again, Galion." Thranduil smiled at him, his exhaustion however, was more evidently etched deep into his face, echoing throughout his entire body.

Galion could remember what incident Thranduil spoke of, and he shook his head as he remembered the details. "True, but that last time it was I who was here recovering, looking up into your face, and you brought me such comfort and hope."

"Next time..." Thranduil tried to joke, but he was suddenly interrupted before he could finish his sentence.

"There better not be a next time Thranduil! "

Galion wasn't sure why he snapped now, raising his voice that crashed with all of his emotions. All he knew was that the betterment of worry had taken over him, and he felt his heart squeeze with a sharp pain that tightened with the thoughts of the uncertain days ahead. He hated to see Thranduil like this. He hated the worry it put him through. He hated knowing what was just around the corner, in which the embrace of death would squeeze them all to silence. He had heard the whispers of war from Oropher, and he had heard it often from Thranduil. It was something that none of them could stop. War was coming, and he knew that Thranduil would have to join Greenwood's army and help lead them away from the safe fold of the forest when the attacks did come. In his worry, his thoughts and emotions were transparently etched across his face.

Thranduil regarded Galion's emotions, but he knew that he could not lie to Galion. He knew he was astute, and knew deep inside of what was on the horizon. The winds of war were already blowing across the lands, and there would be no escape for any of them from it. Isolation would not keep them safe, even if that was what Oropher wanted to believe. The war of future days, which would bring so much death, pained his own soul, like he knew it did for Galion.

"I wish that I could promise a future where every soul in the Greenwood is never touched by tragedy, my friend. But I simply cannot. War is coming. The growing malice is already at our door and we can not look away, for if we do, it will cover us all in its darkness."

Thranduil's words, although grim and serious, dripped heavily with his weariness and he fought to stay awake. He closed his eyes, letting the weight of his eyelids win the battle. The medicine was working fully on his body, and he felt the familiar tugs of his approaching slumber. His body still needed healing and he knew he couldn't fool Galion, whose gentle face and deep brown eyes held such compassion and concern for him. But again he opened his eyes, and he moved his gaze over to Galion, forcing a smile that the other knew was a lie.

Galion knew that Thranduil was exhausted, and again Thranduil closed his eyes, while he pushed out a breath that relayed that the pain from the attack was lingering still. And when Thranduil finally opened his eyes, Galion's own overwhelming concern crashed and squeezed his heart. The green eyes told him just how hurt Thranduil still was, and the flickering of a subtle grimace conveyed all that he wished to hide. Galion silently chided himself for bringing the worries of war into Thranduil's healing room.

As if the healers could sense that they were needed, two entered. Galion watched as they moved and stirred some herbs into some warm water. One of the healers brought the cup of medicine to Thranduil's lips, and he reached for it, wanting to do it himself. But the healer simply laughed and reminded him to take it easy.

Galion had to agree, and he frowned while he watched Thranduil struggle to stay awake. "

Sleep, Thranduil." Galion pleaded to his friend. "Do not fight what your body wants you to do. Sleep." His words were as soft as he could make them. He had moved his mouth close to Thranduil's ear, whispering his words.

"The body cannot suffer while it is wrapped within its sweet repose. Please let yourself return to that state, and soon, things will get much better. And I will be here to guard your dreams."

With the gentle words and the medicine they gave him, Thranduil gave in, surrendering to the fight, and he slowly drifted to sleep.

"Galion." The master-healer turned her attention to him now. "You need to let him rest now. And while he rests, we simply can not allow you to remain in these rooms."

"When can he leave the healing wing? Maybe he could recuperate in his own rooms?"

"Our king has requested that he stay here until he is healed. He believes that Thranduil would find more rest here, and I also agree. Now go tell our king that his son grows stronger."

Galion looked at Thranduil who was already deep in slumber. He was satisfied when he saw just how peaceful his face seemed, so he turned and left the room. The day still had many hours and Galion was little certain how to spend the remainder of his day. The beauty of the forest, so illuminated with the warm rays of the summer sun, pulled Galion's eyes to behold the Greenwood's splendor. Galion smiled, and he continued to stare out the window, knowing that he wanted to spend the rest of his day in communion with his forest home after he paid Oropher a visit.

----------

The night that had passed seemed the slowest ever, and the breaking morning was just the same. Glorfindel had been left alone this morning. There had been no knocks on his door, nor any requests for his time today. He had not cared to dine at breakfast, since he was little interested in the idea of being amongst the Greenwood elves. He simply did not care to endure any further looks, even if they were to look on him more favorably for his heroic actions.

His thoughts meandered from his own anxiety, to something else that pulled more strongly at his heart. He knew better than to worry for the time of danger had long sense passed. But with the promised update on Thranduil's conditions being kept and guarded from him, his thoughts could not break free from the worry. Glorfindel could not deny where the emotions of his heart guided him now. Those strong emotions caused him to leave his room.

Thranduil.

Glorfindel left his chambers, and moved through the winding and maddening halls that meandered for no apparent reason, around and long, up some steps, then down some more, turning as if a manifestation of the very insanity of Oropher's tormented mind. The citadel made him dizzy at times, and today the exasperating design completely overwhelmed him. The corridors were like a labyrinth, winding and sometimes looping, as if they were a personification of Oropher's inner madness. It was all so exasperating, and Glorfindel expressed his annoyance aloud, slightly cursing Oropher. He missed Thranduil's calming presence and hadn't realized just how soothing to his own frustrations Thranduil had often been for him. He needed to see him today, still curious with how he was progressing in his healing.

Glorfindel stopped, suddenly realizing the one small detail that he had failed to address before he set out to find Thranduil. Although he had an idea as to which direction Thranduil had been taken to at their departure the day before, he had no idea where the healing wing actually was. With all the enthusiasm and detail Thranduil had shared with him about the forest, not he nor even Galion had even once cared to show him around the citadel. Again, this was more likely than not of Oropher's design, who seemingly wanted him to feel lost and confused within the ludicrous design of his halls.

Making a guess, Glorfindel took a corridor to his right. It seemed inviting enough with pillars the size of trees. It's high towering vaulted branches supported the ceiling above. Impressive enough, he thought of the blanched white stones. And as he continued walking, the pillars continued on in this stone-forest design, but as he moved ever forward, the hall changed. Instead of being enclosed by the walls of the citadel, the corridor opened up now into the forest. Giant trees towered around him, and leaf covered vines spilled down around him. He was moving up now, and he heard the sound of flowing water. With wonderment, he realized that he was now on a bridge and a clear forest stream trickled its gentle path below him. Glorfindel shook his head. He felt bewitched, enchanted as if somehow Oropher or the Greenwood was playing with his mind. But he had to remember that Oropher was from Doriath and had lived within Menegroth. Oropher had been born and had been raised within the very definition of enchantment and awe, and had come to accept deception as the comforts of home.

Glorfindel continued his walk, and his feet once again felt the stone surface and not the forest floor he had just left behind. The walls returned, the forest's canopy was lost to him from the ceiling again. Glorfindel smiled at the unexpected within this strange forest fortress, and he turned now to a corridor that took him to his left. This hall, unlike the previous one, had other inhabitants who passed him by. But many also stopped and politely greeted him, showing their gratitude for the saving of their beloved prince. Glorfindel returned the same gestures, a little surprised that the word of his deeds had spread around the citadel. His spirit felt a little lighter, but still, the fact that he was lost within Oropher's halls did nothing to ease his anxiety.

He turned down another corridor, where bright and tall windows flooded the hall with the light of Anor's rays. Glorfindel realized that this part of the citadel was more in the glades within the forest, where the bright sun could bring light and warmth to the rooms in this area. Perhaps he was close to the healing wing, he mused.

"Lord Glorfindel."

Glorfindel paused, recognizing the voice that belonged to Istuninir, the Lord who lived in the north of the realm. He turned and saw him approaching him from behind. His face was friendly and his eyes smiled in their greeting.

"I was told by our king of what you had done. We are thankful that you were able to stop the attack." His eyes were genuine, reflecting the gratitude he had. "The king is a dear friend of mine, and I know how it feels to almost lose a son. I am glad Oropher did not have to experience anything worse than an injured son. The death of the prince would have been a wound that I am not sure the Greenwood could recover from." He let a smile cross his face now, even though his eyes were grave with the thoughts of what could have been.

"And," He added further, suddenly needing to set things straight. "I must apologize for any unkindness that I displayed towards you on our first meeting. You are deserving of none of the rudeness that I gave to you on our meeting. The madness of that sickness that had consumed the Noldor never held a place in your heart or mind. It is wrong for us to pass our judgement of the sins of others onto you." He stated nothing however of Oropher, if he too would be less critical of him, or if this was simply just his own opinion.

Glorfindel thanked him for his kind words, and assured him that no slight had been taken that day. Istuninir turned to leave, but Glorfindel suddenly stopped him, thinking just now to ask for his aide. "Am I heading in the correct direction to the healing wing?"

Nodding with a slight grin, Istuninir indicated with a turn of his head to the correct direction. Glorfindel thanked him and said his goodbye, before he turned to the correct hall that would take him to Thranduil.

The hall to the healing wing was empty, and silent this late morning. The hall was illuminated by large windows that allowed the forest's beauty to open up, and the hall itself was lit beneath hanging lanterns. Glorfindel liked the light and airy quality and he felt less anxious with the beauty of the forest that he could see through the windows. He noticed that the doors were opened at the end of the hall, and he entered through them.

"Lord Glorfindel." A healer approached him. "How may we be of service to you?"

"Is Thranduil allowed visitors this day, because I wish to see him."

The healer paused, before he finally answered Glorfindel's question. "Unfortunately, I regret to say that our prince will not be having any visitors today. I can tell you that Thranduil is well, but his returning strength is contingent on his full and complete rest. " The young apprentice was under orders from Oropher to keep Glorfindel away, even if he disliked and did not agree with the enmity behind this order.

Glorfindel's face remained placid, and not even his eyes relayed the annoyance from what he had heard. It simply was not fair to the healer to hear the venting of his frustrations. So he simply smiled, and thanked the healer for the update on Thranduil, before he turned back to the hall that he had passed through. Once out of sight from every one around him, he let his face fall into a scowl, feeling his growing 'mood' grow stronger.

-------

It was not long after Galion had finished talking with Thranduil that he had decided to head out into the forest. He turned now from the window and walked further down the hall. He turned down a corridor and noticed that Glorfindel was standing with a frown on his face in a hall that was adjacent to the healing wing. Galion wanted little to speak to Glorfindel this day, wanting instead to walk the paths of the beautiful forest, alone in silent reflection. But Glorfindel
approached him, and his fair face showed the dissonance that stormed within his mind, seemingly frustrated once again with the games of Oropher.

"They will not let me enter." Glorfindel stated, his annoyance and anger evident with the sharp tones and the scowl on his face. "Surely your king's command, I would imagine."

Galion nodded. He knew this to be true. Oropher's strong will was like the canopy of the forest itself, shadowing his realm under the might of his will. And unfortunately for Glorfindel, he was still the object of Oropher's disapproval. No heroic act would sway Oropher from thinking less critically of Glorfindel. Galion doubted that Glorfindel could ever dispel the prejudices that Oropher still had for all the Noldor. Despite the bravery of his sword, Glorfindel had still not been deemed worthy from his king.

Glorfindel's gentle blue eyes were today dark with his emotions. The usual sapphire color had deepened to a few shades darker, and his brows furrowed more. He cared not to paint a mask across his face for Galion, since he was perfectly fine with his transparent exasperation of this whole situation.

"Well Galion, I admit I am becoming use to these games for which your king likes to play with me. But what your king fails to realize is that I too can play my own games as well. I am simply not one of his subjects who cowers at his might and authority. I have faced far worse adversaries in my long years, and I mean only of the elvish variety! Oropher is nothing compared to what I have faced."

Glorfindel let his face relax more, now that he had vented just a little. He hated taking his frustrations out on Galion, who had only ever been kind to him. It wasn't fair to him, and Glorfindel noted to calm his fury, and stop with the assault of his words. It simply was not fair for him to lash out at one who had no say with what occurred in these lands. Galion had no part in any of this and did not deserve to shoulder his wraith.

He motioned for Galion to follow him, and Galion obliged, intrigued, suddenly wondering what the cryptic words meant that Glorfindel had spoken.

"Your king has tried to have me grow impatient, to crack, to act in a manner that proves he has beaten me into nothing more than a sorry mess of despair. But I have fallen not to his whims, Galion."

Oropher's methods might just work on lesser beings, but he had a will that was just as mighty as Oropher's. And with the refusal of allowing him to see Thranduil, Oropher was close to unleashing an anger in Glorfindel. Still, he was strong enough to subdue the wraith that threatened to burst from within. Anger would little help him in his battle of wits and will against Oropher. And Glorfindel let his thoughts move now to that meeting.

"Tell me, Galion, will your king ever take Thranduil's words to counsel? For our mutual friend understands the storm that reaches for us now."

Galion thought about Glorfindel's question, and he recalled Thranduil's words of war. Those words, that hurt body, and haunted eyes he had seen from his friend crashed in his mind. The more he pondered it all, the more he too began to grasp the gravity of Glorfindel's words and emotions. But he didn't know how to answer Glorfindel's question, so he simply shrugged his shoulders.

"Oropher, it seems, would simply let our enemy cover his land, instead of joining an alliance to stop it. What madness drives his isolation, and what ill counsel whispers to him?"

He was mostly speaking to himself, and not so much to Galion at this point. He wasn't surprised that Galion didn't respond, who instead only looked down at his feet. Glorfindel took a deep breath and checked his emotions once more. He decided to change the subject into something other now.

"I thank you for your aid when I most needed it, Galion. If you had not followed your intuition, Thranduil would be dead."

Galion stopped walking now, and his eyes went wide with wonder. "Just how dire was what you came on? I have not really heard a detailed report of what occurred."

"I will spare you those details, because I can not bear to recount what could have been." Glorfindel closed his eyes at the horrid memory of that day. Although Thranduil was well, the stroke of death had still been far too close, and he really did not care to relive what could have been. Instead, he felt a sinking sadness that threatened to pull him down into one of his moods. This was something that he did not want, and he little felt like conversing any longer.

Galion could understand the emotions that drove his words, and he felt his heart sink, despite the safety Thranduil had now. He watched as Glorfindel moved his head in a sign of departure, and turned away, descending quickly back towards his chambers. He wondered what suddenly had caused him to no longer want to speak, since it had been Glorfindel who had pulled him over for conversation. Perhaps it was the wave of emotions that had hit him, or perhaps he simply had other things to tend to. Whatever it was, Galion did not care to call after Glorfindel, instead respecting his wishes as he walked away. There was still time for him to walk the forest, and he turned to carry out his original plan before Glorfindel had interrupted him.

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

The next day came to the Greenwood with the arrival of dark storm clouds and a steady rain that fell in bouts of violent downpours. The showers would fall hard and without break, and would then shift to gentle showers. Back and forth, the intensity of the rain would change, sometimes with slow progression and at other times with quick interludes. The thunder would echo its vibrations throughout the forest and within the numerous rooms of the citadel. The lightning would burst with its flashes, briefly illuminating the forest realm. The one constant that had been present this day, was that the rain would not relent. All through the morning the storm had cast its beautiful music throughout the forest. Raindrops echoed with a heavy sound, beating against the panes of the window like tapping fingers in Thranduil's healing room.

Thranduil had awoken this morning to the sounds of the storm, and the flashes of his own violent dreams and memories. Echoes of those vile words resounded in his mind. The absence of light within the room was like a distant memory of his own dark dreams and the day of his attack. The memories were oppressive to his senses, overwhelming his entire consciousness. Growls of the orcs replaced the thunder, flashes of the pain ripped through him like the lightning that lit the room. The darkness that blanketed his room was like the vast reaches of the coming war over the lands, as encompassing and oppressive as a starless night sky.

"Kill him!" Reverberated through his mind, but the echoing of the thunder silenced his own inner demons, pulling his mind briefly from his flashbacks. He knew the poison had left his body, but the rancor of the orcs' words continued to seep into his mind and soul. Again the words echoed in his mind. Over and over. Kill him. Kill him. No amount of squeezing his eyes shut, nor covering his ears could deaden those words. The grotesque voice was piercing and mighty like the thunder.
Kill him, kill him began to change to kill them. Kill them all. And that was the message from the orcs. War was coming and the armies of Sauron would sweep through the lands like a great and mighty wave of destruction and death, unstoppable like a devastating flood.

Thranduil closed his eyes, but the onyx eyes of the orcs only grew stronger. They were like a fast approaching shadow that threatened to cover the weakening light. Their words grew only louder, stronger than the thunder that echoed around him. The violent storm that ragged outside could little deaden the savage storm within his own mind. Even though that day had long since passed, the memories of it were just as strong as the day when he had experienced the attack.

The pain was much less now, but the lingering injuries were present still. He knew he was still healing, but he was growing impatient with the time it was taking. Thranduil could feel the cuts and bruises still, but they were nothing compared to the memories that raged within. The flashbacks were violent with their intensity, and the closing of his eyes brought him no relief. He could feel his neck close and his chest tighten as the orcs circled around him. He tried to gasp, to scream, but no sounds escaped his lips, seemingly trapped within his haunted mind.

Opening his eyes, the dim room seemed even more oppressive as if the shadows from his dreams and memories closed in around him. He blinked, once, twice, trying to clear his anxiety, but still, the room was still so grim. He almost couldn't perceive the pounding rain on the window, nor the howling wind that wailed outside with the storm. He was being pulled deeper into his memories, and he could not free himself from the dreadful progression.

Thranduil rose from the bed as if in caution, seemingly convinced that the danger he had faced was just beyond his bed, waiting for him if he took but just a step further into the room. The cool of the floor little resonated in his perception. It was if the room that surrounded him had faded away and the Greenwood's trees now enclosed in on him. But the trees were not the ones that he knew and loved. These trees were twisted, dense, menacing even, as if their crocked branches were reaching out for him. The shadows in his mind were as dark and deep as a great abyss, threatening to pull him down into its endless depths. The day and room were dark, and so was his mind. It was all far too dark. And the rolling thunder and pounding rain could not mute the venomous words that looped in his mind. There was no release from the grip his memories had on him, and they continued to hold him like the strong hands of the orcs.

He fell to his knees on the cold stone floor, holding his neck. His fingers franticly scratched at it, as if trying to remove the moment of time that held his mind captive. Thranduil breathed heavily, and he felt the oppressive circle of orcs close in around him. No. This was not happening. He was not back in the forest where the orcs had almost ended his life. He was safe in his father's halls.

Safe….He closed his eyes and forced himself to listen to the rain that pounded on the window's glass, forcing himself back to the here and now, and away from the terrors of his mind.

Thranduil rose, and seated himself back on the bed, chest pounding with short breaths of panic, sweat beading on his temples. He moved his hands to his face as if his long fingers alone could shield him from the images in his mind. He shouldn't be acting this way. The threat was over and he was safe. He had seen worse horrors in his life, he reminded himself. He breathed slowly, trying to gain control of his emotions and body. The peril was long since over. Glorfindel had made sure of that. Over and over he repeated this in his mind.

Slowly like the long journey of the moon through the night sky, Thranduil's thoughts began to break free from the death like grip of the phantoms that haunted his mind. He breathed more easily now, and the dread that had settled his once pounding heart was replaced by a fragile calm. He understood that the dark of his dreams were simply the unknown uncertainties that he could move to the back of his mind. Even the memories of the attack seemed to disappear with the echoing thunder that shook the room. Thranduil's thoughts were fee from the torment, and his eyes perceived less shadows and dimness in the room. He knew that the day had not grown less darker nor had the faint light from the lanterns intensified. But still, even though the setting had not changed, the gentle peace in his heart spread through his body. Thranduil understood why. His thoughts had now moved to Glorfindel, and once again, Glorfindel was the savior who rescued him from his torment.

Glorfindel had saved him, and had come to him when he needed him most. And his absence was not lost on Thranduil. For the second straight day, Glorfindel had not been to his healing room. Hisabsence weighed more on his mind now than did his flashbacks. Yesterday he had asked the healers if Glorfindel had came by, and their silent dismissal of his question told him all that he needed to know. Oropher was keeping Glorfindel away, and there was nothing he could do to change his father's orders. Ever it was the same, and Thranduil could only sigh. The will of Oropher was the law in the Greenwood, and not even the mighty Glorfindel could break his rule.

Thranduil wondered why his father cared so much about his friendship with Glorfindel. That night, so many days ago, he had seen the all too familiar glare deep in his father's eyes that told him that once again, he had provoked his ire. Oropher had nothing to worry about, for he would never leave his father's side. Glorfindel would eventually go his own way, and he would be left behind in the Greenwood. There was simply little justification as to why Oropher kept Glorfindel away.

Thranduil grew annoyed despite his weakened state. He felt a prisoner in his own home, knowing that he was trapped within this room. Oropher would keep him here and could lock out Glorfindel as long as he wanted. Thranduil seriously wondered if Glorfindel was even a guest of the Greenwood any longer. He wouldn't be surprised if Oropher had already sent Glorfindel away, refusing to meet with him for the discussions of the alliance. A frown covered his face and he leaned back onto the pillows, silver-hair spilled around him like the fragmentations of his worried thoughts that haunted him this day.

In his absentmindedness, he sighed loudly, letting his exasperation out into the room and the storm beyond. The shadows slowly retreated, recoiling back into the crevices of his mind, and he let his eyes focus on a healer who had entered into the room. The room seemed more still now, brighter, even though the storm continued on outside with a mighty ferocity. The healer came closer to Thranduil and he had a smile on his face and carried with him a tray of food and drink. With the grey of the day caused by the oppressive storm clouds, Thranduil had little realized just how much time had passed. It was already time for the midday meal. He had not had any breakfast, but he had no hunger now. Through lidded eyes and silent lips he watched the healer move closer to him.

"And how are you doing?" The healer asked while he sat the tray onto a table nearby the bed. His quick and nimble hands mixed a pack of herbs into a steaming cup of water.

Thranduil returned the smile before he answered. He little felt like talking to the healer this day, but he managed to utter a few kind words of gratitude and on his improving condition. The healer seemed to understand his emotions and did his best not to impose himself too much on Thranduil while he finished the work he was required to do. He arranged the food for Thranduil and finished mixing the medicines that were needed. Thranduil could tell from his experience that the medicine would calm his nerves and settle his mind. He accepted the streaming brew and drank it down, knowing that a still mind and body was needed for his healing.

The healer departed and the storm grew less angry with its more passive showers. Thranduil little wanted to eat, so he instead leaned back into the soft pillows as he once had, and closed his eyes. The constant beating on the glass from the rain created a sort of rhythmic cadence that kept his mind from drifting back into the dark of his memories. He was grateful that he stayed in the present instead of being thrown back into the not so distant past that threatened to haunt him. He did not want those dark dreams to find him anymore this day.

His mind was peaceful now and his body seemed to tether on the cusp of perception and with that of dream. Sleep he did not want, for the hours of reverie were better left to the dark of night and not to this day. He had questions and in slumber, no visitation would be granted to him. He expected Galion to come at some point and was looking forward to his friend's visit. But despite his want, his eyes fluttered, closing and shutting while he fought to keep them open.

The heavy clouds poured mightier now. Their heavy laden masses were content to drown the forest below them. And Thranduil forced his eyes more open, keeping himself from the strong embraces of reverie. He yawned in his hazy state and he drank the cup of tea that had been left for him. He smiled, enjoying the warm and soothing qualities of the medicinal tea.

Feeling renewed energy, Thranduil rose once more, and moved to drink his tea on a chair by the window, content now to watch the storm. The rain water clung to the glass and created a distorted picture of the landscape beyond. There was only an impression of a forest to his eyes, shadowy greens and browns all blurred together. Almost like a dream, Thranduil thought, as if somehow all of the events from the past few days were nothing more than a strange illusion. He reached out and touched the glass. It was cool to his touch, and his warm fingers left imprints on the windowpane that were slow to fade when he withdrew his hand.

How long was this day in which he found himself paused to only wonder and reflect? And was the day even longer for Glorfindel? In his less anxious state, Thranduil was able to think clearer now, and he doubted that the meeting had taken place yet, and guessed that Glorfindel was still lingering in his father's halls. Glorfindel was probably even more isolated than he was, and the thoughtful pondering that had covered his face completely faded into a blank expression of void emotion.

The door opened slowly, and Thranduil turned his head to see Galion enter. A smile replaced the once placid expression on his face. Thranduil was pleased that his friend had now came to rescue him from the solitude that had marked his day.

"I apologize for my delay." Galion brought a chair by Thranduil and seated himself down slowly. "I was delayed with some urgent tasks from the king."

Thranduil put down the tea, anxious by Galion's words. "Does my father prepare for the meeting with Glorfindel?"

Galion shook his head. "No, not for the meeting. That is all that I may I answer about your inquiry. I have not been given the liberty to disclose the details of my tasks."

Galion was a little surprised that Thranduil did not inquire on his cryptic words, but his friend seemed little interested. Thranduil was a little distant this day, obviously medicated, and wrapped within his weariness. Galion knew that he was staring and scrutinizing Thranduil, so he moved his gaze. His eyes landed on a table near the bed, and he looked with disapproval of the untouched tray of food. He knew better than to mention this to Thranduil who would only ignore his words anyways.

"But the Lord Glorfindel does still remain?"

Thranduil was slow to respond, and he frowned a little with his question. His heart seemed to stop in his worry that Glorfindel had already departed the Greenwood. The sting of the ache in his heart was worrisome, as if an empty void had stifled it, rendering it almost to a stop. The sharp longing was not as bothersome as it could have been however, because the strong effects of the sedative medicine had dulled his contemplation on the matter. But still, his eyes must have given away what truly dwelled deep in the caverns of his heart, because Galion's clear brown eyes regarded him with an almost knowing look, and his smile that painted his face expressed this knowing as well.

"The Lord Glorfindel does still wait for that meeting and does so with the worry of your wellbeing." Galion paused and he watched the subtle signs of unease that were impressed on Thranduil's face. Thranduil smiled and his green eyes grew brighter at hearing his words.

"Will you bring word to Glorfindel? Please tell him I am well. And let him know that quickly does my strength return." Thranduil leaned closer to Galion, after he saw that his friend nodded in agreement. "I will try my best to convince my father to relent his stance on this forced division because I find it wrong, and in poor taste to impose this on the one who saved my life." Thranduil's tones were hard with his irritation and he moved back into his chair.

Galion nodded, agreeing to deliver Thranduil's message. Deep within, he doubted that Oropher would ever relent. He knew Oropher's true intentions and he understood that the main goal was to remove Glorfindel as soon as possible from the realm. It was both cruel and wonderful all at the same time. Galion knew that Thranduil's infatuation with Glorfindel could only be fleeting, but the emotions that gleamed in his friend's green eyes were worrisome. Galion thought it strange that Thranduil could yearn so much for something that was so fleeting. Glorfindel was not part of the Greenwood, and he understood Oropher's caution. This infatuation was dangerous, and threatened Thranduil's connection to the forest itself. It was best for Glorfindel to leave as soon as possible.

And Galion even felt a surge in his heart that he should inform Oropher of just how much Thranduil yearned for Glorfindel. But Galion knew that Oropher already had learned of this truth himself. And Galion grew curious and more bold, wondering if Oropher's assessment of what had led Glorfindel out into the forest held any truth.

"You did not mention by word or by clue to Glorfindel of your task that took you to the south-lands?"

Thranduil shook his head. "I told Glorfindel not because the focus on the meeting of alliance was all that should have been on his mind that day. It was not I who whispered in the shadows to Glorfindel that day. I know the Greenwood communes with him and he is privy to her secrets. I am surprised and a little disappointed with you Galion, that the poison of Oropher's words would have caused you to doubt what you know is truth."

Galion's eyes went down, and his gaze fell on his folded hands. He knew his false accusation of Glorfindel stemmed from his own subdued desires, and that is what had caused him to believe Oropher's words.

"Galion." Thranduil's warm but tired voice pulled his gaze back up with the gentleness of his caring. "It is easy to become ensnarled within Oropher's will. I as well feel like a shadow sometimes, fading behind his vibrant light."

Thranduil's voice quivered like a solitary leaf clinging to a long and crooked branch in the mighty wind. He was exhausted, Galion realized, and he knew he should really force Thranduil to eat. But his boldness had evaporated in his shame, as he was still lingering on Thranduil's statement to him.

Thranduil, more overwhelmed in his weariness, moved back to his bed and stretched out long onto it. His green eyes, showing the effects of healing fatigue, still smiled to Galion with the gentleness of a good friend.

"How does your day end Galion?" Thranduil asked, curious of his duties.

"I again have been given the day off. My one task was the aforementioned one and that has long since been completed. And with these persistent rain storms, I dare not venture into the Greenwood. It is a most peculiar situation does one find themselves in, when one has been granted such leisure, and idleness is never ones norm."

"Leisure does not always have to equate idleness, if the one who has been granted this gift has a sense of imagination or adventure." Thranduil seemed to challenge Galion, wanting him to take control of his life and make things happen, instead of waiting for fate to simply find him.

Galion could only smile, understanding the meaning of Thranduil's words. But he was not one to seize life by its preverbal collar. Instead he much preferred to sit back and let life happen around and to him. And that was his chief problem, Galion heard his inner thoughts crash within his heart. This inherent flaw was exactly why he had a growing hatred for Glorfindel, and a stinging yearning for one who would never cast his eyes nor want on him.

"You should eat. You should not let yourself fall into a weaker state." Galion decided to state what he had been wanting to say to Thranduil. He knew his words would change the subject, which was something he really wanted now. He never felt comfortable speaking on topics that revolved around wants or desires, and he was astute enough to know that this was where Thranduil's thoughts would eventually lead them to.

Thranduil did not respond, and only shook his head. His stomach was in knots, and hunger was the last thing that bothered him. The thought of taking food seemed more trouble than what it would be worth. The rhythmic rain was unnerving to him now, and the medicines that had once relaxed him were weakening. He felt the want of conversation grow less appealing to him. He moved his gaze away from Galion, and turned on his side further into his pillow.

To Galion, Thranduil seemed much more paler in his weariness. He felt a mixture of guilt and of relief that in his weakened state, Thranduil was easily deterred from the topic that would have commenced. Galion always did his best to avoid topics that might lead to the discussion of desire or attraction. He simply felt uncomfortable discussing such things to Thranduil, as he was afraid that Thranduil would come to learn of his true desires.

Galion moved closer to Thranduil, concerned with his posture he was in. In his worry, he seated himself on the edge of the bed, and leaned down closer to him.

"Should I call for a healer? Are you in pain?"

"No."

"Should I leave you to rest, my friend?"

Thranduil moved his gaze into Galion's caring brown eyes. The calming effects of the tea was wearing off, and he simply did not want Galion to witness his weakness. Galion needed to go now. He smiled to his friend, grateful for his concern, but he cared not to burden him further with worry. Thranduil finally responded in a solemn whisper.

"Yes."

Alarm struck Galion, but he stood all the same, respecting Thranduil's wishes. He already knew that the coming of afternoon was closing in on their forest home. The rain still fell with a steady cadence, and Galion's heart felt as heavy as the soaked earth that the storms had saturated.

"If you would like my company later, please just send for me." Galion said. "May peaceful dreams find you."

Galion looked back one last time, but Thranduil had already closed his eyes and had not responded, so he left the room, closing the door softly behind him.

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

The rain storms had continued throughout the day, and now that night had taken its place in the day's closing hours, the rain kept falling. Glorfindel sat perched by the window in his room, letting his eyes watch the rain that hit the glass. Once again, Glorfindel's request to see Thranduil had been denied. He had expected as much, but still, he had to enquire. And when he had learned what he had already expected, he had only just turned and retreated back to his rooms. The day's relentless storms had kept him inside, basically confined to his room. And alone and isolated within his chambers, he had received not a word of Thranduil's condition. With disenchantment he had kept himself almost locked away within the confines of his room.

The rainy day did little to settle his frustrated mood. Usually he could appreciate the beauty that was found within storms, but not so much this day. Oropher's cruel use of isolation was effective with its disenchantment of his soul, causing him to feel irritation and unease beyond his control. He felt weary, almost detached from the fire of his fight to plead alliance. This was exactly what Oropher wanted, and Glorfindel could smile as he realized that Oropher was using the situation of Thranduil's recovery to his full advantage to play games with him.

And Glorfindel had to admit, that Oropher's grand design did have its ill effects on his mood. It was best for him to stay enclosed within his rooms and away from those who just might cause him more frustration. He felt his control faltering at points this day, and he had spent some of his time fantasizing about how he might unleash his full fury on Oropher. But this was not what his mission called for. He had been sent because he knew he was one of the few people who could withstand the mind-games that Oropher was puling on him.

Erestor would have snapped by now, and Glorfindel mused that he would have thrown the documents in Oropher's face before he made his hasty departure from the forest on his own occurred. And Elrond probably wouldn't have fared much better. Glorfindel laughed while he imagined Elrond demanding an audience with Oropher and shadowing him with his non-stop speech about the rising threat of evil, while he repeated the word doom over and over to Oropher. Oropher would have probably personally escorted him out of the realm, all the while cursing the meddling Noldor.

No, Glorfindel could not react in the way that Oropher was trying his best to elicit from him. It was best for him to pause, and to react in the opposite manner for which Oropher expected of him. In his wisdom, Glorfindel had used this time to his advantage. He had re-read the documents that Gil-galad had composed regarding the justification for action. Glorfindel hardly thought that the High- King had needed to prepare such documents, for the evils of the Dark Lord would have been known to Oropher. But still, the more evidence he could present would only help his cause, so Glorfindel had spent his day reviewing the documents.

All the accounts of the horrors that Sauron had committed were greatly terrible and heartbreaking. But Glorfindel had felt his heart almost stop beating when he had read about the destructive attacks on Eregion. Elrond had cautioned that perhaps this event should briefly be covered, for he worried that Oropher would only use the befriending of Sauron as an excuse to deny the answer of alliance. But Glorfindel thought the inclusion of the horrors of the war should be illustrated in the council, because the pain and suffering of the elves would surely resonate with those that lived here.

Let it be a lesson, Glorfindel thought, of the folly of ignoring the words and wisdom of others. And Glorfindel could liken the two situations that he reflected on. The Greenwood needed to unite in this alliance to preserve their peace. Maybe his words of the utter heartache that befell the elves there would finally pierce through the impermeable stubbornness of the Greenwood King. But Glorfindel knew not. Perhaps Oropher would only gloat at their misfortunes and suffering. He simply did not know.

And in his unknowing, Glorfindel walked to his bed and stretched across it lazily. The storm that had spawned the entire day slowly began to lose its muster. The once steady rain fell gently now, and wained as if the once heavy clouds had finally dropped their final tears. Glorfindel listened to the now silent night, and could only hear the rain water fall from the leaves, dripping like shards of ringing chimes. The forest night now made a different symphony and Glorfindel let his entire perception listen to the sedative sounds. The night was so very peaceful, and he mindfully allowed the serenity to further settle his frayed nerves that had resulted from the long and isolated days.

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

Oropher had sat for a few hours in this early morning within his son's room. Thranduil had been released to his own chambers just before the rain had stopped last night, and now that a new day had greeted the forest, he was still in slumber, not yet ready to rise with the coming morning. Sleep still called to him and Oropher wondered if perhaps Thranduil had been released too soon.

He watched his son's peaceful slumber, glad that his words had brought comfort to Thranduil. When he had first entered, Thranduil had been breathing heavily, with perspiration on his brow. Oropher had whispered to him with soothing words, and he had placed his gentle hand across Thranduil's temples. His words and presence had done the trick, for Thranduil's breathing had steadied and his whole body had relaxed.

The decision to guard his son's sleep this morning had not been an easy choice for Oropher. He had much to attend to, since his work and worry never truly found an end. But this day would be different however. Today he would truly reflect and speak with Thranduil now that he seemed better healed and better equipped to answer the questions that he sought this day.

There was so much that he wished to inquire on, and Oropher let the topics filter through his mind. He still wanted to know what truly had delayed him on the day of his attack. Were Glorfindel's and Galion's assessment of the forest's vision correct, or had Thranduil told Glorfindel where his duties had led him. Then there was the attack itself. And he wondered as well what had occurred in the forest, what had Thranduil seen or learned that had yet to be disclosed to him. The days that had passed him since he had learned of the attack had done so with these constant questions. Oropher hated not knowing, but he wanted Thranduil to grow stronger before he conversed with him.

And also, there was another topic he wished to speak on. Soon they would be receiving some important guests to their realm. Oropher knew his son's mood would lighten when the guests that were coming would arrive. He just needed to make sure that the dreaded Glorfindel had long departed before they would arrive. Oropher smiled to himself thinking over his plans. Perhaps he would not discuss it just yet with Thranduil, but should instead keep it as a surprise. He would have to gage this morning's topics on just how much Thranduil could handle before he presented him with too much information.

The gentle light that filtered through the window conveyed that the morning was growing later, but still Thranduil did not wake. Oropher could hear the melodic songs from the forest's birds and the rustling of the countless leaves. It was all so calming and peaceful, this silent pause he found himself frozen in. He moved closer to the open window, taking in the sights of the Greenwood from Thranduil's room. The forest's vista here was breathtaking, and rivaled only the views he had from his own private chambers. Magnificent, he thought to himself, fully in awe once again at the beauty of the forest. Even as the years rolled on with his dwelling here, Oropher had never once grown tired of his beautiful forest home.

A slight noise came from the bed, and Oropher turned to see Thranduil's eyes blink into awareness, as he finally realized that he was not alone in his room.

"Father?" Thranduil questioned while he continued to blink his eyes into awareness. He sat up in his bed, and kept his gaze on Oropher.

Oropher moved closer to Thranduil, away from the open window. He let a smile cross his face, and in his gentleness, he let his genuine care for his son reflect on his features. "I am glad to see you looking so much better than when last I saw you. Tell me, how do you feel this new morning?"

Thranduil stretched a little and he let the lingering tugs of sleep leave his core. He noticed the absence of the pain he had been feeling. His body did not hurt nor ache, but he could still feel the bandages that hid his tormenting memories. And he was pleased to have woken without the overwhelming memories that haunted him. His father's presence must have calmed him in his sleep, and he smiled within, a little shocked to find his father here with him on his waking.

"I am doing better." He stated, simply not caring too much to elaborate on his condition. He wasn't even entirely sure just how much strength he had regained, and he was intent on testing the limits of his body.

He moved his feet from underneath the blankets and onto the stone floor. Before he lifted himself to stand, he looked into his father's face, who smiled, as if using his own will to help him stand. He rose from the bed, and moved to a small table in his room. A breakfast had been placed for him there, and the warm tea beaconed to him. With his usual grace, he seated himself at the table, and smiled when he saw that Oropher had seat himself across from him. His father's breakfast plate as well was set, and Thranduil was a little surprised that he had waited to dine with him. He was glad, since he rarely ever got to take his breakfast with his father.

"I see your strength has returned, and you do look much better. The abuse is but a faint impression on your body. But how is your mind? When I entered, your dreams were dark." Oropher let his worry resonate to Thranduil.

"That is nothing." Thranduil lied. He knew that Oropher was very displeased when any weakness was displayed. Emotions and fears were a sign of weakness to his father, and he had been told for most of his life to detach himself from those things which could cause him to falter. A fearful mind was the worse kind of weakness, so Thranduil tried to seem resolute.

Oropher only raised an eyebrow, and let his harsh green eyes demand the truth. Thranduil sighed. There was no fooling the mighty King of Greenwood.

"The memories of the attack have merged with the dark of my dreams. Together they turn in my mind and manifest in my slumber. The images are so real, and I can still hear the orcs' words. I can still feel their utter hatred of our kind. It is if they imbedded their want of our doom into my soul and that dread just will not leave me." Thranduil's hand shook as he confessed what bothered him to his father, and he clumsily placed his cup onto the table.

Oropher for his part, kept his silence, and only preceded to continue eating his breakfast. But he let his eyes relay his thoughts to Thranduil, who he knew could decipher all that went through his opened mind. The price of living was to fall into the depths of turmoil, for such trials were needed to appreciate the good that came with life. And although Thranduil had experienced the cruel forces that drove their world, he had quickly recovered in the past. This too would soon become a distant memory, and hopefully would teach Thranduil that to act impulsively could cause so much pain to those around him and to himself. Thranduil simply could not act this way any longer. The winds of war would change their lives once more, and Thranduil was bound more than ever to act as a guardian to their people, and not as a carefree spirit. That life was no longer his to be had, and Oropher's heart felt a piercing deep within that he had only felt just a few times before.

Through the opening of his father's mind to him, Thranduil could pull his thoughts into his own mind. The thoughts were strong in their wisdom, stark however with Oropher's harsh assessment, but Thranduil expected as much. As different as they were, Thranduil could understand the resolve he knew he needed. He would find the strength to be stronger and to somehow let those memories and his dreams fade. The past was not important. It was what was ahead that should have made his heart beat faster and occupy his mind. And with his embarrassment of his weakness, he closed his green eyes. His hunger had gone.

But Oropher too commented on his lack of appetite. 

"You need to eat. Your strength is required by those you would want to protect." Oropher stated with little emotion while he refiled both his and Thranduil's tea glasses. "Eat Thranduil. You are weak, and this is a state that I do not want you lingering in any longer."

Thranduil did not protest, although he still had little hunger. But the breakfast was light and as he started eating, he realized just how hungry his body was for nourishment. The food was delicious and the more he ate, the more he felt his strength return.

Oropher could easily read Thranduil this day, and he knew that he was healed enough to converse about the attack and of how Glorfindel had found him. He saw no reason to delay the questions that he sought answers to.

"What is your take on how Lord Glorfindel was able to find you on the day of your attack?"

Thranduil was able to read between the lines of Oropher's words, understanding that his father wanted to hear from his own lips if he had hinted or even outright told Glorfindel of where he could find him that day. Thranduil mentally sighed, before he began to recount what had occurred. 

"He told me that a vision came to him in a dream in which he saw my death. The vision was so real and moving to him, that he could do no other but heed its warning. And that is the explanation I must believe. Be it from the Valar or from this land, I care not to debate the vision's origin. To settle your own doubt, I say with all truth, that I did not disclose any details, hints, nor clues to Glorfindel as to where my duties had led me that day." Thranduil watched Oropher for an expression, but his father's face remained inscrutable, revealing neither thought, or if he had displeasure. Instead his ageless face was almost as if it were a carved stone, and he did not move, nor did his hard glacial eyes flash with any emotion.

Oropher expected as much from Thranduil, and although he did not like what he heard, he felt no further reason to press for any further details. He did not want to fall into a rage that would be directed towards his still healing son. Instead he decided to press on with his other questions, since he was not too sure how long Thranduil's strength would last.

"What did you learn from your visit with the Woodland men?" Oropher had been told of most of the details and information that had been disclosed from the guards who had gone that day, but still, he was curious to hear those details from Thranduil.

"The attacks from the orcs come in more frequent waves, and with greater force as the seasons go on. They told me that the enemy calls to him men and other foul beasts, and many are answering his call. The sentiment from the woodmen is one of resistance, and they were grateful and in much need of our aid." Thranduil paused and he thought of the token of friendship the man had give him that he was suppose to deliver to Oropher. He hadn't a clue of what had become of it, and it saddened him greatly that he could not complete that task.

"Before I left I had tarried to hear the news from a messenger about the enemy marching on Gondor. By now I am sure the news has came to your knowledge." Thranduil saw his father nod in acknowledgement of this knowing, but he stated nothing more on the subject.

Oropher had no reason to further question Thranduil and he also saw no reason to lecture him about his foolishness for sending the guard on without him. Thranduil had already paid for his mistake that day, and was recovering from the bitter realities of his foolishness. Oropher's heart had stung a little when he had heard Thranduil's words that he had not told Glorfindel how to find him. As much as he wanted to believe that Thranduil was lying, deep within, he knew that his words were true. He would have pondered longer, but Thranduil's gentle and soft voice drew him from his thoughts.

"Father." Thranduil paused and he placed his utensil onto his half-eaten breakfast plate. "I have a request."

He saw his father's curious eyebrow raise, and he continued. "I am grateful to Glorfindel. He saved my life, and I would like to thank him properly. We should have a feast to honor his deeds, deep within the forest. The people here have been down in worry, and the merriment would also help cast off the lingering phantoms that haunt my mind."

Oropher took in Thranduil's words. He did not share Thranduil's opinion that Glorfindel's act warranted the showing of gratification in the forms of a feast. It was a silly eulogization. His gratitude had already been expressed to Glorfindel. But at the same time, he could agree that the celebration of Thranduil's survival did justify the request of feasting. The people who lived in their realm had all worried when they had heard of what had befallen Thranduil, and their concerns and well wishes should be thanked with a feast for them.

And the more Oropher thought about it, the more he started to like the request. A feast before the meeting would be a cruel twist to Glorfindel. They would toast to his valor one night, only to send him back home dejected the next. It would be the drastic switch from a glorious high to a crashing low. And even if Glorfindel had thought that he had gained enough favor, still, his influence would not weaken his own resolve. Oropher nodded, agreeing to Thranduil's request.

"Tomorrow evening, just before the sunset, we will have this feast. I will have Galion see to the details. And you will spend the rest of your day here in rest. If you will feast tomorrow, you still have healing to finish."

Oropher stood to leave, signifying that he no longer wished to speak with Thranduil. Thranduil stood respectfully and watched his father leave. He let a smile cross his face, pleased that Glorfindel would finally get a taste of what hidden treasures the Greenwood had to offer.

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Anor shone brightly as the day wore on, as if the golden summer sun wanted to extend her warm beams aggressively over the still damp earth to make up for her absence the day before. The forest was humid, but not quite yet uncomfortable, as the later summer months sometimes tended to be. The clear summer sky was void of any clouds, and wide rays of sunlight broke through the forest's canopy, creating almost spotlight effects on the plants that comprised the coppice of Greenwood.

Glorfindel found himself sitting outside in one of the forest's gardens, not too far from Oropher's citadel. He was completely tired of his room. But still, even though the scenery had changed, his predicament had not. He was alone, although the buzz of the forest moved on around him. He could hear the insects and the birds moving around him, and from time to time, the forest would rustle her leaves in the soft sway of the summer breezes. The scenery was ever as enchanting and beautiful as the day when he first had set his eyes on it. But still, something was lacking. Something was just not the same. He was not the same, and it was plainly evident why.

But he cared not to think on his emotions, or the tugs of his heart. The garden and forest were simply not enough to enthrall him today, so he walked, strolling down a path that was lined with giant ferns and clover. The fragrant clover should have overwhelmed his senses, as they were so poignant and damp with yesterday's rain showers. But nothing could grab his attention from what was buried deep within, threatening to rise to the surface. He wanted distraction, interaction, anything to this unrelenting isolation. So he walked, as if in trance, meandering down the path, not even caring where it would lead him.

The path led him further from the citadel, and Glorfindel wondered if he should really venture out into the forest alone and without permission. Oropher might get the wrong impression that he was fleeing in his frustrations, and he almost turned to head back. But he didn't, instead he felt a tug to continue to follow the path, so he did, letting it lead him out deeper into a part of the forest that neither Thranduil nor Galion had ever showed him.

He wasn't sure how long he walked, but he guessed the hours must have passed because the forest was transforming around him. The once lush canopy had thinned out, and the sky was not its usual light summer blue, but had turned an almost grey color, and it was sunless. It was only mid-day, but a sort of fog clung to the air. The trees here were wide and mossy, ancient looking, with dark and grey bark, and some had twisted vines draping down them. The vines seemed to reach out for him, moving towards him by the invisible hand of the wind. The trees seemed to close in on him, and although the sky was clear above him, his vision darkened with the dimming forest.

The forest had never seemed sinister to him, but this area almost could pass for something that was other than pleasant. But it wasn't unpleasant. It was just different, stranger. Even the foliage had transformed from lush and green underbrush that was comprised of ferns, and forest flowers, to that of tall siena grasses, coarse and untamed, briars and thorny bushes, void of any green leaves. Some of the trees were barren now, so ancient that leaves they could no longer sprout. They were dead, and instead of whispers, only the screeching wind cried within their hallow cores. Glorfindel paused and listened to the wailing that grew louder in the hallow trees, louder and louder the sounds grew, wailing, crying, crescendoing into a shrill scream.

Glorfindel stopped and looked around him. He felt a pain in his heart and in his head, and he closed his eyes, dropping to the forest floor that was covered in wet and moldy leaves. The aroma of the forest was poignant, overwhelming with the stench of death and decay. This was not the Greenwood he knew. This could not be real. He lowered his head into his hands, long fingers messaging into his temples, trying his best to stop the pressure that was pounding throughout his head. Everything was dark, and the forest was silent. Only the feeling of dread swelled within Glorfindel's mind, filling his heart and stifling his soul.

A song bird called, and he opened his eyes. In shock, he saw that the forest was green and alive again, replacing what he had just witnessed just a few seconds ago. The trees were majestic, grand and tall, with broad emerald leaves. Green and lush foliage surrounded him, and that dread had left his heart. Glorfindel stood as if in a stupor, spinning around, wondering just what sort of sorcery had transported him back to the Greenwood that he knew. He felt uneasy, and he turned, almost sprinting back down the path, back to Oropher's citadel.

He felt in his heart that he had seen what just might come to pass if the alliance failed. Sauron would blanket the land with his eternal night, and the good of life would be stifled, dying and left to rot with its defeat. He thanked the spirit of the forest for giving him this vision, for he felt again a sense of purpose, and that fight to plead alliance he had lost rise within his soul. He had work to do, he needed to prepare. And sulking around all day would little help him accomplish what he needed to do.

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The day that passed was like the changing of a season, slow in its transformation from light to dark. It was comprised of almost everlasting hours, stuck in their stubbornness to turn over to the next. The forest's inhabitants had watched the summer's sun with joyful eyes, almost rejoicing with its warmth and light. And as the day had slowly passed, they watched as Anor refused to sink beneath the horizon, as if the lazy summer day had latched its hold over the forest below.

Besides the almost never ending day, an excitement had also settled in the city. The forest's inhabitants whispered in the long hours of the coming feast. The forest buzzed with anticipation, and excitement. It had been months since they feasted last, at the start of spring, welcoming the season's change as life was budding new again. Galion had recruited a small army to help him prepare for the feast, and they had worked in the planning and logistics, already beginning with the setup and the preparation of food and drink.

But now that the sun was finally setting on the vast forest realm, the preparations had been halted, and the organizers and helpers filtered back to their homes to pass the night. Galion was the last one left in the forest clearing, and he lifted his eyes to the naked night sky above him which shined its star-light with vibrancy above. The night sky was beyond beautiful. The stars caused his heart to swell and he stood gazing in awe.

The calling of an owl, caused him to turn. He sighed, realizing a simple task that he had forgotten to see to this day. Reluctantly he headed back to the citadel, seeking out the one he needed to speak with this night.

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Glorfindel sat wondering just how long this night would be. Would the hours only trickle like a slowly thawing stream, still slightly frozen with the winter's long and cold embrace? These long past days had been a trial to his patience. He had been forgotten, and isolated. Reflecting back within his chambers, he once again had felt his resolve slowly crack.

He understood why not a soul had came to his chambers this day, and why Thranduil stayed away. This was all of Oropher's design, and he faulted not anyone else. He had no doubt that Galion was ever by Thranduil's side, as he should be. And Galion had told him that Thranduil was now well and was simply regaining his strength within his own quarters. Glorfindel had tried to see him when he had learned that Thranduil had been released, only to have been directed away from the stairs that would lead him to Thranduil's chambers.

He understood the actions. It all stemmed back to Oropher. And this was also exactly why Thranduil had not come to him as well. They were still not allowed any contact with each other. Was Thranduil still too weak from his attack to deny or challenge his father's will?

This night, Glorfindel's thoughts were most cruel in the gentle summer haze. The forest was fragrant, and blooming. So serene, but the Greenwood could little penetrate through to his thoughts. The simple truth of the matter was that Glorfindel missed Thranduil. This realization both delighted and caused him great worry. There was simply no future for him here within the Greenwood, and with that thought he was still not sure what caused him to yearn so much for Thranduil. These strengthening pulls he felt for Thranduil caused him concern and confusion. This was becoming so unexpected, and with the frustrations of everything he was experiencing in this forest, he sighed.

Despite the solitude he found himself in, Glorfindel noted to check his outward display of emotions. He needed order, despite the maddening situation he found himself in. But control was something that Glorfindel knew he was simply losing. He felt a heavy sting in his heart caused from the regret of his words that he had said to Galion. As much as he wanted to return the mind games that Oropher was playing with him, he simply cared far too much for Thranduil to use him in a way that would get back at Oropher. Even if this was something that he knew that Thranduil yearned for, a liaison would be far too dangerous for him to embrace.

But what if? Glorfindel thought, and he imagined kissing Thranduil's lips. He imagined holding the other close to him, inhaling his subtle scent, feeling the soft of his skin, and the slight muscles that comprised his lithe body. He imagined exploring that body, eliciting sounds of pleasure from the other that would drive them both further with their wants. He wanted to feel him, to worship him, to draw the other into an undeniable arousal. Glorfindel opened his mouth slightly, breathing deep and he closed his eyes, picturing it further.

But a gentle knock now sounded from his door, and even though he wanted more to indulge in his erotic daydream, the interruption had gained his full attention. Glorfindel should have been glad for a distraction to break this suffocating isolation, but this was simply not so. With little intrigue and a little annoyance, he rose to see who was at his door. Galion's enigmatic face greeted him when he opened it, and Glorfindel was a little slow to smile to him. He invited him in, and as Galion passed him, he could smell that the covered tray he carried contained food.

"Your presence was missed at dinner, and Istuninir requested that I bring your dinner to you." Galion noticed a slight flush on Glorfindel's checks, but did not ask what might have caused it. He placed the tray on a desk in the room, and uncovered it to reveal a dinner plate and an already filled goblet of wine.

"Thank you, Galion." He stated and he motioned for Galion to be seated by him. He was a little confused when Galion indicated to him no.

"My Lord, I am busy this night because a feast will be held tomorrow in your honor. Thranduil requested this be done for you, and our king agreed."

Glorfindel didn't even bother to mask his complete intrigue by this news. "A feast." He repeated Galion's words.

"Yes, my lord. Tomorrow night. Someone will guide you to the area in the forest where we will hold this banquet."

"A feast in the forest." Glorfindel repeated again, fully enthralled with the news. He was so engrossed with the thought that he would finally experience a secret of the Greenwood. The frustrations of the last couple of days were all but forgotten, and he smiled.

Galion noticed the complete shift in Glorfindel's demeanor, and he felt glad to know that his words brought ease to him. He knew just how trying isolation can be for someone as extroverted as Glorfindel. To someone like Galion, solitude was a rare but welcome occurrence. He was not sure if he would be able to carry himself with as much grace and poise as Glorfindel had, if it had been he who was put in this situation. Galion decided he would plan a feast befitting the celebration of Glorfindel's valor and of Thranduil's strength. He would ensure that the forest would celebrate and rejoice, and that both Thranduil and Glorfindel would smile and be joyous if just for this one night. Galion wondered, just how long would their feasting be paused while the winds of war ravaged the lands.

Galion knew he had his work cut out for him regarding this last minute celebration. He had already finalized the dishes for the feast with the head cook, and had already instructed the setting be set up with tables, chairs, hanging lanterns and fires. Rustic and organic, their celebration would reflect the forest and echo its natural charm and splendor. He knew they would pull the feast off and he guessed that he could even pull a smile from Oropher. After the days of worry and strife, Galion found he very much wanted Oropher to smile as well. With the hours counting down, Galion knew he needed to depart. He bid Glorfindel farewell and a pleasant night, caring not to stay and converse while Glorfindel ate.

Glorfindel closed his door behind Galion as if to keep his earlier thoughts private and hidden. The news of the feast had really lifted his spirits and he felt as excited as he had when he first had set off for his visit to the Greenwood. Thranduil must have known just how disenchanted he had become these last few days that had seen them kept apart from each other. But now he knew that he would finally be reunited with Thranduil on the night of the feast, and his heart beat faster with his still lingering arousal from his earlier daydream. The evening simply could not pass quickly enough, nor could the next day. But with something different to focus on, Glorfindel was in ease for the first time is days.

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Not Beta Read, sorry for the mistakes



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