The Moth & The Flame

BY : Avaloyuru
Category: +Third Age > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 2331
Disclaimer: I do not own any copyright to the Tolkien/Middle-Earth Fandom, nor his canon characters or languages. I do not receive any form of compensation for this fanfiction. Original characters are my property.

A brief interlude between Thranduil and Tauriel only strengthens his desire for her and further complicates the struggle within him where Legolas is concerned.  The palace is brimming with excitement as the Winter Solstice Festival has arrived, yet there is danger lurking in the shadows.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~

Closing his eyes for a moment, Thranduil grasped the thick oaken mantel above the hearth as he struggled to regain control himself.  The soft fragrant aromas of lavender and lilac lingered on his robes yet it was the scent of her and the heat of her body that tormented him.  It felt so right as she slipped easily into his arms, molding her body against his own.  The softness of her full lips, the slight tremble he felt in them as she opened her mouth, surrendering to him had more than stirred his desire for her.

Shaking himself as he pushed himself away from the hearth, he strode purposefully toward his wine cupboard.  Frowning into the goblet as he filled it, his frustration only deepened with his realization that everything had suddenly changed.  He had only intended to steal the chance to be with her, to talk to her and make peace between them.  Angering her in his study to get her drop her guard was something he disliked immensely.  Having known her for her entire life, he knew exactly how far to push her to ignite the fire within her, yet he was completely unprepared for a fire that burn with such passion.

Walking back toward the hearth, he sank heavily into his favorite chair as his thoughts turned to Legolas.  There was a part of him that knew he was struggling to justify himself, nevertheless he had not allowed himself to acknowledge his feelings for Tauriel until he thought he had lost them both.  Gazing into the flames, he found his mind and heart divided.  Now that he had opened his heart to her, could he close it again even for his son.  The guards had kept him informed of his sons’ movements within the palace since he was so determined to constantly shadow her when he was not making an annoyance of himself with the forest patrol.  The last thing he wanted was another confrontation with his son.

Taking a long drink from the goblet, he grew more frustrated.  Captain Lárasarnë had privately confided in him over his concerns for the tension between his son and Lord Elvändéruil.  It was clear that his son was jealous of the relationship between Tauriel and the young lord, making his choice even more difficult.  He would not tolerate having his son calling into question decisions he made when it came to Tauriel.  In many ways Thranduil credited himself for her stubbornness as he had never shown her any preference, rather he pushed her to challenge him because he knew she had it in her to be better than she thought she was.

Banishing her had been the most difficult decision he had ever had to make, one that had hurt far more deeply than he cared to admit.  The only justification presented to the council had been that she had already departed the palace and was unaware of his order therefore should not have been held accountable for having disobeyed him.  Whether he wanted a confrontation with his son or not, he now realized that it was inevitable.  The decision to abolish the hereditary oath was in truth personal and he could not deny it, regardless of the fact that his son had abandoned the realm, leaving him little choice.  Still, there was the fact that the line of succession to the throne was weak and he could not bring himself to advocate an arranged marriage for his son or himself.

Tipping the goblet to his lips, he frowned to find it empty.  Sighing heavily, he sat it on the table by the chair and pushed himself to his feet and made his way to his bed chamber.  The festivities for Winter Solstice were set to begin at midday and would run well into the night.  He would be expected to be in attendance for the greater portion of the evening, making it a very long day indeed.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~

“You seem rather excited this morning.” Nînquië commented, scooting over a bit as Tauriel took the seat beside her in the dining hall for the morning meal.

“Why wouldn’t I be?”  Tauriel shrugged, her gaze flickered briefly toward Aûraë as she made herself comfortable.

“Oh, I don’t know.”  Nînquië rolled her eyes.  “Maybe it’s because you rarely attend the festivals anymore.  Not to mention your glum mood last night.”

Lowering her head slightly as her friends chattered excitedly about the festivities planned for the day, Aûraë hid behind her thick lashes as she looked toward the dais.  Smiling to herself as she watched the kings’ gaze move over the crowded room, noting that his attention lingered for long moments on their table.

“Has everyone decided on what they’re wearing yet?”  Ilÿraná asked excitedly, her soft green eyes sparkling as she reached for the pot of honey.

“I never know until I walk out of my rooms!”  Aûraë laughed, reaching for her teacup.

“She changes her mind at least a hundred times.”  Lárasarnë complained as he approached their table.

“I do not!”  She exclaimed, feigning a hurt expression that was belied by the laughter that nearly radiated from her pale blue gray eyes.

“I think we’ll find another table.”  Rielassë commented, elbowing Lárasarnë jokingly.  “They’ll drive us crazy with their silliness!”  He said, rolling his eyes as he smiled at Nînquië who looked demurely down at her plate to hide her blush.

Lárasarnë smiled and winked at Aûraë as he followed Rielassë to a nearby table where Ivósaar and Träëliôrn were seated.  He really didn’t mind not sharing the morning meal with her, it was their day as elleth’s (elf maiden) seemed to live for these events with all their primping and fussing just getting ready.

Stealing a glance toward the dais as the ellyn’s (male elf) interrupted their conversation, Tauriel smiled as her gaze met his for only a few moments but it was enough.  Her heart sped up slightly as she remembered their brief encounter in the mediation room last night.  She felt her face heat with her blush as she turned to find herself staring into Aûraës’ knowing gaze, a soft smile curled the corners of her lips.

“I definitely think green is your color.”  Aûraë said thoughtfully, her smile lighting up her face as she met Tauriels’ gaze.  “Actually I think forest green would be the best choice.  It will bring out your eyes and green always goes well with red hair.”

“Is that why you always wear blue?”  Tauriel laughed, her eyes dancing as she stared at her friend.

“Of course!”  Aûraë exclaimed feigning shock as she widened her eyes at her.  “I usually wear dark blue to be precise.”  She laughed, tossing her ebony tresses back over her shoulder.  “The lighter colors get washed out with my dark hair and they do nothing to bring out these pale eyes.”  She pouted, then broke out in laughter.

Clearing his throat to keep from chuckling at the group of elleth’s (elf maiden), Thranduil only briefly met his sons’ gaze as he turned his attention to other tables throughout the dining hall.  Normally the most subdued meal of the day, he could feel the energy flowing throughout the room.  It was good to hear the sound of laughter and feel the excitement after everything they had all been through this past year.

“No, I’m fine, thank you.”  He commented quietly to the young kitchen helper as he carefully laid his napkin over his teacup, smiling as she made her way along the rest of the table.  He was finished, merely enjoying the atmosphere of the room, waiting for the signal from Garävegión and Laurefindë that they were ready to depart.  The next official council meeting was not for another two days, but there were things he needed to discuss and clarify with them before then.

“I take it you’re ready.”  Garävegión commented, arching a thin brow as he turned toward him.

“Quite.”  Thranduil sighed as he pushed his chair back from the table and turned to Laurefindë.  “Ready?”  He asked quietly, smiling as he grasped the back of her chair.

“I thought you would never ask.”  She chuckled, rising to her feet as Thranduil pulled the chair out for her.  “I would rather get this out of the way so we can enjoy the festivities.”

“Any word from Aldalómë?”  Thranduil asked, turning toward Garävegión as they fell in step with each other.

“Nothing new.”  He shook his head as he clasped his hands loosely behind his back.  “They are all in place and agree with Captain Lárasarnë.  The footprints are definitely human but he doesn’t believe they were lost or even disorganized but he is still not sure whether they pose a threat to us or not.”

“I had hoped to have only a few patrols out during the festival.”  Thranduil sighed heavily, frowning as they strolled through the halls toward his private study.

“Maybe that’s what they were hoping for.”  Laurefindë commented thoughtfully as she glanced up at Thranduil.  “They just didn’t expect us to find their traps.  How many have been located?”  She asked, turning her attention to Garävegión.

“Only the three Captain Lárasarnë and his patrol found.”  He stated, a deep frown forming on his brow.  “It’s not so much how many since they were crudely made, it’s how close they are to the palace grounds that is most disturbing.”

“Who did Aldalómë take with him when he split the forces?”  Thranduil asked as they descended the stairs into his private area of the palace.

“I believe it was Macilvoronhûr and Eluandúnië.”  Garävegión replied as they followed the king into his private study, pulling the door closed behind him.

“Good choices.”  Thranduil said out loud but more to himself as he walked behind his desk.  “How do we look at the eastern edge?”  He asked, glancing up at Laurefindë as he seated himself in his chair.

“As long as we keep the Forest River guarded I think we’ll be fine.”  She replied, choosing the chair closest to the hearth.  “If you want to remove troops, I suggest we leave at least one at the river and one near the Half Barrel Inn.”  She said as she adjusted herself comfortably.  “There’s been reports of unsavory ilk hanging about.  They’re not so much interested in the lower region near the Mirkwood Mountains because of the shelob (spiders), but there’s clear passage through the realm if they go up river.”

“Aldalómë has set his command post at the Vale of the Forked Pass.”  Garävegión as he sank down in the chair closest to Thranduils’ desk.  “The other two have set up outposts to the north and south of him.”

“I hope we are making something out of nothing, but it is better to be prepared.”  Thranduil sighed, leaning back in his chair.  “Now for other matters.”  He said, turning toward Laurefindë.  “I know it has been discussed amongst the council but I want to know if you have any feelings on what direction the council might sway on abandoning the hereditary oath.”

“You know you can just abolish it without the council.”  She said, meeting his gaze evenly.

“Yes.”  He said quietly, a slight smile forming on his lips as he arch a brow at her.  “Things tend to work better if I have the support of the council.”

“Support is not unanimous but the majority will support it.”  She replied, with a shrug.  “The only hold outs are Tirithiáël and Thalión.”

“I have decided to wait until Nost-na-Lothion (Spring Festival) to officially present it before the council.”  Thranduil sighed heavily, the glances shared between them were not lost on him.

“Why wait?”  Laurefindë could not resist asking as she frowned at him.

“Because I know how my son thinks.”  He sighed, looking up at ceiling as if he were searching for the right words.  “Right now that oath gives Tauriel control which is how I want it.”

“I am not understanding.”  Garävegión sighed, shaking his head as he glanced back and forth between the two of them, the confusion clearly written on his face.

“They are bound, she is not.”  Laurefindë chuckled, arching a brow at him.  “It makes them both equal to her and puts the choice in her hands.”  She added as Garävegión just stared at her.

“Okay, I see.”  He laughed, shaking his head as he leaned back in the chair.  “You will have to forgive me.  It has been a very long time since I had any interest in courtly games much less played them.”

“However.”  Thranduil chuckled at his friend.  “I do have one other matter that involves Tauriel as well.  I do not need the approval of the council nor do I care about their feelings on the matter of replacing Legolas as Commander of the Patrol.  I will be giving the position to her.”  He stated, his tone becoming more serious as he watched Garävegión.

“I do not oppose the appointment.”  He stated, although cautiously as he frowned at Thranduil.  “If anyone should question it, what is the reasoning?”  He asked.

“My son has been bitten by the wanderlust.”  Thranduil sighed heavily, his gaze taking on an inward expression of contemplation.  “Whatever decision she makes will determine his actions.  So again, I share my thoughts with you so you will understand.  If her choice is in his favor, then nothing changes.  If not, then I wish for his decision to depart from me to be based on that and not any decision I make.”

“You know he will still blame you.”  Garävegión stated, sadness creeping into his usually sparkling pale blue eyes.

“Yes.”  Thranduil said quietly, already feeling the ache in his heart.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~

“You idiots!”  The tall dark haired elf hissed as he entered the room at the end of the hall at the Half Barrel Inn.  His dark blue eyes glared angrily at the two men seated at the small table by the window.  “Your traps have done nothing but alert the King of your presence.”

“Yes and they have served their purpose.”  Ardara replied, even as he shrank back from the anger so clearly visible in the elf’s face.  “Look around you, the King has withdrawn most of his forces and sent them west.”

“With people pouring into Erebor most of the elven forces were concentrated here.”  Donagh stated, eyeing the elf as he lowered his tall frame into the remaining empty chair at the table.

“Yes but he is not a fool.”  The elf said quietly, a deep frown forming on his otherwise smooth brow.  “Neither is his Chief March Warden.  It will not take them long to figure out there is no threat and he will recall his forces closer to the palace.”

“Your Winter Solstice has already begun aye?”  Ardara asked as he leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table.

“Your task is not a simple one and the danger should not be taken lightly.”  The elf stated as he leaned forward, resting his arms on the table as well.  “The Sindar blood line to the throne must not be broken nor shall it be tainted.”

“You may think us to be fools.  We are not ignorant of the wrath of King Thranduil.”  Ardara stated angrily, his eyes narrowing as he grew weary of the elf’s riddles.  “It is a dangerous game you play.  You have had centuries to remove him from the throne...”

“That is not the purpose of your task.”  The elf interrupted him.  “We do not want him removed from the throne.  It is only his decision to allow his only heir to marry outside of the rightful line to the throne that we oppose.  The king is much loved by the people of the Woodland Realm and his political reach goes far beyond our borders.”

“And you think killing one she-elf will change his mind?”  Ardara stated more than asked as he arched a bushy brow at the elf.

“She is not to be harmed.”  The elf told him, his tone threatening as he leaned toward him.  “We have waited long for a weakness that can be used against him.  The she-elf you seek is the key to forcing his hand toward accepting the betrothal of his son to a Sindar of our choosing.”

“What makes this one so special to him?”  Donagh asked, leaning forward.  “If he is so desperate to get his son married off, surly there are others.

“No.”  The elf sighed heavily, shaking his head as he turned toward the other man.  “It is not his desperation that is his weakness.  Unfortunately our king still believes in love.  The prince is already in love with her and the king loves her as a daughter.”

“Surly then she would be under his protection?”  Ardara stated more than asked.  “Perhaps even kept inside that fortress of his.  How do we get to her?”  He asked, arching a brow at the elf.

“Elves are not like humans.”  The elf stated, a sardonic smile curling his lips.  “Both are well trained and willing to fight alongside one another in battle to the death if necessary.  This one has a will of her own and has already served the king as a captain in his forest patrol for many years.  In three days she will rejoin the forest patrols as their commander.  Capturing her will not be easy, her fighting skills are of the highest among the patrols.”  He continued, the sardonic smile twisting to a smirk as he watched the two men.

“This is why your task is not simple and you must be cautious.”  The elf continued after a long silence between them.  “The depth of the kings’ love for his son is great and he will do anything to keep him near.  That is why you will take her to the caves in the eastern end of the Mirkwood Mountains until we send for her.”

“The Mirkwood Mountains are crawling with those damned spiders.”  Ardara spat angrily as he pushed himself up from the table.  “You ask much with only a small reward for our troubles.”

“He is going to want proof that she lives.  How do we give him that without risking ourselves?”  Donagh asked, narrowing his eyes at the elf as his own anger rose from deep in his gut.

“Leave that to us.”  The elf stated as he rose to his feet and walked toward the door.  “I will speak to you again in three days.”

“I don’t like this.”  Ardara stated, turning toward his companion after the elf had left them.  “The sickness in Lake Town isn’t getting any better not to mention that it’s crawling with Mirkwood elves.”


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