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.

Thranduil moves forward with his plans to replace the hereditary oath with his own declaration.  While in Lake Town, Ráerû not only discovers the identity of the tall dark haired elf that had eluded his friend Elvändéruil, he learns of their plans.  Thranduil and Gilaiwë accidentally come upon a heated argument between Tauriel and Legolas, forcing Thranduil to accept the destiny he has always denied.

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

There was a subtle sense of unease in Thranduils’ public study as preparations were being made for certain invited guests for a special meeting.  The ever present guards in the antechamber just beyond the doors had been instructed that no others were permitted entry.  Galion had already seen to the wine cupboard, ensuring it was properly stocked according to the preferences he was aware of as well as a pot of the more favored cinnamon spiced tea hung on the hook near the coals in the glowing hearth.  He also brought a small tray with more teacups and hand pies just in case the meeting ran longer than anticipated.

“Lord Fládëithnôr asked me to apologize for him.”  Galion said quietly, pausing for a moment as he stepped closer to Thranduil’s desk.  “He is with Lady Laûrläéthëe but said he would be here shortly.”

“Thank you Galion.”  Thranduil said, smiling softly as he studied the concerned expression on the face of his longtime friend and confidante.  “I will be preoccupied with official matters most of the day.  Perhaps you can use this as a chance to spend some time with Minûiáliën.  I am sure she would appreciate seeing you.”

“I just might do that.”  Galion chuckled, nodding his head respectfully as he returned the soft smile.  He allowed his gaze to linger for only a brief moment on the face of the one who was his king yet he was also the son he with whom he had never been blessed.

Thranduil felt a pang of sadness grip his heart as he watched him turn and stride gracefully from the study.  He owed so much of who he was and what he had become to the older Silvan elf who had always been there for him, reassuring him during the dark times of his childhood.  He had even stood against his father on his behalf, risking everything to join him during his exile in Lórinand and faced down his father with him when they returned.  Although he filled the role of a servant, he had always been and would always be so much more than that to him.

Blinking back the memories that threatened, he turned to meet the steady gaze of Gilaiwë.  The slow smile and knowing look in her eyes was more than unsettling to him, but then like Galion, she had come to know him in ways no other could ever know.

“Do not be sad for him.”  She said quietly, her gaze softening as she studied him.  “He is proud of you.  You have become everything he always dreamed you would be and more.  He is happy for you Eshë.” (Note)  She added softly.

“It is only...”  Pausing as the door to the study opened, he quickly schooled his expression as he rose from his chair.  “Laurefindë.”  He greeted her with a smile as he walked around his desk toward her.  “Thank you for being here on such short notice.”  He said quietly as he embraced her briefly before gesturing toward one of the chairs before the hearth.

“I have a feeling this is not an informal meeting.”  She stated as she glanced around the study, noting the additional chairs and the tray of food on the sideboard.

“I was thinking the same thing.”  Lord Garävegión chuckled as he entered close behind her.  “He did not say but the air about him was more solemn than is usual for Galion when he spoke with me earlier today.”  He continued as he moved further into the room toward the tall wing backed chair closest to the corner of Thranduils’ desk yet still near the hearth.

“Tea or wine?”  Laurefindë asked, arching a brow as she turned her attention toward Garävegión.

“Tea will be fine.”  He replied with a smile before turning to nod his acknowledgment toward Gilaiwë.

“I believe I will have the Dorwinion wine.”  Lord Fládëithnôr stated clearly, his deep voice filling the room, a wide grin lit up his handsome face as he strode purposefully into the study.  “I hope I did not keep you waiting long.”  He laughed as he embraced Thranduil in a strong hug.  “I needed to catch Laûrläéthëe before she disappeared in the way young elleth’s (elf maiden) seem to do these days.”  He added with a wink toward Laurefindë.

“When did you arrive?”  Garävegión asked, his own expression brightening as he rose to greet his old friend.

“Late last night.”  Fládëithnôr replied as they embraced.  “I must say Thranduil, the hospitality of your halls is quite refreshing as usual.”  He added, releasing Garävegión as he accepted the goblet from Laurefindë, nodding toward her.

“Gilaiwë.”  He chuckled as he nodded toward her.  “You are looking quite comfortable.”  He said, noting not for the first time how childlike she appeared with her legs curled beneath her in the large chair.

Shaking his head as he moved around his desk to retake his seat, Thranduil could not help but smile at the friendly banter amongst them.  Leaning back in his chair, he folded his hands on his lap as he waited patiently for them to move through the customary pleasantries and catch up with the goings on in their lives as was the way with old friends that have not seen one another for a while.

“Thalieth.”  He called out quietly but firmly once they had all quieted and taken a seat.

Hîr vuin.” (My Lord)  The guard stated as he quickly appeared in the doorway.

“Close the door and see that no one lingers.”  Thranduil stated, meeting the guards gaze evenly as he spoke.

Ben iest gîn, hîr vuin.” (As you wish, my lord).  Thalieth replied with a sharp formal nod before quickly closing the door.

“I have asked each of you here because of our shared past.”  Thranduil said quietly as his gaze swept over their stoic faces.  Yet he knew them all well enough to see the concern in their eyes as they studied him in return.  “Of all those I have looked to for guidance, with the exception of two others, the four of you are all that remain of the time of my fathers’ rule.”  He added, his fingers toying absently with the edges of the small pile of parchment on his desk.

“I will need all of you now more than I ever have in the past.”  He stated, his gaze lingering for long moments on each of the silent faces that stared stoically back at him.  “I have written out my personal concerns as to the future of this kingdom.  I will not be dissuaded from what I know in my heart to be true.  I will not allow myself to be separated from the people.  If this kingdom is to be truly united as one, there can be no division between us.”

“Are you concerned for your safety?”  Fládëithnôr asked, a deep frown creasing his smooth brow as he leaned forward.  His ice blue eyes filled with concern as he stared at Thranduil in disbelief.

“I doubt very much my adversaries present any real threat to my person.”  Thranduil stated as he laced his fingers together over the parchment.  “What they oppose is the breaking of the oath which I believe to be the real threat to this kingdom.”

“How do you mean?”  Garävegión asked, his expression mirroring that of Fládëithnôr as he studied the kings’ face.

“A very wise friend once told me that it is only by the will of those who serve that a king rules.”  Thranduil said thoughtfully, hesitating a moment as he struggled with his memories of the past.  “We can no longer ignore the threat that festers among us.”  He paused, smiling at Laurefindë as he raised his hand to politely silence her.  “Holding to the oath threatens every Sindar in line for the throne.”  He stated firmly as he glanced between both Laurefindë and Garävegión.

“Yes.”  Fládëithnôr said quietly, stretching out the word thoughtfully as his gaze turned inward for long moments.  “Your insights serve you well.”  He added, a slight smile curling his lips as he met the kings’ gaze approvingly.

“Now if you will all humor me, we will fully address these and any other concerns you may have before we conclude this meeting.”  Thranduil stated as he gathered up the parchments and began handing them out to each of them.  “I intend to present my final declaration at the next council meeting.”  He continued as he resumed his seat behind his desk.

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

Grimacing slightly as he took a sip of the tea, Ráerû vowed he would make Elvändéruil pay for asking this favor of him.  Even heavily masked with the honey it was still barely palatable for his personal preferences.  Turning his attention to the plate in front of him, he was at least thankful the eggs were fully cooked and potatoes were not burnt.  He made a mental note to himself to let Alythiyiá know how much he appreciated her cooking talents.

Bowing his head slightly as he caught sight of the two men emerging from the enclosed staircase, he watched them on the fringes of his vision as they found a table near him.  Lifting his hand to summon the young girl as an excuse to get a better look at them and the dark haired elf who followed them.  A slight frown creased his brow as the elf turned abruptly away from them and left the inn.  Undeterred as he had clearly seen his face the previous evening, he knew it to be Lord Ortäuré, the eldest son of council member Lord Tirithiáël.

“Do you just happen to have any more of those delicious honey rolls?”  He asked in his sweetest voice as the young girl hurried over to him.

“Of course!”  She exclaimed, a big smile splitting her face.  “We have them all the time.”

“Wonderful!”  Ráerû stated as he touched her hand in a friendly gesture.  “Could you bring a couple of them?”  He asked, as he slid two coins toward her still watching the two men who sat at a table right behind her.

“Certainly!  I will be right back.”  She told him as she snatched up the coins and turned quickly away from him.

“Perfect.”  He thought to himself as their voices carried easily to him as he pretended extreme interest in the fried potatoes on his plate.

“This deal is getting worse every time he shows up.”  Ardara complained, his voice low enough to obscure it from other human ears as he lifted his arm to summon one of the young girls to their table.

“If the prince is in love with this she-elf like he says, killing her will...”  Donagh began quietly.

“We aren’t killing anyone!”  Ardara hissed through clenched teeth as he glared at him.

“Oh dear God!  It’s Tauriel!”  Ráerû thought, fear gripping his stomach as he forced a polite smile at the young girl who brought him the rolls he requested.

Sitting quietly, Ráerû pretended to enjoy his now quite tasteless breakfast as he listened as much to what they did not say as he did their complaining.  While their odd dialect told him they were Northmen, he wondered once more of their homeland as it was clear to him they were more than familiar with Thranduil and feared him.  Yet as they continued to talk between themselves, he realized their fear of Lord Ortäuré was great enough for them to follow his orders.  Slowly as he listened, bits and pieces of his conversation with Elvändéruil came back to him, including much of the latest topic of the palace gossips.

The presence of Lord Ortäuré confirmed to him the rumors of the kings’ intentions regarding the hereditary oath were quite possibly true.  Like many other Silvan elves, Ráerû found himself to be more than sympathetic toward the kings’ decision, the prince had never hidden the fact that he was in love Tauriel.  Unlike what he had heard about his father, King Thranduil had ruled the kingdom out of a sense of duty.  He never placed himself above any other elf regardless of their birth or status, a quality that had endeared him to the greater majority of those who dwelt in the Woodland Realm.

Finishing his meal, Ráerû paid no outward attention to the men as he walked toward the small group of healers that had just entered the inn.  Most of the elves from the Grey Mountains had already returned home as well as a number of those from the Woodland Realm.  Pausing briefly to discuss the current situation with the sickness and the progress they had made in getting it under control.  He politely excused himself as he accepted a few personal notes they wanted him to give to their families, he quickly departed the inn.

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

“There is something you are not telling me mellon nîn.” (My friend)  Gilaiwë said quietly as they followed well behind the others as they left his study.  “Do not look at me that way.”  She added a little more firmly as they turned toward passage leading to the solarium.

“I want to ask Tauriel for her hand.”  Thranduil admitted, his voice was soft and thoughtful as he clasped his hands loosely behind his back.  “Long ago I vowed I would not take a wife until my son was safely wedded and seated upon the throne.”  He paused, a heavy sigh escaping his lips.  “I have dallied too long in my decisions when it comes to my son as I have sought to spare him the pain of loss...”

Falling silent as Gilaiwë all but shoved him into the shadows as they entered the solarium, he frowned deeply at the hushed but angry voices that filtered to them from the far corner.  Moving silently toward them, they stood beneath the tall ferns only a few yards away from the source.

“I do not understand.”  Legolas all but demanded as he stepped closer to her.  “With all my heart I am saddened for you, for your loss.  But he is gone Tauriel.  I am still here, I love you!”  He stated, his eyes searching hers for something of the way she once looked at him.

“Yes, he is gone.”  Tauriel stated angrily, folding her arms beneath her breasts as she met his gaze evenly yet guarding her expression.  “Nothing is going to change that but knowing him has changed everything.”

“How can you say that?!”  Legolas cried as he reached for her, dropping his arms as she stepped back from him.

“Because it is true!”  She exclaimed, turning away from him.  “If my love for you had been true I would not have felt what I did and still do for Kili.”  She stated, lowering her voice somewhat.

“I love you Tauriel.”  He stated as he stepped up behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders.  “Please.  Come with me.  We can leave this place...”

“No Legolas!”  She hissed angrily as she swung around to face him.  “What you feel for me is not love...”

“Is it Elvändéruil?”  He demanded more than asked, interrupting her as he glared at her.  “You think I do not see it?!  The way he hovers about, shadowing you everywhere you go.”

“And you do not do the same?!”  She spat back him, her eyes narrowing dangerously.  “I come here for the peace and solitude...”

“I am no fool Tauriel.”  He said quietly, yet the gray clouds like a coming storm filled his soft blue eyes as he stared at her.  “Is it my father?  Do you come here to see him?”  He spat angrily as he continued to stare at her.  “Is that what you truly want Tauriel?  To be nothing more than a pirá zan kurv (little elf whore) that warms his bed...”

“How dare you!”  Tauriel nearly screamed as she struck him hard across his cheek.

It was only Gilaiwës’ sudden and painful grip on his fingers as she jerked him back that kept Thranduil from moving toward her.  Anger stabbed at his heart as he watched his son raise his hand yet he did not strike back.  Releasing a breath he had not realized he had been holding, he reluctantly stood there silently in the shadows.  He could hear the sound of his heart thudding against his chest as he held tightly to Gilaiwës’ hand for support.

“You walked away from me remember.”  Tauriel stated breathlessly as she struggled for control of her emotions.  “You walked away from me, your father, you walked away from everything as if none of us mattered to you.”  She continued, her tone growing angrier as she stepped closer to him as if to dare him to strike her.

Pulling him with her, Gilaiwë moved quickly down the narrow path toward the entrance of the solarium.  Engrossed in their argument, she prayed they had not noticed their presence.  Glancing angrily up at him as they walked swiftly into the cavernous space of the meditation room.  She led him toward the waterfall in the far back corner where the splashing sounds would obscure their voices and they could speak more privately.

“You cannot interfere, you must respect her enough to allow her to handle this herself.”  Gilaiwë told him firmly.  “If she is to one day be your Queen, she needs to know that you have faith in her.”

“I know this yet all I want to do is protect her.”  Thranduil sighed heavily as he sank down onto the small stone bench.  “How could I have allowed it to come to this?”  He asked quietly, more of himself than with any expectation of an answer as he stared off toward the path leading out of the meditation room.

“She cares for him yes, but she is not in love with him.”  She said softly, laying a gentle hand on his shoulder.  “I knew you were in love with her when you came to Lórinand to bring her home.”  She said as he turned to look at her.

“What of my son?”  He asked, his voice choked with pain as he dropped his gaze to the stone floor.  “I have lost him.”  His shoulders slumped as if a heavy weight had just descended upon him.

“You have always known the answer to that Thranduil.  Your love for him blinds you to your destiny.”  She told him quietly as she took his chin in her hand, forcing him to look at her.  “Long ago Galadriel foretold that you will be the last king to sit upon the throne of the Woodland Realm.”

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

End Notes:

Eshë an informal term derived from Eshë nîn níëvé which loosely translates to mean “my friend in the sense of a trusted ally who is also a lover yet not life mate” used between those with a long time relationship.

Thanks for reading!  Comments are always welcome!

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