New chapter is here! I know it is quite short but we will need to move faster from the next one. Comments are appreciated!
His big green eyes widened and he quickly hid behind the pillar. He watched the guard crossing the hallway and then he ran to another pillar.
His heart was beating fast from the excitement.
Legolas wasn`t supposed to leave his chambers without a guard, Idril or grandpa. But he wanted to go outside. He wanted to play. The lessons he was assigned for were boring.
And the most – he missed his parents.
Just when he wanted to reach for another pillar, looking behind his back if there wasn`t another guard coming, he crashed into someone. He raised his blond head just to see his own father, piercing him with the glacial gaze. Legolas shivered.
His Ada was like a high statue. The spiky crown atop his head was scary but his eyes were even scarier. When did he stop loving him?
The King narrowed his eyes, his thick brows frowned.
“Guard! Escort the prince to his chambers. He is not allowed to wander alone.”
Legolas wanted to open his mouth and say something for his defense, call for his father`s love even but before he could do that, a guard took him by hand and the King left them alone. Legolas couldn`t help himself but he started crying. The guard pitied him and took him into his arms and slowly walked in the direction of the royal quarters.
The King just reached his study and sat down, pouring the wine into his goblet, when Idril was announced and the guard let her in. Thranduil frowned not really wanting someone else in this room right now. He needed to be alone and think through what had really happened back in the forest.
Idril bowed respectfully but her eyes told him she was upset. He noticed the paper in her hand. Idril searched for his icy blue eyes and inhaled deeply.
“My King, I just wanted to give you this.”
She dared to cross the room and place the Legolas`s picture in front of him. The King looked at it briefly and then turn his eyes elsewhere, completely ignoring the childish art, not even touching it.
“Legolas drew it.”
“He misses you, my King.”
Thranduil was still staring at the wall on the right rather than at her or the picture.
“Thanks for the information. I appreciate your care for him. You can take the picture and leave.”
Idril stood there speechless, staring at him with disbelief.
“How long you want to ignore him?”
Thranduil snapped his head and pierced her with the glacial gaze just like Legolas a few minutes before.
“It`s none of your business. I said leave.”
“It is my business. He is just an elfling, he doesn`t understand why did you abandon him!”
Idril started shaking heavily from the distress. She couldn`t believe the King was so cold towards his own son when she saw so much love in the letters.
“I did not abandon him!”
“He thinks you don`t love him anymore.”
The King stood up so abruptly that Idril took several steps back in defense. She swallowed her tears and left the cold King alone. She was sure now that little Legolas was destined to fade because his own father was not capable of seeing it.
Graven entered the King`s study just to see Thranduil throwing some paper on the floor with an anger and pain he used to see lately very often.
“Thranduil, may I?”
The King sat down and rubbed his temple.
“Please.” He then gestured to the chair on the other side of his desk. Graven sat down as well and cleared his throat.
“Where have you been? We were looking for you in every possible corner. I was worried!”
“In the forest.”
Thranduil`s voice sounded exhausted and silent. It was completely different from the posture he held when he entered the Halls just an hours ago. The self-confident and energy was gone.
“Why? Are you crazy? How did you endure such crazy snowstorm? Where exactly have you been?”
Graven raised his eyebrows.
“Are you kidding me?”
“I am tired Graven…Don`t play riddles with me…”
“What did you do out there?”
Thranduil looked straight into his eyes.
“I found Maecheneb and spoke to him.”
Graven widened his eyes. It was rare for Maecheneb to be found when one wanted to. He always appeared only when he was willing. This fact surprised him greatly.
“I asked him for help with the forest. He acted weirdly and something about him was strange. I don`t know…But he won`t help us.”
“I am surprised that he survived.”
“He did. But now…”
Thranduil leaned back in the chair and turned his gaze away from Graven.
“He is not important. He won`t help us.” He answered dismissively.
Graven sighed and rather dropped the topic and pulled out a scroll. It was obvious that Thranduil won`t tell anything.
“There is the report about the investigation of the guards. Nobody saw anything. Actually, I think they are truly innocent, Thranduil.”
The King took the scroll, quickly running through it with a frown.
“It`s impossible. At least one of them must be lying. Her body couldn`t disappear from the locked room just like that and nobody wouldn`t notice.” He hissed angrily.
“Why would they lie to you, why would they want to steal her body?”
“I don`t know! I don`t know that, Graven!” Thranduil rose his voice, “She walked away alone? Or what are you trying to say here?!”
“Thranduil, calm down…”
“I can`t calm down!!”
“It pisses me too!” Graven stood up, yelling at him with the same rage, “I cannot bury her too!!!”
Thranduil stooped his head, tears rolling down his cheeks.
“I know, I am sorry.” He whispered after a silent moment. Graven sat down again, rubbing his eyes full of tears as well.
“She was loved. She was a great Queen after all. I don`t think anybody from this realm would do such thing…” Graven stated with a broken voice. Thranduil turned away from him, looking out from the window to the burnt plain where used to be a forest once.
“Maybe you are right. But still, there is no possibility, that her body was taken and nobody would see a thing. Let them rot until they come up with the truth.”
He heard Graven inhale deeply, getting himself together.
“There are also next matters of the realm…You should pick new royal advisors-“
“I don`t need any. You are enough.”
“I am done with spending hours and hours of argues about nothing. We both know the realm the best and we both know what is good for the elves. You are sufficient as my opponent in decisions.”
“Thranduil, you cannot be serious…It is not enough…”
“I said it is, then it is.”
Graven had no energy to argue with him now and he couldn`t imagine the amount of the needed energy for arguing with him in the future.
“Alright, ” He sighed, “this is a list of positions which are open as well.”
Graven handed another scroll to the King.
“I will also write a list with what I will need some help… What? Do not look at me like this. I cannot do everything by myself just because you refused royal advisers.”
He stood up from the chair.
“You will have it tomorrow on your desk. Now I am going to take Legolas to the gardens, I promised him that we will build a snowman.”
Thranduil almost flinched when he heard the name of his son aloud. Graven noticed it. Before he opened the door, he turned back to Thranduil:
“He is lonely.”
The King sighed, closing his eyes in pain.
“I am trying hard to provide him everything he needs.”
“He needs you.”
“I know I just…”
The King lowered his head in a defeat. Graven watched him. He wanted to scold him, to say that Eleniel would be disappointed but he knew too well what Thranduil is going through. And he was quite surprised that he was able to care about the realm at least a little bit. So, he didn`t say anything and left.
Lady Vanya looked out from the window and folded the scroll. She was nervous about writing to the Elvenking on her own without knowledge of her husband. But she was angry and disappointed. She knew she must convince the Elvenking somehow to help them. She was scared that her husband will never come back from that ugly war.
The last letter made her heart skip a beat when she read that they started winning. That they pushed the Orcs behind the border of their new land, originally the kingdom of the people. It woke up a hope. But her husband, Lord Daeron, didn`t let her hopes rise higher. He warned her that the army is tired and weak. That they are still losing so many warriors in every battle and that the long war costs a good morality.
She wished him to come home and be with her. She wished to forget about the war and duties they had. But it was impossible. He was fighting for his life and the better future without the Darkness, and she was trying to get any help she could and any supplies available. But they were running out of them as well. The rich food, so famous in Locien among the court was now just a memory of the past. Now they ate like the commoners. Everything important was sent to the front line. She even wanted to sell her best gowns but who would buy them in the time of war when nobody was throwing balls?
Only the Elvenking, the last living king, the one whom her husband loved like his own son, his dearest friend he used to call him, was oblivious to all what was happening. He didn`t care, he didn’t want to help. After what Daeron has done for him…
Vanya wanted to cry but from the anger than from sadness.
A soft knock made her turn towards the door. A guard stepped in.
“My Lady, I am sorry to interrupt but there is an elleth with a small elfling at the gates, she is asking for you.”
“Did she tell you her name?”
“She insisted on staying without a name, my Lady.”
Lady Vanya raised her eyebrows.
“Very well then, what harm it could do when we hear her out?”
What she saw when the guard brought the elleth along surprised her. The old, poor clothes didn`t sway her attention. When she saw the face of the elleth she recognized her immediately. The Lady turned to the Captain standing next to her:
“Prepare a chamber for our guest.”
And then she turned back to the tall elleth with a girl standing next to her.
“Come, you have to tell me everything, dear.”
The stranger smiled and thanked her.
The eyes in the color of honey narrowed when he said out the last words. The servant with a long black cloak with a hood over his head nodded.
“Interesting indeed, my Lord.”
“Such power in his hands…” He smiled devilishly, “we could use that for our purposes…”
“How do you want to convince him to work for you, my Lord?”
He narrowed his eyes again. The honey darkened.
“I guess they helped me with it without even knowing it.”
The servant tilted his head a little, not really understanding what his master was talking about. But the master didn`t care.
“Return to me in a few days with a new report. And this time, try to please me.” He dismissed him with a gesture.