“Oh, do not play shy and show it to us!” One of the court ladies chuckled and pushed the other a little. The rest were giggling. Tavarille watched it with a small smile on her lips. Her eyes fell on the big ring on the elleth`s finger and she instinctively rubbed her own wedding ring. Simple it was. Not so shiny and huge like this one, but the memories and love connected to it were something beyond measure for her.
She rather turned her head away, watching the crystal clear and cold water in the fountain. Her heart still ached for her second husband, Mardil. She blinked several times to destroy forming tears in her brown eyes. And then she spotted him.
In a dark blue coat with a golden embroidery and a little emblem of the Woodland Realm on his chest. Such a great contrast for his silver flawless hair. The tiara had a matching gem.
“Excuse me, ladies.” Tavarille stood up and smiled. He smiled back.
“Tavarille.” He tilted his head even though she held no title anymore nor the station within the court.
“My King.” She bowed.
“Walk with me.” Thranduil suggested with a light tone and place a palm on small of her back softly. The warmth from the touch spread through her body like a fire. She constantly felt protected. And since Mardil`s death, she fought hard to feel like this again.
“I see that you are within the court like fish in her pond.” Thranduil chuckled and let go his palm as soon as they reached the gate to the only garden they had.
“I used to love it. It was my daily bread. But now it`s just a nice distraction. But I still think that simple life was happier.”
“I can imagine.” Thranduil sighed.
“But we should not complain.” She said cheerfully and smiled at him. He smiled back and wondered why they couldn`t be like this during their marriage.
Were they too young to understand that? Or too stubborn to cooperate?
“No, we should not…”
“I hear a trouble in your voice, Thranduil. Please, tell me what troubles you.”
They sat down on the bench. He stretched his long legs forward and leaned back to rest his back.
“Tell me everything you know about Lilithiel..”
“Oh, very well then.” Tavarille started playing with a strand of her two color hair and her eyes became distant. She rather didn`t think about the real reason why he was asking.
“Her mother was my father`s sister. She fell in love with a lower lord. He had no position within the court but he was known for his wealth from many fields he owned. He supported many nobles in Eresiel. For favors, you know how it goes… My father did not agree at first but then he accepted their love and let them get married. She moved to his lands, close to Eresiel but she never returned to the court.” Tavarille sighed, “About Lilithiel…Where I was naive and a dreamer, my sister was impulsive and brave. But Lilithel was cunning. She was not a bad elleth, no. She just…She had a different point of view on the court than her parents, and than us. She hated her mother for her marriage and that she was driven away from the court. She always dreamt about marrying a prince or a king, someone powerful and rich. She dreamt of wearing a crown. She dreamt showing us all that she was capable and a highborn even though her mother lived in the countryside.”
“Such a complex,” Thranduil noted with risen eyebrows.
“Yes. And her dream was not bad, maybe I could understand a little. But she did not play right. She used everything she could. Her mother sent her to court for education and she swayed her tutor. He was married and when he did not want to continue, she swayed another noble who was able to get rid of the tutor`s wife. She did not want him for herself, she just wanted to show him, that she could be powerful. Then the noble who helped her became her lover. She was climbing this social ladder so fast and so dangerously. But when she tried to destroy the most powerful noble in the city next to my father, who also happened to be my father`s best friend,” Tavarille rolled her eyes,” Ada banished her from the court for good…”
“You two were close..?”
“No, not that much. Maybe when we were younger. But she never kept her romance as a secret. It was her ‘power'” Tavarille shrugged her shoulders, “I have never heard of her again until now.”
“Do you think she could be dangerous? Leading Eresiel? That she could be an enemy?”
“I do not know, Thranduil. It depends on what she wants. And why. If she needs you then she will not be your enemy. Until she will not need you anymore.”
“I thought so.”
A small wrinkle appeared between his eyebrows and he seemed more troubled than before.
“I need your help now more than ever, Thranduil. Now it is also your problem. She can be dangerous for your lands.”
Thranduil sighed and stood up from the bench.
“I understand your motives, Tavarille. But I cannot do anything for now. I need more information first. Please, be patient.”
Tavarille caught the edge of his coat.
“But then you will help me, will you not?”
“I cannot promise anything.”
And with that, he left her in the garden alone.
Lilithiel moaned and arched her back. The dark elf, one of her guards, smirked and continued in his task. His strange light eyes were scary and exciting at the same time. His slim, muscular body was a pleasure to touch and his tongue was more than skillful. She had no idea what breed of darkness this was but she had never had such a good lover in her bed.
In a short while, she screamed when a wave of orgasm hit her hard. But he did not stop. He licked her juices once more and then he mounted her. She moaned in a surprise and the sensation of his cock inside her almost wiped off her sanity. He was ravishing her like a wild creature, like an animal. She held onto him, her nails were digging into his grey skin and he pushed harder and harder.
And just when she was about to finish herself for the second time in a row, he stopped. She opened her eyes to see what happened and another wave, but this time it was a shock, ran over her. The General, dark creature in the hooded cloak, was standing next to the bed, just a few inches from her. The guard disappeared.
She wanted to cover herself, but she had no energy for it, she had problems to catch her breath. A blush was spreading all over her body. Her groin was throbbing. It was so humiliating and arousing at the same time.
She couldn`t see his face. He had none. But she knew he was watching her. He did not move nor say anything but she was sure that he made the guard disappear. He liked her body, she knew it.
“Please…” she half whispered. Her voice was colored by passion. The General flinched. She was looking straight into the darkness of his hood where she imagined his eyes and let her own hand slip between her legs. But then he suddenly stopped her by catching her wrist. He pushed her hand aside.
Lilithiel watched him carefully. She couldn`t believe that she was scared of him and still, just the thought that he might be watching her and liking the view actually made her shiver with a new arousal.
He pulled off his glove and she widened her eyes when she saw a dead white hand with strange fingers. He looked like a corpse. She wanted to flinch but he caught her neck and squeezed. She gasped for her breath and then she felt the cold hand between her thighs.
But the panic washed away quickly as his fingers slipped inside her and his thumb was stroking her sensitive spot. The lack of air in her lungs with the great pleasure and building a new orgasm again made her head dizzy. Just before her orgasm, he stopped. Again.
“No!’ She shrieked and arched her back even more towards his hand. He chuckled.
“Dress up. I did not come to play with you.” General ordered and turned back to her. She thought he will leave to let her dress but he didn’t. He just turned to the window and watched the horizon. She felt like crying. Her body was trembling. Her legs were so weak that even getting up was hard. She took the dressing gown from the chair and covered her naked, aching body.
“Any news from Thranduil Oropherion?”
“No, he did not answer nor my scouts found his.”
“He did not send any yet.”
“He is ignoring me.” She said and she would be even angry but her voice was still colored with pain from a refused orgasm.
“He sent an aid to Lord Daeron. He is supporting the Alliance. “
“So he is against us then!” She came to stand next to him, watching the horizon as well supported by her hand on the wall next to her.
“I have a new order for you.” He turned to face her. She stared into the darkness of the hood, her heart skipped a beat.
“You will go to Greenwood. Make him change his mind and be on your side.”
“How is your task, not mine.” He hissed and she smelled the rotten breath on her cheek. He caught her and locked her wrists in one of his gloved hand. She gasped for an air and a shiver ran down her spine.
“I am sure you will succeed, my little queen of whores.”
He lowered his head and bit her nipple through the soft material of the dressing gown. She cried in pain and wanted to free herself but he didn`t let her go. Instead, he found a way under her gown and pushed his fingers inside her again. She couldn`t help but moan. And then, when her orgasm was about to come finally, she didn`t even notice the blood soaking more and more into the soft fabric on her breasts.
Daeron wiped off the sweat from his brow and unfolded the scroll. He was bewildered.
He just came back to the camp from the front line where the situation was quite calm as all the parties were just observing and protecting their own new borders. No attacks so far. He came back and spotted a couple of carriages. With supplies. How long it had been since he saw a proper food? How long it has been since he ate vegetables? How long it has been since he drunk a fresh water? Oh, he couldn`t even remember!
How surprised, shocked even, he was when the carriages came. The hooded elves, simple at first sight, but then he noticed their movement and their weaponry – spies and soldiers. Wooden elves.
And then they handed him this scroll he was staring at. There was no emblem, no sail of Thranduil, but he knew his handwriting. Unofficial message. Secret one.
He knew that the Sindar bastard will ask for something. He couldn`t send the supplies just like that. No. He needed his help. After three years of war…
Daeron sat down, feeling his back and legs aching from the whole day on horse and discomfort of this war life. His eyes read quickly and he gasped.
Thranduil truly needed something. But this topic was so serious that he immediately forgot about an anger he felt just a minute ago. Thranduil needed an intel. As well as Daeron.
“Here you are! I was looking for you! Come and join-” Deteghor stopped in the middle of the cheerful sentence, obviously happy with the delivered food, when he saw Daeron`s face white like a chalk, “What happened?”
“Meridir`s niece took Eresiel.”
“What?! Lilithiel? Oh, come on, Daeron, you have to be kidding me.”
“She claims herself to be an Elven queen.”
“Thranduil Oropherion is the only royal blood among elves. The last one.” Deteghor frowned, not really understanding what Daeron was telling him.
“That is the smallest problem of this situation, Deteghor…Thranduil is asking me if I know anything about it. He just found out when she sent him a message.”
“She wants to marry him.”
Deteghor, despite the seriousness of the situation and also Daeron`s face, started laughing like a mad man.
“Well, he should rather fight! That`s the payment for his reluctance! A marriage with a crazy elleth!”
The general halted, surprised that Daeron was not laughing with him. But the old lord continued:
“Except Thranduil, there is no house who would have an army to fight the Dark Lord and take Eresiel back.”
Deteghor lost a color in his face as fast as his mind calculated the result Daeron has in mind as well.
Daeron rubbed his temple and nodded.
“Yes…It`s an option. Call for an emergency meeting. We will have to lead an attack.”
Thranduil was slowly walking back to the gate. The long cloak with a hood over his head was covering him fully and with the darkness of the night, nobody could notice him. Of course, the guards knew that the King was outside and they wondered, every time he left Halls in the middle of the night for several hours, unprotected, what he was doing there. But they couldn`t follow him. Orders.
The Elvenking felt exhausted. His fingers were throbbing but he was going back satisfied with his work.
He frowned when he spotted Kaalis rushing to meet him outside of the gate.
“Kaalis, I told you-“
“My King, the spies are back from Eresiel. They have urgent news.”
Thranduil`s heart skipped a beat. It couldn`t be good news when it was urgent in the middle of the night.
Thranduil banged the table with his fists so hard that the two spies almost jumped. To see his anger, even though it wasn`t pointed towards them, was unsettling.
“How much time we have?”
“I would say one day, your Majesty. She is traveling by a carriage with a proper procession, like a queen.”
“At least it will buy us some time,” Graven noted. His eyes were still puffy as he was woken up just a couple minutes ago.
“Alright…you can leave.” Thranduil waved his hand, deep in thoughts, dismissing the spies. But just one turned to the door to leave.
“My King there is…there is also one more thing.”
The elf, standing in front of the mahogany desk like a statue, with a sweat all over his face, swallowed hard.
“We couldn`t get any closer to the city…”
The other elf turned back to his friend with wide eyes. The horror on his face was telling everything. He was not supposed to tell the King obviously. That they failed the mission.
“What..?” The King raise one of his eyebrows.
“We couldn`t get any closer to the city because the elves…or what was it…were…very different. We wouldn`t have a cover…They..eh…were…I have never seen elves like this, my Lord…”
Graven squeezed his shoulder and make him sit down to one of the chairs.
“Describe them for us, boy.”
“They-they were very dark. I mean…their skin was dark..and their eyes very unnatural. So light. And..they were..taller than us…I have never seen elves like this before.”
Thranduil exchanged a look with Graven and then the main advisor dismissed the young but skilled spies to rest. Graven sat down on the sofa and rubbed his tired face.
“Dark elves…” Thranduil repeated.
“I have never seen elves like this, Thranduil…I do not know such race…”
“Maybe it is some small, distant nation…”
“Oh, Valars….we are doomed. In a one damn day, we will have a visit of a crazy so-called queen who probably wants to persuade you into a marriage and we have to welcome her as any other royal visit to keep the peace as we do not know what she has in her tiny mind! And it is not enough! We have to deal with her escort as well because we have never seen it…I am too old for this…”
He looked at Thranduil. The King`s head was resting on the table and his face was hidden under the mass of the silver hair.
“She once told me that she is marrying me to hold other crazy elleths further away from me…” He said quietly. His voice was muffled. Graven didn`t have to ask who he was talking about.
“I wish she was here. I cannot imagine marrying another. I cannot do it again, Graven. I cannot marry for a realm again. I have an heir. Please, I..I don`t want to.”
Graven`s features softened. He pitied him, often lately. He realized that even though Thranduil was a thousand years younger than Graven, he was challenged by gods almost unmercifully. And only gods knew why they were punishing him like this.
He rose from the sofa and caressed Thranduil`s head like he would be only a child.
“You are still grieving, Thranduil. You cannot re-marry.”
Thranduil raised his head, his eyes shone with tears. And then it hit him.
“Indeed.” He straightened himself up, “I am still grieving…”
Graven just smiled and stepped away.
“Graven, please, go to the library and try to find anything you can about those dark elves. I will prepare for the royal visit.”
The King left his study abruptly yelling orders and waking up the Halls. Graven chuckled and shook his head. He left the study as well, heading to the library.