Words spoken in italics are in Sindarin
Chapter Fourteen: Confrontation
They had been talking for perhaps an hour, and the longer Legolas listened, Aragorn could see the strain of the situation taking its toll. Aragorn could not fathom being unable to remember his life, or most of it. On top of that, Legolas was not well. He kept rubbing at his head and at times seemed a bit disoriented. When he or Arwen suggested they call it a night, the usually reserved prince became agitated and panicky for more information. It was obvious that Legolas was overwhelmed and needed to rest, but his need for knowledge was greater.
The door opened unexpectedly, and Aragorn turned from talking to the distraught Legolas to see Faramir standing in the doorway. Aragorn had rarely seen his Steward look so upset or out of breath, as if he had just ran all the way from the Citadel. Aragorn prepared himself to hear some loathsome news for the kingdom.
"Aragorn, I must speak with you. Now! You must hurry." Faramir took only a quick glance at Legolas, who was looking at the disheveled Steward with wide eyes, before turning his attention back to Aragorn. "Please, my lord, it is in Legolas's best interest as well as your own."
Gimli and Arwen wore worried expressions, and Aragorn quickly nodded, wondering what could have caused his Steward to be so upset. Leaving his wife and friend to deal with the increasingly irritated elf, Aragorn stepped out of the room with Faramir, shutting the door behind them. He turned to face Faramir, when suddenly a sense of dread descended upon him, and he knew exactly what Faramir was here to say. It could not have come at a worse time.
Faramir ran a hand through his disheveled hair. "Thranduil is here! Along with his daughter and a contingent of guards. I was able to slow him down, Aragorn by having a guard lead them here taking a longer route through the Citadel, while I ran the direct way. You have only a few minutes before he arrives." Rarely did Faramir look and sound so discomfited. The Steward took a quick breath. "Thranduil insisted on seeing his son immediately. Never have I seen a more daunting or incensed elf! I thought you would appreciate a warning as I was unsure as to Legolas's condition, or whether he would benefit from such a visit, though how you would stop it, I cannot say."
Aragorn smiled stiffly at Faramir's concern. No one could have handled this situation better than the cool headed Prince of Ithilien. "Thranduil can be…imposing. My thanks! Legolas is awake as you saw, but his memory is mostly gone. And right now, you should be as well! It will not do for Thranduil to find you came a faster route!" Aragorn shooed Faramir through a door that led to another hall, one in which the Steward would not run into the King of Eryn Lasgalen.
As soon as the door shut, Aragorn heard the enraged Elvenking. The healers on duty, bless them, were insisting on announcing the elves' presence, but Thranduil would have none of it.
"You will take me to my son immediately," came Thrandui's deep voice, booming down the hall. The healers complaints were silenced to stuttering agreement. Aragorn knew what they faced and did not blame them. He walked down the hall, breathing deeply and preparing himself for the dreaded confrontation that was coming. He was half way down the hall when a livid Thranduil turned a corner and, followed closely by Princess Anariel, stormed towards him, followed by a very frightened looking healer.
Upon seeing Aragorn, relief filled the healer's face, and the woman simply pointed at the last door, stating to the elves' backs that Legolas was there. Then she turned and fled, leaving Aragorn to address the situation. Aragorn did not blame her one bit. He wished he could flee with her.
Thranduil did not stop. The Elvenking did not halt his progress to acknowledge Aragorn as he stalked down the hall. Aragorn waited half way, blocking the way to the door down the hall.
As Thranduil approached, Aragorn could see the green eyes flashing with anger. "You will let me by," Thranduil hissed. "You will not keep me from my son!" This tone of voice Aragorn had never before heard coming from Thranduil. It spoke not only of power and anger, there was a hint of desperation as well, and Aragorn reminded himself that Thranduil was motivated by his father's love, and as such was a force to be reckoned with. Yet, Thranduil could not just be allowed to barge into Legolas's rooms. The shock of that could very well prove enough to send the still fragile prince back into a state of unconsciousness. Aragorn would not risk that for anyone, not even Legolas's father.
Thranduil elf moved to pass Aragorn, but he outstretched his arms, effectively preventing the elf from further movement down the hall, at least without resorting to force or violence. Aragorn had not missed the sword hung at Thranduil's hip.
Before Thranduil could do or say anything more, Aragorn was quick to speak, using the authoritative tone of a healer whose first concern was his patient. "I will not keep you from Legolas, but there are some things you mustknow before you enter. You cannot..."
"DO NOT presume to tell me what I can and cannot do!" Thranduil's booming voice drowned out Aragorn's words. The Elvenking's eyes narrowed as he stood there glaring at him, and for a moment, Aragorn felt again like the young man who had once visited the Elvenking's halls and found himself chained in the cellar and charged with erroneous crimes in an effort to break the friendship that he had forged with the youngest prince of Mirkwood.
But the feeling lasted only for a moment. Arwen's wise words, spoken only a short while ago, echoed in the back of his mind. Thranduil was now the one on foreign soil. Aragorn's eyes narrowed as he tilted his chin upwards, his voice going cold. "I will respectively remind you that you are in Gondor, not Eryn Lasgalen. You are in my halls and you will go nowhereunless I give the word!" It was no longer Aragorn who spoke, but King Elessar, and he spoke with the authority of the line of the Kings of Old. Elessar would not let the arrogant Thranduil intimidate him. The Elvenking was not going to see Legolas until he had a chance to say what needed to be spoken.
The two Kings stood in the hall, eyes ablaze with emotion. Neither was backing down.
Thranduil was not intimidated in the least by the mortal King before him. It mattered not to him that this Man was the King of the reunited kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. This mere Man had caused numerous conflicts between himself and his son, and Thranduil refused to be moved. He stood there eyeing Isildur's Heir with distasteful loathing.
"Now, will you listen to me or will we stand here all night?" Aragorn switched to Thranduil's native tongue and dropped his hands.
Thranduil cursed mentally. He could very well stand here all night, but he wanted to see his son. He needed to see his son. But his stubborn nature could not just allow him to hear the Man out either. He would not give into demands.
His daughter's voice, which had been silent until now, along with her hand on his arm, grabbed his attention. Thranduil glanced down at her. "Please Ada, let him speak; we need to know what has happened. Legolas would not wish this." Anariel's voice was quiet, yet firm. It was her mother's voice.
The King inside him rose up, wishing to confront the insolent Man further, to prove to this Mortal that he was not weak; he would never back down. But the father recognized that forcing his way into his son's room was not how he wanted to make an entrance. It was not what his youngest son would want…or need. Anoriel was correct.
Thranduil closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Anariel lowered her hand, but stayed standing close to him, reinforcing the newly awakened father within him. Laerwen would wish him to think first of his son, not his pride. Above all, Thranduil the father simply wanted to see his son, to assure himself that Legolas was going to be all right.
He fought to calm the anger welling within towards the race of Men, the one in front of him in particular. It took only a moment, then Thranduil looked the King of Gondor in the eye and spoke evenly, his face now void of emotion. "Very well, what must we know before we can see Legolas." As soon as the words left Thranduil's mouth, fear gripped his heart. He paled and his knees went weak.
"No,"Thranduil breathed, "tell me he has not..."
"No, King Thranduil. Legolas lives and is much improved! His injuries are all but healed. However, the blow to his head was terrible. He was unconscious for a whole moon cycle and has only awoken a few hours ago." As Aragorn spoke, relief filled Thranduil's heart. He noticed Aragorn actually let out a smile, "Your timing is actually quite good, and although I am loath to admit it, your presence may help. He is somewhat upset at the moment."
Why would Legolas be upset? Thranduil frowned. "What do you mean? If he is awake, why do we stand here? Why would he be upset?" His relief was replaced with annoyance. He had been stopped to hear his son was well? This was ridiculous!
The Man continued, speaking as a healer rather than a king. "While his physical injuries have healed, his mind is not yet whole. Legolas has few memories of himself or those around him. This has made him unsure, and he feels lost at the moment."
This news hit Thranduil's heart with a hard blow. Legolas did not remember. His son was feeling lost. Thranduil had seen this in others before, and at times, it was permanent. Sometimes it required the one injured to be sent to the Havens in hopes that in the West, the elf would find healing.
"You say not yet whole, but I know this affliction can sometimes not be reversed. What makes you sure he will remember?" Thranduil asked, dreading the worst. Fear now laced Thranduil's voice and he barely caught himself from grimacing at hearing it. The king would never allow these emotions to come forth. The father struggled to quench the pride of the King, reminding himself that being a father was more important.
"Legolas does remember much of his life, most especially the recent past. He remembers some of his time in your halls, though he has yet to mention you. He senses we are familiar to him, and he remembered my name, Estel. He recognized Arwen and remembers seeing her in Imladris once with her brothers. These are all good signs that the loss is only temporary." Aragorn spoke with confidence, and Thranduil had to agree this indeed sounded like good news.
"I appreciate you letting us know these things before we see him, King Elessar." It was Anariel's voice, and she spoke in Westron as a sign of respect.
Thranduil forced himself to set aside the remainder of his bristling pride. "Would you please permit us to see him. My heart will not rest until I can determine for myself Legolas is well." This was as close to an apology for his earlier behavior that Thranduil could allow himself. It was a step in the right direction.
The King of Gondor nodded. "My only request is that you be careful of what you say and how you react. Legolas is not managing his emotions well. I've seen this before as well, slight personality changes due to a head injury. If he does not remember you, please do not show your dismay. I am sure he will remember in time."
Aragorn turned and led the way to the door at the end of the hall. Thranduil took a deep breath, preparing himself for what he would find behind that door. Then it hit him. Legolas lived. Things might not all be well with his son, but he lived! Joy filled his heart, replacing the fear and despair that had dogged his steps the entire trip from Eryn Lasgalen. His smile as he entered was not contrived.
To Be Continued…
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.