16. Leaving the Nest Part One
“Good day, Elrond,” she wished him as she tried to gauge his mood. She had waited for a chance to speak with him concerning the alliance with her daughter. He had been less melancholy after the Sindar Prince’s arrival. So she thought it best to approach him now before he fell back into his brooding.
“Good day, My Lady Galadriel,” Elrond squinted at her suspiciously, “We usually start our conversations without these pleasantries.”
Galadriel mentally wrung her hands. He was referring to their last mind-speak, when she had taunted him with his love for Erestor.
“Elrond,” Galadriel said smiling, she knew she was acting, but she would do this for her daughter. She thought wryly, her father had always said that only she could charm even Fëanor. Now was the time to exert that charm. She continued tritely, “We have been at loggerheads for I envied you your love, which as I know, is pure. I was estranged from my husband then and had been bitter towards lovers in general. Forgive me.”
Elrond shook his head bewildered, Galadriel had never apologized to anyone in her life or so he had heard, he said disbelievingly, “No offense, my lady, but I do think that some of Celeborn’s ale fumed through your head too.”
Galadriel laughed, “Come, Elrond, lead me to your study. I would speak with you, but it is rude to keep you in the corridors.”
Elrond said firmly, “I am already running late for the council, as are you. We can talk on the way if you wish,” he did not add that he had no wish to have her in his study, his comfort zone and retreat.
Galadriel nodded and began, “I was thinking of my daughter’s happiness.”
“If you begin with that idea of a ridiculous alliance with me,” Elrond intoned, “do not bother to waste your breath. There is nothing to be gained in polluting your royal blood with my human taint. And Lady Celebrían will never forgive you for trothing her to an man who cannot even treat her with due love. Forget it.”
Galadriel said carefully, “I know that. I wish my daughter a truly happy marriage. I was thinking of something in which you could aid me if you wished so. Then we could drop the idea of your alliance.”
Elrond tilted his head to scrutinize her, there was a slightly smug expression on those features he disliked so much. But the idea of escaping from this torturous alliance plan heartened him and he nodded.
“Ernil Thranduil will make my daughter a good match. Moreover she is not averse to the idea. They will suit each other well, my husband will be happy to unite his blood with that of the royal lines of Elwe and Ingwë,” Galadriel said softly.
“You mean that I should aid you in spoiling the council today?” Elrond asked emotionlessly though inside, he was seething with fury. How could she expect him to lower to her base standards?
“Yes, put succinctly,” she said relieved that she did not have to spell it out for him. They had nearly reached the council room doors and she was afraid to carry this conversation on, but she had to reach an agreement with him now.
Elrond took a deep breath and said, “Your words are true, but they overlook a greater truth, My Lady Galadriel. Anoriel and Thranduil are soul mates, meant for each other, it is obvious to anyone who sees them together. Celebrían can find no happiness in an alliance with Thranduil than she will find with me. I suggest that you leave your daughter free to make her choice as you did all those years ago.”
Galadriel retorted furiously, “I should have expected nothing better from you, Peredhil! Unworthy heir to the throne of your fathers!”
“No wonder you wish you had a son to claim the kingship,” Elrond spat back angrily.
“No,” Galadriel snapped, “I merely wish you had made your brother’s choice!”
“Is there a problem?” Erestor’s smooth voice addressed them. With him was Glorfindel who watched the arguing duo warily.
Glorfindel knew that Elrond was quick to anger. But Elrond rarely lost his composure in arguments. The scene before him was scary. Galadriel had clenched her fists in the folds of her dress and her eyes were fiery. Truly Fëanor’s kin, Glorfindel observed. Elrond looked worse, with his slightly wild expression and aggressive body language. He actually had his fingers over the sheath of his sword.
“Lord Glorfindel,” Erestor said silkily, “Would you escort the Lady Galadriel inside and show her to the assigned seat?”
Glorfindel nodded, at present being in an angry Galadriel’s company seemed a better choice than being in an angry Elrond’s company. He offered his hand to Galadriel, who accepted it and walked with him stiffly.
Erestor asked Elrond worriedly, “What was it? The proposal for their daughter?”
Elrond nodded wearily, “She is a bit trying at times.”
They entered the chamber together. Elrond noticed that the Sindar from Lothlórien were all bedecked in their glittering ceremonial robes. Across them, sat the Sindar from Green wood, their muted greens and browns less overstated but none the less equally stately. The Noldor Council of Lindon except for Gil-Galad, (according to Erestor, Gil-Galad was struggling with yet another immense hang over) were seated directly facing the door, the King’s seat raised higher than that of the others. In the King’s absence, Erestor presided over the council in his position as the Chief Administrator of Lindon.Elrond and Erestor took their places to the King’s left and right, an empty seat between them.
Oropher was talking in a low voice to his cousin, Celeborn, who despite the scathing looks he received from the Lórien nobles, still stood by his cousin proudly. Thranduil had not yet arrived.
Galadriel, Elrond observed, was seated next to Amdir. On the Lórien King’s other side was his wife, who, Elrond noted sarcastically, almost resembled a statue, so still and pale. To the Lady’s right was seated Anoriel, who smiled at him nervously. To Anoriel’s right sat Amroth, whose countenance was dark and sullen.
Thranduil opened the door and let himself in as the bell tolled for beginning the council. He was dressed in a simple green tunic and brown leggings, his hair braided back into one thick warrior’s plait. As he walked past the Lórien nobles, Elrond could not help noticing the stark difference between the mere outer beauty of the Lórien elves and the tranquil fire that was Thranduil.
Erestor waited until the Prince had taken his seat to his father’s left and then said authoratively, “We are here to speak of the possible alliances between the realms of Lothlórien and the Green Wood. I call upon the royal scribe to give us the details.”
Galdor stood up and began his recital, “The proposed alliance of the Princess Anoriel of Lothlórien and the Prince Thranduil of Greenwood.”
Erestor said clearly, “We call upon those of Green wood to ask the Lady or her guardians any questions regarding her education, achievements and interests.”
Oropher stood up and bowed to Anoriel saying, “May I ask you a question, iel-nin?”
Amdir bristled at the use of familiarity, but before he could respond, Anoriel had risen and bowed to Oropher saying respectfully, “I am at your service, King Oropher.”
Oropher asked her clearly, his melodic voice, reverberating in the room, “Do you love my son?”
There was a stunned silence in the room. Those from the Green wood exchanged furtive smiles, Oropher’s bluntness was surpassed only by Thranduil’s. Many from Lórien were on their feet protesting the question. Elrond watched amusedly as Thranduil stared open mouthed at his father’s daring.
Amdir was on his feet and protesting, “You cannot ask my daughter such a question!”
Erestor intervened, “My Lady Anoriel,” he said quietly, “Do you find the King of Greenwood’s question offensive?”
Anoriel took a deep breath taking care to avoid her father’s and Galadriel’s eyes as she murmured, “No, my Lord Erestor.”
“Then you would consider answering it?” Erestor asked her carefully. Though he was prejudiced against Galadriel and Amdir, he could not risk their wrath. If he openly aided Thranduil’s cause, it would cause an unending diplomatic muddle.
Anoriel nodded nervously. Her brother’s hand closed over hers reassuring her of his support and love whatever her answer.
She looked deeply into Thranduil’s eyes, those eyes that ensnared her so. For a moment it was as if there were only both of them, their heart beats mirrored, their souls bared before each other. Then, she could understand completely the elf she had fallen in love with. Every secret that he had carried was laid open before her. She knew, at that moment, that he would love her, honour her and die for her. And she realized, she would the same for him. They were soul-mates. She would leave her family if she had to. But she could not be parted from him. She smiled wryly as she realized that her Adar’s little bird was finally leaving the nest he had enclosed her in.
She said proudly, her fingers intertwined with those of her brother’s hand, her eyes never leaving Thranduil’s, “I love your son, Lord Oropher.”
For a moment there was a deathly silence in the room. Then the nobles of Green wood cheered loudly. Oropher and Celeborn exchanged relieved smiles. Thranduil, Elrond watched delightedly, looked as if he had run all the way from the Green wood to the Havens. There was a fine sheen of sweat on his handsome features betraying his tension.
However, on the Lórien side, there was only hushed whispering. Amdir looked furious and he was talking to Galadriel in a low voice. Anoriel bowed to Oropher and resumed her seat gracefully, her bosom still heaving with nervousness.
“Well done,” Amroth whispered to her.
“Without your support, I do not think I would have found the courage,” she murmured weakly.
“Love finds its own courage, ,” he said quietly, “Always.”
Erestor waited for the council to settle down before he began speaking, “Now my Lords, is there any other from Greenwood who would ask the Princess a question?”
Oropher shook his head.
Erestor resumed, “Then we ask those from Lothlórien to ask the Prince or his father any questions regarding his education, achievements and interests.”
Amdir nodded at Haldir subtly and the Marchwarden arose from his seat, his smug expression firmly etched across his handsome features. Thranduil arose and bowed to him and waited patiently.
“My Lord Thranduil,” Haldir began, “Would you please tell us of your illustrious heritage? Those from Lothlórien have heard much regarding your pure bloodlines.”
A slight frown creased Thranduil’s forehead, but he began none the less, “My father is descended from the line of Elwe and bears both the blood of the Falathrim and the Sindar. My mother,” he paused, “she is of the house of Ingwë. From her, I have Vanyarin and Eldar blood in my veins.”
“You are rightly called the crucible of royal blood lines,” Haldir pronounced smugly, noting with relish the discomfort on the Prince’s face, “You are aware of the fact that the Princess of Lothlórien is descended from the Sindar royalty of Elu Thingol. She carries within her veins the blood of Melian the Maia.”
Thranduil nodded saying politely, “Indeed, marchwarden, I would be a poor son to my worthy father were I ignorant regarding the bloodlines of King Elu Thingol and Queen Melian.”
“Then you would not say that you wish to marry the Princess so that your offspring might bear the blood of Ingwë, Elwe and Melian all?” Haldir suggested.
Elrond watched with interest, the sudden flash of anger in Oropher’s usually placid eyes.
Thranduil however retained his calm as he said coolly, “If the Lady accepts my hand in marriage and the Valar bestowed their blessings upon this union, then marchwarden, our descendants shall certainly bear the blood of all those whom you named.”
“But that was not the intention behind this marriage proposal?” Amdir got to his feet as he demanded.
Thranduil said calmly, “I am a prince, heir to my father. If I were not that, would you have proposed this, My Lord Amdir? We are bound by our duties to the throne to choose well and make the best of those choices, if not for us, for our people. It was in such a light that you offered me your daughter’s hand in marriage. I love her and she has said that she loves me. Your plan has succeeded, King Amdir. What more can you ask for?”
Haldir asked him smirking, “We have heard much regarding your, for the want of a better word, may I say ‘activities’.”
Thranduil raised his eyebrows sardonically as he obviously waited for Haldir to explain. Elrond shook his head wryly, trust the Prince to be dispassionate about this. He caught Anoriel’s eyes. The lady was scarlet with embarrassment as she waited for Haldir to elaborate
“You have taken partners in pleasure indiscriminately,” Haldir said bluntly, “With a regularity that is immoral even for us long-lived elves.”
The Green wood contingent got to their feet as they took insult at Haldir’s words. Celeborn was watching Thranduil apprehensively. Oropher was trying to settle his angry counsellors.
“While an alliance between a King’s daughter and a Crown Prince will be a public affair, what goes on behind our doors is, I feel, private. I have no qualms in explaining my doings and their motives to those who should be concerned about it, including the Lady’s family. But I see no reason to do so before a council,” Thranduil said quietly.
Amdir got to his feet saying, “As the father of the Princess I have the right to demand an explanation, and I choose to do so now. Explain before this noble council whatever you would tell her guardians in private regarding this.”
Elrond felt a surge of sympathy for Oropher, who was holding tightly onto his cousin’s hand, grief etched on his face, the King had realized that there was nothing he could do to shield his son from Amdir’s question, for as the Lórien King had correctly pointed out, he had every right to demand an explanation.
“My Lord and Father,” Anoriel rose to her feet, “The Prince has explained his past to me and I see no shame in it. I do not think that there is a need to elaborate before this council what, as the Prince says, is strictly private.”
Amdir snapped, “My dear child, if there is no shame in it as you say, then why should the Prince be averse to explaining his motives to us? I seek not to embarrass him, as those of the Greenwood may take it. I am simply a worried father who seeks to give his cherished daughter to an elf who will love and honour her. I need to be sure that the Prince of Greenwood is such an elf.”
Erestor looked across at Elrond worriedly; the situation was fraught to become worse.
A counsellor of Oropher stood up and retorted, “Then go search for an elf that suits you, King Amdir. Yours is not the only offer that our golden prince has had for marriage. We shall choose him a better family to marry into.”
Haldir smirked, “And why then was the Lord Oropher keen to take a bride from our realm if your ‘golden prince’ has had other offers?”
Oropher stood up, his face set grimly. Celeborn tried to coax him back to his seat, but he refused with a crisp shake of his head. Thranduil looked over at Elrond and Erestor, lines of worry etched on his face.
Erestor intervened, “The marchwarden’s words were disrespectful to the royal house of Greenwood, as the one presiding over this council, I would ask him to retract his words and render an apology to the Prince Thranduil.”
Haldir said silkily, “Lord Erestor, this partiality to the Prince from your side is to be expected, after all, you were probably partners in pleasure.”
Glorfindel got to his feet and said in a low voice, “I demand a duel to avenge this insult to Lord Erestor, marchwarden.”
Amdir stepped in saying, “Lord Erestor is a warrior and must avenge on his own if he so wishes. I do not understand why Lord Glorfindel feels bound to answer to a remark on the High King’s bonded mate.”
“So, Peredhil, see, they are already at odds. My will shall be done; you tried to be noble in your morals. But nobility does not suit half-elves.”
Elrond turned to look at Galadriel; there was an expression of such supreme confidence on those features that he despised so.
Erestor’s voice sounded above the din clearly as he spoke, “We are here to discuss the alliance between Green Wood and Lothlórien, not to debate as to who should avenge my honour. Let us return to the discussion. Lord Oropher wishes to speak and I request the rest of you to hear his words.”
Silence descended on the council as the King of Green Wood stepped forward, his grey robes swishing gently about his spare form as he walked. There was true nobility writ across his austere visage. Life had aged him; taken away much of his beauty, but it could not take away from him his grace. Elrond knew that he would never forget this sight as long as he drew breath, the sight of Oropher laying aside his pride so gracefully for the sake of his son.
Oropher bowed and started speaking in his low, melodic voice, “My Lords, I am aggrieved that what should have been a mere formal agreement of this alliance between my son and the princess has become such. I wish no discord between my realm and Lothlórien. If the King Amdir does not wish to give his daughter’s hand in marriage to my son, I will not question him. Every parent has a dream for their child; I do not condemn Lord Amdir for his harsh words regarding my son. He is doing his duty as a father. I understand him, more so as I am a single parent.”
Elrond noticed a sudden change in the council. The elves, who had been brawling a few moments ago, were all seated silently, hanging onto each word that Oropher spoke.
Oropher continued, “I do not wish to be estranged from my Sindar kin in Lothlórien. I wish to explain my reasons for seeking the princess’s hand for my son. It was not because of her illustrious blood lines. I may sound proud when I say this, and indeed I do feel proud of this, the bond I share with my son is deep. I know what his heart wishes. I felt that he would find his soul mate in the princess, and indeed I have been proved right. I would have him marry for nothing less than love. I have never married, but I have known love. And I am glad and grieved in equal measure that my son has known love now. But, my kin from Lothlórien, you need not fear for our attentions to your daughter. We have no claim upon her except that upon her heart. And in life, that does not amount to much. King Amdir, his family and the elves he rules shall not be dishonoured by my son’s association if they resent it so.”
He bowed gracefully and walked out of the now silent room.
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.