23. Beyond the Boundaries
“Awake, are we?” a half-amused Elrond asked him.
Thranduil smiled seeing Elrond’s condition for he had tangled the bed-sheets around themselves so badly that Elrond was not able to move his head away from the Prince’s chest.
A pair of eyebrows shot up on Elrond’s face as he growled, “I am glad to know that my predicament pleases you, my prince.”
“There is a lot about you that pleases me. However,” Thranduil pulled away from Elrond and sat up in bed, “I must join my father to watch Sunrise.”
Elrond yawned drawing the bed covers over himself again, “Do so, I am going back to sleep. Wake me in time for breakfast.”
Thranduil drew on a light robe over his sleeping gown and made his way to his father’s chambers.
“Ada,” he greeted cheerily as his father opened the door.
“You seem well rested. Dare I ask who your partner was yesternite?” Oropher commented as he took in his son’s appearance.
“Elrond,” Thranduil said smugly, noting the worry that flashed in Oropher’s eyes, “Do not worry Ada, he came to watch over my sleep after my nightmares disturbed his rest.”
Oropher sighed, “Whatever, my son, promise me that you shall not blatantly charm him, if word reaches Lórien, then both you and he will lose your brides.”
Thranduil kissed his father’s cheek lovingly as he replied mischievously, “I will not be blatant, Ada, there are other ways if I seek them.”
Oropher gave his son a long-suffering look before walking to the balcony to watch sunrise over the tree-line.
Erestor nudged his steed into a slow walk; they were separated from the escort. He resolved to wait for them. It was a moonless night and they were traversing the wild roads. Ebony seemed uneasy and even Erestor’s practical mind felt tinges of evil. He halted riding; he would wait for the soldiers.
Suddenly, he heard a cry of surprise followed by a muffled scream. He dismounted from Ebony and placed his ear upon the ground. There was a steadily increasing thud approaching them, he got to his feet quickly, orcs! He leapt onto Ebony and harshly nudged the flanks urging him to a gallop. Now the air was rent by yet another scream and the guttural jeering of the orcs, Erestor breathed a prayer, his escort had met their deaths. The sound of the orcs became louder, they were pursuing him swiftly. Soon the harsh jeering gave way to the low, pitiful whining of the wargs, orcs on wargs, Erestor grit his teeth nudging Ebony to a full gallop.
He had been flying across the wild treeless terrain for an hour with the pursuit quickening behind him, when Ebony suddenly tossed his head restlessly. Erestor listened to the wind, the wolves howled from all directions. He had been hemmed in neatly. He slung his bow over his shoulder and nocked an arrow. There was no more escape. Ebony snorted with fear, Erestor ran his fingers gently down the mane, trying to reassure his mount. The first of the wargs came into sight, its jaws dripping with fresh blood, elven blood, Erestor noted abstractedly. He loosened his arrow, it flew true and the great brute fell with a guttural moan.
“One for you, My Beloved Lady,” he said as he glanced up at the stars above.
Ebony whinnied and shied as the orcs and the wargs surrounded them, their evil eyes glittering in the darkness.
Erestor bent down and whispered in Ebony’s ear, “Fear not , remember that you are the best in elvendom. Did you not stand proudly even against the Ulairi?”
Ebony stopped tossing his head and stood proudly. The orcs charged cursing in their black tongue, their blades held high and their crossbows set. Erestor set his face in a cold death mask, his eyes burning with the fire of Fëanor, his sword raised in defiance.
The orcs faltered a moment on seeing the proud horse and rider, they sensed the ancient power of the house of Finwë, mightiest of the warlike Noldor race, which both Morgoth and later Sauron had tried to defeat in vain. The fear in their eyes gave way to cocky assurance as they realized that they would prevail by the simple fact of their large numbers. They began their attack in earnest pressing forwards resolutely even though
Erestor was as terrible as Mandos himself in his fury.
“Adar,” Celebrían approached her father as he practised with his sword, “I would talk with you.”
Celeborn sighed, for he knew very well what she had on her mind, he shrugged on his tunic and said softly, “’Bria, your mother would never wish you ill.”
“Would you have married Lúthien Thingol if you had been forced to? Would you have chosen her over my mother?” she asked coldly.
Celeborn said sadly, “Not for anything would I have given up my love for Galadriel.”
“Ada,” Celebrían said bitterly, “I did not know that your love meant that you would sacrifice me to a political marriage. But it is done. I will not let you or naneth down before all of elvendom. But,” she said in a lower voice, “Never shall I forget that it was your weakness to stand up to her that sealed my fate.”
She walked away in a flurry of skirts leaving Celeborn haunted by her parting words.
Gil-Galad paced restlessly in Glorfindel’s study, his features set into a scowl as he muttered angrily, “I should have sent you with him!”
Glorfindel opened his mouth to set Gil-Galad’s fears at rest, but then he closed his mouth again, for he too shared the same fears.
Gil-Galad said wearily, “I do not think I can meet with Lord Celeborn and discuss the new scheme to patrol the roads with the soldiers of his realm today. Would you take over?”
Glorfindel nodded curtly, the barrack administration was already reeling with the absence of Elrond. Now, with Erestor’s departure, and Gil-Galad’s surliness, Glorfindel had to take charge of the entire administration of the city and the army. He sighed, though both Erestor and Elrond were workaholics, it made everyone else’s life easier.
Aldor watched his sons play in the courtyard. The breeze carried their carefree laughter to his ears and he smiled softly.
“How was your trip?” his wife’s voice asked him.
Aldor turned to face her. Those beautiful features were relaxed as she perused a letter, a trace of a smile lingering on her full lips. He walked to her side, and recognized the elegant script of one of his own captains.
He whispered, “It was great, my lady, but then I have always cherished these trips to the elven realms.”
She folded the letter and looked up at him, “Is Lord Elrond well? I enjoyed his company more than that of the other elves, I must admit. He seems more earthy, approachable.”
“He was not in good spirits,” he replied, “He left for a stay with the Prince of Greenwood. So this time the meetings were handled solely by Lord Erestor, I do pity the overworked chief counsellor.”
“That is true, but I fear he was born for work alone, so rare are his smiles,” the queen remarked.
“So would yours be if you had to attend countless number of councils at day, deal with the day-to-day affairs and then later tie up all the loose ends, he rarely goes to rest,” Aldor replied.
“So it’s Lord Glorfindel,” she stated plainly.
He averted his eyes and mumbled, “You know? I am sorry.”
“Do not be,” she said quietly, “I give you my blessings in this as you gave me after our youngest was born. We respect each other, true enough, but we were never meant to be together as mates. Invite your friend here or go there as often as time and circumstance allows you. I will do whatever I can to remove your obstacles.”
He drew her hand into his and kissed it softly murmuring, “Thank you. For understanding me.”
Elrond asked Thalion hesitantly, “Did you know my mother well?”
“Well indeed, Elrond . For I was with her while we fled to the havens. I was with her when she wed your father. It was after that I returned to serve Oropher, last of Elwe’s true line,” Thalion said quietly, “They were all good souls, I feel, even Madheros, it was fate that led them all down the paths of sorrow and despair. I was there when Maedhros hunted in vain for Dior’s twins. Elured escaped, barely. It is his blood that flows in Anoriel, and the blood of fair Melian, Queen of Thingol of Doriath”. Thalion’s eyes darkened as he remembered, “We have all suffered, some more than the rest, yet the Valar will not forsake us.”
“Spare him your history lessons,” Thranduil said sarcastically as he leaned across Elrond to glower at the master healer, “You will lull him to sleep before the dancing begins in earnest.”
Elrond looked at the open clearing lit only by the bright stars. Elves of Greenwood and their guests mingled freely. The Sindarin nobles danced to Silvan tunes played by the minstrels.
“Ada,” Thranduil asked Oropher seated to his left, “Would you dance with me?”
“Why do you persist with that question at the beginning of each dance?” Oropher asked amusedly, “My son, the world knows which of us rules the other. Why are you intent on pretending otherwise?”
Thranduil scowled, but got to his feet, and pulled Elrond up as well saying easily, “Come, , let us not waste our time with rusted blades.”
Elrond felt a subtle change in Thranduil’s demeanour, but he was not able to point out what exactly was different. Sinuous arms wrapped around his hips easily, Thranduil had closed his eyes, as he hummed along with the soft music. Elrond wondered about those long golden eyelashes. How come he had never noticed those before? His eyes roved of their own will over the long expanse of neck, and lower further. He gulped nervously as he watched the silver embroidery on the green robes sparkle in the moonlight. Unbound golden tresses clashed superbly against the green of the Prince’s attire.
“Elrond?” Thranduil asked concernedly, “Shall we retire? You look ill and I am myself weary.”
Elrond nodded, he could not trust his mouth. He wished to be alone on Tol Eressea, away from all living souls, particularly souls like Thranduil Oropherion.
They walked quietly until they had reached the Prince’s chambers. Thranduil turned and asked hesitantly, “Would you stay with me until I fall asleep, ?”
Elrond said softly as he averted his eyes from the alluring figure before him, “I am not certain if that would help.”
Thranduil said pleadingly, those green eyes, burning into Elrond’s own, “Please…”
Elrond gave in as he looked into those eyes, as so many others had before him. He accompanied Thranduil into the room and made for the couch determinedly. There was no way he, the Herald of the High King, would add another notch on Thranduil’s already crowded bedpost.
Thranduil cursed loudly. Elrond turned around to find the Prince’s hair snagged in his tunic as he attempted to remove it over his head.
Smiling at the situation, Elrond said amusedly, “Clumsy Sindar.”
“Don’t you dare stand there and sound so preachy, you half-breed Noldo,” Thranduil said in a muffled tone, “Come and rescue my hair.”
Elrond reached up to lift the tunic further above Thranduil’s head. His fingers accidentally came into contact with the silken steel chest of the Prince. As Thranduil had raised his arms to pull up the tunic, the perfect golden torso was magnificently displayed. Elrond surreptiously trailed his fingers over the skin until they encountered fabric. Thranduil muttered something in impatience as he tried in vain to free the tunic. Elrond gently pulled the hair free and tugged the tunic away easily.
Thranduil said ungraciously, “Thank you,” before stalking off to find his night gown.
Elrond watched the long curves of the Prince’s lean thighs and suppressed a wave of desire. Thranduil tied the knots of the nightgown carelessly and shoved a goblet of wine in Elrond’s hands before sitting at the edge of the bed. Elrond sipped the wine, delighting in the sudden rush of blood, he watched the prince absently run his fingers through his hair. He wished it were his fingers in the golden tresses. He set down his goblet on a side table and crossed the few paces to the bed. Thranduil parted his lips as he made to speak. Elrond bent down and pressed his closed lips against Thranduil’s.
Thranduil suppressed a grin and instead threaded his fingers through Elrond’s hair and took control of the kiss.
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.