1. No More
"There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. 'Tis good to give a stranger a meal, or a night's lodging. 'Tis better to be hospitable to his good meaning and thought, and give courage to a companion. We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The act of kindness or hospitality usually comes from a generous heart. Write a story or poem, or create a piece of art where your character displays this virtue.
Galion pulled the door to his chamber open and then stared at the bleary-eyed man who faced him. "Sire?"
"I bring Dorwinion," the Elvenking stated, proferring the carafe, "and require counsel." He had obviously already been drinking, as his hold on the carafe was less than completely secure.
"Of course." Galion stood aside so that his King wouldn't trip over him on the way through the door, and then hurried to find goblets. "Are you certain you would not prefer to speak to…"
"You have been my friend since we were both children," Thranduil stated softly, handing over the carafe to his seneschal and sinking into a comfortable chair before the fire. "And although I may make your life miserable from time to time, there is no other whose wisdom I would approach with this. Besides, the matter I would discuss with you is personal, not a political issue."
"What then?" Galion poured the wine and then offered a goblet to his sovereign, finishing by tapping his own against it once it was taken.
"I might as well come out and say it: I cannot remain here any longer. I must sail."
The goblet never quite made it to his lip. "You what?"
Green eyes gazed into his with a depth of sadness and resignation he would have never anticipated – not from this king, and not after all this time! "My son, my wife, my father, my mother… all of them are there, Galion, while I remain here alone. And on this side of the sea, my halls grow emptier with each season."
"But… I thought you had decided never to sail, old friend." Galion was stunned at the change in his King's attitude after all the centuries of pride in withstanding the silent pressure to follow where others had gone. His empty hand flailed while he felt his way to the chair and nearly fell into it.
"I had. And I have made a good stand against the diminishing of the Elves here in Eryn Lasgalen." A hint of the old pride was back, but faded quickly. "But I cannot help but think about Elrond's Imladris, knowing it to be in the hands of the edain now, about the Golden Wood, empty and fading; and then I look about my hall with less than thirty people in it now, and I know that my time here is finished."
"What about…" Galion took a larger gulp for courage. "…what about those who still have no desire to sail - who have remained with you faithfully? You would abandon them?"
His king shook his head sadly. "I understand their reluctance and I treasure their allegiance more than I will ever be able to express, but my heart lies elsewhere now. For so long I have fought against this; now that I have conceeded the battle, I feel little other than relief and an urgency to leave. They need a King whose heart remains with them, not on a far-away shore."
"What will you do, then?"
Thranduil sighed and took a long draught of his wine. "Perhaps we can get a message through to the Laegren who live to the north, where Men do not normally seek to settle. They who have continued to lead sheltered lives apart from all others will never sail, and those here who would not sail now will no doubt have a place with them until the ending. But I…"
Thranduil sipped at his wine yet again and settled the half-empty goblet against his chest. "I am tired, Galion, tired of being expected to remain strong in order to strengthen others in their resolve. The eaves of my kingdom are being eaten away as Mortals slowly grow braver at penetrating the woods, now that the Enemy's minions are no longer an issue. As a people, we should have to move from here in future anyway to avoid them, and best I make that a single move for all of us either way and get the agony over with." Slowly, he looked up, and Galion's stomach twisted at the insecurity and worry in those tired green eyes. "But what about you? Will you stay and go back with some of your Laegren kin, now that the Sindar will be officially leaving the land, or…"
He should never even need to ask! "My place is at your side, Thranduil. It always has been." Galion held out his goblet, and was gladdened when it didn't take long before the two silver vessels clinked together again.
"Do you mind…" Thranduil sounded tired, thoroughly depleted, and Galion's worry ratchetted up yet another notch.
Have I not been paying attention to him as I should in these last few decades? Or has he been at the Dorwinion too much of late without my noting? How did my king begin to fade without my knowing it? "Do I mind what?"
"Do you mind if I sleep here, in this chair, tonight?" Thranduil's fingers plumbed the plush of the arm coverings lazily. "I have been so cold, so alone, lately. My thoughts fly ever westward, anxious to know what has become of Legolas, Laeriel…" His voice shook. "Of anyone here, you are the only one I dare show myself to be less than in control. I just need…"
"Stay, by all means," Galion said warmly, rescuing Thranduil's goblet before relaxing fingers could spill the remainder of the wine over the cream-colored silk. "I will guard your sleep this night; and in the morning, we will prepare to travel to Mithlond and see what mode of transport can carry us across the sea."
The golden head had fallen back against the cushion, and the green eyes that had narrowed to mere slits now slid shut . "How did he survive all those years, with the sea in his heart?" Thranduil mumbled sleepily, although Galion knew the question wasn't directed at him personally. He, too, had often wondered how Legolas had managed with a full-blown case of the sea-longing for well over a century.
He rose and moved to the press at the end of his bed to retrieve a dressing gown that he then draped over his drousing king. "Thank the Powers you will not have to discover that secret, old friend. Sleep, and tomorrow will be better."
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.