Fading from the noisy presence of his companions and their Elven hosts, Thranduil made his way quietly along paths he had not trod in some time. It felt good, as always, to be back in Lorien – the Lady Galadriel’s influence was ever strong within her realm. Disconcertingly so for some.
The forest was a familiar friend. The years he and his father had spent here had been restful compared to the bustle and noise of Amon Lanc, despite the sadness that came with leaving the city for the last time. And afterwards, whenever he had returned to this place, he found himself moved by how little it had changed, though time moved ever forward. There were of course some things that changed – new faces, new shrubs and seedlings….but it remained blessedly untouched by the darkness that had crept unbidden into his own realm.
His feet led him easily to his destination. No – not enough had changed for him to get lost here. Sweeping between branches and boughs he emerged high in the trees on a platform bathed in starlight. He stood for a moment, eyes closed and enjoyed the feel of the pure crystal light caressing his skin. The muffled sounds of the forest barely registered as he took a deep relaxing breath and thought of home.
For a moment he was there, stood on an outcrop of stone looking out over his forest towards Erebor, the Long Lake glistening in the moonlight. A slight breeze played among the leaves, but otherwise all was quiet and still. He wanted to feel reassured by that, but the creeping dark decay that had been working up from the southern borders of the forest was still worrying him. They had not been able to stop it, nor find its cause. He had built this place as a refuge for his people in case the darkness could not be stopped, but he had determined that it would be a forest for all that it was a stone fortress. He was reminded of his childhood home, that glorious kingdom, and so his hand turned to emanate it’s lightness. He would not have his people feel trapped under the earth.
A muffled noise broke his train of thought. His eyebrows furrowed as he turned from the starlit view and listened. A sharp cry? The baby – he must’ve woken up again!
Thranduil opened his eyes to see the treetops of Lorien before him, the thought of his son breaking the memory. He allowed himself a private moment of parental longing – while it was not done for Kings, or Elves for that matter, to pour out their emotions, they were there deep and insistent in their souls! He was proud of the Elf his son had become, but he wished he was with him. He had been away on this journey for but a short time in his already long life, but it felt like a millennium apart. Children and patience were not easy companions.
Taking a slow breath he stared out across the forest and let it centre him once more. This might not be his woodland, but out there in the dark he could feel the edges of his realm calling to him. The darkness might have infected it from the wound of Gol Dulgur, but it was still his and one day it would be free of the decay. One day he or his kin would return to it’s full beauty and majesty – a Greatwood once more.