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The Last Gift


Heart BreakSummary: Thranduil receives a letter from Legolas.



Fourth Age 120:

Thranduil, King of Eryn Lasgalen, hummed a tune as he sat in his study and worked on the bow. He paid no attention at first to what he was humming but then he stopped and chuckled, realizing he’d been humming one of Legolas’ favorite lullabies when he was just an elfling. Thranduil shook his head and smiled for no particular reason as he ran a practiced hand over the shaft, his knowing fingers seeking for any flaws. There were none and he nodded to himself in satisfaction. He gaze fondly at the bow, his eyes lightening with unsuppressed glee at the thought of his son’s reaction when he saw it. He had spent every free moment he had had for the last several weeks working on it and it was nearly finished. He reached for a small knife to finish with the notches when a knock came to the door. Sighing, he put the bow down, wishing — and not for the first time — that his kingdom could run itself for five minutes without him.

“Come,” he called out and the door opened to reveal his steward, Galion, standing there somewhat hesitantly.

“Ah, Galion,” the king said cheerfully, motioning for the ellon to enter. He held up the bow for the other Elf’s inspection. “What do you think?”

“It’s beautiful, Thranduil,” Galion said softly, running a finger down the shaft.

“Not as good as that bow Galadriel gave him, of course,” Thranduil said with studied diffidence.

“He would treasure it solely because it was made by you, Thranduil, by his own adar,” Galion replied and Thranduil nodded in satisfaction. “So when were you planning on giving this to Legolas?”

“His begetting day is next month,” Thranduil answered. “I thought I would surprise him with a visit to Ithilien and give it to him then.”

Some indefinable sound came from the steward’s throat and Thranduil looked up, puzzled by the pained expression on his steward’s face. “What is it, Galion?” Thranduil asked and then noticed for the first time that Galion was holding a leather pouch with a particular seal etched on its flap, one that he recognized, and his eyes brightened with anticipation.

“A letter from Legolas!” he cried out in delight, holding out an imperious hand for the pouch. In his excitement he did not notice his steward’s reluctance to give it to him. He did notice Galion looking at the bow and wondered at his expression which seemed... sad for some reason.

“What’s the matter, old friend?” he demanded softly. “Why that long face?” He blinked in amazement as his steward’s eyes began brimming with tears. “My son....”

“He sent you a letter,” Galion said, impatiently wiping the tears from his eyes, pointing to the pouch. “I think you should read it.”

Thranduil stared at the pouch for the longest time, fear for what he might find inside gripping him. Then he shook himself impatiently and uttered a snarl of contempt at his own cowardice, reached into the pouch and withdrawing two items, a letter sealed with the single leaf-and-crescent-moon seal of the Lord of Ithilien-in-Edhil and a small square package wrapped in white silk and tied with green ribbon. Thranduil reached for one of the knives on the table before him to break the seal, opening the missive.

Dearest Ada....

He read through the letter twice before the import of his son’s words made any sense. He stared at the vellum for the longest time before shifting his attention to the small package sitting on his lap. He placed the missive down and picked up the package, untying the ribbon and pushing back the silk to reveal a small rosewood box. It was plain and unadorned yet it had been crafted with beauty. With trembling hands he opened it and found a ring nestled in white silk. It was made of white gold with the leaf-and-crescent-moon emblem of his son’s realm etched into an uncut emerald. It was, in fact, Legolas’ signet ring and the symbol of his lordship over the Elves of Ithilien.

“He’s gone,” Thranduil whispered in disbelief, staring at the ring that would never have left his son’s finger unless....

He jerked at the touch of a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Galion’s eyes full of compassion and sorrow, for Galion had loved Legolas as if he were his own son. “I’m sorry, Thranduil,” was all he said and indeed, what more could be said at this time?

Thranduil picked up the letter and handed it to Galion, who read it over quickly before handing it back to the king. “You knew this day would come, did you not, my friend?” he asked gently. “We all knew this day would come. He only stayed for Elessar’s sake and now that the king has gone to his rest, he has no reason to stay. The sea-longing....”

“He has me,” Thranduil shouted, rising from his chair, anger warring with the grief that was overwhelming him. “He has me and you and all of his people. Are we worth less in his eyes than a mere Mortal, however vaunted his lineage?”

“I have no answers for you, my friend,” Galion said, tears running down his cheeks and Thranduil instinctively reached out and held him, not to give Galion comfort, for there was none to be had, but because he feared that if he did not hold him, he himself would collapse, and he would not allow it... not now... not yet.

After a few moments, Galion seemed to gather himself and he stepped out of Thranduil’s embrace, glancing at the bow lying on the table.

“What will you do with the bow?” he asked, his voice full of compassion for the pain that he knew his king was in.

Thranduil shook his head, unsure how to answer such a question at this time. “I...I think I need to be alone, Galion. Please see that I’m not disturbed.”

“Yes, Sire,” Galion replied formally, bowing to his lord and exiting the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

Thranduil stared down at the bow. It was made of yew. He’d gone out and chosen the wood himself, trusting no other to find the perfect piece for his son’s gift. It was as much a work of art with its leaf-shaped finials and the carved emblem of his son’s realm along the shaft as it was a tool and weapon and while he acknowledged that the bow of the Galadhrim was a much finer thing, he had poured all his love and pride into the crafting of this gift.

And now Legolas would never see it, never hold it, never know the love his adar had for him. He felt suddenly weak and he slipped to the floor onto his knees and clutched the bow to him, fiercely holding it as he rocked back and forth, the tears he had refused to let fall earlier coming in earnest.

“My son, my son. I’ve lost my son,” he cried out and wept the harder, his heart breaking and he did not think it would ever be mended again.

****

All words are Sindarin.

Ellon: Male-elf.

Adar/Ada: Father/Papa.

Ithilien-in-Edhil: Ithilien of the Elves, Legolas’ demesne.

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