“My lord, if you will come down to the healing wing, you are needed,” Hyrondal said, appearing at the doorway of Thranduil’s bedchamber.
Thranduil saw the urgency in the elf captain’s eyes. Pushing back his chair, he rose to his feet. At the other end of the chess board between them, Legolas hopped up.
“Will we finish the game later, ada? Is someone hurt?”
“We will finish later,” Thranduil promised. He looked at Hyrondal for the answer to the last question.
The elf’s yellow eyes seemed to consider what he knew before he nodded. “Yes, and the injuries seem to be more then physical.”
Thranduil’s feet sprang into action, hurrying to the healing wing with Legolas behind him. Hyrondal departed to return to his post.
Healer Jailil met his king outside the door to one of the intensive care chambers, his eyes worried, and his white robes swirling in anger.
“It is unbelievable,” he said. “Truly unthinkable, but their condition leads me to believe Rivendell may be at war!”
“What?” Thranduil demanded. Without waiting for an answer, he brushed past the elf, and strode into the healing wing. He stopped short, almost tripping on the hem of his robe, and his hand went to his mouth.
Though Thranduil had not seen the elflings in little more then a year, he recognized them, despite their filthy appearance. Briars and leaves clung to their hair, mud stained their face, hands, and clothes. At the sound of his voice, the elflings turned, their pale faces thin with hunger, and tears tracking paths through the mud on their cheeks. Their eyes bled with confusion and pain. Elladan and Elrohir shivered, despite being wrapped tight in blankets and set close to the roaring fire in the hearth.
“Elladan?” Thranduil gasped. “Elrohir?”
The twins tried to rise but stumbled and fell, whimpering in pain. Thranduil dropped down beside them, and drew the elflings into the warmth of his embrace, wrapping the folds of his silk mantel around them.
“What has happened?” Thranduil asked gently as their bodies stopped quavering. “Why are you here?”
“We ran away,” Elrohir murmured faintly.
“Why?” Thranduil asked in shock.
“Ada,” said the elfling, his voice hoarse. “H-he whip-whipped us for being with our new b-bay sister with-without his per-permission. He pun-punished us for being who we were. He beat us for being late to dinner. We could not live—we could not live—” His voice broke off into a choked sob, and he hid his face in Thranduil’s chest.
Thranduil stroked his dirty hair, feeling no silky softness but knowing it would calm the elfling. He wanted to ask for more details, but knew it would upset the twins. He held himself back.
Legolas came from the doorway and sat down beside Elladan. He slid his hand into Elladan’s trembling one, leaning against his father. He was reminded of Lord Katar’s abuse, and because of it he understood and knew the twins’ grief.
Elrohir’s sobs subsided, and his eyelids dropped shut in exhaustion. His broken breaths grew even as he slumped into Thranduil’s embrace and slept.
Healer Jailil came to help Thranduil carry the twins to the wide bed in the room, and tuck them into it, his silence speaking of the same warring emotions Thranduil felt.
The elven king sat with the twins, oblivious to time, knowing they needed him.
Thranduil sat beside Elladan, stroking the boy’s pale face. Elladan slept, snuggled beside his twin, the warm woolen blankets pulled up to his chin. One hand clutched Thranduil’s in a desperate plea for him to stay, and Thranduil had no intentions of leaving.
He could not help feeling anger toward Elrond for hurting his sons; abusing them as their broken hearts and bruises seemed to say. How could he have missed the signs when the twins were with him in Mirkwood? How? His heart burned with fury at the thought that the twins had been so unhappy they had been forced to flee their home in the dead of winter. And that no one in Rivendell could protect them from their father . . . it spoke boldly of the state the of the elven sanctuary.
As if sensing his negative feelings, Elladan whimpered and moaned in his sleep. Thranduil turned his thoughts away from Elrond, and leaned down to brush his forehead with a reassuring kiss. The details would come when the twins were ready to share them. Until then, he would have to put his mind to pure speculation and wonder.
“Daerada?” Legolas said, his voice quiet.
Harune shifted beside him in the big bed. The embers of the fire glowed in the dark.
“What is it, Legolas?” Harune asked, his voice sleepy. He reached for his dressing gown, and nudged Landion over as he stepped out of bed, careful not to let the cold air under the covers. He crossed the room to build up the fire.
“Is Elrond like Lord Katar?” Legolas asked in a small voice.
The fire caught hold of the logs Harune placed on it and roared up, casting red shadows over the room. Harune came back to bed, and slid under the covers, pulling Landion against him.
“You met Elrond when you travelled to Rivendell,” Harune said. “What do you think?”
“I felt bad vibes around him,” Legolas said. “But they were not the same hateful ones Lord Katar vibrated . . . it was confusing because his way of snapping and talking to the twins felt . . . wrong somehow.”
Harune smiled wistfully. “Well, we will know no more until the twins awaken. They will be hungry and scared. They will need love, and they will not want to talk about what their father has done to them.”
“I know,” said Legolas, scrambling over Harune so he could snuggle against his free side. “When I ran from Lord Katar, I arrived here in a similar state, though I had some broken bones. I was scared and confused, but ada’s love helped through the difficult times. I hope—I hope he does the same for them.”
Harune slid an arm under Legolas’s head. “I hope so to, Legolas. I hope so to.”
As he fell asleep, he wondered why the twins had said nothing about their unhappiness and pain during their stay in Mirkwood. The whole scene seemed off, tainted by a sickly yellow light obscuring the real picture.
As for Glorfindel, his thoughts are his own and expressed with great discretion. Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts; I appreciate it.