I had so much fun with the new Power rangers movie! Yeah, it’s cheesy, yeah it has problems, but it was so good! It spent a lot of time on the characters instead of pointless battles, but it had a good climactic fight, it brought so much nostalgia for me! And SPOILER ALERT JDF and Amy Jo made a “cameo” and that was a nice touch for me. so Go go Power rangers!
Come talk to me once you watch it, cause I have feelings!
Here is Chapter XI - Gone of my Thranduil fanfic The Secret of the Forest.
Summary: The king is gone and with him all your hopes. As the days drag on in loneliness your confidence wanes and despair sinks in. What if he never came back? Then you had nothing left at all. As the shadows close in around you, a plan starts to take shape in your heart…
Notes: Sorry guys that this chapter took longer than expected to be uploaded. But I was quite busy with other things and also a request that I wanted to finish first. Nevertheless I hope it was worth the wait and you enjoy it :)
Length: approx. 5.000 words
Disclaimer: I do not own Thranduil (unfortunately), nor any of the other characters from Tolkien’s Middle-earth. I do not make any money with this, this is purely for entertainment.
You can read the entire story also on AO3 if you like. Kudos an nice comments warm my heart :)
It took several days for the realisation to sink in that Thranduil was indeed gone. At first you were in denial and pretended that he was still there, just somehow out of sight, and you tried to uphold your normal daily routine. But day by day it was harder to actually fool yourself and you had to accept your own folly. The king was gone and with him almost half of the population of the palace and the Woodland Realm. Besides Thranduil himself, Legolas and Tauriel, who had been away for several weeks already, you missed Faeldir and Amardir the most, after all they had been the sweetest and most charming companions for countless afternoons. You had not even had a chance to say good bye to them, which made their absence even more aggrieving. What if they never returned? You carried their poem with you wherever you went, a crumpled piece of paper in the depths of your pocket, just like you did with Thranduil’s cloth. The halls were eerily quiet and the few voices that remained were hushed and rather subdued as the days dragged on with no news from the Mountain. Although you assumed that at least no news meant good news and that Thranduil was still alive, but the uncertainty was slowly but steadily draining you emotionally.
Countless times your feet carried you up to the same gallery where you had watched Thranduil bid you farewell, reliving this last moment over and over again and always hoping for the gates to be pulled open and on a wave of bright light seeing the figure of Thranduil return in victory. But the gates remained shut and no light and no king were anywhere in sight. Miserable was how you felt, as if your heart had been torn out and replaced by an empty shell that still kept you alive but had no life in it. You barely slept and skipped food more than once and if Brethilwen had not insisted that you get up and eat you would have spent your days in bed waiting for doom to befall.
A shadow crept into the emptiness of your heart, sneaking in like a stealthy thief and settling inside with the poison of doubt. First it was just a small voice in the back of your head, scorning you for being a fool and having stayed behind, when you really should have ignored all orders and simply sneaked somehow into Thranduil’s army. Although it was totally unclear to you how on earth you should have managed that. But the voice steadily raised its volume and kept insisting that you would not see Thranduil again if you just stayed in Mirkwood and waited for him like you had promised. The fact that you had now so little distraction from your dark thoughts did not help in lifting your spirit. On the contrary, it rather encouraged your dwelling on all the possible heart-wrenching scenarios your mind could come up with. You had become an expert in picturing Thranduil’s violent death in all its mind-boggling variations. Images of fierce battles and deadly combat tortured your head and always, always there was the moment when you saw Thranduil being pierced by one of the orc’s filthy scimitars, his limp body being pulled down without mercy from his elk and dragged through the muddy battleground by those evil creatures and then … then you forced your mind to stop. You refused to think the unthinkable, you would not allow this to happen. That is what you told yourself. And for a while it worked, but not for long. Your imagination was your worst enemy after all. You had no experience in wars of any kind but you had read enough depressing recollections in the library to have a quite clear idea of the merciless slaughter that was war. Death took, regardless of age or status, Men, Dwarves and even Elves. After all that had been the fate of Oropher and Thranduil must have known very well the danger he was walking into.
And then still another feeling grew inside your heart, although you tried hard to keep it down and quiet. But it would not shut up, no matter how skilfully you tried to play deaf and its venom crept on and on until all the hopes that you thought safe in your heart were overshadowed by doubt. Jealousy was back with a triumphant return shaking hands with despair and a firm determination to bring you down and shatter the trust you had put in his promise. If Thranduil truly had feelings for you he would not have left you behind, it whispered in your head. And if the recovery of this necklace meant so much to him that he was even willing to risk his own life for it there could be no doubt as to whom his heart truly belonged. You scorned yourself for your delusion of having thought that you could ever have a space in the Elvenking’s heart. After all, what were a few weeks in comparison with the endless eternity that was his lifetime? But then if you listened really closely there was still another timid voice in your heart whispering words of confidence. And there were Thranduil’s eyes looking at you with affection and his hands reaching out for yours and their warmth filling your heart with the promise of his return. But those patches of clear skies lessened as the days of loneliness grew longer and the clouds of dread thickened. And so the shadows closed in on you from all sides and the darkness found its way into your heart. You had your own war to fight, alone and defenceless, and slowly but surely you were driven into a dark corner that was a dead end. And the only way to avoid defeat seemed to take the offensive. Otherwise you would go mad with the infernal trio of despair, uncertainty and jealousy.
From the various seeds of doubt, watered so devotedly by your heart’s despair, there grew a plan in your mind. First it was only the tender sapling of a very vague idea, but over the course of the next week it blossomed into a vigorous sprout that you nourished and cherished with a passionate dedication. And then everything was clear to you: You had to go after Thranduil and find him. It was the only way. You could not bear the waiting and the uncertainty any more and your heart would not be able to hold your caged emotions any longer. If you did not want to be devoured by your own despair then searching for the one you loved was the only option. You needed clarification and you were going to get it, either way or another. Once you had made up your mind there was no more going back. Finally you felt that you could break out of the prison of lethargy that had held you captive since Thranduil’s departure and your spirit rose with the anticipation of being able to be close to him again. New life filled your heart and there was a glimmer of hope on your dim horizon.
The only thing that pained your heart about it was that you could not share your giddy anticipation with Brethilwen, after all she was the last confidant that remained by your side. But you knew that if you told her about your plans she would try everything in her power to dissuade you from your scheme. After all you would be breaking your promise to the king if you proceeded with this. But you pushed that thought to the very back of your head, you liked thinking of it more as your own quest, its purpose being to find Thranduil or perishing in the attempt to get to him. You could not stand idly by while he might be facing death in battle. After all you had nothing to lose. You had no home and nowhere else to go, Thranduil was the one thing that kept your heart beating in this strange world.
You needed to act cunningly if you were going to go through with your plan, it was paramount that no one found out about it, because surely Thranduil had left everyone instructed that you were not to leave the palace under any circumstances. So your preparations had to be carried out carefully, not attracting any unwanted attention. Your mind was racing with all the steps that needed to be taken into account. You had to travel light, because it would be too obvious if anyone saw you walking around like a pack mule. But since it was winter, you needed appropriate clothing, food and water was equally important, maybe you could even snatch a knife or dagger to carry with you. You were by no means a fighter, but a small weapon was better than none at all. After all these woods were dangerous and full of strange creatures. And last but not least you would need a map. This was by far the easiest task, so you would tackle it first. Thanks to your previous visits to the library you knew exactly where they were kept and almost no one used the library during these days, so you should not have any problems sneaking out one piece of parchment. The hardest part of your whole endeavour was the actual act of leaving the palace. The trapdoor in the wine cellar was out of the question for obvious reasons. Not even a mouse would be able to sneak through there. So the main gate was your only option. But that presented you with another pile of insurmountable obstacles. The gates were always guarded and only ever opened for brief intervals and once they were shut magic sealed them for good. But you would worry about it when you got to that point. One step at a time. Small steps. Hobbit steps. You smiled inwardly at the thought that you were not so different from Bilbo, who had spent so many weeks like a stealthy burglar in Thranduil’s halls and you only wished that you would actually possess his secret power or whatever it was that had helped him stay undetected. But the smile vanished from your face as fast at it had appeared when you remembered that Bilbo was possibly not alive any more and sadness filled your heart at the thought that you had sent him and the dwarves to their graves. But you could not let grief paralyse you, your target was set and you had to stay focused if you were ever going to succeed.
First things first. The map, obviously, because you needed to know where you were heading after all. Your excursion to the library was uneventful and you found what you were looking for faster than expected. On a neatly organised pile in one of the main rooms there lay several maps in different sizes and varying degrees of detail and you chose the one that suited your purpose best, covering the north-eastern region of Mirkwood and extending towards Lake Esgaroth and the Lonely Mountain. You folded the parchment and slid it in your pocket to then wander aimlessly further into the depths of the library until you came to a halt in front of the restricted section. You had not really thought on going there, but your feet had carried you here and now you stood in front of the threshold once more sorely reminded of Thranduil’s absence. Your eyes lingered on the rows of books and memories resurfaced in your head, both sorrowful and joyful of that evening when he showed you this special place, his Queen’s refuge. You extended your arms, expecting the invisible barrier to prevent your hands from going through, but to your surprise you did not meet any resistance at all. The magic had been lifted. If only for you or for everyone remained unclear, but you would not miss your chance to revisit this quiet hideout one more time. Maybe this was the last time that you would ever come here. You strolled through the narrow aisles, allowing your fingers to graze along the spines of the books like you had done when you had been there with Thranduil, but then the subtle blue light pulled you magically towards the back of the room, leading you into the hidden grotto, where Thranduil had opened up his heart to you for the first time.
Steady purling of water filled the air, the placid aura inviting the weary to depose of all sorrows. Your eyes were drawn to the pool in the middle, the turquoise surface lying in perfect stillness like a mirror before you. You sat down on one of the benches beside it, but something held you back from dipping your hands inside like you had done last time, it was as if a magical spell lay on the water, the motionless liquid somehow eerily daunting. But your curiosity anyway drew you closer and you bent your head over the edge to peak into the depths of the pool. At first the water appeared murky as if there was a dense mist floating beneath the surface, not allowing you to see neither the ground nor anything else in the water. But suddenly the fog dissipated in soft swirls and gave way to clearer waters and a delicate outline appeared in the water, barely visible at first. You squinted your eyes in an attempt to identify what it was that you were actually seeing, and from the depths a figure started to take shape, emerging ghostly white and with an ethereal glow, holding your heart in anxious suspense in between fear and wonder. As the nebulous waters receded towards the edges, the middle of the pool began to glow with a blinding white light and the distinct shape of an animal emerged beneath the surface, the contours now clearly outlining the majestic body of a white stag. It first appeared to be cantering leisurely in the depths of the pool, but then it stopped, suddenly made aware of your presence and turned its head gracefully towards the surface, its snow white antlers spreading wide like boughs beneath the smooth surface. And then it looked at you through crystal clear eyes of perfect blue. You knew those eyes. Eyes that could tell a lie from the truth. Eyes that looked to the bottom of your soul. You froze in shock at the sight. It could not be. This was impossible! He could not be here. He was far away! Wordless was this precious moment of silent understanding as your eyes were held captive by his attentive gaze. Melancholy and wisdom spoke through them, but the quiet sadness in their endless sea of blue made your heart ache. How much you missed him. How much you wished to be near him again! The pain of being separated from him and not knowing if you would ever see him again filled your heart with dread and for an instant you felt a desire to reach out for the deer’s face that seemed to be only inches away from your hands. But the fear of breaking this magical moment and scaring the animal away held you back and you only stared at it quietly. Your fingers tightly clutched the stony edges of the pool as you felt your emotions overwhelming you and tears flooding your eyes. „Please, come back to me. I miss you so much.“ And then all your grief broke through „Every day I wait for you. Every day I walk to the gate and look for a sign of your return. But every day I wait in vain and the gate does not open for you.“ The stag reared its ears in curiosity. There was a growing lump in your throat that threatened to drown out your voice as his silent gaze lingered on you, the black pit of guilt opening up inside you as you were reminded of the plan you were about to carry out. „I try so hard to keep my promise, but I don’t know how much longer I can bear this.“ You closed your eyes in shame. „Forgive me that I cannot be strong like you.“ And then tears fell from your eyes into the water, the tiny droplets distorting the surface, breaking the smooth reflection into small rippling circles that swiftly raced towards each other shattering the image like glass into a million pieces and then in the blink of an eye the stag was gone, disappearing back into the depths of the pool and the image vanished from your sight. The silvery glow faded away and nothing of the ghostly impression remained on the glimmering turquoise surface. It was to be only a memory. A tender memory that took refuge in your aching heart.
On the way back to your room you were in inner turmoil. Those eyes had looked into your heart only to find the chasm of despair that threatened to devour all the narrow pinnacles of confidence that you had managed to guard from the flood of darkness. And soon those would be drowned too in a sea of hopelessness. What if this vision was a warning? What if Thranduil was in danger? You had to make haste and pursuit your plans with even more perseverance. There was no time to waste. Any day could be a day too late.
Hence you decided to speed up your preparations, focusing on the next relatively innocuous step, which was to get your hands on food for your journey. You knew for a fact that the elves had some highly nutritious way-bread which they called lembas and you had seen a good amount of it left behind in the kitchens after Thranduil’s host departed for Erebor. If you took only a few pieces at a time no one would notice and you could have a full store for several weeks - that was your worst case scenario - by the end of the week, which was the date you had set yourself. By then it would be almost three weeks since Thranduil was gone and your hopes of him returning alive were dwindling by the day. The kitchens were relatively quiet these days, now with the king gone there were no lavish feasts, so it was an easy task for you to sneak your necessary provisions from the shelves in the kitchens.
Next you turned to finding a place where to hide all those forbidden possessions. Obviously it could not be your room, because Brethilwen had surely kept track of all your modest belongings and it would be suspicious if she discovered piles of lembas and clothes or even weapons in your room. On your strolls through the palace you had noticed that in a remote corner close to the gates one of the pillars had actually a small alcove beneath the coiling vines that seemed like the perfect hiding place for a small backpack and a bundle of clothes. It was conveniently hidden from view and no one in the palace seemed to have even noticed its existence. You made a mental note of bringing your provisions here step by step, so you could have everything ready by the end of the week. The discovery of this little spot had given your spirit a lift, but still you needed to gather a thick cloak as well as boots that were suitable for the winter and then there remained the challenge of getting a hold of a weapon.
The next morning you woke up to a surprise. Luck was with you or so it should appear, unless you had an unknown benefactor, which seemed strangely probable after all. Someone had placed a bundle on your table. Whatever it was, it lay neatly wrapped in a dark green piece of cloth beside the food Brethilwen had brought you for breakfast. Despite your hunger you ignored the food and eagerly investigated the lengthy package. It was heavier than you had anticipated and suspiciously long. Your heart almost stopped as you unfolded the layers of cloth revealing beneath them a beautiful elven sword. It gleamed bright in the dimly lit chamber, the silver surface perfectly polished and its curved blade beautifully decorated with sublime floral garlands etched into the surface that wound themselves up and around the pommel and the elegant hilt. It was quite small and lightweight and when your hand closed around the smooth and cold metal of the delicate hilt it fit like a glove. Your eyes were wide in awe at the stunning beauty of this weapon as you gave it some tentative swings. It was as exquisite as it was deadly. This was no mere soldier’s sword, it looked like it had been forged for the king except that its size was perfect for you. But your admiration was cut short by a knock at the door. Hastily you wrapped the sword back into its cloth and slid it under your bed before you assumed an unsuspicious position at the table pretending that you were actually having breakfast. „Come in“, you called slightly out of breath trying to conceal your excitement at this unexpected gift. Whoever had brought you this must somehow be aware of your plans and must have access to the king’s armoury. But why would anyone in the palace want to help you in your endeavour?
Brethilwen’s head peaked through the door, a smile on her face. „I see that you are finally eating again.“ You nodded obediently and then she slipped quietly into the room, closing the door behind her. She took a seat beside you but when she looked at the food she raised an eyebrow and frowned „But you have not touched anything! My dear, what am I to do with you?“ She threw you a reproachful glance and sighed „The king would not approve of this, you know.“ „Well the king is not here, is he?“ you countered stubbornly. „And for all I know he may never come back. It has been so long already.“ You pushed the tray away from you and stared at the table in front of you, working hard to keep your countenance. Brethilwen rested her hand on your shoulder, her voice finding a calming tone. „Do not lose hope. I know it is not easy for you, but you cannot waste yourself in constant grief.“ You bit your lower lip and looked at her from the corner of your eye, your emotions lying bare beneath her attentive glance. But you said nothing. „I may be only a servant, but I am not blind. I see the despair in your eyes and the desire to go and find the king in your heart.“ You were going to mouth a protest, but she bade you to be silent as she went on „I know that you feel abandoned and lost. But I want you to know that you are not alone.“ You lowered your head in shame and sadness and then she pulled you into an unexpected embrace and for a moment you allowed the comfort of affectionate touch to fill the dreadful emptiness in your heart. Snuggled against her shoulder all the worries that you had kept so tightly tucked in shook off their ties and burst forth in a shower of unanswered questions. „But what am I to do? How do I know what is right? What choice do I make?“ You were sorely reminded of the mess you had gotten yourself into with Bilbo and the dwarves and were afraid of making the same mistake all over again. „No one can tell you what you must do. Only you can.“ Her grey eyes lingered on your face with empathy. „You must find the answers to those questions in your heart. And whatever decision you take is yours and yours alone.“ And with a knowing smile she added „And if I am not mistaken you have made up your mind already.“ You blushed and threw her a surprised look, embarrassed at your thoughts apparently being so obvious. „Don’t give me that look.“ A slightly amused smile passed her face as she released you from her embrace and tucked back a strand of your hair behind your ear. „I know you have. And I will not try to dissuade you from your plans, because I know that your wish to find the king is stronger in you than any means I might have of convincing you otherwise.“ A grateful smile dawned on your face now that it was also clear to you to whom you owed your gift. „And I thought I was being clever in disguising my agenda.“ You shook your head at your own naivety, but there was relief in your heart at not having to hide your plans at least from her anymore. „I have been around for quite a while. So not much will stay hidden from me. And I know a strong will when I see one.“ She raised her eyebrows in amusement, adding in a more serious tone: „But please be careful. I have grown quite fond of you.“ With a soft squeeze of your hand she rose from her seat and made for the door. „I will leave you to your breakfast then.“ She tilted her head sideways as she reached for the door-knob. „And you better finish your food. You will need all the strength that you can get.“ You responded with a well-behaved nod that send Brethilwen on her way with a satisfied smile.
With Brethilwen now being in on your secret your preparations rolled smoothly towards their completion and by the end of the week you had everything that you needed. Brethilwen had provided you with a thick travel cloak, matching gloves and soft black leather boots to protect you from the cold. Everything had been neatly packed into a small backpack, you even had received a black leather belt with a scabbard for your sword and all that remained was to wait for the perfect moment to leave. Brethilwen would not be able to help you there, because surely the type of magic that sealed the doors would lie beyond her abilities. On the day before your planned escape you had already stuffed the backpack inside the alcove close to the gate, making sure that it was well out of view. You had made it a habit to walk to the gate every day, hoping that eventually Thranduil would come back, but now your mind was set to wait for the right moment that would allow you to sneak out of the palace unnoticed.
The following morning you made your way towards the gate as usual, checking that your backpack was still in place when suddenly a creaking noise told you that the gates were indeed being pulled open. You had only seconds to decide, so you quickly pulled out the cloak and snatched your backpack, waiting with a hammering heartbeat in the shadow of the column for the right moment. Only a few guards were watching the gate and most of them had gotten already used to see you linger around, so they did not really pay attention to you, besides their eyes were geared towards the gates and not you. You sneaked carefully closer as the doors fully swung open, hiding your backpack from view and your sword diligently stowed away under your tunic. Your hands were clammy with sweat now that all that you had been looking forward to was actually about to become real. You slid your hands in your pockets making sure that your poem, Thranduil’s cloth as well as the map were there and then you were all set. You took a deep breath and while the guards were distracted by welcoming whoever was entering the palace and standing with their backs to you you sneaked past them like a stealthy thief, your eyes fixed on the bridge ahead. The forest lay in peaceful white perfection before you, the treetops covered in freshly fallen snow and the ground beneath spreading like a pristine rug of glittery white, only a line of lonely tracks cutting through the middle.
You pressed yourself against the wings of the gate, the cloak pulled tightly around you and then only a few more steps separated you from the outside world. You peaked back over your shoulder and it seemed that the person that had arrived wrapped in a thick travel cloak was some sort of messenger as the guards all welcomed him heartily and surrounded him in an animated conversation, not heeding their surrounding. But it was too late now to turn around, you had already made your choice. And it was now or never, stay or leave. If you turned around to find out what news were being delivered you would lose your only chance of leaving the palace. And that meant your only chance of finding Thranduil. You heart was beating so loud you were sure the guards would soon hear it and drag you back in. You could not linger any longer, now was the moment to decide. You looked back no more and moved ahead in swift silence.
Once you stepped over the threshold your feet sank into the soft snow and the cold stung through the thin shoes you were wearing. You quickly made for the corner on the outside of the terrace to wait there hidden from view until the gate was being pulled shut again. And then you would change into more fitting clothes. The voices of the guards and the visitor slowly faded away as they all entered the palace together and then the familiar creaking noise told you that the gates were being shut, the thump of the heavy stone door muffled by the freshly fallen snow. This was it. The moment of no return. Thranduil’s palace lay behind you and the world was now ahead.
If only they’d included a silly scene like this one, I would’ve been much happier with s2.
No dialogue, but I mostly imagined this after thinking that Lance would have brought the rest of the paladins souvenirs from the mermaid planet. He would have brought Keith a jellyfish, first to annoy him, but then later to get a smile. idk haha.