Oropher was inspecting his men, the army which was preparing to march to Mordor. How many of them would perish? He had no idea. It was never a predictable thing....
"Thranduil?! What the hell do you have in mind?" Oropher shouted angrily. "I told you to stay. Someone must take care of the kingdom."
"You need everyone, you know it."
"I need everyone to do their job, Thran," he said, a bit calmer. "Including you, my son."
"I can fight."
"You can get lost more easily than your young son," said Oropher.
He didn’t speak of this often. He still felt responsible that Thranduil got hit by dragon fire and became blind. The sad thing was that Thranduil was still one of the lucky ones of that great war.
"I'm sorry," he said with shame. "So be it. You give me no choice."
Oropher dismounted and got the rope he saw and then moved to Thranduil's elk.
The young elven child ran from the door to the king. Oropher gave him the rope. "Hold this."
"What are you doing?" asked Thranduil, when he felt that the reins in his hands were no longer connected to the elk’s head.
"Preparing to leave," said Oropher. "Legolas, take him for a walk." He mounted his horse again. "Let's go!" he yelled, and the army began to move south.
Thranduil ordered the elk to move forward with his legs. When he heard a cry of surprise he stopped, realising that his elk was on a rope being held by Legolas.
He rolled up the reins, irritated by what had happened.
"I know a nice place to walk," said Legolas, and he went to the forest, followed by the elk. Thranduil's courage in that moment evaporated. Legolas was very young, less than half of size of a full-grown elf. And if something happened, Thranduil wouldn’t ever find the way back.
"Are you sure that we can go your way with an elk?" asked Thranduil.
"I think so, I usually go this way with Mom."
That didn't make Thranduil feel much safer, but at least that meant that they wouldn’t get lost, for Legolas knew the way very well.
Legolas was having fun. He smiled, observing the forest and all its inhabitants. Greenwood was beautiful in those days.
Suddenly, Legolas stopped.
"Wait here," said Legolas.
Thranduil heard him running away, but he soon returned.
"I brought you something. Guess what it is," said Legolas.
Thranduil was interested, at least a bit, so he opened his hands. Legolas gave him something... furry, soft to the touch, legged, live and... "It's a rabbit."
"Yes. It's beautiful, isn't it? Such a nice, brown, friendly rabbit."
Thranduil fondled the rabbit. It was nice to have it in his hands.
"Legolas stop!" he ordered, when his elk started to go forward. "We can't just take the rabbit from his home. Take and put him back where you got him, okay?"
They got to the river. Thranduil easily noticed that by the water splashing over the rocks.
"Can we stay here for a while?" Legolas asked suddenly.
"Trees, the river, a nice shore with grass and two...three big rocks. It's a nice place."
"Is there some strong root to tie a rope around?"
"Yes, we're close to one."
"All right. Hold the elk."
Thranduil dismounted and put the reins back on. Then he followed Legolas to the root and tied the rope so the elk couldn't run away.
Thranduil then sat down on the grass. Legolas went to the river and played with the rocks and water.
That made Thanduil think about one thing. Legolas was often inside the palace all day, just like him. Getting him outside wasn't so easy, but he seemed completely happy now. It was because Thranduil was with him. That was what it was all about. Legolas just wanted to be with him, where he felt more safe.
"Yay! I found a frog!"
Thranduil knew what would happen, and sure enough he soon had a wet frog in hands. A big frog. It didn't like the dry hands. The frog jumped and chose to go back to the river on its own.
"It jumped so high!" said Legolas.
"Frogs have strong legs."
"That one was such a nice green."
"I can imagine that. I know how frogs look."
"And the grass?"
"And the sun?"
"Kind of. Every river is unique."
"Sad that you can't see it. The sun is shining on the water like it’s golden." Legolas sat close to Thranduil. "Will your eyes heal?"
"Legolas... probably never."
"I would give everything to show you this."
"I wouldn’t. For there is something more precious to me that I've never seen and I really want to."
"What is it?"