A Betrayal of Love by BlueberryMuffins76
Disclaimer: I don’t own any Tolkien characters or places, as much as I wish Thranduil was mine! With that said, the idea for this story goes to ccgaylord, who desired “A murder mystery explaining why Legolas is depressed, Thranduil is violent, and the Elvenking’s wife is never mentioned.” So this tale is dedicated to her! I am also in debt to PSK for beta reading for me, & Cenor for help with both the murder & torture scenes! Lily Lindsey-Aubrey looked over it for me as well; thank you! Without these four people I doubt this story would be in existence. In case you failed to read the description, this story does feature some severe Legolas bashing, but I will assure everyone it works out fine in the end. Even though it may seem dark & gruesome at times, I’d appreciate it if you stick it out to the end and then tell me what you think! Thanks!
Elvish words to know: Ada means father, Naneth means mother, ion is son, and Meleth is an endearment I frequently use meaning love
A figure dressed in a green tunic and trousers crept towards the chambers of the royal couple, Thranduil and Arabesque. His gaze darted back and forth as he sneaked along the halls, a wicked-looking knife hidden in his clothing. Knowing the Elvenqueen would let him in, as she always did, he knocked on the door.
“Come in!” she cried cheerfully, expecting her husband…although come to think of it, he didn’t knock very often since they shared the room and he had as much right to it as she did.
The stealthy elf turned the doorknob and entered the chamber, a sly grin upon his fair face. Holding the knife behind his back, he walked over to where the queen had been dusting.
“Can we talk a minute?” he asked, trying to keep his voice as calm and unemotional as possible.
“You know you can talk to me any time. Come, sit on the bed and tell me about it.” He obliged and they settled on the newly made coverings. Then he drew the knife and plunged it into her chest so quickly she didn’t have time to scream. Ripping the knife around, he at last pulled it out and stared at the devastation he’d just made. Suddenly nervous, he ran to the door and exited, needing to get rid of the murder weapon as quickly as possible.
He noticed someone strolling down the hall. What would he do? The weapon he’d use to stab the Elvenqueen was still in his blood-soaked hands, so he hid them and his weapon behind his back. Carefully backing into a narrow corner, he watched as the elf came into view. Fairion, the second-in-command, the worst possible person to run into besides Thranduil himself, was coming! Carefully flattening himself against the wall, he shrank into the shadows. Soon Fairion passed by, apparently on some sort of mission and not paying too much attention to his surroundings. The killer breathed a sigh of relief as he went to clean off the dirk and his hands. He had to pass through the great hall in order to get where he wished to go, a dangerous move on his part but quicker than any other way and therefore worth the risk. However, as he passed through Fairion came his way yet again. The only thing he could do was shove the weapon up into a colonnade and hope for the best. He then dug his hands deep into his pockets; the blood had mostly dried, or at least it wasn’t dripping from his fingers any longer.
“Good afternoon!” Fairion greeted as he walked past.
“Afternoon!” he replied, trying to make his voice as pleasant and nonchalant as possible.
They headed their separate ways, the murderer breathing a sigh of relief as he went to his room and cleaned up a bit. That was way too close!
Once he’d thoroughly washed his hands, he sat on his bed and his cats came up to him. As he petted them he noticed a bit of blood still trapped under his fingernails and quickly scrubbed up once more. He’d have to be careful from now on. Then, realizing what a foul deed in which he’d succeeded, he held his head in his hands and wept. Why did he do it? Surely there was another way to solve his problem! All he ever wanted was for the Elvenking to praise him for his wonderful fighting abilities, his fabulous looks that dazzled the ladies, really anything. But alas! Thranduil spent so much time with his wife when he was not busy attending to his kingly duties that he ignored everyone else. The killer hoped getting her out of the picture would help his king move on to caring for more elves than just his wife.
Was killing really the answer? It was too late now. Elves never murder each other. Knowing this dreadful truth, he became more depressed each day. It came to the point where he even confided in his friend about the deed, yet even that did not ease his depression.
Several hours later, Elvenking Thranduil strode into his chambers, hoping to spend some private time with his dear wife, Arabesque. However, a surprise awaited him there. As he walked in, he noticed a prostrate figure on the bed, blood pooling everywhere. He ran to the bedside and discovered the body to be his own dear Elvenqueen. Her lifeless eyes, which once sparkled with happiness and love, now stared horrified at the ceiling, never again to gaze into his in that special way. He could hardly look at where the knife had ripped into the beautiful white flesh of her chest, a pool of red blood staining the pale green marble of the patterned floor. Only orcs killed beings this inhumanely, and even then they seemed kinder at that point than whoever did this vile deed. Such a murder must be considered the lowest scum of the earth, lower than Lord Sauron himself, and things would not be pretty if the Elvenking ever laid his hands on that person.
Grabbing her hand, he moaned, “Arabesque, my Meleth!” Already cold and lifeless, she could not respond, having been dead several hours. “Meleth, it can’t be true! I need you. I love you. Who would do this to you?” The Elvenking sat in shock for a seemingly endless amount of tortuous time, moaning to himself and telling his elf-cats it was all just a bad dream. They meowed at him and rubbed his legs, sensing something was dreadfully wrong.
This appalling scene would haunt Thranduil for the rest of his life. Once he was able to process the tragedy a bit more, he determined to find his wife’s murderer and bring about vengeance and justice on her behalf. The Elvenqueen was so sweet, beloved by all, gentle and kind. Who would even consider killing her? Losing her caused his heart to feel as though it had been ripped from his chest and crushed into a million pieces, then less than half given back to him. The pain was excruciating, worse than he had felt when his parents were killed long ago in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
A knock sounded at the door. “Go away!” the Elvenking growled.
“Your majesty, I was just checking to make sure you are alright. You normally don’t spend this long away from your duties.” Fairion, Thranduil’s right-hand man, sounded extremely concerned, especially when he noticed the anguish in his beloved ruler’s voice. He tended to sound annoyed when interrupted, but today was somehow different.
“Just go away! I want to be left alone, perhaps for the rest of my life! I have no reason to live any longer.” Yes, his voice dripped with distress, so Fairion left to see if Legolas could help matters.
A few minutes later, he knocked on the Elvenprince’s door. “Who is it?” At least his answer sounded friendlier!
“It’s Fairion. I need to speak with you.”
Legolas opened the door, curiosity marking his gaze. “Why do you need me? What about Ada?”
“That is what I need to speak to you about. He went to his room about five hours ago to be alone with your mother. He never stays that long, and when I asked he told me quite pointedly to leave. Something about his voice just wasn’t right.”
Legolas listened intently, furrows raising in his brow as he pondered what exactly this could mean. “Right. I shall inquire of him at once.” The blonde elf strode towards his parents’ chambers and knocked on the door, attempting to show more confidence than he actually felt. “Ada, is everything alright?”
“Legolas, go away now! Did Fairion put you up to this?” Thranduil’s voice held the most anger the prince had heard in quite a long time.
“Ada, he is quite concerned about you. Please, tell us what is wrong!” His request was met by silence and he could feel his father’s eyes boring into him through the door. “Fine. Naneth, can’t you tell us what’s the matter?” His mother always answered, even when she didn’t particularly want to reply. Yet this time nothing sounded on the other side of the door. He thought he heard an elf cat or two meow, and even their voices sounded distressed. Legolas placed his hand on the doorknob and twisted. Much to his relief, it opened and he stepped into the room. He immediately noticed the body on the bed and rushed over. “Naneth!” he cried. “Ada, what happened here?”
Fairion had followed Legolas into the chamber and looked on, shock marring his handsome features.
The golden head of the Elvenking slowly swivelled to face the rude people who barged in on him. “There has obviously been a murder. What do you think? You, you…” Thranduil did not have words to express the sorrow and anger that raged within his soul.
Legolas knelt by the bed and took his mother’s other lifeless hand and cradled it in his, tears shining in his eyes. “Who would do such a thing?” He sobbed torrential tears.
The handsome face of the Elvenking formed into the grimmest and fiercest frown anyone had ever seen. “I do not know, but when I find out, my wife’s slaughterer shall pay for his crimes dearly.”
The three men stayed in the room, a dreadful silence falling upon them for several more minutes as they tried to figure out exactly what happened and come to grips with the reality of the situation.
At last Thranduil stood, a grim and determined expression on his face. “I command that everyone in the entire kingdom be questioned at once. Gather everyone to my throne room immediately, from the lowest kitchen maid up to you, Fairion. Whoever murdered my wife must remunerate for this crime. If I ever get my hands on him…” He was too angry for words to express how he felt.
“Yes, King Thranduil,” Fairion replied as he hastily retreated. He certainly was not one to disobey the king’s orders and he did not want to be around when the murderer was located.
Now it was just the corpse, Legolas, the elf-cats, and the Elvenking left in the room. The prince finally looked up at his father. “Ada, who could do this to Naneth? Why? She would never hurt anyone or anything.” Tears still shone in his eyes as he grieved for his dear mother.
“I do not know, ion. However, I can assure you that anyone who withholds information from me about my wife’s murder shall also pay if I ever find out. Come, we must question everyone, you included, Legolas.” He strode out of the room and his son followed, carefully shutting the door behind him. Later, when the questioning was over, Thranduil would send for someone to clean up the room and attend his wife’s body for burial.
When Thranduil entered the throne room, cape swinging regally behind him, all his royal subjects awaited him as he took his seat. “Attention, everyone. There has been a murder here less than five hours ago.”
The elves gasped and looked at each other with shocked faces. Elves never murder each other, so such a thing was quite unheard of in Mirkwood, although some had learned of murders in the countries of men.
The Elvenking inspected every face as they absorbed the news, looking for someone who only pretended surprise, yet he did not see a single face like that. Unbidden tears shone in his eyes and his voice became choked with emotion as he shared the terrible news. “Arabesque, my precious wife, and your beloved Elvenqueen, was murdered early this afternoon,” he started slowly.
The whole crowd murmured and their eyes widened even more in sheer horror. Everyone loved the queen and her death could hardly be imagined.
The Elvenking pulled himself together and glared at the crowd. “If anyone, and I do mean anyone, knows anything, however small it may be, about this tragedy, he is to see me immediately. And if I find someone has withheld information from me, you all know what happens to such creatures. Does anyone have something they would like to tell me?”
Fearful for their lives, they stood trembling together. No one appeared to know anything.
“Fine. You are dismissed. It must be understood that if you think of something, you must let Fairion or Legolas know at once so they can summon me. I do not wish to be disturbed by anyone unless it is a dire need or something about the tragedy.” With that he strode back towards his chambers but upon arrival could not bring himself to go inside. He summoned Fairion once again. “I should like some new rooms made ready for me on the other side of the palace. Once you take care of the…body…” he choked out, hating to admit his beloved was no longer with him, “I would like the room left as it is. You may clean up the blood, though.” It hurt to admit his wife was dead and to talk about her precious lifeblood being spilled upon the bed they shared, but he knew he would have to face the reality sooner or later. Life would never be the same without her; she brought much joy and happiness into his life, especially after he lost both his parents in the War of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Now he had yet another death with which to cope and he sensed he could not bear anything else to happen.
The pain showed in Fairion’s eyes, both for the loss of his queen and the suffering his king underwent every single agonizing second. “Yes, your highness. Do you need anything else?”
“No, thank you. I just want to be alone, for several hours if possible. And do not allow Legolas to assault me again. I do not appreciate your allowing him to barge into my chambers uninvited.”
“Yes, I am sorry. He insisted.” Fairion hurried off to do his master’s bidding and his orders were made ready in record time.
Meanwhile, Legolas had retreated to his chambers and sat on his bed, two elf-cats cuddled in his lap as he pondered the day’s tragic events. He had little experience in death and found seeing his mother’s lifeless body the most disturbing thing ever. There was so much blood, and the expression on her face haunted him. That image would stay in his mind the rest of his life, try as he might to rid himself of it. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he realized he would never again be embarrassed by watching his parents kiss in public and he would never hear her sweet voice telling him not to worry or to fear his father. She had always emphasized that though Thranduil may seem gruff and unloving on the outside at times, he truly loved those around him and sought the best for them in his own unique way.
A knock sounded at the door and Legolas groaned, and when he spoke he sounded much more like his father than he intended. “Can’t you leave me alone?”
Nulad, the best friend of the royal prince, spoke from the other side of the door. “I thought you might need some company, but if you want me to leave that’s fine.” His voice sounded calm yet concerned, so Legolas sighed again and opened the door. “Come on in, although I know I shall be frightful company.”
Nulad smiled. “I think we’ve seen each other at our best and worst, so it won’t faze me.” His eyes filled with care as he inquired, “Is there anything I can do?”
Legolas’s eyes brimmed with tears yet again. “Why would someone do this to Naneth? I can’t understand.”
“I don’t know. It’s a shame. She was always kind to me. Remember how she’d make sure we had cookies and other nice treats after we’d been outside playing, or romping around in our chambers, scaring the cats?”
“Yes, she always was like that. Every time I cut or scraped myself, she insisted on bandaging them herself, and then she would kiss my injury and everything would feel better.”
“I recall her doing that for me many times as well, since my Naneth sailed for the Undying Lands not long after I was born.”
The two elves spent much time reminiscing on Arabesque’s life and once a couple of hours had passed, the Elvenprince began to calm emotionally. He knew there would still be a long road of grieving ahead, with many ups and downs. However, Nulad’s comforting words and presence could not abate the deep sorrow within his soul. In the coming days he grew almost lethargic, a far cry from his normal cocky self. Everyone worried about him when he slept in every morning, then ate an unhealthy amount of food every single meal, even asking for snack to be brought into his room AN:(which is why many people have commented on how he appears to have lost weight between the time of the Hobbit and that of the Lord of the Rings*). Previously, the elves could usually find him in the great hall or a library somewhere, females surrounding him as he recounted how he single-handedly slew fifteen spiders in two minutes. They all thought he was so handsome that they ignored his self-centred attitude. Yet all such boasting ceased in the days after the murder as he became a sort of recluse.
*I’ve seen this idea in a few places, commenting on the differences in Legolas in the two sets of films.