A token and a promise
The halls of Erebor closed tightly around them as they moved lower and lower into the mountain. The Elven-King heard the songs and the sobs coming from the dwarrows carrying Thorin to his final rest. The placed looked cold and dark, filled with untold stories of a past long forgotten or transformed by hatred and misunderstandings.
Thranduil, Elven-King of the Woodland Realm stood with his back straight and his face lifted to the rocky ceiling hiding away the tears forming in his eyes. No one knew of his silent suffering, of the memories and the regrets building up in his heart with each footstep he took. The Elven-King’s heart was heavy with sorrow and regret; his mind had wandered to the only thing he had left: his memories.
He swallowed his tears when Dáin Ironfoot approached the final resting place of Thorin Oakenshield. Thranduil was a mask of untold emotions, but his mind had already decided the dwarf in front of him would never be King Under the Mountain. That title had belong and will forever belong to Thorin Oakenshield and Thranduil only wished he had taken the time to call Thorin with his rightful title.
Many of the presents stepped forward to pay their respects, to speak vane words as if they felt any real pain or if they had really known Thorin. None of them did. Thorin was not kind, he was not gentle, and he was not funny. Thorin was none of those things people kept saying as a way to pretend they knew the deceased.
Then, Thorin’s companions spoke and Thranduil felt a cold knife going through his heart.
Thorin was stubborn.
He was rude.
He was not good at directions.
He was easy to anger.
He was prejudiced.
Thranduil clenched his jaw slightly for he recognized the individual the company was mentioning.
Thorin was my friend.
Thorin offered me his help and trust when no one pay a penny for me.
He gave me courage.
He made sure I was never hungry.
He was like a brother to me.
He taught me that I walking out the door and followed a group of crazy dwarves could be good for me.
Thranduil looked aside unable to keep his eyes on the still form of Thorin. He taught me about mortal love. The Elven-King shifted his weight imperceptibly to anyone but his son who merely frowned. Thranduil felt his heart bleed into his soul when the Arkestone was put right on top of Thorin’s head. A crown for a stone King. And then, it was his turn.
What could he say that would sound honest?
Thranduil had his eyes fixated in an invisible spot in front of him, ignoring the world around him for as long as he could. But he could not pretend nor evaded his fate. The Elven-King approached the tomb and with dread set his eyes on the King Under the Mountain.
Thorin Oakenshield was lying on the stone of his father’s kingdom with his eyes closed as if he was merely sleeping. His face once permeated with pain, suffering and troubles was now engraved with peace and rest. Thorin had left the hardships of his live and his face would forever remain beautiful with his lips curled in attempt of a smile.
The light coming from the Arkestone gave him an ethereal appearance; his clothing belonging to a King gave him an appearance of an old Dwarven lord. The same ones Thranduil had seen the moment he opened his eyes to the world.
Thranduil opened his mouth, his lower lip trembling faintly. With a single movement of his hand Legolas handed over Orcrist, bowing in respect of both Kings. Understanding crossed the young prince eyes as he stepped back to allow his father this private moment.
There was no sound, not a single flickered of movement or light around him. It was only him and Thorin, almost in the same way the found each other all those years ago. Before the fire and desolation, before the hate and the misunderstandings. Before the regrets.
Thranduil grabbed the hilt of Orcrist looking down at the sword then back at Thorin. He could feel the presence of Gondolin in the sword; he could hear the songs of his people before the fall. He could sense Thorin in the very weight of the weapon, in the warm hilt and the faint blue it showed as soon as he put it out of the sheath.
“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of wielding this sword than you, King Under the Mountain.” Said Thranduil with a soft whisper meant only for Thorin. “I wish I had not been so arrogant as to rip it away from you, for perhaps your fate would have been different.”
With care and traces of affection Thranduil positioned the sword on top of Thorin, with the hilt resting on his chest and the blade pointing at his feet. The Elven-King felt his soul crumbled when his hands came into contact with Thorin’s cold ones, Thranduil felt suddenly weak when he wrapped those hands around Orcrist’ hilt.
Thranduil opened his mouth to say something; anything but he was unable to. He could not understand why fate had been so ill-omened with someone who had only wanted his home back. Why took him away without giving him the chance to overcome the gold-sickness?
The Elven-King closed his hand around Thorin’s one squeezing it lightly. He wished for many things, he had asked for few and he had begged for none. But if he was given the chance he would beg for Thorin’s return.
“Rest in peace, Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain.” He whispered in the tongue of the dwarves. “Orcrist is now with you as a promise that your people and your home would never be harmed. And...as a hopeful wish for Manwë himself to have pity on my soul and allow our paths to cross when the world changes and all the evil has been eradicate of the world.”
Thranduil allowed himself one last glance at Thorin and he kept the memory burn in his mind. Then, Thranduil turned around and wait for the world to change and the evil to be eradicated of his world.