It had been an Age since Ugurz had eaten so well.
Relatively speaking, of course—Silvan guards weren't exactly high-class fare as far as elves went, but they filled his belly just as well as any high-bred Noldo, and he liked watching the commotion that surrounded the rotations, when the morning staff found their eviscerated companions heaped outside the gates like the butcher's leavings. He would never have chanced going for the regiment that went out into the forests to clear out spiders' nests, knowing the best of the old Eluwaith made up its ranks, but the doorwards were easy enough to pick off, and usually went quietly besides. He'd managed to get six of them in the span of four months, which was not, he liked to think, any small accomplishment. Usually when he hung around to terrorize any one people for that kind of time frame they usually wised up and set the dogs on him.
But Oropher's brat probably had bigger things to worry about, and Ugurz was all too happy to take advantage of the reprieve that granted him. In fact, Mirkwood's somewhat lacking security had emboldened him to take a quick sojourn into the city itself late one very slow night. He'd done the same the next night, then the next, going a little further into the bowels of the mountain each time, though he never dared killing an elf on the inside, knowing that might trigger a domino effect he didn't have the interest in starting just yet.
Besides, he had bigger fish to fry, as it were.
Being a king of a beleaguered people with no Ring of Power to aid him, Thranduil was remarkably easy to keep tabs on. Ugurz had, in a fit of inspiration, slipped quietly into his private chambers on a latter expedition night, pawing through his effects and fingering the fine silk of the garments in his clothespress. At first he'd meant only to explore, have his fun, go on with the knowledge he'd successfully broken into a king's solar for kicks, but the allure grew too great, and he'd made a sport, over the course of a week, of making small, subtle shows of his presence. First he took a hairbrush. Then he ripped a hole in the counterpane of his bed, something no bigger than a tear that might have been made by accident. Once, Thranduil had left a half-finished glass of wine out, and, deciding to make an act of philanthropy of it, Ugurz had finished it and left the empty goblet perched innocently on the table.
Elrond Peredhel would have had that undead lump from Gondolin sicced on him long ago if he'd dared try this in Imladris, though he also had Vilya, which probably would have tattled at the first opportunity. With no such tool at his disposal, Thranduil would only have what exhibitions Ugurz left him to go on, and, really, it was only in the spirit of fun—Ugurz wasn't dumb enough to mount any violent assault just yet, well aware that while the Valar tended to keep out of Arda's business in the latter Ages, they might well send over Eönwë just to lop off his head if he overstepped too much. So for the time being, he played around with his errand, skulking around Thranduil's chambers while he was out seeing to affairs of state during the day, and harassing his guards in the night.
It was long after midnight when Ugurz finally decided to up the ante a little bit, shadowing through the air shaft he had turned into his byroad in the last few weeks and wending through the long paths of Mirkwood's narrow causeways until he came upon its inner sanctum, silent even for the sound of his wings drawing tightly furled to his back. Moving the door aside with painstaking care, he crept into Thranduil's antechamber again, ears trained for any sound that might give him some notice that the king was awake and pacing, as he supposed kings were wont to do, even at this time of night.
But when nothing obvious seemed to register, he finished crossing the room. He knew it like he knew the back of his hand after weeks of careful study, but that didn't stop him from making a beeline for the place he usually knew he'd find a bottle of wine situated on. Oblivious to whether or not Thranduil was safely asleep in bed—he supposed, as he uncorked it and took a swig straight out of the bottle, that he'd almost been hoping for a run-in—he leaned himself up against the knurled stone wall, amusedly taking inventory of the changes the midnight darkness made on the room geography. Little could be said for the Sindar, but their ability to provide him endless hours of amusement during the long, boring summer hours had worked out very well in his favor.
hrf tell me if anything needs to be changed :V
It was one thing when a scout died here and there. Their job was a dangerous one that required them to travel far out into the ever darkening forest. With every passing day, Greenwood the Great seemed to become less great and less green. But it was another thing to lose six doorwardens in the past four months and corpses of the people he ruled over had been thrown outside the front gate. Never before had any of the evil creatures slowly creeping into his realm come so close to his halls and, yet, this creature doing it all had never been spotted by anyone, nor did anyone know what it might be.
And the just as troubling things had started to occur inside his chambers in his halls. A misplace brush here. A wine of glass he could have sworn he had not finished there. A hole in the counterpane of his bed one morning. All events that could easily be explained away to a forgetful mind...if the Elvenking had a forgetful mind, that is. But ask any of those Silvan Elves that he ruled over and they would tell you that their King didn't ever forget anything. He knew where he placed his brush. He knew whether or not he had finished his wine. He knew if any damage had accidentally occurred to his bed.
At first, Thranduil did not make the connection between what was going on outside his gates to what was now happening inside of them. After all, how did a creature go from killing and eviscerating Elves to moving around, using, and damaging a few objects? It could have all been a coincidence that he had an unknown problem outside and an unknown problem inside to deal with, but the Elvenking did not believe in coincidences. Whatever was happening inside of his chambers could be the creature working its way up to deciding to start killing inside of the halls.
It need not be said that Thranduil was willing to do everything in his power to prevent a single more death occurring, whether it be inside his protected halls or outside in the ever growing more dangerous forest. This creature seemed to know exactly what hours Thranduil was out of his chambers, but the Elvenking knew that it would only be a matter of time before it got bold enough to attempt to sneak in at some point while the Sindar was inside. Patience was all that Thranduil needed. He would have the beast cornered sooner or later.
He was laying in bed but he wasn't sleeping. He was rarely getting any rest these days. Thranduil's sword lay beside him. It was better to be safe than sorry. Tonight might be the night that the creature decided to pay him a visit. If this thing could get into his halls and into his room unnoticed, then it stood to reason that, if he planned on doing any killing inside, Thranduil might very well be his first target. It might also go after Legolas as well, leaving the Silvan Elves of Greenwood temporarily leaderless, making them easy marks for whoever wished to do them as much harm as possible.
Thranduil was on the alert for even the quietest out of place sound, and he soon heard the door opening. At last he could see what or who it was that had been causing him and his people so much grief lately. He grabbed his sword and stood up. Choosing to forego any light that would alert the creature to his state of wakefulness, Thranduil waited until his eyes had grown adjusted to the dark before moving towards where the sound had come from.
He wasn't sure what he expected to see but it certainly wasn't the sight that did greet his eyes. So, it was some spawn of Thuringwethil that was behind it all. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you face-to-face," he said, although his tone suggested that it was the furthest thing from being a pleasant experience. Thranduil didn't even know why he had said anything at all. He should just kill the creature and be done with it. There was no point in conversing with such a monster as he was.