for my son. His kidneys are failing. and we are waiting or the local hospital to tranfer him to a bigger hospital in Florida, We are very scared, He also has pulmonary anemia.
for my son. His kidneys are failing. and we are waiting or the local hospital to tranfer him to a bigger hospital in Florida, We are very scared, He also has pulmonary anemia.
01 Thursday Jun 2023
Michael’s girly girl, hasn’t been eating well. And she’s been limping for 2 days. We took her to the vet and it was determined she had cancer, She is with Michal now. I’m so distraught.
30 Tuesday May 2023
Hello and how are we all? I’m not getting any bites for a job of any kind and I’m thinking ,,, retire.
Now shall we get on to the title of this entry?
First one of hers I’ve read, Very cute, Ourheroine is newly retired from a New York police department. She’s bought a big ole Victorian in Maine she plans on using as a bed and breakfast… except no sooner than she moves in, the place starts falling apart. She takes on a job as a cook on touring schooner… owned by the pirate who owned her house. Love ensues.
A long time ago, I read iron and magic by ilona Andrews. Very good urban fantasy, except its a part of a series… Kate Daniels. Kate is a private detective in a world gone crazy – tech vs magic. Shifters, vampires. You name it, it exists. but one cannot live next o the other, These are the voyages if Kate and Curran, her lion-shifter boyfriend. Really, very good.
I’m normally NOT into shifter romances, but this is good!!!
That’s it for this month. I’m also into this man…
27 Saturday May 2023
Chapter 11 – The Guilty Shall Rise or This is the Nightmare that Doesn’t End!
SSDD – nothing has changed. You know what is mine, you know what ain’, you know who I claim and you know who I cain’t. I’m making NO money at this and I mean no disrespect to JRRT or JKR.
Chapter 11 –
The Guilty Shall Rise or This is the Nightmare that doesn’t end.
Home is behind, the world ahead
There are many paths to tread
Through Shadow, to the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight
Mist and shadow, cloud, and shade
All shall fade
All shall fade
JRR Tolkien/Howard Shore
He awoke to darkness. Slowly, allowing his eyes to become attuned to the almost enveloping black, he soon recognized his surroundings.
His own room.
“Damn it all!” He sat up, throwing off the quilt lightly covering him. “It is bad enough he invades my sleep, infests my dreams, drags me all over that hell called Middle Earth. Now he has the audacity to invade my own chambers, while I slumber!”
He swung his legs around and stood up quickly.
Small lights in his chambers flickered on at his command and he took in the sight of his room, trying to hunt out where the wretched Elf would be hiding.
Instead, he found The Wolf. The White Beast sat off to his left, regarding him with bored disinterest.
As if he were guarding him.
“You, as well? You assail my slumber also? Now he is dragging you into the wretched nightmares as well?” Long fingers combed through inky locks. “What must I do to get peace?”
He grabbed his white shirt, throwing it on, not bothering to button it as he stormed from the room into his sitting chambers and stopped short.
She sat in a chair, legs curled up beside her. One of his books dangled from her knee dangerously. Her chin was propped on her hand.
If her breathing was any indication, she was in deep sleep. He was aware of silent padfalls as her beast came in behind him and lay next to her chair.
Deep indigo eyes scrutinized him.
The book tipped further, sliding from her knee. Quickly, with the speed of a cat, he dipped to one knee, catching it before it fell completely. As he laid the book to the side, a glint caught his eye.
Truly, it was not a necklace, rather a black, corded rope. A ring and a cross lay in the ravine of her breasts.
No. Not one ring… But two…
With an infinitely gentle caress, he slid his hand beneath, knuckles brushing the soft skin and palmed the rings and cross. One was ornate, encrusted with sapphires and garnets. He glimpsed Elvish writing inside the band. The second was a single row of diamonds, beautiful in its simplicity. He squinted, a long lock of hair, falling into his face, and peered closely at the tiny inscription inside it.
My Fiery One. My treasure, My Air, My Greatest Jewel. Forever. Haldir of Lorien.
It took every ounce of self-control he had to keep from squeezing the stones until they shattered…
“You realize,” a soft fingertip tucked the fallen lock of hair behind his ear, “that no man or Elf has been this close to my breasts in some time.”
Severus dropped the jewelry, not seeing it bounce heavily on her chest. He jerked back realizing…
This is not a dream…
…startled eyes looking into hers. Mischievousness alight and burning with a small flame, a small smile on her…
I am not asleep. This is not a dream…
Severus tried to pull away, but could not. Both of her hands were wrapped around his, a gentle prison.
“How did you sleep?”
He tilted his head as he watched her legs ease out from the chair and she slid to the floor in front of him.
“How did you sleep?” She asked again.
“I slept… well.” Dawning lit in his eyes. He rose to his feet quickly, pulling her with him. “What time is it? My poti…”
“Is fine. Albus stirred it at the appropriate time.” She looked over his shoulder to the clock on his mantle. “It is well after two in the morning. I am sorry, you have missed dinner.”
After two? Severus turned to the clock. “I have slept…”
“Oh, at least nine hours. Maybe ten. How is your back? Your headache?”
His hair flew as he turned back to her. Nine or ten hours? He had not slept that long in years. He could not remember ever sleeping that long. He stretched his back, arching muscles that did not groan in agony. His head did not hurt.
Snape glared down at her, watching the top of her head as her hand glided upwards, over his wrist, above the fading mark…
“What did you do?” His voice was a hoarse whisper.
Bronwyn shrugged and looked around. “Well, after you went to sleep, I had a nice chat with Bobbin. Had the most interesting conversation…”
Severus stared at her in disbelief. “Stop misunderstanding me on purpose, madam!” He grabbed her hand, clamping it hard over the mark he no longer coveted.
He watched in perverse fascination, as she jerked and writhed, fighting to remove her hand from the Death Head, that despicable mark that Voldemort branded on him, marking him, claiming him as his.
Growling, snapping came from behind him…
Swiftly, realizing he was being warned, he released her, thought better of it and pulled her to him. Tucking a finger beneath her chin, he jerked her face upwards.
“What did you see?”
Tears ran, overflowing her eyes. “Women, men, pain, guilt. By the Valar, how do you stand it?”
Anger roared through his temples, inciting the tension recently released.
“N’uma! No, do not!” Her hand flew to the side of his face. “I spent an hour loosening angry muscles.” The palm of her hand was cool, gentle on his face, and despite the sweetness of her touch, his eyes glittered.
“What did you do? What did you see? What Elven mischief did you conjure?”
Bronwyn wiped her nose inelegantly on her sleeve. “Elven mischief. Elrond should lay you low. Or Gandalf.” She stepped backwards and turned to face her familiar. Amadeus thrust his head into the palm of her hand as she stroked the beast. She stooped to one knee, her arms encircling the wolf. “No Elven mischief. In fact, it was nothing more than some old-fashioned, Muggle-style feel-good medicine.”
Feel good? That is what she called it. Severus stretched his neck again. She was correct. He did feel good.
“What kind of feel-good medicine? What was in the tea you gave me?”
She continued to lavish attention on her appreciative pet. “Aromatherapy. Massage Therapy. I used and developed it with Haldir.” She took a deep breath. “He would get some incredible migraines. Of course,” with this, she turned the animal loose, stood tall and turned towards him, “he did not help matters. He yanked on his braid quite a bit.”
Severus pulled his own fingers across his scalp. “He pulled his own hair? That was not very bright.” Gentle hands grasped his, removing them from the inky strands.
“As for the tea,” she smiled, ” it was a concoction Elrond would give me when I was most… stressed.” She was telling an inside joke that he did not get.
“What kind of concoction?”
She giggled softly. “If you must know, the tea had herbs in it that Elrond would give me when I was in labor, you dolt!” She murmured humorously. Severus inhaled angrily and she cut him off with a dismissive wave. “Do not even THINK in that tone of voice! It relaxed me enough to pass very large children and it apparently worked wonders with you. Now, allow me to call Bobbin to bring you something to eat. Then we will talk.”
“Madam, what do we have to talk about?” Chatting aimlessly was the last thing the Potions Master wanted to do.
“Your memories. Your guilt. Some information I have recently received.” Snape felt her mind churn… chewing on a past indiscretion. Her voice, when she finally spoke was low, ancient.
“You have pestered me for the last time about the dragon.”
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be… me
Rob Thomas/ Matchbox 20
Severus pulled the meat of the chicken from the bone and popped it in his mouth, savoring the herbal flavor. His eyes never left her as she patiently waited, perusing his library as he ate. She said nothing, yet he knew she fair boiled with unasked questions.
“Massage therapy? Where did you learn that? On that Elvish commune where you lived?”
“A commune.” Bronwyn snickered, never taking her eyes from his bookshelves. “Only you would think that. No. I learned massage therapy here before I was sent to Middle Earth.” The silence fell as she continued to scan over titles.
“Well. Are you going to tell me or not?” Snape could feel her churning, gnawing on something.
“Oh, it’s quite harmless, I assure you. In the conservatory, one spends a lot of time in a practice room. Tight, confined, airless places. My favorite piano was in a room where the piano took up the entire space. It was nothing to come out of a room such as that after four or five hours, cramped and bent over, unable to move. A violinist I accompanied had a father who was a chiropractor – a doctor that specializes in spinal alignment – and he taught a bunch of us.” She smiled at a long past memory and Severus was struck with the scene of a much younger, thinner, Bronwyn, walking on the shirtless back of a large young man; her painted toes working on the upper back.
She fell silent again and went back to pulling out books, only to replace them. Although he concentrated on the plate in front of him, Severus felt her agitation. Gad, if she did not spit it out and soon, she was going to make his own stomach pitch. He picked up a rather fluffy dinner roll.
“Talk, Bronwyn.” He pulled the roll into small pieces. Bobbin had forgotten to bring eating utensils and the silly chit had actually laughed and told the house elf not to worry about the silverware. The esteemed Professor Severus Snape was going to learn about Barbarian Feast Day!
Watching him from the corner of her eye, she decided he did so – with style! Sitting in the floor, with the plate on the small, square table, shirt still unbuttoned… damn, the man made eating with his fingers sexy, even! Bronwyn had difficulty focusing on the books.
“I said talk, Bronwyn.” Severus was now intent on his plate, never looking up. “Your thoughts rattle about your head like too few marbles in an oversized jar.” Long fingers held the bread in front of his mouth. “If you do not tell me what troubles you, I will get another headache.” The bread and finger disappeared into his mouth. Only then did he look up and regard her with the most apathetic expression.
She opened her mouth…
He raised a single eyebrow…
“The Twins. They are alive.” she blurted.
“The Weasley Twins?”
Ah, that was right. She did not KNOW the Weasleys, the prankster progeny of that most auspicious family. Severus quietly chuckled.
“Which twins, madam?”
Her eyebrows came together in an angry knot. “Oh, who is being obtuse now? Which twins, my arse! Elrond’s, you nincompoop! Elrohir! Elladan!”
“Ah. THOSE twins.” Severus’ eyes returned to his plate, picking and choosing over the carcass of the bird. “I am happy for them.” Elrond’s sons, alive? After how many millennia? Severus wondered what Fountain of Youth they tapped into.
“Severus!” She tore across the room and flung herself on the floor across from him. “The Twins. The Warrior Twins. Elrond’s sons. The Wizards’ ancestors… your ancestors…”
Severus lifted a single finger. “Not mine. According to that Elf of yours, I am descended from their sister, Arwen.” He returned his full attention to his plate. ” I do not know why that makes me feel better about the whole thing!” he muttered, dryly.
For the first time in ages, food actually had a taste… and it tasted good. He delved back into the plate.
“Severus! The Twins! They are alive…”
“I believe we covered that already.”
“Merlin’s…thong, Severus!” The Potion Master nearly spewed his meal right there at her inelegant and pitifully worded curse, “Elrond’s sons! Those that he has thought dead for over thirty seven thousand years. He has grieved them, as well as his wife Celebrian, and their grandparents, Celeborn and Galadriel…”
“That perverted curmudgeon is a grandfather?”
“…have grieved their loss for so long. They are alive!” She grabbed his hands, he still struggling to put the piece of food held twixt his fingers in his mouth.
He finally gave up.
“So, they are alive. Send Elrond my congratulations, by owl or card and be done with it! May I please eat my food?”
“You are a total shite!” She smacked him, at his hands and threw herself into the chair behind her. “You don’t get it at all…”
“Apparently not…” he mumbled, as he returned to his plate.
“Severus Snape! Pay attention!” He raised an eyebrow at her terse tone of voice. If she used THIS voice in a classroom, no student would brook her. Why, she could almost come to his level of imperiousness.
“Listen carefully. As far as any have known, the Twins have been dead for oh, thirty seven thousand years. But from what Bobbin has told me,” and she had told Snape that story, “they still live. Yet, they did not come forward when we arrived almost three years ago. They knew how ecstatic their parents and grandparents would be! They had friends arrive back.”
Severus finally decided he was full and using the napkin the bird-brained house elf had managed to remember, wiped his mouth and fingers. Eating with one’s fingers. What a novel concept!
“So, simply owl Elrond or Celeborn and tell them the Twins are alive.” he shrugged.
He knew if she had anything in hand, she would have launched it at him. The thought that she was fuming amused him. The fact that he himself was causing her to fume amused him even more.
“I can’t do that! ‘Dearest Elrond. Had an amazing conversation with a house elf the other day. He says he is descended from Orcs and your boys, stinkers that they are, are still alive! What say we send out a search party?’ I cannot write that!”
“Why ever not? Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.” He caught the heavy book aimed at his head. “Madam, if you wish to hurl books at me, please do not use mine, but your own!”
“Severus! They did not come forward when we arrived, or afterwards. They have remained hidden. Why? I cannot just write him and tell him unless we find th…”
“We? No. There is no ‘we’ in finding Elrond’s wandering sons. Owl him, tell him, drop it. You and I have other things on our agenda!”
“I cannot just sit here and do nothing! They are the fathers of my grandsons. Oh, Sweet Ellbereth! Faeowynne! What will Faeowynne do?”
Severus thought of Bronwyn’s daughter, this one who had slept with BOTH Twins in order to have children by both. “If you have to ask what you think your daughter will do upon discovering her lovers are still alive, I have to wonder how you had children to begin with.”
Another book was thrown at him. He snatched this one from the air as well. “I believe I specifically asked you not to use my books as weapons.” Gracefully, he stood up, standing tall above her. “Please change the subject. You are still seething with this one and I, for one, could care less at this time. Therefore, I shall leave you to agitate on it for a while. What other loose marble vexes thee?”
With her back turned, she mimicked him. What vexes thee, what vexes thee, head wagging in aggravation.
The wolf snorted at that.
She thought for a moment, the wheels turning. She opened her mouth to protest.
“No.” He lifted a finger to cut her off. “I will not discuss the Twins any further at this time.” He took in her angry look. “This information is new to you and you do not know what to do with it.”
“I hate it when you do that!”
Severus leaned over, bracing himself over her, hands on the arms of the chair. His shirt hung open, revealing ridged abs. “Do what?”
“Read my mind!” Bronwyn’s eyes bore into his, fires burning. “Haldir did not… could not read my mind.”
“Haldir had thirty eight thousand years to know you. I do not have that luxury.”
I do not wish that luxury… I think…
Her scent rose… raspberries… and he leaned in and over her, his nose at her earlobe…
Bronwyn’s mind was racing. She was furious at her inability to shield herself from him, furious at the events racing through her mind that she could not control, enraged at her inability to remove her eyes from the pale, marble chest in front of her… enveloping her… burning wood… rosemary… peppermint…
“Focus, Bronwyn. What else… upsets you…”
Her finger lifted… traced the ridge of a muscle. Cool fingers trailed downwards, around his side. To the buckled ridge she could not smooth.
And oh, how she had tried…
Her face turned, into his, lips barely apart. He could feel her breath as she spoke and it took every ounce of self-control he possessed not to take her right there.
The fingers continued to trace the wound.
“You lied. Voldemort did not do this to you.”
If years, centuries, millennia could be carried in a single voice, it was carried in hers.
“He ordered it. He might as well have done it.”
Her fingers continued their path under his shirt, up his back.
“Voldemort did not do this one, either.”
“But he ordered it, Bronwyn. He did it.”
Gods, he wanted her… she was close, close enough for the taking…
“Everything you did, you did at his command. Or at Dumbledore’s as a spy. Yet you cleave to your guilt.” Her fingers continued their gentle caress. “Why would you forgive those that did this, in his name, yet you will not forgive yourself?”
If he did not break contact, he would take her, right there on the chair…
If you harm her, Wizard… take her before she is truly ready, I will chase you through Death’s Door myself. Then you will deal with me and all the magics in creation will not aid you.
Severus pulled back, shocked at the intrusion. He jerked his head to her familiar.
Amadeus stared, his eyes cold, fur bristling. His lip was curled up, canines showing.
“Severus?” The Potions Master turned and looked back at her, brow furrowed.
“You saw what all I have done, at his command, at Dumbledore’s command. Would you forgive me?”
Bronwyn looked horrified at his question. “I do not blame you! Iluvatar knows wretched things have been done during war to correct the balance, to right the wrongs.”
“Then you are one of few who do not blame me for mistakes made at the lowest point of my life.”
“Then chalk it up as that. A mistake made in youth! A mistake I know you have worked to correct, to pay for. God knows I have done things…”
In a fit of perverse fury, he jerked her to him. “What would you have done, oh Noble Bard, Historian of the Masses, Savior of the Wizards. In my shoes, what would you have done?”
What have you done that is so abhorrent?
With equal fury, she pulled and turned away. No, not fury, but sorrow.
“Severus, I can’t answer that. I just know what I saw. The pain and guilt you carry is overwhelming.” She looked at the bowl, high on a shelf. She knew what it was. Had seen it in her ministrations. “Severus, you have a pensieve. Why do you not put those memories there? They bind you. If you could place them there, it would set you free.”
“Do you truly believe that?”
“Yes, I do.”
Large, calloused hands settled on her shoulders and turned her. With a gentleness she did not think he was capable of, he reached down and clasped one hand between both of his. “My worst memories are in that bowl. I do not turn these loose because they mold me, shape me, cause me not to forget who I am, what I am, what I was.” He took in the look of confusion on her face. “Would you give up the memory of Haldir’s death? Could you truly give up that entire memory up?”
In a split second, Severus found himself where he never thought he would be.
Where he did NOT want to be.
Her memory of Haldir’s death.
It was a small, secluded restaurant. He could smell the food, the wine. Silverware scraping plates, the low hum of intimate onversation. They had been seated in an isolated, dark corner, away from prying and curious eyes. They had still been stared at, pointed at, whispered about…
‘Haldir. That is Haldir of the Elves, Valinor.’
‘His wife… Bronwyn… Tel’ Lindar… The Bard…’
Women had looked appreciatively at the Elf, wondering how a nondescript, robust woman had captured the heart of one so beautiful. That he had eyes for no one but her was obvious.
When they rose to leave, people stepped to the side, allowing the Big Elf room to move. The two walked side by side, equals, the closeness they shared, evident, he was holding her by the hand.
She chattered, chattered like a magpie, endlessly going on and on and the Elf was smiling at something she said.
Then they exited the building.
She stood in front and was standing on tip toes, reaching for his mouth…
Severus heard the hammer draw back, heard the safety mechanism drop.
Quick, quicker than a human could move, the Elf had shoved her behind him, back through the doorway, eyes moving, darting.
One moment he stood, proud, angry, searching for the one who dared harm her, dared to try to take her from him; the next, he was crumbling, falling backwards, his tunic darkening with blood.
She was screaming. Gods, he remembered that scream; it had gone on and on and on…
She was mumbling, incoherent words. And the Big Elf, dying, yet so calm in the face…
“Trust him, Baraermin. Trust the new Guardian. Trust Elrond’s child. Find your bow. I love you.”
“What new Guardian? You are Lord of my heart, my only Guardian.”
“Trust him… I love you, Baraermin…”
Just as quickly, he found himself, back in his study. Bronwyn stood before him, face in her hands, weeping.
From the moment he had been shot, he knew! He knew what the Wizard would be to her.
And he had told her to trust me… dying, he told her to trust me.
Bronwyn was looking at him with tear – streaked eyes. “N’uma. I would never give that memory away. As horrid as it is, it was the last time I held him, the last time he touched me, the last time he said he loved me. No. I’ll not give that one up.”
Her breathing was ragged and he strode around her, leaving her for the moment in her raw grief. He stepped up to the fireplace and grabbing the Scotch from the mantle, poured her a hefty glass, before downing a swallow himself.
“Drink it.” He placed the glass in front of her.
Even true love – true love
Breathes fire onto mirrors
Find me at the gates of wisdom
Questions falling, falling on deaf ears
He had allowed her to cry it out. Best get if over with, he figured. She had finally sunk to the floor, mentally curling inward. He allowed her to sit there for an enormous amount of time before pulling her from the cold stone and dropping her in a chair. Her head was down, hair hanging in front of her face.
Severus felt the need to say something… comforting.
“I understand your desire to keep that particular memory for the reasons you stated. Please understand that my reasons for keeping mine are similar.”
Bronwyn’s head jerked up, her eyes remarkably clear.
The question burned, was branded on his mind. Severus Snape was never one to bandy thoughts, to wait patently when an opportunity presented itself. And despite her recent outburst, he wanted to know.
“What memory plagues you that you would feel guilt over? What memory haunts you to the point of illness? What memories would you put in a pensieve, if you could?”
Her smile sent chills up his spine.
With a lithe grace that belied her stature, she stood, taking his hands into hers.
“Let me show you a time long ago, of powers unknown and untested, of a gift I consider a curse…”
One minute, Severus was standing, looking down at her.
The next, he was flying.
21 Sunday May 2023
Chapter 10 – A little dirt with your tea, sir or the Story of Buh Buh Bobbin
The usual disclaimers apply. You know who I am and you know who I
ain’t. You know what I claim and you know what I cain’t. IF that
don’t to it, go find the prologue…
A little dirt with your tea, sir or The Story of Buh Buh Bobbin.
The room was open, really more a patio, framed by beautifully draped
trees. The wind was nippy, cold even and the area was filled with
people. Music filled the air and the Voyeur saw among the throng…
The Big Elf.
They stood at the front of the gathering, she dressed in a heavy
red woolen dress, exquisitely worked. The Big Elf was in blue hues
with fur trimming. The Voyeur watched her look at the red-headed
Elfling standing in front of the crowd with the Elf Lord, his
clothing resplendent as well.
Appreciative murmuring through the crowd.
“Lle naa vanima. She is beautiful.”
“Of course she is! Look at her father… her grandfather…her
mother as well…”
Two Elves the Voyeur recognized walked through the crowd. The
Prince of Greenwood, Legolas. His daughter, Orelinde…
“My son did well. She was a fine mate for him.”
The Voyeur grimaced. “I must sit through weddings, now? I think I
The Elf raised an elegant eyebrow. “You did specify happy memories.”
The Voyeur’s fingers flicked at unseen dust. “So tell me, was he
forced to marry her?” He remembered well the two being caught in such a… reprehensible manner…
“You mean, did he impregnate her, thereby rushing or forcing their
bonding? No. Unlike my youngest daughter and her husband-” the Big
Elf pointed out a petite blonde elleth and a tall Elf – Heridil – “-
Beckett and Orelinde had the sense to wait until after the bonding
ceremony to agree.”
“Yes. Agree.” Amused blue eyes looked into the Voyeur’s black
ones. “In Elven society, two must agree mutually in order to have
children. Beckett and his lady chose to wait. Anselm and Heridil, on
the other hand…”
The Voyeur looked closely and saw the small bundle the Elf held close
to him. A tiny face peered upwards, attempting to focus and the Elf
smiled down indulgently.
“Our first grandchild. A male. An Elfling.” The Big Elf was lost in
thought for a moment. “Lord Celeborn told me once that male Elflings
were a source of pride to an Ada. A father.” He focused his eyes on
the Voyeur. “Sons who grow to be strong Elves. Girls, Elleths, she-
Elves, on the other hand, are a father’s sunshine. They are moonbeamsdancing on the linens at night. Harken to my words, there is something special about putting that pile of ruffles on your arm.”
The wind blew and seasons changed.
The Voyeur watched as the Big Elf walked the elleth through a
small group of people to the tall Elf who had become her husband.
“That was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Baraermin
dealt with it much better.” The words were whispered in his ear and
the Voyeur sought out the Woman. Again the Elf Lord stood, speaking
solemn words, the Big Elf reluctant to turn loose of his child,
finally transferring his tight grasp to his wife, who watched with
The wind blew again, whipping cruelly about the Voyeur and he found
himself standing in a huge hall, in the midst of crowds of richly
dressed people. A beautiful, dark-haired she-Elf, gently rested her
hand on the arm of a stoic, hard-muscled Man, who looked strangely
out of place and uncomfortable in his rich clothing.
“Arwen. The Evenstar of Imladris.”
“My relative…” The Voyeur was struck by the beauty of the she-Elf.
“Nay. As much as I would love to say she was too beautiful for you
to be hers, you are her direct descendant. You are one of the few to
come from her line, not the twins. You are the descendant of a great
king, one who did not want the title, one who would prefer to stay in
the background, doing what needed to be done. Quietly protecting. You are also the direct descendant of a great Elf Lord…” the Big Elf
held out his hand, gesturing…
“Behold. Lord Elrond of Rivendell.”
The Elf stood in the corner, watching his daughter. His robes were
rich in dark proportment and his face was etched, lined. He had sharp
features, a sharp nose and his mouth turned downward. His sapphire
blue eyes glittered.
“He is unhappy with his daughter’s choice.” The Voyeur mused.
“Why? She married a king.”
“She embraced, preferred mortality rather than life. By marrying
Ellessar, she chose a mortal life. At his death, she went into the
Golden Woods and lay on the hill of Cerin Amroth and faded. She could not bear to live without him.”
The wind blew again.
It was summer, warm, a beautiful day. A large, but intimate
gathering of people stood around and the Voyeur heard her voice.
“Celeborn? Am I getting married today?”
Apparently, she was. Escorted by the Elf Lord, Celeborn, and
dressed in a simple lace gown of white, the Voyeur watched as she was led towards the top of the hill, where the Big Elf and the Elf Lord
Elrond waited. Along the way, she was stopped, handed a rose and
whispers of love and good wishes were heaped upon her.
“Must you marry the big, mean, ugly Elf?” The Halfling peered up at
the Woman, his eyes searching. Hers were wide in astonishment.
“Pippin was always frightened of me. I do not know why.” The Big
Elf looked nonchalantly thoughtful.
“Perhaps, it as because you are a mean, big, ugly Elf?”
The Big Elf’s smile was mirthless.
“Listen.” And from the hill, the voices of the Big Elf and the
Woman could be heard easily.
“…I’d give up forever to speak with you,
to hear my name on your lips.
I would give up forever to talk with you,
to share with you your dreams.
I would give up forever to sing with…”
And the Big Elf’s vows droned on. She answered in an equally strong
“Entreat me not to leave thee or to return from following after thee:
for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge, thy people shall be my people and thy God, my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.”
The scenery froze.
The Big Elf turned towards the Voyeur.
“The hardest thing I had ever done was give my beloved daughter away to an Elf. A strong Elf, a loving Elf, who I liked and admired. He
was good to her and for her. He was a wonderful Ada, father to the
children she bore him.”
“But now, I am asked to do something even more difficult. I must give
my Heart, My most precious jewel, to one I do not know. To one I do
not think appreciates her. To one who does not understand her. You do not comprehend her gifts, her calling, nor her burdens.”
“She is the very air I breathe. Saes… please. Help her. Help her
find her bow.” The Big Elf laid a single finger across the lips of
the Voyeur and he found himself chanting with the Elf…
She is our greatest treasure, our Air, she is our heart.
Our heart… our heart…
Well you think that you can take me on
You must be crazy
There ain’t a single thing you’ve done
That’s gonna phase me
Oh, but if you want to have a go
I just want to let you know
Get off my back and into my game
Get off my back
Celeborn stayed for three days, talking to Dumbledore, Rumil, riding
with Bronwyn and Hagrid.
Which was fine with Severus, because he watched the Elf Lord in
The Wizard did not understand or like the touchy-feely relationship
Bronwyn had with Celeborn. It unnerved him, made him feel…
If he did not know better, he would have sworn he was feeling the
stirrings of jealousy.
But he knew better and just continued to watch.
And when the Elf Lord left, Bronwyn and Snape escorted him to the
“Tithen Aras, I will return soon for Rumil. Please be prepared.”
The petulant pout Snape was so familiar with presented itself in its
“Do not do that to me, Celeborn. Please. He is a great source of
An elegant eyebrow arched, as the Elf raised a long, graceful finger
and wagged it under her nose. “Do not attempt to gainsay me,
sweetling. You have had him an enormous time, however I need my March Warden and you need to prepare for your students.” His eyes raised to the Dark Wizard beside her. “Not to mention, you have other things that need attending.” Bronwyn scowled at him.
Celeborn playfully scowled back.
“Do not think to use your tears on me. I am immune!”
For all of his beauty and elegance, Celeborn’s snort was neither. He
drew her into his embrace and kissed her on her forehead. “Do not
scowl so. You will get a furrow identical to this Wizard’s here and
then we would not be able to tell the two of you apart.” Severus
snorted at that. “You have much to do. I will be back soon. Hopefully, the two of you will have made some progress. I will be most happy to hear about it.” And with a quick kiss on the corner of her mouth, Celeborn boarded the train.
Bronwyn waited and waved until it rounded the corner and was
completely out of sight.
“Come, Bronwyn. I have cauldrons to administer to and you have things to do.” Severus tucked her hand in his elbow and led her back to the school.
The days passed slowly. Knowing their time together was drawing to a
close, Rumil and Bronwyn spent an enormous amount of it together,
shooting, fletching arrows, talking, singing, remembering. Celeborn
had loaned her his lute, as her guitar was not usable in its current
state. She had Haldir’s harp, but it sat on her mantle, in a place of
honor of sorts next to her teddy bear. Many evenings, she and Rumil
would sit outside Hagrid’s door, each with an acoustical instrument
and `folk-jamming.’ And if Wizards and Witches seemed to stroll by
often, or sit outside to enjoy the weather, it was not noted or
remarked on too terribly much. The music was elaborate in its
simplicity and while Hagrid was not a lovely singer, he did make
lovely melodies on his wooden flute, harmonizing with the strings of
the Elf and Woman.
Get out of my way and out of my brain
Get outta my face or give it you best shot
I think it’s time you better face the fact
Get off my back
Get off my back
His head hurt. His neck hurt. His back hurt. Hell, everything hurt
and Bronwyn was purely vexed at his refusal to do anything about it.
So she decided enough was enough.
She was in her accustomed spot – on a stool in front of his caldrons,
poking her nose into each and every one. She was swinging her feet
and ruffling Amadeus’ fur with each pass.
“Bronwyn, do you have nothing better to do?” Severus scowled, eyes
glittering through the steam. “Where is Rumil?”
“With Madame Hooch.”
“Or is it Minerva tonight? Maybe Russ…” her voice trailed off. “I
“Whatever. Go pester Remus.”
“Full moon tonight.” She shrugged an apology.
“Severus!” He completed his stirring and looked wearily at the woman
sitting across from him. “Your head aches. Please let me help.”
“Bah!” She smacked the counter, the sound rousing the sleeping wolf
at her feet. “You are worse than any two year old I have ever
met. `No’ to this, `no’ to that. You are an irritating man!”
Snape raised his eyebrows and began to pull ingredients from a nearby shelf.
When he turned around, she was gone. He looked around the counter. Amadeus still lay where he had been, under her chair, dark blue eyes staring holes…
“Do you not wish to join her?”
Amadeus proceeded to gnaw on the leg of the chair, flashing white
canines shining eerily in the gloom of the room.
She breezed back through the door, carrying vials, several pouches,
and a small pot. She passed the chair, the counter, heading straight
across the classroom, into…
… his private chambers?
“Bronwyn. What are you doing?” Scowling, he came around the counter and followed her.
She was not in the sitting area.
Damn it all, she was…
“Get out of my chambers! You have quite a bit of… what are you
doing?” He watched as she set the small metal container next to his
bed and proceeded to arrange oils next to it. Quickly, she measured
different liquids and poured them into the bowl and with the flick of
a lighter, lit the small candle beneath it. She turned back around
and scooping up the vials, she brushed past him as she exited the
“Bronwyn. I ask…”
“Uma, yes, yes, you asked a question.” She never looked back. “I am
going to see what I can do about your headache, whether you like it
or not.” She went around the counter and gently placed the vials
down. She began to look around, under the counter, on the shelf.
Amadeus continued to gnaw quite happily on the stool leg.
In response to her rattling around his bins, Severus rubbed his
temples. “I do not desire your help in this.”
“Dammit to hell! You don’t get it, do you, Severus?” Bronwyn turned
on him, hand on her hip. “Your headache is giving me one! I don’t
“Hal – DEAR never gave you a headache?”
“No!” She smacked the counter again. “HalDEAR had the good sense to allow me to minister to him when they began!”
The Potions Master continued to rub on his temples, vexed at her
argument. “I really do not desire your Elvish magic…”
” Listen close and listen carefully, you self-serving, uptight
Neithadol! I really don’t give a warg’s arse what you do or do not
desire at this point.” Her voice was clipped, sharp and his eyes
popped open at her angry tone. “Your headache is killing me! You
aren’t resting, you haven’t had a decent nights sleep in even you
don’t know how long. And you talked about me not being any good to
you if I didn’t eat! Well, you are no good to me if you are falling
over exhausted with a migraine! I promise I will not embarrass you or
ask you to do something unnatural… well… whatever is unnatural
for you!” She began to look around again. “I need a small pot…” she
made a small circle with her hands, eyes never leaving the
shelf, “… about so big…”
Severus sighed angrily and rolled his eyes, setting the headache off
on another tangent of throbs. “I do not have pots, madam! I have
“Fine! A small cauldron will do!” She held her circled fingers towards him.
“Bronwyn, I do not desire your help in this!”
She narrowed her eyes in anger. “Fine. I’ll just use this one here.”
She nodded to a rather large cauldron that was empty. She flicked her
lighter, the flame dangerously high.
“Bronwyn, no!” He reached out a grabbed the lighter from her
hand. “The one on your left is dangerously flammable!” She swung her hand over the cauldrons, attempting to grab the lighter from him.
Realizing that she would be unable to retrieve the small appliance,
she reiterated her request, her fingers encircled. “About so big!”
He stared at her, unbelieving her cheek. “Bronwyn, I…”
“Severus. Please.” she pleaded softly. “Saes.”
She looked completely worn down. Did he truly affect her as she
affected him? “Honestly, Severus, what could it hurt?”
Let her try.
“Over there.” he pointed. “There are beakers on the top shelf.” She smiled, nodding her head in thanks and quickly retrieved a small
receptacle from the spot. He had her set up away from the different
cauldrons and watched with interest as she began to carefully pour
different oils into the small vessel.
“What is all that?” It was interesting as the tables turned and he
sat on the stool, watching her through the steam, for a change.
“Chamomile, lavender, peppermint.” She carefully watched the tiny
drop slowly fall into the glass. “Just a small bit of peppermint.”
She made a funny smile and poured a healthy dollop. “Alright! A lot
of peppermint!” Another drop. “Rosemary. Melissa.” She switched to
the pouches and began to sprinkle herbs. “Sage, French Clary Sage, to be exact, piperitol… would you conjure large pot of tea?… ah…”
she was digging through the small leather bags, “there it is… aloe
and glycerin!” The oils were simmering and she used a long, glass
stir stick to swirl the combined oils. “Is the tea ready?”
Severus nodded towards the teapot the house elf had brought and
levitated it her way. Watching it set gently next to her, she removed
the lid and began to drop differing herbs into it.
“What are you putting in the tea?”
“I have no idea.” She admitted. “Lord Elrond gave it to me when I
needed to relax and I need you to relax.” She took in his look of
apprehension and laughed. “Loosen up, Severus. I am not going to kill
you. As much as I hate to admit it, I need you alive and well! So
here!” She stirred the liquid and put the lid back on, handing it to
him. “Drink up! It’s not addictive and it won’t knock you out!”
He poured out a cupful and sipped.
And promptly spat it back out.
“Madam! This tastes like…”
“Dirt. I know.” she smiled. “I often accused Elrond of trying to pull
one over on me and lying to me, but he insisted it was not and it
does work.” She flicked her fingers at him. “Besides, you gave me
that nasty shite when I had the bruises, so drink up!”
Slowly, he sipped the vile liquid, watching her closely.
Watched her swirl the oils in the vessel.
Watched her fingers caress the top, slide up and down the neck.
Watched the heat of her gaze…
“How much longer, Bronwyn?”
She did not look up, smiling down into the oils. “When you finish
your tea.” She removed the glass vial from the flame. “And as soon as
Severus poured the final dregs from the teapot. “And exactly what are
you going with that mixture and that which is in my room?”
She blew into the beaker, attempting to cool the oil faster. “The
oils in your room will create a pleasant scent designed to soothe
Oh joy, he thought, snidely. A soothed Snape. Wouldn’t his students
love to get a hold of that mixture!
“And the oil you have brow-beaten me into concocting here in my lab?”
She walked around the counter and looked at the beastie at Severus’
“Amadeus. Stop chewing on Professor Snape’s stool.” The wolf took one long look at the woman, mouth open and clamped on the wooden leg. Growling low, he took one last vicious chomp at the wood and then stood up, trotting into the Potions Master’s private rooms.
“Bronwyn, I do not want that hound in my chambers. And you did not
answer my question!”
She had moved behind him, soft hands planting themselves on his
Her lips on his ear.
“What was the question?”
He felt her playfulness, her desire… her need to…
Let her try.
“The question was how will you use the oil in that beaker to ease my
headache?” He continued to stare at the cauldrons in front of him. He
felt her smile against his ear.
“Khila Amin.” She squeezed his shoulders and turned loose. He spun
around quickly, only to see her heading towards his door.
“In English, madam!”
Bronwyn stopped in the doorway. The man was simply exasperating! “I said `khila amin’, Severus. Follow me.” Before she could get through
the door, he had pulled out his wand and levitated her back in front
She was not happy.
“I asked and I asked very nicely, madam, exactly how you plan to use
that oil,’ he used his wand to point to the beaker, “to ease this
headache?” He used the same slender rod to gesture to his head.
“You know, if you insist on using your magic on me, I’ll be forced to
use mine on you!” she gently chided.
“Ah.” He replaced his wand and nodded. “You will shatter all my
beakers with rap shite and then melt me like you did that most
Her eyes fell, smoldering embers on the floor. Snape noticed the wolf
now standing in the doorway of his chambers, eyes on her. She
clutched the beaker and the pouch close to her breasts. He felt
“You know, ” her voice was forced between clenched teeth, “I wanted
to do this nicely. But you won’t allow it. No niceties in your life, nope!” Her head jerked up and he could see eyes shining in angry, unshed tears. “You think I glory in my grief and maybe I do. Well, you glory in your own self-inflicted guilt. And you enjoy it!”
Severus rose up, standing over her and was minutely pleased that she did not back down. “What would you know of guilt, madam? What would you know of the atrocities I have committed in the name of good and in the name of evil?” He took a breath to continue, only to have her hand shoved up in his face.
“Talk to the hand, arsehole! What do I know of guilt? One word. Smut.
Okay, I lied. Three words; Smut the Dragon. But he is neither here
nor there. The point is, I’m trying to help, you are being a total
wanker and I’m tired of it! I can’t rest when you thrash…”
“I cannot sleep because your husband will not give me a minute’s
peace!” he roared over her.
“Haldir isn’t the issue here, so fuck Haldir!”
“You have fucked him, madam! Perhaps you could have a little chat
The furnace was stoked and he felt her tamp down once more.
And she smiled.
In that second, he knew what a smile for an Orc was.
“You have a choice.”
“Really?” he snarled. “That would be a first.”
“Yeesssss!” Her eyes narrowed. “I am giving you a choice. Choice A:
You allow me to tend to your headache.”
“And choice B?”
“You suffer until the Valar cry `uncle’. And, Severus?” she leaned
towards him and smiled sweetly, “I’ve had major dealings with one or
two of the Valar. They NEVER cry `uncle’.”
The wolf stared, grinning.
“Your choice.” she stepped back, totally engrossed in her pouches.
Let her try…
Severus rubbed his temples. Now that wretched husband of hers was
haunting his thoughts in the day…
“You can guarantee… relief?”
“Trust me.” She held her hand out to him. “Saes. Khila Amin.” As
quickly as the fire had risen, it lowered, changing… “Please. I
just want to help.”
As he followed her into his rooms, he realized her scent had
…to that of late summer raspberries.
There’s something about the silent type
Attracting me to you
All business baby none of the hype
Shut up and kiss me…
Shut up and kiss me
Mary Chapin Carpenter
By the time he reached his room, she was there. The scented oils had
enveloped the room, permeating it with a pleasing… alright, damn it
all… a relaxing essence. It pained him to admit it, but that much was right. He stopped behind her, as she turned around and looked up
“I need you to take off your shirt.”
Eyebrows arched up. “What?” It was whispered, a dangerous tone every student feared.
But she was not a student.
“I need for you to take off your shirt.” She flipped her fingers. “Hurry. I don’t want this to get too cool.” The vial was offered up; a sacrifice for the relief of his pain.
“Bronwyn. We are back to my original question that you have never
answered. What, pray tell, are you going to do with that oil?”
“You haven’t guessed yet?” Her smile widened. “I am going to give you a backrub…”
The smile was replaced by a rather screwed face.
“Severus? Are you having difficulty hearing me?” She took in his
serious face, unaltering , deep stare. “Mass-sage…” Her fingers
worked in an infinite circle. “Come on, the oil is cooling. Take it
“Madam, I truly think…”
“Look!” She tossed the pouch on the stand next to the bed and that
same hand went directly to her hip. “You have nothing that I already
haven’t seen, so don’t be shy! Now your shirt… sir!”
His fingers went to the buttons, slowly undoing the fastenings. “Is
there anything else you would like removed?”
“No, but would you give me my lighter back? The oil has cooled to
Instead, Severus, with his shirt now unbuttoned, took the glass flask
from her and with a few words, reheated the small vial. As he
concentrated on the task, she took the free moment to admire the
finely ribbed abdomen, the muscles across a lean chest, the slight
layering of crisp, black ha…
“Madam?” He was holding the vial towards her.
“Ah, yes.” her smile brightened and she watched as he shrugged from
the fine linen clothing. She quickly looked around. “I guess you
should lay on the bed. I can reach you better.”
His eyebrow arched sardonically as he advanced. “Are you quite sure
that I am… safe from your… charms?” His eyes never left hers.
“My charms? I have no charms! I have a warm bottle of oil and that’s
it!” Her voice was too bright, too fast, her smile, too wide. Just
wait, he thought to himself.
He did not have to wait long.
The moment he turned his back to her and turned towards the bed, the gasp he knew he would hear escaped from her.
“Oh, sweet Elbereth. Who did this to you?”
It was a whispered, pained and despite trying to prepare for it and
pretending it mattered not, Severus closed his eyes in self-loathing,
despising the pity in her voice.
His back looked as if someone had beat him with a whip. The skin was not broken, yet the muscles beneath were lashed, knotted. Her hand immediately went to the scarred muscles, the anguish in her
“Who did this to you? Tell me!”
“It does not matter, Bronwyn.” He did not realize he had reverted
back to her name. “He is dead.” His tone was harsh, clipped.
“Fine!” She pushed herself in front of him. “Resurrect him, so I can
kill him properly!”
Her anger was righteous and he grimly smiled at the fierce, small
tiger in front of him. Had it been not five minutes previous, she had
stood up to him and with the same anger aimed at him, told him the
Valar did not cry uncle?
“Bronwyn, it does not pain me. It is tight at times, stiff…”
She moved behind him, her touch cool, gently stroking the ridges
created. “Small wonder you have a headache.” Like a sigh, he felt her
lips brush the middle of his back, her fingers lightly caressing. “What did this? What curse?”
“I would suspect a dozen too many Cruciatus.”
She peered around him, worry etched on her features. “A Cruciatus?”
“A rather ugly, Unforgivable curse.”
It was quiet for a few moments, while she continued to stroke his
More silence. “His death. It was painful? Wretched?”
“It was not pleasant.”
Snape turned and gazed down at her. Her countenance was fierce,
She is the Mother; protective of those she cares for…
He shook his head, to get the Big Elf’s voice from his thoughts.
“Blood-thirsty little thing, are you not?”
Her eyes slid, upwards into his. “Lie down.”
Severus lay on the large bed, resting his head on curled arms. He
felt the mattress dip, as she climbed on the bed and straddling him,
settled herself gently on his posterior.
“Are you… comfortable?” His tone was mocking. He felt her fingers
brushing his long hair to the side, exposing his spine, his neck. She
wiggled, pressing him into the mattress.
His body responded and he was glad he was on his stomach, hidden from her. The desire to turn over and impale her was overwhelming.
“Ah, I believe I told you some weeks back I rather like hard arses.”
He felt the warm liquid drizzle onto his spine. “And you have a hard
Ah, he thought to himself, but my arse was not what you were talking
about at the time. Her fingers roamed, making small circles. Her
right index finger dragged slowly up his spine, to his neck. Gentle
music rose in the air, complementing the serene atmosphere of the
“Your headache,” she began, “is sharpest at the right temple. It
radiates outward and behind your right eye, making it throb. Both
temples ache and your forehead is numb.”
She was right.
“How can you tell all that?”
“Just know. Your neck does not feel right.” He felt her press the
heel of her hand against the bottom of his neck. “Tuck your chin in.”
He did so and as she pressed upwards hard, he felt the bones of his
The pain at his temples quickly dissipated. The heel of her hands
moved back down his spine. She instructed him to pinch his nose hard and focus on the pain he was creating. Within minutes, the throbbing behind his eye lessened.
“And now for these nasty mothers.” Slowly, her fingers trailed along
the ridged scars. She drizzled more heated oil and slowly began to
knead, work the muscle back and forth. “Severus, I know I can help
with the headache I cause, but I don’t know if I can do anything
“Do not worry.” His voice was soft, lulled. “It has helped a great
deal already.” He was focusing in on the lilting music. “Bronwyn.
What are we listening to?”
“Teleman” she whispered. “A flute concerto.” She paused in
thought. “Funny, I forget which one in which key. Strange.”
Slowly, methodically, she worked his shoulders and back, kneading the injured muscles. Her fingers worked in circles, stretching, pulling
back, softening, wound and knotted strips of flesh.
His breathing began to deepen.
“Any cauldron in there that will need tending in the next few hours?”
“The Arin… the royal blue one on the far right. I will need to stir
it at 11:45.”
“Any type of stroke in particular?”
“Forty… three… coun…ter clockwise…”
Within minutes, he was fast asleep.
Bronwyn continued to work on twisted muscles, diligently tending to
the charge under her care, occasionally seeing the curse thrown that
caused it, the pain and suffering he had endured. She came across a
fading tatoo… mark on his arm that caused her heart to catch when
she saw it. Lightly, she brushed her fingers over it and …
Screams, endless screams, pain…
A woman’s face, terrified…
“Please do not hurt me! I’ll tell you anything, please…”
“I am sorry…”
She jerked back her hands.
Severus had been correct. She knew nothing of his guilt. What he had
done for The Cause…
Tears falling into the oils, she continued her ministrations, her
mind working on what she had glimpsed. After 45 minutes, the muscles, while not perfectly smoothed, were greatly improved and she looked down at the sleeping man between her legs. She stroked the lines, not as pronounced on his face, in sleep. Tucking an errant lock of hair behind his ear, she leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on the lobe.
“Haldir, please let him sleep.” she whispered. “He is no good to me,
Amadeus sat at the foot of the bed, listening intently.
I need a sign to let me know you’re here;
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear.
I want a reason for the way things have to be;
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me.
And I’m, calling all angels.
Calling all Angels
It was after midnight.
Bronwyn sat in a leather chair, Amadeus at her feet. She had sent
Bobbin to get Professor Dumbledore to stir the cauldron Severus
needed stirred. As she had no magic, she doubted her ministration
would have been enough. The elderly wizard had stirred and counted
and told Bronwyn to get some rest. As he stepped up to the fireplace
to floo back to his quarters, he turned back to her.
“You have been good for him. To him. I thank you for that.”
She had rolled her eyes and waved him on.
Now she sat, several books from Severus’ private library stacked next
to her. Bobbin had stoked the fire and brought her a blanket to tuck
around her feet. He had fetched her a glass of white wine and sat in
the darkened corner, expectantly. The book in her hand dipped
“Yes, Missy Bronwyn?” The house elf felt comfortable with this
professor. She had a soft voice with him and was kind. She thanked
him. He crept from the corner and stood in front of her. “Would Missy
Bronwyn be wanting food? Another drink or book?”
“N’uma.” Bobbin liked it when she spoke her Elvish language. It
sounded soothing, melodic…
“Come, sit near me.”
Looking around and hearing nothing but the snoring from the bedroom
where Snape slept, the diminutive elf crept up and perched on the arm
of the chair where she sat.
“May I ask you some questions?”
“Oh, Bobbin will answer anything, any question Missy Bronwyn has.”
His face dropped somewhat. “Bobbin does not know if he knows the
answers, but he will try.”
Bronwyn smiled and patted the tiny being on the hand. “How old are
“Oh, Bobbin is quite young. 104!”
“And how old will you live to be?”
“Bobbin’s grandparents are still alive. They are over 300.”
“Interesting.” she mused. “Bobbin? What can you tell me about your
ancestors? Are you kin to the Elves I came with from Valinor?”
Bobbin regarded her for a moment, as if to size her up.
“Bobbin’s ancestors were Orcs, Missy Bronwyn.”
She caught her breath. Orcs were Elves, captured, tortured, by
“What happened? How did Orcs become house elves?”
Bobbin’s eyes grew bigger, deep in thought.
“Some Orcs does not wants to fight. Does nots want to die. They live
peacefully to the East.”
Bronwyn had recorded whispers of quiet Orc communities, lying far to
the east of Mordor. They came to agreements with Aragorn, Ellesar, King of Gondor. Living away…
“But some want to… atone…”
“Atone for what?”
Bobbin seemed to shrink, frightened of the information she
requested. “They wish to work their way. Be forgiven. For wrongs.
They wanted to be Elves again.”
Bronwyn was mesmerized by the story the little elf was telling her.
“They went West.” His eyes dropped downwards and his voice became a hoarse whisper. “They found the Warrior Twins.”
Bronwyn sat up at the news. Warrior Twins. There could only be one
set of Warrior Twins…
Her grandchildren’s fathers.
“And what did the Warrior Twins do?” The sons of Elrond slew every
Orc they could lay hands to. After the capture and torture of their
mother, Celebrian, they had been relentless, merciless in their attempts to
eradicate the abomination of the Orcs. Their prowess was legend;
Bronwyn had seen it first hand, they worked together as a well oiled
machine. That the Orcs had sought them out, they must have been
Bobbin was becoming rather agitated, his fingers winding, threading
amongst themselves. “The Orcs pleaded with the Warrior Twins. Said
they do anything to prove themselves and be forgiven. They would even be servants.”
“So they became servants to the twins and their children.”
“Yes, Missy Bronwyn. They… we don’t want to be bads anymore. We be good elves.” His eyes were pleading, begging for acceptance. She
leaned over and took the elf’s hand.
“Yes, Bobbin. You are good elves.” She squeezed his fingers gently
and smiled. For a moment, the little elf, sighed in relief. “One more
question, Bobbin. Are there any stories of the Twins death? When they died? Where they died?
Bobbin smiled, a beautiful sight, really and they were so rare.
“Missy Bronwyn. They are not dead.”
Bobbin leaned forward, his whisper, conspiratorial . The smile left
his face and he became suddenly serious; awed…
“Oh, no, Missy Bronwyn. The Warrior Twins still live.”
As before, Haldir’s vows were written by Lisa Dawn Doyle. I have permission to use it. Bronwyn’s vows are from the Book of Ruth
14 Sunday May 2023
Hello and how are we all? I hope you’re all doing well! I’m hanging in there. Today was a rough day. Mother’s Day.
Chapter 9 – An Elflord’s Advice or A Stolen Kiss
An Elf Lord’s Advice or A Stolen Kiss
The field was flat and the Voyeur could see the wind blowing across the grass, felt it as it whipped through his hair, ruffling it across his face. He could smell salt on the air and he realized he was near a large body of water. He looked to his right and saw the Big Elf. "Well?" he sneered, "what gory images to you have for me this fine evening? So far," and with this, he began to tick the events from his fingers, "you have shown her fondling dead bodies in a bog, straining her eyes in a dark fortress, serenading wolves, vomiting and bleeding in the woods..." The Elf was glaring at him. "Oh, how could I forget?" His fingers flicked as he tucked them into his elbows. "The Uruk hai... that IS what they are called? What a thrill to watch her disembowel them!" The sarcasm in his voice was so thick, one could have walked on it. The Elf's eyes narrowed and the Voyeur heard him inhale deeply. Before he could open his mouth, the Voyeur lifted a single finger. "I am to watch over her, protect her, shield her, guard her, play chess with her; she is your treasure, your heart, your greatest jewel, your Baraer," Oh , the Elf did not like that one bit, "she is everyone's Tithen Aras, their little dear. Did I miss anything?" "The day will come," the Elf gritted between clenched teeth, "that I will be able to deal with you as I see fit. Until that time..." "Oh please, no more vomiting, no more blood, no more wretched battles. Merlin's Robe, if I were she, I would welcome death! Did the two of you actually have any happy memories?" At that, the Elf brightened. "Happy memories? Oh, we had happy memories." "Well, will wonders never cease?" the Voyeur mumbled dryly. The Elf was backing away, hands and palms out. Smiling. Oh, he was up to something... "Behold. Beckett." He realized too late that it wasn't wind that suddenly blew through him. It was a small child. A small child with red hair and pointed ears, wearing nothing but mud. "NONONONONONONO! Nobath! Nobath!" The child turned defiant eyes back towards him and put his tiny fists on his hips, thoroughly uncaring of his total lack of decorum. "Wanna be dirty!" And with that, he turned and took off running again, butt cheeks bouncing. The Woman was standing next to him. Her clothing was wet, mud splattered and she looked as if she didn't know if she should laugh or be angry. "Haldir! Go catch your son!" She looked directly at the Big Elf and pointed in the direction the child was running. The Big Elf smiled devilishly and asked "Baraermin, why is it when he does something you dislike, he becomes My Ion?" He laughed out loud at her flapping mouth and sputterings. His head rose and his voice carried over the grass. "Rumil. Heridil. Retrieve Beckett." Very soon, a tall slender Elf the Voyeur did not recognize came through the field, carrying the slippery, kicking youngster over his shoulder. "Haldir, I do not think this young rascal wishes to bathe... The scene faded... "Happy memories? You wish to see happy memories?" Now, the smell of sea salt was stronger and the Voyeur could see he was on the beach. The Woman and the big Elf's brother were standing in the surf, arms outstretched as if surfing; the red-headed child, chasing crabs at the waters edge; the big Elf standing behind, watching all... Fading waves, fading sky... "Happy memory?" A group of Elves and the Woman riding out, the child seated firmly in the lap of the Big Elf. Identical profiles, identical sneers, identical shoulder set; the child was his father's son, except for hair and eyes. A small finger pointing, jabbing, a tiny mouth jabbering nonsense, until.. "Mama! Mama! Yada! Yada! Yada! Dammit!" "Hey!" The Woman stopped in shock. "That was totally unnecessary, young Beckett!" "Happy memory?" A mountain gorge and a keep built into the side of the crags. The Woman and big Elf stood atop of the walls, looking down, watching another Elf and a... Dwarf, ride off into the sunrise. The Elf's head dipped to her ear... "Have another child with me, Baraermin. Agree. We will leave for Isengard in the spring and he or she can be born there, in the gardens if you wish..." "Aye." The Elf kissed her tenderly and the Voyeur rolled his eyes. A sputtering sound arose from beneath them and they all looked over the edge to see the red-tressed Elfling trying to blow into a horn that was fifty times his size. The Hammerhelm. The War Horn of Helm's Deep... "More air, Beckett! Try again!" The Elfling grinned upwards at his parents and continued to sputter. “Good try…” The bright sky faded and over the span of who knew how long, the Voyeur was forced to watch the Elfling grow; upsetting young girls, calling them Orcs; riding high on shoulders, giggling, laughing, a sorrowful Elfling in the woods, crying on his Uncle's shoulder; an indignant Elfling... "Mama! Please tell Anselm that Old McDonald did NOT have a Warg!" "Did so!" "Did not!" Childish arguing. The Voyeur's head ached. One hand went to his eyes, rubbing... "Happy memory?" A room. A well-furnished, beautiful room. The Big Elf sat on a desk, a scroll in his hand. Behind him, the Elf that had brought the Woman - the Silver Lord, Celeborn the Wise, he is called, sat. Another Elf - Heridil - looking worried. Screaming, coming from the hall... The Woman was screeching. She was being argued with, a male voice, authoritative, used to being obeyed. The Silver Lord motioned for the Elf by the door to open it and the volume raised considerably. "Unhand my son, you Neithadol!" "She was quite angry." The Big Elf whispered towards the Voyeur, in a conspiratorial manner. "She had every right to be." "Nay, I am going to beat him..." "In a pig's eye! You will not touch my son! Not until I do it first!" This was followed by cursing in an unknown language. At least, the Voyeur thought it might be cursing. The Big Elf calmly turned and rolling up the scroll he and the Elf Lord had been looking at, turned back around and sat at the edge of the desk, and waited with his arms crossed. The scene was almost comical. Two young Elves - male and female - were shoved unceremoniously into the room by combative, enraged adults. It looked as if the elleth had grabbed the nearest thing to wear - in this case, the tunic the male Elf - Beckett - must have started out wearing. Beckett was struggling into his leggings with every step, trying to dodge both the male Elf and the Woman. Upon seeing the Big Elf in front of them, the two younglings cowered, embraced in each other’s arms. No doubt what they had been caught doing! "That-", the Big Elf pointed at the tall slender Elf arguing with the Woman, "is Legolas, Prince of Greenwood. The rather comely young elleth-" he then pointed to the female in Beckett's arms, "is Orelinde, Legolas' daughter." He grinned rakishly and winked. "My son! He has good taste!" No doubt, the Big Elf was proud of his son's conquest. The arguing between the Prince and the Woman continued to escalate. "I will see him throttled and throttled well!" "No, you will not! You will have to go through me!" The two were nose to nose, the Prince bent over, attempting to intimidate the Woman; the Woman was on her toes, fists bouncing at her side, peppering each consonant, refusing to be dominated. "He seduced my daughter!" "Excuse me?" The Woman had pushed right up against the angry Elf and was now attempting to intimidate him. "Excuse me? Who was riding who?" "Is she not magnificent?" The Big Elf's chest swelled with pride; he had eyes for only the Woman. His hand encased the air in front of him. "Can you see her passion? Her zest for life? Her zeal is her strength!" Quickly, the big Elf took a step forward and became part of the battle. "Din!" The two adults continued their skirmish. "I said SILENCE!" The ensuing quietness became as irritating as the noise. The Prince however, was not going to back down. "Your ion..." "I said be quiet, Prince of Greenwood, and I meant it!" The Big Elf immediately motioned to the Woman. "That goes for you as well, Baraermin. Do not think that because you are my wife and mother to this reckless Elf that I will allow you to roll over me like Sauron's war machine!" The Woman's jaw snapped shut with an audible click. With the deftness of a seasoned warrior, a general, one that was used to issuing orders and having them followed immediately, the Voyeur watched the Big Elf move the adults, the younglings to various parts of the home, separating, discussing, creating peace within the disharmony. He watched him deftly calm an enraged member of Elven royalty, soothe a frightened, yet determined, young Elf. The Voyeur watched as the big Elf bodily handed the Woman to the Elf Lord, ordered him to ply her with wine. He saw a father's pride... I never had that. What would it be like to have had that? Would I have been... different? The Voyeur found himself in another room, the walls encased with empty bookshelves, as if the owner of the home had packed everything and moved. The Woman was encased in the big Elf's arms, calming her, comforting her, easing her fury into tranquility.... "Happy memory?" The room changed yet again. This room was elegant, wealth oozed from the tapestries, The Woman and Elf lay on the bed, facing each other. One of her breasts were bared, a small, newborn babe, suckling noisily. "My son is quite the pig." "As is his Ada." The room froze. "You wanted happy memories? This does not begin to show you what we had together." The Elf look at the Voyeur, worry beginning to etch on his features. "She is fierce in protecting the young ones, whether they be her children or her students." The Elf surveyed the room, looked back at the Woman, lying on her side with the babe. "The little ones grow so quickly. Many children have no childhood to speak of. They do not know how to play." The Voyeur was suddenly faced with a long, elegant finger to his face. "Harry Potter has forgotten how to play. Hermione Granger has forgotten how to play. Ronald Weasley has forgotten how to play. Draco Malfoy has forgotten how to play. Most sadly, you-" the finger stabbed the Voyeur in the chest, "never learned to play. Let her teach you joy." The Voyeur took in the scene again- the Woman cradled in loving arms, nursing the babe... and found himself murmuring along with the Big Elf... "She is my treasure, my heart, my greatest jewel. Keep her safe. Keep her hidden." Severus woke himself up whispering... "Teach me to play..."
The red hot sun burns up the hill
The summer’s bride, the winter’s king
I tramp these acres and I feel
Once upon a time
Then it seemed that everything
You saw and touched and felt was real
You turned the tap and you turned the wheel
Protect and Survive
C and E McDonald
Severus sat in front of the fire, Bronwyn curled in his bed. What a day. He shook his head and lifted his brandy snifter yet again. "Would Professor Snape be wanting anything else to eat?" the house elf asked nervously. Snape shook his head slightly. I have an entire bottle of brandy. That should be enough.
“Professor Powell. She will be wanting anything?”
Severus bit back the urge to zap the poor thing. Instead... "If she awakes and is hungry, I will take care of her needs. You may go." "Professor Snape is so kind." He almost barked into his snifter. Kind. No one had ever used that word with him. When the dust had cleared, he stooped down to help her up off the floor. Shattered glass lay everywhere and it crunched under his boot. She was passed out, cold and although he could have levitated her, he put his arms beneath her to lift her up. And received a shock. Literally. Electrical heat poured through him, into her. Pure energy radiated through his hands into her neck, her waist, where he held her. It moved to her joints, strengthening her Reviving her. She had come to enough to descend the tower on her own. Slowly, staying very close to Severus, her hand quietly clutching the back of his jacket. They encountered no one and when they reached the dungeons, her knees gave out and the Potion Master carried her to his rooms, sitting her in a chair and summoned two snifters and a decanter of brandy. Bronwyn sat in front of Snape's fireplace, feet tucked under, the huge chair dwarfing her. Her scowl rivaled anything he could have conjured on his own. There was a time she would have cursed anyone building a fire in the middle of summer, but his rooms were almost frigid without it. "Stupid idiot," she mumbled to herself. "Falling to pieces in front of everybody over a frickin' bullseye!" Her eyes closed as a single tear snuck from it's hiding place. But it wasn't a single bullseye. It was thirty. Very quick, very fast, without aiming. Of course, she suspected the skills were back; Rumil and Celeborn both had told her time and time again; she had seen it in Galadriel's mirror. Why should it surprise her? Why? It was proof positive. No getting around it now. Haldir was not coming back. It was not a nightmare from which she could not wake from. It was real. It was over. She was alone. "Drink this." His large hand stuck the brandy snifter in her face. Eyes reflecting the fire looked up into obsidian orbs. "Why? What did you put in it?" She took the snifter anyway and wafted it under her nose. "I put brandy in it, you foolish chit." She raised the glass to drink, only to have it jerked from her mouth. "Sip it, do not gulp! Merlin's Robes, woman, I will have more than your silly tears to clean up if you do that!" He returned to his own chair, across from hers and watched. He felt her fury dissipate into sorrow. Deep sorrow. The level of brandy in the snifter lowered. Her sorrow ebbed into... acceptance. She was staring deep into the flames, totally oblivious to his presence. If she was aware that he refilled the glass, she did not acknowledge it or him. She continued to sip. Acceptance ebbed into ... not giving up, exactly but a reluctant resolve. He felt her relax, heard her breathing even out... He caught the glass before it fell to the carpet. Gods, the woman could fall asleep anywhere! Now he would have to carry or levitate her across the hall to her own bed! He lowered himself to one knee, drinking the dregs in the glass before setting it on the carpet between the two chairs. Her breathing was deep, her elbow propped on the arm, with her chin cupped in her hand. There was a small drop of brandy on her lip. Never, his dark voice said, never waste good brandy! Ever. He leaned forward, his head tilting to graze. He caught that unusual scent of hers...leather and roses and ruminated in it. When his mouth was scant centimeters from hers, his tongue snaked out and licked the drop from her lip. He hovered. She did not move. What the hell, old boy. You only live once! His mouth completed its descent. Soft full lips surrendered to his as his mouth slanted over hers. Her lips parted slightly and he took full advantage, plundering her depths. He could taste the liquor on her tongue as it slid across his lip. Slid across his lip? He pulled back, his bottom lip popping from her mouth. Her mouth that had been sucking on it. Her eyes were slits and she had a slight, evil grin. "You kiss good, Severus." her voice was a sleepy rasp. "You kiss really good." Her eyes fluttered shut and her breathing deepened. And rather than carry her to her chambers, Severus had instead put her in his bed. Again, as he picked her up, the warm pulsations connected the two of them and when he laid her down, she flipped on her stomach and threw her arms across the bed. He felt the wolf brush past him, nosing around the bed, looking at his sleeping mistress. Once he had decided she was safe, he sat down on all fours, head held high. Severus looked at the white beast. "Do not get on my bed." And with that, he lowered the lights to darkness and left the room. Amadeus looked, watched as the Wizard moved out of sight. He waited three deep breaths before quietly jumping up on the bed and lying next to Bronwyn, resuming his proud pose. Severus would have been slightly worried to see the wolf's eyes slitted and glowing in the dark.
Pilgrim, how you journey
On the road you chose
To find out where the winds die
And where the stories go.
All days come from one day
That must you must know,
You cannot change what’s over
But only where you go.
So now Severus sat in front of the fire, contemplating the flames reflecting in the amber liquid of his snifter. The house elf STILL stood patiently. "What is your name?' "Buh... buh... Bobbin, sir." "Well, Buh buh Bobbin, why do you not go to Professor Powell’s rooms and bring me the portfolio's of pictures she has in her living area and office to me. When you do that, go find the Elf, Rumil, and send him to me." He waited for the elf to leave before refilling his glass. It was not Rumil who found Severus thirty minutes later, nose deep in pictures, but rather Albus. Severus heard him enter but did not acknowledge the Headmaster for many minutes. Albus contented himself by gazing over the Potions Master's shoulder to look at the drawings. "That is annoying as hell, Albus!" Snape shoved the portfolio across the small table separating his chair from the one Bronwyn had been in. "My boy, you are not making it easy for an old man." The aging Wizard came around the chairs and sank in the empty seat. "How is she?" "Asleep." Dumbledore turned the portfolio towards him and slowly began to look through the pictures. "Good. She will need to regenerate her strength." He picked up the picture a red-headed Elf. "Who is this?" Severus scowled and looked over at the sketch. "That is Beckett. I believe he was her son. Their eldest son." "Was. He stayed behind." Albus laid the parchment gently back in the pile. "It must have broken her heart to leave her children behind, knowing his fate." He watched as the Dark Wizard stood slowly and wander towards the fireplace. Reflections from the flames shone in his hair and for a moment, Snape stood perfectly still, before swallowing the last of his brandy and setting the snifter onto the mantle. "It did break her heart. She still weeps for him. Weeps for Anselm." He turned and looked back at the Headmaster. "Albus, will she ever stop grieving?" The Headmaster heard the implied, but unspoken question in Severus' voice. He stood up, slowly. "Severus, my boy. Do you trust me?" "You have to ask me that? After everything we have been through together? After everything you have done for me? You have to ask me that?" There was a twinkle in Albus' eyes and he smiled in a way that irked the Potion Master. "One never fully stops grieving the ones that have gone on. But they do move on and learn to live and love again." As he came around the chair, he patted Severus on the shoulder before heading towards the door. "She will not sleep long. Rumil tells me we did not see the full extent of her power. It is not one she likes to use and is most reluctant to do so." No, Severus thought to himself. We did not see it in all of its destructive glory. "Oh, I almost forgot." Albus stopped at the chamber's entrance door. " I received an owl from Gandalf. He felt Bronwyn's... lapse. I have assured him that all is well, but I would expect a visit within a few days. Most likely from Lord Celeborn. She and he are very close." Severus sighed angrily as he grabbed the brandy bottle and decided to forgo the snifter. He felt uneasy, felt her... Bronwyn was fretting in her sleep.
I recognize this place. It has been centuries, millennia , but I still recognize it. Baradur. The Fortress had been destroyed before I left Middle Earth. It should not be here. I walk through gloomy corridors, wary, watching the dark corners and could feel... The walls oozed with evil. Motherrrrrrrrrrrrr. The voice whispered from nowhere, from everywhere. Its raspiness grates on my nerves. "Who are you? What do you want?" Motherrrrrrrrrrrrr. I am walking in circles, the halls lead nowhere and everywhere. There is no end to this. Motherrrrrrrrrrr. "Who are you? What do you want?" I just want to... talk. This voice. I know who this child is. "About what?" Oh. Nothing. Everything. "I do not wish to talk right now." I begin to walk faster, desperate, seeking the exit. I know who this child is. Thief. Murderer. Maniacal laughter echos through the hallways and I cringe in fear. You can run, Mother, but you cannot hide. I will be waitiiiiing...
Bronwyn sat up with a start. She was immediately aware of being encased by strong arms and surrounded by the scent of burning wood. And brandy. Amadeus whining. Despite everything, every revulsion, she allowed her arms to clasp the Wizard to her, her face pressed against a crisp, linen shirt. She willed her breathing to slow. "Mada... Bronwyn. Are you alright?" The arms did not turn loose, thankfully and she could feel his lips in her hair. No, I'm not alright, she wanted to yell. I'm in the arms of someone who is not my beloved and it feels good and... "I'm sorry, Severus. Was I noisy?" She pulled back, but Snape did not turn her loose, instead looking closely at her, concern draping his features. "Amadeus came and got me. You were rather... distressed." He peered closer. "Bad dream?" Somehow, she got the strength to pull from his embrace. "We need to find my bow. Got any ideas?"
I’m a bitch, I’m a lover
I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way
True to Dumbledore’s prediction, Celeborn arrived late in the afternoon, two days later. Bronwyn and Amadeus met him on the front steps of the school. After picking himself up from the ground and dusting off his robes and face, the Elf Lord examined her closely at arm’s length. “I see that Wizard of yours adhered you to your dinner chair quite often.” “Nay, he only had to the one time.” she smiled serenely. Celeborn noticed that she did not correct him or seem bothered by his pronouncing the Wizard as hers. “He did levitate me down to the dining hall the next morning, but I have rediscovered my love for cheesecake.” she grinned mischievously. She placed her hands on ample hips. “Are you staying the night? It is rather late and I don’t think the train is running again today.” Celeborn tucked her hand into his elbow as he began to stroll towards the Great Hall, Amadeus winding closely at his feet. “I suspect, I will be here a day or two. I would like to speak to Professor Dumbledore and Rumil.” They reached the huge doors. “Tell me, Tithen Aras, how are you and the Wizard getting along?” The grin was replaced with rolling eyes. “He is a bully, a brute and behaves very badly when he does not get his way. “ ”Hmmm.” Celeborn’s face was comically thoughtful. “Do we perchance know anyone else like that?” “We argue and when he cannot get around my sound beliefs, he resorts to magic to cheat.” Amadeus was making strange sounds. Celeborn’s shoulders were shaking. “Oh, laugh away!” she punched him playfully with her free hand. “It is most upsetting. It isn’t fair because I cannot fight back.” Her face fell a little and her eyes made a study of the intricate stonework on the floor they stood on. “Actually, I am glad you are here. I need to talk to someone and you are my first choice.” Celeborn’s concern at her sudden change of moods flitted across azure eyes. “You have a problem? And there is no one here for you to confide in? You have made no friends?” “Oh, I have made friends aplenty.” They had stopped inside the doors and watched as Wizards and Witches made their way to the table at the front of the room. “But they wouldn’t understand.” Finally, her eyes rose, sorrowful, confused. “I need the advice of Celeborn the Wise.” “Ah.” Celeborn’s smile lit beautiful Elven features and he pulled her into his embrace. He was aware they were being scrutinized by the Potions Master and he hugged her tighter than usual, just to irk the man. “What say we go eat and after dinner, you may show me the grounds and the gardens. I have brought my motorcycle and later we can go for a ride, just the two of us!” Bronwyn’s smile became forced. “Your motorcycle? How nice.”
Celeborn sat at the round table, fixed between Professor Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall. From there, he could easily see the goings on at the table, especially the bond forming between Bronwyn, Lupin and Snape. It was obvious she and the Potions Master were not on edge with each other, in fact, were comfortable and at ease with each other’s company. He noticed how Snape leaned towards her to listen as she spoke, how, when she addressed the DADA professor, she would gently touch the black clad Potion’s Master lightly on the cuff, as if to reassure him she was aware of him on the other side. Once, her conversation with Lupin had become quite animated. She wagged her fork in the air, punctuating her words with it, waving it dangerously close to Snape’s nose. He had quietly grabbed her wrist and gently removing the utensil from her fingers, laid it on her plate. More than once, their heads were together, one listening to the other. Bronwyn smiled a lot Snape did not. “They appear to be quite commodious, Albus.” The elderly Wizard chuckled. “It has been quite a haul for both. I do not know how many times we were afraid venture into the dungeons, the way it rumbled down there so.” There was a squeal of delight in the opposing curl of the table. The Elf Lord did not have to look to know what elated her so. Cheesecake. The small group around him chattered about things; her instruments, her voracious appetite – once it came back – for food and books; she had inhaled their library and was now quietly approaching each professor individually to read whatever was in their personal libraries. Her knives amazed, frightened them. What she had done to the glass absolutely made them wary. In truth, Celeborn only nodded here and there. He was watching Rumil. Rumil was halfway between Celeborn and Bronwyn. He appeared to be engrossed in conversation with Madame Hooch, but the Silver Lord watched how his eyes darted to the threesome. Watchful of her. Unwilling to let go. Celeborn sighed in frustration. It was time. There was another bark of indignant laughter from her part of the table. She had been conversing with the Wizard, this time waving the fork in front of the Werewolf, when that one had captured her wrist in a patient vice and had – from the workings of his throat and jaw – eaten the last bite. “Lord Celeborn.” “You may drop the ‘lord’, Professor McGonagol.” The full force of his gaze, slid to her and the thought crossed her mind before she could stop it. Oh, to be younger… Minerva quickly jerked her mind from its wishful thinking. “Lo... Celeborn. I am very concerned about something.” “Yes?” She gently wiped her mouth with her napkin and placed it in her plate, which immediately disappeared. “Severus has his drawbacks, his negative aspects and his social limitations, however,” and with this, she raised a long, single digit, pointing it at the Elflord, “I am QUITE fond of him. If she manages to harm him or Merlin forbid, kill him in whatever quest she is on, I shall curse her until she can no longer move!” Celeborn burst into laughter, causing the entire table, including the threesome on the opposing side, to come to an abrupt silence and stare at him. His hand covered hers and he leaned to her ear, so only she could hear. “Bronwyn would never do anything to harm Severus. I dare say, she would do everything in her power to protect him.” Minerva visibly relaxed and signed in relief. “However, my dear,” he added mischievously, “he might wish vehemently for death when it’s over!”
The sun was sinking slowly over the edge of the trees. Celeborn and Bronwyn strolled through the gardens at a leisurely rate. “Have I ever told you how much I enjoy seeing you in Elvish dresses?” His eyes flicked appreciatively over her form, clad in a flowing gown of gauzy mint green. “Yes. Many times, you old pervert!” Celeborn chuckled. “You spend much too much time with my wife!” “I adore your wife. She has been nothing but kind and a good friend to me. Which,” she continued mischievously, “is why I refuse to take you seriously!” She took a deep breath. “Speaking of your wife, does she send news of my son, my Duncan?” Celeborn idly stroked the fingers tucked in his arm. “He misses you. He misses his Ada. Perhaps, when things become quiet, we will be able to bring him from Valinor for a visit.” “Strange.” Her voice became quiet and she stared off into the woods. “My children are allowed to come and go from mine and Haldir’s home at their leisure and I am not. It is not fair, Celeborn.” “No, it is not, Tithen Aras.” He came to a stop and pulled her to stand in front of him. “But that is not what is on your mind and is not what you wanted to talk to me about. Now, in your words, spit it out, love.” Bronwyn spent a moment looking at her shoes. The Elf Lord could feel her body bouncing in frustration as she searched for words. And when they came, they came in a rush, a tidal wave of language. “He isn’t coming back, is he? They really gave me my skills back and that is why. They aren’t going to send him back to me like they let me come back. They are going to let him wait and make me live. And they really aren’t going to let me fade when I find my bow. They are going to make me stay and survive until I get old and grey and decrepit. And alone.” “You are not alone.” “And you know what’s really bad?” Finally, she looked up, tears building and anger mounting. “This new Guardian? He’s bossy and mean and he tries to push me around and he’s a know it all and a smart aleck. He’s crabby and I don’t even think he likes kids. I’m a pain to him and a bother. But I like him. I don’t want to like him. I want him to help me and go away. Shite. I don’t even want him to help me.” She was quiet for a minute and Celeborn let her settle her thoughts. “I’m confused, Celeborn. I’m soul bonded to Haldir. I miss him. I miss him horribly. And yet, I like Severus. He’s crankier and touchier than an old beat up tomcat, but I yearn for his company. I love to watch him over his cauldrons; he has the most awesome hands. They are beautiful. He gets impatient with me, I know, but he knows so much about things I never knew existed and he tries to teach me things. He has the driest sense of humor; he can be quite funny. His voice; ah, his voice sends chills up my spine... NICE chills... when he isn’t yelling at me.” Her face fell. “It is disgusting.” “Are you afraid of falling in love again?” “Argh!” Bronwyn snatched her hands from the Elf Lords and punched him on the shoulder. “Aren’t you listening? I don’t want to like him. Who said anything about love? I think he kissed me! I don’t remember!” Celeborn smiled impishly. “You DON’T remember? Child! You are horny. I can take care of that while I’m here...” He got punched again. “I like your wife too much.” He opened his arms to her and she stepped into his embrace. “Oh, Celeborn, What am I going to do?” He stroked the wild curls leaning against his chest. “You feel guilty for enjoying another’s company. Do you have dreams of Haldir?” “Sometimes.” Her voice was muffled in his robes. “Sometimes.” “And?” “He holds me like this. Strokes me. Tells me to trust the New Guardian.” “Then listen to him.” He hooked a finger under her chin and lifted it. “Listen to your heart. Both of them. Cormmin - Your Heart. But also...” and here, he tapped her above her left breast, “... your heart.” He kissed her brow. “It will be fine. I promise.” He thumbed her tears away and she smiled at him. “I miss talking to you. I really do.” “I miss it as well, Tithen Aras. I must make amends and come more often.” His eyes shifted up suddenly and he narrowed them, looking into the darkening forest. Bronwyn did not notice his body stiffening, in warning. “You can always talk to Amadeus...” “Talk to Amadeus? He can’t talk back!” she said giggling, not seeing the hardening set of his jawline. “He can listen, Tithen Aras. You would be surprised what that wolf of yours can do.” Quickly, without startling her, he drew her from the edge of the woods where they had been walking and moved back towards the castle. “It is dark, maelamin. I have brought wine from Valinor. Perhaps you and I and several of your new friends would like to enjoy it.”
Severus and Albus met them at the front doors. Celeborn sent her ahead, with a request to invite several to her chambers. Both Elf and Wizards watched her as she bounced around the corner, heading towards chambers up the stairs. As soon as she was out of sight, he fixed serious eyes on the two Wizards. “In the past week, I have had three Elves disappear. I worry not only for their safety, but their lives and sanity. And, she and I were being watched from the woods.” He took a deep breath, fixating Severus in his gaze. “They know why she is here.”
05 Friday May 2023
fanfiction, hp, LOTR
Chapter 8 –
A Game of Chicken or the Undertaker’s Creed.
He saw her coming up the hill, the sun glaring off the sword strapped to her back. Her head was down and words flowed from her lips in a litany.
“…following peasant rebellion, ousting the Mongol rule, Zhu Yuanzhang established the Ming Dynasty, the last of the native Chinese rule, in 1368. Historically he is known as Emperor Taizu. At the height of the Dynasty…”
The mutterings of a madwoman.
He saw the nightmare, the trap she was walking into. He opened his mouth to warn her, but no sound issued forth. He made a grab for his wand, but the wand’s casing, where he kept it hidden at his side, was empty. He could only watch in horror.
She looked up from her musings to find herself loosely surrounded by four humanoid monsters. They stood over seven feet tall, muscular, rows of razor- sharp teeth grinning. They wore leather jerkins and had long, black hair, tied in top knots.
These were machines; living, breathing machines, bred to kill.
He watched her drop her pack, her roll, with a sigh and the knives slung in her holster where immediately out and spinning on her fingers. She perused the wide circle with a calmness that was alarming.
“Come.” he heard her whisper. “Come, my darlings. Come to Beavis.”
Before the Uruk-hai could tighten their circle, her knives had flown into the neck of one. They returned to her and she threw the knives again, decapitating the first Uruk-hai. She aimed and threw the blades at the second, with the same results.
The two remaining rushed her. With not enough room to complete the task at hand, she slung the knives into opposite directions, clipping the hamstrings of both, bringing them to their knees; buying her time. She beheaded the closest one and began to advance on the remaining one, who had unsteadily regained his feet. The knives were spinning like tops on her fingertips.
The Voyeur was disgusted by the exchange taking place. The monster – the Uruk-hai – began to deride her, egg at her, thriving on the pain. Her knives flew into his stomach. He grabbed at them and pulling them from his body, licked the blood and gore from them, snarling, laughing at her. They flew from the Uruk-hai’s hands, cutting them, slicing them, the handles neatly returning to her. The Uruk-hai continued to taunt her. Throws that would kill an ordinary man, did not seem to faze the monster. She finally threw her knives point down into the ground in frustration and unsheathed her sword.
The Voyeur had witnessed killings, had participated in killings before, but never like this. What he had participated in was internal; this was gruesome in its very brutality.
She started with its… his arms; the Uruk-hai continued his rant, never ending, never stopping, her sword answering his… its goading taunts. Body parts flew.
“Elf-whore. You do not have the guts to kill me…”
The sword moved, swiftly, parallel to the ground and the… thing’s head flew several feet, the blade severing through muscle, bone, and hair in one, foul swoop. Black, raucous blood spurted from the severed artery.
And at that point, she lost it. The voyeur watched her gaze, her very eyes turn red with blood lust. With a hoarse yell, she attacked the motionless bodies of the Uruk-hai, arms, legs, intestines flying…
And everything froze.
The wind blew through the long hair of the Voyeur.
“She will do what she must.”
The Voyeur turned, looking for the voice. The Big Elf stood next to him.
“She will do what she must.” He pointed to the hill, where she now knelt on her knees, spewing the contents of her stomach. The Voyeur looked on in horror at the devastation, the destruction that one, solitary woman created.
“Do not blame her.”
He whipped his head around to the Elf, his hair in his eyes.
“Blame her? Why…!”
“Do not blame her. They would have raped her, abused her, tortured her. They would have toyed with her until she lost her mind. She would have become another Celebrian.” The Elf looked in sorrow at the heaving woman. “These were dark times in a dark place. Would be that she was not living in them again.” Both Elf and Voyeur looked over to the knoll, where she continued to be sick. “She will hit the wall. She will hit it soon, she will hit it hard and you must be there. She will have no choice but to not only admit to, but to accept the inevitable. Her wrath will be swift, vile. She will spew her fury at what the Valar have done to her in an uncontrollable frenzy. Men, Wizards, Elves will fall beneath her foot and the glass will shatter. She is my greatest treasure, my most precious jewel. Help her.”
In silence, the Elf began to pile the bodies, the body parts and set them afire. And as the watcher looked on, he heard her voice whisper to him on the wind…
‘Reservo mea. Reservo mea.’
Severus fell from the bed, stumbling straight for the bathroom, his own stomach retching. The smell of blood and bile was thick within the confines of his room. And as he leaned on the coolness of the porcelain, he heard again her words…
Save me. Save me.
Despite the unusually pleasant evening between the two, Bronwyn emotionally withdrew into herself, clinging to the last vestiges of her grief. She remained remote and did not venture from her chambers late again.
Severus could sense her tamping her emotions, her fury down into a small, hidden box. It was if she had decided that if she refused to think on it, it would go away.
But her anger festered. Snape could feel it churning at her insides.
The rains continued, tapering off to an irritating mist, most days. She developed a cough, a nagging, tickling cough that she refused aid for. She drank endless cups of hot tea, peppermint sticks stirred or crushed in the pot. Her obstinance irritated Severus, as did the smell of peppermint which permeated even his rooms. During the days, she roamed the corridors, talking to portraits, joking with Sir. Nicolas, cursing Peeves.
Pestering Argus Filch.
“So, have you EVER truly beaten a student? Or is that just wishful thinking on your part?”
Filch glared, his faithful kitty companion, Mrs. Norris clutched to his breast.
“Don’t you have anything better to do than bother me?”
“Nope. Figure you had been here awhile. You could tell me a few things.” Bronwyn sat gingerly on his desk, bare toes dangling over the floor, munching on an apple.
“I do not wish to talk to you! Go away.”
She smiled and swung herself noiselessly to the floor. “Well, I would think it’s been a while since a woman came to talk to you, you would be pleased.” She sashayed to the door. “Guess I was wrong.”
“Guess you were.” Filch waited until she had left, before addressing the cat.
“She’s weird, she is.”
Severus walked on cat’s paws into her private chambers, listening to commotion upstairs.
“Remus! Honey please! Put your hand, here, like this!”
A raven winged eyebrow lifted. What on earth were they doing?
“The Wizard is most inept, lirimaer.” Ah, the Elf as well? Two of them, at once? What kind of deviant life – style had she led in this Undying Land of hers?
“Now, wait a minute!” Remus’ voice was raised a slight notch. “I have never done this before! Give me a chance!”
Sounds of her placating the Werewolf could be heard. While keeping his ears attuned to the goings on in the room above him, Severus removed the snake armband from his robes, looking for somewhere inconspicuous to place it.
“Remus. Pay no heed to Rumil. He and I have been doing this for years and so, he has a great deal of practice.” In his minds eye, Severus could ‘see’ her glowering at the Elf. But practice at what?
“Here, Remus… put your hand… there…. Nai…… yesssss… now move your hips.. No… no…. you would scare a girl thrusting your hips like that… ouch! Nononono!…”
“I’m sorry. I am so clumsy.”
” It’s okay…”
“He does not have the…”
“Rumil! Be quiet! You are supposed to be helping!”
Slowly, Severus turned around and spied the small door near the entrance of her private chambers.
Her office. So small and innocuous, so easy to forget. He crept to the doorway.
“Here honey.” Snape grimaced at the use of the endearment. “Put you hand back here and watch how you move that thing this time.” The Potion Master stepped through the doorway.
“Lumos.” he whispered.
If her chambers were pleasantly cluttered, this room was a disorganized mess! Stacks and stacks of parchment, books, lay everywhere. A long, archer’s bow – Haldir’s, apparently – stood in the corner, the string hanging loose next to the polished wood. Another portfolio of drawings lay on the desk, but it was surrounded by piles and piles of music, small round silver discs… he scanned the titles of several books…
Choral Arranging – expanded edition by Hawley Ades. Twentieth Century Music – a history of musical style in modern Europe and America by Robert P. Morgan, Yale University . A History of Keyboard Literature by Stewart Gordon.
He picked up the nearest book.
Mostly Harmless. Douglas Adams.
Seeing a dark recess beneath papers and books, Severus gently stowed the armband beneath it. Deactivating the lighting spell, he turned around to go back towards the stairs.
And almost tripped over Amadeus.
“Remus. Tell you what. Watch Rumil one more time. Rumil… yes. Watch how he holds me… see?”
Snape stared at the creature at his feet. There was disdain on its face as the wolf peered around to see what the Dark Professor had been into and made a sound horribly similar to the noise one makes when air escapes angrily between one’s teeth. Amadeus chuffed in annoyance and nosed his way around Snape, retrieving the arm band and going up the stairs, with the band gently clamped in his jaws. As he reached the midway point, he looked back at Snape, the message in his eyes clear.
Are you coming up or not?
“Remus, see how he….”
“I get it! Let me! Let me!” The sounds of shuffling bodies could be heard and as Severus came up the stairwell, the sounds of Tommy Dorsey rose from the walls.
Oh Gods. She was teaching Remus to dance.
Clap for the Wolfman
He gonna rate your record high
(If you got the curves baby, I got the angles)
Clap for the Wolfman
You go Diggin’
‘Til the day you die!
(You thought she was diggin’ you, but
She was diggin’ me!)
Clap for the Wolfman
The rains eventually tapered off, the lawns sodden, almost flooded. She awoke one morning to bright sunshine coming through the clear ceiling of the sunroom, its playful rays dancing over the room, into the confines of her bed.
“Wake up! Wake up!” Rumil’s voice pierced the quiet. The covers were jerked from her body, as she stretched. Amadeus made a grumbling noise and he rooted down beneath the covers next to her body.
“Yrch, Rumil! You are an Orc! Go away!” Bronwyn rolled over and snuggled into the furry coat of the wolf.
“Bronwyn! It is a beautiful day out! Let us not sit in this dreary fortress, but go outside and do something… outdoorsy!” Had she rolled over and looked at her brother – in – law, she would have been caught up in his infectious smile.
But she did not roll over, nor did she open her eyes. Instead, she put her head under her pillow. “Go have fun!” Her hand waved uselessly in the air.
The pillow flew away from the bed. “Oh please, Lirimaer! Come with me and shoot arrows or throw knives or grab your sword. ‘Tis too beautiful a morning to loll in bed!”
Yes, it was, she wanted to say. Many mornings long ago…
No. Past was past. No use lingering or grieving…
Severus looked up from his cauldron, only his eyes moving; moving towards her rooms. He felt it, felt her grief and desire well up quickly, only to be pushed down, pushed aside. His eyes narrowed. She no longer desired to sleep; she was corking the bottle herself and heating it to a dangerous level. If she did not accept the inevitable and culminate her grieving – and soon – she would completely collapse. He resumed the methodical stirring, his eyes, his mind continually focused on the happenings across the hall.
She rolled over and grabbed another pillow, upsetting the animal beneath the covers. Amadeus poked his head out and laid his head across the curve of her backside, his midnight blue eyes staring at the Elf.
That pillow was pulled away as well.
“I will get the Wizard!”
Bronwyn rolled over and glared at her beloved friend. Despite the fact that the castle was crawling with Wizards, they both knew which ‘one’ he referred to.
“I hate you and you have the breath of a Warg! Did Madam Hooch turn you down last night?”
“Nay. You love me, I have brushed my teeth, so I taste all minty-fresh and Anne-Marie was most agreeable last night!” His smile fell just a little. “Bronwyn, please. Your lungs ache with the grit you have been breathing. They need the sunshine; you know this to be true. You have spent much too long in these dank halls and within the walls of that dusty library. Haldir would be most upset seeing how you have let yourself slide. Bring your sword, bring your knives, I’ll bring my extra bow, come to breakfast.” He pulled her into a sitting position, Amadeus nosing her back, prodding her gently. He cupped her face. “These Wizards… they have no clue who you are. All they have seen is you lying on tables reading books. You remain in the shadows, aloof. You hide. You hide from the world, their world. They have heard you raise the music in anger.” His eyes lit up with a mischievous brilliance. “Rock n Roll, Bronny! KEGGER!”
“Naughty Limericks? You want naughty limericks?” She allowed Amadeus to prod her from the bed and she stretched more, reaching for the ceiling.
“No.” Rumil pulled her closely into a bear hug. “I want to see my Lirimaer. I want to see glimmers of that woman who drove my brothers and myself insane. I want to see Celeborn’s Tithen Aras. She is in there somewhere.”
Snape felt her… stir.
Why was he worried?
“Oh, alright.” she groused. “But…” and with this, she angrily waved her finger under his nose, “but only my knives. I can’t shoot an arrow for shit and I’m dangerously clumsy with this sword. I damn near took Haldir’s arm off just playing around a few millennium ago!”
She shooed the grinning Elf from her rooms and Rumil went down the stairs, feeling quite proud of himself.
Strapped in the chair
of the city’s gas chamber
Why I’m here I can’t quite remember
The surgeon general says
it’s hazardous to breathe
I’d have another cigarette
but I can’t see
Tell me who you’re gonna believe
Guns n Roses
Dumbledore had set them up on the Quidditch pitch. The sand was deep and soft and Bronwyn despised the way she sank in it.
“Why on Earth…” she questioned Remus, while kicking up small puffs of sand.
“Softer to land on when one falls or gets knocked off their broom.” he shrugged. “It is no big deal.”
The sour look she gave Rumil said it all.
What staff there was at Hogwarts that day were milling around in the stands. “Is this safe?” Professor Flitwick had gone down close to see, peering over the edge of the high stand.
“She is down there, we are up here, so if her knives are still wild, she should be contained.” Albus said cheerfully.
No one heard Severus mumble in the corner.
Bronwyn and Rumil stood next to the target. The Elf’s quiver was full, delicate white arrows stuffing his quiver and he looked down into the rosy glow of his companion.
“How far, Lirimaer?”
Bronwyn looked into the stands. “Go away!” She called upwards. “There isn’t anything here but sand and stupidity!” She waved her hand at the small crowd. Snape could feel her underlying feeling of annoyance. She did not want to be watched.
Well, she should not have made such a spectacle of herself at breakfast!
Bronwyn had shown up to breakfast wearing what she had called her ‘battle gear’ – black jeans, black, long sleeve tee, and a black calf length, sleeveless vest that did not cover her knives. Her hair was loosely braided back over the ears similar to Rumil’s side braids. If one looked closely, they could just make out the outline of a snake on her left arm, under the sleeve of her shirt..
It was beyond a doubt that being plied with good food and cheesecake had been good for her. She was filling out and no longer looked emaciated. In fact, she looked rather…
Well, there was plenty of her. Generous curves filled out the clothing and she was obviously comfortable with the added poundage. In truth, it looked good on her. Her skin had a healthy glow and she walked with purpose. In fact, she entered the Great Hall that morning, throwing the doors open, boot heels clicking on the stone floor.
“Albus, ‘maelamin. Rumil wants to shoot things and he seems to think that I need to carve them, slice them, and dice them!” Her knives were out, spinning on her fingers. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh! “Where is the safest place to do that?”
And so they found themselves on the Quidditch field, spectators up high in the stands.
“Again, Bronwyn… how far?”
Her snarled gaze left the stands and focused on the eyes of the tall Elf. “Eh! Fifty paces.” The two walked it off.
With a graceful swoop, Rumil removed an arrow from his quiver and quickly, in a fluid motion, let it fly.
It landed just a hair from the center. Before a breath could be taken, two more joined it. One aside the other.
“Damn.” Rumil whispered. “I am off my mark.” He turned to Bronwyn and bowed. “Lirimaer!”
“Off your mark?” She nodded into the stands where Madam Hooch, Professor Sprout, Madam Trelawney, and even Minerva McGonagall were cheering profusely. “Looks pretty damned arrogant to me!” Her face fell and she whispered, “Do I have to do this?” She gestured again into the stands. “I understand getting me out of the castle and into the air. My bronchial tubes thank you, truly they do. But, still…” her words tapered off.
Rumil jutted his chin forward. “Boooock.”
“Boooock. Booock. Bok…bok…bok..”
“This is not funny.”
“Bok bok bok bok boooooock…”
“I’m not laughing.”
Rumil walked away from her, calling of his shoulder. “I could beat you with my eyes blindfolded. I know it. You know it. ” He spun on his heel, kicking up a patch of dirt, and stabbed a finger at her. “You cannot hit the target! Boooock!”
“Oh. I cannot, can I?”
Her grin was snarky; evil even. The wind picked up slightly and her hair blew behind her, along with the tail of her vest. The top layer of sand swirled devilishly around hers and the Elf’s feet. Her knives popped out and began to spin on her fingers furiously. Her calling of Beavis could not be heard over the rising guitars reverberating off the walls of the field, nor over the screaming on pitch of Axl Rose.
Just a’ urchin
livin’ under the street
I’m a hard case
that’s tough to beat
I’m your charity case
So buy me somethin’ to eat
I’ll pay you at another time
Take it to the end of the line
And with the words “Take me down, to the very last city…” Bronwyn flung two wicked knives at the target.
The g-force of the winds depressed their deadly mechanisms, causing them to open before hitting the target.
The white feathers of the arrows were shaved, as both knives entered the exact bulls eye of the target. With the arrows still shaking from the rocking of the target, she jerked her wrists, effectively calling back the two knives. They were a blur in the air as they returned to her hands.
Amadeus sat with Remus, his eyes never leaving the form of his mistress.
Sybil Trelawney stood bolt upright, her eyes wide with shock. Dumbledore noticed her sudden ascent to her feet.
So did Snape.
“Too easy, mellon.”
Bronwyn’s eyebrows rose a good inch. “Easy?” The sensual grin was back. “Make it hard.” Her hips ground to the beat of the maniacal drumming.
“OOH!” Rumil returned her naughty gaze. “Feeling playful, are we?”
The knives spun into the black holster and she lifted her hands, palm up, into the air. “Chicken – schmicken! You are so full of bullshite! The sun is shining, I am outdoors with my best friend and…” she gestured up into the stands, “I have a fucking audience. What more could a girl ask for?”
Rumil laughed hard, as he bounced off another fifty paces, chanting, “Bronny’s back… Bronny’s back…”
“You said the ‘f’ word!”
The tips of her fingers covered her mouth. “Oops. I did. My bad.” She joined him at the line he had drawn in the sand with the toe of his boot. Again, three arrows hit the target.
And again the music rose, screaming guitars and vocals rising in the air and two lethal knives buried themselves to the hilt in the target.
Further and further out they went, after pulling the arrows from the target.
The result was always the same. Three arrows at the center. Two knives, shaving the feathers.
Twice, Rumil offered her his bow.
Twice, she denied him, finally snarling at him to drop the subject, lest she leave him standing in the sand.
Dumbledore watched the exchange between woman and Elf with great interest.
“Severus.” He approached the dark Wizard, leaning in the shadows, not seeming to notice anything, but seeing all. “Do you notice anything odd about her behavior?”
He is asking me what I behold, when I know he sees it all, Snape thought to himself, angered at the Headmaster’s perusal of the goings on on the field. And I suppose he would wish for me to expand on them for him. Which would be simple enough, if I were so inclined. On one hand she is effervescent. But it exists as a cover for her anger. She is enjoying getting out into the sunshine, she has been cooped up too long. It has cleared out her lungs, and yes, she has been ill for several days. To the point where I was ready to drag her into Madam Pomfrey’s infirmary. Despite that, she has gained weight, her very being radiates with vitality. She enjoys the feel of the knives in her hands. She has stepped up to the line of acceptance, but she refuses to cross it. The Elf is angering her by trying to push her over and the only thing that keeps her from carving him is her love for him. I suppose he would like me to tell him how the air shimmered around her when she conjured that noise and that the sight of that alone sent chills up my spine.
Albus refused to wilt under the glare of his Potions Master. And he was not taken aback one bit by Snape’s answer.
“She exists. Therefore, she is odd.”
Sybil Trelawney fidgeted. That was nothing new; the woman fidgeted all the time and no one paid her any mind. She had been seeing signs and portents ever since the Muggle Professor’s husband had died and they had escalated since her arrival. Her unconventional ways and her attachment to the Dark One had kept Sybil at a distance, but she could not stand by anymore.
As the Elf and Bronwyn gathered their things on the field, she approached Albus and Severus. Severus made her very nervous, so she tried her best to ignore him and focused on Albus.
Albus had never made her feel silly. Tentatively, she touched him on the sleeve.
The kindly wizard turned to the befuddled witch, gently clasping the clawed fingers. “Yes, Sybil?”
Furtive eyes glanced over to Severus and then quickly darted back to the Headmaster.
“It is about the Muggles Studi… Bronwyn.”
“Are you seeing things again, Sybil?” Severus mocked.
“Seeing things? I always see things, as you well know. But,” and bolstered by her anger, she shoved a thin finger towards the Potion Master, “although you will not, you should heed my words.” She turned back to the Headmaster. “She has an aura the likes I have never seen. It is golden and pulses bright blue. Rainbows spark when she plays her music.”
Severus barked in laughter.
The Divination Professor drew herself up to her full height and wagged her finger at him. “You, Severus, you especially should pay heed. Your aura changes around her. It has been changing since she stepped foot into the Great Hall and you espied her. It has moved from the bleak, murkiness to neon blue and as time passes, it becomes brighter. Even that beast of hers has an aura – his coat radiates white.”
She took a deep breath.
“Regardless, a dark heavy pall lingers over her. Evil hounds her footsteps, hounds yours. Whatever it is she seeks, she needs to find it and find it quickly.”
Sybil’s breathing was labored and her eyes dilated as she backed up, realizing all of a sudden that she was literally against Severus. He arched a dark eyebrow.
“Perhaps, Sybil, you would like me to bring her upstairs to your over- perfumed lair and you may read her tea leaves or play with the lines in her palms. 38000 years, you should see quite a bit.”
Her jaw flapped for several seconds, before the woman skittered away, mumbling to herself.
“Really Severus, your digs were totally unnecessary. Sybil only…”
“Tried to help, I know.” Severus leaned over as if to whisper to the Headmaster, however his eyes followed Bronwyn as she and Rumil were now leaving the field. “But she told me nothing you or I did not already know. Albus, I know why you keep her employed; it is a noble gesture…”
“Indeed. I am so very pleased you noticed…”
“… however, Sybil sees death around every corner and it is no secret that Bronwyn is hiding from the world here. So, please do not ask me to take her seriously.” They watched as Bronwyn and Rumil left the field, Hagrid behind, carrying the target.
“Severus. Come look.” Quickly, for an old man, Albus made his way down into the paddock and stopped Hagrid, having the groundskeeper set the target into the sunlight. He motioned Rumil and Bronwyn to him.
“Bronwyn, may I see your knives? I wish for you to tell me how they work.”
Bronwyn looked at Snape before looking at Dumbledore and then almost reluctantly, whipped one of the knives from its scarred and worn holster.
It was an ugly piece of metal.
They were black, black as pitch, and consisted of three blades, folded in. The inner blade was a few inches longer than the encased outer blades. She held her hand out to Rumil, who took a drying cloth from the belt of his tunic. She wadded the cloth, and gently touched the tip of the longest blade.
The outer knives slung out, creating a “W”, the edges, thinner than a razor, the sharpness obvious. Severus could see how they could decapitate a man or beast. When she removed her hand, they slung back into their original position.
“Bronwyn, may I see them? May Severus?”
Again, without a word, Bronwyn turned the knife in her hand, holding it delicately by the edge in her palm, leaving the handle for Albus to grasp. The elderly Wizard made an interesting face and muttered “Interesting.” before turning the knife and handing it to Severus in the same manner.
Severus almost gasped aloud. It shook, vibrated, tingling almost painfully. Quickly, without allowing his unease to show, he handed it back to Bronwyn.
“Do you feel the vibrations, Bronwyn?”
She spun the knife, comfortable with the feel of it. “No. Haldir and Legolas mentioned they shook, but the facts are they were made for me. They answer only to me. Haldir spent many years trying to get them to work for him in the Undying Lands.” Her face fell, reholstering the knife. “In truth, they only started answering to me again, at Haldir’s death.” Her smile was mirthless. “By your leave, gentlemen.” She turned on her heel and slowly walked off with the tall Elf.
Hagrid came up, carrying the heavy target. “Hagrid, set that down for a moment, please.” The groundskeeper set it down as requested.
“Severus. Look closely.”
The target was peppered all around the center with round holes, holes made from arrows. But as the Potions Master peered closely, he realized…
There were only 2 sets of triple knife slits. One set for each knife.
She had placed, thrown the knives into the same set of holes. Exactly. Repeatedly.
I got my hat… on
I got my boots… dusty
I wanna be a cowboy
And you can be my cowgirl…
Day after day, the chicken battle continued. Day after day, Bronwyn and Rumil went into the sunshine and fired arrows and knives. Day after day, Rumil hounded her to use the bow. Day after day, she refused.
And her anger festered.
As the novelty wore off, fewer and fewer of the staff showed up to watch, much to Bronwyn’s relief. Only Hagrid, Remus, Snape, and Madame Hooch came to the fields on a regular basis. And with the small crowd gone, grandstanding between the Elf and Woman ran rampant. If Rumil’s aim was ‘off his mark’, as he had claimed, then he honed and perfected it in the few weeks that followed. Snape cautiously checked the target and her aim stayed true.
It was almost like magic.
Several times, Rumil brought the bow that had belonged to his famed older brother. She steadfastly refused to look at it, much less touch it. But Rumil continued to pester and pester her.
Amadeus would sit in the stands, usually next to Remus, but sometimes next to Severus, watching the goings on with great interest.
The day awoke cloudy, angry and Bronwyn’s mood matched the sky. For a time, after Haldir’s death, her cycles had been off – non – existent even, and as her body returned to its natural state, her system began to resume its normal functioning.
She woke up cramping, bloated and snarlier than hell. She barked at Amadeus for getting underfoot, cried when she thought she might have hurt her companion’s feelings, snarled at Peeves and at breakfast, sat in a self- contained snit, daring anyone to bid her good morning. Her tee shirt said it all…
Beloved by few; Feared by all
She made it known she did not want to go outside for air.
Rumil threatened to haul her down over his shoulder.
Snape threatened to help him.
“Fine!” she finally yelled. She gestured to the enchanted ceiling, rolling clouds visible. “But I refuse to go all the way to the Quidditch field! It’s disgusting out and I do not wish to be caught in the rain!” She stormed from the Hall, Rumil close behind. Amadeus shook his shaggy head and then followed.
The air in her wake shimmered.
“She comes. Shecomesshecomesshecomes.” Sybil Trelawney’s voice had dropped several octaves, solid and forceful for a change. “The Storm comes and She will shatter as the glass breaks. The Protector cries out, for he is helpless to stop what must happen, leaving Elrond’s child to choose and accept destiny. Drums, the drums in the deep call, call to the demon in the dark and only the fire and the ice combined can stop it.” Her eyes roamed wildly, focusing on Severus. “The fire and ice must merge. Only merged can they stop what will be.”
Silence. Blessed silence.
“Sybil?” Minerva’s voice was soft, imploring.
“Yes?” Her voice had returned to its normal airiness.
“Perhaps, you would like to go to your rooms and have some tea?”
“That would be nice.” Slowly, woman stood and as she left the hall, it did not seem that her feet touched the ground.
As soon as she left the Hall, Remus slowly counted out loud to ten. And then the entire company ran to the courtyard.
Rumil stood with Haldir’s bow. Despite the fact that the wind was up, he had not missed the middle of the target.
Neither had she.
The wind whipped robes and hair, mirroring the mood of Bronwyn.
“Try the bow, Bronwyn.”
The knives whipped into the target and back.
Several throws later…
“Try the bow, Bronwyn.”
Wind churned upwards, blowing Bronwyn’s and Rumil’s hair into wild whipcords above their heads.
The knives flew, aimed at the Elf. Rumil heard them whistle past his ears. Heard them embed in the wall behind him and knowing if he moved….
They whistled back past his ears.
His smile never dimmed. By Melkor’s Chains, what possessed him…
“If I wished new ear piercings, Lirimaer, I would go to a jeweler.”
Her look was furious, hard.
“Try the bow, Bronwyn.” He held it out. “What could it hurt?”
She snatched the slender strap of wood and Severus stood full upright, eyes narrowing. It was as long, as tall as she. There was no possible way she could use it – control it.
“I will do this. I will scatter arrows everywhere – quite possibly skewer a Wizard or two and then you will leave me be with this, do you understand?”
Rumil’s hands were outstretched in supplication. “I will never ask again.” She did not hear him whispered, “today.” He handed her one arrow.
The bow was ponderous, too large and Severus noticed several Wizards step backwards into alcoves and niches, some even put up protective wards. He smirked to himself. Cowards. The wind was blowing strongly and it got under even Severus’ robes. She nocked the arrow and still looking at the Elf was badgering her in that Elvish prattle she called Sindarian, lifted the bow in the general direction of the target and let the arrow fly.
The silence was such, despite the wind, that even she heard the arrow hit the target with a resounding thud.
Rumil’s smile fell from his face.
Severus could feel, feel her thoughts shift as she slowly turned towards the direction of the arrow.
Oh sweet Elbereth, who did I hit?
The arrow was in the exact center of the target.
“N’uma….” It was a whisper, floating on the wind. Severus knew that word, she had spat it at him several times in anger.
Her right hand flew out towards Rumil, who was wide eyed as well, in shock. Clearly, he had expected her to hit the target, but not dead on in the center. Quickly, the Elf recovered and he unshouldered his own quiver and slid it onto hers. Grasping the bow more firmly, her eye fixed on the target, she began to unload and unleash.
In a time to fast to comprehend, thirty white – feathered arrows were embedded, clustered tightly, into the bulls eye. Several were split by others.
All eyes were on the target.
“N’Uma!” Severus heard the quiver fall, turned his attention to her just in time to see her fling the bow to the grass. “N’UMA!” She fell to her knees and Remus stepped forward from behind Snape to go to her, but he held the werewolf back.
The dam that held her emotions in check, shattered, broke and her fury, so long contained and held, burst forth.
“NO! N’UMA!” The knuckles on her fists were white and she screamed to the heavens. “How many times will you destroy my world? How many times will you take what is mine? What the hell was I supposed to do? Stand by and let them die? You are bastards!” She had returned to her feet and turned in a slow circle. The wind had picked up and now lightning flashed, forking over the heavens. “You sit in your White Halls and sing and sing and sing and think nothing of destroying what was so meticulously planted. I have sacrificed my life for you! I have sacrificed my love for you! I have sacrificed my children for you! What more did you desire? That I sing the funeral dirges for a dead race? I wish you would tell me what more you want from me!” Rain began to pelt down, stinging little needles and Rumil started to go to her, only to be held off by a growling Amadeus.
Slowly she lowered her gaze. She canvassed the Wizards that stood in the shadows, fire burning in her eyes.
Remus stepped behind Severus…
Her hands, fisted, came up around her ears…
And the fury of Steve Vai raised…
The scream of the guitar railed over the wind, over the rain and she focused on the walls of the school.
Severus saw the air around her waver…
A multi-colored glass window high above him shattered, shards of colorful glass falling with the rain. Cries from his fellow Wizards were audible.
He felt her tamp down inside.
“N’uma! Not their fault!” Her hands, still clenched in fury, clamped to her sides as she ducked her head and ran into the building.
The rain was now pouring.
Rumil started to follow her, again cut off by a snarling, growling Amadeus.
He was answered by exposed fangs.
Even Remus tried to placate the animal.
And he was answered the same way.
Cold indigo eyes locked into black ones.
Amadeus went to Severus and growling lowly, nosed Snape behind the knees.
He wasted no time. Locking in on her path, he followed her, felt her movement, up and up the stairwells, the corridors of the school.
Into the highest reaches.
Of course, she chose the tower with the most glass.
Silently, he waited on the stairwell, probing, waiting.
Feeling her fury. As it welled, as she tamped it, as it welled again…
As she focused it.
Ah. That, he could work with. Controlled anger, well aimed…
Silent as a whisper, he stepped into the room.
At first, he did not see her, but soon, as his eyes became accustomed to the dark, he noticed her in the blackest recess, in the shadows.
“Do you know what happened? Do you know what they allowed to happen?” Her voice was low, ancient.
“Enlighten me, as only you can.” Severus stood in the middle of the room, coiled in, hands tucked, robes pooled at his feet.
She withdrew from the shadows, eyes gleaming in fanatical anger. “I saved your sorry asses. And how was I repaid? A wizard decided Voldemort wasn’t enough! A Wizard decided his own power wasn’t enough! He wanted mine as well.”
“Bronwyn, why would anyone want your power?”
“You think this is the extent of my power?” Again, angry heavy sounds of music reverberated from the walls. “You think this is all I do?” For a moment, they stood not in the tower of Hogwarts, but in the middle of Tower Two of the Twin Towers as it fell burning, grinders screeching around them, screaming, screaming, fear….
Her voice was a whisper, her body against his. “I know how to torment an Elf to turn him into an Orc.”
Piggy screams joined the guitar.
“I know how to create, birth a Uruk hai…”
Mudpits in the bowels of the Earth, writhing, moving…
“I know where the last of the Balrogs hide…”
A huge, fiery demon, wings the span of…
Cool wind through the tower.
Severus smiled. He felt it. And it drew him like a moth to flame.
“A Wizard decided their power was not enough, so they want yours and the added perks it brings.”
He was now circling her, a long finger trailing, slowly spinning in the air around her. “This Wizard thinks to use your bow to gain access to your power, you knowledge, and learn how to and the whereabouts of.”
Snape came to a slow halt behind Bronwyn, his hands coming to rest on her shoulders. He tucked her hair behind her ear and leaned over, whispering in the softly rounded edge. “But we are Elrond’s children. How did one of your children become one’s of Elrond’s as well?”
She turned her head and faced him, her grin snarky as any he had ever conjured. His gaze focused on the moist tip of a pointed tongue that licked the bow of her lip.
“My grandsons, sons of my daughter Faeowynne, were fathered by the twins sons of Elrond. Elrohir and Elladan. No one knows how long they lived, when they died, or if they ever DID die. His sons stayed behind, as did two of my beloved children. Our family, descendants were also very close to the family and descendants of Arwen, the Evenstar of Imladris, for many generations. She was not only the Queen of Gondor, she was also the daughter of Elrond. Think that with all that history, our children did not mix?”
Severus mulled that for a moment. It was possible…
“This child orchestrated events that killed my rightful heir. This same child orchestrated events that caused My Beloved, Cormamin, my Heart to be cruelly murdered in my arms, forcibly removed from me, for the sole purpose to weaken me, to more easily access the knowledge I contain. He could not kill me, for one cannot force the dead to give up their secrets. He did this to cripple me, to make me wish for death, to do anything to leave this world.
“He almost succeeded.” Her hands came together, index fingers creating a steeple as she folded them in front of her face, long fingers tapping her lip.
“How will you… deal… with this child?”
She snorted. “I will make him pay. I will make his life a living hell. I will personally kick his sorry ass from one end of Valinor to the other. Think to take mine from me? I have brought down worse things than a piddling Wizard with delusions of grandeur…”
“Ah, yes.” Severus rolled his eyes to the darkened ceiling, as he drummed his fingers on his shoulders. “You have killed a dragon…” he felt that anger waver and focus on him… “Nonono, Bronwyn. Focus that anger back where it belongs. Not on me. Focus on that which you seek revenge.”
She took a deep breath, but did as he demanded. “So, you are with me in this venture?”
He continued to peruse the ceiling of the room, venomous sarcasm dripping, “Oh, like what better things do I have to do? Teaching children is so… not worthy of a moment of time…”
She backed into him, giggling evilly, her shoulders rubbing into his chest.
Electric tingles charged through him.
“Now,” her finger continued to tap on her lip, “what to do first…”
“Let them think you are shattered.” Snape suggested. “Let them think you have hit the bottom and barely wish to go on.”
Because go on, you must, he added to himself.
“Oh. That is easy enough.” She stepped out of his embrace, leaving cool air in her space. He held back his desire to reach out and bring her back into his arms. She turned and looked at him dolefully. “This will quite drain me. Will you help me?”
Severus scowled and gestured with his fingers, ‘come on with it.‘
She clenched her hands in fists and the music rose, noise noise and more noise, decibels over what was standard, reverberating off the walls, aimed at the glass.
“Let them know they have angered me!”
Her aura shimmered and every pane of glass in the room exploded outwards, showering the grounds in shards of glass for hundreds of yards. Severus ducked his head and closed his eyes at the brightness of the sudden light.
When the dust and sound cleared, he saw her lying on the floor, unconscious.
Nai – yes
N’uma – no
‘Maelamin – My love
Mellon – friend
Lirimaer – Lovely One
Tithen Ares – Little Deer
Cormamin – my Heart
04 Thursday May 2023
Howdy hey! How are we all? I’m hanging in there, Spawn’s memorial was last Saturday. Fairly well attended. I’m job hunting, Don’t think I want to go back into the classroom. We’ll see. I thought I had enough years to pull a full retirement in about 6 years. nope. Another 15. Nope. I’m not teaching until i’m in my mid 70’s. I can’t do it anymore.
I’ve done some reading in the last 2 months. reread the Foreigner series. Finally the next installment is coming out in October! can’t wait! also reread the freaky series – Shifter circus. I have downloaded some new reads.
VERY dark fantasy. Hunter is a half-breed. Half human, half demon. He’s a professional assassin. He has a soft spot for mortals and goes on a rampage when a child under his care is murdered. There is no happy in these books. There is one more in this series.
Spencer is an interesting character, He’s a bounty hunter- for Beezlebub. He lives with a group of other-worldly beings. This isn’t the best book I’ve read, but it’s not the worst, either.
Have you ever heard of the Alien Witness protection program? Me either. part one of this series. more of a novella. Sex at the end of this section. Won’t bother getting the rest.
She is an opera dancer-and an English spy. He is the younger brother of a duke and a code-breaker. Together, they are pretty dangerous. Things go crazy when the French kidnap her sister in an attempt to get her to change sides.
And there you have it.
28 Friday Apr 2023
21 Friday Apr 2023
Chapter 7 – There is no escape from the gilded cage or Who could be weirder than Filch?
There is no escape from the gilded cage or Who could be weirder than Filch?
The Voyeur stood in a forest – dark, forbidding. He would have been at home in the dankness, except that he was surrounded by Elves; hundreds and hundreds of Elves. All were in battle gear; all were bloodied, most were injured, swords, knives, dripping carnage. The air permeated with the thick smell of iron, sweat, bloodshed. All attention was directed to the middle of the glen.
The Big Elf stood in the hollow, head bowed, the Woman lying unconscious in the bloodied mud. Both were covered in blood, gore. A sudden flash of light spilled into the darkened forest. What Elves were standing fell to their knees as a bright being emerged from the glow and approached the Elf.
“Well done, our most faithful servant. Know that I, and the others of the Hall, recognize your valor and devotion to this most difficult of creatures with whom you have burdened. We have chosen her Shield and Champion well.” She looked down at the still body of the Woman. “Arise and claim your destiny.”
Eyes slowly came open and the Woman picked herself up from the grass. Her features were slack with exhaustion, but she looked at the being clothed in white with no fear.
Words understood by only the Vision and the Woman passed over the ears of the Voyeur. The Vision produced the sword with the illegible inscriptions from his dreams. It glowed green, but was clean, free of blood and gore. The Voyeur came closer, strained to hear, to see. The Vision – the Valar – handed the weapon to the grubby, small warrior..
In a strong voice, the Woman recited foreign words; the language was, captivating, beautiful, yet the Voyeur was perturbed by his inability to understand what she said.
“Mana lúme caita syadlla?
Mana lúme lerya quingalla?
Mana lúme hehtane siklla?
Mana lume mappe eppessella?
Er Valar quetuvar”
Lovely. Gibberish, but lovely.
Fascinated, the Voyeur watched as one by one, the Woman handed over her weapons – a bow, a set of knives, the sword – only to have them pass across the fingers of the Vision and return to the owner.
For a few short minutes, the Woman stared at the sword, lifted high. Then dawning rained over her features and in a clear, ringing voice, she pointed the sword to the sky, her tone daring anyone to gainsay her.
These words, he understood. Merlin’s Robes, they had been spoken to him enough times…
“I am the Historian for all the Ages, past and future; I am the Storyteller of the Races, the Protector and Seer of the Future; the Musician of…”
Yada Yada Yada. The Voyeur rolled his eyes. I know who she is.
And with that, she laid the sword across her forearm, cutting deep. Her voice remained strong
“Serkenin naa a Arda
Arda naa a serkenin
Naem er, Naem atya
Naem weerenen ullume
Hanyo allasse ar nwalma.”
The Voyeur watched grimly as she turned her arm over, so her blood spilt and seeped into the ground. The thought came quickly…
Do these people speak a civilized language that all can understand?
She had raised the sword, one last time, and with a mighty heave, thrust it into the ground where her blood had dripped . Electric white light raced from the dirt to the sky and all were blinded.
“She needs your help.” The Voyeur looked down, expecting to see the Elf, but instead seeing the vision. Raven black hair, glowing sapphire blue eyes… and a smile that reached into the cold recesses of his soul. “Her bow has lost its way.”
“I do not know how to help her. She is stubborn…”
“Yes. She has been a most difficult vessel.” The Valar’s hand reached to cup his face and he reveled in the sweet contact. “Her blood in the Earth runs thin and it must be rejuvenated. The time has come for Elrond’s children and her children – Haldir’s children, to no longer hide behind the veils of secrecy, but to take their rightful place and stand alongside Man. You must be strong. She will find her strength, receive her strength from you, as she does Haldir.”
The Voyeur closed his eyes and held the gentle hand to his face. His frustration was giving way. “The Elf. He…”
“Yes. He is a thorn to you, a difficult task master. They both grieve for each other, but their purpose is no longer theirs alone. He will continue to guide you, aid you. He will also put walls in your path. He wants his way, as would she, if she knew.”
“What way?” The Voyeur’s voice was a whisper. He could feel the smile in her soft voice.
“You must watch for the obstacles he will throw at you, put in your path. You must help her find her bow.” The gentle hand continued to caress his jaw, moved slowly to his earlobe. “She never knew, they never realized, her sword; in this form, it takes both she and her Guardian to wield it properly. Remember that.” He shuddered at the sweetness of her touch, at the compassion in her voice.
“Do not throw aside her titles. They are not empty. She has held the race of Man in the palm of her hands for countless millennia. She has also held Elrond’s children. This Vessel comes so very close to cracking, to breaking, and we must prevent that. You must prevent that. She must hold on until the cycle is complete. Only then, will all be well.”
“We have chosen her Shield and Champions well. Help her. Help her find her bow. Answer her questions. Do not be afraid of her. Be afraid for her.”
When the Voyeur finally looked up, the light, the Elves, were gone. Only the Woman remained. Dark, haunted eyes stared into his.
Reservo mea. Reservo mea.
Save me. Save me.
In the five minutes it took her to change, he looked at the transformations of the apartment, took in the things she had done to make it hers. It was pleasantly cluttered, inviting, with comfortable, over-stuffed furniture, books stacked everywhere, fresh cut flowers in vases on the tables, the mantle, musical instruments tucked in every corner. Flutes of all kinds; brass, wood, reed. Drums, shakers, a bagpipe hung from over the fireplace, a violin, propped on the mantlepiece, a cello in the corner. There were framed pictures made with colorful threads on tightly meshed material, precisely placed tiny ‘x’s stitched over equally tiny woven squares. One was in stages of being sewn, lying on the couch, a colorful quilt slung carelessly over the back. He attentively took in the complexity, the obvious care given to each laid stitch. As he walked around, he noticed the portfolio on the end table. Very carefully, he picked it up and opened it, looking at the top drawing.
The artist was good. Very good. He looked at the artist’s signature in the corner.
The top drawing was of her husband, Haldir, of that he had no doubt. The big Elf had haunted him long enough to know who he was. Indigo blue eyes stared from the parchment, almost alive. Long moon-blonde hair seemed to glisten against a dark tunic. The look was stern, this was one who would not abide any rebelliousness, any silliness from a foolish chit. How, by Merlin’s Vestments, had he managed to reign in the she-devil upstairs?
With love. The Elf had loved her, enjoyed her company.
Severus snapped the portfolio shut, shaking his head of cloying thoughts. He did NOT want to enjoy her company. He most certainly did not want to love her. As he laid the portfolio back down, he heard her coming down the stairs.
“Lovely.” His eyes raked her body in thinly veiled disgust.
A look of quirky smugness settled on her face as she took in his perusal. “Yes, the very picture of decorum, aren’t I?” She wore shredded jeans and a faded t-shirt with a rather endearing sentiment on it:
Drink Beer or Fight
She walked to the door and opened it, Amadeus at her side. “Are you coming? I am sure you wish to observe my eating habits,” she tapped her index finger thoughtfully on her lip, “since I must be – now, how did you put it – constantly monitored.” Her imitation of him was eerily Gryffindorish.
“Do not be absurd.”
Scowling fiercely, he followed her, warding the door behind them.
When I started down the street last Sunday
Feelin’ mighty low and kinda mean
Suddenly a voice said “Go forth neighbor!
Spread the picture on a wider screen!
Spread the religion of the rhythm of life!”
The Rhythm of Life
Cy Coleman/Dorothy Fields
Lupin found her t-shirt amusing.
“Feeling belligerent today?” He noticed Severus mocking him behind his newspaper.
“Heh!” Bronwyn snorted. She was humming along to the music that she was creating, enunciating the words, ‘And kinda mean!’ She nodded towards Severus. Amadeus sounded as if he were snoring under her chair.
“What did he do?” Remus leaned over and conspiratorly whispered in her ear.
“Pissed me off!”
Snape made an obscene noise from behind his paper, burying his nose deeper.
“What are your plans today?”
Bronwyn looked at the angry, cloudy sky through the enchanted ceiling and then took in the tense set of Snape’s shoulders. “I was planning to go to the library. I haven’t seen it yet and I am hoping the Zoo Keeper -” she gestured towards Snape, “- might allow me out of my cage in order to do so!”
Snape turned the page with a snap and looked at her over the Daily Prophet. “I have no problem with you going to the library.” The paper slid back up in front of his face.
Lupin had a confused look on his face. “Am I missing something here?”
Bronwyn leaned over and whispered in his ear. “I escaped last night.”
“You did what?” Lupin hissed loudly and as a result, all heads turned in their direction. Rumil, sitting on the opposite side of her, glanced up from his conversation with Professor McGonagal, his look, anxious. “You escaped? Bronwyn! By the Gods, how did you manage to undo the wards?”
She turned her knees to him, her back to Severus. “Remus, keep your voice down, please.” She placed a hand on his knees, placating. ” I didn’t undo the wards. I used my knives and climbed through the roof of my patio.”
“You did not!” Rumil’s voice was nothing short of a bellow. Everyone was listening now.
“She most certainly did!” Snape’s voice growled. “I had to go out and hunt her down, because she could not get back in! And…” he turned a page, with a crack, “she cannot comprehend why I am so angry!”
Lupin’s look was incredulous. “Bronwyn, tithen air… air..
“Aras, Lupin. Tithen Aras.” She had turned back to the last of her oatmeal. She took one bite and looked back him, seeing the worry in his eyes. “Remus, please. I realize it was not the brightest move I have probably ever made…” More rude noises erupted from behind Snape’s paper, and she snarled in response. “… I just couldn’t stand being cooped up anymore.” She took a deep breath.
“Bronwyn, the grounds are very dangerous at night. You could be injured, kidnapped, killed… “
“So I was told.” Snape noted she sounded like a petulant child. Her fingers tapped on the table in an irritating drumbeat and his hand whipped out, gently pinning her fingers to the table.
“Madam, I have no qualms with you going to the library. I just ask you do it at a decent hour.”
She got up from the table, jerking her hand from beneath his and throwing her napkin in the plate. As she came around Severus, she leaned, putting both hands on his shoulders. She bent over, her breath caressing his cheek.
“Define decent hour.” He turned to glare at her, his lips almost touching hers. She squeezed gently and patted. “I didn’t think you could. I’m going to the library. In case you want to… find me.”
She’s got to be strong
‘Cause so many things getting out of control
Should drive her away
So why does she stay?
It’s all about soul
All About Soul
Bronwyn wandered about Albus Dumbledore’s office, feeling churlish, feeling childish. She knew why she was here, knew why he had summoned her. She was getting used to owls flying up with things tied to their legs for her. Notes from Lord Celeborn, Lord Elrond. She had even gotten a rather nice, if stilted letter from Erestor, Elrond’s advisor and secretary the previous week, which included a very naughty limerick written at the bottom in Lord Glorfindel’s hand. She had not expected to be dive bombed by the large bird as she slowly wandered the halls after breakfast with a summons, a gently worded demand to present herself at Dumbledore’s office. She perused pictures that looked back at her. One in particular captured her attention and she peered closer…
“What the hell are you looking at?”
She leapt backwards, knocking the table behind her over, gee-gahs flying everywhere. “My God! You spoke!” Her breath came in short pants and she quickly began to replace the fallen objects.
“Well, of course I spoke! What did you expect me to do? Hold still, like those silly Muggle photographs?” The Wizard in the frame looked disgusted and carried on as if she had done something. “Today’s generation. So rude!” he spat.
“I’m rude? I’m rude?” Bronwyn was indignant in her fury, poking herself firmly in the chest. She looked closely at the name plate. Phineas Nigellus. “Mr. Nigellus, I assure you that I was looking at nothing!”
“I beg your pardon, miss! You were looking at me!”
“Like I said,” Bronwyn’s hands had settled on her hips and her shoulders rocked with attitude. “I was looking at nothing!” The woman and the figure in the painting sized each other up.
“Bronwyn.” She turned at the sound of the gentle Wizard’s voice. He came to her quickly, taking her hands in his. “I am sorry I have not had time to speak with you before now. A Headmaster’s work is never done, it seems.” He led her over to a small settee with a tea set and a jar of jelly beans. “Please sit.” The two sat down and she watched in fascination of the tea pot that poured her tea, by itself. “Sugar?” Bronwyn nodded and watched as lumps of the sweetener plop by themselves into her cup until she raised her hand.
“I am sorry, Professor Dumbledore. All this magic… pictures that move and hold conversations with you… ” she motioned to the pictures on the wall that were now listening intently to her conversation, “This morning, my mirror spoke to me. Out of the blue, it told me I needed to put on some makeup, because I looked like total… er… shit! My mirror said that! I do not know if I will ever get used to it.”
“It is Albus, my dear.” He stirred his tea and took a sip. “I imagine it is quite disturbing. I would be equally lost in the Muggle World.” He set the cup down and looked at her over half-moon glasses. “You are settling in? Your accommodations are satisfactory?
“They are lovely. I cannot thank you enough.” She took several sips of her tea. “You did not have to take me in this way. I do own a cottage in Wales.”
Albus chuckled and picked up the jar of jelly beans, passing them to her. “It was either take you in or lose our Potions Master. Taking you in seemed the logical choice. You know very well, your home is not safe and will not be for some time.” He watched in silent amusement as she took her time picking and choosing over the assortment, finally settling on a pink, speckled one. Her eyes lit up as she bit in.
“Peppermint!” She reached in for a few more. “These are wonderful! Do you mind?”
“Go right ahead.” Albus waved her on. “You are getting on with the professors?”
Bronwyn held up a jellybean, squinting at it. “For the most part. Minerva has been wonderful, as has Anne-Marie Hooch and Russ. Russ has said she will let me help her in her greenhouses next week.” She popped a bean in her mouth. “Buttered Popcorn?” she shrugged and examined another one. “I like Remus, too. He has been awesome. Absolutely da Bomb!”
Her eyes slid sideways to the elderly wizard. “And here I thought this was going to be a nice conversation.” She popped the green jellybean into her mouth and made a face. “What the… ” she swallowed slowly. “Yrch! That one tasted like grass. Must have been a dud!”
Albus shrugged with a smile. “And Severus?” he persisted. “He has been helpful?”
“He has been a butt!” Bronwyn spat, picking up another jellybean, eyebrow arched gracefully. “He talks to me like I am a child. I cannot converse with him and I have no idea how the two of us are supposed to work together.” Bronwyn finally popped the bean into her mouth.
“YRCH!!!!” Her face scrunched up and her hands waved, reaching for a napkin. Not finding one, she spat the partially chewed bean into her hand. “EEW! That thing tastes like….vomit!” She glared at Dumbledore. “What are those things?” Albus handed her a napkin and she wiped her hand into it, scowling.
“Bernie Botts Every Flavored Beans. They are not kidding. They are every flavor.” He smiled, shaking his head gently. “They are a huge hit with the younger years. I have yet to figure out why.” He watched her face for several moments. “About Severus…”
She waved her hand for him to continue.
“I heard about your… adventure… last night. I must ask you not to do that again. These grounds are not safe. I realize you feel… cooped up… but it is for your own safety. If I know Severus, he is outside now, in the elements, warding your roof. If you can get out, then someone, or something, could get in.” He watched as Bronwyn stood up and resettled herself on the step, resting her chin in her hands. He set his teacup down lightly and followed her, slowly following her lead on his floor. She turned deep, smoldering eyes to him.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think about that. I just wanted to…”
“You just wanted to wander and to explore and your chambers are not big enough for that.” Albus’ smile was genuine. ” We have an amazing library and your palms are itching to get your hands on new reading material.” Her grin was answer enough. “Perhaps, you and Severus’ can bridge this impasse the two of you have come to and can come up with a way to ward your doors without you being trapped. Perhaps a password. Severus is quite good at things like that.”
“He is difficult. He is a condescending, belligerent, bullying, anti-social…”
“Ah. And Haldir was none of those things?” The kindly wizard’s eyes twinkled in merriment.
“No! No he was not!” She was aghast that gentleman next to her would ask such a question.
“Haldir was not arrogant? Pugnacious? Strong-willed? Careful in choosing his friends? “
“Well, yes he was that, but…” Bronwyn snapped her mouth shut when she made the connection. “I could talk to Haldir! I cannot have a civil conversation with your Potions Master! Snape is a thoroughly disagreeable man!” she insisted.
“Yes, he is. But he has had a difficult life. His childhood was horrific and his time here as a student was not much better.” The Wizard’s voice got very quiet. “I am afraid I failed him then. I almost failed him later. I will not fail him again.” He realized his hand was held by hers and the heat emanating from it enveloped his body. He looked up into her eyes and saw understanding and pity. “Do not allow him to see that! He is…”
“Encased in a hard shell. I know.” Bronwyn gave a grim smile. “He is quite the puzzle, isn’t he?” She patted Dumbledore’s hand. “And the more I discover about him, the more complex he becomes.” She inhaled deeply. “He has a horrific headache and he will not allow me to help him.”
“Perhaps you should put your foot down with him.” He slid a hand over hers and patted back. “Ah, I must cut this short. I have interviews to conduct for the Arithmancy and History of Magic positions.” He placed both hands on his knees. “Can you help an old man up?”
Bronwyn bounced up and helped him to his feet. “Thank you.” She hugged him impulsively. “You remind me much of Gandalf.”
Albus’ mouth made a funny moue. “I will consider that a compliment.” He looked down at the Bard. “Bronwyn. No one envies your position. You have dealt with all that has been handed to you with great aplomb.” He smiled sadly at the single tear that threatened to fall. “Your loss was great, but you will gain much.”
“I miss him. I miss him so much.”
“Of course you do. No one expects you NOT to miss him. But while he waits, you have living to get on with. And you must do that. You have a lot of life left to explore.” He nodded to the door. “The library is down the hall, on your left. I expect to hear your scream of joy when you go in. Tell Madame Pince if you need anything.”
For three days it rained; poured torrential buckets and Bronwyn spent all three days lying on a table with a pillow, one toe-nail lacquered foot propped on her knee, book over her head. Amadeus slept under the table.
Johann Sebastian Bach’s music soared through out the room.
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Holy Wisdom, Love most bright…
She took great delight in the library. It was huge, one of the largest she had ever been in and more enjoyable was it was full of books she had never read, had never been aware of. She inhaled them like air, relishing knowledge she never knew existed.
Severus watched from the doorway in disgruntled enchantment as Remus or Rumil moved back and forth, replacing and bringing the next book as she finished the one she had. She forgot to come eat once; after that, Severus retrieved her for all meals. This time was different from when she first came; she wasn’t refusing, she simply… forgot.
For the first time in months, Severus’ headache diminished to almost nothing. Bronwyn was at peace, therefore, the turmoil she created was nonexistent.
She did pepper him with questions in the evenings, however. Bronwyn made it a habit, after dinner, to invade his room, his sanctuary, normally carrying several books and would pester him with questions ranging from the incredibly inane to the amazingly deep. She was more curious than any Ravenclaw he could remember.
Tonight, she sat on a stool, opposite of him, peering into simmering cauldrons, the wolf curled at her feet.
“That one is beautiful. What is it?”
“What is a bezoar?”
“Do they actually PAY someone to taste test Bernie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans?”
“Can I get a stick thingy like yours? You know, the kind that shoots green sparks?”
“What if you aren’t the seeker and you catch the snitch? Is the game over or do you keep playing until a SEEKER catches it?”
“What’s so precious about dragon’s blood?”
“How do you do that WHOOSH thing? Can you teach me? Where can I get a robe that does that? Did you buy them that way?”
“I KNOW that is what it says, Severus. I still don’t understand why!”
“Why do you stir the Amrodil Potion exactly 24 times clockwise and 11 times counter-clockwise?”
Snape looked up quickly. “Where did you read that? That is incorrect!” he snapped at her, stirring Lupin’s potion.
“Spells and Potions for the Classroom by Mildred Creakly, Hawkes and Bookers, publishers, edition 4, September of 1977. Page 82, paragraph 3.” she rattled off.
He turned to his bookshelf, perusing the bindings. With a soft, ‘ah-ha’, he pulled a book from the shelf. Flipping through it, he came to the potion in question. “Yes, I was correct. Twenty seven times clockwise and twelve times counter clockwise. And it is on page 189, paragraph two!” Snape thrust the book at her.
Bronwyn took one look at the book and turned to the first page. “Ah. Hate to piss in your potion, Professor, but this is the Sixth Edition, June, 1999.” Snape yanked the book back and looked at the title page. “I am sure when I reach this edition, I will find several errors. It happens.”
Realization at what he just witnessed, sank into Snape’s astonished mind. Ordering her to stay put, he strode to her chambers, up the stairs, into her room. Grabbing three random books from her shelf, he hurried back to his classroom. He slid back behind his caldron and picked up the first one, reading the cover.
“Iris Johansen. The Killing Game. Page 193. Third paragraph.”
Bronwyn blinked once.
“Eve leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes. How Dom must have enjoyed throwing out lies and deceptive hints. You made it hard enough, but I’ve found her, Dom, you son of a bitch…”
Severus looked it up. She was right. Word for word. He picked up the next one.
“The Tangle Box. Terry Brooks. Page 108. Second paragraph.” He immediately began flipping through the book.
Again, she blinked once.
“She let her mother speak to her then through the dance, let her share in turn the joy she was feeling. Once Willow had found that joy exhilarating. Now she found it lacking, oddly empty, circumscribed happiness..”
“Enough.” Again. Word for word. He picked up the third and final book. “Julie Garwood, The Prize, page 243, paragraph three.”
“His thumb rubbed against her most sensitive spot. She arched up against him and moaned into his mouth. White-hot desire claimed her. She kissed him with a passion that left him shaken…”
“Silence!” Severus quickly found the erotic passage and looked. He had stopped her just in time. “What is this tripe you read?” he queried angrily, flipping the book back and forth, checking cover and back.
“Pretty good tripe, late at night.” He could hear the laughter in her voice.”Shall I continue? Royce slooooowly forced his fingers inside her slick, tight open…”
His mind reeled from the enormity of her memory. If she could remember paragraphs, passages word for word, small wonder she had been determined to get to the library for new reading material.
She was starving for reading material. For knowledge.
Of any kind.
And he thought Hermione Granger was a know-it-all. What a clash the upcoming Head Girl and new Muggles Studies Professor – the Muggle who wasn’t a Muggle – was going to make. And he was in a unique position to observe it all.
Come to my window
Crawl inside, Wait by the light of the moon
Come to my window
I’ll be home soon.
Come to my Window
She was out, roaming the halls. Severus sat in front of his fireplace, brandy snifter in hand, comparing the out-of-date edition of ‘Spells and Potions’ with the newer, corrected edition. He was seeing why so many students over the years had had difficulties; if they had been using the Fourth, there were blatant errors everywhere. He inhaled deeply, and draining the dregs from his glass, he set it and the book down. He looked at his clock.
12:52 A.M. Most definitely not a decent hour. Donning his trailing robes, he exited the dungeons and headed up the stairs, following the beacon in his head.
Filch was at the bottom of the second floor flights. “She’s on the third floor. East wing.”
Snape grunted in acknowledgment. He didn’t wanted to talk to the man; he knew where she was, but it seemed to be the fastest way past him.
“Weird one, she is. Mark my words. Very weird.”
Oh, like you’re not! Snape thought to himself. That would be like the cauldron calling the Sorting Hat black. Severus made his way up the steps, past sleeping portraits.
“Thy hand, Belinda…”
If he hadn’t been able to figure out where she was at, the music would have led him straight to her.
“Darkness shades me;
On thy bosom let me rest
More I would, but death invades me…”
She wasn’t just creating this music, she was singing…
“Death is now welcome guest…”
Purcell? She was singing… Purcell? His mind raced to place the opera, the recitative.. her voice, a deep, rich alto…
“When I am laid, am laid in earth
May my wrongs create, no trouble, no trouble in thy breast…”
Dido’s Lament. Of course. She was mourning still. She lived to mourn. It was her reason for waking, her reason to be. She gloried in her bereavement. He moved silently down the corridor towards the stairwell to the third floor.
“Remember me, but ah! Forget my fate.”
He came to the landing and looked up. At first he thought he beheld a ghost, but quickly put that thought aside as she was not transparent.
Bronwyn was clothed in an Elvish gown of white; its beaded sleeves and long train spilled behind her like a silver waterfall that pooled on the steps. She wore a white shawl over her abundant waves and he saw no skin except fingertips, resting on the edge of the railing. The other hand came gracefully from her side, held out, palm up. Her very posture demanded ‘attend me’.
“Severus,” His name slid sweetly from her whispered voice. She had never looked back, never gazed his way, so how she knew he was there, was beyond him. “Do not skulk in the dark. People will think you are up to something… untoward.” She beckoned with her finger tips. Severus found himself, up the stairs, taking her hand and tucking the dainty tip in his elbow.
Her magic is different from ours, Severus.
Slowly they moved down the hallway. She took in the pictures, people, dogs, at peaceful slumber. The music changed.
“I die, alas! From my pain
And who can give me life.
Alas, kills me and…”
“Bronwyn, please. Something a little less fatal.”
She smiled. Queen’s wailing guitars and pounding drums startled the sleeping subjects in the paintings.
“All Dead, all dead
All the dreams we had
And I wonder why I still live on…”
“Less fatal, Bronwyn. The key word here is less.”
She smiled again. Mozart’s Requiem swelled in all its beauty. Severus stopped, holding tightly to her hand, still warmly tucked in his arm.
“Bronwyn, please. Something… happy. Or at the very least, peaceful.”
She removed her hand from his elbow and looked up at him. He could see the moonlight glinting in her eyes, where it came through the windows. Slowly, she removed the shawl from her head, laying it about her shoulders and neck. Her smile… her smile was mesmerizing.
“You called me by my name.” She tilted her head, engagingly. “Not once. But three times.” She tucked her hand back into his elbow. “That deserves something special.”
Severus’s attention reverted back to the long hallway. “Oh. Whoopie.” His voice was droll, but as Bronwyn glanced at him sideways, she thought she detected a small, albeit humorless smile.
“Pick a song. Any song you like.” He looked at her in perplexity. “I am serious, Severus. You called me by my name. I have waited so long to hear it from your lips. It sounds almost sinful to hear you say it.” Despite the fact that it was summer, he could see her breath, misting in the air. Dust in the disturbed haze. “Any piece of music you like, Severus. Just tell me.”
Oh, play along. She isn’t railing at you. She isn’t outside, playing with herself, masturbating with the gargoyles .
“Bartok. Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta.”
Immediately, the hauntingly soft sounds of violins oozed from the rising dust fog sparkling in the moonlight.
“Funny,” she whispered, leaning in towards him, tucking her hand back into his black-clad elbow, “I had you pegged for a Wagner fan.”
“Wagner.” he sniffed, disdainfully. “Self-absorbed, sanctimonious twit.”
Bronwyn stopped in amused wonderment, her jaw dropped, her eyes alight with laughter. “Self-absorbed? Sanctimonious? Severus Snape! My opinion and respect for you has just risen ten-fold!”
“Hmmm. And ten times nothing is…?” She smacked his arm playfully, enjoying his dry humor for a change. They strolled quietly, listening to the music, the quiet whisper of her gown following them. Her footfalls padded quietly; she was barefoot and occasionally, he saw the hint of pale painted toenails peek from under her gown. The pearly train of her dress and the dark trails of his robe intertwined gently behind them. When Bartok finished, she melded into Debussy, Afternoon of a Faun. She questioned him on his likes and dislikes, amazed that while he had not read Muggle books, he had listened to Muggle music and was quite the expert on Classical Music. He was difficult to stump.
“J.S. Bach had two wives, madam and seventeen children. Do not play games.”
Debussy fused into Teleman.
“Bronwyn! Rachmaninoff was not classical composer. He was late- Romantic, almost 20th Century! Do you mean to tell me, you actually received DEGREES in this and they allowed you out of your conservatory sprouting such nonsense?”
Bronwyn giggled wickedly and pumped her free hand in the air. “YesYesYes! No foolin’ you, professor!”
It dawned on him that he was almost enjoying this time with her; no fighting, no one-upmanship, no flinging innuendos at each other. She was almost… not almost… was… pleasant company.
Teleman faded into St. Saens.
He began to gently pump her for information, information she had read from centuries ago, read in the library. She repeated books, scrolls verbatim. Things she had taken interest in, she could go on and on, in her zeal for the subject. Her knowledge of history, of the Races, of the Ages was amazing. She talked of the beauty of Lothlórien, of Imladris, the intelligence of Elrond, Erestor, the bravery and wicked humor of Glorfindel, the sexual ruthlessness of Thrandull, of Rohan, of Gondor. Then there were other things…
“It is quite frightening, Bronwyn.” He stated at one point. “You could tell someone how to clinically open one’s head and remove the tumor that lies within. I would not want you do to it to me, however.”
She shook her head negatively and slowly made her way to a deep window sill, staring into the moonlit night. “You realize we have made this circle countless times.”
“I had not noticed.”
“It is four in the morning. I will be to tired for breakfast.” Her voice was far away. He had lost track of the time, enjoying the conversation.
“I will let you sleep.” He stood behind her, feeling her thoughts, sensing them move away from her, into a distant time. She was open. She was… temporarily untied from all gravity of her pain.
“Bronwyn, where are you?”
Her response was so quiet, he almost missed it. He leaned closely, hands on her shoulders, to hear.
“The Gardens of Isengard. They were so beautiful after the Ents replanted it. So beautiful…” Her eyes had glazed over.
Severus’ agile mind took in all he had witnessed in the past few hours, days, witnessed in the library, witnessed in his classroom, witnessed here in this hallway. Full realization of who and what she was slammed his senses.
Historian of the Ages – she had lived 38,000 years, had seen all that Man could muster. Had spent time with those who could remember back to the First Age, had spoken to them, knew their stories. Remembered all.
The Storyteller of the Races – The Teacher of Teachers. She who had taught the Elflings the lore, the Ainur, she who would teach these children of that world they hid from, of their common ancestor. She who knew all.
The Protector and Seer of the Future – She had risked all to
protect the sanctity of Man. She had watched it unfold from afar and had protected Elrond’s hidden children when they had been threatened with annihilation; out of love for Elrond, for them, she had stepped forward to save them, costing her…
The Musician of the All – she who played every instrument, was a master of all of them. Bronwyn had told him that when Iluvatar, God, if one was bold, created the Valar, they didn’t speak. They had sung the very world into existence… When the Elves went anywhere, they sang. Music, that was so important…
The Voice of the Unheard – the Wizards were unheard, secreted. She had been their voice…
The Keeper of the Truth and of the Innocent – She had showed Man what would happen if… protecting those who were guiltless…
I am the Founder and Mother of the Celtic Bards. I am the Bard of the Earth…
The Bard. Not any bard.
This woman’s very hand had stayed the keel of the Earth; The Elf had been her Guardian and Shield. And now He was.
The full force of it struck Severus. This petulant child, who raged at the world in one breath and then just as quickly swung to playfulness, protected them; Man, Wizards. Had lost what was most precious to her for them. Why? For what?
He spun her around and lifting her easily onto the wide window sill, he braced his fists on either side of her. He looked deep into brown eyes and at the same time, delved with his mind, attempting to find, to capture her wandering one.
“Who are you? What are you?” he whispered.
Her voice was distant. “I am Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, the Bard of all the Earth, the last Empty Vessel. I am the beloved of Haldir of Lothlórien.”
“And who is Haldir of Lothlórien?”
“He is Heru en Cormmin, Lord of my heart, my husband. My lover. The father of my children, my Guardian, my Shield. He was a gift to me.”
“Why him?” Snape’s voice continued its hypnotic whisper.
“Because he was the best. The best of that Age. He was what I was not.” She stared deep into his eyes, unaware of his interrogation.
“Who am I?”
“Severus Snape. Potions Master of Hogwarts. Former Death Eater. Now also, Guardian and Shield of the Bard of the Earth.”
“Why me?” His question pained him, wretched from his soul.
“Because you are the best this world has to offer. You are everything we are not. I am your gift. I am to teach you what you never knew.”
He paused for a moment, taking in what she said. He leaned in closer, his forehead almost touching hers.
“Teach me what?”
Her gaze never broke from his. Her fingers left the window sill and cupped his face, gently, a lover’s touch, her look full of sorrow.
“I do not know.”
Dido’s Lament from the Opera, Dido and Aeneas ( 1st performance 1689)
Words by Nahum Tate -1652 – 1715
Music by Henry Purcell -1658/9 -1695
Moro Lasso/I die
Carlo Gesualdo (c1560-1613)
All Dead, All Dead
Brian May – 1977
Queen – News of the World album –
“Well done my good and faithful Servant.”
If I need to tell you who said that, then…..
Lirimaer – lovely one
Tithen Aras – little one
14 Friday Apr 2023
06, hp, LOTR, tel lindar
The Prisoner of your soul or Bruising of your heart
The place had all the makings of a water-front dive. It was smoky, the reek of spilt ale and sea sweat was strong. All eyes, all attention was aimed at the back of the room.
The Woman stood on a table, guitar slung around her abdomen and was making quite the spectacle of herself. Her shoulders were bared and one corner of her skirt was tucked into a low-slung belt, with her petticoat ruffle framing a shapely bare leg.
“A Master of Music came with intent
To give me a lesson on my instrument
I thanked him for nothing and bid him begone
For my little fiddle must not be played on…”
The Voyeur felt himself harden. Merlin’s Robes, he wanted to take her into a room, throw her skirts over her head and bend her over…
“You must watch over her.”
The Voyeur’s mind jerked from his nefarious thoughts. He rolled his eyes in surliness and spoke contemptuously to the Big Elf. “You again? What must I watch for now?”
The Big Elf snarled back at the Voyeur. “Only for your heart’s deepest desire! It would all be yours, if you would just stay your hand but a little!”
The Voyeur turned to glare haughtily at the Elf. “She does not listen; watch over her; stay your hand..” he mocked. “Small wonder you are dead and I am stuck with this… Merlin’s Garters!…” His attention was snatched back to the display she provided.
The Elf chuckled.
“Oh cabin boy! Oh cabin boy!
You naughty little nipper
You lined your ass
With broken glass
And circumcised the skipper!”
Oh, did the crowd enjoy that one! Money poured into her tip bowl until it overflowed. The Voyeur could still hear the Elf chortling.
“My personal favorite is ‘Orc on the Run!’ “
In the blink of an eye, the Woman was at the bar, her bowl in hand and her guitar slung across her back. The bartender slid a flagon of what looked like sweet fruit juices towards her and moved on down the bar. The Woman’s eyes slid sweetly over the Elf, not seeing the dark Voyeur on the other side. She took a deep drink from her mug and smiled.
“You venture far from home, Elf.”
“I am seeing the sights.” the Elf answered, his gravelly voice, rasping on the nerves of the Voyeur. “Wander some before returning to the Wood.” He took a pull from the frothy stein of ale that had been set in front of him. “You are an interesting sight. You are…?” The Voyeur as well found a mug of ale in his hand and he was pleasantly shocked at the smoothness of the taste.
She downed her beverage, belching in a most unladylike manner. She set her glass down and stuck out her hand in greeting. “I am Morgan. Morgan la Fay.” The Voyeur snorted in his beer. Morgan la Fay. That was rich! ” Pleased to meet you.” She was suddenly shoved into the Elf’s arms.
A tall, rangy man wearing a sword picked up her bowl and dumped it in a bag attached to his belt.
“Excuse me, but that is mine, you son of an Orc.” the Woman made a grab for her bowl and the bag. Greasy, meaty hands grabbed her wrists.
Within a heartbeat, the filthy man found himself looking down the blade of a long, broadsword.
And everything froze.
“She is my greatest treasure, my most precious jewel. You must watch over her.”
The Voyeur rubbed his eyes. The headache plaguing him even here in this land of nightmares. “Watch, watch, watch. Must you repeat this performance, every night?”
The Elf grabbed him by the arm, jerking the Voyeur’s fingers from his face. “I will if I must! You will learn to understand! In her zeal, she can cause scenes. In her ebullience, she will not realize she causes heads to turn, bring notice upon her. She is as bright as a freshly cut diamond. She is not quiet, she has no stealth. She will fix on her goal, and work towards it, regardless of who or what stands in her way.”
He released the Voyeur, his attention, his gaze returning to the scene frozen before them.”Almost, I was arrested for rescuing her. Almost.” For several moments, the Elf stared longingly at the Woman, love filling his eyes. The Voyeur’s fingers returned to his throbbing temples.
“She could help you with your headache.” The Elf’s gaze was full of concern.
The Voyeur snorted through his nose. “Why is everyone so dead set on her putting hands on me?” he gritted through clenched teeth, his fingers rubbing harder.
“Because, silly Wizard,” her voice was a shock. He jerked his eyes open to see her standing a breath away, her hand stroking an inky lock of hair behind his ear, “the Valar, with their bizarre sense of humor, not only made me the cause of your headache, but rests in me, the cause of your relief.” Her smile was one of compassion.
“Let me help you, silly Wizard… “
Silly Wizard…silly Wizard…silly Wizard…silly… silly… silly…
I often fantasize the stars above are our jail
They move my heart and speak to you as only lovers do
If I could wear your clothes, I’d pretend I was you
And lose control
Don’t let go (Love) – EnVogue
Organized Noise; Andrea Martin et al
Bronwyn jerked from her reverie, shocked to find herself, writhing on the ground, her hands…
Oh man! Her hands…
“Madam! I asked a simple question! What the hell are you doing?”
Her eyes flew up to his glittering pools; steaming pits that reflected the starlight from God knew where. She flew to her feet, her hands, jerking from her leggings and shirt, and quickly moving behind her back. Self-consciously, she furtively began to wipe her sex dampened fingers on the back tail of her shirt.
“What the hell am I doing?” She immediately threw the question and the action back towards the Potions Master. “What the hell are YOU doing? How dare you sneak up on a person like that!” She attempted to nonchalantly arrange her clothing, straighten her hair. What on earth had she been doing? “You scared the bejesus out of me!” She looked around nervously, trying to discern if only he had caught her in her dream.
Snape moved towards her, pressing her slowly against a darkened wall. He could smell her climax on her, on her fingers, on her body. He had seen the mist, the fog, how it had enveloped her and realized that she probably was not aware that what she had been doing, she did alone. He squashed the small iota of compassion he felt for her plight and horned in on his anger; his anger for being dragged from his bed at this hour, his anger at her for fleeing her safe haven – safe because he had created it; his anger that she… desired the Elf so badly, she had created him from air.
Anger because she did not desire him.
He squashed that thought as well.
He had backed her into the wall, the stone biting into her skin. Almost lazily, he braced his hands over her head, his cascading cloak encasing her in total darkness.
He heard her startled intake of breath. He could smell her fear.
He bent down, his lips against her ear. Again, he was overwhelmed by her scent; sweat, leather, roses.
Sex oozed from her pores. It took every ounce of self-control he had to keep from ravishing her on the spot. He forced himself to speak, whisper silkily in her ear.
“I scared you? I could have killed you, silly chit! Or raped you, but considering your…previous activity, that might be your cup of tea.”
She struck him for that. Unable to see within the gloom cast by his cloak, the blow landed clumsily on his ear. He grabbed at her hands and pinned them to the stone wall behind her. Out of sheer perversity, he nuzzled the skin of her neck and felt her shudder. He grinned, perceiving the tremor to be one of revulsion. He nipped at her earlobe, quickly licking the small hurt with his tongue.
She nearly collapsed in his arms.
“Would you like that?” he breathed. “Do you like it rough?” His tongue continued to flick at her ear, her body shivering wildly. “Do you like to pretend you are being forced?” Severus pressed his body against her; she could feel his need, his desire.
Yet, she was not quivering in aversion to his touch. The slide of his tongue along her skin, the scalding air that moved over her flesh as he growled dangerously into her ear, caused her to quake with need. She hated her body’s betrayal, betrayal to herself.
Betrayal to Haldir.
He felt her stiffen in rage, her voice coming from behind clenched teeth.
“Either put up or shut up! Take me or leave me be. But do not think to start something you have no intention of completing!” she hissed. Her eyes climbed, fiery rays searching his out in the dark. “Or is it that you can’t?”
By the Gods, she was calling his bluff. But she was a feisty one. What was it the Elf called her… Baraermin… My Fiery One. Ah, he had named her well. Snape allowed himself to smile in her ear, before releasing her and coiling back within himself.
“I have never enjoyed taking a woman against her will.” Bronwyn heard the implied confession in his voice. Never had enjoyed, meaning he had done it. She grabbed her wrists and rubbed the indentions. There would be bruising again by morning. She forced herself to breathe deep, quell the desire rising within her. “Do you have any idea what you have done?” The angry voice was back. Her hackles raised and she allowed herself free reign.
“Well let me think…” she tapped her finger in her lip. “Yes! I have many ideas about what I have done. I have flouted your authority, broken free of the prison you set for me, managed to have a rip-roaring good time on the lawn here, aaaaall by myself!” she smirked. “Turning you on is a major plus.”
“Silence!” His hand snaked out, grabbing her by the wrist and quickly, he dragged her from the hidden alcove into the main yard, under the moonlight. As they passed the entrance to the grotto, he flung her into the moon-washed yard. They faced each other, circling like well-matched fencing partners.
Two pairs of glittering eyes glared at one another. For several minutes, nothing could be heard but the sound of insects and other night creatures.
His very posture dared her to attempt to explain herself. She was not forthcoming. He pulled into his robes, arms tucked in tightly.
“Now, I have now asked twice. What on earth were you thinking?”
“Ah-ha!” She shook a single finger under his nose. “You asked what I was doing, not what I was thinking.”
He stared off towards a tree, over her right shoulder, doing everything in his power to not use an Unforgivable on her for her cheek. After a moment of calm, he brought his gaze back to hers.
“Do you realize the danger you could have put yourself in?” he inquired hotly. “These grounds are not totally safe!”
“It’s a school! It damn well SHOULD be safe!”
“Silence!” It was the second time he had demanded that of her.
“Make up your mind! I cannot be silent and explain what I was doing at the same time!” Her bottom lip came out in a classic female pout.
“I am not impressed, Madam! Surely, you can do better than that childish expression!”
Bronwyn exhaled angrily. Without realizing it, she mimicked his stance, that look of bored impatience. She pulled herself up taller, ignoring the fact that her pants were once more drooping dangerously low and tucked her hands in the crook of her elbows.
Snape could see her jaw twitching as she pushed down hard on her anger. Her lips barely moved as mumbling fell forth like dust. He could barely make out the words, but they sounded faintly like…
“… locked out…”
“Come again, madam?” he inquired, drawing out her embarrassment. “I did not quite catch that.”
“I couldn’t get back in.” she gritted between clenched teeth. The crevices of his eyes crinkled in malice as Bronwyn snarled, “I got locked out, ok? There! Does that make you happy?”
“No, it makes me correct.” His exhaled breath fluttered an errant lock of hair that was lying across his eye. “You are obviously incapable of caring for yourself and you will require constant monitoring…”
“What? WHAT?” Her screeching woke up a bird and it flew off in terror. The distance she had craved to keep between them, she herself eradicated as she got in his face. Her hands remained tucked tightly inside the folds of her elbows. “I am not a child and I will not be treated as if I am!”
Severus leaned over, never removing his hands, his face scant inches from hers. “You should have never attempted to get out.”
For a minute, they were nose to nose, the two in a stand-off.
She cracked first. Her face splitting into a wide grin, a deep chuckle emanating from the back of her throat.
“Well, aren’t we two peas in a pod! A couple of regular Bobbsey Twins!” She continued to laugh until she took in his look of bored confusion.
“Oh, come on! The Bobbsey Twins! Don’t tell me you have never…” By the look of consternation on his face, he apparently hadn’t. “Oh, Severus! Come on! You haven’t read the Bobbsey Twins? There was a series of books! Movies! Snape! I can’t believe you haven’t even heard of them! A family with eight kids, two sets of twins…”
“You mean they could not figure out how to stop procreating? Was birth control beyond their meager attention spans?”
“Professor Snape! I can’t believe… I bet you haven’t read Louisa May Alcott either!” His facial expression never changed. Her hand went up in the air and she began to circle around him, her finger punctuating the words; a diva performing her solo aria.
“But of course you haven’t read Louisa May Alcott! She writes for girls! And by golly, you aren’t a girl, never have been one, never will be. Which means you have missed Little Women and Little Men and Jo’s Boys and we mustn’t forget Eight Cousins!”
Snape turned in a circle, – where the hell was she going with this? – following her; coiling, coiling, ready to spring…
She continued her tirade, blissfully unaware of the tightly wound professor, waiting to explode. ” I wonder if you have read Shakespeare or Poe. But then…” she stopped and playfully however rather firmly punched him on the arm, “no, you haven’t because they were Muggles and God forbid, you should have anything to do with them, because,” her index finger was conducting rhythm patterns in the air, “they aren’t Wizards!” She hiked her leggings back up.
“Are you quite through?”
“Maybe! Maybe not!”
Despite it being summer, the night air was chilly and Snape could sense eyes not friendly watching them. He grabbed her by the arm and slung her towards the door he had come from.
“Pull yourself together. You look foolish!” Bronwyn guiltily turned her back to him and began to tie the lacings on her pants, as he prodded her, none too gently, towards the door. He could hear the laces whipping angrily as she pulled her clothes together. The door ahead opened, allowing a dim light to shine upon the courtyard.
Amadeus was waiting inside.
He was most distressed.
Whining and chuffing quietly, he circled Bronwyn so tightly, she could not move. He ran his muzzle over every inch of her, checking her scent. He spent an enormous amount of time… there… Amadeus sat, first looking at her dejectedly, in disappointment, and then facing Severus, growling.
“Amadeus!” Bronwyn gently chided the beast.
“Oh, give over!” Severus growled back. “Your mistress had herself a grand time in the alcove. She was finished when I found her. I did not touch her!”
“Now, that ain’t quite true…” Bronwyn mumbled.
Whatever argument was brewing, between Bard, Wizard and Beast was forced to wait, as Severus grabbed Bronwyn by the elbow and proceeded to force her back down into the dungeons. She struggled for some time, finally giving up when she realized his grip was tight and fighting for her appendage only caused him to propel her faster down the darkened corridor. Within minutes, she found herself pushed through her classroom and into her chambers.
“Lumos!” The lights in the living area and foyer came on brightly and he shoved her towards the couch. Upon his release of her arm, she quickly moved to the back of the couch, hands griping the support of the low slung furniture.
“You are willful and disobedient!” Snape spat.
She shrugged elegantly, a trait learned from Haldir. “Tell me something I do not know.”
Snape’s eyes narrowed to black, angry slits. “I should thrash you within an inch of your life!”
Her eyes widened and the most wicked smile lit her features. She… Merlin’s Robes, she LICKED the plump bow of her lip with the tip of her tongue in anticipation. “Promise?” her whisper was like smooth, warm brandy, gliding down. “I would sooo enjoy that!”
The wolf made a very rude noise, almost as if he were snorting through his nose. He had been standing behind Snape, as if to align himself with the Potions Master, but he now moved in between them, stepping up on the couch and laying across the cushions as if to mediate, separate them. He turned unblinking eyes towards Severus.
Severus fought to keep his temper under control. Fingers grasped his hair by the roots as he raked the long locks back behind his ears. ‘Small wonder it looks so oily all the time.’ she wondered to herself. ‘He cannot keep his fingers out of it!’
“It is after two in the morning, madam!” he gritted through clenched teeth. “What or where was so important you risked your foolish neck to climb out?” His gaze pierced her smart-ass attitude and she felt herself unconsciously back down.
“I… I… wanted to go the library.” Bronwyn fidgeted, her fingers playing in the back of her waistband. He was mindful of her bare feet curling in like a young child caught doing something naughty.
“The library?” his whisper was hoarse. “You do not have enough of your own books?” He gestured towards the upstairs where stacks of books lay about her room.
“I’ve read all of those!” She waved her hand dismissively.
Oh, like that was supposed to explain everything!
“Why do I not believe you?”
Bronwyn drew herself up, prideful bearing in full evidence. “I don’t care if you believe me or not! I’ll not be interrogated like a…”
“I asked you a question, madam.” Severus slid around the couch, challenging her personal space and backing her yet again towards the wall, the glass doors. His voice was velvet. “I expect a truthful answer.” Slowly, under the watchful guise of Amadeus, she retreated back, back, back against the cool panes of the patio doors. “What was so important that you felt the…” she felt her back press flush against the glass, effectively hindering her flight, “need to endanger yourself to escape this pretty, glass cage?” His hands gestured to the beautiful apartment. For the second time in under half an hour, Bronwyn found herself pinned neatly by his body, unwelcomed desires rising quickly to the surface. She squashed them, cruelly, and did her damndest to go nose-to-nose with the tall Wizard.
“That’s the ticket, isn’t it Severus?” She spat each word. “A pretty, glass cage! I am tired of feeling trapped! I am tired of having no freedom of movement! I am tired of being a prisoner to your whims! I am tired of being a prisoner, period!”
Her body pushed against his, not budging it, but he felt the pressure of her, as her chin jutted upwards. He felt the heat of her anger, the fire of her passion, and he would have reveled in the glory of her long-smoldering eruption.
Except she was saying the wrong things. Completely.
Her hands were smacking against his lean, but well-clad frame, punctuating her outburst, unsuccessfully attempting to push him back.
“I will NOT be a prisoner in my own so-called home! I will NOT be locked in like a common criminal and treated like someone so dangerous that they must be watched around the clock, with a locator band attached to their person. I certainly do NOT want to be guarded by you! Do you have any idea what it is like to be locked up? Imprisoned? It’s loathsome! It’s… mpff.”
Snape’s fingers were lightly across her lips, effectively putting a cease to her tirade. What scant centimeter she had gained in pushing against him, she lost quickly as again, she found herself pressed to the wall, his hands framing her face, his fingers caressing her cheeks, thumbing the tears that had begun to fall.
His voice was deceptively gently. His words, however…
“Do I know what is like to be a prisoner? Yes, I do. I was one for many months.” She stiffened at the admission. “And you know, I deserved every moment I spent behind the bars of Azkaban.” His hands moved to her shoulders, pressing against her, pinning her back to the crystal doorway. “Madam, do you truly know what it is like to be a prisoner? I spent eight months in a tiny room, furnished by nothing but a metal bed and a hole in the ground for a toilet! Do you know what it is like to have guards, whose only function is to inhale the very happiness from your soul, that you cannot even dream about the joy of escaping? So you cannot fantasize about the joy of holding or being held by someone you love? And there is no escape, madam, no books to read, no music to play to aid in your defense from them. There is no defense! Your mind is no longer yours.”
He leaned in, his mouth hovering scant centimeters above hers.
“And when you can take no more, and you beg for death to release you, do you know who, what they send? They send a being that will suck your soul from your body with a kiss so abhorrent and filthy that you wish you could go back in time and change everything, even die in whatever battle you escaped from. Anything, to escape the hell you are living in.And many times, they will not send that. They take perverse pleasure in listening to you beg.” He crushed her into the door as he pushed himself backwards and released her.
“The price I paid for freedom was dear, but I would do it again. Therefore, you will not whine to me about being a prisoner. You truly have no idea. Grieve your husband, but get on with the business of moving on with your life so we can complete this infernal task of yours and I can be released from the prison of your need.” He turned and strode to the stairway, putting his hand on the iron banister. “Go to bed, madam.”
“I said go to bed!” His voice brooked no disobedience. “I do not care if you sleep or not. Pile the thing with books, stack up mountains of your husband’s clothing and masturbate until the sun comes up for all I care, but get in it and do not leave it until I come for you at breakfast!” He looked over his shoulder, seeing clearly the tear-filled eyes of Tel’ Lindar and the baleful gaze of her familiar. “If you ever cause me to come and hunt you on the grounds again, I will attach you to that bed like I attached you to your chair when you first came. Now go!”
“I said GO!” He had turned his face back towards her door, not seeing, but sensing her approach. He felt her touch his back. Electrical heat emanated at her touch and he almost gasped at the shock, as he felt her mind race through his, sharing his pain.
He remembered his dream of the … Dead Marshes.
‘You are forgiven. Go. Go search for the light…’
Albus had said her magic was different from his. Her hands jerked from his back.
“What did you just do, madam?”
“Nothing, I didn’t mean to..”
“What did you do?” He enunciated each word through clenched teeth.
“I… I… it is difficult to explain…” Her voice faltered; he could sense the tension, the abstruseness of what had happened.
“Figure out a way to explain it in the morning. Go to bed. Now.” He heard her move quickly up the stairwell and listened to her fling herself sobbing into the bed.
There was a low growling behind him.
“Oh, shut up. She needed a reality check and she got one!” Snape turned to the wolf. “Either go to her or take out my throat. Personally, I would prefer you take out my throat, then she can be your problem again!” Snape waited for a moment, waited for Amadeus to make a choice. He did neither, just growled.
Peaceful sleep again eluded Severus that night. He ran through the forest of huge, golden trees, being pursued by a ghostly, Elven Warrior, who finally pinned him to a tree, arrow at his throat. He could feel the sharp point nicking his skin, pricking blood…
“You will let her come on her own. You will not force her. You will not use her. You will not tease her…”
Peaceful sleep also eluded Bronwyn, who dreamt that while being held in the arms of Haldir, could feel the cool strokes of another’s hands on her back, her hips, the dark one’s kisses at the nape of her neck, her ears. She dreamt of looking deep into Haldir’s indigo blue eyes, questioning, fearful and hearing his voice…
“Trust him Baraermin. Please, give over. Help him. Teach him. Trust him.”
Amadeus curled tighter to his mistress’ body and tenderly, like a lover, licked her nightmare-induced tears from her face.
Come to me now
And lay your hands over me
Even if it’s a lie
Say it will be alright
And I shall believe.
Sheryl Crow – I Shall Believe
She awoke to him standing over her bed. She quickly rolled away from him and swung her legs to the floor.
“I’ll get up. Just don’t touch my wrists.” She was still in the clothing she had been in the night before and she winced in pain as she leaned her weight on her bruised arms in order to lever herself up.
“Let me see.” Snape came around the bed and reached out to grasp her hand. She shrank back away from him.
“They are bruised.” she told him, tucking them around her waist. “They will heal in a few days. I will just have to wear long sleeves so no one will see.” She attempted to maneuver around him, only to be blocked by him.
“Let me see.” He held out his hand. “I will not harm you.” He closed his eyes and motioned for her to give him her arms. Reluctantly, she placed her wrists gingerly in his large hands.
Bruised was an understatement. Her fair skin was blackened and Snape unconsciously winced at the force he must have used in his fury, his lust the night before. He was furious at his loss of self-control; that he had allowed himself to exert so much barbaric power too that she was willing to cover the marks, as many women in abusive relationships hid their shame. There were many other ways he could have exerted his will without laying a hand on her, without harming her physically. Holding both of her wrists in one of his hands, he reached deep into his pocket. “I was afraid this would happen. I have brought you a potion to heal these.”
“No thanks, kind sir.” The sarcasm in her voice was thick. “I think I would rather go to Madame Pomfrey if I can find some excuse to explain these.” She held up both wrists and waved them at him.
He pulled out a vial with a yogurty looking liquid inside. “Madam, who do you think brews her potions?” Using his thumb, he quickly unstopped the vial and handed it to her. “Drink this.”
She took it distastefully and turned to Amadeus, who was still stretched out on the bed. “If I die, or get ill, you will kill him for me, won’t you?” The wolf snorted and rolled over on his back, paws waving in the air. “Lump of drool!” she muttered. She quickly knocked back the liquid, which slid like a thin mayonnaise from the vial to her throat.
She immediately went into what many children called ‘the bad taste dance.’
“YRCH! Oh GAD!” Her face screwed up and she bent over double, stomping a foot. “Cripes, that is vile! It’s disgusting!” Bronwyn looked up at him from her bent over position and gagged. “Eeew!” She could have sworn he was smiling. “You beast!”
Severus shrugged and held out his hand. “The taste will pass soon enough. Let me see your wrists.” Her face still scrunched, she laid her wrists back in his large palm. Using his long fingers, he gently began to stroke the bruises, his movements calming her. She became hypnotized by his sight of his fingers, caressing her arms, circling, the pain slowly fading. So entranced by the movement, she almost missed the question he asked her.
“What did you do to me last night?” His voice was very soft, almost a whisper.
“Severus, I don’t understand. What do you mean by what did I do?”
The fingers continued to brush along her skin, the bruising fading. “Last night, before you went upstairs, you touched me, using a magic I have never experienced or seen. You said – and it felt like – you ran through my head.” His eyes stared into hers. “What did you do to me?”
“I… I… didn’t mean to. It happens. I have no control…” Her eyes flew down to the stroking fingers, lost in their graceful movement.
“What did you do to me?” Although still quiet, the voice was becoming steely. She took a deep breath, still mesmerized by his gentle motion.
“Sometimes, when emotions are high, when they are very volatile, I can touch someone and feel those emotions, the things that caused the hurt, the fury, the anger. Sometimes… if someone has… died violently, I can see their life, their final moments, help them to move…”
“The dream.” His voice had become a deceptive whisper. “The dream of you with the bodies in the bog.” His fingers had now moved to the other arm.
“It was no dream for me. It happened.” Her voice was equally soft, far way. Severus looked at her and saw her eyes, distant, unfocused. “So many bodies, so many dead. I couldn’t release them all. I tried, all day I tried. Men, Elves, Orcs. It did not matter. Haldir… Haldir carried me out.”
“He worried for you.” The fingers had stopped caressing, the bruising, gone.
“Aye. Worried for me, worried for the babe I was carrying… Beckett… oh Beckett…” her voice trailed off. He allowed her her silence for a few minutes.
“What did you do to me last night?” His whisper hung in the air. “What did you see?”
Her answer was almost lost in that same heaviness.
“I walked through your memory. I saw your cell, saw those… things. I saw… all of that.” Snape realized he no longer held her hand; she held his. “I did not mean to. It was unintentional. I am sorry.” She turned his hand over, her index finger, running along the lines of the palm in his hand.
Music rose in the air. Gentle. Exotic. Very… erotic, yet heartbreaking.
Ar sindanóriello caite mornië
Ar ilyë tier undulávë lumbulë
Her hand closed around his. Bolts of electricity shot through him…
Snape found himself standing on a boat. It was night and she stood at the back, draped in the red cloak, the breeze whipping its too long length around her. The Elf, Celeborn, stood by her side, his arms about her. Severus watched as she put her arms through the Elf’s and clasped him around the waist, burying her face in his chest.
“He grieves, Celeborn. He grieves the leaving of Beckett and Anselm. He will not allow me to comfort him, will not allow me to see his pain. What do I do? How do I help him?”
And found himself back in her room, her hand still on his.
“It would seem you and I have something in common.” Her hand reached up and in motion straight from his nightmares, her fingers stroked his jaw line.
“What would that be?” he gritted between clenched teeth. He did not move back from her touch.
“We need to comfort each other.” Bronwyn’s voice was low, so soft he had to strain to hear it. “Pity. We are clueless on how to do it.” She stepped back, the spell broken. “I need to change. Do you trust me enough to do it by myself or would you like to watch?” she asked, teasingly.
“Do you think you can manage it on your own?”
Bronwyn chuckled, trying to lighten the weightiness, the seriousness that had descended on them. “Oh, I think I am grown-up enough to change my own clothes.” Her fingers reached and gently tucked an errant lock of hair behind his ear. “Severus?”
“Yessss?” His answer was a whisper. Her touch was feather-light, stroking to his throat.
“You have a nick,” her finger gently brushed his Adam’s Apple, “right here. It looks like an….arrow?…”
He had been surprised to see the mark himself that morning. “I cut myself shaving.” he lied smoothly.
“Ah.” She lowered her hand from his face. “I will be down in a few minutes.”
Severus was almost loath to see her hand return to her side. She turned her back to him, going to her dresser.
“Madam.” He captured her attention in her reflection in her mirror. Her eyebrows acknowledged him. “The song, a moment ago. What are the words?”
She smiled wanly.
“Out of a grey country darkness lies
And all paths are drowned deep in shadow”
She watched from the corner of her eye, as he seemingly floated down her stairs.
“My Thing is my own”
The Wilson Sisters