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This is my 3rd attempt to load this. The ‘new and improved WordPress’ won’t allow me to post and then insert pictures. Asshats.

I realize I initially stated I would be posting on thursdays. Sadly, we’ve had school interupt and when school is out, I will be heading into the Interior to aid in not only moving my parents into an assisted living facility, but preparing the house for an estate sale. We are relieved we found a place that specializes in memory care that will take both mom and dad that we can afford. We will be moving them and their furniture into the facility, try to make it as much as like home as possible. Quarantine has been brutal on both; mom’s Alzheimer’s has been fueled by the lack of socialization and Dad has become increasingly frail. He falls easily and with the help of a social worker who specializes in Eldercare, we feel we’ve found them the best place possible. I’ll try to post weekly, but right now, everything is in the air.

The Vessel

Chapter 06

Knifing an Orc in 3 easy steps or what was in the wine?


We are sitting under his favorite climbing tree in the back yard at three in the morning.

“Mama? Mama? Prettee, prettee light. See the light, Mama?”

I hold his shaking, wheezing body close as he points to the northern sky. ” Baby, show Mama the light.” I whisper.

He looks and strokes my face, wetting his fingers in my tears. “No cry, Mama. Come wit Dun-Dun”

My body is heaving with silent sobs. “I’m coming, honey. Show Mama, where is the light?”

He points to the northern sky again. “Dere! Dere! See the prettee light, mama… prett…” The quivering body falls still and the little hand falls in my lap. There is no moon nor stars as the sky is full of clouds. I pull the body of my child closer.

“Please, please, Duncan. Take me with you. Where is the light?”

~~~…~~~

The two set off down the beaten path, towards the river. Bronwyn could hear the cool water moving over rocks and grasses. The breeze was cool, but not terribly so. Haldir carried an over-sized basket, prepared in The Lady’s kitchen by grinning and probably tongue-wagging cooks, no doubt. On top of the basket was a soft green blanket and he also carried two fishing poles. Bronwyn had not been fishing in years and secretly yearned to do so, therefore the sight of them warmed her heart. Celeborn also gifted her with the loan of a lute before she left and she carried it strapped on her back. Neither one spoke a word and Bronwyn felt self-conscious and over-dressed in her gown and soft slippers. She noticed that he was wearing a dark blue, high colored tunic, unadorned with long sleeves and his braided hair contrasted brightly against the deep hue. His leggings were cream colored and he wore black leather boots. He looked…austere.

Haldir headed straight to a large tree and set everything down. He leaned against it, crossed his arms and looked out over at the river. Bronwyn stood a foot from him, looking around the field.

Insects skimmed the river bed. Silence ruled the day.

A butterfly with six wings skimmed along the river’s edge. And more silence.

Bronwyn sighed, pulled the lute from over her head, laid it next to the basket and leaned against the tree, mimicking his stance and crossing her arms.

Fish nibbled along the surface.

And silence ruled the day.


And more. And more.

He took a heavy, deep breath.

So did she.

She twiddled her thumbs.

So did he.

“Well. This is…boring.”

“Yes, it is very boring.”

Silence. And more. Bronwyn had had all she could take. She picked up the lute. “Haldir, thank you for some of the quietest moments of my life. I shall never forget them. God speed and have a wonderful life.” And she turned on her heel and strode off. She was angry she had spent time getting dressed and dolled up and this cretin couldn’t do anything besides lean on a tree.

She got, maybe, ten or fifteen yards when a strong hand gently touched her elbow.

“Baraer…Bronwyn.” She turned and looked into confused and regretful eyes. “I am sorry.”

She relaxed and exhaled. “We are pitiful, you know that! We are just pathetic!” and she began to laugh. He smiled with her, which caused her eyes to light up. “Ah! It can and does grin! No one will believe it! Wish I had a camera to record the moment!”

He took her hand and led her back to the tree. “What is a camera?” He spread out the soft green blanket.

She noticed it was large enough for two to lay down on. Uh-oh! Who is playing pimp around here? She immediately squelched the thought. Obviously, the blanket was added for both to sit comfortably without getting dirty and having room to eat, not to aid in sexy-times! She helped him spread out the blanket. “A camera is a device from home,” home had become a keyword for her, signifying her past. “-that takes the pictures like the illustrations in my book.” He nodded his understanding and both sat on the blanket, each primly in their own corner.

“We really do suck! You know that!” He smiled again. It was a nice smile, and it made his face relax, just a little. “We live together, we eat together, we work toget-well, we don’t work together, but you oversee my instruction in Elvish Battle Arts…Archery 303, Remedial Medieval Sword Swinging-” she smiled.

His smile never drooped. “I do not understand your words.”

“-We do everything but sleep together!” She did not see the look of desire come across his face. ” You would think we could go on a simple picnic and have lunch together without all this silence and inability to communicate!”

“Uncomfortable, it is.”

Yes, she thought. Very uncomfortable.

“My mother’s jewels look very beautiful on you. I had forgotten about them and you do justice to them.” The verbal appreciation came out of the blue, like an arrow shot from a hidden glade. She was not expecting it and it knocked her over mentally with the feather it was.

Her hand flew to her throat. A compliment. An honest compliment. Coming from the man…

Elf, Bronwyn, he is more than a man. He is an Elf.

And she looked closely. She had always been aware the he was good-looking, beautiful. All the Elves were. But there was something, different and striking about this one. He was – thicker – more muscle. His lips, normally set in a thin, grim line, were really full. She was drawn to the bottom lip and to her it begged to be tasted. She wondered what her breasts would feel like if he put them to her. She noticed the small, finely wrought, silver ear cuff on the curve of one ear, below where it arched to point. His eyes, she had never seen eyes such a dark blue, the color of indigo and the darkest, longest, sootiest eye lashes and…

“-lute?” He was looking at her expectantly.

“I’m sorry.” She shook herself out of her dreaming. “I’m sorry. What were you saying?”

His smile was gone. The Haldir of old had returned. “Your mind was roaming. Might I ask where?”

“Oh, I was thinking…uh…about the things have been going on as of late. You know, the deal with my bed roll and some of the things in it. My pictures.” She shrugged elegantly.

She does not lie very well, but I will let it pass for now. He repeated his question. “I would like to hear you play. Will you play the lute?” He left out the words ‘for me.’

She smiled. “Yes. Of course, I will play.” She looked at him teasingly. “Will you sing?”

“No. I do not sing. I like to listen.” The lute was between them and he picked up and handed it to her.

She looked at him with disbelief. “But I thought all the Elves sang. This isn’t true?”

“No. I tell you the truth. You do not wish to hear me sing. But I do wish to hear you play.”

It was woefully out of tune and she spent many minutes tuning it much to distress of Haldir’s sensitive ears. Eventually, she got it situated and began to pluck. She played all that Rumil had taught her, some she had heard in the Garden, olde English folk songs (“They like to fa-la-la a great deal, do they not?”) Eric Clapton’s acoustic version of “Leila”, Irish and Scottish folk songs; Dargason, The Road to Lisdoonvarna, she made him laugh with ‘I’ll not marry at all’ and the sound warmed her with its deep, rich timbre.

“I’ll not marry a man that’s young
His wavering heart
And philandering tongue
I’ll not marry one man at all
I’ll stay home and favor them all
No I’ll not marry at all”

As the river flowed by and the day waned, the two sat together under the tree on the blanket. The contents of the picnic basket had been laid to waste and they were quite stuffed. They drank two bottles of sweet apple wine and most of a third; as a result, they were feeling very little pain. Two fishing poles lay unused next to him. Haldir told her stories of growing up, sneaking down to the river as a young Elfling with his brothers, his father, Lord Celeborn and Lord Elrond to fish on warm summer days, much to the chagrin of his mother. He told her of Legolas, sent to Lothlórien as a young child when Mirkwood became such a dangerous place and of Arwen, Elladan, and Elrohir. She found herself giggling at their exploits and he realized he was smiling more than he had in over a millennium. He asked her what an angel was and seemed a little shocked when she told him of the winged heavenly beings that watch over their charges. She asked him what ‘baraer’ was and when he whispered “fiery one” she gave a small sigh, as he was the only one who called her that. As the sun began to sink, she found herself, curled next to his side, his arm casually draped around her waist his chin propped on her head. Her head lay on his shoulder and she felt protected and safe. They had finally fallen into a comfortable silence.

“Bronwyn. What are we listening too?”

She was in a daydream and was far away within herself. “Turlough O’Carolan”

“Oh” Quiet. The harp soared, its strings ringing over the trees and in the air. “Who is Turlough O’Carolan?”

She sighed deeply in the warmth and contentment of his arms. “Turlough was a Celtic Bard from Ireland. One of the last.” She was not aware of her speech and she was speaking very quietly.

“What is a Celtic Bard and where is Ireland?” He was aware that her eyes were closed and she was far away.

“Ireland is an island off the coast of England. It is green and rugged and beautiful. The Irish culture is rich and full and the people are gorgeous. For thousands of years, their history was kept in song and told by the bards. They wandered the countryside, singing their history, keeping war heros and the beautiful, strong women who loved them, alive and dear to Irish hearts.” She spoke slowly, softly.

“It is very beautiful.” As are you, lirimaer. His feelings for her bothered and confused him, but he was in no mood to spoil the sweetness of the afternoon. “So, the Celtic Bards were storytellers and the keepers of history.” She nodded into his chest, her eyes half closed, the ringing of brass strings reverberating quietly in the air. The quiet pair lay tranquilly for sometime, almost in reverie.

“Have you ever fly fished, Haldir?” He was feeling more relaxed than he had in years and looked at her with hooded eyes. Her question came from nowhere.

“No. What is fly fishing?” She had been silently watching the fish nibbling near the surface of the river, snapping at iridescent insects which had also been buzzing them. She reached over him, giving him a nice view down her dress, and snatched a fishing pole. She unwound the loops of string and tied one end to the very end of the stick. She then sat very quietly and watched the insects buzz around.

“Bronw-“

“Shhh!” She waited for one to light on her arm. After a few moments, one did. She quickly grabbed it and had Haldir to hold it gently between his thumb and forefinger. With deft, nimble fingers, she tied the slim string of the pole around the fluttering bug. When Haldir turned it loose, the string flew up, the insect not being able to escape its snare. She took the pole and started down to the river bank, but stopped after a little ways. The mud was thick and she was again agitated that she was not suitably dressed. She stuck the pole end in the mud, slipped out of her shoes and tossed them back to Haldir. She then reached over between her legs, grabbed the back of the tail of the dress, pulled it up between her legs and tucked it into her belt in the front. This showed her legs in sensual detail and Haldir caught himself crossing his legs at the sight of hers. She gingerly waded to the waters edge and lifted the pole.

And flicked.

The insect on the pole came to life as the string floated up and down. She guided and maneuvered it with grace and beauty and Haldir realized the fish were jumping.

“Bronwyn! This is all most intriguing to watch and behold, but how does one go about catching fish in this manner?”

He heard genuine, rich laughter come from her throat, with it a wonderful, delightful quality. “Silly Elf! If I had wanted to actually catch the fish, I would have put a hook on the string!” The dance continued for several more minutes. Haldir was enchanted by the scene of this small woman, causing fish to leap and fly.

“Haldir!” She broke his day dreaming. “Is there anymore fruit in the basket?” He was sure there was and he brought what looked like an orange to her at the waters edge. “I want a piece. Will you peel it for me?” Haldir patiently peeled the orange and attempted to handed it over but Bronwyn had both hands full. She looked at her hands, then at the orange, then back at her hands. She rolled her eyes. “I need some help. I can’t turn loose of the pole and that thing is a bit big for my mouth!” Haldir sighed and split a section of the fruit from the whole. He dangled the piece in front of her. She was not paying attention and by the time he finally got it in her mouth, she had drippings all over her cheek. His fingers tingled at the touch of her lips.

“Geez Haldir! Look at….grrrrr” She started to wipe her face on her shoulder, but he touched her cheek.

“No. Do not do that.” He waded boots and all, into the mud and took the pole from her hands, sticking it in the wet earth. He turned her to him and stroked her cheek where her face was gleaming with juice. He leaned down and as she realized she was holding her breath, his lips gently grazed the side of her cheek and her mouth. His tongue was warm, and felt like velvet. When he leaned back up, his eyes were dark as midnight and she was on fire. She reached for the fruit.

“Uh…umm…would you like a piece?” Her voice was quiet, shy. He found the sweetness and the unsurity of it endearing. He noticed her pupils were totally dilated and her eyes appeared to have become black. He saw the reflection of the setting sun in them and they were as pure fire. He nodded his assent and she slowly peeled away a slice of the now dripping citrus. Slowly, she lifted her hand and he moved his head just enough so that the piece grazed his lower lip. He drew her fingers in, along with the fruit and nibbled her calloused tips with his teeth. When she brought her hand down, she stepped into his embrace and sought his mouth. She canvassed that bottom lip, the tip of her tongue snaking gently around the edge and his body sprang to life.

The orange, or what was left of it, went plop in the mud.

His hands reached down to cup that delectable bottom to him and heard his body scream for oneness. He could taste the orange and the sweet wine they enjoyed earlier. Her scent; her scent was mind-altering and hypnotic. Flowers and sexual desire. He never smelled sexual desire as this before and this was coming off her body in heady waves. Her mouth was like molten flame and her hands sought the tips of his ears. He snatched at her hands and clasped them in front him to keep himself from taking her right there. His head swam and fought for the self-control he was notorious for having, but it was slipping away and his heart was not in the frame of mind to take up the slack. Giving in, his hands went back to her bottom and he ground himself roughly into the junction of her thighs. She stood on tiptoe and raised one leg around one hip in attempt to accommodate him. He held on to the leg, holding it close, while the other hand continued to press her into his erection. The kiss moved from a sweet, exploring of taste to demanding, needy. Their tongues were no longer dancing, they were totally entwined, stroking fires of want. He heard her growl in her throat and felt her hands slide under his tunic and seek out his bare skin. Her touch was lava and…

“Haldir!” Crashing in the bushes. “HAAAAAAALDIIIIR!” Quickly, they broke apart, startled. Her mouth was swollen, her face and neck, flushed with physical arousal. He was hard as a stone and they could hear the other breathing. He pulled his tunic as far down as he could get it and turned on the meddler. Bronwyn stepped behind him, head bowed and he reached behind and took her hand. She was aching in unfullfillment and she was aware that he was too. He was angry at the intrusion and she pulled his braid for him. He looked over his shoulder and smiled gently.

Rumil came crashing through the brakes and the bushes, smiling as if he had the world by the throat. He ran up to Haldir and spoke in rapid fire Sindarian, unseeing of the scene he had interrupted. “The Lord and Lady have sent me here to find you. You have been gone all afternoon and they would like to invite you to their table for dinner. Come quickly, it is very late.” He turned and motioned for them to follow.

Both Bronwyn and Haldir sighed deeply. “He is my brother and my love for him is deep, but I do believe I would like to strangle the life from his throat right this very minute.”

Bronwyn smiled grimly. “Aye. I’ll hold him down.”

***


This Kiss
This Kiss
This Kiss
Unstoppable


***

Haldir was angry, furious and he ground his teeth in frustration. They had been held at The Lord and Lady’s dinner table for two hours, talking inanities, insignificant things. What was prepared for the coming fight, what needed to be done, did you have a nice time on the river. On and on. He and Bronwyn held hands under the tablecloth like young lovers, playing finger games. The tension in the air was crackling with electricity and Galadriel knew exactly what was going on under the table. At the rate Celeborn was drinking wine, she knew he was not oblivious to the effects of the lovers feelings and if things worked to her advantage, she would have a delicious back ache in the morning. Eventually, Galadriel had sent Bronwyn ahead to the talan and they retained Haldir for another two hours.

***

Bronwyn was aware of her need. She was aware she was flying on wine and more wine and desire. Did she dare love again? And fall in love with not just any elf, but this particular Elf? She sighed deeply as she prepared for bed. No. He was dangerous and he kept himself hidden. The last thing she wanted was to be a conquest. As she had before.

Still, it had been years since she had been touched. Her heart leaped at the thought.

***

He was tired of talking preparations. They asked of supplies, of readiness among the archers. They asked about her dreams, what she talked about, where her mind was at. For not the first time, they probed at the reasoning why she was not dreaming. He told them, truthfully, he was not aiding her sleep with Elvish sleep spells. He told them truthfully he comforted her when she became restless. He did not tell them he was sleeping with her after she fell asleep. They told him of their decision to send him to the Fences for a week.

And he exploded.

“You send me away to forcibly drag her into whatever it is she runs from!”

“You hinder her.”


He turned on his Lord, fury mounting on his face. “You will push and push and she will break. She needs more time.”

Haldir. There is no more time. I am sorry. You will be back in time to sooth her. Galadriel’s voice reverberated gently in his head.

“When,’ he gritted between clenched teeth. “When, do I go?”

Tomorrow afternoon. He took his leave and stormed out.

“He argues, my husband. He argues, he worries, he is frightened for her.”

Celeborn looked at the back of his most arrogant, able Guardian. “He becomes her. She becomes him. He loves her and he is right. We will break her soul into many small pieces, but he will put her back together. The fire melts the ice. The ice cools the flames of the fire. She will fulfill her destiny and he will be her shield and buckler. And all will be preserved.” He nodded his head, satisfied.

“My husband, we have yet another problem. Alilian-“

Celeborn whispered. “That one would follow Haldir’s Baraer into the fires of Mount Doom. It will cause much consternation and conflict between the brothers. Bronwyn will cause enough trouble before I would have her come between Haldir and his family.” He thought for a moment. “Send her to Arwen. Arwen will appreciate the female company right now and take her mind from what is happening with Aragorn.” He looked at his wife. “I do believe we have some other business to discuss…” he grinned wolfishly.

Galadriel smiled back. Some backaches were good backaches.

***


Haldir quietly walked into the room on the footfalls of a cat, with every intention of finishing what had begun on the river. He pulled off every stitch of clothing and slid into the bed beside her, already hard. She was sound asleep and as she rolled over into his arms, she cried out. Tears were on her face and he knew immediately the demons had returned. He held her close, feeling her warm, silk-clad body convulse in sobs. He kissed and calmed her and decided to wait patiently until the early morning.

***

She came awake slowly, disoriented. The warm dark cocoon, that had been her refuge for many nights, suddenly pulled itself from her mind, leaving her confused and groggy. She heard noises, banging, angry voices. The room was dark and she became aware that it was nowhere near sunrise.

“How many? They came how far into the woods?”

Celeborn and another Warden stood in the moonlight. Haldir was pulling on black leggings and a grey tunic over his head. She recognized the outfit of the March Warden he wore when he intercepted the Fellowship in the woods several weeks before. They seemed to be arguing in Elvish. Orophin stood in the shadows of the doorway.

“It was an entire party. They come and retreat. They come in further. They are not frightened by us and it is constant.”

He looked at Celeborn. “This is not a ploy to remove me sooner, is it?”

Celeborn knew where the question came from. “I am sorry, Haldir. Had I known you were intimately involved with her, I would have made more noise. But no. This is no ruse.”

“We are not intimate. ” Celeborn could sense the sexual tension and frustration in his Guardian’s voice. Inside, he felt grim, knowing that Haldir had sought pleasure from many sources and always received it. None turned him down. Many entreated for his sexual favors. On another level, he was very aware that once Haldir made this woman his, many hearts would break in Lothlórien.

Including his.


“It is necessary that we bring as many reinforcement in as quickly as possible. We whittle away at their numbers, but they retreat and recoup and try another way. They are not Orcs, they are bigger, stronger. They travel during the day. And they bear the mark of the White Hand. It’s Saruman’s Uruk-hai Army.”

“How many”

“Over fifty. A large group.”

“Haldir. What’s wrong.” He looked down at the sleep – filled eyes of Bronwyn. Her feet hung over the bed, the sheets wadded at her waist. Her head pounded from the over excess of wine.

“Baraer. Lirimaer. Something has happened and I must leave for a few days.”

“What? Where are you going.” She sounded frightened, worried. He took her hands and bent down on one knee. His voice was soft, gentle.

“There has been an orc attack on the Fence. A bad one. I have been lax in my duty so I must go and take reinforcements. We will rout them in a few days and I will be back.”

“You will not leave me here!” Her hands went to his face. “Please let me go with you.”

“No, lirimear. I cannot allow to you to go.”

She became insistent and slid out of the bed, pushing him backwards. “You don’t seem to understand. I can help. I will not be left here to wait like a helpless woman. I am not without my defenses!”

He stood up quickly, infuriated that she would challenge his authority in front of his brother, one of his men, and his Lord. He grabbed her by the waist and plopped her down on the bed.

“I said no! You ARE a helpless woman. You talk incessantly and are so noisy in your sleep, you would lead them straight to us. If you go, I will worry and will not be able to do my job. You will stay, where it is safe and I will have a few days of peace! I will not discuss this any further with you. You will stay.” He strode out of the room, fully dressed. His warden followed.

Celeborn took one hand and cupped her chin in the other, none to gently, lifting it to look at him. “You will stay here. You will be safe and protected. He will return and you and he will argue and make up. He knows his duty. He knows his job. Allow him to do it.” He wiped a tear from her face.

“Lord Celeborn.” He looked down at her. “What is lirimaer?”

He smiled. “It means ‘lovely one’. It is a term for lovers.” As he left, she heard him whistling. And she immediately realized what he thought, why Haldir was getting dressed and why more of the bed had seemed more slept in for the past days. She slid out of the bed, angry at Celeborn for thinking it, at Haldir for allowing the seed to be planted, for sleeping with her in the bed.

For her, the events of the afternoon were ruined. Her fears were correct, it was just the wine. Well, she wasn’t going to sit here and play nice princess waiting in the garden for her knight to come galloping in from a hard day’s fight with the orcs at the office. She saw Orophin standing in the shadows. She started to complain to his un-understanding ears, but Orophin placed his fingers to his lips and produced her roll and knives. She smiled grimly. Pulling the roll to her on the bed, she whipped it open and began to pull from the contents. Helpless woman, indeed. She would show him.

***

They had been in the forest for eighteen hours, stealthily moving among the tree tops. Bronwyn could not keep up that way, so she moved in the back, on the ground. Silently, she seethed. Orophin had managed to communicate that his lover – her best friend- had been sent away because of her. She firmly suspected Haldir. She had chosen well her battle outfit and between the leggings and the tight thin, black turtleneck, she had also selected the woolen vest. It hung to her lower calves and gave her a dangerous look. It covered her knives and in her hip pocket, her spurs were bound together, so as not to make noise. Her hair was bound in a single tail, attached from the back of her head and covered in a threaded leather binding. Teddy was stuffed in the back waist of her jeans and her sword was hanging from her back. She watched the trees as Heridil or Orophin would allow her to see them on occasion so she could keep up. When they rested, which was rarely and didn’t last for long; one would sneak down, pointing the general direction, giving her rations. She was wearing her leather fingerless gloves and had managed to paint her fingernails black during a rest with polish from her make up kit. She should have been tired, but she was stoked. Stoked to the gills, waiting to prove she was no mere helpless woman. She came around a large tree and walked into another.

Haldir looked at her, furious. He had been aware of her for an hour and could not believe she had had the audacity to disobey him. He wanted to throttle her, bend her over his knee. She remembered this voice from the first meeting.

“You have disobeyed me.” She looked up as if pondering deep thoughts.

“Define ‘disobey’.”

His voice hissed. “I told you specifically to stay behind. I told you, you had no place here. You are more disobedient than a child.”

“I am not a child!” her voice was very loud. Orophin and Heridil looked at each other and melted into the group.

“You act like one. You go into places you have no business being. You were lucky in the mines, but now you go thrashing about where you could get hurt and any pain inflicted on you will come down on my head!” He took a deep breath, looked into the trees and signaled to one of his archers. He did not notice that she had whipped out the spurs and was strapping them onto her boots. “We will pull you up into the trees and you will wait in place until we are done. And when we get back to Caras Galadhon, I will put you over my knee and blister your behi….” He glanced at her to see her glide by him, moving ahead. He grabbed her arm. “Are you not listening? I will not have this!”

She yanked her arm from his grasp. “Aren’t you listening, milord Guardian? I’m not your child! I’m not one of your archers! I’m not your wife or girlfriend or what ever you people call significant others! I’m not your lover, although there are those who think we are! You have no right and no business ordering me around. If you are so stinking scared, get your happy arse back in your tree, Tarzan and let me go do your job!” And she stormed off into the brush, yelling and cursing, spurs making a ruckus. Haldir started to go after her, but was yanked into the trees by several of his archers. They pointed silently and ahead, he could see a swarm of Orcs making their way towards them. They had heard the argument and were moving towards a confrontation. His heart was racing as they darted above her.

“Haldir. She is a graceful and as quiet as an injured boar!”

“I know. Make sure she is covered. If one hair is harmed…” he didn’t have to finish the sentence, but all knew his meaning. Any hair to be harmed on her head, was his and his only to harm.

She stepped into a large clearing. The sun was up and all was bright. The first Uruk-hai stepped into the other side of the clearing. All bows were up. He looked at her.

And saw her flip the tails of her vest back. The knives had been unsnapped and were at the ready. Her feet were spread. She slid them out of the holster, easily, smoothly. They spun on her fingers. And the Urak-hai and the archers above heard her clearly say in a low, sensual voice;

“Come. Come my darlings! Come to Beavis!” Swells of AC/DC, rose in the trees.

Rumil had his bow notched, ready to let loose the first of a barrage of arrows, but Haldir held him back. “Hold. Let her see. Wait for my command.” He smiled, grimly.


“You no Elf, but wes will enjoy you anyway!” The Uruk-hai lifted his sword. Knives flew in the air and embedded themselves in his neck. The knives returned to her hands and despite blood flowing freely from his neck, he still stood, sizing her up, grinning insanely. His counterparts were fast filtering into the clearing, Her knives flew again, ‘Back in Black’ swelling to stadium filling proportions embedding a second time before he fell. They returned to her hands and it registered dimly in her battle brain that these were not the piggy little Orcs from Moria. These were bigger, moved faster, and were stronger. They did not frighten easily, if at all. And they didn’t die as fast. An Orc had snuck around the back and when he grabbed at her, she stabbed backwards with her spurs and brought it to its knees. She stabbed inside with her knives, yanking up and it keeled over. She looked up and realized she was completely surrounded.

And they were closing in.



Oh shit. Pick one, Bronwyn, any one, it doesn’t matter.

Oh effing shit!

She flung her knives at the closest one. Arrows began to rain from the trees and within minutes all were down, dead or close to.

Except one.

He was large, powerfully built. And he swayed, checking her out. He did not have a sword, but had two large knives. They slowly circled each other and he spoke gutterly.

“You will die, bitch, and I will proudly wear your head from my belt.”

“Ah” she answered with bravado she suddenly didn’t feel, “but you would have to live in order for you to do that, as I do not plan to die today!” With that, she flung her knives went into his neck at the same time three arrows went into his back. The music died. She stepped around, looking in circles, making sure there were no others in hiding.

The outer edges of her vision was red; her blood was up; this was what the Vikings called Berserking. It was blood lust, but as she looked around she realized just how out-manned she had been. Her stomach rolled.

Haldir dropped in front of her, looking at the slaughter. The other Elves followed. They filtered through the Orcs, killing those that weren’t dead. And counting. She cleaned her blades in the grass, trying to find a calmness she didn’t feel. She stood up and looked at the Elves, piling up the bodies. Heridil, her quiet cheerleader from the archery field, looked at her and smiled.

“Peace, love and Crabs!” Bronwyn smiled and returned the salute. Suddenly, she was jerked around. Her gut lurched.

“What do you think you were doing? You could have been killed! None of my wardens would have been so stupid as to jump in the middle of this!” His fury was unfathomable and although his voice was controlled, all wilted in front of him. Her hackles raised for the barrage she knew she was getting ready to get from him.

And face it, girlfriend, deserved!

“Haldir, they weren’t like this i–Oof!” She found herself flung against a tree.


“Stay!”

She watched as Haldir went through the bodies with his archers. “How many?”

Orophin and Rumil looked up. “Forty-five. Thirty six dead by arrows, five by knife wounds and three by both. The ones she killed, they might as well be decapitated.” Rumil stood next to his brother. “She was impressive, you have to give her that.”

“I do not have to give her anything.”

“Haldir!” Rumil grabbed his arm. “This was not was she expected. These are not what she fought and survived against in Moria. She did well for one so unprepared.” Haldir shook his brother’s hand from his arm.

“She still would have died had we not been here! She charged in without any forethought!”

They piled the bodies and burned them and Haldir left two to watch to make sure the flames did not get out of hand. He noticed the tightening and whiteness of her mouth and wondered how long they had before her body’s digestive system would betray her. She was placed in the center of the group, surrounded by all.

“You know, you didn’t even let me finish!” She sounded nervous.

Haldir stopped and looked at her. “Do not say a word!” His eyes were colder than snow. He turned and continued on, the others following.

“Come on, Haldir! I’m sorry. It was a stupid mistake, yes, I will admit to that, but- “

He turned on her and grabbed her one handed by the collar, jerking her up on her toes. “What will it take for you to be quiet? I do not wish to hear you speak. I do not wish to hear your ‘Peace, love, and crabs!’ I do not wish to hear you breathe. I gave you an order.” She started to interrupt but he placed his other hand over her mouth. “I had a reason to give you that order and you defied it. You did not think of the consequences, you did not think of the danger, you did not think of the difficulty you would put me or Rumil or Orophin or Heridil or any of my archers in. Did you consider that with Heridil and Orophin being more concerned about making sure you kept up and were watched and fed, that they were unable to do what they needed to do? Did you consider that by defying me that now I had more to watch out for besides Orcs, I had to watch out for you as well? You walked into the middle of a bigger nest of Uruk hai than is normal and they were not normal? Did you stop to think that had you been killed that I would have died as well? That whatever destiny you are heading for would founder? If the thought of my death or yours means such a minuscule amount to you, think of it this way. What if Heridil had jumped down to protect you? I had to stop him twice. He would willingly, for the sake of your friendship, have died for you. You did not think, you put all of us in danger because of your foolish actions and I plan to make sure you never do that again!” He saw her hands shake and her eyes start to bug and he swore in the Common Tongue. “Oh damn…” He quickly spun her around and held her up, while she spewed the contents of the past 18 hours.

When she was finished, he shoved her aside and stormed ahead. “You dropped your teddy!” He spat it and she looked on the ground to see a blood splattered bear laying a ways from her feet.

They traveled quietly in the trees, slowly to accommodate a now tired, feverish, and woebegone Bronwyn. They stopped for a short reverie and she leaned against a tree, quickly falling asleep. Her demons came, fast, furious, and she sobbed for several minutes before he relented and went to her and pulled her into his arms. She quieted and slept, curled in his lap. And his archers said nothing.

They rose early in the morning and his attitude towards her was beastly. His speed was extreme and Bronwyn finally stopped and sat.

“I’m wrong, you’re right, beat me later, but let me rest!” And that was how Bronwyn came to be carried into Caras Galadhon in the undignified position of over his shoulder, his hand on her bottom, and her spurs kicking limply in the air.

tbc

Dancing Urukhai because they’re funny