Tags

,


The Vessel

Chapter 11

Out of the mouths of Babes – or – We are waiting…and waiting… and waiting…

***

Let me fall

Let me fly

There’s a moment

When fear and dream must collide…

***



“No. Baraer. Please… saes… no. Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, Baraermin, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad. Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, Baraermin, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad. Please, oh please hear me.” The tall elf worked feverishly over the still body, hands hovering over the wound that had run her through.

He was surrounded by many, his brothers behind him, Orophin openly weeping in the arms of Rumil, Celeborn on his knees on the other side, flanked by Heridil.

“Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, Baraermin, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad.”

Celeborn gently closed the unseeing eyes and reached over to touch his sobbing warrior…

And wind blew though the trees, mournful singing unheard.

“Alleluia, may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”

***

…Someone I am

Is waiting for courage

The one I want

The one I will become

Will catch me…

***

White. Layers upon layers of white. Even she was wearing all white, her weapons also. Bronwyn looked up, saw the walls, the ceiling, the floor; unending white.

“Hello?” She looked around, roaming in a circle. “Hello? Excuse me, but there seems to be some kind of mistake.” She continued to look around. “Well, I don’t believe any of the designers from Trading Spaces or Exchanging Rooms have had a shot at these digs!” She looked one way and then the other. “Heeeeelllooooooooo! We have a little problem here! Somebody up at the check-in desk kinda messed something up here and let me get kind of…um…killed!” She took two steps to the left. “Hey! Oh man! Haldir is going to be really pissed!”

***

…So let me fall

If I must fall

I won’t heed your warnings

I won’t even hear them…

***

“It is my fault, my Lord. I heard Haldir tell her to come back and I went to fetch her. She saw the Orcs coming up behind us and, I do not know what she did, my Lord, but the earth shook in my ears and I fell. She came after me, my Lord. She came to rescue me.” Heridil was crying. “It is my fault.”

The wind continued.

“Remember me, O Lord, when you come into your kingdom”

***

…Let me fall

If I fall

All the feelings

May or may not rise…

***

She was walking, had been walking for quite sometime. Occasionally, she would call out. There seemed to be no end to the hall. She walked for what she felt was forever. “Hey! This really isn’t funny! I am not amused! We need to talk, somebody, anybody?”

She turned around and jogged back to where she thought she had come from. Maybe she was going in the wrong direction; only the gods knew. She ran and ran and after what seemed to her to be almost forever, she saw a small dot in the distance.

A person.

She ran, calling out and the small dot became bigger and bigger. A person – a child, with his back to her. She pulled up within ten feet and called out again.

“Excuse me, but I have a problem and I really need to talk to someone about it.” The child turned around and her jaw dropped as if unhinged.

“Hello Mother. You are in so much trouble.”

***

…I will dance so freely

Holding on to no one

You can hold me only

If you too will fall

Away from all these

Useless fears and chains…

***

“Haldir. You cannot heal the dead. It is over.” Celeborn reached out and touched him on the shoulder. Haldir looked up with tear-stained eyes.

“No. I cannot give up.” He resumed his ministrations. “Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, Baraermin, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad…”

The wind continued its lament.

“Give rest O Lord to your handmaid, who has fallen asleep”

***

“Duncan!” Her voice was incredulous, over-joyed. She ran to grab him, hold him to her.

But he stepped back.

“Mother. Listen carefully. The Valar are very angry. They created you special and you blew it! You have messed up royally. And now everything is in flux. All because you refused to listen to your heart.”

She sank to one knee, not hearing the clearness of his voice. “Duncan, honey, it’s Mama. Please…” she reached again for him.

“Mother…Mama. If you touch me, it is over. This is death, the Halls of Waiting. It might already be over. It might already be too late.”

Her eyes widened in shock. “Death? No, Duncan, honey, there has been a mistake. I am supposed to be immortal.”

He shook his head sadly. “No. Not immortal. You were given the life expectancy of an Elf. You can grieve yourself to death. Or you can die doing something incredibly stupid, like walk or jump into a sword.”

“An Elf? I am supposed to become an Elf?” Her hands reached for her ears. No, still round. She felt sharp wind, angrily ruffling through her hair. “Hey!” She ducked and looked around as if to see where it had come from.

“They are checking for blonde roots!” Duncan looked exasperated. “Mother, please attend my words! The Valar are, in your words, pissed as shit and their anger is concentrated on you. They have given you a most remarkable brain and one would wish that you would use it and find some common sense! Please think!”

She looked deep into the anguished eyes of her son. And remembered. Remember her past, her husband, her parents, her son, her destiny, her…

Haldir.

The pain on his face, the tears, the realization…oh Haldir.

“Duncan. Oh Duncan, I have hurt him so. I need to go back.”

Duncan smiled devilishly. “Whatever for?”

***

The one I want

The one I will become

Will catch me…

***

Celeborn stood up and went to Rumil. Of the three brothers, he seemed to be the most approachable, the one most in touch with reality. “Stay with him. Men bury their dead, do they not?” Rumil nodded, barely registering what Celeborn was saying, so in tuned to his brother’s grief. Orophin had sunken down next to Haldir, his arms around his waist, head on his shoulder. “We will find her a place just outside the wood, near the river. They did enjoy the river, did they not?” Rumil stared down at the broken body, lying in the dirt, tears dripping from his face. “We will take her back to Caras Galadhon, prepare her for burial. Maybe in the dress. I will let my Lady wife decide that.” He turned to his archers. “Let us clean this up.” and walked into the midst of leavings of the battle.

No one was listening to the wind in the trees.

“The choir of saints have found the well-spring of life, and door of paradise.”

***

So let me fall

If I must fall

I won’t heed your warnings

I won’t hear…

***

“What for? What for? Duncan! Surely, they do not need me to tell them what for! How many times have I been told I am the last? The last chance? The last vessel? I must go back! There is no choice!

“Oh, there is a choice. There is always a choice, Mother. Think. Why should they send you back?”

Bronwyn sank to the floor. “Why? Why? Duncan, what do they want to hear? What more could they possibly want from me? What do I need to tell them to convince them?”

Duncan’s smile was no less baleful. “Think Mother. Use that most distinguished mind and tell them why they should bother sending you back!”

Bronwyn became angry. To find her son, here of all places, speaking as an adult, speaking as an adult to her, speaking down to her as if she were the child…”Why should I convince them? They took all I had! They took you! They took my life! They corrupted my soul! All my life, everything was handed to me. All my life, everything was taken care of. Whatever I wanted, I got, whatever I needed, was there. I didn’t have to worry about anything as long as I did not upset Mother or Father’s precious apple cart or disturb their perfect lives. I was lucky, I could pursue anything I wished. They should convince me!”

“Mother, you are dropping the ball, here.”

She stood up in one sweep, storming around in a small circle that centered around her son.

“They took everything, Duncan! And you know what? They can have everything! That is right; I give it all up! Well, almost all of it up! I don’t care about my parents; I don’t care about Ramsey or his mistresses or his Black Market dealings; I don’t care about the money, I don’t care about the cottage, or my work, or the music. They took you! They took Haldir! I want you back and I want Hald…”

Her eyes widened in sudden understanding, remembering his face as she died.

“Oh, Sweet Jesus. They didn’t take you. They gave you to me.”

The smile, so malicious moments before, turned compassionate.

“There was no love.” Tears, unbidden, filled brown eyes, quenching the fire that had just been burning so brightly. “I did not know how to love, how to trust. Oh Duncan, I misunderstood. I was not the gift.”

A whisper of a hand stroked her hair back. “No Mother, you are most definitely no gift!”

Bronwyn did not hear the whispered jest. “I was not the gift. You were. He was. He is. There was no love in my life and I didn’t know how to love back.”

“And yet, you loved me unconditionally. With all of my faults and ailments. Why could you not love him as well?”

She looked at him, eyes full of unshed tears. “But I did! I do! Oh Duncan, your mother is so stupid!”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say that…”

She looked straight up to the ceiling. “Oh, please, I love him so. Please send me back. I have been stupid, insensitive. I hurt him. I thought he was the cold one and it was me, all along. Oh please, let me fix it…”

***

…Let me fall

If I fall…

***

Rumil lowered himself slowly on the other side of his elder brother. Haldir had finally stopped trying to revive her and just sat on his knees with his head bowed, dejected, tears dripping from his cheeks. He placed one hand on Haldir’s thigh.

“We will take her back to the city. The Lady will know how to prepare her, dress her. Celeborn said we will find a nice spot outside the woods, overlooking the river…”

“What did I do that was so wrong?” Haldir turned haunted eyes to Rumil. “Did I say the wrong thing? Did I not tell her enough I loved her? That I would die for her? She saw what I did not and I failed her.”

“Nay, you did not fail her. She was being Bronwyn; all take charge and trying to help. You know she did not like feeling useless. She saved our lives, Haldir. She died saving Heridil and our lives.” He put his arms around his brother, along with Orophin.

The wind blew harder.

“Life: a shadow and a dream.

***

…There’s no reason

To miss this one chance…

***

“Oh please, please, give me one more chance. I have failed him, so.” Bronwyn beseeched the ceiling. “It is my fault. I will give up my weapons, I will break my bow, I didn’t know, I didn’t realize. I’ve been stupid, yes, I admit it! Please, give me another chance.”

Voices, like wind, blew above her and Duncan. She caught snippets, phrases, arguing.

“…did not tell her everything…”

“…crippled her emotionally…”

“…rash, completely reckless in thought….”

“…does not listen…”

“…does not think properly, nor does she consider…”

“…arrogant, self-serving…”

Her forehead wrinkled in a frown.

“Stop talking about Haldir like that!”

It became silent.

“Mother.” She looked down at her son. “I do not think they were discussing Haldir.” Her shoulders sagged in defeat. His eyes lifted to the ceiling and he sighed heavily. “Convince them, Mother. Tell them why.”

Her eyes were downcast, her hands in front of her belt. “I have failed. I have failed horribly. I failed you, I failed Haldir. That hurts the most. I failed him. “

Silent winds swept above her. A woman’s voice.

“She weeps for him. She does not weep for all the transgressions heaped upon her, she does not weep for the trials forged to make her strong. Nor does she weep for what we would do to her. She weeps not for her losses. Perhaps we were wrong in failing to tell her, prepare her…”

Winds and more winds. They went on for many minutes.

Bronwyn sat on the floor, motioning her son to sit across. They sat, almost knee- to-knee, heads close together. “You are happy here?”

Duncan smiled his sweetest. “I am not infirm here. I do not struggle for words. Everything is perfect and I wait for the day I will be returned in a new body. Your place was not here, is not here. Please, grieve for me no longer. Tell me of Haldir.”

She told him of the Elf’s arrogance, his haughtiness, his bravery, his honor, and his skills. She told him of how he had sat by her bed for days when she had been ill and had cared for her, when he did not even know her name. “He argues with me. Tries to tell me what to do. Unfortunately, most of the time, I hate to admit, but he is right. Not all the time, but most of the time.”

Duncan laughed, a joyous sound she had always loved. “Then he is perfect for you! Just do not allow him to lead you around on a string!”

She nodded. “That is if they send me back.” She looked up towards the ceiling, the arguing, wind, fierce. “I do not understand. I have always worshiped God, the Infant Jesus. Who are all of these deities and how do they fit in?”

Duncan’s smile never dimmed. “Do you not understand Mother? It is Man and the Races who name and rename them. Names change, the One does not.”

The wind, the arguing, had become more stringent. Finally, like a thunderclap…

“It is time. Send her back.”

Bronwyn looked at her son as she felt herself lift from the floor.

“Mother.” She heard his voice in her ear. “Do not give up all your weapons so fast. Be aware of your limits. Do not mess up this time, Mother. You will do well. I love you, Mama.” And the whiteness fell away.

***

Duncan looked up. “I thank you. You did not have to do that.” Voices, wind swirled around him. “I know.” he giggled. “She does beg prettily.”

***

…This perfect moment

Just let me fall…”

***

Rumil was the first to finally hear the wind. He reached over Haldir, still deep in his grief, and touched Orophin.

“Listen. Hear it?” Orophin raised his eyes to Rumil and then to the treetops. They rustled, unnaturally.

“Weeping at the grave creates the song”

***

Bronwyn was flying. She could see the waters of the ocean beneath her and could see land coming, craggy rocks, very much like Wales. High cliffs, with gulls dipping and darting about. Over the cliffs, past fjords, over huge, huge mountains, through rich farmlands…

The Shire. The Shire. Where Frodo and the Hobbits were from.

Past settlements, she flew, wind in her hair. Over mountains again – Moria – She could see the small Golden Wood of Lorien. Small, in comparison to Mirkwood. She smiled, anticipating embrace, the look on Haldir’s face when she told him…

Right on past, continuing towards the river.

“Hey!” Her voice called to the wind! “HEY! You over shot here! You missed it! Damn it to hell!”

***

Damn it to hell.

Rumil’s eyes opened wide. He looked at Orophin.

“Did you hear?” They both looked at Haldir. He was absorbed in his desolation and could hear nothing. Orophin’s eyes were equally wide. Rumil turned Bronwyn’s face, now ash grey and cold towards him. Orophin shook his brother.

“Do not give up, Haldir. Please, do not give up.”

Rumil was stroking the face of the fallen. “Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad. Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad.” He continued, whispered. Haldir looked at his brothers as if they were the crazed ones.

“Wha-“

“We heard her, Haldir. I heard her voice say ‘Dammit tuh hell’. It was in the wind. I swear, I heard it. Please do not give up.” And with that, Orophin joined his brother, “Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad.”

The wind raised its voice.

“Alleluia. Come, enjoy rewards and crowns I have prepared for you”

***

She flew down the river, over Emyn Muil, across the Dead Marshes. She could see sharp, craggy mountains ahead and … things.

Horrid things.

Over the mountains. The stench, the stench reached her even at her high altitude. She looked west, saw fighting, men fighting, the dust rising. So much dirt stirred, it blocked the sun; it was dark, so dark and when she looked again in the direction of where she was flying, she saw the volcano; Mount Doom.

Frodo.

And she remembered Galadriel’s words.

This battle …is a diversion to keep you from doing what you have been called to do.

‘Not on your life, Mr. Bad Guy!’ Her eyes narrowed and her backbone tightened. So focused on the events she was getting ready to commit to memory, she almost missed the lidless eye of Barad-dur.

“I see you.” It was a growl, deep, forbidding.

“Well! Fuck a duck! Aren’t you special? Got some problems on your borders, don’t you” The Eye’s attention returned to the western edge of Mordor.

She flew past, through mountainous rock and lava, and found herself perched on an outcrop of stone, like a strange gargoyle, high above the cavern. And she watched the events of Frodo, Sam, the creature, Gollum, unfold. And the destruction of the One Ring. And she committed it all to memory in exquisite detail.

***

All three brothers hovered anxiously over Bronwyn, the younger two, watching for signs of life, the elder, hands moving, heat, over grievous wounds. All three speaking, whispering, pleading…

“Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, Baraermin, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad.”

Wounds fused. And the body of a fallen warrior, breathed in a painfully deep, wracking breath. White replaces grey. Blue lips turn pale. Eyes shoot open.

Pain. She was aware of pain and heat.

“Ha—” she tried to speak, but was having difficulty getting air through her lungs. She could feel his hands moving over the ugly gash in her stomach. She could feel organs and muscle knitting, skin coming together. Her stomach lurched.

“Ha—“

“Do not speak. Wait. Allow me to finish.” His hands hovered, moving, the circle widening.

She looked around, could see Rumil and Orophin. Both appeared to have been crying, but they looked ecstatic. Orophin was bouncing with joy. Her body spasmed, jerked. She began to choke.

“Rumil!” Orophin could see what was wrong, being on the wrong end of that before. “Roll her over! Quickly, before she strangles.” The brothers rolled her to her side, Haldir, simply went to work on the exit wound in her back, Rumil and Orophin lifting her head, as she vomited blood and stomach contents on the ground. She splattered Orophin’s boots, but this time, he did not complain.

“She lives? That cannot be.” Celeborn had heard the commotion and had returned, expecting to see anything but what he was seeing. “That wound, there was no hope.”

Orophin was giddy. “She drove the Valar insane with her banalities, so they sent her back!” She had finished with her raking coughs and lay limply in their hands. They rolled her back, straight into Haldir’s waiting arms. She looked into that arrogant face, those eyes, that mouth, that she would have kissed if she had not tasted of blood and bile, her hand going to his jaw line.

“I love you, my angel.” Her voice was hoarse, pained.

“Yes, I know. Put your arms around my neck. ” He stood up, his arms cradling her as a small Elfling and held her close. She scowled, but laid her head on his shoulder.

“I trust you. I trust you with my life. I will always trust you.”

“Yes, I know.” He turned and began the long trek to Caras Galadhon.

This was not going as she had anticipated.

“I give up my weapons. Break my sword, give my bow to Rumil or Orophin.”

“Yes, you will.” He had not looked at her. Not once. She craved his glance. She desired acknowledgment of her confession.

“Haldir, I am sorry. I love you. I give up. You cannot carry me all the way back to Caras Galadhon!”

He still did not look at her. Instead, he continued on his quest through the forest. “Yes, I can.”

This was most definitely not how she had envisioned this! Her temper, so contrite not so very long ago, reared up and she threw his own words back at him.

“I might love you and be willing to give up many things for you, but I refuse to be your puppy on a leash!”

“I would expect not.” He dodged a fallen limb.

She peered over his shoulder. She could see Orophin and Rumil; Orophin was carrying her filthy teddy bear, arm outstretched, away from his body, by the ear. Heridil. Celeborn.

Celeborn.

She smacked Haldir on the chest. “Celeborn. I must speak to Celeborn.”

“It can wait.”

Furious eyes flashed at the Elves behind them. She continued to smack him. “This is important! I must speak to Celeborn.”

“It can wait.” He continued to speed through the forest.

“No! It can not!” Her hand never let up on its pounding. “It concerns Frodo! It concerns the One Ring.”

Finally, dark indigo eyes met hers. No matter how angry she got, she would never again refer to him as cold. He stopped and turned.

“She says she knows something about Frodo. About the One Ring.”

Celeborn approached.

“The Ring.” She realized she was wheezing and her breath was short. It was difficult to speak. “The One Ring. It has been destroyed.”

Celeborn looked at her closely. “Are you quite certain?”

Haldir felt her sag in his arms. “I do believe so. I was there. Big volcano, fiery mountain, two little Hobbits, weird little creature, big, BIG Eye of Fire.”

“Did the ‘Big Eye of Fire’ see you?” She felt as if he was humoring her.

“Yes! And the Big Eye of Fire spoke to me! It said it could see me. ” Never had she felt like such a child. That twit! I’ll show him!

Celeborn leaned in closely, smiling. “And what did you say back?”

She smiled like a youngster sharing a secret. “I told him to fuck a duck.” She felt Haldir’s chest tremble and he held her tighter, so she would not feel his laughter. He turned and resumed his travels through the forest.

“Haldir, you can not carry me the entire way.”

“Yes, I can. If I turn you loose, you will wander off and I do not wish to go through what I have been through the past hour with you ever again.”

They moved through the forest, Elves following behind. Eventually, hours later, they neared the gates of Caras Galadhon. The look on his face had not changed and she had not tried to initiate conversation since speaking with Celeborn.

“Haldir, what are we going to do when we get back to your talan?”

He stopped and looked at her full in the face and smiled. A beautiful, angelic smile. “I am going to take you straight to the bathing pool and bathe the blood and vomit from you. I am going to listen to you say you love and trust me over and over. I am going to listen to your apologies for a week. I am going to get you well and help you regain your strength. And when you can stand, I am going to turn you over my knee and give you the spanking of your life.” He kissed her grimy forehead and continued towards the city.

She sagged in his arms and snorted. “Promises, promises!”

***

Forget the hearse

‘Cuz I never died

“I’ve got nine lives. Cats eyes

Usin’ every one of them…”

Young, Young, and Johnson AC/DC – Back in Black

***

She sat gingerly in the dirt, Haldir behind her, his legs acting as armrests for her. It didn’t matter which butt cheek she leaned to, they both hurt equally.

Haldir had not lied. He had taken her post haste to the bathing pool, and had bathed her there on the spot, as every bit as gently as he had when she had been unconscious that first night. He had pulled both sets of boots off, removed his and her weapons, and waded into the pool, clothes and all. Galadriel had known and had sent towels and a nightgown and sweet smelling soaps down. He had carried her back to his parent’s talan – it was closer – and had gently nursed her back to health. He stayed at her side constantly, had listened to her story of Duncan and the Valar arguing her fate. Of the fate of the One Ring, which Galadriel confirmed. He held her close at night and heard her whispered confessions of love and trust.

And the day she stood solidly on her own, he had tanned her hide in a most thorough fashion. Her enraged yells could be heard all over Caras Galadhon. He told her if she would be good, he would heal them.

So far, she had not been good. She had, at one point, told him under no uncertain terms to kiss her bloody arse! And so, for two days now, she had been sitting on that bloody arse rather carefully.

And now, they sat, Haldir leaned against a post with her pulled in as close as he could pull her, her back against his chest and her arms laying on his legs, staring at the three Uruk-hai chained to posts in an open clearing in the Golden Wood. They were surrounded and guarded by Elves day and night. Prisoners of War.

“What are we doing again?”

Haldir pulled her closer, setting her bum on fire. “Learning to aim.”

She looked at the three Uruk-hai. Two were quiet, looking at her balefully. The third …the third was just ugly. She had an idea.

“Maybe, if you will lessen the fire in my backside, I could concentrate better.”

“Very nice try, Baraermin. Pick one.”

She looked at the ugly one. Stared. And aimed. Rising music, rising in pitch, rising in wavelengths. All three Uruk-hai screamed, unable to hold their ears. Every Elf went to his knees. Haldir contorted around her. When the waves died down, reserves came from outside the field and helped the staggering Elves out, while a second set took the original group’s place in guarding. Bronwyn apologized to each one. They accepted, if they could.

It went on for an hour. The Elves rotated in sets of four. Towards the end of the hour, they were moving slower and slower to replace each other. Bronwyn was in tears.

“I am sorry. So sorry.” She looked over her shoulder. “Haldir, Can we please call it a day? There is the mereth coming up tonight, and I would really like to bathe and maybe take a short nap.”

He stood up, pulling her with him. His hands grazed her bottom and she felt cooling heat spread across, easing the sting. “You tried. We will try again tomorrow.” He looked down at her and smoothed her hair from her face. “It will be alright. Did you not notice, the spray of noise narrowed?”

“Oh right.” she groused. “I narrowed it from a twenty foot spray to a nineteen foot spray. I am thrilled to the teeth.” They followed the departing Elves, a fresh set, who were not subjected to the experiment left to guard. “Why must I do this? If I never lift another sword or throw another knife-“

“Baraer. This is a gift the Valar have given you. One does not bury nor waste the gift.”

***

Haldir watched from the dark, under the trees, tugging at his braid. The seamstresses had worked overtime, preparing for her what Galadriel termed a “proper” wardrobe; gowns, shawls, robes, all in varying shades to compliment her coloring. His clothes had been relegated to a fraction of space while her new wardrobe took up every inch of room in his talan that he had. And as beautiful as all was on her, he had come to the conclusion that he preferred her in the burgundy gown.

Tonight, she was in layered ice blue, a low scoop in front, indecently low scoop in the back, reaching to the curve at her bottom, slightly off-shoulder . She wore sapphire earrings, borrowed from Galadriel and a thin diamond encrusted choker. Except, she wore it around her head, as a circlet. He wore the matching ear cuffs. For some reason, he knew she found them wildly erotic.

She sparkled, glowed. Liandrien was civil. She danced with Orophin, Celeborn, Rumil, Heridil. She mingled, she shook and moved. She had the younger Elves doing some strange dance in a line and for the first time in many weeks, there was happy laughter and music in Lothlórien. She smelled of…

Most Precious.

There was precious little left of it and he had taken the small vial to Celeborn to see if its contents could be recreated. The apothecary had jumped through no small hoops reproducing the light fragrance, but the sweetness of her smile and obvious pleasure when he had presented the exquisite blown glass bottle that afternoon had made the ordeal well worth the effort.

“Open up!”

He looked down at the bouncing bundle of energy that was his Baraer. She wore a huge smile and held a strawberry dipped in whipped cream. “Haldir! It is going to drip. Open up!” He opened his mouth and she popped the sweet fruit inside. “The food is wonderful. Stop brooding under the trees and come join us. Come dance!” She pulled on one hand.

“No, Baraermin. I do not dance.”

She looked up at him. He wore unrelieved black; black tunic, exquisitely stitched in black work, black leggings, black boots. The only things not black were the diamond ear cuffs. His hair shone in the moonlight and she knew she would never get her fill of him. Her smile wavered. “You do not sing, you do not dance. Such a stoic Elf!.” She tried to make a joke of it.

She did not say ‘You have not made love to me since before the battle.’ She did not have to say it, he knew and felt badly about it. Her injuries had been extensive and he worried of hurting her. He knew she desired it, he did as well. He pulled her into his arms and nuzzled the mass of waves piled on her head.

“You did not allow me to finish. I do not dance…with an audience.” She looked up and he nodded towards the garden and smiled. ‘The Elf‘, she thought to herself, ‘has the most fetching smile!‘ The two quietly, nonchalantly, trying to keep anyone from noticing, and made their way to the garden.

The moon was full and it was almost as bright as daytime in the garden. Night blooming jasmine and evening primrose were open and the fragrance in the air was delicate. He pulled her close, hand to hip, his other hand holding hers to his heart. “Something slow, Baraer.” The sounds of a jazz trio sensually filled the air and they swayed in time, not realizing two more sets of Elven ears were listening as well.

“Of all the places they had to choose…” Galadriel stared into the roof of the gazebo. Her husband looked up from between her legs where he had been so attentive for several minutes. Robes and gowns and shoes were piled haphazardly around the floor.

“We could ask them to join us…” his voice trailed off. The Lady of the Golden Wood leaned up on her elbows and gazed down at the moonlit reflection of the Silver Lord.

“He will not share. She is not ready for that and I doubt she ever will be! Besides, Haldir would kill the both of us!” She tapped her toes against his shoulders in time to the music. “This is quite nice, very romantic.” She felt him smile against her mons. ‘Well, do not cease! Please continue!”

Haldir and Bronwyn were oblivious to the goings-on in the gazebo. He was pressed against her and she could feel his hardness assailing itself against her stomach. And her mind was made up. He always made sure of her pleasure, tonight, she would guarantee his.

“What is the name of this?” It was whispered in her ear.

“I love you, for sentimental reasons.” She stepped out of his embrace and turned, pressing her back against him. She reached behind them and hands on his wonderfully curved backside, guided him in a swaying rhythm, pressing him to her. His hands curved around her arms and with a gentle tug, released her breasts from the confines of the gown.

His fingers went straight to the strained nipples and she pressed into him. His lips trailed down her neck and her hips ground in a delectable rhythm against him. She whispered in his ear exactly what she wanted to do to him. He caught the words “my mouth” and “your cock” and was fairly certain what wonderful concoction she had in mind and he murmured his consent.

“Not here…” she was breathless, in need. “The gazebo…” He released her long enough to grab her hand and head that way. They had taken two steps, when they saw Lord Celeborn’s sash and one of Galadriel’s shoes and a stocking, hanging from the post. Both Elf and Woman stopped in mid track.

“Your talan-“

“Too far.”

“Your parent’s ta-“

“Still too far!” He nodded to the path leading to the clearing with the mirror.

“My dress…” she drug her feet, slightly.

‘Will not get dirty if you ride, my fairest.” He pulled her into his arms and kissed her deeply.

“Oh.” Her eyes got large. “Ooooooh!” She smiled gleefully and gave him a devilish look as he chased her into the glade. Soon, the sounds of “Makin’ Whoopie” gently rose from the trees.

“Celeborn,” she hissed, “they went into the clearing where my mirror is!”

“So what?” He came up and slid into her body. “We have also on many occasions and have even washed in the water a time or two. Allow them this respite. Besides,” he leaned over and kissed her, allowing her to taste herself on his mouth, “do you not have anything better to think about, besides where the two of them are making love?” He felt her cool toes on his backside and silently thanked The Valar for giving him this wonderful, open-minded she-Elf who had managed to hold his heart over several thousands of years. And he sincerely hoped his former March Warden and the Bard would find as much happiness together.

***

tbc

***

1. Let me Fall: from Cirque du Soleil, performed by Josh Groban

2. Alleluia by John Tavener

extracts from William Shakespeare and the Orthodox Funeral Service

(yes, this is from Diana’s funeral. I’d never heard it before and it put me in the floor.)

3. I love you for sentimental reasons

4. Makin’ Whoopie

“Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, Baraermin, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad.”:

“Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, My Fiery one, hear my voice, come back to the light.”

Baraer: fiery one

Baraermin: My Fiery One

mereth: festival

Haldir and Bronwyn by Leanin