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I am taking my last trip into the Interior. I probably won’t be back until Thanksgiving and that hurts. I have a lot of work to do here at the house and then when I return, I will have one week to lesson plan through the end of September and clean and rearrange the house before my landlord does the bi-yearly inspection in mid-August.

I will also take Gizzy to the vet for shots and tests. As much as I hate it, I don’t think our home is the best home for him. I will be talking fostercare for him. It’s breaking my heart.

The Vessel

Chapter 12

Scream to me, my love – or – Trust you, my arse. 

***

“She, she came down from the mountain

and I stood my ground On the mountain

Like a fire, I’m drawn to her lust

I can’t run from her, but Lord, I must

And like a demon, I’m drawn to her flame

I’m gonna burn Callin’ her name…”

(Mountain – Tonic)

***

They were back to the field, where the Uruk-hai were tied. Bronwyn was becoming more and more discouraged by her lack of progress. And although Haldir was encouraging and supportive of her attempts, even he was losing faith that there was any more to this power of hers. The Uruk-hai were jeering her openly, relishing not only in their own discomfort, but the Elves as well and he felt her despondency over-take her. In an attempt to comfort her, he offered to draw swords with her.

It was the wrong thing to offer.

He had awoken that morning to the sounds of cheering and catcalls. She was not in the bed with him and when he realized her presence was in the middle of the noise, he went to the window. He could not believe his eyes.

She was in the field, sword at her feet, jumping on it, in attempt to shatter it. His brothers and their friends were gleefully encouraging her at her task. He could not get down the steps fast enough.

“BRONWYN MORGAN AP POWELL!”

She jumped back, startled at the sound of her name, so strongly called.

“What are you doing?” Most of the crowd quickly disappeared, but he caught his brothers’ eyes and signaled for them to stay. Heridil was also there, quietly in the background.

“I do not wish to even be tempted by it. I want it gone. I give it up!”

He leaned down and snatched it from the dirt. “Give it up, you must. But destroy it? I do not think so.” He looked closely to see if it had been damaged and noticed for the first time the markings. He peered closely.

There were etchings, Elvish he did not understand. He crooked a finger at Rumil and told him to fetch Lord Celeborn. The craftsmanship was superb, beyond anything he knew the Elves of Middle Earth to create and what they created was exquisite. Using the sleeve of his tunic, he wiped the dust from the blade. It was unmarred, delicately engraved.

“Baraer. Come, look.” He proceeded to show her the markings, the craftsmanship, the detail. Celeborn arrived and looking worried, having been summoned by a breathless Rumil and peered over Bronwyn’s shoulder. Haldir handed it to him.

“I can not read it, my Lord. I hoped you could illuminate us.”

Celeborn took it gently from Haldir’s grasp and studied the etchings. His eyes lifted and saw Bronwyn’s gaze on the blade, reading.

“Can you read this, little one?”

Her eyes were huge, terrified; her voice, far away. “Yes.” It was a whisper.

“Do you know what language this is?”

“Yes. It is…Quenya.”

Celeborn looked at Haldir. “She has truly learned them all.” His gaze returned to the woman, a single tear, sliding down her cheek. “Tell me. Tell us.” He handed the sword to her. She turned it from side to side.

“It says…

‘Mana l úme caita syadlla?

Mana l úme lerya quingalla?

Mana l úme hehtanë siklla?

Mana l úme mappe eppessëlla?

Er Valar quetuvar.’

“And that means?” Celeborn asked.

Brownyn’s entire body caved. “It says”-

“When is the time to thrust down your sword?

When is the time to hand over your bow?

When is the time to sheath your knives?

When is the time in which to claim your titles?

Only when the Valar say thus.”

She turned the sword over. And took a deep breath.

Serkenin naa a Arda

Arda naa a serkenin

Naem er, Naem atya

Naem weerenen ullume

Hanyo allasse ar nwalma.”

She took a deep breath. And translated.

My blood is of the Earth.

The Earth is of my Blood.

We are One. We are the Same.

We are forever joined.

I am aware of all of her joys and sorrows.”

She handed it back to Haldir and looked up at Celeborn. “That is what is says.”

Celeborn’s face did not change, showed no emotion. He placed his hand gently on a rounded ear and caressed. “Go to your and Haldir’s talan and lie down. Try to rest a little.” She did what he asked, mute, with no complaint.

Quiet reigned freely in the clearing.

“This sword is not finished with her yet.” It was said quietly.

“She has to give them up. She has given them up.” Haldir was agitated and visibly angry. Celeborn’s exclamation of breath was clearly heard.

“Yes, she does. Yes, she must. But, surely, you noticed,” he turned the blade in Haldir’s grasp, so the markings could be seen clearly. “this blade was not forged here in Middle Earth. I daresay, it was not forged in the Undying Lands, either. This is a gift from the Valar. And gifts from the Valar are not to be taken lightly.” His gaze went to Heridil, still standing in the shadow of the tree. “Nor, are they to be destroyed by a volatile, pernicious, over-zealous…” he saw Heridil’s eyebrow raise, “…Baraers.” He turned the sword loose. “I would suggest you try working with her again with it. She will never be able to recapture her ability with it, but she should not be a total novice. This…” he nodded to it with his head, “…is a thing of beauty. It has significance.”

So Haldir found himself, back in the field, cringing in pain at every attempt she made against the Uruk-hai, knowing that when he had had all he could stand, he would have take her to the archery field to parry swords. The thought made him pull on his braid and he prayed to Iluvatar that he would survive the day.

“Can I quit now?” Dark eyes looked up at him, beseeching.

His fingers slid under her chin. “We will come back tomorrow. It gets better.” He released her chin and tugged playfully at her ponytail.

“I thought you said you did not lie?” The two quietly left the area, under the scrutiny of the hateful stare of Uruk-hai eyes.

***

“She’s got a sweetness about her, that I can’t explain

She’s got a wonderment about her and I can’t deny it…”

(Mountain)

***

In her eyes, the sword lesson became more of a tai-chi exercise than anything else. In his eyes, he was more and more confused by her difficulty with the blade. As with the bow, her stance, her approach, everything was correct. It was if the Valar had drawn a line; you can go this far. In jest, she likened it to sex without the orgasm; a let-down for all involved! After two hours with the Uruk-hai and two hours of beautiful movement followed by arm-rattling clanging, the two called it a day. Several times, only his own lightening-quickened reflexes saved him from the errant, hacking blade.

“Are you sure I am not to be allowed to break it?” She sat on the ground, shoulders slumped, exhausted. “It would be so much nicer and easier for all.”

“Easier for you, easier for me, but I do not believe that is what the Valar have in mind!” He held his hand out and pulled her to her feet. She was grimy and filthy and most of her hair had escaped from its ponytail. He admitted to himself that he was equally foul to stand near. “Shall I carry you back?”

“Oh, puh-leeze!” she exclaimed in the Common Tongue, which she did quite often. “Your neighbors already believe I am an incorrigible miscreant. I do not believe I could tolerate another snide remark from any of them!”

He took her by the hand, as they made their way back to Caras Galadhon. “They are pestering you? If you would just tell me who, I will spe-“

“No! No you won’t!” she scowled in frustration. “Mostly, it’s comments on how you are getting what you deserve or something along those lines.” She yanked at what was left of her ponytail and threw it behind her shoulder. “It is as if being stuck with me is a cruel joke, a punishment! I feel like a burden.” She looked out over the field, into the forest.

“You are not that, Baraer. We have had this discussion. I realize I am not the most romantic fool in all of the Wood, but you know how I feel. You are no burden to me…” She looked at him, askance, one eyebrow arched elegantly, “…all right, you are a burden, but one I have embraced gladly. Life is not boring with you around and I would not trade all of the quiet nights on the Fence for one stormy night without you.” He turned her chin towards him. “I waited for almost three thousand years for someone who would take my breath away. It was worth the wait.”

If it was possible for fiery eyes to burn hotter, hers did in desire.

They quietly made their way back into the city. She wrinkled her nose in distaste.

“I need a bath!” She looked out of the corner of her eye. “So do you!”

‘That can be arranged, Baraer.”

“No!” She stopped in the dirt and stomped a dainty boot. “I am too tired to walk to the talan, get a change of clothes and walk clear across Caras Galadhon to bathe with a bunch of Elves in the pool and then walk back. I am too tired to eat and I am too vile smelling to sleep in clean sheets. You may now tell me I am being bitchy!”

He shrugged. “You are being bitchy.”

“Oh! Thanks!” She kicked dirt at him.

“Well, you said-” Dust flew up in wild abandon. When it settled, his shoulders shook in mirth and she was howling with laughter.

“Lord, look at us. We are sooo gross!” She attempted to brush off the loose filth with not much luck. She peered at him from under black lashes to see how infuriated he was.

One elegant eyebrow arched at her.

“Gross. Someday, I shall learn all of your strange words.” He dusted the bridge of her nose with a long index finger. “I have an idea. Wait here.” And he quickly strode off, leaving her there alone.

She passed the time making faces at passersby. Apparently, one thought she had finally lost her senses, and seeing him strolling through the city, requested Lord Celeborn to go to her. He came up quietly around tree.

“Bronwyn. Have you been in the sun too long? Has Haldir pushed you past your limits?” He took in the filthy, sweating woman, standing in dirt.

“No.” she laughed. “Haldir told me to wait here. We had an…unusual discussion.”

“It is good to see you smile again. It has been long since…ah… Haldir.” He raised his eyes to the tall Elf, who was as equally grubby as the feisty vixen he had claimed as his own. “By Morgoth’s Chains, have the two of you been rolling in the dirt?” Both woman and Elf snickered, Haldir regaining his composure first.

“I apologize for our appearance, My Lord. We had a rather… animated discussion.” Celeborn’s eyebrows raised so high, they threatened to leap from his forehead. Haldir’s attention returned to Bronwyn. “Baraer, I have spoken to My Lady. She has graciously offered a light repast and time alone in her personal bath.”

“Personal bath?” Haldir nodded. “Personal bath? You mean to tell me, I have been bathing in the communal bathing pool, with God knows who watching me from under the bushes, when all this time, there was a private, personal, bath?”

“What a wonderful offer my Lady wife has made.” Celeborn attempted to intervene as he did not want to be caught in the middle in case this ‘unusual’ and ‘animated’ discussion began again. One pair of blazing and one pair of wintry eyes looked at him. “Truly, it is an excellent offer. And a meal with it? I must go and see what delights I can coax from her.” Haldir grabbed his arm, stopping his departure.

“Baraer. Go on ahead. I will go the talan and get our things.” He waited until she was safely out of earshot. He looked at Celeborn.

“No peeking!”

Celeborn feigned complete and total innocence, hands outspread. “Why Haldir, how could you ev-“

Haldir stood closer. Celeborn could smell the sweat and dirt on the former March Warden. “I know you. No! Peeking!” He turned on his heel and strode off towards his and Bronwyn’s talan. Celeborn took a deep breath and swore a vile epitaph he had heard Bronwyn say many times in the Common Tongue.

“Oh! Boogers!”

***

“And if we are patient then maybe

We’ll get it straight on the mountain…”

***

Bronwyn was luxuriating in the tub. It was large enough for 20 people and warm. She and Galadriel had lit candles around the sides and loosed lit floating flower candles in the water. She quickly had washed her hair before pouring sandalwood scented oils in the water. It was a bit masculine for her tastes, but she did not think Haldir would want to smell like roses.

No. Despite the beautiful long hair, the long eyelashes, the full lips, even the graceful, cat-like way he moved, there was nothing feminine about him. She did not hear him join her in the water. One moment she was moving her hands in the water, watching the small ripples she made and the next she was encased in the arms of a nude, wet Haldir, his lips pressed against her ear.

“Baraermin.” She arched her derriere against him and was delighted by the response of his body. “Still tired?” His hands caressed her arms and back and she felt electrical chills revitalize her muscles from head to toe.

“Not when you do that.” She turned in his arms to have her mouth covered by his immediately. It was sweet, gentle; who would have ever thought this battle-hardened, muscle-bound Elf would have lips as soft as rose petals? And that despite working up a sweat in the heat and the dirt, would taste as sweet as honey? She broke the kiss and lifted his hand from her shoulder, placing a kiss in the palm. She led him to the stairs leading down into the pool and had him sit close to the bottom. The water came to his waist and she lowered herself behind him, on the stair above, and lifted the heavy mass of unbound hair over his shoulder. She placed kisses across his exposed shoulders, nibbling on the vertebra of his neck.

“Baraer…”

“Shhh.” She ran her third and fourth fingers of her right hand – her most sensitive – gently up his backbone. She rubbed lightly in the crook of his neck. “You have a headache. Situated at your temples, more concentrated on the right side.”

“Yes. How do you know that?” His voice was a barely audible whisper. Her lips and tongue brushed the spot.

“You are tight, here, your muscles are knotted.”

It was not the only muscle he had that was tight, he thought to himself.

“Lean forward, relax.” She picked up a bottle of the sandalwood oil and drizzled it across his back and began to work on the stressed muscles. Her hands were strong, from years of performing on instruments, easing kinks and knots that had been there for decades and he felt himself drifting almost into a reverie.

“You have been given healing powers as well?” His voice was barely audible above the Haydn String Quartet playing.

“No. I just give good back rubs.” One hand left his back and returned seconds later with a sudsy cleaning bar. She started at the water line and worked her way up across the trim waist and broad back. He rolled his head so she could reach all of his neck, her thumbs working in a delightful circle. He allowed her to work down his arms, around his torso. She moved around him, kneaded his chest, down his hips.

“Baraermin. You do not have to do this.” His eyes were closed, enjoying the feel of her hands on him.

“You did this for me when I was ill and tired. Allow me to reciprocate.”

He opened one eye and looked closely at her. “You want something. What is it?”

Her eyebrows shot up in mock surprise. “Moi? Want something?” She bowed her head in mock abashment, her thumb and fingers, creating a necklace of sorts around her neck. “Haldir, how could you think so low of me?”

Both eyes were open now and he wore a sly grin. “You are concocting something in your mind. I can feel it and I deeply desire to know what it is!” He stood up and came off the step, the water settling around his hips.

Mischievous, passionate eyes looked up as she settled down to her neck in the water. “You truly want to know?” He nodded his assent and she quickly ducked under the water. Small hands grabbed his backside and he felt a hot, searching mouth encase him as her body pulled close. The act caught him unawares and he stumbled backwards on the stair. Bronwyn’s head cleared the water, eyes gleaming, and with her hand on his chest, she nudged him, coaxed him backwards up the stairs. As he cleared the top stair, she pounced, her mouth inhaling as much of him as she could take. Her hands slid under his thighs.

“Baraer…” he was breathless, “…do you not wish to eat before…”

“Shh. I am eating.”

Oh. His chest shook with quiet laughter. Her head came up in mock consternation. She smacked his thigh and settled back on her knees.

“Stand up.”

He rose above her, his groin in perfect alignment with her mouth. Her right hand slid up his thigh, curving over a sculpted hip; the left hand mirroring the right. She gazed at the proud member, rising from wet curls the same color of what was on his head. No peroxide on this one, she thought mischievously to herself. She pulled herself close to him.

And blew.

He inhaled sharply. For one who had been touched rarely and inexpertly in her past, she learned what pleased him quickly. That she desired him often, she made no bones about that. One could call her wanton, but he did not care, as long as it was only he she desired. Her hand came from his hips, to under the two sacs, her thumbs gently stroking his perineum. Her tongue snaked out, flicking the thundering, velvet head. Her hands grasped him, one atop the other.

He had always considered himself average for an Elf, but she had been downright full of herself when she had realized that he was more than two hand spans in length, the top of him rising above her second hand. And so thick she could not wrap her fingers totally around him. Her tongue flicked down the vein, to the darkened sacs, her mouth drawing each one in, sweltering, insistent. His hands went into her wet curls, drawing her to him.

“Baraermin. Do not tease.”

Her mouth moved back to the eye of his being, sucking on the lubrication she found there. She had heard rumors that there were women who did not exalt in their husband’s or mate’s bodies; who did not enjoy the fruits or gifts in their differences. She was hard-pressed to believe that there was a time that what she did with Haldir, she herself considered dirty, nasty. Her mouth slid over him and she set her hand in a rhythm, opposite of what her mouth was doing.

Haldir was a patient Elf, but he could stand no more temptation. He angled her as he desired and with his hands tangled in her hair, set a rhythm, bucking into her. He unleashed the pearly essence into her mouth and she drank every bit, reveling in the honey, the tangy sweetness, sucking to the last drop, dragging him around her bottom lip as she took that last, deep breath. He sank down next to her and pulling her into his embrace, laid her down in the crook of his arm. His hand went to her breast and he kissed her, tasting his seed on her tongue, as his finger teased her nipple. Soon, his mouth replaced his hand and he grasped the palm of her hand and drug it down to her core.

“Help me please you.” He placed her hand on her mons and his fingers delved into heat, his mouth on her breast.

She needed no encouragement. Fingers, deft at pleasing herself for years, reached for the hidden pearl, the small knot, buried under her clit that he had found that first night. Her touch there made her wet beyond imagining and her climax was fast and hard and she cried her pleasure and his name in his ear. Even after her breathing slowed, he continued to suckle and finger her, rebuilding her to a feverish pitch. Her wetness now cascaded to a pool on the wood flooring and her cheeks were slick. He used his index finger to play the lubrication around the small, puckered opening. He felt her body stiffen and while not stopping the movement of his finger, he lifted his head and looked into her eyes.

“Baraermin. I desire that.”

Large, frightened eyes looked into his. “I know.” she whispered.

“Why does it frighten you?”

“I do not know.” She took a deep breath, knowing he knew, could tell she was not being completely truthful. “I am sorry. You are quite large and I..I am afraid it will hurt.”

He pulled himself up to her eyes, his hand, that finger still playing at the dark entrance, now dipping in to his first knuckle. He kissed her deeply, sucking on her bottom lip. “I will do everything to make it pleasurable for you. If it becomes too much, you will tell me and I will stop. Do you trust me?”

“With my life.” It was whispered. The second finger joined the first. “Apparently with my arse as well.” She began to move with him, the gentle stretching becoming pleasurable. Her fingers moved back down to rebuild her zone. A third finger slid into her tightest sheath. She caught her breath and …

“Relax, Baraermin. Breath. Make room within yourself.” She did that and was amazed at the difference. Her eyes closed; he was right; this was pleasure in a new extreme; a new realm. She moved with his fingers, arching up for it.

As she relaxed and became more accustomed to his invading fingers, he coaxed her to straddle him as he lie on his back. He had her ride him for a few moments, allowing him to coat himself with her sweetness. He then lifted her and moved her forward slightly, positioning himself at her back entrance.

She immediately stiffened.

“Baraermin. Please relax. I promise, you will enjoy this. Do you remember your first time?”

She did remember. Her partner had been equally inexperienced and they both ended up crying in each others arms. But it was not the last time they had experimented with each other and each time became easier. She took a deep breath and relaxed. She slowly lowered herself on his shaft.

She discovered once he passed the tight ring on the edge, he fit nicely, fully. He allowed her to take her speed. He watched the quick flash of pain, then wonderment, and finally, the fall of desire cross her features and he smiled, reveling in her willingness to explore this uncharted and frightening path for him. She internally squeezed him and he almost lost all abandon right there, but he held back, not wishing to startle her. His hands reached for her between her legs and he felt her tightening in orgasmic response. They came together, neither moving, both arched back, reveling in the pulsating throbs of each other’s body.

***

The two quietly made their way from the bath room, he in clean leggings and boots and she in clean jeans and a soft concoction she called a tee. She stopped as they passed Lord Celeborn’s study, scratching at the palm of her hand.

“Haldir. What is behind this door?”

He looked at her closely. “That is Lord Celeborn’s personal study.” No sooner than the last word was out of his mouth, she raised her hand and knocked.

“Bara…”

“Enter.” Bronwyn pushed the door open, stepped in.

She decided she was in heaven.

Books. Books everywhere. On shelves to the ceiling, stacked four and five feet high on the floor, stacked on a couch, on tables, on the desk, from which Celeborn sat behind. Bronwyn never saw him. Her palm ceased itching, but Celeborn saw the marks her nails had left. He knew immediately what had drawn her there.

“Little one. What can I help you with?” She had moved to the middle of the floor and was slowly spinning in a circle.

“Oh. Nothing.” Her eyes were like saucers as she took it all in. “Next time I die, I want to die here.”

“Baraermin. Please, do not even joke about that.” The day in the Wood seven days before still gave him nightmares and to hear her jest in such a manner disturbed him.

“Lord Celeborn.” Her eyes searched the study. “What must I do to spend a day, a partial day, an hour here?”

“You simply need to ask.” For the first time since entering the room, she looked at him.

“Truly?” He nodded. Her eyes went to Haldir. “Your brothers will come in from the Fences tonight, correct?”

“Ye-“

“I suspect they are hungry for your company and you for theirs. I have occupied you thoroughly for the past weeks and I imagine you would like a respite from me.” Her eyes went back to the endless array of books. He was taken aback by her words. Although she spoke to the air, her query was aimed at Celeborn. “I will not bother you. I promise. If I get in the way, please feel free to tell me so.”

“You will be no bother.” Celeborn felt Haldir’s eyes on him. “She will be fine, well protected here. Do not worry.” Bronwyn, appeased for the moment, slipped out the door. “Besides,” he hissed to his former March Warden, “you would inflict serious damage on my person if I did anything…untoward.”

Haldir replied in the Common Tongue. “Damn right!”

***

She lay on the couch, on her back, one bare foot dangling over the side in the air and the other perched on top of the back. The book she was reading, she held in the air above her. It was her third book since arriving that morning.

“Celeborn!” She scowled and began to flip pages. “The Lady Galadriel actually recommended this book?”

He looked up from the ledger. It was not a well known fact that he quietly ran the things that made the city run smoothly.

“It is her favorite. She thought you would enjoy it.” Bronwyn grimaced.

“My apologies to your Lady wife, but this is sheer drivel.” She sat up and with a disgusted wince, dropped the book on the nearest pile.

Celeborn smiled, as he agreed with Bronwyn. She had risen from the couch and headed to the shelf behind him. “She seems to think it should be a guide of courtly love between lordly Elves and their lady elves.”

“Bah! No male behaves that way! If Haldir was that wimpy,” she began to peruse the shelves, “I would have dropped-kicked him off a flet a long time ago!” She closed her eyes and pulled a random book from the shelf. “Flowers and sweets are nice on occasion, but constantly? And poetry? Please!” She wormed her way back through the stacks, grabbed an apple from a basket on his desk and plopped stomach first on the couch.

Celeborn smiled, glad to hear that his wife was incorrect in her assumptions. “Do you mean to say that Haldir perfect in romancing you?”

“Oh, hell no!” The look she gave him was totally indescribable. It was a cross between horror and hilarity. “Do not get me wrong, Haldir lets me know in many ways how he feels about me. How many Elves would willing sit with me while I pained their ears over and over and over daily, in attempt to teach me to aim this havoc I cause?” Haldir obviously did not tell her that every Elf down on the field had volunteered for the job, the agony and Celeborn did not see any reason to divulge that information. “He does little things, quietly, when I am not paying attention. My perfume…” her look turned dreamy, “…I suspect you had a hand in that, but the fact that he went to the trouble to recreate it. He told me he loved me, once,” She did not divulge the way in which it was told to her, “and until he tells me otherwise, I know it is so.” She took a deep breath and opened the book. “No, Haldir is no romantic. He is grouchy, cranky, and I annoy him until he yanks on his braid so much that he gives himself a headache. But I would have him no other way. He is all I have ever desired and more so. I just wish he would not be so dictatorial!” And with that, she proceeded to munch on the apple and began reading the book. Celeborn smiled inwardly, looking forward to the fireworks these two would cause the world for their duration.

The book was a science treatise, about sound waves and how they traveled. Bronwyn had studied something similar in her study of music, but had forgotten quite a bit. And as she quickly read through it, her eyes drooped and she fell asleep. The half eaten apple slipped from her hand into the floor.

***

She was walking through the Golden Wood, alone. The fact that she was alone made her know she was dreaming. She could hear a child playing, bouncing.

“Mama! Come see! Come see! Look at the rocks, all the pretty rocks!” Duncan burst from a bush, an armload of stones piled as high as he could carry.

“Hello, little bit. How are you today?” He ran up to her and dropped the rocks at her feet.

“You are forgetting. The sound waves, Mama.” He squatted and began to pick through the pile. “This one is nice. It has a lovely color, don’t you think?” He held up a rather ordinary rock.

“It is beautiful, Duncan. What about the sound waves?”

Bright eyes looked up at her. “Mama! It isn’t the volume that hurts! It’s the wave! You can’t control the spread of the volume! You control the direction of the wave!” He shook his head in mock disgust. “The pitch, the speed of the wave, Mama!” He picked up the rocks and flung them all in the hair over his head. They magically changed into rose petals has they drifted down, his laughter echoing through the woods.

***

“The sound waves. I forgot about the sound waves.” She woke up to gentle shaking. Celeborn was stooped next to her.

“Bronwyn? Are you alright?” His eyes showed genuine concern as she looked at him from sleep-filled eyes. She was momentarily confused at her location, but she quickly recuperated and sat up on the couch. “Would you like something to drink?”

“The sound waves…” she looked at Celeborn, who held out a glass of cool fruit juices. “I forgot about the sound waves…” she took the glass from his hand and took a deep sip, contemplating what Duncan had told her.

He looked at her curiously. “That is what you sai-“

“The sound waves! Oh my word! I was wrong! I was thinking the wrong thing!” She stood up quickly and handed the cup to The Silver Lord. “I am so stupid! How could I be so dumb?” She picked up the book she had dropped and handed to him. “I will be back. I must try this!” and without any other thought, she proceeded to leave the study.

‘Bronwyn. Where are you going?”

“I’m going to get my sword and then I’m going to the field. Send reinforcements in case I’m wrong, but I think I figured this thing out!” And she ran straight to hers and Haldir’s talan.

***

Haldir had been put off and confused by her obvious desire to be rid of him, even just for a day, but after deeper consideration, he realized she was beginning to move towards her quest for knowledge. Armed with that awareness, he could clearly see that she was stepping into the role created for her by the Valar. And he was having a wonderful, relaxing day with his brothers. They were supposed to be fishing, but as brothers do, it had quickly escalated into a tall-tale contest, a mead drinking contest, a belching and other bodily noises contest, and stroll down memory lane. There was much laughter and not a lot of fish-catching happening on the river. He was aware of Bronwyn, blissfully quiet and content for a change, in the back of his mind. He was aware of when she had nodded off to sleep. And when she had jolted out of her reverie. He sat up straight.

“Haldir! Do remember when Legola…Haldir?” Rumil peered at his elder brother. “Is something amiss?”

“Bronwyn. She just…retrieved her sword and … Iluvatar’s Balls! She is going to the field where the Uruk-hai are!” All three brothers jumped up and took off running.

***

Bronwyn had strapped on her knives and had carried her sword to the field. Celeborn and several other Elves were not far behind. She walked up to the third, overtly nasty Uruk-hai. He leered at her.

“Look! It is the pathetic warrior! How many Elves will you fell today while playing us lullabies?” He and his two cohorts laughed.

Hell’s Bells rose in the background. She drew her sword and pointed it at him.

“Oooo!” The Uruk-hai’s eyes grew large in mock fear. “Bitch! You don’t have the guts to take off my head!”

“Don’t bet on it. More than I likely I would take it off and then vomit on your buddy!” Using the blade as a focus point, she concentrated on the music, its waves on the blade. Saw them spiraling, circling the blade. Faster and faster. The wave could not be heard, but she knew she controlled it in the confines of her mind. The Uruk-hai were laughing, having a field day at her expense and her anger at being a source of their amusement fueled the wave captured from the music. The wave was now spinning so fast around her blade, it was a white line. In a fury, she flung the wave at the third Uruk-hai.

He arched, in pain, screaming, howling like a squealing rat. His head thumped against the post, in machine gun fashion; rat-a-tat-tat-tat.

No one else was affected.

His buddies thought it funny.

Bronwyn yanked the wave, refocused it back on her blade and looked at the middle one, who was having the most fun at his fellow captive’s expense. She aimed again.

Haldir and his brothers ran up at that time. Celeborn held them off.

The middle Uruk-hai was now shrieking, his body contorting as much as possible within his bonds. She withdrew the wave. He sagged, unconscious in his bonds.

She looked at the first.

“Well, Elf-Whore. Do it!”

Haldir bristled and drew up at the slur. It however did not seem to affect Brownyn. But then again, maybe it did.

She stuck her sword in the ground and unholstered her knives. The music changed, to one none of the Elves, not even Haldir, had heard. It was haunting, lyrical, and disturbingly sensual. And she stood in front of the remaining conscious Uruk-hai.

She sang.

The only Elf to have heard her sing, truly sing, was Haldir, that afternoon on the river bank. He was reminded of a clear, lush voice, that reached down and caressed like hot, melted chocolate. He recognized some of the instruments; the dumbek – a Middle Eastern drum – finger cymbals, an organ, a bagpipe, string instruments unseen. And although she never looked at him, he knew she sang for him.

The eyes declare a truce of trust

Then it draws me far away

Where deep in the desert twilight

Sand melts in pools of the sky

Darkness lays her crimson cloak

Your lamps will call me home

(Loreena McKennit – The Mystic’s Dream)

The music rose in intensity, not painfully, but when she pointed her knives at the Uruk-hai, his body convulsed. And when she finally turned him loose, thick, black blood trickled from his ears, both ear drums ruptured.

She slowly made her way back to the Elves, her head down, as the music continued to escalate and stopped in front of Celeborn. She raised her eyes in one of the most malevolent stares Celeborn or Haldir had ever seen on a human and a chill of loathsome fear trickled down Celeborn’s spine.

“Wake them.” she whispered. “Wake them. I want to do it again.” She turned her back to them and began to writhe to the music, knives spinning in her hands.

***

Somedays, I just pray to the gods of sex and drums and rock-n-roll…”

Meatloaf; “I’ll do anything for you, (but I won’t do that)

***

She proceeded to lay waste to Celeborn’s library. Her eyes inhaled books, volumes, scrolls, in minutes, the speed beyond comprehension. And she could repeat them back word for word. Ask for the page number, paragraph number, she could start at any point.

Haldir continued to work with her with her sword and bow. It was simple exercise, beautiful movement, lousy execution. Most times, he encased her in his arms in order to instruct her strokes and they moved together in fluid unison as one. It was only when his arms were around her that he found the warrior she had once been. Her knives continued however to obey her every wish, her every command.

The Uruk-hai heckled and taunted her more and more. They wished for death and the big Elf’s bitch refused to give it to them, relishing instead in abusing them. Over and over she would knock them out. She no longer used the sword to focus on; she simply called up what she called ‘A440′ – a note that vibrated 440 times per second and then doubling, tripling, quadruplicating it. She exulted in her control of the maddening, silent pain, but it had its limitations. No matter how hard she tried, she could only fling the waves to one set of eardrums at a time.

What the Uruk-hai did not realize, was that the constant use of it exhausted her. Many times she left the field, only to collapse in weariness in the dirt. It took all of Haldir’s skills to get her to her feet.

Their appetite for each other in the night did not diminish, no piece of furniture or floor space was safe from their desire. Occasionally, neighbors thought they were arguing when crockery smashed and furniture moved and tipped over, when it was simply something in the wrong place when bodies rolled. They were noisy, sometimes playful, sometimes rough in biting, scratching, and language. They both struggled and fought for dominance and neither would be totally submissive. And when one finally said ‘Enough!’ – and they were polite and took turns equally in saying it – they would wrap up in each other’s arms and reverie in peace and contentment.

Some nights, she sang in her sleep. The House on Pooh Corner, The Rainbow Connection… Haldir knew on those nights, she dreamed sweet, wonderful dreams of Duncan.

***

He was walking through the Golden Wood in twilight. There was fog on the edges of his vision and he realized he was dreaming. He heard noises ahead and he stealthily moved forward as to make no sound. He came upon a clearing to see Bronwyn laughing and a small child bouncing on a bungee tied to a high branch.

“Oh Mama! You play with the bad things too much. There is more! There is…. Wheeeeeeeee!” He was doing somersaults in the air and her shoulders shook with laughter.

Haldir put his arm around her and whispered in her ear. “If our children are this energetic, I see many beatings in their futures.” Her mouth dropped open in mock indignation.

“I think not! Has it been so long since you were a child?”

“Yes.” Both Elf and Woman watched the child.

“So long, I wished to see him play, thus. It gladdens my heart.” Duncan bounced down and everything froze in place, except for the three bodies, the child’s floating in space.

“Hullo, Haldir!” The child had his mother’s impish grin.

“Duncan. I am most pleased to meet you at last.” Haldir placed his hand to his heart and bowed his head.

“Mama!” It was a mock whisper. “Is he always this dour?”

“Usually.”

The imp smiled mischievously. “He needs laughter!”

“True. And I need stability and to be more grounded. We are well matched ” Her finger stroked Haldir’s. The background unfroze and the child bounced for a few more minutes.

The Woods spun and suddenly stopped, Duncan standing in front of the two of them. He was serious, the voice not his; deeper, authoritative.

“War comes. The final battle comes. Sauron is dead and the One Ring is destroyed. The King of Gondor has returned to the throne and peace settles. In abject misery, Elrond of Rivendell takes his only daughter to marry the King and parting words will be said in bitterness. The Shadow makes a final stand in Dol Guldur and the Elves of Mirkwood and the Elves of the Golden Wood will stand together to destroy it. Then will be the time Bronwyn, to make your stand. Take your weapons, use them one last time to defeat the shadow. Do not be afraid to use your sword.” He turned his eyes to Haldir. “Do not be afraid to help her weld it. It is a gift from the Valar. It has yet to serve its purpose. She will trust you to help her weld it.” He looked back at Bronwyn. “At the proper time, claim your titles, claim what was given you and cleave to what is yours. Break the Glass. You can do it. You must break the glass. Be very wary. Thranduil comes.” The wind blew and it all fell to pieces.

Both Elf and Woman sat straight up in the bed, breathing hard, wide awake.

“Haldir! I just had the most amazing dream!”

“As did I.”

“Haldir? Did you just dream of the Wood?”

“Yes.”

“Was I in your dream? Was Duncan?”

“Yes.”

She looked at him.

“Who the hell is Thranduil?”

***

tbc

***

Many thanks to Novedhelion who did the translation of the sword. I bow humbly in your presence.