The Vessel 

Chapter 19 

Sitting on a pail or Duncan’s Rose

***

Somewhere out there

Beneath the pale moonlight

Someone’s waiting for me

And loving me tonight… 

(American Tale)

***

Two voices rose up in harmony, the duet clear and ringing.

“Yrch! Haldir! Does Rumil have any idea what Bronwyn has taught him to sing?” Celeborn and his former March Warden rode at the front of the entourage, along with Celeborn’s wife, Galadriel.

“No.”

“Oh, be quiet, the two of you!” Galadriel admonished the Elves. “I think it is beautiful. Very romantic.”

Celeborn snorted under his breath. “Of course, you would think so!”

Galadriel gave her husband a very angry, very sharp look. Just because the were no gardens to weed, no pots to clean, if he were to think she would not punish him for his disrespect for her romantic feelings…

“Haldir. Your coloring is better. You do not look so green.”

Haldir took a deep breath. “Aye. It is the weirdest thing. I cannot hold anything down in the mornings, but by noon, I am fine.” He gave a questioning look to Galadriel. “My apologies, My Lady, but is not Bronwyn supposed to have morning sickness, instead of myself?” Her tinkling laughe fell like a gentle rain.

“They are called ‘sympathy pains’, my Elfling. It should pass in a few weeks.” She gazed at Celeborn. “I think it is rather a noble gesture.”

“It is damned disconcerting. Sicking up.” Haldir made a face. “My brothers think it is funny. I should throw up on Rumil tomorrow.” So far, Orophin had been an easy target – three times in the past week. Rumil and Heridil both thought the entire thing was just hysterical beyond belief. Haldir’s eyes narrowed in contemplation, as if planning his mode of attack.

“Ah, Haldir, do not be so hard on your lady.” Galadriel gently admonished. “This shall pass quickly. Think of the inconveniences she will have to endure. The weight gain, the child moving within her, the weight gain, strange eating desires, the weight gain, having to get up at all hours of the night, the weight…”

“I understand.” He comically waved away her words with his hand. “Already she tires easily and sleeps much. And she cries. Last night, I told her I loved her. One would have thought Mandos had opened up the skies, she cried so much. She sobs so, my own brothers have finally found somewhere else to reside at night!” He looked backwards to see Bronwyn doing just that – crying. Haldir rolled his eyes before calling out.

“What now, Baraer? What awful thing did Rumil say to upset you?”

“Nothing.” She wiped her nose on her sleeve. “Rumil sings so beautifully, it just brought me to tears.”

Celeborn made a disgusting noise through his nose and immediately moved his mount away from his wife’s reach.

“Do not make fun of her! Celeborn, you should be ashamed.”

“Oh aye, and very ashamed. After all, she was not nearly so bad as you!”

Galadriel’s gaze turned very dark and she slowed her mount, in order to ride alongside Bronwyn. Rumil, seeing the Lady of the Golden Wood dropping in his direction, immediately moved his mount up to ride with his elder brother and Lord.

“She was very patient to teach me that song. It has a lovely melody. I wish I understood what I was singing.”

“No, you do not.” Haldir growled, and Celeborn nodded in agreement.

‘What? It is a bad song?”

Haldir was in a quandry. How does one tell his brother he is singing mushy love songs? Celeborn saw the consternation in The Guardian’s face. And decided to speak up.

“The Lady Galadriel loves the song.”

It was quiet for several moments as Rumil digested this information. Realization slowly dawned on his face.

‘YRCH!!!! And you let me sing it? Are you insane? Why did you not say so to begin with. Why did you not stop me?”

“Because, you kept my lady wife occupied for some time.” Haldir spoke. “It made her happy.”

Rumil and Celeborn exchanged glances. Rumil spoke quietly. “Haldir, did we hear you aright?”

“Yes…no…yes.” He tugged on his braid. “I have been thinking…”

“Dangerous thing when you think!” Orophin had joined them. He purposely rode on the farside of Celeborn, far out of spewing reach of his eldest brother. Haldir ignored him. “What?”

‘Thranduil’s attitude has upset me greatly. For him to consider her an easy target because we are not formally bonded…”

“But Haldir… you ARE bonded. The Valar joined you as surely as any words.” Orophin spoke up.

“Aye, but,” he argued “as well as I know that, Bronwyn knows that, and all of Lothlórien knows that, we can not say we have been formally Soul Bonded. I would not have anyone think she is a pet, or my concubine. I would not have any disrespect towards her.” He gave the braid another yank. “Thranduil was very disrespectful.”

“True, but she handled him quite well.” Celeborn looked over thoughtfully at his former March Warden. “You on the other hand… Thranduil has discovered a chink in your armor. You allowed him to see it clearly.”

“Which is why,” Haldir growled, “I have every intention of repairing the chink as soon as we are able.”

***

The party rode slowly for a long time. They had left the wooded area and were now crossing the plains of Rohan. Bronwyn was very upset by the lack of clustered vegetation.

There was nowhere for her to hide to answer nature’s call.

“Haldir, she is falling behind again.”

“I know.”

“But she will get lost.”

“I can find her.”

“Hald–“

“Leave her alone!” and he would slow down and wait for her to catch up.

He waited at the top of a hill, watching her galloping astride Sea Spray, wind blowing through her hair.

” ‘Tis a good thing I wait for you. You would get lost, you lag so far behind.”

The wind had brought bright color to her cheeks as she smiled. “You would find me, Heru en Cormmin.

“Like I want to.” he muttered sarcastically. “I have come the conclusion it would be best,” he leaned over and took her reins from her hands, “to put you on one of the wagons, sitting atop a pail. That way, I would not have to come looking for you every thirty minutes.”

Her jaw dropped in indignation, her eyes opened wide in shock and anger.

“No! NO! Oh, you would not do that. Haldir that is cruel, that is…” her eyes watered up and her bottom lip quivered.

“Iluvatar’s Balls, Woman! I was joking!” Haldir shook his head in anger at his own short-sightedness. ‘Come here!” He reached over and plucked her from her palfrey. “Is it not time for your afternoon nap, my teary-eyed Elfling?”

She wiped her nose on his sleeve. “I am sorry. I cry at the stupidest things.” She looked up into glowing eyes. “I will trade you your morning sickness for my crying spells.”

“No.”

She smacked him on the chest. “Spoil sport.”

It was quiet for a few moments, as they moved to catch up with the slow- moving Elven contingent.

“What is ‘spoil sport’?”

Orophin, Rumil and Heridil could hear the echo of her laughter over the hilltop.

“He found her.”

“Hmmph!” Orophin scowled. “He should set her in a cart, sitting on a pail, so he would not have to chase her down every thirty minutes!”

He was pounded in both arms by his brother and friend.

***

They had not quite caught up with the group, when Haldir stopped suddenly. She was dozing in his arms and she sat up in groggy wonder.

“We there…”

“Shhhh, Baraer.” Haldir’s nose was in the air and his eyes squinted in the distance. Bronwyn felt him stiffen, felt him harden up for battle.

“Do I have time to get on my horse?” He allowed her to slide down and she quickly mounted her mare.

“Baraermin. Ride to Celeborn. Tell him we are being followed by the nastiest stink I have ever encountered.” His narrowed eyes spanned from east to west. “They are spreading, in attempt to surround us. We can expect a nightfall attack.”

Bronwyn rode off, rode hard, Haldir soon following behind.

***

The attack came just before sunrise – a mixture of Orcs and still disgruntled mountain men. Haldir had been correct – the smell was atrocious. She had begged, pleaded with him to allow her knives, just in case, and he had finally caved in. Much to her chagrin, he had her placed in the center, where the fires roared, with Galadriel and her hand-maidens. She allowed all within shouting distance to know her displeasure.

“Just because I am pregnant, does not mean I am helpless.” The knives were out, spinning, singing on her fingers. She was in leggings and black shirt that tied her wrists.

Haldir’s face was hard, immobile. “Do not think to dissuade me or go behind my back. You might be pregnant with the first Bard of the Earth, but,” he pulled her close, his large hand covering her womb, “do not forget that this child is equally mine and I would see that she lives to see the light of day and reaches adulthood.” Bronwyn hissed in anger at his presumptuous tone.

“Think I would put our son in danger? In harm’s way?”

He cupped her chin forcing it upward. “Every time you fall behind to answer nature’s call, you put our child and yourself in danger.” He kissed her hard, to stop her tirade. (Well, it DID work.) “Promise me, you will not enter the battle. Promise me you will not seek me out. Promise me you will stay put.”

Angry tears filled her eyes. “You ask me to promise the impossible.”

“Promise me.”

Angry, fiery orbs roamed the darkness. “I promise not to actively seek out battle…”

“Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell…”

Shit. Full name. Why did she feel like such a child?

“I PROMISE not to actively seek out battle. I PROMISE not to go looking for you. I PROMISE to TRY to stay put.”

“You will stay put.”

“I said I would try.”

And he left her there with Galadriel and her insipid handmaidens, scowling, knives itching for battle.

“Do not be aggrieved, Bronwyn.” Galadriel sat next to her, her own sword out. “We shall see our fair share of battle tonight.

And they did.

Fighting in the open was different from fighting from the trees and too quickly, there was no discernable line between friend or foe. Bronwyn was grateful the sun came up when it did, for it illuminated what she could not see.

And then she wished she was blind.

Despite the heightened Elvish vision in the dark, they had been so quickly infiltrated by the smelly, teeming hordes, that arrows had been abandoned quickly, leaving only hand – to – hand combat. Haldir had scouted an estimated 150 of the foe, to their own fifty of archers.

Movement was fast, but Bronwyn quickly filtered Haldir out of the mass and spent most of her time watching him. Twice her knives went into the back of an Orc or Man, coming up from behind. Five times, her song rose, to ping, to stun one she could not reach or who moved too fast to target.

Her knives were slowing down. It was not really obvious to any but her, but she noticed.

At the end, a bloodied, toothless face rose in front of her, screaming filth, screaming obscenities, raising an ax, causing her to step back. Without thinking, the song rose, pricking eardrums and as the man stiffened, she realized he had been impaled on Haldir’s sword.

“You are alright?” Dark blue orbs searched her chestnut ones.

“Aye. I kept my promise.”

Haldir cleaned his blade on the tunic of the dead man. “In your fashion, I suppose.”

“Hey!” She flung both knives into the ground in fury. “I saved your Elven butt, twice!” Two fingers went in his face.

“I know.”

“And Celeborn’s twice.”

“He will come and thank you shortly, I am sure.” He continued to wipe the blade, nonchalantly.

“And Orophin.”

“I know.”

“And Heridil!” her finger wagged in Haldir’s face. “I saved Heridil’s scrawny ass twice!”

“Aye. He is most appreciative.” He threw the filthy tunic down and reslung his sword on his back. “You forgot Rumil.”

“Rumil?” She looked around. “Where is Rumil?” She started in one direction, only to change in mid-step. Concern, confusion roamed her features. Haldir pulled her in against him. “He has taken a sword cut.” He nodded to a knot of she-Elves and Celeborn. “He is in no pain and will be alright in a day or two. “He is very…content right now and would not… wish for you to see him thus.”

Bronwyn’s eyes narrowed at the hidden meaning behind his words. “In other words, he is getting his jollies and I do not need to bother him?”

“Your perception astounds me, Baraermin.” He leaned over and kissed her gently. “Thank you for not breaking any glass.”

“I never wish to do that again.” Her mouth became a thin, white line. “Haldir, I need…”

“Me as well.”

The sun had been up for less than thirty minutes. And as the Elves piled bodies and prepared to move on, both Bronwyn and Haldir found a large rock to hold on to while they threw up together.

***

A week and one more attack later, they met up with the bridal party from Imladris. Arwen and her brothers were by far the most beautiful creatures Bronwyn had ever seen and Elrond… well, Elrond was every bit as austere and… charming and… oh..

He was simply divine!

Bronwyn allowed herself to quickly fall to the edges of the crowd as the two groups merged and exchanged pleasantries. They were family and she did not wish to interfere or intrude with their reunion. She watched as Arwen dismounted her horse and launched herself into Celeborn’s arms. She did want to spend time talking with Arwen, talking with Elrond, but that could wait.

Haldir knew better as he watched her fade to the background, taking in the noise, the comraderie. He felt her insecurity and was confused by it. Had they not dealt with that issue weeks ago? Had she not learned anything? Instead of confronting her with her fears…

He let the twins deal with it,

“Look, Elladan! A short Elf!” An arm stole around her waist.

“That is not an Elf, Elrohir! It is a very pretty Dwarf!” Another arm joined around and she was pulled close.

Bronwyn looked up into two identical, smiling faces, her fears fading to the back. Long, dark hair framed flashing violet eyes, mischievous grins. Hard to believe these two youthful faces were of an age with Haldir and were known to be fierce fighters. Their playfulness was catching and she smiled back at them. She sternly wagged a finger at the one on the right.

“Elrohir.”

To the left –

“Elladan.” She smiled evilly. “Din’t y’know Haldir will be a-killin’ ye if ye lay lecherous hands on me person?” Her Scottish accent was atrocious, but the both sets of eyebrows drew up high at the implied threat.

“Brother! She has never met us and can tell us apart.”

“That is not what worried me! She said Haldir would kill us! Haldir the Haughty! Do you know what this means?” She found herself in the middle of a twin sandwich, two mirrored imaged leaned together, scant inches in front of her face. A naughty little voice niggled at her brain… If you weren’t taken, girlfriend… Both voices exploded together.

“Tel’ Lindar!”

The two began to talk, very fast, giving her a headache. Their energy was boundless, expansive and the two of them together were on the verge of sending her over the edge.

“How do you like Middle Earth?”

“How do you stand that arrogant Orc of March Warden?”

“Did you see battle at Dol Guldur?”

“Of course she saw battle at Dol Guldur! She killed a dragon!”

“Oh, I heard she stomped on Thranduil’s foot!”

“No!”

“Yes! How do you like Lothlorien? You must…”

“… come see Rivendell! Do you think that after the…”

“Is it true you are pregnant? Tell me…”

Her attention bounced back and forth like a spectator at a tennis match. They were over-whelming her…

“Baraermin.” She looked up to see Haldir, standing with Celeborn and Elrond. He could tell by her smile, she was grateful for the rescue.

“Elladan, Elrohir.” Elrond’s voice was deep, authoritative. “Turn her loose. You have startled her with your attentions. Give her some air, or aye, Haldir will kill you.” The twins turned her loose and she ran from their embrace to stand before the Lord of Imladris. She peered into ancient grey eyes, intelligent, brimming with humor.

Full of pain. She took both of his hands in hers and remembered what Haldir had said to her in a lust-driven haze many weeks before…

“…she has been in love with Aragorn for years. If she chooses him over the Havens, it will break her father’s heart.”

“You see much, Tithen Lindar.” She smiled ruefully.

“A happy occasion and yet sorrowful as well. I am truly sorry for your pain.” She was pulled into a gentle embrace and felt warm lips on her forehead. As his arms went around her, she was hit with flashes of childhood memories; Arwen, the twins, in different stages of growth, laughter, love. This Elf had been a good father.

And his heart was breaking.

‘Baraer?” She looked up from Elrond’s embrace to Haldir. “You are alright? Our daughter?”

She gave Elrond a gentle pat on the back – he looked very confused by that – and disengaged herself from his embrace. “I am fine. So is our son.” She looked up into Elrond’s curious look. “I would love to talk with you m’lord. Perhaps later. Right now,” she moved into Haldir’s embrace, ” I need a nap!”

The twins looked at each other in horror. ” ‘Tis true, she is to have a child ? A little Haldir running around… again? Sweet Elbereth, please say it is not so!”

***

The Bridal Party rode into White City on a bright summer day. Bronwyn rode next to Haldir, behind Arwen and her family, inhaling the sights and the sounds. From afar, the city was magnificent, built on levels, each rising above the other. That it had been under attack was still plain to see, but repairs were being made; walls were rebricked, restoned, buildings painted, gates, doorways, rebuilt. Everything was cleaned, shining, the people looked happy, well fed. That Aragorn had been doing his duty to his people was obvious.

They were welcomed into the palace. Arwen’s family and special guests were accommodated gracious quarters. She was surprised to discover she and Haldir were considered such guests. Their quarters on an upper level of the castle, consisted of two rooms – a sitting room and large bedroom, with a gracious balcony covered with climbing roses. It was comfortably outfitted and the first thing Bronwyn asked for was a bath.

“Do you plan to sit in bubbles all day?” Haldir lay on his stomach on the huge bed, picking at the tassels of the pillow. He bathed already and was looking resplendent in his black tunic, his hair braided intricately. She watched him put the ear cuffs on and sunk lower into the tub to keep from jumping him.

“After a month traveling, it is very nice to sit in bubbles.” He washed her hair before he had pinned the mop to the top of her head and added the rose-scented suds to the tub. “Besides, you like it, when I smell nice!” She giggled and blew some of the foam in his direction.

“You see,” he continued to pluck at the tassel, “This bed is very large and very comfortable and as you have yet to lay on it to decide if it is to your liking, I thought, since we still had a little time before dinner…” He waggled his eyebrows.

Bronwyn sank lower into the suds. “You randy Elf! You wish to take advantage of a naked woman in a tub in your room. A pregnant, naked woman…”

Haldir shrugged as if to say ‘So?’

She squealed in mock indignation. “If I were to partake in such a repartee with you, this bath would be for naught and I would be sweaty again.”

“You know,” he never moved, his long fingers continuing to hassle the tassel, his voice rich and gravelly, “if you got out now, and allowed me to have my way with you and,” his eyes raised, boring into hers “if you did not wrestle with me to terribly much, then the water with the pretty bubbles would still be warm upon our completion of this despicable act you argue so vehemently against and I might be in a good enough mood to help you get… clean again.”

She stood slowly in the tub, froth sliding down slick curves, her stomach still hiding the beloved gift hidden within.

“Is that so?”

Needless to say, they were late for dinner.

***

The music was fabulous, the food, magnificent. Arwen was the most beautiful of brides and Aragorn the most handsome and attentive of grooms.

The reception was tedious!

Haldir was up to his old tricks, pulling her into the hidden alcove to dance with her, nibble on her ear, get her hot and bothered, only to lead her out and hand her to a partner he trusted. Gimli, Rumil, Merry, Orophin, Heridil, Pippin, Elrond, Gimli again, Frodo, Celeborn, the Twins (at the same time) Gandalf, Gimli again…

“Gimli! Give someone else a turn!” Legolas laughed and spun her out of the Dwarf’s arms. “Why does he think to monopolize you?” he asked with a smile.

“I think he likes to talk to my stomach.” she laughed. “He says the babe can hear him.” She looked into his smiling face. “Your lady tonight.” she nodded to the slender blonde maiden, now dancing with Gimli. “She is very pretty. Who is she?”

“Ah.” Legolas took in the beauty. “That is Eowyn, sister to King Éomer of Rohan.”

“Aaah! A Princess for a Prince?”

He chuckled softly. “Nay. She is betrothed to Faramir, the Steward of Gondor.” His voice dropped. “He was Boromir’s brother.” Bronwyn nodded in understanding. She had heard about Denethor and how his insanity had almost cost Faramir his life. “He is still feeling the effects of his injuries and was unable to attend tonight’s celebration.”

“She looks very sad.”

“Aye. She is.”

They spun around the floor for several minutes.

“Uhm…” She looked around furtively. “Uhm. Prince of Mirkwood, your… father did not attend, did he?”

Legolas spun her again, laughing, not realizing he was making her dizzy. “Nay, he is nursing his wounds caused by the Lord of the Golden Wood to his property line and by Tel’ Lindar to his pride.” He smiled into her green-tinged face. “You have nothing to fe… Tithen aras, are you alright?” He stopped in the middle of the dance floor.

Haldir looked on from the side in concern.

“I am dizzy, mellon amin. I need air and a cool drink.” She saw Her Heart striding across the floor, nimbly staying out of other dancer’s paths. “Haldir, I…”

“Need air, need a cool drink and need to rest.” Legolas handed her over to him and they both escorted her from the floor. Haldir tucked her hand in his elbow and led her to the balcony for air.

“You tire yourself. It is not good for our daughter.”

“I am getting plenty of exercise which is very good for our son!”

“What is this? A lover’s quarrel?” Aragorn and Arwen joined them on the balcony, both carrying extra flutes of drink. “Not on our wedding day. King’s decree and all!” He handed his glasses to Haldir and reached to his bride to take one of hers for himself.

“Nay, no quarrel.” Bronwyn laughed. “Just an ongoing discussion.” She took a sip from her crystal goblet and enjoyed the cool beverage. “Congratulation. May you enjoy much peace and happiness.” She raised her glass. All four drank to her toast.

Arwen approached Haldir and the two spoke in quiet whispers as Aragorn walked with Bronwyn down the balcony.

“I have not gotten to speak with since your arrival. I apologize.”

“You are very busy, sire.”

“Do not start that!” Aragorn rolled his eyes. “Sire this, My Lord that. Your Majesty… Bah! Already, I long for the days when I was simply Strider, Ranger of the Dunedin.” He changed the subject. “You have changed much since I saw you last, Brawn of Moria.”

She laughed loudly, causing Haldir and Arwen to look up from their quiet conversation. “Aye, I have. Look at me,” she stood back, hands outstretched, showing off the pale green, sleeveless, thin gown; its delicately beaded train, rustling behind her. “I feel like a fairy tale princess! I hope to never awake.”

“Ah.” he took her into a warm embrace, a gentle hug, “Wait until you go into labor, so I hear.”

“Been there, done that! It is not so bad.” Bronwyn wondered if they had epidurals in Middle Earth. She nodded into the room. ‘Elrond is having a most difficult time.”

“Aye. I feel badly for him. But I love her and she has refused to be parted. That she would choose death over eternal life…”

“What is eternal life, when you cannot be with the one you love?” She took him by the hand. “I would rather spend one night and die in Haldir’s arms than spend a lifetime without him.” They stood in silence for a moment. “You do not tell him I said that. His head will become huge.” Aragorn laughed at her comment. “Oh, I take that back. After all, he told Thranduil I was the very air he breathed.”

“No! He did not!”

She nodded. “Yes, he did. Ask Celeborn or Legolas. They were there.”

“I heard all three drew a sword on Thranduil. I hardly believed it, but this as well? How did you capture such an elusive Elf?”

She unconsciously began to rub her eyes. “I had a little help from the Valar. I don’t think I’m all that special. Probably more of a pain in the arse to him, actually. Poor Haldir, trailing after me, keeping me out of trouble, when I know he would rather be off fighting Orcs or being with his brothers. I’m so very boring.”

“Nay, I think the two of your will have many memorable adventures.” The King of Gondor stoked an errant lock behind her ear. “Methinks we should see why my wife and your love have their heads…” his voice raised loudly to interrupt Arwen and Haldir’s conversation, “so closely together. One would think they are quietly arranging to meet behind our backs.”

Arwen’s jaw dropped in indignation. “Oh, you nasty Man. Our wedding night and you accus-” Aragorn’s mouth seized his opportunity with hers standing there, wide open.

Haldir took Bronwyn in his arms and pulled her close. “Bedtime for Bonzo?” He was quickly picking up her lingo.

“Aye.” They prepared to take their leave of the party. As Arwen hugged her, she whispered in the Queen’s ear.

“Watch out for Gandalf when you dance. He is as bad as Celeborn!”

***

For several days, the celebration of the King’s wedding to the Evenstar was celebrated in the streets. Haldir took Bronwyn shopping in the lanes; they enjoyed the food, the spirits, the wares so prominently displayed. Bronwyn felt as though she was on a merry-go- round; never ending movement.. There were many people, from many countries. Gondorian, Lorien Elves, Rivendell Elves, Rohirrim Horse Lords, tanned Umbarians and Belfalians, stoic and proud Anoriens; the variety of languages, the rich tapestry of humanity, it overloaded the senses. Haldir insisted she buy materials for sturdy dresses and tunics, flowing to accommodate her expanding stomach. He picked out one dress, similar to the burgundy one he loved so much on her, made of cream-colored thin, gauzy lace, with a short, trailing train. So much to be sent back to their rooms in the palace…

Her world became ruled by her naps. His world, ruled by his morning sickness. Their nights, ruled by their passion.

And then one morning, one week after the royal vows had been taken, she awoke to an empty bed, his side was cool to her touch. She figured he had gone somewhere with his brothers, the twins, possibly the King even. She took a leisurely bath and stood in her robe on the balcony.

“Tithen aras. You will catch cold, standing in wet hair.” Bronwyn turned to see Galadriel standing behind her, Arwen at her side.

They were smiling as if they hid a secret…

“I did not hear you come in. Was I supposed to be expecting you?” The two Elleths exchanged glances at each other and smiled back at Bronwyn.

“I miss doing your hair, Bronwyn.” Galadriel motioned to a chair on the balcony. “I will not have much chance to do this for a long time and I enjoy playing in your hair.”

So Bronwyn sat while Galadriel brushed her hair dry, weaving flower buds in the drying curls, Arwen painted Bronwyn’s toenails and then gleefully went through the wardrobe that held hers and Haldir’s clothes.

She brought out the cream-colored lace dress and a pair of flat, almost barefoot sandals. “This is beautiful, Bronwyn. May I see it on you?”

Bronwyn looked at the two elleths. She was suddenly getting a clue…

As she stood in the dress in the sitting area, being oo’d and ah’d over, Celeborn allowed himself in – (doesn’t anybody knock around here?) carrying a small chest and bag. Galadriel grabbed the items and running into the bedroom, dumped the contents on the bed. Before she could have a chance to sing a single verse of “Head games” , Bronwyn found herself outfitted in a pale blue topaz choker and dainty diamond earrings. Galadriel and Arwen continued to dig through the items she spread across the bed.

“Excuse me, but can I ask a really silly question?”

All motion ceased in the room. Celeborn actually looked abashed as he stared at the ceiling.

“Am I getting married today?”

It was very quiet.

“Please, do not make me repeat the question.”

“Tithen aras, lle naa vanima…”

“Don’t sweet talk me, you… Elf you!” Bronwyn’s hands went to her hips. “Am I getting married today or what?”

Celeborn took her by the hand. “He has not discussed this with you?”

“No!”

The room was deadly quiet.

“Lirimaer, if you do not wish this… you wish to run, hide, we will help…”

Bronwyn’s jaw dropped to her choker. “Do not wish? Are you nuts? Of course I want to marry him! I just wish he had discussed it with me!”

“It is my fault, grandfather. He wished it to be a surprise.” Arwen’s voice was very quiet.

Bronwyn’s hand waved, quieting them all. “Besides, where would I hide? He would seek me out, find me. And whoever was with me, aided me,” she punctuated each of the following three words with a stabbing index finger in the air, “he would kill! Come on, we agreed to have a baby. That is a commitment in itself and that he wants to formalize it is fine by me.” She scowled in a most insincere manner. “Besides, maybe Thranduil will have better manners towards me now.” She turned and looked at herself in the mirror. She intoned…

“Something Old
Something new
Something Borrowed
Something blue…”

“New – Dress. Borrowed – earrings. Blue – choker. I need something old…”

Galadriel came up behind her, looking at the jewelry in her hand. “I wore this at my wedding over five thousand years ago.” She placed the circlet that Celebrian and Arwen had worn at their weddings on Bronwyn’s head. “Is that old enough?”

Bronwyn’s curls sprung up through the branch-like weavings of the crown, the flowers showing up brightly. “Yes. I think that is old enough.”

***
The words I have to say
may well be simple but they’re true
Until you give your love
There’s nothing more that we can do

***

They reached the wild-flower strewn field outside of the White City, on a hill at the foot of the mountains. Upon their arrival, Celeborn, Galadriel, and Arwen each gave her a long stemmed rose apiece. Celeborn also gave her a cream silk handkerchief to tuck in her sleeve. He said she would need it. As the Silver Lord escorted her down the path, their friends, the Fellowship each stopped her one at a time, giving her a rose and whispering good wishes.

“Be happy, Bronwyn.” This from Heridil.

“The Valar gave you their best, their most loyal, Tel’ Lindar. Be joyous.” said Gandalf.

“Lle naa vanima, Tithen Aras. Do not change for him.” Ah, sweet Legolas.

“Must you? We will help you escape this wretched bore!” The Twins.

She stepped forward, and looked down at the Hobbits.

“Must you marry the big, mean Elf, Bronwyn?”

Merry jabbed Pippin in the ribs. “Pip! Give her the rose and tell her this is nice!”

“This is very nice Bronwyn, but we have missed Elevenses and it is almost time for brunch! How long is the…umph!” Merry’s elbow went into Pippin’s rib. Pippin smiled at her, while rubbing his side. She leaned down to him.

“Beee patient, young grasshopper!”

***
You say it’s very hard
To leave behind the life that you knew
But there’s no other way
And now it’s really up to you

***

By the time she reached Elrond and Haldir, resplendent in blue matching his eyes and the required ear cuffs, her arms were full of flowers.

He handed her two white roses- the only color she had not yet received. Her tearing eyes asked the question.

“One is from me. The other from Duncan.” Her breath caught at the mention of her son’s name. “Think I would do this without his well-wishes?”

Celeborn was right. She needed the handkerchief.

***

Love is the key we must turn

Truth is the flame we must burn

Freedom the lesson we must learn

Do you know what I mean?

***

Elrond’s voice was deep and melodious as spoke the Elven words of the Soul-bonding. Bronwyn was caught up in their beauty, the depth of their meaning. When Elrond asked Haldir if he had any vows to add, her tears flowed freely. His voice was strong, clearly heard;

“I’d give up forever to speak with you,

to hear my name on your lips.

I would give up forever to talk with you,

to share with you your dreams.

I would give up forever to sing with you,

a song shared in friendship.

I would give up forever to laugh with you,

a laughter filled with joy.

I would give up forever to whisper with you,

whispers of a bond shared.

I would give up forever to smile with you,

your eyes meeting with mine.

I would give up forever to touch you,

to feel myself in your arms.I would give up forever to love you.”

“Silly Elf,” she whispered, tears running freely “you made me cry.”

“You are the air.” he whispered back.

Elrond asked if she had anything to add to her vows, she clearly repeated the oldest and most enduring vows she knew.

“Entreat me not to leave thee or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge, thy people shall be my people and thy God, my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.”

“I am confused. Am I not going to be following you?” And before she could smack him, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her thoroughly, before Elrond said it was time.

***

Love is the opening door

Love is what we came here for

No one could offer you more

Do you know what I mean

Have your eyes really seen?

Love Song

Leslie Duncan/ Elton John

***

The celebration went on late into the evening.

And sweetness reined supreme.

***

tbc

***

Haldir’s vows:

I’d Give Up Forever By: Vesta – Lisa Dawn Doyle.

Used with permission

I have the email to prove it.

Bronwyn’s vows:

Old Testament

Ruth: 1:16-17

Heru en Cormmin – Lord of my Heart

Tel’ Lindar – The Bard.

Tithen Lindar – Little Bard.

Baraer – Fiery One

Baraermin – My Fiery one

mellon amin – my friend

Lle naa vanima – you are beautiful