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Werewolves of Rivendell or In the sheltering arms of Family and Old Friends

***
I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s
His hair was perfect
Werewolves of London
Draw bloodWerewolves of London
Warren Zevon

***

Bronwyn leaned back, the wood in the chair creaking under the now poorly distributed weight.”The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.” She chuckled softly to herself. Robert Jordan. Will I ever find how that series ended?

Eventually. Many years from now. 
She could hear laughing voices, those of her children, Heridil, Rumil, Haldir, coming up the hall. They were back from the hunt.”Ludwig, I am getting old!” Her comment was made to the shaggy, brown wolf lounging at her feet. He lifted his head a foot off the floor at the mention of his name before laying it down to rest again. Yellow eyes regarded her silently.”You are a rotten conversationalist, you know that?” she chided the canine. “How on Middle Earth did I get saddled with such a lousy companion?” Her words were mocking, would have been called cruel by those who did not know her, but her tone was filled with affection.

The wolves.

Each member of her family had one; each one named after a composer; each one attuned to his or her master’s personality. They had been acquired simply enough. They stayed in Lothlorien for several weeks, the children basking in the birthplace and home of their Ada and Uncles. Anselm had hugged every tree and plant, much to the embarrassment of her siblings. The Elves and Bronwyn had been devastated at the slow demise of their home. The leaves were not so golden, the river was murky, did not glisten or sparkle and at the end of summer, they decided to continue on to Rivendell so as not to watch the slow dying of autumn. They were on their first night out, when after the children had gone to sleep, Bronwyn had ventured to the edge of the firelight to play her guitar. It had become her nightly ritual, her way of communing with the elements. Most evenings, Haldir would join her, but this evening, he had yet to sit next to her with his harp. She had just finished ‘The Pipe Dream’ and had placed her fingers to begin ‘Flight of the Unicorn’ when in the darkening twilight, she noticed the silver wolf sitting at the edge of her vision, watching her. The wolf sat calmly, quietly, just outside the light. His eyes glowed eerily.‘ Alright girlfriend,’ she thought to herself, ‘no sudden moves.‘ The wolf seemed to – expect – that seemed to be the right word – something. He sat, his head cocked.”Well,” she whispered, “what do you want?” He pointed his nose towards her guitar and chuffed. “You want me to play?” He seemed to nod his head. Slowly, so as not to startle him, Bronwyn raised the instrument, bringing it into her embrace. She started a mournful tune. Within moments, measures, the wolf joined her, harmonizing perfectly. For over half an hour, the two played, sang together. In the back of her mind, she was aware of Haldir; his arrow notched and aimed at the rangy beast. After ‘Villenelle’, the animal yipped once and trotted out of sight. Haldir sat down next to her, arrow still notched.

“A singing wolf? What wonders will surprise me next?”

Bronwyn squinted into the dark, looking for the beastie. “I don’t know, Cormmin.” His arms wound around her and she leaned into the broad chest. “I get the feeling, he is checking us out, that he wants something.” She felt his lips graze her neck and she leaned her head to the side to accommodate him better. “Something… import… ant…”

“Not as important as this.”As she quietly rode him a few minutes later, her skirts spread across his thighs, the ground, and her moans muffled in his throat, Haldir kept a silent watch into the night.

***

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf
The Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf
Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf
Tra la la la laFrank Churchill/Ann Ronnell
Who’s afraid…
From Walt Disney’s Three Little Pigs

***

Every night after that, the wolf came.

And sat.

And watched.

And sang.

Each night, he crept closer and closer, so as Bronwyn could see individualistic markings. His muzzle was scarred, as if burned. She called him Firehater, as he made a point stay as far away from the campfire as possible.

Haldir remained on guard.”Why does he sing with you? What possesses him?”

Bronwyn thought, but not for long. “He has the blues.”

Haldir did not get it.

Eventually, the wolf sat so close, she could touch him.

But she did not.This went on for seven nights. Seven nights of sitting on the edge of the firelight; seven nights of a wolf within striking distance, seven nights of Elven Wardens on their guard. Seven nights of Bronwyn, singing, talking, communicating with the wolf. They realized by the next night that the scarred wolf was not alone. Several sets of glowing eyes watched from the far reaches of the trees. And the Elves guarded. Seven nights of singing…

A she-wolf stepped into the edge of the clearing. Haldir straightened, his bow aimed between the glowing eyes, until he saw…

She carried in her mouth, a small wolf cub.

Silently, as Bronwyn and the silver wolf sang, she came up, cautious, looking around.And deposited the cub in Bronwyn’s lap.A second she-wolf entered the glade. She, too, carried a cub in her mouth…


Back and forth and back and forth the she-wolves came and went. The woman and the wolf never ceased their duet until seven cubs had been dropped in her lap. Upon the last cub, the scarred wolf came to her and nuzzled each cub.”Why?” She voiced the question to the wolf. “Why Firehater, do you do this?”

The wolf responded with low-pitched howls and yips. He sniffed over each cub again, before licking her hand and with a final look at the cubs, disappeared into the woods. Bronwyn laid her guitar to the side and looked at the seven, squirming pups in her lap. Haldir stooped next to her, laying his bow down to his side.

“Baraermin, what are we supposed to do with seven, wild wolf cubs?”

She picked up a black and silver cub. It wiggled in her hands and attempted to nip at her fingers. “Firehater is afraid. The world is changing and he sees his pack’s end; he sees his own demise. He wishes for his lineage to continue and senses that we will survive.” She set down the pup and picked up another. “This one is…” she raised the cub into the firelight,

“… white?”Haldir reached and removed the cub from her grasp. It did not wriggle like the other; simply regarded him with a serious glare. “Apparently, one of the she-wolves in his pack or in his past, met up with a White Wolf from the north.” He took in Bronwyn’s questioning look. “Almost 200 years ago, there was the Fell Winter, when the ice and snows came far south. The White Wolves of Ettenmoor crossed frozen rivers and roamed the Eastfarthing.” He cradled the cub in his arm, laying claim to it. “I will help you take these vicious nippers,” he removed finger from a teething mouth, “back to the campfire. We will find a way to contain them and I suppose tame them. Do you think we can get them to not agree about progeny anytime soon?”

Her laughter echoed through the twilight and well out of the sight of the Two Legs, Firehater and his two she-wolves, watched, satisfied with their decision.

***

Now they all were safe inside
And the bricks hurt wolfie’s pride
So, he slid down the chim’ney and
Oh by Jim’eny
In the fire, he was fried
Frank Churchill/Ann Ronnell
Who’s afraid…
From Walt Disney’s Three Little Pigs

***

The Elflings fell in love with the cubs immediately and the group quickly became a handful. Each member of the party took one cub on, Haldir claiming the white cub for his own. “Wolfgang? Wolfgang? You are naming that pup, Wolfgang?”

Haldir looked down at her, nonplused. “I like Mozart. Why not?” She snorted in derision.

“Why not Amadeus? Wolfgang is so… wolfy.”

Haldir made faces at the sky. “This, coming from the woman who named her cub ‘Johnnycash’.” He said it as one word.

“I will have you know, Johnny Cash was a famous American musician. He was tough and scraggly-looking. I liked his music.” She broke out into a verse of ‘Burning Ring of Fire.’

“Hmmm.” Rumil leaned over towards Heridil. He gently held a pretty little she-wolf – Anna-Magdalena – in his lap, much to the consternation of his horse. “Is this supposed to be funeral music for Sauron?” Heridil’s shoulders shook with concealed laughter. Rumil looked down at the feisty little cubbette in his lap. She regarded him with ice-blue eyes. “And how did you come to be named Anna-Magdalena?”

“The same way Beckett’s became named ‘Johann Sebastian’.” Heridil’s reply was almost terse. “Have you not noticed everyone of them have been named after a musician of her world? Clara. Amybeach, Wolfgang, Johnnycash, Anna-Magdalena, Johann…” he held up his own growling, twisting, black pup, “Elvis.” He scowled ahead, seeing Rivendell on the horizon. “It is a good thing we are so close. I do not think I could take another day riding with this writhing, howling,” this was said when said pup decided to howl in – unbeknownst to the taciturn Elf, – in a most Elvis Presley like manner – “beast.”

The entire group pulled up on the ridge, overlooking the dwelling below. Haldir reached over and grasped Bronwyn by the hand. “This will be home for a while, Baraermin.”

“It will be home for a long time, Cormmin.” she whispered. “This will be our home-base, the last one before leaving Middle Earth.” She smiled at her husband. “Let’s go stow our gear and give Celeborn a headache!”

***

The family settled quickly, the children and the wolf cubs taking over Elrond’s Last Homely House. For several years, the children ran wild in the corridors, wolves following, howling, yipping, playing. Celeborn was in his element, boredom that had been settling in, quickly retreating. He adored following the antics of Haldir’s children. The adults took turns teaching – Celeborn teaching about Elven history – even Bronwyn would sit in to listen to him talk of his home in Doriath, Thingol, the Second and Third Age. He taught them of the Anar, Morgoth, the Histories, the Witch King of Angmar. Tom Bombadil. Where Galadriel had left off with Bronwyn, he picked up the pieces.

Haldir, Rumil, and Heridil taught hunting, tracking, and weapon skills to the Elflings. Basking in his father’s attention and true to Haldir’s foretelling at his birth, had Beckett been born several hundred years earlier, he would have been an outstanding Warden on the Northern Fence. Faeowynne, as well. Her bow skills were unmatched; she was able to best all but her father by the time she reached her 80’s.

Elrond’s twins still used Rivendell as a base and they also taught sword and fighting skills.

Bronwyn’s method and style of teachings were different. She sang, sang often. She taught them to read, write, mathematical skills. She taught herbatology, how to care for the soil. She taught languages, cultural studies. As the children aged and Beckett and Faeowynne gravitated towards their Ada, Anselm became more firmly attached to her mother. They would spend hours in the forest, among the plants, drawing them, discussing their properties and uses. All of her children learned to play guitars, harps, but Anselm wanted more. To Anselm, she taught theory, ear-training. Anselm was writing music, creating. All that Bronwyn’s youngest learned, she put to words, put to music. To often, the two could be found, Bronwyn at the base of the tree, Anselm up in it, talking to the birds, to the wind, to the squirrels.

***

Look there she goes that girl is strange, no question
Dazed and distracted, can’t you tell?
Never part of any crowd,
‘Cause her head’s up on some cloud.
No denying she’s a funny girl…Ashman/Menken
Belle
Fr Walt Disney’s – Beauty and the Beast

***

Erestor had been thorough in the packing of his office, of Elrond’s office and precious little had been left for Bronwyn to pick through, leaving only the things she had packed in Isengard that had been sent there. Slowly, she sent these on with the passing Elves, those passing to the Undying Lands, with orders to see them forwarded to Gandalf or Elrond.”Do you honestly believe that Elrond has room for all of this?” Celeborn asked her once.

“Someone damn well better have room for it. I’m supposed to be the Keeper of this crap! I can study the written stuff at my leisure. I need to get my hands on pertinent things!” Her finger dragged across the map. “We have been here…” she stabbed at Enedwaitch, “…and there…” – Minhiraith – “we could go back here…” her finger flicked at Forodwaith and Angmar, “…we did not finish exploring when we went last.”

Celeborn leaned back, relaxing in the old hide-covered chair. He scratched her current beast – EltonJohn – behind the ear. “And why did you not finish when you went up there last?” He already knew the answer, but he loved to watch her get riled.

“You know why, you old geezer!” Her hand slammed on the unrolled parchment, causing the weights to jump and fall. The scroll rolled together with a snap. “Those children of Haldir’s were acting up and were totally out of control!” The three Elflings had been notoriously ill-behaved on that particular vacation. “Faeowynne jumped at every movement, shooting at everything. She shot her own uncle! Thank Iluvatar it wasn’t bad and Haldir was there to heal him. Anselm was completely wound up, feeling evilness in every stone -“

“Tithen Aras! What did you expect, especially after Isengard? Melkor’s Chains, you went into the realm of the Witch King of Angmar! The most powerful of all the Nazgul! Of course she was going to feel it! Beckett did not help matters any!”

Oh no, Beckett had not. He had pestered and teased his youngest sister mercilessly. Anselm was jumping at every sound, every whistle in the wind. The arguing, the screaming and fussing between the siblings had caused the family to cut the ‘learning vacation’ short and return to Rivendell a month before originally anticipated.

She scowled. “Truly, I have no wish to go into that cold place, again.” Her eyes flittered over the map, fingers caressing, hovering. “Forlindon. Ered Luin.” She lifted her eyes and questioned Celeborn. “Himling?”Celeborn continued to stroke the ears of the complacent wolf. Several generations had been born at Rivendell and they had been reared with love. “Forlindon is quite pretty. Ered Luin was home to the great Dwarf cities of Nogrod and Belegost. There still might be a few Dwarves left there, but I doubt it.” He stood to stand by her side. He followed her finger to the island west of Forlindon. “Ah. Himling. It was once a hill in Beleriand, before the drowning of the land at the end of the First Age.”

“It was where the fortress of Maedhros, the eldest son of Feanor, was, correct?”

Celeborn was quiet for a few moments. When he finally spoke, it was in an awed whisper. “Although I know who and what you are, your memory still astounds me, Tithen Aras.” Quickly, his arm stole around her waist as he hugged her close. She allowed and leaned into the sudden contact, warmly returning the embrace. She gently patted him on the chest.

“You are a perverted old Elf, Celeborn of Doriath.” she chided.

“It is my right!” He turned her loose to examine at the map yet again. “May I suggest?”

Her look was one of deep consideration. “Yesss….”

Celeborn’s hand swept the northwest section of the map. “Leave your children here. They will be safe, well protected. Leave Rumil, Heridil here. Go to the Ice Bay of Forochel, go to Forlindon, see if there is anything left of Nogrod and Belegost. You and Haldir. The two have you had had no time for each other…” he laid his fingers across her lips to quell her protests. “Yes, I know, you desire to spend all your time, as you do not know how long you have with Beckett, with your daughters. However, if you leave them, you will be able to get much more done, more quickly. You can attend to the task at hand. You will not have to listen to endless ‘Are we there yet?'” Bronwyn started to giggle. “Bronwyn, consider it.”

“I will.” She thought for a moment. “I had better not come home to find my daughters deflowered or my son learning more… hunting techniques!”

“I am wounded at your lack of faith in me!” The Elder Elf’s hand went to his chest in a melodramatic motion. “They are too young! Maybe in ten or fifteen years…” Celeborn ducked the aim of a paperweight and headed towards the door. “One question, Tithen Aras.” He turned to look at her. “Why is it when they are bad, they are Haldir’s children?”

***

That evening, after dinner, with Ludwig at her feet, she asked Haldir to consider it. His agreement came quickly. In the spring, they left for the Blue Mountains. They attended the refounding of Annuminas, the former seat of Arnor. Its rebuilding had been commanded by Aragorn and there, they met with the King and Queen of Gondor. Bronwyn was shocked at how the Ranger had aged over the years, while his wife had not.”He will not remain in this world much longer, Baraermin.” Haldir whispered late that night to her. She silent agreed. And if Aragorn was not long for the Middle Earth, neither were they.

She climbed over the rubble, frustrated in what little information was lingering there. From there they traveled to the Mountains, searching for Dwarven cities hidden beneath the crags. They moved through Forlindon, finding ancient relics and foundations of Elven culture. They followed the coast to the frozen Bay of Forochel and down the lost Realm of Arnor. And in each place, they made love, grew closer, fused tighter as a cohesive unit. They returned to Rivendell as the trees were beginning to turn colors.

***

The leaves had changed colors several times after their extended trip. Beckett had reached a height like his Ada’s, his youthful frame promising to fill out into what would be a similar broadness across the shoulders. His auburn hair was wavy like his mother’s, reaching past his shoulders, and he fought to keep it in Elven braids. If his temperament had reminded one of Haldir in his youth, he was even more so in his early adulthood. Stoic and arrogant, he only backed down to his parents.

Faeowynne, while considered short by Elven standards, was a little taller than her mother. This middle child tried to be everything, to everybody. Her archery skills were unsurpassed, her eyes sharp. Her sense of humor was immense and her love of music was well known. She had an agenda that was hers and hers alone and no one, not even her sister, knew what it was.

Of all her children, Bronwyn worried most about Anselm. Identical to her twin, her eyes always had a far-a-way look in them. She was bookish, other- worldly and did not hear you when you spoke to her at times. Her Ada groused she was deaf or ignoring them all, yet her mother defended her, stating she had a high concentration level. Her musical skill on the guitar and harp rivaled her parents and her singing voice was lilting and sweet. It was not unusual for her to climb a tree and lose herself and time, while singing to herself.

And the leaves changed colors, again and again.

Bronwyn had taken to flinging her knives at targets on a weekly basis. They were getting slower and more sluggish.The autumn that Beckett turned 107, Legolas came to Rivendell.He was not alone.

***

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I Turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought it down…Landside
Stevie Nicks
Fleetwood Mac

***

Word spread through the household that Rivendell was being approached by two riders, early in the day. The riders were Elvish in appearance and as Elven groups traveling to the Havens or Mirkwood were growing scarcer and further between, the family rode out to meet the travelers. Haldir’s eyes narrowed, before his eyebrows rose. “It is Legolas and he still has that damned Dwarf with him.” He glared in mock exasperation at the cloudless sky. “What was his name again?”

“Gimli. Gimli, son of Gloin.” Bronwyn chortled. “And you be nice. I’m rather fond of that damned Dwarf!”

“Who is that with him?” Beckett had his Ada’s excellent eyesight and his eyes were locked on the blonde she-Elf riding proudly next to the Elven Prince.

“Either Legolas has finally found himself someone he deems worthy or – ” Bronwyn was squinting, also focusing on the she-Elf, “it is Orelinde, his daughter.” She looked at her son, recognizing the look of puppy-like cross his youthful face. “You remember Orelinde, don’t you?”

Quickly, Beckett steeled his features, bored impatience replacing enamored curiosity. “No. Should I?”

Both Bronwyn and Haldir’s eyebrows rose at the blasé comment from the young Elf.

When the riders pulled closer, Bronwyn vaulted from Sea Myst and ran to greet the visitors. Legolas dismounted as well, and grabbed her, spinning her, spinning her around.”Bronwyn! You look well! That wretch is treating you well?”

“The wretch has been excellent! Let me look at you!” Her eyes searched his, his face, her finger drawing a line down his jawline. “Mae Govannen, mellon.” she whispered. They were interrupted by gruff Dwarven swearing. Gimli had attempted to dismount and was stuck halfway between the stirrup of the tall horse and the ground, his right leg swinging uselessly in search of firmer footing and only getting air. The Elleth dismounted and assisted the proud battle- Dwarf to terra firma.

“Gimli.” Bronwyn stooped to hug him. “Mae Govannen. You are well?”

“Well? I am well? Define ‘well’!” he sputtered. “I have spent near a century riding pillion to this roving excuse of an Elf, played uncle to this termagant he calls a daughter, was respectable to his pitiful excuse of a father…” He glared at Bronwyn. “Please tell me you have beer and fresh meat in that fancy home over the hill!” “We have a variety of wine and I’m sure a freshly caught hart back in Rivendell.”

“Good!” Gimli rubbed his hands together and headed off towards Rivendell.

“Gimli, do you not want a ride?” Rumil called after him.

“No! I am stiff from riding with the Elf!” He stopped next to Anselm and looked up. “By the strands of the Fairest, who are you?”

Anselm looked at her mother, then her Ada, the question in her eyes. Haldir spoke up before Bronwyn could answer.”Gimli. This is my daughter, Anselm. The fair creature to your other side is also my daughter, Faeowynne.

Orelinde – artist unknown

Yes, they are twins. Yes, they are identical.” Haldir was smiling at Legolas, who stared at the two in wonderment. “But only in looks.” “Would you like to ride with me, Master Gimli?” Anselm’s voice was a delight, a bell carrying on the wind. Despite his bellyaching about riding with Legolas, he soon found himself perched behind the younger of the two twins and heading towards Rivendell with them.”And this is Orelinde?” Bronwyn’s voice cut through Legolas’s regard of her daughters and he jerked his eyes back to hers.

“I… I…”

“In my world, they would call my daughters ‘jail bait’. As much as I adore you, I do not think I would be able to hold my husband from your throat if you do anything besides think lustful thoughts of our daughters.” Bronwyn winked at him and nodded towards the elleth.

“Yes… Yes, you are right.” Legolas quickly recovered and looked up at the elleth. “You remember Orelinde?”

“I remember her well.” Bronwyn strode over to the elleth who had remounted, forcing her to look upwards. Shading her eyes with her hand, Bronwyn greeted the haughty female. “Mae Govannen, Orelinde. I am Bronwyn.”

“I remember you.” Orelinde face broke out in a huge smile. She looked over to Haldir. “I remember your husband as well. Haldir.” Her eyes dropped to the redhead astride a horse next to the former March Warden and her smile quickly dissipated. The group was soon mounted up and slowly meandering back towards the valley. The adults were up front, Legolas between Haldir and Bronwyn, the three bandying questions back and forth. Orelinde soon discovered Beckett at her side. He was riding unusually close.

“Your name is Orelinde?”

“Yes.”

For a few moments, the only sound was of the horses hooves, clopping on the trail, the voices of their parents floating on the air above them.

“In Elvish, Orelinde means ‘rose’.”

“I know.”

“I am Beckett. I am named after a great statesman from my mother’s time.”

“I know your name.”

Beckett scowled. This was not going well. “Legolas is your Ada?”

“No. Legolas is my Adar. Faramir was my Ada.”

“That is confusing.”

Orelinde snorted. “It is simple. Legolas and my mother, Eowyn slept together and conceived me before her marriage. My mother then married Faramir, who raised me as his own. Legolas was there for me and my family always and never interfered with my upbringing. But he was there. He was a caring, loving Adar to me and a caring and loving uncle to my brothers. He showed no difference in any of us, although we all knew I was his. When my Ada and Mama grew old and passed and as my brothers grew old, I decided to travel with my Adar. I love both Faramir and Legolas equally. I cannot call them by the same name. Faramir was my Ada, the father of my childhood. Legolas is my Adar, the father of my adulthood. That is not so confusing.” Not once did she look at the overconfident Elf next to her.

“Madam, my apologies for offending you, but I do not recall doing anything rude to upset you.”

“You do not recall?” she hissed. “I recall most well.” She drew her horse next to his, her leg rubbing his intimately. “We were quite young, but I most definitely remember you calling me an Orc and saying I had to be slaughtered and my head stuck on a pike!”

Beckett stared straight ahead, his eyes fixated on the rump of his Ada’s mount. “I do not remember that.”

“I do. I remember it well.” And with a disdainful sniff, she cantered ahead, pulling up next to Haldir.

***

For three seasons, Beckett was persistent, ignoring the young elleth, then lavishing her with attention. They would go days without speaking, not acknowledging the other’s presence. And just as she had decided he had given up, she would find roses on her pillow, on her chair. She asked Faeowynne to ask him to desist. Faeowynne told her to shoot him if he was that annoying. She asked Anselm to speak to him. Anselm simply mumbled something about ‘birds and bees and flowers and trees’ and wandered off in search of Heridil to pester.

Beckett by Hayley Rust

Finally, in the late spring she went to Bronwyn and Haldir, to ask them to intervene. The tall Guardian simply smiled and muttered to himself about his son’s excellent taste. Bronwyn elbowed her husband and told him it wasn’t funny. She suggested that Orelinde tell Beckett to leave off. So one afternoon, she saw him heading into the trees alone and decided to have it out with him.

The kiss that ensued, following the argument, was marvelous. And before they knew it, they were naked, stretched out over discarded clothing and exploring each other. Both were fumbling, inexperienced, and it made the encounter sweeter. Elrohir and Elladan both almost stumbled on them and the twins backed off, staking off the area, making sure no one else came upon the two.

And when they were finished, sweating, breathing heavily into each other’s necks, Orelinde curled a lock of red hair around her finger. “Had I known what this discussion would lead to, I would have initiated it sooner.”

Beckett smiled and nipped the tip of her pointed ear. “I would like to have this discussion again.”

“Now? Or later?”

He placed her hand to that hardening spot between his legs. “I think if you are nice, very soon.”

“You are a very wicked Elf.”

“Indeed.”

***

You can take me to paradise
And the again, you can be cold as ice
I’m over my head
But it sure feels nice

Over my Head
Fleetwood Mac
(probably Christine McVie)

***

They tried to be careful after that first time, trying to pretend to ignore each other, meeting clandestinely in the forest. If the adults noticed the two gallivanting about, sneaking off, they said nothing. In actuality, they were paying little heed to the young adults and were planning the final stages of their stay. All of the cases of parchment and souvenirs of Middle Earth had been shipped to Valinor. Books, instruments had gone to the Grey Havens to be put in the care of Cirdan and his fleet. Bronwyn had traveled extensively, gone to places long forgotten, talked to people time had forgotten. She had sung in more pubs than she could count and listened to the tales of drunken men and sailors. Her knives still came to her when she called. But they were sluggish beyond belief. None of the Elves, save Legolas, was feeling the call of the sea.


***

In the dead of winter, late in the evening, the wolves all sat up suddenly, ears perked and noses pointed to the entryway. Bronwyn’s hackles on the back of her neck stood up and quickly, the Elves had bows, swords, any weapon within reach, in their grasp. Even Faeowynne was at the ready. Haldir had pushed Bronwyn behind him and Heridil and Legolas did the same with Orelinde and Anselm. Someone was coming noisily up the hall.

Arrows were nocked and drawn.

“Hello? Mae Govannen?” The voice was that of a young one, one who did not speak Elvish well or a lot. “Someone, I need some help… please help…”A young Elf slowly came into the room, almost dropping the Elf propped on his shoulder. “I come in peace. Please. My father needs help…”

Haldir recognized the Elf first, followed quickly by Celeborn. The Silver Lord threw down his bow and grabbed the Elf, taking his full weight. They slowly slid to the floor. Celeborn lifted the face, caressing it, speaking to him in Elvish. “It is alright, my little one. You are with family, you are home.” Tersely, between gritted teeth, he demanded water, lembas brought. Anselm moved quickly to get it, only upon her return to find herself and her siblings, along with Orelinde, ordered to their rooms. Haldir stood over the two, next to the young Elf who had carried the one in the floor in. “Tomasil. You are Tomasil.”

“Yes.” He looked up into the hard face. “Can you help him?”

“Only if he wishes it.” He took a deep, cleansing breath. “He made it this far, hopefully, he will decide not to fade. How long has your mother been dead?”

“A few years. She had a very long life, but her last years, she was very ill.”

“Your brother and sister?”

“Decided to stay.” A timid hand touched Haldir on the sleeve. “He says he hears the call, but does not want to leave us. What is he talking about?”

Bronwyn motioned to Heridil and took the Elf by the hand. “You have traveled a long ways to bring him here and we are grateful. You must be tired. This is our friend, Heridil, who you might remember. Heridil, please take Tomasil to the kitchens and fill him with real food and then find a place for him to rest. We will take good care of your father. We will not let him go. I will not let him go.” And with that, Heridil led the exhausted Elf down the hallway.

Haldir had now sunk down on the other side of the unconscious Elf, his arms around him. Rumil, as well, was next to his brother, hands on him. Together, the three were quietly chanting, praying, “Orophin, lasto beth nin, tolo dan nan galad…”

For over half an hour, they called to their youngest brother, Celeborn calling to his beloved foster son. They poured water down him, fed him crumbs of lembas…

Until green orbs opened.

Orophin’s sight fell on Bronwyn, sitting next to Celeborn, holding the cold hand, rubbing it, warming it. Weakly, he grasped her back, his voice breaking, listless. “Oh, lirimaer, how will you stand it? I hear the call, it pulls at me, but I do not wish to leave. How will you do it?” Tears began to run down his cheeks.

Bronwyn pulled his head into her lap. “Shh. Orophin, you are safe.”

“You are not listening!” Orophin’s voice was choked, ground out. “I need to go, need to leave, but I cannot. I do not wish to leave my children…”

There was a small break, Bronwyn already knowing where he was going…

“… how will you do it? How will you leave your children?”

***

tbc

***

A/N – I was putting the final touches on this rough draft, when I received word of the death of the original Man in Black – Johnny Cash. His music will forever live and I thought it only fitting, as I was naming Wolf cubs after famous musicians, to name one after him.

I also purposely used the Werewolves of London excerpt – not because of the song, but because we also lost Warren Zevon the week wrote this to cancer. Go howl at the moon tonight for him.

I know I am getting old. I saw Fleetwood Mac in concert last week and I swear, Stevie Nicks was wearing orthopedic shoes. About the composer names: Amy Beach was a female piano composer of the late 1800’s. Her music is rather run of the mill, in my opinion, however she was FEMALE composing in a man’s world. Clara – for Clara Schumann. She was a renowned pianist and composer in her on right and worked side by side with her husband, the noted composer Robert Schumann. Robert had a split personality and in his later years, was institutionalized, leaving Clara with – I want to say off the top of my head – 7 children to raise and care for. She was embraced by the musical community and it is rumored that the later works attributed to her husband were really hers.Anna Magdalena – Anna Magdalena Bach was the second wife of Johann Sebastian Bach. She bore him 13 children. An early book of his works for young, beginning pianists is notated as “Anna Magdalena’s Notebook.” Ludwig – Ludwig Beethoven – I bow to the master.


Johann Sebastian – JS Bach – I crawl at the feet of the master.