I lost my job in March and have been homeless since august. A friend is doing a fund raiser for me, so if you feel inclined, so be it.
Call me a joker, call me a fool
Right at this moment I’m totally cool
Quickly and with accuracy, he put an arrow into his target and drew another from his quiver. The first long dart had not yet stopped its quivering, when its brother slid in quickly, just inches from the first one.
“There, little Miss Know-it-all!” Orophin stated. “Put yours in the middle of that, if you can!” He stared down haughtily at the young elleth.
Faeowynne arched a single eyebrow and sneered, “Really, Uncle Orophin! You make it much too easy!” Without taking a breath, she removed an arrow from her quiver and just as quickly as he, buried the point directly in the middle of his two.
Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife
I feel like I’m in the prime of my life
Orophin let out a low whistle. “You are your Ada’s daughter.” Together, the two walked out to the target to retrieve their arrows. “He has done a fine job teaching you in my absence.” he stated with a grin.
“Hmmph! Who else would I be?” she scoffed. “And you know my Ada could out shoot you in the rain!” She yanked her arrow from the target and shook it at him. “With his eyes closed.”
Sometimes it feels like I’m going to fast
A single eyebrow shot up from the tall Elf. “Aye! You are your Ada’s daughter – complete with his arrogance!” But with her mother’s height, he added silently to himself. He also pulled his arrows from the target. “Put the target out another fifty yards?”
“Make it hard. A hundred.” Her smile was reminiscent of her mother’s grin.
I don’t know how long this feeling will last
Maybe it’s only tonight
Faeowynne studied her uncle as he picked up the target and proceeded to walk it off the necessary yardage. He had put weight back on and no longer looked haunted. His wife’s death had rocked him, and her Ada, along with Uncle Rumil and Adar Celeborn, had been afraid he would have faded had he not brought his youngest son, Tomasil , with him. The Elfling was younger than she and her twin, but he followed Anselm around like puppy. He was more in tuned with nature than he was with battle skills. She figured he would go crazy when the Twins arrived back from their time with the Rangers.
Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m shot
Sometimes I don’t know how much more I’ve got
“You have a most puzzled expression on your face, tithen aras. What are you thinking?” Faeowynne’s hand went to her long blonde braid, pulling on it in an action her mother held dear of her Ada.
“A question, Uncle.” Dark blue eyes looked up into grey ones. “How could you fall in love with a human?”
Maybe I’m headed over the hill
Maybe I’ve set myself up for the kill
Orophin’s breath caught. Since his return some months back, no one had pressed him for information. All knew of his ladylove, his unconventional bonding. No one had tried to talk him out of it, tried to dissaude him from marrying with the beautiful healer who had helped Bronwyn so much late in her first pregnancy. Elrond’s great-granddaughter.
“One cannot decide who they will or will not fall in love with.” he answered quietly. “Your mother is a human. You might fall in love with a human.”
Tell me how much do you think you can take
Until the heart in you is starting to break?
“YRCH!” Her shoulders were up around delicately pointed ears. “Do not be crude. I have every intention on going to the Undying Lands with Ada and Mama. I will never fall in love and I will never marry.” She nodded to his bow. “Challenge me.”
Orophiin smiled and quickly shot off two arrows. This time, they were just apart enough for one arrow to fit. “Heh! Beat that!”
Faeowynne grinned. “Ah! Now that is a challenge!” She aimed carefully.
And set her arrow directly in the middle.
Orophin let out another low whistle. “I think I am done in for the day.” He headed towards the target. “So, you are going to the Undying Lands! What if you find a man you love and wish to stay with? I heard that you had attracted the attention of a certain Ranger.”
Faeowynne followed him to the target to help him take it down. “Who told you that awful lie? The only one I speak to is Ranald and he and I are just friends.”
“Well, that is how many loves begin.”
“Not my parents. Not you and Lera.” She looked down at her boots, toes scuffing in the dirt. “I am sorry, Uncle Orophin. I did not wish you to bring your discomfort.” Quickly, she walked up to him and put her arms around him.
Orophin’s arms went around her and he hugged her close. “Ah, tithen aras. My memories now are sweet, not sad. Our time together was short, but I would not trade it for anything.” He tipped her chin so he could look at her. “Now, why are you so determined NOT to fall in love? Why are you so determined to go to the Undying Lands?”
They walked slowly back towards Rivendell. Orophin quietly admired the tall trees. He heard her inhale.
“Because, if I do not go, Ada and Mama will have no one. No one but each other.” Faeowynne looked off into the trees. “None of Mama’s children will go and she will grieve.” She smiled inwardly. “She will grieve anyway. So will Ada, but he will not allow her to see it.”
Orophin heard rustling in the trees, and he peered closely, pulling his bow to ready. Faeowynne had heard the noise as well, and pulled hers to the ready. “What makes you so sure Beckett or Anselm will not go?”
With reflexes of a warrior, Faeowynne notched and released her arrow, an Orc falling from the tree, squealing in his death throes. “Simple. Beckett was born first. He will get Mama’s bow.” She never took her eyes from the trees. Quickly, she pulled a second arrow from her quiver and shot, a second Orc falling silently, dead before he hit the ground. Orophin looked at her askance.
“How old are you again?”
He shook his head. “Much too young to kill so unfeelingly.” Quickly, he turned, releasing his arrow, another Orc falling from the tree. “Anselm might go.” He shot again. Yet another Orc fell from yet another tree. The two circled, listening carefully for several minutes.
Quiet. Calm. They began to collect the bodies of the dead Orcs.
“Anselm will stay. She is like Mama. She wants to see the lands Ada would not let Mama explore. The Desert south of Gondor, The Easterling’s, and the lands East of Mordor.” Faeowynne was grunting with the largest of the Orcs, dragging him to the pile. “She wants to go back to the Golden Woods, back to Lothlórien and talk to the trees. She wants Treebeard to let her sit in on Ent meetings.”
Orophin was dragging his Orc as well. “Faeowynne! There was a reason why your Ada would not let your mother go to those places! There is nothing there! Two Isatari went into the East and never returned.”
The petite elleth dropped the leg of the Orc she was dragging in order to put her hands on her hips. “Well duh! I know that! I have told her that! She does not listen to reason! She is her Mother’s daughter!” She rolled her eyes. “She is so… fey!” She snarled her nose pointing at the dead Orcs. “These things are so… gross.”
Orophin laughed, a deep laugh, rusty from disuse. “Aye. They are rather disgusting. And they will stink past Valinor when we begin to burn them.” He looked at her ruefully. “We must stay until the fire smolders.”
“Yrch!” Shoulders around the ears again. “Can we not just let the werebeasts and banshees take them?” Apparently, she listened to the wild ghost stories her mother told of ages yet to come.
“Werebeasts? Banshees?” Orophin tested the wind and chose a spot upwind. “Nay, the stink will attract more Orcs and other nasty things we do not wish around Rivendell. Best burn them and sit for a few hours than to take the chance.” They started the fire and sat quietly for a long while a ways from the putrid mound.
“Anselm will stay?”
“Oh, aye. She will stay.”
“You are sure.”
“Beyond positive. I know my sister. We have shared a room and secrets for too long.” Orophin nodded in agreement. In many ways, Anselm and Faeowynne were very much like Elrond’s twins; they refused to be parted. Despite the size of the last Homely House, they shared a room, and were rarely separated for anything.
“Your Ada will not allow her to stay here alone.”
“Oh.” Faeowynne’s voice was soft, amused, “she will not be alone.”
“Ah!” Orophin’s smile lit his face and she realized why the lovely Lera had fallen in love with her Uncle. “Who has she picked out to be HER Guardian?”
“I am not telling. She has picked him out and he will not deny her, if he knows what is good for him.” Her eyes slid to the Elf sitting next to her. “Do not pester me, for I will not tell.”
Orophin’s grin widened, his head bobbing with his rampant thoughts. “So, Beckett and Anselm will stay and you will go to the Undying Lands so your parents will not grieve. Are you not the loving child?” he chided. This middle child of his brother, he decided, was the easiest to read. Eager to be the son Haldir would leave behind. Eager to be strong for her mother, for both parents. Eager to be the adult. Eager to give up all to be everything to everybody. Would she lose herself in the process?
Sometimes I lie awake, night after night
Coming apart at the seams
Eager to please, ready to fight
Why do I go to extremes?
“Nay. I will not have them grieve as you would have had Tomasil decided not to join you. I will not have them grieve forever as Elrond will.”
“You have never met Elrond.” Orophin’s voice was quiet, almost breaking. Elrond’s grief, he understood well. Bronwyn and Haldir’s upcoming grief, he understood as well.
Bronwyn’s knives were extremely sluggish in returning to her these days. She knew, Haldir knew, their time was growing short.
“Nay, I have not met Elrond. But I have heard Celeborn speak of him with much respect. I have met his children, how they speak of him.” Faeowynne had gone with Rumil just two summers ago to Gondor; Rumil had done drawings, portraits of Arwen, Elessar and their children and grandchildren; portraits to take to Elrond and Celebrian. “Mama and Ada speak of him in revered tones.” she continued. “Mama reveres very few. The simple fact that she and Ada think highly of him is enough for me.” The braid she tugged on, she slung over her shoulder. “I cannot wait to meet him.”
“He is an exceptional being.”
“So I hear.” She looked into the distance and saw riders approaching. Rangers. The Twins. “Perhaps, if I am able, I will be able to take Elrond a gift to ease his grief.”
Orophin was looking into the distance, following her stare. He saw the riders as well. “And what would that be, Tithen Aras?”
A dreamy, far-away look was on her normally well- schooled face. “Oh, we shall see, Uncle. We shall see.” She quickly reeled herself in. “They do not bring good news.”
Orophin’s eyebrow arched. “We have killed several Orcs close to Rivendell. That is news bad enough.” He stood up slowly, extending a hand she took. She grabbed him, hugging him around the waist.
“I am glad you came to home to us, Uncle Orophin. I am glad you brought Tomasil and came home. I am glad you did not fade.”
Orophin clasped the young elleth to him, the enormity of her words not lost on him.
And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all
Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes
“I am glad I came home too.”
Get out your hankies folks. I have cried days over this one!
Two weddings and some babies or Celeborn’s Most Excellent Adventure!
Let us kiss with the touch of our life
Call me now to your chamber
For your kiss is an excellent wine
Flowing smoothly poured out for a lover
Canticle of the Bride
John Michael Talbot
Anselm and Heridil exchanged vows and bonded on a sunny spring day in the gardens of Rivendell. The groom wore a new green tunic, that all the women had sewn together, with Lorien leaves embroidered on the sleeves and collar, cream leggings and soft brown boots. The bride wore her mother’s bridal gown – carefully packed and kept for so long – and flowers in her hair.
She insisted on being barefoot.
Bronwyn was grateful that there were no equivalent Middle Earth ‘barefoot and pregnant’ jokes running rampant.
They were surrounded by family and friends. Bronwyn cried and Haldir’s jaw ticked. He could be seen yanking on his braid several times. Merry and Pippin just happened to be there, stopping by in their long, final trip to Gondor. They sat up with Bronwyn for hours, smoking pipe weed and talking of the Scourging of the Shire, of the demise of Saruman and Grima. The rebuilding and planting. Of Frodo and Sam and the Red Book. Bronwyn was deeply saddened to see the two stooped Hobbits, grey and slow in their movements, but still just as quick mentally and playful.
“The world is aging, Haldir.” she cried that night in his arms. “The world is aging and yet we stay as we are. It is so unfair!”
Haldir held her tight, agreeing with her. Seeing the Hobbits had been devastating to her. It had brought home to the both that their children would suffer that same fate while they lived on in Valinor, knowing all. “It is a gift.” He whispered. “Death is a gift.” Always, he had heard that, but never before, had it been so poignant.
The arrangements for Beckett’s and Orelinde’s late winter soul-bonding went straight into high gear and became frantic. Elves still in Lothlórien were coming, pastries were made and sampled, linens and cloth for the bride and groom and attendants were spread and scattered, merchants coming and going. Everyone was busy, rushing here and there.
“Why can I not have a nice, quiet ceremony like Heridil and Anselm?” Beckett groused to his parents one evening. He stood on a small riser, arms outstretched, while several seamstresses ran around him with pins, measuring tape and yards of fabric. “We do not wish all this fuss… ouch! Dammit, woman! You pricked me on purpose!” If Haldir had scowls down pat, his son had perfected the look. “Truly, Orelinde and I would prefer something more sedate!”
Haldir was stretched out across his and Bronwyn’s bed on his stomach, watching the goings on. A large, white wolf lay at the foot of the bed, a rather bored expression on his face. “You forget, my Elfling, you are marrying the Prince’s daughter.” His eyes found Bronwyn standing to the side with the head seamstress, pouring over patterns. “Please tell me you have not informed Thranduil.”
“Sorry darling. We received the royal missive yesterday. He will be here with bells on!” Bronwyn did not look up from the drawings, instead continuing to point to one or another. “I do not think he would miss his granddaughter’s wedding.”
Haldir snorted and muttered under his breath. “Oh, so important is she that he has not even met her before!”
Bronwyn threw her writing quill at him. “I heard that and yes, he has! Legolas took her to meet him when her mother and Ada passed on. He said he was quite taken with his granddaughter.”
“Probably tried to seduce her, the old reprobate!”
“Ada! Even I heard that!”
“Haldir!” Bronwyn handed the patterns back to the seamstress. “Here, that one in the blue for my crabby husband!” She pointed to a rather detailed illustration. “And that in deepest green for my son!”
“Mother!” Beckett shook off the wandering hands and jumped from the stool. “Do I not even get to pick out my own wedding clothes?”
Haldir had rolled over and was stretching, his long frame hanging over the side of the bed. “Give up, son! You have gone from having your mother pick your clothes straight to your wife! Bachelorhood is very under-rated!” He did not see how close Bronwyn had gotten and was pleasantly surprised when she smacked him in the chest with a pillow.
“Would you like to return to your bachelorhood, Heru en Cormmin?” Bronwyn found herself yanked from her feet and pulled on top of her husband. His hands cupped her bottom.
“Nay. I like my wife!” He rolled, pinning her beneath him. Playfully, he planted wet kisses all over her face. Although her legs automatically spread, allowing him to settle between them, Bronwyn pushed his face away.
“Haldir, stop being silly!” It was a half-hearted protest.
The Elf’s eyes grew huge and his smile was feral. “No!” He grabbed at her hands and pinning them down to the bed, began to kiss her in earnest.
“Oh, please!” Beckett’s scowl had deepened and he began to pluck off the pinned material encasing his arms. “You are too old to behave like Elflings! At the very least, get a room!”
Bronwyn’s look was of mock astonishment. “He said we are too old. Haldir! Do you feel old? I do not feel old.”
Haldir’s scowl matched his son’s. “Find a room? This is my room!” Seamstresses giggled at the randiness of the lofty March Warden and left the room. Haldir waved his hand at his son. “Someday, when you have grown Elflings making fun of you and Orelinde, you will remember this day! Begone you! I wish to kiss my wife without your careful watching!” Beckett headed towards the door, mumbling about Elves acting their age. “And shut the door behind you!” When he heard the click, he looked down at his snickering wife. “Elves acting their age, indeed. I should send him wenching with Celeborn! That one cou – Baraermin?”
Bronwyn’s face had gone from bemusement to sadness. “We will not be here when their children are grown, will we? We will not see Heridil’s and Anselm’s child reach adulthood and marry. We will miss so very much.”
Haldir rolled over, bringing his wife to his side, curled into his protective embrace. “Sweetling, even in the world of Men, many grandparents lives are too short. Many do not live to see their grandchildren grown and settled. Many parents do not live to see their children grow. It is the cycle of life. And we will not be totally gone. We will still have contact. We will still have input. It will be a sad leaving, yes, but we will be able to watch our grandchildren and great grandchildren grow and continue on.”
“But we will watch them die as well.”
He pulled her closer. “Ah, that we will. But that is our fate. It is their fate.” He tipped her face upwards to him. “But I will always be here for you. We will always have each other. I will never leave you. The Valar have decreed it.” He kissed her nose. “Now. What say you that we thoroughly disgust our son by making loud, raucous love in the middle of the day?”
And although she responded enthusiastically, Haldir realized, felt her hold back, that small part of her already feeling their future losses.
Summer passed and autumn came. The trees turned colors and Anselm grew. She carried her child with a dignity and grace Bronwyn never had. As the nights cooled and the family once again spent many hours in front of warm fires, too often the young ones would retreat to dark corners to whisper and plan.
“Stop snogging in the corner with my son!” Haldir would growl. “Get a room!”
Which, inevitably, they did.
Anselm gave birth weeks before the wedding, to a small, perfectly formed son, with blonde fuzz and pointed ears.
The labor was short and easy and Bronwyn was quite jealous. Haldir delivered his grandchild and both he and Bronwyn stood proudly behind the parents as that night, in the cold, they presented their son.
They named him Turlough.
Thranduil and his entourage arrived the week before the wedding. He insisted on attempting to terrorize the groom-to-be and was properly condescending when he could not.
“That Elf is just like his father.” He groused in his wine glass. He raised his eyes to Legolas, nose still in the goblet. “Are you sure you wish to allow my granddaughter to marry so far beneath her?”
“To begin with, yes he is like me, thank you very much, second, he has a great deal of his mother in him and third, she is not marrying beneath herself, you degenerate!” Haldir was imbibing with the guests this night. “You know full well his importance!”
“No, I do not know his importance. Am I supposed to and be thoroughly impressed?” Thranduil held his now empty goblet out, indicating his desire for a refill. Someone quickly complied and soon, his nose was back in the glass. “I cannot believe Elrond left his stash behind.”
“He did not!” Haldir deliberately left off the word ‘jackass’. “He left the dregs and took the best with him.”
“Loaded down Cirdan’s hold, from what I hear.” Celeborn added. He was feeling very little pain and was looking rather saucily at the elleth keeping everyone’s glasses filled.
“And he calls ME a degenerate!” Thranduil whispered drunkenly to Legolas, nodding towards Celeborn.
The wine flowed late that night and many toasts to the couple were made. Both Celeborn and Thranduil weaved drunkenly into beds that were not theirs and even Legolas and Haldir barely made it to their own rooms.
The wedding day dawned cold but clear and bright. And in the same open chamber that the fate of the One Ring was decided, Beckett, son of Haldir and Bronwyn of Lothlórien, married and bonded with Orelinde, daughter of Eowyn and Legolas, Prince of Greenwood.
Celeborn managed to sober up enough to conduct the bonding.
Beckett was resplendent in the heavy green velvet tunic that showed off his coloring.
The bride wore winter white, also in velvet, a lacy shawl over her hair.
Haldir had snarled at the outfit created for him, but wore it begrudgingly as sometime during the night, while he was keeping the other Elves company, (and getting plastered) Bronwyn had hidden all of his other clothing. It was a blue tunic and leggings, almost purple, with silver banding at the wrists, collar and hem; a dark purple sleeveless vest with fur trimming at the shoulder complemented the outfit.
He wore ear cuffs.
Bronwyn whispered to him as Legolas escorted his daughter down the aisle that he had better gotten enough sleep the night before as she had every intention of ravishing him for the entire night – IF she could wait that long!
Haldir simply raised an eyebrow and informed her that he had every intention of taking her into the garden to dance, much like they had over a century ago in Lothlórien. He glanced haughtily down her low cut gown. Her dress was a heavy wool, deep burgundy, similar in cut and style to the burgundy velvet she had worn on the river so many years ago. It had a train and long flowing sleeves.
Orophin and Rumil snickered behind them.
She said it was too cold.
He retorted that she would not feel the cold when he got done with her.
Beckett recited his vows…
“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…”
“Haldir!” she whispered. “Those vows… those are your vows!”
“Aye.” He pulled her closely and whispered in her ear, reciting them again. Upon their completion, he kissed the gently rounded ear. “They are still true today.”
She was quiet for the rest of the ceremony, crying at the appropriate times…
Crying the entire time.
The wine flowed freely afterwards and everyone was feeling very happy. Music played non-stop – Elven musicians that Thranduil had brought with him. At one point, he had decided to be magnanimous, approaching Bronwyn for a chaste, fatherly dance, only to be stopped in his tracks, when, upon seeing his approach, she had smiled broadly and lifting the edge of her dress, showed off shoes with an extremely high stiletto heel.
He quickly changed directions and averted to the wine tray.
Celeborn sidled next to him, reaching for a glass as well.
“It is too bad the King of Gondor could not come.” Thranduil mused outloud. “I hear he does not venture far from the White City these days.”
“He is aging.” Celeborn answered. “Although I know she will not, a part of me hopes against hope that Arwen will change her mind and take the last boat to the Undying Lands.” He drank deeply from the crystal. “Elrond will meet every boat, hoping against the odds, but he knows as well.” He smiled as Haldir strode up next to them.
“A fine looking couple my granddaughter and your son make.” Thranduil said, breaking the ice, making idle conversation. “This was the child you had agreed upon conceiving at my fortress?”
“Aye.” Haldir’s answer was short, curt.
“I take it he was conceived not too long afterwards.”
Haldir did not know what possessed him, but a wicked grin split his features as he raised his glass. He looked the King in the eye.
“As a matter of fact, he was conceived on your desk in your study after Bronwyn and I looked at some rather naughty pictures you had hidden on your bookshelf.”
Thranduil never missed a beat. Again, his nose was in his glass. “Oh really? So was Legolas.” Haldir barely was able to swallow his wine.
Celeborn had turned a deep shade of crimson. All this talk of sex and desks. He had had that dream again about Bronwyn and Erestor’s desk and he did not want to give that little secret away as he was starting to enjoy that fantasy. He was startled by a cool hand around his arm. He looked down to see her standing there smiling. At him.
“What are they talking about, Celeborn?” she stage-whispered. Haldir was getting a glass for her and had his back turned momentarily.
“Uhm… furniture.” Celeborn tried to drink from his glass and even his breathing.
“Oh.” Her mouth made a moue. “And talking about furniture made you blush?” Her grin was devilish and her look was…
Did she know what he had been dreaming about? How?
“That must be some… furniture.” She took the glass from Haldir and then led him away from the two Elf Lords, her hips gently swayed causing the train of her dress to swish softly. Celeborn followed her with his eyes and just as he started to look away, she looked back at him.
After the bride and groom left for their bridal chamber – amid much jesting and ribald jokes – Haldir did as he promised. He took Bronwyn into the gardens and in dancing, made her forget about the cold.
As soon as the guests left and life quieted down, Bronwyn became the Grande Dame of Rivendell. She announced she was finished with the scrolls, the maps, everything. She threw them in containers haphazardly and contented herself in playing with her grandchild; enjoying her children. She threw her knives now on a daily basis, watching for any sign of finality.
They were wild and sluggish.
Orophin, along with Tomasil, left for the Undying Lands that spring. He had never regained his full buoyancy for life and the call became stronger until eventually, he gave in. He carried with him in an oilskin, carefully sealed portraits of Arwen, Aragorn and their children and grandchildren, Elrohir and Elladan for Elrond, drawn by Rumil. Tomasil was excited, ready for new adventures and disheartened at the same time. He had enjoyed his cousins company and knowing that he would never see Beckett and Anselm and quite possibly Faeowynne again saddened him deeply.
Before he mounted his horse, Orophin hugged his sister-in-law tightly. The light in his eyes were unusually bright and for the first time in years, he looked…
“Shall I tell you secret before I leave?”
Orophin looked around to make sure no one could hear, a mischievous grin on his face. “Do you remember, when you first arrived in Middle Earth and it seemed that Rumil and I were constantly weeding Galadriel’s garden?” Bronwyn nodded. “Do you know why were we weeding the garden?” Large brown eyes looked curiously into his. “It was because Haldir caught Rumil and I peeking at you in the bath and rather than leave, we negotiated weeks of weeding for continued minutes of voyeuristic watching!” Orophin’s grin deepened as Bronwyn’s jaw dropped in astonishment. He clasped her to him in a fierce hug. “It was worth every second!” he whispered in her ear. Once he was able to discern that she was laughing, he turned her loose.
” I shall see you again when Haldir hears the call.”
“Aye.” Bronwyn had a huge lump in her throat. Something she should look forward to, she also feared.
“Bronwyn.” The Elf’s eyes bore into hers. “It is hard, very hard to leave. But as time goes, it becomes easier. Trust in that.” He hugged her again, before mounting. “You gave me the best advice once.”
“And what advice was that, Orophin?”
He looked into the distance. “You told me to follow my heart.” And then he smiled. “I never regretted it. Follow your heart, Bronwyn of Lothlórien.”
And with that, the two galloped off towards the Grey Havens.
Time stands still for no man or Elf and time did not stand still for the ever diminishing group in Rivendell. Beckett and Orelinde announced their impending parenthood within months after their marriage and Bronwyn delighted in the news of another grandchild. Turlough was beginning to crawl and Anselm announced within months that she and Heridil had agreed again.
Within five years, Haldir and Bronwyn had four grandchildren. Two of each.
Bronwyn was forever in the floor, in the garden, singing, conjuring images, much to the delight of the babies. And if truth be told, Haldir joined her constantly, not only understanding her need to spend as much time as possible with her family, but recognizing his need as well. He carried the babies everywhere, horseback riding, playing. He constructed bows for grandchildren not yet born, fletched endless arrows. He sat with Beckett, Anselm, even when nothing was said, simply enjoying, basking in their company.
Bronwyn had finally broken down and asked Faeowynne her future plans. She had been relieved to hear her middle’s child’s answer.
“What? Stay here and leave you and Ada to savor the fun of the Undying Lands alone?” she barked, polishing her bow. “I have seen all there is to see here in Middle Earth. I will go with you, thank you very much!”
Deep in their hearts, Bronwyn and Haldir were gladdened. They would not make the trip alone.
The day came. He knew it would come, knew it was coming closer and closer. The call was getting more and more insistent; his desire to see the gulls, to feel the roll of the sea under his feet, more stringent. It was the last dregs of winter and spring lay around the corner. He lay in the floor, on a rug, lifting his newest granddaughter above him, drool everywhere, when the scream rent his conscious.
Quickly, he rolled over, gently clasping Ariella to him. He met Heridil and Beckett, in the corridor, both of them pale.
“Ada, please, please come quick.” Haldir handed the babe over to Heridil, as he began to sprint towards his wife. The screaming in his head had toned down to an anguished keening.
He knew what she cried over.
Quickly, he made his way into the garden, to find her standing, leaning over…
“Beavis, Beavis oh please dammit Beavis, come to Beavis.”
Her knives lay on the ground, flat, not moving; her hands above them, yanking and jerking.
They refused to budge. A tear streaked face turned to him.
You know I’ve always been a dreamer
(Spent my life running ‘round)
And it’s so hard to change
(Can’t seem to settle down)
But the dreams I’ve seen lately
Keep on turning out and burning out
And turning out the same
So put me on a highway
Show me a sign
And take it to the limit
One more time
Take it to the Limit
It was shocking to both Bronwyn and Haldir, how fast everything moved after that. Trunks were packed and final arrangements made. Bronwyn moved as if in a daze and wept at everything. She confused her grandchildren, who were baffled by the sudden change of mood in all the adults.
They received word from Arwen that Aragorn had passed peacefully, ready to give over the reigns of rule to his son. The two Hobbits, Merry and Pippin, had passed soon after, buried at his side in places of honor they richly deserved. Arwen had decided – to no one’s surprise – to stay with her daughters for a time and insisted Gimli use her passage to go to the Undying Lands.
“I know full well Legolas’ devotion to you, Master Dwarf. ” she wrote. “Your company will ease his grief over leaving his father and daughter behind. Besides, I know well your love for my grandmother. And perhaps, with Celeborn staying behind, you might have a chance…” The ending of the letter was rather saucy and cheeky and it made the Dwarf smile.
Her letter to Bronwyn begged her to give her love to her father, show him, not just tell him, how happy her life had been and that she had not regretted a moment. She was deeply sorrowful for the harsh words spoken between the two at his leaving and wanted to impress upon him her love for him.
It was no surprise when they received the news as they left Imladris that Arwen had gone into the woods of Lothlórien and after lying down on Cerin Amroth, had faded into the green mound.
Arwen Evenstar was no more.
The Third Age was completely at end. The time of the Elves was over.
The shipyard was bustling, constantly in motion. The babies were wide- eyed, attention spans darting here and there at the sights, the sounds, the smell. Haldir watched carefully as the last of their things were loaded onto the large boat, its bearded Elf for a caption bellowing orders.
“You are sure, Celeborn? There is still room.”
Celeborn looked at his former March Warden. “I feel obligated to watch over your children. Bronwyn worries, but I will be here. So will Thranduil.” He nodded over to the King and the Prince, embraced tightly as the elder Elf whispered frantically in his son’s ear. Gimli stood over to the side, watching the final parting with saddened eyes. “Despite all, he is a noble Elf and he will watch over Beckett and Orelinde as if they were his own.” Indeed, the King of Greenwood had showered lavish attention on their children and had even played with Anselm and Heridil’s children as well. He had treated Bronwyn respectfully, despite her lack of high heeled footwear and had been overheard singing a lullaby or two to several sleepless Elflings on the trip.
Cirdan came down the gang plank and pounded Haldir on the shoulder. “Grab your women, WoodElf. We are leaving with the tide.” Haldir searched the crowd for Bronwyn.
And found her in a huddle with Anselm and Beckett along with their spouses and children.
As Haldir came closer, he was caught up in the spell she weaved, as were many other innocent passersby.
The years raced by as she infused them with her memories.
The Mines –
“What sort of Wizard are you?” Legolas had asked her.
“I’m no Wizard.”
“My name is Braun.”
“Give me your bow. You catch them, I will shoot. My knives will not reach! I promise not to hurt it! “
“Not the beard!”
The destruction of the bridge – how they barely made it out alive…
Her arrival in Caras Galadhon. How she had thrown up on Orophin.
“Sir, I beseech you, please step back. I’m going to be sick.”
His own reaction to her, her filth, her plight, Legolas’ defense of her from the beginning…
“And what of this one? He did not start with you!” He had taken the edge of his bow and lifted her face, vomit dribbling down her chin. “He is a beardless boy. How did you become saddled with him?”
How could he have ever mistaken her for a boy?
“Haldir, he saved our lives!”
“This pitiful scrap saved your lives?” His voice had dropped to a whisper. “Are you losing your touch, Prince of Mirkwood?” He smiled grimly. “Your father would be so disappointed…”
Had he truly been so callous?
Along with his children, she continued. Continued to remember.
How gently he had handled her in her illness, how he had held her, comforted her when she fought to keep from remembering…
“Duncan, you sent me an angel. A beautiful angel.”
Singing on the archery fields…
Well, I met a Elf in Lothlorien Woods
Now I ain’t namin’ names…
Alilian… Heridil… Liandrian…
Excuse me, I still did not get your name….
Sitting in Galadriel’s garden, the Lady attempting to weave her hair.
Beautiful music rising in the garden.
I am lost. I want to go back home. I want my home…
Going through her backpack in Galadriel’s garden.
Orophin and Rumil weeding in Galadriel’s garden.
“Pity,” he mused out loud, opening the book “you were so sweet and charming while your were asleep! Called me beautiful, even.”
She inhaled, her chest rising. “I did no such thing!”
Son of a bitch…
I am not here to harm you…
“What is ‘look like shit?'”
Rumil and Bronwyn, singing together.
Quiet, stalwart Heridil,
Shy, shy Alilian.
An afternoon on the river…
I’ll not marry a man that’s young
His wavering heart
And philandering tongue…
The two, standing in the river, with an orange… the kiss…
Ah. THAT kiss…
His return to the Fences…
No, lirimear. I cannot allow to you to go.”
How she incurred his wrath and followed him anyway. Her headstrong ways and obstinance almost getting her killed…
He grabbed her one handed by the collar, jerking her up on her toes. “What will it take for you to be quiet? I do not wish to hear you speak. I do not wish to hear your ‘Peace, love, and crabs!’ I do not wish to hear you breathe. I gave you an order.” His placed his other hand over her mouth. “I had a reason to give you that order and you defied it. You did not think of the consequences, you did not think of the danger, you did not think of the difficulty you would put me or Rumil or Orophin or Heridil or any of my archers in. Did you consider that with Heridil and Orophin being more concerned about making sure you kept up and were watched and fed, that they were unable to do what they needed to do? Did you consider that by defying me that now I had more to watch out for besides Orcs, I had to watch out for you as well? You walked into the middle of a bigger nest of Uruk hai than is normal and they were not normal? Did you stop to think that had you been killed that I would have died as well? That whatever destiny you are heading for would come to a halt? If the thought of my death or yours means such a minuscule amount to you, think of it this way. What if Heridil had jumped down to protect you? I had to stop him twice. He would willingly, for the sake of your friendship, have died for you. You did not think, you put all of us in danger because of your foolish actions and I plan to make sure you never do that again!”
How had he made sure she never did it again? He had fallen in love with her.
On and on the memories continued…
His abandonment of her at Caras Galadhon. Celeborn, pleading with her, begging her…
Tithen Aras. Please. You must eat…
Her looking into Galadriel’s mirror, forced finally to remember…
You knew! You bitch! And you made me remember! You fucking well made me remember! How could you…You knew! Aaah! Dammit! My baby, my Duncan…
Who am I? What am I?
The pitcher thrown, shattered on the floor… That is me. I am not just emptied… I am shattered in thousands of pieces and I do not think they can ever be put back together…Fading would be a welcome release…
Haldir’s frantic chase to catch her.
“Come on, you stinking bastards. Come to Beevis.”
Him finding her.
Listening to Aerosmith.
Their trip back to Lothlorien, how they worked together as a team…
Why do you wear my tunics?
A contingent of Uruk hai, camped along the river…
“It could be worse!” His voice was nonchalant, unworried.
“Worse? Worse? How could it possibly be worse?” Her voice threatened to screech, despite its whisper.
“They could be on this side of the river!” he shrugged.
The arguments, the fights, her unwillingness to trust.
Baraer. Be truthful with yourself. Your sword skills are gone. You frighten even me with the lack of it. You are a danger to yourself. Your archery skills are diminishing as well. Soon, your knives will fly away and not come back.
You shut up!
The uncontrollable, soaring music.
Heridil falling from the flet…
Bronwyn Morgan ap Powell, Baraermin, lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad.
The Halls of Waiting, Duncan, Duncan with his infinite wisdom and her return.
“Do you not understand Mother? God, Jesus, Iluvatar, Allah, Jehovah, the Goddess, the Great Spirit, Odin, Thor, Zeus…they are all one in the same. It is Man and the Races who name and rename them. Names change, the One does not.”
I was not the gift. He was. Haldir was gift.
Teach me to trust… teach me to love…
The taming of her powers.
Jumping on her sword…
An entire contingent of Elves singing “Purple Haze”
Dol Guldur. The spiders.
“No, My name is not ‘What’. My name is Smut.”
Ducking countless fireballs; Haldir dropping a few errant scrolls in his quiver…
Back down, you ass wipe, or I will back it down for you!”
The breaking of glass, the horrid melt-down of Smut… Haldir carrying her out…
The Valar… Tari…
Who am I? I am…
Blood. Her blood, spilt on the ground…
“Mana lúme caita syadlla?
Mana lúme lerya quingalla?
Mana lúme hehtanë siklla?
Mana lúme mappe eppessëlla?
Er Valar quetuvar.”
The Valar say thus…
I am one with the Earth. The Earth is one with me…
Serkenin naa a Arda
Arda naa a serkenin
Naem er, naem atya
Naem weerrenen ullume
Hanyo allasse ar nwalma
Exhaustion. That long ride to the farmhouse which no longer stood…
…and if I built a fortress around your heart
Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a Bridge
For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire…
She and Galadriel painting each other’s toenails.
That little… black… dress…
Stomping on Thranduil.
Give me a child from your heart…
Haldir and Bronwyn, together on the balcony, lute and harp, in harmony
Throwing up together after battle.
Can I ask a stupid question? Am I getting married today?
Their wedding. Had it really been so romantic? He had just wanted something simple. Did she really remember it as being something divine?
Must you marry the big, mean Elf, Bronwyn?
This rose is from Duncan. Think you I would do this without consulting him?
I would give up forever to touch you,
to feel myself in your arms.
I would give up forever to love you.”
Entreat me not to leave thee or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go…
You are the air…
Secret Agent Bronny.
Oh cabin boy Oh cabin boy
You naught little nipper…
The Dead Marshes…
Qui tol lis pec ca ta
Mundi misere nobis
Bodies and bodies and Heridil’s father sinking ever downward…
O Lamb of God,
that takest away the sins of the world
Have mercy upon us
No, no and Hell no! I want an epidural…
Your son does not wish to be born
Your daughter is stubborn…
Behold Beckett, the only thing greater than yourself.
Beckett sitting proudly on his father’s lap. Yada yada yada dammit! Ada! Ada!
Bad cwab! Bad cwab!
The Pirates of Umbar.
The Deserts of South Hardan…
There is nothing there. I will not allow you to go…
A red-headed naked Elfling running, running, chased by Elves with flying white hair… laughing…
You are an Orc and must be slaughtered…
Haldir, I am afraid. This baby is too early.
Not baby. Babies. Beautiful little girls…
And on this farm he had a Uruk hai…
Children high in the trees, throwing pears at Rumil.
That was no child… that was Haldir throwing pears at Rumil.
Good shot, Ada!
The slow death of the Golden Woods
Beckett running with a… doll?
Come back here, you rat! Bring me back my dolly…
Elflings chasing wolf cubs, running, laughing, yipping, sleeping all curled together…
Celeborn watching in amusement…
Growing Elflings. Maturing Elflings. Elflings now as parents and responsible adults.
I have your bow, Mama. We will talk often. You will tire of me, I promise.
Tears flow and tears flow and tears flow…
All the way up the gangplank.
Celeborn watched all around him. Tears were beyond abundant. Thranduil would most undoubtably refuse to remember what a blubberbuss he had become. Anselm was inconsolable. So was Orelinde. The babies cried because their parents cried and he, himself, was holding a whining Turlough.
The Twins were crying openly as well as they waved.
Celeborn finally admitted he had a lump the size of Gondor in his throat.
He could see Bronwyn. How many tears could come out of one set of eyes? She would probably cry herself sick. Haldir…
So close was that one to breaking, but Haldir would not do it in front of anyone. Probably not even in front of Bronwyn. When he did crack, she would have a time of it.
He hoped Galadriel would understand.
The ropes to remove the gangplank were lowered and tied on.
He thought to himself.
Galadriel, the first time he had seen her. He had fallen in love immediately. She had not been an easy catch. The exasperating she-Elf had led him on a merry chase and he was shocked when he discovered that he had been her first…
The ropes tied to the gangplank snapped tight…
What on all of Middle Earth was he doing? The transition was all but over. The twins would eradicate every Orc alive and then what?
The Elf King looked at him, eyes rimmed red. “What?” he snapped.
Celeborn handed the baby to him. “You will watch them. Look over them…”
“I promised Legolas I would… What are you thinking…”
“I give it back, Thranduil. All of it! I give it all back to you!” He pulled him close. “The woods, Lothlórien, Calas Galadhon, all of it! Watch over all of it, all of them, as I would have. You are what Tithen Aras would call a Prickless Wonder, but you are a good ruler and a good father!”
“You brainless braggart! You have packed nothing…”
“You can have my clothes too! I know you have always desired that silver robe with the blue sash! But it will always look better on me!” He punched the Elven King in the arm and turned to Bronwyn’s Brood…
Celeborn quickly hugged and kissed them all…
Anselm held him close. “I knew you couldn’t stay.”
The gangplank started to lift…
Thank Iluvatar, he wore a tunic and leggings and not those cumbersome robes. Celeborn took off running, hair flying in the wind. He ran up the plank of wood, it now swaying several feet in the air and he took a flying leap over the yawning air between the bridge and the boat…
People pointed, stared at the Elf running crazily up the plank. Haldir looked stupefied – ah, to have a painting of that look – and for a moment, Bronwyn stopped crying…
Both feet hit the deck and shot out from under him and the Elf Lord bounced in a most undignified manner across the wood on his ass. He thought he might have nailed a wolf or two on his way…
Sailors, Cirdan himself ran to help him up. Sure enough, Ludwig, Bronwyn’s wolf yipped angrily and slunk away, scowling, limping slightly on his front paw.
Celeborn grimaced in pain. There be splinters…
He limped over to Haldir and Bronwyn and began to wave at the crowd on the docks.
“Be quiet, Haldir. I changed my mind. I would miss Galadriel too much and I would miss yours and Bronwyn’s shenanigans even more. Besides,” he motioned to their family left behind, “They do not really need me. They are in good hands with Thranduil. They are, Tithen Aras. When you are in the mood to listen, go to Legolas and ask him to tell you of his growing up, of his Ada. Not the King, but of Legolas’ Ada. What you hear will be totally different from what you think.”
The ship sailed with the setting sun.
Even after all others had gone below deck or moved on to other activities, the tall Elf and short woman stood at the deck, watching…
“Can you still see them, Cormmin?”
“Aye, they still stand there, watching.”
And as Bronwyn and Haldir watched the horizon of Middle Earth disappear slowly, the loose button eyes of a tattered, ancient teddy bear, tucked in the back waist of her jeans, stared off towards Valinor.
I would dial the numbers just to listen to your breath
I would stand inside my hell and hold the hand of death
You don’t know how far I’d go to ease this precious ache
You don’t know how much I’d give
Or how much I can take
Just to reach you…
Come to my window
Not many ate that night. Certainly none did, who were with Bronwyn and Haldir’s party. Legolas and Gimli sat together with Faeowynne, who watched her parents from the corner.
Now was not the time to tell them.
No one noticed the small man sitting in the corner, by himself.
Haldir had crawled inside himself and Bronwyn could feel, sense his pain. That night, she crawled in the narrow, hard bunk with him and reached out to hold him.
He brushed her hands away, perturbed at the weakness within himself.
He turned his back to her, so she would not see his tears.
“Go to sleep, Baraermin.”
She was stunned. “Haldir… Cormmin… please. They are your children too. Can I offer you no comfort?”
It was quiet for a moment before he spat. “Comfort? You mean sex! Is that what you want tonight?”
Bronwyn caught her breath. Lightly, she laid her hand on the broad back and was jolted by the pain he harbored deep inside. He felt the intrusion of her mind and jerked from her.
“Do not do that. Use your gifts the way the Valar intended. Not on me!” He took a deep breath. “Go to sleep.”
“I said go to sleep, Bronwyn.” He had scooted to as close to the cabin wall as he could get. Bronwyn waited until his breathing evened out and then quietly, wrapped herself in his red cloak and crying, stole from the cabin.
Kyrie Elleson down the road the I must travel
Kyrie Elleson through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Elleson where I’m going will you follow?
Kyrie Elleson on that highway in the sky…
Celeborn couldn’t sleep. The boat rocked and it disconcerted him. Sighing heavily, he donned leggings and a tunic and went topside.
The mist was fine, and the salt from the water stung his nostrils, his face. It smelled good, in its strange way and he inhaled deeply. In holding his breath, he heard the quiet sob. Turning, into the night, towards the back of the ship, he saw the glow of a red cape, a large red cloak, covering a body it was not made for, that was too small for it. She had wrapped herself in Haldir’s cloak, the bottom whipping around her legs as the wind blew her hair in a wild mass. She gazed back towards Middle Earth, back towards her home, back towards her children.
With silent footsteps, Celeborn moved behind her and placed gentle hands on her shoulders.
Bronwyn turned in his arms, turned in his embrace. She buried her face in his chest and strong arms clasped his lower back. The Elf Lord had no choice but to embrace her, hold her close. And when her voice came forth, it was muffled, broken.
“Nyeeradín, Celeborn. Nyeeradin. N’ista sut dín anta.”
Celeborn’s eyes teared up, for her worry over Haldir. “He is a warrior, Tithen Aras. He is trained not to show his grief.” A long, finger tipped her chin so he could see her eyes in the moonlight. “He will stand stalwart for you.” He placed gentle kisses on her forehead.
“What am I supposed to do?” she whispered. “Does he not know he can lean on me as well?” Her voice was dejected. “How is he to cope? How do I help him?” Tears began to run anew down her already dripping cheeks.
“Be there for him.” Celeborn watched as she peered backwards at the white crests, churned by the Elven ship. “When he least expects it, he will reach out for you. It might be in his sleep, it might be when something absurd bothers him. He will fight against it, but eventually, it will happen. He might even lash out at you, but it is because he will not know how to ask you for your help.” He hugged her tightly.
If he held her any closer, she would be on the other side of him. His body responded to her nearness and he stepped back a nudge so as to not cause her any embarrassment.
Her tears flowed freely. Whether she grieved the loss of two of her children or if she hurt for Haldir, he did not know.
“Celeborn.” He thumbed her ear in acknowledgment. “When your daughter… was captured, how did you deal with your anger? Your pain? How did Elrond deal with it?” She looked up to him. “I am sorry. You do not have to answer that.”
He looked down at her and gave her that funny half smile of his. “Yes, I do need to answer it.” The cold spray was cooling the temperature of his body and he pulled her around to his side. ” How did I deal with the atrocities? How did Elrond? I cannot answer for Elrond, but I…”
Celeborn took a deep breath, remembering back all those centuries ago. “How did I deal with it?”
For a few minutes, the only sound was that of the waves.
“For many weeks, I held Galadriel tightly in the night, in the day. She was strong for our people, but when she was alone, she grieved so. And I was strong for her. When she was surrounded by her attendants, busy with the affairs of Lothlorien, I rode my horse as hard as I could. I went into the plains and rode that horse until it was ready to drop. I screamed. I went to the archery field and shot arrow after arrow. I looked for Orcs everywhere, ready to butcher them to the last.” His hand dropped to her shoulder and he chuckled mirthlessly. “I killed so many. And killing them was not enough. I had to slaughter them… each one had touched my daughter. Each one had… defiled her. I took my fury out until I could no longer raise my arm, raise my sword. Elrohir and Elladan found me, caught up with me.” Celeborn’s eyes stared into the night. “They got me rip roaring drunk. And then, I cried.” His arms pulled her close again and had one not known them, it would have been thought they were lovers.
She whispered it so quietly, he almost missed it.
“He turned his back on me, Celeborn. I reached out to comfort him and he turned his back on me.”
That infuriated the Elf Lord.
He looked down at the woman held tight in his arms. How long had he dreamed of holding her thus? For over a century, she held him at arm’s length, they had held each other at arm’s length and for good reason. Truly, he did not want more than her friendship. But the knowledge that Haldir, unable to deal with his own grief, had turned his back on the one who loved him more than he did himself? Well, that was…
She was looking at him with tear-filled eyes, her mouth in a glorious pout. Not a childish pout, but one born of pain and deep sorrow. He could hardly remember a time in the past few months when she was not crying. She felt good here, warm and soft.
And Haldir had turned his back on her, when she attempted to comfort him? And needed it so horribly herself?
He leaned down, not meaning to do anything but whisper his apology.
It never came out. Rather, his lips brushed hers gently, lingered, before pressing sweetly.
There are kisses that are heated with passion. This was not one. There are kisses planted by children. This was not one of those, either. Rather, it was innocence personified. It shocked the Elf Lord in its simplicity, its honest candor. He knew what honey tasted like and understood completely for the first time why Haldir was so possessive of this one woman. Although her mouth did not open completely for him, her tongue caressed his lip and his tongue slid around the bottom of hers before he freed her mouth.
“I am sorry, Celeborn. I cannot give you more.” She truly looked sorrowful at the revelation. “Please do not ask it of me.”
“It is not you who should apologize, tithen aras, but I.” His voice was a pained whisper.
Bronwyn laid her head on the chest of the Elf, her hand patting gently at his waist. “Do not fret yourself. It is our secret. Besides, it was just a kiss.”
Ah. His eyes closed. The one you love turns his back on you and what I have fantasized of for a century was ‘just’ a kiss to you. For the first time in over a millennia, Celeborn felt put in his place. It was a humbling experience.
“Yes, tithen aras?”
Mischievous eye burned brightly up at him.
“But it was one hell of a kiss!”
Celeborn smiled and pulled her closer to him, enjoying her body heat.
They stayed that way for an hour.
Long before the sun peeked over the horizon, Bronwyn blearily made her way down to hers and Haldir’s cabin. The bed was a mess, the covers tangled and twisted around Haldir’s body and it was apparent he had thrashed in the night. Quietly, so as not to disturb him, she laid the cloak on a chair and stripped off her damp clothes. She slid into bed next to him, curling into his body.
Suddenly, without warning, he rolled, pinning her beneath him. His eyes glittered in the dark.
“You sought comfort elsewhere.”
His knee thrust between hers, prying them apart. “You sought comfort elsewhere.”
“Do not deny it.” He settled himself, angry hardness against her curls, probing, without thought… “I felt it. If you want comfort, if you need comfort, I will give it to you…”
Immediately, she knew…
It might be when something absurd bothers him. He might even lash out at you, but it is because he will not know how to ask you for your help.
The fury burned within. He should know better…
“No! I did NOT seek comfort!” She smacked him hard on the shoulder. “I sought answers, you Neithadol!” Haldir’s eyes flashed and narrowed. ” I am not the only one who left family behind, you sorry sack of shit!” Her eyes filled with tears and she grasped him by his hair. “You are hurting and I don’t know how to comfort you. You won’t let me. I am not you, but I am not weak or insipid or totally without a backbone! Yes, I went topside. Yes, Celeborn joined me there. Yes, he hugged me. Held me even. I asked him how he reacted when Celebrian was taken and how he handled the pain, grief.” She felt Haldir’s breath jerk inward. “But I did not seek comfort.” She smacked him again. “Help me help you, you shit head! If you must take me, if it helps ease your pain, fine. My body is yours; you know it and I would never deny you that. But do it in love, in need, not in anger.” Haldir was staring at her as if she had grown a second head. “I love you,” she took her index finger and began poking him between his eyes, “Help me to help you. What… do… you… want… from… me?”
Haldir’s fury fled in a rush. It felt as if he had been immersed in a pool of ice water. What did he want from her? Vindication for her imagined tryst? Understanding?
“Baraermin, I do not wish you to think I am weak…”
“Weak? Is this what this is fucking all about?” She was now poking him on the shoulder. “That I would think you weak because you grieved just a little bit? That I would think you weak because you leaned on me? Because you needed me? Forgive my stupidity, but it is my understanding when two are bonded, they share the burden equally. You might be my Shield and Guardian, but I’m also your wife, you rat bastard. I’m your helpmeet. Key word here – Help!” He released a pent up breath of air and rolled to the side, bringing her with him.
“I do not know how to do what you ask.” He pulled her closer. “I do not know where to begin. I do not know how to express… I would never willingly hurt you, you know that… I thought you wanted… ” Her hand rested on his chest, kisses planted on his shoulder. “How do I begin?” he whispered.
“Just talk to me.”
So he did. Haltingly at first and then in a rush, like water released from a dam. Feelings, memories, long pent up rage. And soon the tears spilled unbidden, flowing, joining hers.
And only after the sun had long been up, did he take refuge in that most hallowed place, in her arms.
So save me I’m waiting
I’m needing, hear me pleading
And soothe me, Improve me
I’m grieving, I’m barely believing it now
“Mother? Can we talk?”
Faeowynne looked down at her mother, who sat on turn wheel of sorts. Bronwyn looked into eyes of… fear? Faeowynne? Afraid?
They had now been out to sea for a week. Every evening, she and Haldir stood at the back of the ship, facing Middle Earth, calling, talking to Beckett.
We are fine, Mother. We miss you. We miss Ada. Hell, we even miss Faeowynne. We miss Legolas and Rumil and Gimli and Celeborn. Please tell Thranduil to go home already!
And now, this one child, who was never afraid, stood in front of her, wringing her hands…
“Faeowynne?” Bronwyn stood up and reached forward. “What is wrong?”
Faeowynne looked around and led her mother to the very front of the peaked prow of the ship. She smiled nervously.
“I have good news, I think.”
Bronwyn looked at her askance. “You think you have good news?”
She licked her lips nervously.
“I’m pregnant.” She looked relieved at the admission.
Bronwyn took a deep breath. “You are what?”
“I am pregnant.”
Bronwyn looked out into the waters. She spied dolphins playing in front of the prow. “And did the father by chance come along?”
“Ah.” Bronwyn continued to look ahead. “Do I know the father?”
“WHAT?” Bronwyn jerked her eyes to the girl. Faeowynne was now looking out towards the waters, smiling, her fingers twirling in her long hair. “You are pregnant by both?”
“I am having twins… one by each.”
“One… by… each.” Bronwyn felt the beginnings of a headache. “How…”
“Well, I had them at the same time, mother… stop flapping your jaw like that. You know, if you were not so tied and in love with Ada, you would have done them too…”
“CIRDAN!!!! Turn this boat around!” Bronwyn started to stomp off to find the Captain, but ran headlong into Haldir, who had felt her fury build at an incredible speed.
“Baraer? What is the matter?”
“Go ask your daughter!” she spat and stalked to the rear of the boat where Celeborn and Legolas stood, watching the proceedings.
“Why is it, when they do something to displease her, they become my children?” As Haldir turned and approached his daughter, she immediately shrank. But soon, her courage waved and Haldir’s voice carried in the wind…
“CIRDAN! Turn this boat around!”
They were unable to get the entire story from her until later that afternoon in their cabin.
Haldir paced. His jaw ticked and he yanked viciously on his back braid. Bronwyn was at a loss for words. “Wwwwwhy? Melko’s Chains, what possessed you to do something so… so…”
“For me. For Elrond.”
Bronwyn was now rubbing her eyes with her fingertips. “You do not even know Elrond.”
“No, I do not. But I know his children. I knew Arwen. I liked her. I know the Twins. I liked them. They were not going to the Undying Lands and they were leaving their parents alone. I have heard you talk about him. Ada and Celeborn have such respect for him. I did not want him to be alone. I do not want him to hurt like you and Ada hurt for Anselm and Beckett.
Bronwyn sank into the chair at the small table and put her head in her hands. Strong hands – Haldir’s – kneaded her neck. “Couldn’t you have just made him a pie?”
Haldir scowled, playing over the words he had heard his daughter say. “You did not want him to hurt like we are? Faeowynne. Why did you come with us? Do you really want to come to the Undying Lands?”
Faeowynne had sunk to the berth, her hands between her knees. “Honestly? It makes no difference to me. One place is as good as the other. But all my life… always, I knew Beckett would stay. And when Anselm and I were young, I could tell she would too. But I knew you, Mama. I knew you, Ada. You would hurt so. I just wanted to alleviate the pain some for you. I just wanted to be with you.” For the first time that Haldir could remember, he saw tears in this child’s eyes. “You speak of Elrond in such revered tones. Everyone talks about his kindness, his intelligence, how much he loved his wife, his children. When we step off this boat, he will be there, looking. Hoping. And we will have to tell him Arwen is dead and his sons are not coming, that they will eventually die and fade as well. His brother chose to lead a mortal life. He will hurt, like you hurt for Anselm and Beckett. It isn’t much, but I thought if I could give him a part of Elladan… a part of Elrohir… and you will miss Turlough and Ariella and Merilinde and little Orophin, so I just… wanted to ease… give…” She flung herself into Haldir’s arms. “I just wanted you to myself for a little while. Beckett was The Firstborn, Anselm, your baby. I just want a little piece for myself!”
There was nothing but sounds of sobbing and quiet reassurance from the cabin for a long time.
Bronwyn recognized the elderly little man finally on the deck late that afternoon.
“Sam? Samwise Gamgee?” Her face split in a smile as she stooped down to embrace him.
“Bronwyn. I haven’t seen you since you married. You haven’t changed a bit.” A smile split the crinkled face.
“Forgive my rudeness, but… how did you manage passage to the Undying Lands? I saw Pippin and Merry. They went to Gondor…”
“And died probably.” Sam was always straight forward. “I was a ringbearer. Only for a short time, but I was.” Bronwyn sat next to him while he told her of the Scourging of the Shire, how Frodo had finally gone on and left him and his wife and children BagEnd. How Merry and Pippin had actually grown up. He told her of his and Frodo’s escapades through the Dead Marshes with Gollum, through the Wastelands, how they were captured and released by Faramir. Their run in with Shelob and sneaking under the Black Gate.
Bronwyn listened. And remembered.
And she remembered what Celeborn had told her of Legolas, so the day after, she cornered him at the prow of the ship and asked him of his childhood, of his Ada.
When Legolas was done, she felt much better of leaving her children and grandchildren in his capable hands.
I wake up in the morning
And I raise my weary head
I got an old coat for a pillow
And the earth was last night’s bed
I don’t know where I’m going
Only God knows where I’ve been…
Blaze of Glory
Jon Bon Jovi
They arrived in the Undying Lands on a sunny day. They were greeted by many, including Elrond.
Sure as expected, the moment Bronwyn came down the plank and grasped him by the hands, his face fell and he murmured, “It was a frivolous hope, a useless dream…” She gave him the final letter from Arwen, hugged him close, and introduced him to Faeowynne.
“Wait a few days, Elrond. We have some news for you.”
Galadriel was there as well, serene, confident that her husband would be on this last boat. Celeborn tried to be nonchalant, but ended up running to her arms.
“Let us find a room, wench. I want to ravish you from dusk to dawn for days!”
She smacked him playfully. “Such behavior is unseemly!”
“Unseemly behavior? Let me tell you about unseemly behavior!” He lifted her in his arms and darted down the road.
They were not seen for days and when they finally emerged from where ever they had hidden, their grins were very… unchaste.
Sam found Frodo and together, they hobbled off, barefoot in the grass.
Rumil, Legolas and Gimli slipped off with a beautiful blonde Elf and a thin raven-haired Elf.
Soon, the crowds dispersed and Bronwyn and Haldir found themselves looking up to Gandalf.
Gandalf looked dubiously at the small pack of wolves that had accompanied them and narrowed his eyes. “Are they… tame?
“Well, they are housebroken…” Ludwig rolled his eyes and nosed Sebastian and Clara, as if to say ‘Get a load of the hat on that human!’
“I suppose the three of you would like to know what arrangements have been made for you?”
“I had wondered.” Haldir was retaining his March Warden attitude.
Gandalf inclined his head to a wagon… several wagons… loaded with trunks. “I took the initiative when my personal space began to become loaded down with trunks and when Elrond ran out of room, to have a place made ready for you.” he nodded to Bronwyn as they got behind the reins and clicked the horses forward. ” I hope you do not mind.” The wagons rolled slowly up a side road, along the cliffs.
When Bronwyn saw what place had been made for them, she smiled deeply.
Her cottage. They – the Valar, the Elves – had reconstructed her cottage.
She ran indoors, where Orophin and Tomasil awaited them.
Orophin smiling, laughing. As he had a century before when she first met him.
And when she looked around, and saw boxes, boxes everywhere…
And saw her things.
And sheets of music.
And in a back corner, found, her piano.
Steinway, full- sized concert grand. 1938 E class. Twelve feet long.
She turned to Haldir…
He was scowling, taking in the mess, the unorganized haphazard… Iluvatar’s Balls, this would take weeks to sort through. Months… years even…
…and flung herself into his strong arms, smiling.
“Finally, we are home, darling!”
Nyeeradín, Celeborn. Nyeeradin. N’ista sut dín anta.
He grieves, Celeborn. He grieves. I don’t know how to help him
Bronwyn’s Sword inscription:
“Mana lúme caita syadlla?: “When is the time to thrust down your sword?
Mana lúme lerya quingalla?: When is the time to hand over your bow?
Mana lúme hehtanë siklla?: When is the time to sheath your knives?
Mana lúme mappe eppessëlla?: When is the time in which to claim your titles?
Er Valar quetuvar.”: Only when the Valar say thus.”
The calling of the Earth:
“Serkenin naa a Arda: “My blood is of the Earth
Arda naa a serkenin: The Earth is of my Blood.
Naem er, Naem atya: We are One. We are the Same.
Naem weerenen ullume : We are forever joined.
Hanyo allasse ar nwalma.: I am aware of all of her joys and sorrows.”
I would get nowhere without Novedhelion to do all this lovely translation. Thank you!
I’ve been gone awhile. life has been really rough, Has anyone seen the Rings of Power? I’ve enjoyed it tremendously!!!
Usual disclaimers still apply – these ones ain’t mine, those ones are mine, I didn’t write you know what, thank you, you know who… and damn, we lost another one!
Addicted to love or How many words for ‘no’ do you need?
You’re gonna hafta face it
You’re addicted to love…
Fall air turned crisp.
Leaves fell and dropped like parchment to the ground.
Morning dew turned into shards of crystal glass laced upon the grass and bushes.
The young ones came of age.
You could have a bumper car, bumping
The amusement never ends
I want to be your sledgehammer…
Two sweaty bodies tussled on the ground, slick with perspiration, heavy gasps of in taken breath, hanging in the cold air.
A woman’s deep chuckle. “Lie still, a’maelamin. I would have my way with you.”
A snort. “Oh, right!” His gasp followed quickly as her hand pressed against the small of his back. She blew on the back of his neck, the long hair moving, exposing the delicate curve, the ridges of his spine. Feather – light kisses rained gently at the nape, sweet nibbles on the tips of his ears.
“Saeeeeessssss…..” His plea was whispered.
“Oh, be quiet. You are SUCH a whiney butt!” Her tongue snaked to his shoulder blades, tasting the salt in his perspiration, lapping it up. Lips, he had just kissed into what he thought was oblivion, stroked, teased, the hypersensitive spine, the skin of his back. She suckled at the small of his back.
“Language!” he admonished, breathlessly. “Your mother would be shocked to hear your speech.”
“My mother could care less, as long as I stayed out of her hair!” she replied, ruthlessly. She nipped the side of his hip.
The sharp gasp disturbed the hibernating birds.
Her hands stroked strong, lean buttocks, down rock hard thighs, to sensitive knees; legs that had spent a great deal of time in the saddle and were now beyond sensitive. He attempted to roll over.
“Noooo.” she whispered. She straddled his back and bent over, kissing the backs of his knees.
His eyes closed in ecstasy. This was sinful.
Her tongue slid around the tendons of the joints.
He changed his mind.
This was beyond sinful.
He could feel her wetness pooling on his back and he arched up to meet her now gyrating hips. Her mouth moved upwards, from his knees, around his thighs.
She jumped off his back and began to nibble on the curve of his buttocks.
He was harder than he had been in a long time.
Well, maybe that was an exaggeration. He hadn’t been this hard since the last time they had snuck out alone and screwed each other senseless under the morning sun.
Her tongue was dipping into the crevice… finding…
Ooooooh! Bad, bad Lirimaer! She could hear him growling…
Lips were pressed against the groove, tongue delving…
He rolled over, knocking her sideways. Leaping up, his cock pointing to the sky, he grabbed her roughly by the elbow, his eyes, searching… searching…
The tree nearby had a low, bare branch, just the right height, the perfect thickness, sturdiness.
She saw it to and her eyes widened in mock horror.
Still holding on to her arm, he leaned over, grabbing the closest item of clothing – her cloak – and slung it over the branch
“Nooooo.” She began to twitch, trying to pull her arm from his grasp. He laughed at her struggles. With his free hand, he spread the cloak and roughly bent her over the tree. She fell across with an ‘oof’ and he moved behind her teetering bottom.
“This is NOT a very lady-like position!” she hissed.
“Who said you were a lady?” he retorted. Carefully, he tipped her until she was at the perfect height. Her toes did not reach the ground.
“We could get caught!”
“You should have thought about that before you started teasing me!” With one hand, he spread her lips, delighting in the silken feel of her skin. He held his cock in the other hand, teasing her with the head. “Besides, at this point, I do not care who catches us!” And with that, he thrust into her oh – so – willing – body. She scrambled, trying to find something to hold on to.
She found the calves of his lower legs and grabbed ahold.
For several minutes, he pounded her, mutual grunts of painful pleasure rising in the trees. Their juices mingled, audible as well, before he felt her tighten, clinging to his legs, and began to groan. They came together, slamming, screaming… their heartbeats slowing.
Carefully, he stepped back, his spent member sliding from her body. Lovingly, he helped her down from her tenuous perch and grabbing the heavy woolen cloak, he shook it free of bark and wrapped the two of them in it as they fell to their combined, discarded clothing on the leaves. He pulled her in closely to his warm embrace; lips caressed each other sweetly.
“Promise me we will never be too old and too decrepit to enjoy each other outside at the sunrise.”
Haldir nipped the end of her nose. “I promise we will never be too old and too decrepit to enjoy each other outside, at any time!”
She burrowed into his body, enjoying the heat.
The young one’s body shook with revulsion.
“Ew!” Beckett’s shoulders were up around his ears and his eyes were squeezed shut in undisguised revulsion. “Oh, that was just beyond disgusting!” One eye opened to peer at Orelinde, giggling next to him. “Oh, laugh away! It would be a different story if we had walked up on YOUR parents!”
Her giggles did not diminish. It took her a moment to regain control. “Beckett! You act as if you never thought your parents had sex! How do you think you got here?”
Not wanting to be overheard, he grabbed Orelinde by the elbow – in a gesture similar to what Haldir had done to Bronwyn – and marched her quickly from the small glade his parents were thrashing in. He and Orelinde had enjoyed that particular clearing on many occasions, used that particular branch in the same manner, but now it was completely ruined for him. He would never look at that tree the same way again!
Besides, if his parents knew about it, chances were likely, they would be back. After all, they were old – creatures of habit!
“It is not something one wants to think about! Much less envision or actually witness.” His mouth was screwed up in a very Haldir-like scowl. “And now we have to find a new spot and quite frankly, I do not think I even want to do it now!”
Loving hands wrapped around him, stroking him, forcing his body to respond. “Oh, I think you are over-reacting and I just bet you will want to when I get through with you.”
Brandy brown eyes peered into sky-blue. “Wanton! Let us get further from here…”
Two horny young ones raced deeper into the woods.
They too, were watched.
“We could have stopped them, kept them from seeing…” Elrohir stopped in mid-sentence and looked at his twin. Elladan shook his head and both spoke together.
It was a cold winter. Snow lay on the ground for many days at a time and all felt cooped up by the warm fires of stoves and fireplaces. Nighttime saw Haldir and Bronwyn burrowing under piled blankets, wrapped in each other, oblivious to the nocturnal wanderings of their children. Legolas himself kept to his rooms at night, unaware that his daughter did not sleep in her bed.
And wisely kept his thoughts to himself.
The wolves knew.
Time moved slowly.
Winter gave way to spring.
Spring brought things close to Rivendell again and soon the Twins went back out on patrol, leaving some things unguarded and unprotected.
No one welcomed the warm weather and budding flora more than Bronwyn.
Or welcomed the warmer weather than her children.
“I still worry for Orophin.” Bronwyn walked the path, observing the last of the purple winter crocuses before they would wilt. “He hears the call and yet he fights it.” She stooped to clear the dregs of the late snowfall from the green leaves. “I don’t understand. Will he die if he does not answer?”
“Possibly.” Legolas stooped, dusting off another flower. “It depends on his will. I have begun to hear it and I yearn to see the waves crashing on the shore and watch the soaring of the gulls.” He caught her eye. “Rumil hears it too.” He helped her stand.
“We do not have long, do we, mellon?”
She was staring off into the distance, as if lost in thought. “My knives are no longer content to be sluggish. Now, they are wild.” Her voice was almost a whisper.
“I do not understand…”
Her chuckle was mirthless. “Wild. They have minds of their own… I know, they always did have minds of their own, but they no longer go where I send them. They can end up too wide, too high, too low. They do not go where I envision and they argue about returning.” Her voice caught up in a sob. “I do not wish to leave Beckett, or any of the others that will want to stay.”
Legolas’ hand reached to her shoulder, offering comfort where none could truly be given. “Do you have any idea who will stay? Who will go?”
She took a moment to calm herself, catch her wavering breath.
“Beckett will stay. Already my bow – the one you gave me – is in his room. He says he hears it vibrate – call – when I am ruminating on past occurrences or future ones. I do not wish to leave him alone.” She took a deep breath. “Sometimes, I wish we had taken them to and lived in more populated places, where he could have met young people his own age. I am afraid our isolated lifestyle might have hindered him.”
“Beckett is a personable Elf. Perhaps, after we leave, he will go to my Ada and meet someone in the Greenwood. Or even Lothlorien. Celeborn will guide him. Many Elves are staying, Bronwyn.”
“Ah, but I would see him settled before we go.” They continued to walk slowly. “Haldir is determined Anselm will go with us.” Her face was screwed in thought. “But I do not think she will want to go. Her heart, her mind wanders and she wishes to go back and explore; to learn what I could not.” Her posture hardened. “I will not leave her here alone and unprotected. I would she have a strong Elf to guide her.”
“Who would you choose for her?”
Bronwyn wound her arm around her friend’s. “If not you?” Legolas smiled at that sentiment. “Heridil. That one has been alone too long. He is quiet, thoughtful, sometimes a little stern. But he is a good Elf. I have never known him to be free with his favors. He would take good care of her.”
Legolas smiled at the thoughtfulness of the woman next to him. “Faeowynne?”
“Oh.” Bronwyn scowled. “That one is a puzzle. Will she go with us? Will she not? My strong, independent daughter. I cannot tell.”
“Would you see her settled as well?”
She snorted. “With who?” Bronwyn then smiled, her voice taking on an unusual dialect and accent, the pitch dropping. “Ah pity da foo’ that tries to tie her down!” They wandered further from the house, and deeper into the more remote sections of the garden. “Ah, who knows what that one will choose.”
Heridil and Anselm sat in his room, their heads and hands together.
“You are sure, Tithen Dulin?”
“Aye. I did not think it would happen so fast. The Valar move quickly, do they not?”
Heridil’s eyes were huge.
A baby. A little Elf-ling. His and hers.
Haldir and Bronwyn would kill them.
Them, nothing. They would kill him!
Heridil swallowed hard and took a deep breath.
“I think it is time I had a talk with your Ada.”
“I will go with you.” She started to rise, but the Elf placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.
“Nay. This must be Elf to Elf. I will not have your Ada think that I am hiding behind you.” He stood up and caressed her head. “I will be back.” He turned and went through the door. “I might be in twenty pieces,” he mumbled, “but I will be back.”
Legolas heard the sounds first. They were faint, barely audible, but definitely there. Bronwyn saw his look of concentration and curiosity as he quietly moved from the path. Soon, she too, heard the sounds. Sounds she recognized, because she had made them herself. Silently, the two made their way through the wooded area into a small glen.
And got the shock of their lives.
He found Haldir in the dining area.
“Heridil!” Haldir looked up from the table, the map spread before him. “Has my daughter been giving you fits? Trying to hide?”
It had been a story, an excuse, they had used often to receive precious moments alone. Heridil looked guiltily at Celeborn and then back at Haldir. He did not see the Dwarf, drinking in the corner.
He found his backbone and squared his shoulders.
Never let him see you sweat!
Haldir looked confused. “Then why are you seeking my council?”
Celeborn looked from Elf to Elf. Perhaps it would be prudent for him to stay put, in case his former March Warden had a sudden urge to throttle the younger Galadrhim. And considering the look on Heridil’s face, that was probably exactly what was going to happen. The Elf Lord sat up from his relaxed position to move to the edge of his seat, just in case he had to move fast.
Heridil opened his mouth to speak.
Only to have Haldir put up his hand.
“Wait…” His voice trailed off. “What is that noise?” He stood with his head cocked to the side. He recognized the sound…
Bronwyn was screeching.
Celeborn could hear her now as well. And she was being bellowed at by…
How long had it been since Legolas had bellowed at anyone?
And at Bronwyn? No one bellowed at Bronwyn except Haldir – not that it did HIM any good…
Celeborn motioned to Heridil to open the closed door and the volume raised considerably.
“Unhand my son, you Neithadol!”
Haldir’s eyebrows rose. Beckett? What had Beckett done?
“Nay, I am going to beat him…”
“In a pig’s eye! You will not touch my son! Not until I do it first!” This was followed by cursing in a language he did not recognize and quite frankly, did not want nor care to know!
Heridil had moved to the wall, near the door, out of range, a mixture of confusion and fear on his face. Haldir calmly turned and rolling up the map he and Celeborn had been looking at, turned back around and sat at the edge of the desk, and waited with his arms crossed.
He was not prepared for the sight that greeted him.
Orelinde and Beckett were shoved unceremoniously into the room by opposing, irate parents. It looked as if Orelinde had grabbed the nearest thing to wear – Beckett’s tunic, of all things. Beckett was struggling into his leggings with every step, trying to dodge both Legolas AND Bronwyn. Upon seeing Haldir in front of them – his look was one of well – schooled calmness – Orelinde moved to Beckett’s side, the both of them clinging to each other.
Ah. When had THIS taken place?
He looked both in the eye. Orelinde returned his gaze, slightly fearful. She had adhered herself tighter to Beckett, was now well into his embrace. Beckett’s was… equally arrogant, direct, and Haldir watched as he pulled the beautiful young elleth closer to him.
Well, the Elfling had good taste.
He returned his attention back to his wife and the Prince.
“I will see him throttled and throttled well!”
“No, you will not! You will have to go through me!”
The two were nose to nose, Legolas bent over, lording over, attempting to intimidate Bronwyn; Bronwyn on her toes, bouncing with each consonant, fists bouncing at her side, punctuating each as well, refusing to be intimidated.
“He seduced my daughter!”
“Excuse me?” Bronwyn had pushed right up against the angry Elf and was now attempting to intimidate him. ” Excuse me? Who was riding who?”
Celeborn caught his snicker. Only Haldir heard it and he glanced idly at the Elf Lord. He looked back at the battling adults. Spittle was starting to fly and Bronwyn was positively frothing. The two young ones were clinging to each other. For a moment, he allowed himself to hang his head in disgust and contemplated the matter at hand. Skills at negotiation that he had learned at the hands of a master quickly surfaced as he sought to control the explosive situation.
The two adults continued their battle.
“I said SILENCE!”
The demanded – and immediate – hush in the room was deafening. Seven sets of eyes of differing colors were now fixated on him. Legolas attempted to wrest control back.
“Haldir, your son…”
“I said be quiet, Prince of Greenwood, and I meant it!” Bronwyn’s jaw dropped to start, but Haldir cut her off. “That goes for you as well, Baraermin. Do not think that because you are my wife and mother to this reckless Elf that I will allow you to roll over me like Sauron’s war machine!” Bronwyn’s jaw snapped shut with an audible click. Haldir looked closely at the two youngling’s in front of him.
Orelinde clung to Beckett, her eyes filled with tears. Beckett held on to her tightly, his gaze meeting his father’s; fearful, but obstinate. With a gentleness few had ever seen, the former March Warden reached and thumbed unshed glimmers of moisture from Orelinde’s eyelashes. “Go to your room, little one.” He laid a single finger across her protests. “I will not shove your obvious feelings to the side, nor will allow injury to come to either you or him. Go.” He motioned her in the direction of her room with his head.
“You will not order my daughter around. She is my responsibility and I will…” Legolas was cut off with a single raised hand.
“Legolas Greenleaf! You might be the Prince of Greenwood, but you try my patience.” Haldir pointed to Beckett. “You! Tie up your leggings and go to Elrond’s office. Heridil.” He addressed the quiet Elf. “Go to Beckett’s room and retrieve a tunic for him. I have not forgotten you and we will talk later.” Heridil did not know if he should be relieved or even more fearful. Haldir continued issuing orders. Bronwyn was too furious to be impressed. “Celeborn, please take my wife to Erestor’s library and ply her with several glasses of wine.” Both Legolas and Bronwyn began to protest again. Haldir rolled his eyes and grabbing her by the shoulders, picked his wife up and set her in front of Celeborn. “Take her now.”
“Come, Tithen Aras. It will be alright.” The Elf Lord took her by the hand and led her, confused and upset, from the room.
Haldir returned his attention to Legolas. Legolas took a deep breath and…
“I demand you…”
“You are in no position to demand anything, mellon.” The tone was deceptively quiet and Legolas had heard it before, but never to him. Haldir had moved to a side bar and was pouring two glasses of wine. He handed one to Legolas and took a sip from his own. Legolas took a deep breath in attempts to calm himself. Fury and angry words would get him nowhere with Haldir.
“Beckett has seduced my daughter.”
“Did he?” Haldir was inspecting the contents of his glass as he swirled the honey colored liquid. “Did she looked… coerced?”
“No, but…” Haldir’s hand went back up. A slight smile lit his face.
“Was she… truly on top?”
The hand again.
“So enmeshed in your protestations with my wife, you were not paying attention to our children, your child.”
“And I suppose you were?” Legolas’ face was flushed in anger, his jaw set. At times like these, one was reminded of his father.
“I saw how your daughter clung to my son, like an apple not ready to fall from the tree. I saw how he clung back to her, willing to be that protective tree. I saw the tears in her eyes, her fear, her embarrassment. Rather than be so quick to throttle my son, perhaps you would be better served to go listen to your daughter.”
Legolas allowed Haldir’s words to sink in. His shoulders sank in defeat and he looked down to see his ever present friend next to his side. Gimli’s hand rested on his arm. “Have I been so blind to my daughter, Gimli?”
The Dwarf sighed and patted gently. “Ye both have. They have been sneaking around since autumn and ye’ve been too wrapped up in your own affairs to notice.”
Legolas head whipped back to Haldir. “Mellon.” His voice was tight. “Your son is staying here. I would my daughter go with me to the Undying Lands.”
“Is that what you want or what she wants?”
Dark blue eyes stared into lighter ones. “I waited for her. I planned on the two of us having forever…”
“Your plans or hers?”
Legolas turned saddened eyes towards the corridor where his daughter had just exited. He handed his glass back to Haldir. “I suppose I should have a heart to heart with my daughter.” Slowly, shoulders slumped, he left the room.
“He knows where to find me, Elf. Hand me your glass and I will fill it and pour another glass. You take it to that boy of yours. Both you and he will need it.”
Haldir looked down at the battle – scarred Dwarf. “Since when did you become a skilled negotiator who worried with the affairs of Elves?” He handed his glass to Gimli and proceeded to yank on his braid.
“Since the day I began to regret what I said to you in the woods.” He handed two glasses to Haldir.
“I had forgotten about that, Gimli, son of Gloin.”
Haldir headed down the corridor.
Now I have loved you like a baby
Like some lonesome child
And I have loved you in a tame way
And I have loved you wild
Seven Bridges Road
Beckett sat on a side chair and he sprang up when his Ada entered the room.
He was met with an icy glare.
It made him feel like a naughty Elfling again and he did not want to be in this position.
“I have questions and you will answer them.” Haldir used the heel of his foot to shut the door.
“Why did you not go out further? How could you get caught?”
Beckett shrugged. “We thought we were far enough.”
Beckett thought for a moment. “Two seasons after they arrived.”
“Really? She was complaining to us about your inappropriate attentions still around then.”
“I changed her mind.”
Haldir handed his son the extra glass of wine and beckoned him to the open balcony. He stared deeply into the swirling liquid.
“Beckett, you realize our time here is short and soon we shall be leaving these shores.”
“I know. I cannot go, Ada. My life is here.”
A bitter knot rose in Haldir’s throat. “I hear the sea, Beckett. I yearn for the gulls and I cannot bear to tell your mother.” Beckett’s arm stole around the older Elf’s waist and Haldir did not trust himself to look over. “What are your plans? Legolas is determined she go with him. You know this?”
“I did not know Legolas’ plans for Orelinde.” Deep breath. “I love her, Ada. She says she loves me and wants to stay with me.”
“Are you sure of her feelings?”
“She completes me.” There was a long pause. “We had wanted to come to you and Legolas sometime in the next few weeks to discuss a soul -bonding ceremony.”
Ah. It was that serious.
“Legolas will not be pleased.”
“We have discussed children. We have discussed agreeing.”
Oh, that was very serious. Haldir took a deep breath.
“I have sent Legolas to speak to his daughter. Let them bring this up and hopefully, if he is reasonable – and he is a reasonable Elf – perhaps the five of us will have this discussion next week like you had planned.” He stepped back and looked his son deep in the eyes.
He had his mother’s eyes and they were flaming, like hers.
“When did you grow to be so tall?”
The young Elf smirked. “I have looked you in the eye for several years, oh ancient one.”
One eyebrow arched. “Ancient? Do you think to take me on?”
The Elfling immediately backed down.
“My apologies, Ada.”
Haldir chuckled and raised his glass. “To many happy years between you and Orelinde.”
The glasses clinked together.
Had there been anything to throw, Bronwyn would have thrown it. She would have aimed it at the smug Elf Lord sitting in front of her and bloodied his nose.
“You knew? You have known for how long and you said nothing? Nada? Squat? Zilch? Zippo?”
Celeborn’s hands were full and he smiled. “If all those words mean nothing, then you are correct. I have known for a long time and I said nothing. Nada. Squat. Zilch. Zippo.” He played the strange words over his tongue, savoring each one. He held out one of the glasses of wine he had. “Here. Take it!”
“AAAAAAAARGH!” Her face was beet red and Celeborn wanted to kiss her, but… “Is there anything ELSE about my children you know about that you have deigned to keep to yourself?” She snatched the glass and took a rather un-ladylike gulp.
Celeborn looked upwards with a half-smile as if something interesting was on the ceiling. “Anselm. Heridil.”
“They have gotten together?” Bronwyn went from abject fury to perky happiness. “They are together? In love? Is it serious?”
“As serious as Beckett and Orelinde. If it eases your mind, Heridil did confide in me his worries of her youth and he did try to deny his feelings for a very long time. He was patient. He did not ply her with empty promises nor did he seduce her. He begins to sense her like Haldir senses you.”
“Oh.” Bronwyn tapped a thoughtful finger against pursed lips. “She will stay, y’know. Will he stay with her?”
“He would follow her to the ends of the earth.”
Her finger continued to tap. “If she stays, she will do just that.” She looked down at the elder Elf.
“Haldir will be as furious about this relationship and its consequences as you are with Beckett and Orelinde.”
“I am NOT angry about Beckett and Orelinde! I am angry because we caught them doing the Horizontal Bop. Legolas blamed my son when it was his daughter’s buttocks bouncing in the air!” She was now pacing the room. “Faeowynne. What is going on with her that you know about?”
Celeborn’s nose was deep in the cup. “I am not telling.” He cut off Bronwyn’s protestations. “I do not know who she sneaks out to. Possibly a ranger, because only when they are around, does she roam.”
“Would you tell me if you knew?”
“I told you of Heridil and Anselm! Why would I not tell you Faeowynne?” He did have his suspicions, but he did not want to be around when that was revealed. A wicked chuckle rose from Celeborn’s throat. “Want to hear a secret?” Bronwyn’s eyes had a wicked gleam as she plopped down next to Celeborn and snuggled up against him. Automatically, his arm rose up and over her shoulder. Bright eyes gleamed into his. “Galadriel and I caught Elrond and Celebrian once.”
“Before their bonding. Before we even agreed to their bonding. In our bed. “
“NO!” Bronwyn was trying to imagine the stately Elf, young and randy, sneaking around…
“I wanted to join them.”
“Celeborn!” Bronwyn’s jaw dropped in astonishment. “She is your daughter! How could you?”
“I know.” His look was of feigned sorrow. “That was what stopped me!” Heavy sigh.
“You are a bad Elf!” she admonished.
“I know.” Celeborn tried to look as contrite as possible, but he couldn’t keep up the pretense for long. He gave up and smiled at her. “So,” he squeezed her closer and waggled an eyebrow. “Haldir will be occupied for a while. Want to be bad?” She smooched him on the mouth before smacking him on the thigh and jumped off the sofa. “Well, boogers.” he snorted into his glass and shrugged. “Just as well. I hear your husband coming down the hall.”
“I suppose I should get good and angry again. That way, he will soothe me and take me to our room and…”
“Oh, stop gloating!” Celeborn’s thoughts immediately pursued out a certain discreet elleth in the kitchens he had sought physical comfort with in the past. “Besides, he will know you are no longer angry.”
“Just at Legolas.”
The door opened and Haldir stepped through.
In your eyes, the light, the heat
In your eyes, I am complete
In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes,
The resolution to all the fruitless searches…
In your eyes
Dinner was stilted, unusually quiet with battle lines half-heartedly drawn and quickly broken down. The entire household knew of what had transpired; in fact, it seemed as everyone had known what was going on and only the three parents had been in the dark. Heridil held Anselm’s hand beneath the table and was aware of Bronwyn’s scrutiny. She winked at him and relieved the Elf of some of his trepidation. Beckett officially asked for Orelinde’s hand in front of all and was greatly surprised at her Ada’s noble agreement. It was decided the five would meet and discuss the formal soul – bonding ceremony. Legolas made it very clear he wished his Ada to be there and informed all he would make sure the audacious sovereign would be on his best behavior.
Seeing the positive outcome of Beckett and Orelinde’s ordeal bolstered Heridil and after the group began to drift off to their respected chambers and household areas, he and Anselm approached Haldir and Bronwyn.
Haldir immediately took in the possessive clutching of Anselm’s hand.
“No.” It was whispered. It was self-denial rather than a refusal. Bronwyn had come up next to him and gently taken him by the hand.
“Hear him out, Cormamin.”
He did. He also took great notice of Heridil’s body-language, deferential to Haldir and Bronwyn, loving, protective of his youngest daughter. Anselm was equally loving and willing to be protected by him. After hearing them out, he magnanimously agreed to allowing a ceremony upon their arrival in the Undying Lands.
“Ada. I… we… would really like to have our ceremony as soon as possible.” Anselm stuttered. Bronwyn looked closely at her daughter, saw her not willing to meet her eyes.”
“You agreed. The two of you have agreed and now…”
Two blonde heads nodded, eyes downcast.
Haldir smiled congenially at Heridil, who immediately knew…
“You are dead. You are a dead Elf!” He started to step forward, but was restrained by Bronwyn’s hand. “Baraermin. Take our daughter to her room so she will not witness…”
“I will take her nowhere. I will, however take a frying pan and lay you out, if you lay one finger on him!”
“I beg your…”
“Don’t beg anything from me, you old prude!” She waved the two off. “Go discuss your actions away from here! Anselm, I am too young to be a grandmother! I shall deal with you tonight or in the morning, so off with you! Separate rooms tonight, please!” She stepped in front of Haldir and waited for the two to exit the room. They were alone.
“You might as well step to the side. He has seduced her…”
“He took advantage of her age and coerced her…”
“He did not.”
“And now she thinks she is in love…”
Her fingertips covered his mouth.
“Haldir. She will stay. Would you leave her here alone? I would not.” She saw her words sink in and realized that he truly had not considered this possibility.
“Nay. I will not leave her. Of all our children…”
“Be honest, Haldir. Do you truly think she will be happy in Valinor? With nothing to explore? There is more here to be done; more here that I do not have time to discover. Beckett will have my bow, yes, but she and I will continue to expand our knowledge of Middle Earth in order to preserve its memory.” She took a deep breath and clasped one large hand in both of hers. “Do you remember that afternoon you were forced to take to me the river for a picnic?”
“Yes. I remember it well.”
“Remember the music?” Immediately, the swell of a brass strung Celtic Harp rose on the air. “You liked it and asked about it. Asked about the composer.”
“Aye.” Haldir lifted her hand and stroked the side of his face against her knuckles. “I remember. He had a strange name.”
“Turlough. Turlough O’Carolan. One of the last of the bards. He is our child, Haldir. Our child come down through Anselm and Heridil. I am the mother of the Bards, Haldir. We are the parents of the storytellers and roving singers. Great Statesmen and philosophers will come from Beckett’s line. The historians, the singers, the artisans, from Anselm. I will not leave her here alone. I wish a strong Elf to guide her, protect her. He senses her like you sense me.” By now, both her hands cupped Haldir’s face. “My dearest love,” she spoke in Westron, “Come lie with me. This hurts you as much as it hurts me. Let us seek solace and comfort together. Please.”
He did not wait to get to their room. Rather, he sank with her on the floor.
Saes – Please
Lirimaer – Lovely One
Baraer – Fiery One
Coramin – my heart
Tithen Dulin – Little Bird
Neithadol – Wrong head
Hello and how are we all? I’m job hunting – interview Thursday, back on old stomping grounds. Short on funds, short on a lot of things. Life is a complete bear right now. but I have faith in abundance.
I am so behind on everything in my blog-world. Behind at RABBBWW, behind here for my reading challenge. So, shall we?
Last month, i finished the current of the foreigner series. I can’t find out when the next one is due. It appears the author has been ill, so I’ll keep an eye out for that. I found a new series – very unusual genre me – paranormal romance. Read my lips – non-stop smut fest.
He kinda looks like unkempt john porter, don’t he? Meet Zander Tarakesh, king of the Vampires. The boy has the thickest Scottish accent!
Along the edges of darkness, a war of attrition rages between the demon plane and the Tehrex Realm. Dark Warriors alone stand between humans and the evil that seeks to destroy them. Zander Tarakesh, the sexy as sin vampire king, leads the battle. Zander is battle-hardened and accustomed to command, yet wrestles to regain control when his Fated Mate is propelled into his world, bombarding him with unfamiliar emotions. His life depends on him uniting with Elsie, the slip of a mortal, who unknowingly protects a vital piece of his soul. Eradicating the demons will be an easier task than combating her sense of guilt and betrayal to gain her acceptance, loyalty, and ultimately her love. And, he must do this before she plunges a stake in his heart. One thing is certain; the flames of passion ignite a fire in their shared souls…
Elsie Hayes’ life is shattered after the vicious murder of her husband. Intent on revenge, she spends her evenings killing creatures others only see in nightmares. A supernatural event teleports Elsie into a world filled with violence, magic and unexpected lust and love when she is thrust from widow to Fated Mate of the enigmatic vampire king. Can she lower the protective shield around her heart, giving herself to a vampire whose power is the very reason her life was changed forever?
After suffering a century of torture and humiliation, Jace still bears the scars that have left his heart closed to love and acceptance. He escapes the prison walls only to realize he’s mystically bound to his tormentor. Believing he doesn’t deserve a Fated Mate, he keeps his distance from females. Renowned for being a level-headed warrior, his control is pushed to the limit when he meets the Vampire Queen’s sister. Not only is his patience tested by Cailyn, but his skills as a sorcerer are challenged when he fights to save her mortal soul.
Cailyn is instantly spellbound by the damaged soul she views in the sparkling depths of Jace’s amethyst eyes. The attraction is so strong that it forces Cailyn to question the direction of the life she has planned with another. Her mundane human life is shaken up by a violent car crash, a Fae spell, expeditions into the bayou, and battles with demons. Amidst the chaos, the developing bond between her and Jace strengthens, leaving their desire for one another undeniable. Of one thing Cailyn is certain, she must help Jace explore the depth of his scars to overcome the wounds of his tortured past and find a future…but will it be with her?
Pema Rowan is the first born of the mysterious and powerful triplets whom prophesy has declared would unite in power and change the face of the Tehrex Realm forever, yet Pema and her sisters have eschewed their role in the world of magic in order to run their business. Pema’s life is turned upside-down when the blessings of Fated Mates returns to the realm. It is further complicated when a mysterious and gorgeous ursine shifter, Ronan, enters her life. Pema doesn’t want to be attracted to Ronan, especially since he once belonged to her archenemy. Pema faces danger left and right as she struggles with what her body wants and her mind refuses. As the High Priestess, Cele, seeks to garner the power of the triplets, Pema must choose between the safety of those she loves, or giving into her darkest desires.
Ronan Blackwell has come to Seattle with the female who has helped him find peace and solace after centuries of living with grief and isolation. When she ends their relationship, he is determined to win her back, only to have everything he has ever believed in challenged by the sexy little witch, Pema. As his emotions force him to choose between the only love he has ever known, and a passion that promises to tear him apart, he discovers that not everything is as it seems. Will the animal inside him win and show Pema the true meaning of life on the wild side, or will he be torn apart by the mysterious forces set against them?
Isis Rowan is the fiery middle sister of the prophesized witch triplets, and when she finds out that the High Priestess Cele has not only attempted to kill her sister, but is also practicing dark magic and committing atrocious acts to gain power, she is ready to chop off some heads. To make matters worse, Cele has also targeted the gorgeous and sexy human-sex demon hybrid Braeden, who also happens to be her Fated Mate. Isis is ready to kick some ass, until she realizes that Braeden is not all that he seems. Once she uncovers the truth, it’s all-out war, and while she has no problem giving her destructive temper free reign, she must channel her anger to thwart Cele, and save those she loves. Goddess help the evil High Priestess when Isis finally gets ahold of her.
Braeden Hall, a cambion who needs sex to survive, finds himself in an impossible situation when his son is kidnapped by an insane High Priestess and held captive. To free him, Braeden thinks he’s given a simple task of collecting information on a sexy female until the witch he is to manipulate ends up being the one female meant for him, his Fated Mate. He is ultimately forced to choose between loving Isis and protecting his son. He wants nothing more than to claim Isis for eternity, but that means his son will die. The precarious balance all cambions live with is threatened, and he fears becoming a full-blown sex demon who will rape and pillage without thought. Will he be able to overcome Isis’ infamous temper and convince her to not only become his ally, but ultimately, his mate?
Of all the Dark Warriors, Kyran Tarakesh is the most aberrant. Having witnessed the brutal murder and rape of his mother seven centuries ago, his sexual preferences are twisted and perverse. He walks the razors edge of control and he likes it that way, until he loses that balance and accidentally kills one of his lovers. As second in line to the Vampire throne, he is precariously close to losing his position, not to mention the respect of his brother and fellow warriors. Just when he thinks it can’t get any worse, the Goddess proves him wrong. With her wicked sense of humor, the Goddess catapults him to the dragon realm of Khoth with Mackendra Callaghan, the very human he has been lusting about for months since meeting her. Mackendra not only plunges a knife deep into his heart, she flees and fights him at every turn, inflaming his desires. The surprises keep coming when he discovers she is his Fated Mate. Every belief he has ever had about intimacy is called into question when his mate gives him a taste of true pleasure for the first time. The passion that burns between them is hot enough to burn them to cinders, but he still must dispel her prejudices about vampires and break through her barriers or lose the other half of his soul forever.
Oooh, my favorite romance cover model!!! he is gorgeous!!!
Suvi is the youngest of the Rowan triplets and prefers high heels to combat boots and parties to battles. Unfortunately, lately, she finds herself fighting more than she does drinking martinis. If she isn’t rebuilding the business she shares with her sisters, she’s searching for their archenemy, Cele. The way Suvi sees it, they’ve done their part and it’s time for a celebration, but that isn’t in the cards for her. The moment she has dreamt of her entire life happens when she meets her Fated Mate, yet she isn’t able to plan the party of the century. Instead, she and her sisters have seventy-two hours to investigate a murder, locate a rogue vampire, stop an evil witch from stealing their powers and save her mate from a death sentence. She wants nothing more than to spend her days and nights in sensual oblivion with her vampire, but the clock is ticking.
Caine DuBray’s world is upended when he wakes up next to a human female that has been drained dry. As the only vampire on scene, her death is immediately pinned on him. He believes he is innocent, but the problem is that he can’t recall the details of their date. Rather than executing him immediately, the Vampire King takes pity on him and gives him three days to prove his innocence. He discovers that one of the witches he is directed to is his Fated Mate. Their passion sets him on fire and leaves him desperate for the chance to spend eternity with the sexy witch.
Ah, yes, Never. I love Never, almost as much as I love Crispin.
In the demi-god’s wake, a stone-plague creeps across the lands and Never must stop the ancient decay before it swallows everyone he cares for.
Despite his determination, there is no cure and no guarantee that even his Amouni blood will be enough. Never’s search for the means to fight back leads him to the Amber Isle once more, where the island continues to hold its secrets close.
But it is there that Never encounters the beautiful and mysterious Rikeva, a Quisoan Weaver on her own quest, and realises that together, there might be a way to stop the plague after all…
And there you have it – 6 over-sexed romantic paranormals (there are 20 currently) and the next installment of Never.
Please keep me and my son in your thoughts and prayers. we moved out of our home this week and life is pretty tough right now. I really need this job.
Of Birthday Cakes and Bunnies
Here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin’ down the bunny trail
Easter’s on its waaaay…
The sun was out over Rivendell, warming the shadows, chasing the dew from the last of the frost bitten follage of the gardens. Gone was the snow, the biting air. Gone was the rustle of dried leaves.
Gone was the peace and the quiet that the previous Lord, Elrond Peredhil, had enjoyed so.
“Beckett! That was my egg!”
“I got it first, therefore it is my egg!”
“I saw it first!”
“I got it first!”
“You warg! Give me back my egg!”
High screeching of an angry, broken-hearted little Elleth rent the air, frightening off lovebirds and robins.
Bronwyn sat on a bench, layers of diaphanous robes floating about and pooling at her feet. She shook her head in ire and started to stand.
“N’uma, Baraermin.” Her husband laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “He has displeased you, therefore he is my ion and I will deal with him.” Haldir strode off into the gardens, his gaze fixed on the red-headed Elfling who did not see him coming.
Bronwyn heard someone sit behind her, a blonde head coming to rest on her shoulder. She reached backward to pet the silken locks. “Rumil, you act exhausted! I was the one up late, coloring eggs and baking and decorating birthday cakes!”
“That you were!” Haldir’s brother sighed heavily. “But Heridil, Celeborn and I were up before dawn to hide the eggs and the chocolate bunnies. Ah!” Rumil’s head rose. “Did you beat that wayward ion of yours?”
“N’uma. Move!” Haldir shooed Rumil away and took his place on the bench, enveloping Bronwyn into strong arms. “I simply made him give several of his eggs to Faeowynne.”
“I am sure he was perturbed at your decision.”
She felt him hug her tighter. “He was not happy. I swear, Baraer, you might say he has my arrogance and I admit he favors me, but he has your stubborn bottom lip when he pouts!” Breath expelled painfully when she jabbed him in the side.
“I do not pout!”
Several snorts exploded behind her and she turned to see Rumil, Heridil, and Celeborn standing in row behind the bench.
“I don’t! How dare you even suggest that I do such a thing.” She turned back around and crossed her hands over Haldir’s large ones. “I swear!” she mumbled. “I don’t know why I even put up with the lot of you!” She began plucking angrily at perceived lint on Haldir’s tunic. “I’m up half the night, making cakes for the girls, because Faeowynne likes chocolate and Anselm prefers apple spice. I made chocolate bunnies…”
“You lie!” Rumil chortled. “Oh you foul deceitful creature…”
“Okay, okay, okay… I didn’t make the chocolate bunnies. Thank Iluvatar Elrond’s baker is human and stayed.” The Elves agreed quietly. Bronwyn’s cooking was passable at best and Elrond’s baker did the most positively sinful things with confections…
Heridil’s thoughts were interrupted by an insistent tugging at his tunic. He looked down to the see the youngest daughter of his friends looking up at him with large blue eyes.
“Heridil. I can’ts find my bunny. Beckett has his and Faeowynne has hers. Beckett says he’s gonna find mine and eat the eyes.” The lower lip on the child began to quiver. “Do you know where the Easter bunny hid my bunny?”
The quiet Elf smiled down at the little Elleth. Taking her by the hand, he led her back into the garden. “No, but perhaps I can help you find your bunny.”
Bronwyn was looking over her husband’s shoulder, smiling at the retreating form of the tall Elf and her daughter. “Heridil is so patient with her.”
Haldir’s thoughts were pensive. He had noticed his daughter would seek his friend out as much as she did her Ada. He felt a twinge of jealousy. “He needs a wife and Elflings of his own.” An elbow jabbed him again. “Baraer, must you jab me that way?” He turned her loose to rub his aching side.
“Tithen Aras, I am most curious.” Celeborn decided to speak up, hoping to aid his former MarchWarden from being bruised too terribly bad. “I do not understand this business with colored eggs and spring bunnies…”
“In my Earth, Easter coincides with the Spring Equinox. It is a time of rebirth, renewal. Life that has been dormant comes back in its glory. It is a time to celebrate the fertility of the earth, of life. And let’s be honest,” she whispered, conspiratorially, “what is more reproductive than the rabbit?” She smiled saucily at Haldir.
“Hmmm!” Haldir pulled her in closely. “Ready to discuss agreeing again?” He pressed his head to hers.
“ARGH! Beckett! You Orc!”
Haldir slumped as he felt his wife’s body shaking with laughter. “Absolutely not. I will not bring more children into this world for Beckett to pester.” She smiled and pointed with her chin. “Looks as if Anselm found her chocolate rabbit.” Haldir turned to see Heridil slowly making his way, allowing the tiny, chattering Elleth beside him to keep up. He was carrying her basket, as her hands were quite full of edible rabbit.
“She’s a cutie, Cormmin. We did good.” Bronwyn whispered.
“If you are saying she is a beautiful Elfling and we should be proud, then aye. I agree.” Haldir kissed his wife’s forehead and stood up. “I will go get our battling offspring for lunch.”
More screeching from the gardens.
“Perhaps, I shall leave those two out there to commence war and we can go in and eat in peace?” Haldir looked at his wife.
“It is Anselm’s birthday as well.”
Haldir shrugged. “Ai.” He headed off down the path to where the sounds of scuffling could now be heard.
A well-known form sat next to Bronwyn and she was well prepared for the familiar embrace.
“I have another question, lirimaer.”
Bronwyn patted the hands that came around her and anchored them safely at her waist. “Certainly, Celeborn. What do you wish to know?”
“Why do you celebrate the date of birth and not the date of conception?”
She smiled and turned to take in the handsome ElfLord. “Human women are very different from Elves. Our reproductive systems work almost constantly, due to short life spans, and we don’t really know the exact date we become pregnant. Most of the time, we are six to eight weeks pregnant before we really know that we are. So we celebrate the day our children come into the world.” She grinned up at him. “Understand?”
Celeborn looked down at the minx in his arms and with a long finger, pushed an errant curl from her eye. “I believe so.” He opened his mouth to say something, only for her to interrupt him.
“No, I do not wish to go be bad!” Celeborn’s shoulders slumped in mock defeat. She had beaten him to the punch. Seeing her husband come through the trees with an Elfling in hand, she stood up, arms outstretched. Her daughter ran happily and jumped in her mother’s arms.
“I found a chocolate bunny and seven pink eggs and two orange eggs and five green eggs. I had nine blue eggs, but Beckett took them and said girls cannot have blue anything!
“I left all the pink eggs.” Beckett intoned seriously. “Really, mother…”
“Did you find a chocolate bunny?”
Bronwyn turned to look at her daughters. “And both of you found chocolate bunnies?”
Anselm lifted hers for all to see and Faeowynne nodded. Her mouth was full of chocolate bunny ears and a small bit trickled down her chin. In the way of small children, she wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her tunic.
Bronwyn stretched out her hand to her youngest Elfling.
“No more chocolate, sweetling. We have a ham and sweet carrots and cake inside.”
“And candles? Do we have candles to blow out?”
“But of course!”
The little Elleth ran excitedly into the home of Elrond, determined to be the first to blow out her candles. The rest of the Elves made to move, follow her in.
Beckett hung back.
“Beckett, why do you linger?” Haldir asked. “I know it is not your birthday cake, but there will be some for you as well.”
Beckett shrugged and walked up to his sister.
“Anselm.” He reached out his hand.
There was a blue egg in it.
“Do not say I have never given you anything.” He gently plopped it in her basket and strode into the house. The group stared at him, dumbfounded at this unexpected turn of events. “Of course,” he spoke over his shoulder as he reached the doorway, “the longer you stay out here, the more of your cake I will eat!”
Anselm screamed at the top of her lungs, shoving the basket, with its chocolate bunny into her mother’s hands and chased her brother into the house.
Bronwyn felt Haldir’s strong arms pull her into his embrace.
“Uma, they are mine when they displease you.”
Screaming from the house.
“Don’t mention the word agree for at least… four hundred years.”
“I love you, Cormmin.”
“I never doubt it for a moment!”
“Want some cake?”
Haldir put his arm through Bronwyn’s and led her into the house.
“I want to dip you in chocolate and lick it off!”
It’s here!!! Richard’s bday!!! Please jump in and bid! You you want to!!!
Fey in the Forest or Skulkers in the night
Orophin and Bronwyn walked through the gardens, slowly, taking care not to disturb the frozen beds and staying to the paths. He leaned on her less and less each day and slowly, he came back to his old self.
He still grieved for his children and he still heard the call of the sea.
She and Haldir had decided in the night , that had it not been for Tomasil’s desire to go to Valinor with his Ada, Orophin would probably had faded before reaching Rivendell.
Tomasil was like a puppy. A little lost puppy. Every day, he picked someone else to follow and pester. He asked endless questions, wanted fathomless answers. He became everyone’s shadow.
Rúmil said it was just like having Orophin growing up again.
Celeborn knew it was like having a young Orophin around again.
And as Orophin’s will and desire to move on grew, even if only for the sake of his youngest child, his interest in his skill, his old life returned. Soon, he and Faeowynne were off together, shooting, testing each other’s abilities.
Faeowynne, despite her lack of decorum and tact, succeeded in bringing her uncle out of his doldrums.
Beckett and Orelinde continued to sneak off, sometimes to explore the woods and plains surrounding Rivendell, sometimes to explore each other.
Oh, alright. They always explored each other.
Bronwyn poured over maps, left over scrolls, looking for anything that she might have missed. Looking for any excuse to stay longer, put off the inevitable.
She did not see the growing relationship between her son and Legolas’ daughter.
Anselm became more and more in tuned with nature. She spent more time in the trees, in the woods, listening and watching to the animals. More often than not, she took a lute that her Ada had given her and sang. She completely ignored the dangers of wandering off, much to the consternation of her parents. She was to busy seeing the beauty of nature, of music, the Elves.
One Elf in particular.
And oh, she wanted him. But how to get his attention…
Bronwyn’s knives barely answered her returning gestures. The day was coming; coming soon and she responded by searching for more things to do, more places to explore, return to. There was never anything.
Haldir could feel her growing ire, her growing desperation. And quietly, he shared in her despair.
Rúmil was now starting to hear the call of the gulls.
Celeborn watched as the family unconsciously prepared to leave for the Undying Lands. He did not hear the call and still had not decided on whether or not to go to Valinor. He was having dreams, some disturbing; some, not so disturbing. Some were rather… nice, making him feel a thousand years young.
He also saw the relationships of the children that Legolas, Haldir, and Bronwyn did not seem to see. And he kept that information to himself.
Afterall, he was not known as ‘Celeborn the Wise’ for nothing.
Heridil watched. And guarded. And waited. Headaches were beginning to plague him. He knew what it was and it disturbed him.
Time grew shorter and shorter.
Hey Little Red Riding Hood
You sure are lookin’ good
A big bad wolf could wantHowl!
Sam the Sham and the Pharoah’s
I don’t know who wrote it
Her interest captured, she shimmied down the tree to get a better look at the young bluebird, floundering on the ground. Anselm was intrigued by the wonderment of the new life, being pushed from the nest by parents who were not over-indulgent. As she leaned against the tree, she felt it, no, not felt…
heard it, sigh.
She sighed with it. Like the young bluebird, she too would soon be jumping from the nest, the safe cocoon, spun and furnished by her parent’s love. Whispers of past conversations flew through her mind…
Listen to me!
Little Red Riding Hood
I don’t think little big girls should
Go walking in these spooky old woods alone
“Ada?” She had asked once, while he was braiding her hair. (He did it so much better than Mama, having had over 3000 years practice.) “Ada. What should I be when I grow up?”
Haldir’s fingers had deftly arranged the soft moon-silk tresses, anchoring the braids securely with clips bartered for in an Enedwaith market. In the mirror they stood in front of, she could see the concentration on his face.
“You should be anything you wish, sweetling.” he stated firmly, He carefully placed locks of hair on her shoulders and smiled. “What do you wish to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be Mama.” She watched her father’s eyebrow arch. “I want to go where you would not allow Mama to go. I want to go into the desert of Far Hara…”
Haldir turned her to face him and gently placed a finger on his youngest daughter’s lips. “There is a reason why I would not allow your mother to go. The danger outweighs the knowledge. Likewise, I shall not allow you to go.” He kissed the furrowed brow. “And besides,” he added, “there is only one of your mother!” Thank Iluvatar, he added silently. He left the room, leaving Anselm in front of the mirror.
She pursed her lips in deep thought and glanced at the green-eyed Elf standing in the doorway, with his arms crossed.
The Elf’s eyes gazed at her; she felt he could look into her soul. “You are more like your mother then he admits. You are not of this world. But you should forge your own path.” He turned and followed her Ada. Her eyes followed the retreating back until it could no longer be seen.
“Anie. That is as many words I as have ever heard uttered from that Elf’s mouth!” Her twin, Faeowynne, looked up from the bed. She was polishing her bow. Again. Anselm looked at her through her reflection in the mirror.
“Wynie.” Only they used the diminutive forms of each other’s names and then only in private. “He only speaks when he has something important to say.” She smiled down the hallway where the quiet Elf had disappeared. “I like that about him.”
The bluebird suddenly rose in the air and fluttered drunkenly off. Anselm checked the location of the sun. It was almost sunset. Still time to explore the woods surrounding Imladris, she thought. She wandered deeper, listening to the groanings of the trees.
She did not notice the feral, hungry eyes that followed her.
“Rúmil? Orophin? Is Anselm with you?” Bronwyn’s anxious eyes searched the small group, returning from the hunt.
“She is not here?” Haldir came in behind his brothers, both fists full of long-eared conies. “Have you checked the gardens? The falls?” Haldir knew his daughter well. His wife did not jump to conclusions concerning this child and he could feel her concern, growing now by leaps and bounds.
“Haldir, we have searched everywhere.” Celeborn’s voice was even, but tight. “We had hoped she was with you.” He motioned to Tomasil, who took the conies from Haldir.
“Ada. Orophin and I killed…”
“I know.” Haldir felt Bronwyn’s panic rise. His wife did not need to be reminded that Faeowynne and Orophin had killed several Orcs nearby just on the other side of the river the previous week. “Tomasil. Faeowynne.” Haldir’s voice was control personified. “Take your uncles’ and Heridil’s catches into the kitchen. Stay here with…”
“I wish to go with you. I do not wish to…
“You will stay here, because I asked you to.” Haldir’s gaze was imperious, boring into the young elleth’s. She knew better than to argue or disobey. “Beckett…”
“I am filling the quivers, Ada.” Their eldest quickly sped down the hallway, red hair flying.
“I will go.” Bronwyn spoke up. “My knives are sluggish, but they are still weapons to be reckoned with.”
Haldir strode to his wife, who was agitated and wringing her hands. Bronwyn NEVER wrung her hands. “Baraermin. You will charge into any situation and create more havoc.” He enfolded her into a strong, comforting embrace. “Besides, you know this child. She has probably climbed a tree, found a bird’s nest and is so busy communing with the little voices in the eggs, she has forgotten the time.” He leaned over and whispered in her ear. “We will find her, unscathed. I shall become very angry, confine her to her room, confine everyone to their rooms and you and I can go into Erestor’s office and make love on his desk!” He quickly pinched her backside and waggled an eyebrow.
Bronwyn snorted. Elves!
Celeborn met them at the entrance of the last Homely House. “I will stay. Faeowynne is not known for her gentle touch, I would not know why as her parents are such paragons of tact!” The Elves were shouldering freshly-filled quivers and buckling on knives. Haldir was sheathing his sword.
“Ai. This I know well. I do not know where she gets her loose tongue from.” His eyes bored into the Silver Lord’s. ” I hope I do not come home to find you in bed with my wife and daughter.” he said glibly. Both of his brothers snorted in laughter. Celeborn’s shoulders shook with mirth.
“Nay. I well recall King Thranduil bent over when he tried anything with your wife. Besides,” he shrugged in that elegant way of his people, “you would kill me.”
What big eyes you have
The kind of eye that drive wolves mad
So just to see that you don’t get chasedI think I ought to walk with you for a ways…
Anselm roamed deeper into the forest. She knew she was being followed. The trees had warned her. Still, she had no worries. He would come. She had called him.
Heridil shouldered his quiver, ready to move out. As an afterthought, he went into the gathering area where the family wolves lounged around the fire. “Franz.” A black and white wolf, with silver eyes sat up, alert. “Come. We must find your mistress.” The other wolves watched in silence as the large beast went to stand beside the quiet Elf. He chuffed once.
“I know. I have a gnawing in the back of my head, as well.”
The sun was now down, twilight ascending. The moon was up and Anselm moved deeper into the woods.
The one that was following her was gaining ground, getting closer.
Little Red Riding Hood
I’d like to hold you if I could
But you might think I’m a big bad wolf
So I won’t
Rúmil was ahead. Of the brothers, he was the swiftest tracker. He stood outside, nose to the air.
“She has been out many hours. Her scent grows cold.”
Heridil felt a twitch in his mind. He scanned quickly. “This way.” he blurted and he and Franz dashed off into the woods.
“What the hell?” The Brothers Lorien, along with Beckett stared dumbly at the retreating figure, disappearing into the night.
“What is he doing?” Beckett asked quietly.
“Going in the right direction.” Rúmil answered his nephew. “Come quickly. This does not bode well. I can feel anguish in the trees.” The four took off after Heridil on silent feet.
It was now dark, and Anselm was now struggling as she strove deeper. She had not been gifted with the keen Elvish eyesight of her father and now she was hoping to lose her tracker and shimmy up a tree long enough to hide so the one she desired would find her. Or her Ada.
Ada finding her right about now, even with his temper, was appealing.
A filthy hand grabbed her arm and spun her around, a smelly, grimy body pinning her to a tree.
“Well, look what we have here. An Elf Maiden, lost in the woods.”
What full lips you have
They’re sure to lure someone bad
Heridil went cold. She was in danger, he knew she was in danger and he charged off, his vision sharpening in the dark. Franz darted after him, the two leaving just barely enough trail for the others to follow.
They plunged deeper into the forest.
The ragged man pushed her against a tree, his eyes raking over her young, lithe body. Anselm stared back, looking deeply into dull, brown eyes. His hair was matted, filthy and he had a scruffy beard.
She jerked away, turning around the trunk, in effort to run deeper into the forest. He ran around the other way, catching her by sleeve. She heard material rip as he slung her hard against the trunk.
He pressed against her.
“And what is your name, pretty Elf-maid?” Anselm scrunched up her nose.
His hand cracked across her face. Anselm reeled at the burning slap; no one had ever lifted a hand to her, not even her parents. Her Ada and Mama had disciplined with love and actions, never resorting to physicality. Anger, a feeling that rarely crossed her features, erupted.
“Let’s try again. What is your name, pretty Elf-Maid?”
Anselm spat, spittle landing directly on the man’s cheek. Beckett had taught she and her sister to hock lugies back when they were young. Fury raged in the man’s face, as he wiped at the liquid dripping down his face. He openly sneered. His hand raised again.
“I would not do that if I were you.” she said calmly.
“And what are you going to do about it?” The man’s voice was venomous.
“He comes. They come.”
“He?” The man scoffed. “They? He-They who?”
At that moment, he felt a knife tip at the back of his neck. He heard a low growling.
“You will lower your hand.” The voice was low, authoritative. “You will step back, or I shall either cut your throat, or Franz will tear it out.”
Slowly, the man turned.
And looked directly into green-eyed fury.
“Where did he move to so fast?” Beckett’s eyes were everywhere. “One minute, he was here and the next, he was gone.” His youngest sister pestered him unmercifully growing up, but he had always felt a responsibility towards her. Rúmil pointed.
They entered the forest and soon heard low voices. And Franz growling.
“Ah.” The man licked his lips nervously. The Elf was slender, but he still did not want to take this one on. Especially when he had a knife at his throat and a wolf at his beck and call. “The lady is yours. I meant no harm.” His eyes shifted back and forth, quickly, trying to come up with a suitable fabrication. “I was lost and looking to ask directions.”
“And asking for directions included assaulting her? Striking her?” Heridil never took his eyes from the miscreant. He nodded to Anselm, beckoning her to step behind him, which she did quickly. “Do you have any idea whom you have touched?” Heridil felt cool hands grasp him around the waist. He stroked the mass of long hair. He never took his eyes from the rogue.
But he sensed, at the same time the man saw, his companions entered the glade.
So until you get to Gramma’s place
I think you ought to walk with me
And be safe…
Anselm sensed them as well. Franz had stopped growling and she turned, her arms still wrapped around the green-eyed Elf, to see her Ada, uncles, and brother standing in the twilight. Heridil broke the contact of their two bodies, shoving her towards her Ada. She went from one warm, protective embrace into another.
Haldir gently clucked her under her chin, tilting her jaw upward. He turned her face from side to side, taking in the red slap mark, the torn tunic.
“That man did this to you? He has… harmed you?” His eyes narrowed, inspecting her closely.
“Only the slap.” Anselm’s eyes slid to her rescuer. “Heridil stopped him in time. Heridil and Franz.”
Haldir hugged his youngest close, lips brushing her brow. When she pulled back, he stroked the cheek, the heat from the blow, evaporating.
“Heridil. We will take over from here. Please take her back to the Homely House.” Heridil’s knife against the man’s throat was replaced by the points of three arrows. “Her mother is anxious. She will not rest until her youngest chick is back in the safety of her sight.”
Heridil stepped back, looking down at the faint outline of the wolf.Are you coming with us, Franz?” The wolf behaved as if he had not heard the Elf speak, plainly stating in actions its intent to stay.
Heridil took that information in stride. He gestured to Anselm, taking her by the arm. He looked up to Haldir. “Haldir, will you be long?”
The tattered man paled at the mention of Haldir’s name. That Elf was legend and if this was his daughter… he hoped his death would be swift.
Haldir’s eyes narrowed, gleaming eerily in the quickly darkening sky.
I’ll try to keep satisfied
Just to walk by your side
maybe you’ll see things my way
Before we get to Gramma’s place
The Elf and the elleth strode quickly from the forest into the dale surrounding Imladris. The glow from the dwelling could be seen easily. Bronwyn had gone through the residence, lighting every globe, every lamp, as if to guide her daughter home. The two stopped on the hill, looking down.
“Your parents will no longer allow you to roam freely, child.”
Anselm stopped and glared at her rescuer.
“I am not a child.”
Heridil snorted. How like her mother, she sounded.
How like her mother, she looked.
That thought bothered him. Bothered him deeply. He shook the nagging voice off. His voice took on forced sternness.
“You are not? After today, some one will follow you around. No longer will you have freedom of movement.” The fact was not lost on him that she held him by the hand. Gently.
“I am not a child!” she repeated. “I will not be treated as such!”
Heridil bent lower, his face closer to hers.
“What you desire matters not. You will be… watched. You cannot fend for yourself and…”
Anselm grabbed him by the face and inexpertly ground her mouth into his.
She released him just as quickly.
And smiled, obviously very proud of herself.
Heridil stood up and glared.
“What was that?”
Her face fell.
“That was a… a… kiss…”
The Elf looked back into the woods. He could hear nothing. He looked towards the Homely House, where Bronwyn, Faeowynne, Celeborn and others waited news.
“No. You are not a child.” Heridil watched her begin to puff up again. “But,” he wagged a single finger in front of her. ” but nor are you an adult. You have much to learn, Tithen Dulin, about many things.”
“Learn?” Her face was incredulous, the wind knocked out of her sails. “Such as?”
Heridil stood up straight and tucked her hand into his elbow. “How to kiss, for one thing. There are many things for you to learn, but I suspect it will be sometime before your parents let you out of their sight!” He led her slowly towards the collections of lights.
“And when they do?”
“When they do, I will teach you how to kiss.” He held her hand tightly and she pressed against him.
“Will you teach me other things? Things that are… pleasing?”
Heridil smirked. He could sense her hopefulness. “I will not teach you to please others.” He felt her sigh in disappointment.
“I will teach you to please me.”
I’m gonna keep my sheep suit on
‘Til Im’ sure you’ve been shown
That I can be trusted walkin’ with you alone
I mean BaaBaaaaaBaaaaa!!
Bronwyn fussed over her wayward chick, as suspected, and no one asked the fate of the ragged man when the rest of the party returned less than thirty minutes later.
As Haldir promised, he confined Anselm to her room, and did not relent in allowing her to leave the perimeter of the Last Homely House until procuring her promise of having someone with her at all times if she left.
That night, as Anselm chaffed in her self made prison and while Haldir made passionate love to his wife on Erestor’s desk, Heridil paced the gardens and water’s edge of Rivendell.
Where the hell had his brain been? What in all of Middle Earth had possessed him to say that… offer to… nay – not offer… he WOULD teach her. To please him?
Haldir would kill him if he laid a finger on his youngest child. Beckett had been The Son; Faeowynne was a tough, gregarious, ferocious girl. She knew when to butt ahead and when to retreat. She was capable of defending herself. But Anselm was Bronwyn and Haldir’s baby. Haldir doted on her. He would never have believed Haldir would be this way with any child, much less this one. But, aye, Haldir would slit his throat for even looking at this other-worldly daughter of his.
Haldir? Gah! What would Bronwyn do to him? Bronwyn would sling those mighty sound waves at him until his eardrums ruptured!
Melko’s Chains! Anselm was 98 years old. Young. Still an Elfling. Memories assaulted him, ensnaring his guilt, pricking his conscious: her riding on his lap when they traveled from Isengard, riding her on his shoulders as a small one, pretending to be a Mearas. He taught her to fletch arrows. He had held her, changed her clothing and bathed her as a babe. He had pulled her out of more trees than he cared to count. He was an uncle to her. She was…
The Elf was startled from his melancholy. His eyes jerked to the Silver Lord, who had somehow moved up next to him without his noticing.
“Oh, stop it!” Celeborn waved a hand at him and made a face. “You are troubled.”
“You were always a wretched liar!” Celeborn smiled at the young Galadhrim. “Now, what is it about Bronwyn’s daughter that has you so upset?”
The Elf pulled himself up to his full height. “Sir, I have no idea what…
“If you continue on this path, I shall be forced to pull you over my knee. It has been awhile since I have done that.” Celeborn looked away, with a small smile. “Of course, I should probably not do that. I would enjoy it too much…” His voice trailed off, a bemused expression on his face. The breeze flitted through the ElfLord’s long tresses. As quickly as he smiled, his look returned to seriousness. “You are bothered. Tell me.”
Heridil perused his tips of his boots, the toes barely visible in the moonlight. “I… I am ashamed…”
A snort rose from the vicinity of Celeborn’s mouth. His shook his head in vexation. “Fine. Trip over your tongue! Shall I tell you what I think is wrong and you may say ‘aye’ or ‘nay’?” He did not wait for the young warrior to agree. “You loved Bronwyn once. Deeply. Correct?”
Heridil nodded, his eyes fell. He knew Haldir had known; he had even spoken to him about it. He did not know it was wide spread knowledge. Had he been so obvious?
“And now you find yourself having feelings for this daughter of hers and you fear you are simply transferring your emotions from one woman to one who has many of her characteristics.”
Heridil nodded again.
And promptly found himself soundly thumped upside the head.
“Silly Elf! Do you not see her Ada in her as well?” Heridil gaped at his Lord. “She looks at you like Haldir looks at Bronwyn. Ownership.” Celeborn put up his hand to stop Heridil from interrupting. “No, he would never tell her he owned her. But he owns her heart. You should have noticed how gently he holds it. And you better realize how gently Bronwyn holds his as well. Anselm wants to hold your heart. Not so gently, at first as she does not know how. Look closely. She is an arrogant little puss! She desires you and she has you exactly where she wants you! While she sits in her room, planning her next move, you are out here, pacing the grass into dust, eating yourself alive for having normal responses! She will pull you around by the nose if you do not take control. And soon. Tell me.” Celeborn looked at him, curiously, “who kissed who?”
“She kissed me.”
Celeborn let out a deep sigh.
“But, it was not a very good one and I asked her what it was supposed to be.”
Celeborn chuckled. “Good come back!” He nodded into the moonlight. “You might be able to grasp control of this situation yet.”
“My Lord… she is… young…”
“And? Trust me. That is a good thing!”
“She is young!” Heridil persisted. “She is Haldir’s tithen aras. He will kill anyone who touches her. Bronwyn as…”
“She has to grow up sometime.” Celeborn waved his hand dismissively while contemplating the moon-kissed waters. “Iluvatar knows Beckett and Faeowynne already have – do NOT look at me like that; I had nothing to do with either of them or their sexual education! Beckett and Orelinde begin to grow careless…” he continued to wave at Heridil, cutting of the Elf’s gasp, “and as for Faeowynne? Let us just say when her parents catch wind of that one is doing, well, you loving their youngest will not amount to any thing. They will be relieved, in fact!”
Heridil felt like he had been knocked to the ground.
“Do you sense her?” Celeborn tapped his forehead. “Do you feel her, here?” Heridil nodded. “Then Iluvatar has ordained it! Why fight?” Slowly Celeborn turned and walked down the pathway, motioning the younger Elf to follow him. “You fear you are using her to replace her mother in your heart, but the truth is, you have known for decades her mother was not for you. Did you stop to think that perhaps your close contact with Tel’ Lindar was to prepare you for the one meant for you? That you have sat and learned at the feet of her Guardian for a purpose?”
They walked a few more steps in silence.
“You fear her youth, her inexperience. Believe me, Haldir had demons – and I mean horrible things – to deal with from Bronwyn’s past. You do not know how it was almost their undoing. Only by the grace of the Valar was she allowed to come back. She realized too late what a gift she had been given. Anselm trusts you. You have forever been her stalwart hero. She trusted you to rescue her. Silly child could have been killed today, had you not known where to hunt for her!”
Slowly, the words began to sink into the quiet Elf’s mind. It did not make it any easier…
“What is she thinking now?” Both Elves had stopped walking and Celeborn watched Heridil.
“I sense… excitement… nervousness…”
“You continue to do that.” Celeborn again was waving a finger at him. “Make your move. Capture her heart. Hold it gently. Teach her, but be aware of her mind’s workings.” The wagging finger tucked itself under the silver robe Celeborn wore. “Be patient. The Valar have great things planned for this child of Haldir and Bronwyn’s. Great things planned for her offspring.” The ElfLord looked back towards the Last Homely House. “I do not know about you, but I find myself rather hungry.” He jerked his head back towards the expansive residence. “Care to join me in the kitchens?”
A small smile tucked itself into the corner of Heridil’s mouth. “You are ever wise, my Lord.”
“Bah! That is not what my wife says!” The two slowly made their way back towards their home.
“What does your wife say?”
Celeborn smiled and chortled. “She says I’m a perverted old Elf.” His smile thinned, faded slowly. “Hmmm. Strange.”
“What is strange, my Lord?”
“I just realized how much I miss her.”
Soon, too soon, Haldir allowed Anselm to leave the confines of the home to roam the woods with an armed guard. At Celeborn’s urging, Heridil was assigned to her.
Bronwyn watched her daughter closely, sensing something was up. And somehow, that meddlesome old geezer she adored had something up his rather generous and not so geezer-like sleeves. Her attention reverted back to the lone scroll she was arguing over with her husband.
Heridil acted most put out, resigning himself to watch over Anselm.
And gently, as promised, he taught her how to kiss.
The moon waxed and waned.
The seasons changed.
Springtime turned to summer.
Summer turned to autumn.
The temperature dropped and lovers held each other closer.
The children grew bolder.
“You two are disgusting!”
Elrohir and Elladan looked at the interloper.
“Oh, you should talk, Faeowynne!” Elrohir smirked at the short blonde. “What is it we do that is so appalling?”
“Spying on my siblings! Do you not have anything better to do?”
The twins looked at each other, deep in thought.
“No. We have done that. We could…”
“Bores us!” They finished together, smirking.
“And besides..” Elrohir started… ” We are not…”
“Spying. We are keeping the…”
Faeowynne scowled. “I hate it when you do that. What do you mean, keeping the coast clear?”
Elladan pointed to his right. “Well, if one walks five minutes in that direction, they will catch Beckett and Orelinde trying out a new position.”
“They are most inventive.” his twin added sagely. Both nodded to each other. “Of course, leaving that book…”
“Out where they could find it…”
“Book? What book?” Faeowynne demanded.
“Well, we found this book…”
“It was illustrated and hidden on top of…”
“…one of the shelves in Erestor’s library…”
“…disgusting. Who would have thought…”
“…Erestor would be so perverted! It was very…”
Both twins politely coughed.
Faeowynne rubbed the bridge of her nose with her fingers. “Fine.” she gritted. “You provided them with reading material and they are now humping away with no thought as to who might walk up on them, so you are patrolling. What about Anselm?”
“She and Heridil are over in that direction…” Elrohir pointed to the opposite side…
“…about a six minute walk. Poor…”
“…Heridil. He is such the gentleman. She will not…”
“… go any further than allowing him to fondle her breasts through her tunic. He is…”
“…walking rather stiffly these days. Have you not noticed?”
Faeowynne continued to rub her nose. “I have a headache.” She wandered off towards the Rivendell and waved behind her with her free hand. “You two continue to…”
“…Stand watch! Do not worry, fair Faeowynne! We will allow…”
“… no one to disturb your siblings.”
Light laughter echoed into the leaves.
“Shit and spit!” Faeowynne groused. “I hate it when they do that!”
Soft footpads fell on the marble floors. The whisper of a robe slid across the floor, as furtive eyes slid from dark corner to dark corner. Down hallways, the shadow clung to the wall. Until it reached its goal. Slowly, the hand pushed the door open.
His hearing was sharp and he sat up in the bed.
“Darling, you risk much.”
Orelinde crawled into the bed with Beckett. “Your parents are busy with their own selves and Adar is on the other side of the lodging. He will not look for me before sunrise.” She unbelted the robe, flinging it to the floor. She wore nothing underneath. Long, pale hair gleamed in the moonlight. “I want to lie in your arms in a real bed for a change!”
Beckett moved over, pulling back the covers as she joined him.
They did not realize she had been watched.
Anselm peered around the corner.
If I could fly
I’d pick you up
I’d take you into the night
And show you love
Like you’ve never seen…
Heridil was a patient lover. He had attempted nothing, asked for nothing, enduring her questioning touches without complaint. Many afternoons in the forest, they lay in each others arms, speaking without words, wrapped in his cloak, clothes mussed, in disarray. Many times, her fingers traced the outlines of his chest, his hardness. He had never pressed her for more.
As a result, her body ached.
And she wanted what Beckett and Orelinde shared.
She had every intention of staying here in Middle Earth when Mama and Ada left. There were things to do; places still to explore. And she was determined to bind Heridil to her before that time came. He had always been the one she ran to when her parents were not around. He had been the one she rode with when younger. He had always been stalwart, strong.
He had rescued her when she needed rescuing.
Heridil lay awake in the bed, mentally reaching out, probing for her. Today had driven her insane with need. She was growing tired of waiting, yet her fear…
A virgin’s fear.
Over the past months, he had played Celeborn’s words over and over in his mind; trying to understand, trying to reconcile his love, his need, with his guilt. She was so close to giving over. Too many nights, he had gone into the baths, after being with her, and oiled his hand, sat at the edge and thought of her, fantasized his hand was hers, her sheath.
Too many nights, he had woken, dreaming of her, the sheets drenched in sweat and seed.
Not much longer would he wait.
She was coming.
She ached. Ached for him. And he would finally teach her the last art of love. Of trust.
Quench the thirst. Fulfill the need.
He got up from the bed and waited in the shadows.
She did not stop to think she that perhaps she was being selfish in her desire as she slipped down the shadowed passage. She just knew that she could not abide being separated from the quiet Elf.
Her mother had a Guardian. She wanted one to. Unlike her mother, she was choosing hers.
She did not think her mother had complained a whit, however!
Silently, she made her way to Heridil’s door. She pushed it open and was not surprised that it was not locked.
She stole into the room. As with most of the rooms here in Rivendell, Heridil’s private chambers were large, with open balconies looking out into the abundant gardens. It was late summer and the smell of jasmine and roses hung on the air. Anselm crept quietly towards the bed.
It was empty.
She reared back, confusion etched on her features. Where could he be? Faeowynne had been slipping out of their rooms on and off for over a year. Surely, Heridil had not mistaken her for…
“Lirimaer.” He placed gentle hands on her shoulders and turned her to face him. “It is late. What are you doing here?”
Anselm looked up into Heridil’s face. “I could not sleep. I came to look for you.”
A single eyebrow raised. “You found me. Now what do you plan to do?”
Anselm’s mouth flapped for a moment as she attempted to get the words out of her mouth. “I… I… am tired of touching you.” she finally blurted. “I want you to touch me back.”
“You know what you ask of me?”
“You are sure? You are sure you want this?” He searched her face, her eyes. They were bright with need, with fear.
“Yes.” She pulled him towards her. “I love you, Heridil. Make me yours.”
He needed no more persuading. In one swift movement, he swept her from her feet and laid her gently on the bed. His mouth fell on hers, consuming her. His arms encased her, one under her neck, holding her close, the other hand, caressing her hip. For many long minutes, he contented himself with just kissing her, stroking her back, her backside.
Her body pleaded for more.
She ground into him, pushing, hearing a call she did not know how to answer. Her hands flew to the soft tunic he had been sleeping in, pulling on it, tugging it up, her fingertips flying under the material to stroke and tease ridged muscles. She felt him smile against her mouth.”Patience, tithen dulin.” He lifted her shift, exposing her bare bottom.
She groaned at the gentle touch. She pressed into him even more.
One last time, Heridil asked her.
“Are you sure, tithen dulin? Once we start, there will be no turning back.”
Angrily, she pulled up and leapt from the bed. With a vicious yank, she drew the shift up and over her head, standing in the moon’s rays, devoid of anything.
“There. Do you question my desire for you anymore?” Her eyes blazed.
Heridil rose from the bed, his eyes slid up and down her body, causing her to shiver with anticipation. His eyes burned in the night.
Celeborn was right. There was much of her Ada’s arrogance in her. It was time to check that arrogance.
Hold her heart.
“You have had your chances to know anyone else, experiment with anyone else. From this night on, you are mine. Do you understand?”
His tunic and sleep pants hit the floor and he stood in the moonlight with her. She focused on his face.
“Anselm, tithen dulin. Look at me.”
Her words were soft. “I am.”
Something rare and seldom heard happened at that time.
“No, you are not.” He stepped back. “Look at me. All of me.”
Slowly, her eyes traveled his face. They lowered to his shoulders, his chest, down to his waist, down…
Her breath drew in sharply and her eyes flew back to his face.
“We won’t fit! Heridil, how will we…”
The Elf again lifted her into his arms and placed her back on the bed, the rare smile still splitting his features. “Yes, we will.” He stretched out next to her and pulled her into his arms. “Put your hand… here.” He placed her small palm on his chest. “Now, kiss me.” For several minutes, they continued thus until she relaxed in his arms. His hand returned to her hip, her back, stroking, circling. Eventually, he moved to her breasts, perky buds that fit his mouth sweetly. Her own hand began to move, to his hip, around, stroking his leg…
Wide, frightened eyes looked into his.
I will not move. See, what you do to me?” He gently grasped her hand as it hovered above him. He never looked away from her eyes. “Saes.”
On the word ‘please’, asked so quietly, she shyly grasped him around the rim. She was shocked at the heat, the hardness, encased in silky skin. Slowly, she stroked up and down with her fingertips, finally gaining the courage to grasp the head. She stroked the eye, feeling…
“You are wet there!”
“Yes.” He grasped her hand, which, in truth, was causing great havoc on his senses and moved it to her own heat. “Feel. You are wet as well.”
She yanked her hand from his and smacked him on the chest. “I know that! I am always… wet… like that after I have been with you!” she hissed through clenched teeth. “I wondered what was wrong.”
Ah. He DID have a similar affect on her. Gently, he grasped her hand and sucked her… his… their combined juices from her fingers. He nipped the tiny pads. “There is nothing wrong with you.” His eyebrows drew together. “Has your mother not spoken to you about…”
“Yes! Yes she has.” Anselm whispered. “I mean… I know what will happen. It will sting the first time. But she said if I was with someone I loved, who loved me back…” she stopped. She had told him, but…
“Anselm.” Her eyes flew to his, the full moon reflected in his green orbs. “I love you, my little bird. Tithen dulinamin.” He positioned himself between her thighs and lowered his head to her breast, his hands constantly stroking, constantly caressing. “I want no other but you.” Slowly, he kissed his way down, to her abdomen, the indention of her belly. “Whether you go to the Undying Lands, or stay here, I will stay with you.” He nipped and suckled on the area above the joint of her hip, causing her to jump. His thumbs spread her nether region wide to the moonlight and he gazed at the center of her being. “I want to be the Ada to your children and I want keep you safe from any harm.” His mouth lowered and she convulsed, her hands clutching the downy sheets.
Her body tightened…
His finger dipped into liquid heat and he probed, testing her tightness, the tautness of her maidenhead. He added a second finger, gently stretching, readying her for him. She was moaning and thrashing wildly, one hand in her mouth to quell her voice. His tongue suckled at the swollen pearl. As he felt her reach the pinnacle, he pressed the knot inside her harder, causing her to go over the edge. She attempted to buck, held down by his hand as he lapped the lubricating juices from her core. He waited for her breathing to slow, deepen. He pulled up and rolled her into his arms.
“There is sweetness, my love. And then there is passion, hunger, need. That was sweetness.” He pulled her in to him more tightly. “This is passion…”
She completely lost all awareness as his tongue took possession of her mouth.
This kiss was not like the ones in the forest. It was a welcomed invasion. For so long, she had called the shots, decided how far they would or would not go, and now…
She was not going to take this lying down… well, yes she was, but, she wanted to play an active role in her own seduction! Her hands found their way into his hair, played with the tips of his ears.
There was a lot of growling going on and she couldn’t tell whose growls were whose.
In fact, neither one cared…
His hands were back at her breasts, playing with her painfully erect nipples. Her need grew and her hips ground a rhythm as old as time against him.
“Saes.” She was moving against him, grinding, trying to throw her leg over his thigh. He moved fingers down, gently flicking the swollen nub. She groaned whispered, barely heard pleas of release into his neck before she raised her face, her lips, to his…
She nipped his bottom lip.
“Ai…” He rolled her over, settling and placing her legs at his waist. With one swift motion, he raised and buried himself to the hilt. Before she could cry out, he kissed her, deep.
He did not move, allowing her to situate herself to him, his length, his width. Slender fingers gripped his shoulders painfully and when he raised up to look at her, she was white around the mouth.”Liriamer, you are…”
“Ow. I am… fine. Ow. Owowowowow.” Dark blue eyes glared at him. “It is not supposed to hurt anymore?” she whispered. Slowly he began to move.
“No. It will lessen.”
He was right. The sudden jolt of pain quickly faded to pure pleasure. He reached between their fused bodies and quickly, her need rose again.
And as he had waited for thousands of years for the one, and as he had waited for her to grow up enough, he waited for her climax. And when it came, he joined her.
Another set of eyes and ears listened from the hallway. Mutual cries of pleasure softly emitted from the room and Celeborn smiled to himself. Beckett would be happily settled. Legolas would be quite angry when he found out, but he would get over it. Anselm would also be happily and safely settled, a strong Elf and Guardian for her, which she would need. Haldir would be quite angry, but if necessary, he would personally pack his angry former March Warden on the boat himself to keep him from strangling the stalwart Elf who was bedding his youngest daughter. All that remained was Faeowynne. He smiled to himself as he slowly strolled along the halls. It was all coming to a close and even with Bronwyn strongly fighting the inevitable and Haldir trying to keep her on keel, Celeborn was quietly moving in the background, tying up the final strings.
“I wonder if the Twins returned that book Erestor left behind…”
He began to whistle…
Tithen dulin – Little Bird
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
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.
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
From Walt Disney’s Three Little Pigs
Every night after that, the wolf came.
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
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
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
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.
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.
“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?”
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 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.
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.”
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
(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?”
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.
His interest captured, he shimmied down the tree to get a better look at the young Elfling shadowing the young fawn that grazed just at the edge of the doe’s watchful gaze. Rumil was intrigued by the wonderment in his nephew’s eye, as he quietly made his way in a large circle, as to not disturb the young deer. Cautiously, Beckett approached, hand outstretched, quietly whispering. The Elf watched in amazement as the fawn reached her nose out to the Elfling and nuzzled him gently.
For several minutes, the earth stood still as Rumil watched youngling and youngling communing together. Too soon, the sweetness of it all ended and the fawn wandered off, leaving the Elfling standing in the clearing alone.
“You have wandered far, Beckett. Do your parents know where you are?”
The Elfing looked over his shoulder to his uncle. “They are too busy to worry about me.” Rumil recognized Haldir’s scowl on the child’s face and he moved closer, walking side by side with Beckett.
The Elfling’s likeness to his father was remarkable. He would be his very image, if it wasn’t for his wild auburn hair. Beckett had his father’s stoic manner, his sternness, his scowl, his very arrogance. But he had his mother’s sense of independence and impulsiveness. And Rumil realized he was dealing with Bronwyn’s rash temerity at this very moment.
“So, what have your ada and mama done to upset you so?” They began to stroll through the woods, Rumil gently steering the Elfling back towards Isengard.
“Ada promised to take me into the woods to see the deer. He promised to let me talk to the trees.” The child’s small voice shook with angry emotion. “He promised to teach me to shoot a bow.” He kicked at a pile of leaves. “He said maybe one of the Ents, possibly Treebeard would take us for a ride.” Beckett stopped and stubbornly crossed his arms over his chest. “He promised.”
“Has your ada ever broken a promise to you, Beckett?”
“No.” The bottom lip was out in a Bronwyn-like pout. “No, he has not. But then he had a headache.”
“Ah.” Haldir’s headaches were legend. Whether caused by the constant pulling on his braid or brought about by the mere fact that the Valar had set his wife in the back of his mind at all times, was anyone’s guess. There was only one cure for them and only Bronwyn could help him.
“Your ada cannot help that he had a headache. What did he tell you?”
“He said to wait an hour.” They walked in silence for a few moments. “He said to wait, but then he and Mama started kissing and they look silly.”
“They look silly.”
“Yes, that is what I said. They look silly!” The child’s tone was so like his brother’s that Rumil did not have the heart to admonish him for his impudence. “And they move their head around like so.” Beckett’s head moved back and forth in mock kissing, eyes rolling. Rumil bit his tongue to keep from laughing. “And then, they stick their tongues in each other’s mouth.” Beckett shuddered. “It is nasty!”
Rumil looked down at the child. “Well, when you are older, you will like kissing and sticking your tongue in someone’s mou-”
“No, I will not!” Beckett’s shoulders came up around his pointed ears. “YRCH! And what is worse, then they go to their room and instead of sleeping, they close the door and make funny noises.”
Rumil arched an elegant eyebrow. “Funny noises.”
“Must you repeat everything I say?” Beckett was quite put out, not realizing his uncle was doing everything in his power to not out right laugh at the Elfling.
“What kind of funny noises?” Beckett took a deep breath.
And started breathing heavy. “Oh! Oh! Yes! Please! SAESSSSS… Oh…” the sounds of his nephew mimicking his parent’s love making outbursts were unfortunately, quite close to the actual thing. Rumil thought he would bite his lip until it bled.
“Do you know they sleep naked?”
“Beckett! How do you know that?” They had come to a fallen log and Rumil sat down, setting the Elfling on his knee. Grey eyes looked into stormy brown ones.
“I had a nightmare the other night and I went to their room. Ada had Mama all hugged up, so I crawled into bed behind him.” The stormy brown eyes became very confused. “They were not wearing night clothes and Ada was holding on to Mama’s… “ his small hands went to his chest, cupping imaginary breasts. “I went back to my room. I am not about to sleep with naked Elves!”
Rumil shifted uncomfortably. He needed to change the subject quickly.
“Beckett. When your Ada promised to take you to the woods, what did he say?”
“He said to wait an hour. He had a headache and Mama would fix it and he would take me in an hour.”
“Did you wait an hour?”
“No! I wanted to go right away!” Beckett had inherited a double dose of stubbornness and Rumil knew it. “Mama is always reading and exploring the fortress and playing with the twins and Ada is always watching Mama and he plays with the twins too.” A large tear slid down the Elfling’s cheek. “They never have time for me. I do not think they love me anymore.”
Ah. The Elfling feels like he is being pushed from the nest.
“Beckett. Do you know the story of the fortress Isengard?”
The Elfling wiped his nose on his tunic. “Saruman the White Hand was the Istari here. He went bad and made Orcs and Uruk-hai and did bad things to the forest and to Men. He was not good and noble like Gandalf.” Beckett rather liked Gandalf. He brought fireworks and hid candies in his pockets.
“That is right.” Rumil thumbed over-flowing tears from the little one’s cheeks. “Some Orcs escaped. Where do you think they went?”
Beckett hiccuped. “Here in the forest?” Rumil nodded. Beckett was quiet for some minutes. “I did a bad thing, didn’t I?”
“Your ada asked for one hour, did he not?” Beckett’s head was bowed in shame.
“I have known your ada for a long, long time. He does not lie. He would be very hurt and sad if his Elfling came to harm in the forest. I cannot imagine how hard your mama would cry, if anything happened to you. I know for a fact they love you very much.”
Little shoulders heaved in sobs. “I am in so much trouble!” Tearful eyes and a drippy nose looked up. “Would you help me?” Using his tunic, Rumil wiped the face of his nephew.
“I would bet if I put you on my shoulder and I walked very quickly, we could get back to Isengard before your parents finish making funny noises!” Standing quickly, he swung the lad upon his shoulders, taking off at a trot. Before long, tears were forgotten and Beckett was laughing at the antics of his uncle, riding high on an imaginary Mearas.
They met Haldir as they came out of the garden. The Ents had worked hard to cover the scorched and scoured earth, surrounding the tall black tower with beautiful, flowering plants.
“There you are! My headache is gone and I have been looking for you! Where is your bow? I promised to take you into the wood to learn to shoot it, I believe?” He stretched his arms out to his son, gently plucking him from Rumil’s shoulders. In an action uncharacteristic for the Elfling, he hugged his father tightly around the neck.
“I love you, Ada. Do not ever leave me!” Haldir held his son tightly, knowing his fate, this one who would inherit Bronwyn’s bow. The child turned loose and quickly scurried down his father’s leg and hurried into the fortress. “Let me get my bow.”
Haldir looked closely at his brother. “How far into the wood did he go?”
“Far enough.” was the quiet reply. “He was quite…angry.” The two stood looking at the doorway where the Elfling had disappeared. “Haldir… tomorrow, if you can pry Bronwyn away from her scrolls and parchments, Heridil and I would be happy to watch the twins for a while…”
“She will jump at the chance to go outdoors with him. Feeling left out, is he?” Haldir turned back to his brother, a shrewd look in his eye.
“I thought so.” Haldir started to pull on his braid, but thought better of it, simply slinging it back behind him. “I remember how I felt when you were born. You were the center of attention and I was forgotten; or so I thought!” Haldir rolled his eyes to the sky. “That is why I wanted to spend time with him today. This blasted headache…” He saw Beckett come out the door, small bow and a quiver of equally small arrows in his chubby hands. “No matter, now. We have many hours of daylight still.” He patted his brother on the shoulder. “And tomorrow, too. Thank you for watching.”
Rumil smiled and placed his hand on Haldir’s shoulder. “Anytime. By the way…” he pulled Haldir close. “…by the way, you might want to consider wearing clothes at night or locking your door.”
“I believe your son is gonna be a breast man!”
Rumil chuckled as his brother’s jaw dropped to the ground.
Ada – father/daddy