The Jewelled Star

Chapter One - A Strange Request

Elemmire, a young elf in comparison to her kin, dwelt in the forests of Lórien. She was but a few centuries old, not experienced in the ways of the world. Her name - Star jewel, for indeed she was like a jewel wrought from the stars of the night. Her beauty was well known by the elves of Lórien, however she could not match that of Galadriel or Arwen Evenstar. Her mother was Lisse Oma, Sweet Voice, and her father, Findecàno Arcamenel. She grew up in the forests of Lórien under the watchful eye of the Lady Galadriel. While still a young elfling her parents had disappeared, and though no one openly spoke of their disappearance, Elemmire was certain that many Elves in Lórien knew where they had gone.

Elemmire was blessed not only with beauty but also with other gifts. She had an exquisite voice that captivated the listener, lifting their spirits. This was well known throughout the Elves and thought among many to be passed to her from her mother. She had a hunger for knowledge, much to the annoyance of those whom she quizzed. She was strong, yet lithe, serene yet fiery when angered. She had skill with a blade that came from many years of practise. However, Elemmire was honest, loyal and above all, modest. She took pleasure from the simple delights of life; walking amongst the Mellyrn, talking with her kin and gazing at the stars.

Haldir, an elf guard who patrolled the borders of Lórien, had often watched her walking through the woods and secretly desired her. He was a proud elf with an air of arrogance about him. He took pride in his appearance, from his long silver hair, to his brown suede boots. His grey eyes sparkled with life and he was a rather handsome elf. He considered himself worthy of such an elf as Elemmire. Haldir was thought of as the best archer in Lórien, and with this in mind, he asked the Lady Galadriel permission to train Elemmire in the art of archery. The Lady questioned his choice, for it was not usual for such a request to be made. "Why is it that you ask such a thing? Elemmire already possesses great skill with the blade, why is it that you wish to train her in archery? And why should you be the one to train her? I do not understand the reasons behind your request." "My Lady Galadriel, as you have said yourself, Elemmire is possessed of skill with weaponry already. Yet she lacks certain refinements. I believe that it would be wise to teach her the art of archery, indeed I believe that it would benefit her to learn this art. She has great potential, in my mind, to surpass even my skill with the bow." "Your argument is strong, Haldir, yet it is my belief that Elemmire should choose for herself. I shall call her here to speak with us." Galadriel left the room and Haldir waited in silence. He hoped that Elemmire would agree; he would not be made a fool of.

Galadriel returned shortly with Elemmire walking behind. Haldir noticed that she looked especially ethereal today. She was clothed in pure white, her golden hair shining, pinned with jewels bright like the stars in the heavens. Golden vines twisted on the belt around her slight waist, chasing sparkling white stars. Her feet were covered with delicate slippers, also white. Galadriel bade them sit on the low stools in the chamber. "I do not doubt you are wondering at your summons here?" Elemmire nodded her head. Haldir marvelled at the way Elemmire was able to turn the simple action of nodding into a graceful movement. "Haldir as you would know, is a master of archery. He has requested leave from me to train you as an archer. I told him it would be your decision." Elemmire was rather confused. She was flattered by the request; it would be an honour to be trained by someone so skilled. However, her intuition was warning her of something. She glanced at Haldir, immediately feeling uncomfortable. She felt like his eyes were prying into her mind, exposing her secrets. She had felt those eyes on her many times while on her walks in the forest. Nevertheless, she had always wanted to learn archery, and this opportunity seemed too good to pass up. Here was the best archer in Lórien offering to train her. Against her intuition she decided to accept the offer. "I would be honoured to," she glanced up at the Lady, "If your will permits it, Lady Galadriel." Anxiously, she watched for Galadriel's reaction. She was generally a fair judge for character, but felt daunted in the presence of the Lady. Like stone, the Lady's expression remained enigmatic; Elemmire found little comfort in this. She only hoped her quest for knowledge, was not paved with a path of thorns.

The Lady then retired to her chambers, and Elemmire swiftly exited the room. She could feel Haldir's presence not far away, following her down the hallway which led to the side door of the Lady's residence. Coming to a path outside the door, Elemmire started upon it, almost running with light steps, hoping to be rid of the elf stalking her. At last she came to a clearing, a garden hidden from sight by a high hedge. In the centre was a small pond adorned with floating flowers and around the edges stone seats were scattered. Upon entering, Elemmire turned sharply to face Haldir. Her sudden movements surprised him, as he came to a stop quite close to her. Haldir had the advantage of height as he looked down into her violet eyes, flashing with anger. "Have I angered thee, fair elfling?" He reached to her side and took her porcelain hand in his golden brown one. "For if I have, I beg your forgiveness." he kissed the hand that lay in his palm, much to the annoyance of Elemmire. She wrenched her hand away from his grip and took a step back. "I was simply wondering why you were pursuing me, stalking me." At this her eyes flared and Haldir fancied he could see a flame flickering behind her eyes. Elemmire struggled to keep her anger under control. She lightly fingered the blade hidden in the folds of her dress. She almost laughed at the thought of the proud and handsome Haldir with a scar down one cheek. Ha! His ego would suffer more than his cheek! "Stalking, dear elfling? Why would you use such a word?" "You have no clear reason to be following me." Came the curt reply. "I was so captivated by your beauty that I could not help myself." He knelt on one knee before Elemmire, "If my foolish desires have dishonoured you, I again beg your forgiveness." Elemmire turned to leave, but in one swift movement Haldir grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards him. He held her close to his body, firmly but without hurting her. She stiffened in his arms, wary of his every move. Haldir was enjoying every moment of her discomfort, taking pleasure in watching her squirm. He leaned his head down to her neck, breathing slightly on it. He put his mouth near her ear. His whispers were torment to Elemmire. "I want you Elemmire, I love you. I know you." He laughed softly. "I know you are enjoying this, almost as much as I am. But I'm sorry, I must be off. I shall start the archery lessons next week then. Don't forget now." Almost as suddenly as he had grabbed her, he departed from the garden and disappeared down the path. She stood frozen for a few moments, before recovering and rushing back to her room.