Daughter of the twilight

Chapter 3

After Tindómerel finally found a tailor that agreed to make male styled clothes for a female she quickly ordered three pairs of matching shirts and breeches. She also ordered a new formal dress made to fit her and that matched her eyes, it was a soft slate grey, the color of the sea on a stormy day. The outfits would be ready for fitting in four days.

Tindómerel didn't know what to do for those four days. She couldn't go and get active because all she had was dresses. Haldir and Terendul were gone so she couldn't talk to them and Hwesta was one of Galadriel's helpers. 'Ladies in waiting I guess you'd call them.' Tindómerel thought. A few days after Terendul and Haldir left Tindómerel was sitting on her bed dying of boredom. Tomorrow she could go and get fitted for her clothes but she was so tired of doing nothing she thought that she would scream.

Tindómerel decided to go for another walk. She left her chambers and decided to go towards the center of Caras Galadhon. That was one area that she hadn't explored much. She walked as silent as she could, not wanting to disturb the peace around her.

There was silence as she descended a set of steps so she was at the forest floor. Tindómerel knew that she was almost at the center of Caras Galadhon. 'I don't even know if I'm allowed to be here.' She thought. 'This is near where Galadriel and Celeborn and all the elves close to them have their rooms.'

She made sure to be extra quiet. She didn't want to be caught here, even if she was allowed to be here. She also didn't want to be caught because she was afraid that she had really made Galadriel and Celeborn angry with her insolence the first night she had been here. Although Hwesta insisted that they were not mad she was still a little reluctant to face them again.

Tindómerel slowly made her way along the forest floor. After a while she came to some steps leading downward into a glade. Tindómerel quickly looked around. No one was near so she rapidly descended the stairs. At the bottom she saw a small stream flowing into a pool and a small basin set into a pillar. Making absolutely sure she was alone Tindómerel crept closer to the pillar. The basin was empty but on the edge of the pool was a silver pitcher.

Tindómerel was about to pick up the pitcher when she heard a noise behind her. Lady Galadriel herself was descending the stairs to the glade, followed by her attendants. She looked around quickly for a place to hide and saw that the side of the glade nearest her had a small rock ledge and that the slope above the ledge was not too steep. She quickly hoisted herself onto the ledge and then scrambled up the slope. 'Hopefully no one will notice that the slope has been disturbed.' She thought. After making sure she hadn't been found out Tindómerel went back to her room. After a while she noticed that her dress was dirty from scrambling in the dirt. She sighed and went to her closet to get another dress.

After she was changed it was about lunch time so Tindómerel went to find something to eat. She quietly ascended the stairs to the kitchens. This way she didn't have to talk to anyone, she could just quietly slip in get some food and then go back to her room. Unfortunately just as she was going to slip into the kitchen Hwesta came around the corner.

"Tindómerel!" she called.

"Mae Govannen." Tindómerel said.

Hwesta smiled as she caught up with her. "Your elvish is become very good." She said.

"Diola lle Hwesta but I still have much to learn." Tindómerel said modestly.

"I was just heading to lunch. Would you care to join me?" Hwesta asked.

"I am kind of hungry, but I thought you were serving Galadriel today until late."

"I am but I'm sure she wouldn't mind."

Tindómerel swallowed nervously. She really didn't want to get involved with Galadriel again. "I don't know if this is a good idea."

"Sure it is. Actually Galadriel has been asking about you. In fact she wanted me to invite you to a meal sometime. This seems as good a time as any."

"About me?"

"Yes, she wants to know what you do all day and what you spend your time doing."

Tindómerel paled. Surely she couldn't have found out about her being in the vale. It was too soon. "I don't know." She said nervously.

"I insist. Besides I think Galadriel is rather fascinated by you. Besides it would be impolite to refuse."

Tindómerel sighed. "Then I will certainly join you for lunch." She said.

Hwesta led her to the glade where the rest of the ladies and Galadriel was sitting. Tindómerel dropped a quick curtsy. "Arwen en amin." She said.

Galadriel smiled. "Our tongue suits you well Tindómerel." She said. "I was hoping that you would not refuse our invitation for lunch."

"I wouldn't dream of it."

"Please sit. Our lunch should be here momentarily."

Tindómerel did as she was told sitting quietly next to Hwesta. Most of the conversation was in elvish so she had no idea what was being said. Only when something was directly addressed to her was Westron spoken.

After lunch Galadriel called for silence. She turned her attention to Tindómerel. "Would you mind telling me what you do with your days?" she asked.

"Not much. I just finally convinced a tailor to make me some clothes other than dresses. Now I'll be able to do something active."

As she said that a murmur went through the group but was quickly silenced as Galadriel continued. "So you are usually unoccupied during the day?"

"Yes."

"Would you like to do something more productive?"

"It depends. What do you have in mind?" Tindómerel asked cautiously.

"I want to make you one of my ladies, if that would not interfere with your free time too much." Another murmur went through the group.

"Me?" Tindómerel asked. "Why me? I'm not an elf maiden and I certainly am not a conventional woman."

"That is why I am thinking that you would be a great asset to the group. You will show us a different way of thinking. That is the trouble with elves in these ages. We are not forward thinking we tend not to change, a habit which I feel could be harmful to our future."

Tindómerel thought about it. She would have something to do most days. Plus her wanting to ride and shoot a bow and arrow and wield a sword or at least a dagger could be explained by the fact that she felt that it was part of her duty to be able to protect Galadriel when she wasn't around a guard. In fact she thought it would be a good idea for all the ladies to learn to protect Galadriel. A grin lit up on her face. "I would be happy to become one of your ladies." She told Galadriel.

For the next few days Tindómerel was busy getting to know the other maidens that helped Galadriel and becoming familiar with the procedures and customs involved. She almost forgot to pick up her new clothing but went by and got it as the tailor was about to go home that night.

Now came the hard part. It took Tindómerel three days to find an elf warrior that would teach her to fight. She had eventually had to go to Galadriel and ask her to ask one of the warriors for lessons.

A few days later Tindómerel had just finished dressing and was looking herself over in the mirror. She was wearing her green outfit, a loose forest green shirt, matching breeches and soft brown boots. Someone knocked on her door. She quickly opened it to find herself face to face with a handsome elf.

"I'm the one who is going to be teaching you to shoot a bow and arrow." He said with barely concealed scorn.

She looked at him with a stern expression. "I am ready. Lead the way." She said with as much dignity as she could.

They arrived at the practice shooting ranges. He led her to a shed that contained spare bows and arrows. He chose one for her not being very careful about the selection.

As they went out to the targets Tindómerel her him mutter something like 'my only consolation for this job is that no one is here.' That immediately ticked her off. She made a firm resolve to be better than he thought she could be.

For three days she had lessons with the elf whose name she learned was Artamir (noble jewel). She quickly learned that she had an eye for shooting and quickly impressed him. Soon he told her that if she really wanted to get good then she would have to make her own bow and arrows eventually. He explained that making the bow and arrows herself was an important ritual, marking the transition from a beginner to someone who could possibly devote their life to shooting.

This gave Tindómerel a lot to think about. It was true she loved shooting but she wasn't sure she wanted to be dedicated to just that. Giving Artamir her promise that she would continue lessons with him at least twice a week Tindómerel started another lesson, sword fighting. After two weeks of trying to get used to holding a normal sword in proper position, Tindómerel thought that she would never get it. The swords were just too big and heavy.

One day as Tindómerel and the rest of Galadriel's ladies were waiting outside of her chamber when a messenger came running up. Hwesta, being the most senior of all of them went to talk to him. After a minute she came hustling back. "The warriors have been spotted returning!" she said quickly in elvish. She then knocked on Galadriel's door and entered.

Her words set off a great commotion with the rest of the ladies. They began to talk quietly among themselves in groups of two and three. Tindómerel stood by herself until Hwesta returned. "I am to take a volunteer down to meet them." She said. Tindómerel immediately volunteered along with a few other elves. Most of them didn't want to walk all the way to the north side of Lothlorien.

Hwesta looked around quickly and saw Tindómerel was volunteering. She smiled and chose her. They headed quickly for their rooms for a change of shoes; they were both wearing slippers, and then left to walk to the border.

They arrived about the same time as the warriors did. Terendul rode in first followed by the rest of the elves. Haldir came in last; riding double with another elf. He was wounded by an arrow in his shoulder. Tindómerel was momentarily undecided, she wanted to greet Terendul but her concern for Haldir was warring in her. It was decided as Hwesta ran toward Haldir and helped get him out of the saddle. She ran to Terendul as he dismounted. She saw that there were no extra horses, save Haldir's. She was about to hug him but when she saw his frown she stopped short. "My lord." She said. He turned to her and his expression softened. "Are you hurt?" she asked.

"No, I am fine. The only one to be injured seriously was Lord Haldir."

"That is fortunate at least on the whole. Are his injuries life threatening?"

"No, luckily. The arrow just pierced the muscle. He will have to do much reconditioning after it has healed."

"And the orcs? They are dead?"

"Yes, we slew them all."

"That is good. Come let's get you a bath and some clean clothes. I brought some from your rooms." She said and drew him toward a bathhouse. He followed without resistance. After he was bathed they walked back to Caras Galadhon. There they ate dinner and then retired to Terendul's rooms. There Tindómerel cleaned and wrapped his minor wounds. "How many orcs were there?"

"About twenty-five, so that made it about two apiece."

Tindómerel nodded and concentrated on wrapping the bandage right. "How was Lord Haldir injured?"

"He was attacked from behind and then as he turned to face the attack an archer got him. He was lucky it did not pierce him through the heart."

She nodded as she finished and backed away to sit in a chair across from his position on the bed.

They talked about the hunting and slaughter of the orcs for hours until Tindómerel thought that Terendul should get some rest. She left feeling a little mad at him. In all the time that they had talked he had asked nothing about how she had been or what she had done while he was gone. She smirked to herself. 'Isn't he going to be surprised when he finds out that I am one of Galadriel's ladies and that I can shoot an arrow and at least hold a sword correctly?' she nearly laughed out loud imagining the look on his face.

The next morning Tindómerel rose early for her sword lessons. She dressed in her practice clothes and went down to the practice area. She had just finished warming up when her teacher arrived. He nodded. "I am glad you are warmed up. We do not have much time this morning. The returned warriors are to use this area for rehabilitation practices."

They spent an hour going over and over three or four moves. Tindómerel knew that before she could move on she had to perfect each of the moves; the only problem was her sword was still too heavy. She had lost track of time and before she knew it her teacher was telling her that they had to go so others could use the practice area. Tindómerel looked up and saw three or four male warriors watching her. They had looks of wary apprehension on their faces.

She bit her lip and looked away. Then she saw something that made her blood run cold. Terendul was coming down the path; she fought the urge to run away and stood her ground. Terendul came up to the fence and looked at her. He did a slight double take and then his jaw dropped in amazement. She quickly hid her smile and carried the sword with her to the equipment room where she hung the sword up.

She turned around to see Terendul standing behind her. "What are you doing?"

She smirked. "I'm learning to wield a sword." She said simply, cleaning her hands in a small basin. She turned to face him. "Do you have a problem with that?" she asked, her eyes flashing dangerously. He shook his head but held his ground.

"I just didn't know that you were doing this."

"You just didn't bother to ask!" she said the anger evident in her voice. She took a step closer to him. "All you did was talk about how many orcs you killed. You didn't even ask how I had been or what I had been doing." She flung her accusations at him and finally turned her back on him.

He took a step towards her holding out his arms to her. "Tindómerel, I'm sorry. Please forgive me..." after she didn't respond he took another step closer. "Dearest, Lirimaer? (Lovely one). Please?"

She couldn't help it any longer. She flew into his arms. He hugged her close. She twisted so she could see his face. "Just don't do it again. I'm not just some female to be used when you need me. I am my own person."

Terendul nodded. Quelling the flash of annoyance he felt at being scolded by a woman. He gently led her out of the equipment shed and away from the practice area. "What else have you been doing in my absence?" he asked her.

Tindómerel smiled. "I have been accepted as one of Galadriel's ladies." She told him. He blinked in surprise.

"That is one of the biggest honors you could have gotten." After a while of walking he spoke again. "And Lady Galadriel is fine with your taking sword lessons?" he asked.

Tindómerel nodded. "In fact, since none of the male elves would willingly help me she asked one to. Actually it was for shooting practice, but she also helped with sword practice too." She laughed again at his stricken expression.

"You- you learned archery too?" he asked.

"Not totally, I still need lots of practice. But I have the basics and all I need to do is improve on my own. My archery instructor actually said I have talent for shooting, all I need is time. But I want to be well rounded." She looked at him. "Is this too much for you?" she asked.

He nodded; a little dazed. Tindómerel spoke again. "Yes, Hwesta was dazed at first too but she has come to accept it. I had a great idea about all of this too. You promise to keep a secret?" she asked

Terendul nodded. "I plan to get more of Galadriel's ladies to participate." At his look of horror she quickly spoke again. "Just listen. You know that Galadriel can't always have her guards with her, right? Well when they aren't there who is to protect her? I know for certain that there are ladies with Galadriel almost all day. Who better to protect her?" She paused for a moment to let Terendul digest the idea.

"It might work." He said. "Have you suggested it to anyone?"

She shook her head. "I think I'll wait and let them get over their initial shock of having a woman in breeches and shirts and using a sword and bow and arrow. She grinned. "Most people don't know yet. I imagine many of their faces shall resemble yours."

He gave a slight smile before he stopped walking. They were in front of her room. "Why don't you... get cleaned up and then we will go have brunch. Unless you have already had breakfast.

She shook her head. "I haven't. And don't be coy. I know you want me to change before we go anywhere. I can deal with that, but next time, please, just ask."

"As you wish." He said bowing before disappearing into his room. Tindómerel frowned as he disappeared. That last 'as you wish' had sounded like he was mocking her. 'Oh well.' She thought. 'I'm probably just making it up.'

She quickly changed into her second favorite dress and went outside. Terendul was waiting for her. They made their way to a dining room. "I must not stay long." Tindómerel told Terendul. "I am supposed to be with Lady Galadriel after the sun has reached its peak."

He nodded. "I dare not keep you from your appointment." He said and held out a chair for her to sit.

They had a nice lunch, and they made plans to meet here for dinner. Tindómerel agreed and strode off quickly, not wanting to be late.