Wow, sorry for the extreme delay, but things will settle down even more, and we shall be posting more regularly! Anyhow, hope you all enjoy, and thank you so much for your patience and support and reviews!. This is the end if this fic, but look out for our new fic: Lord of the Thighs, And they Lived Happily Ever After? ^. ^
Tyrael! We are ready!"
I nervously brushed my dress down and smoothed my hair down. I had the sneaking suspicion that I was mayhap more excited than the bride, but that didn't matter. They were getting married, at last, and I overjoyed to hear it. Haldir had came close to losing her this day, had he not spoken with Elladan and had me arrange things swiftly, I might very well be torn in two tonight, reeling from their separation.
I swiveled around to face her, a bit taken aback by her soft voice. When I saw her my breath caught in my throat. She looked mesmerizing. Elladan's dress loved her well, and her dark hair shone against her creamy skin.
"Oh Tyrael, you look as lovely as Lady Arwen herself."
I took three steps over to her, and hugged her until she let out a little squeak.
"Are you ready?"
I gestured with my hand, and she followed me down the airy hallways to the ceremony site. The servants had managed to pull together and create a lovely chain of wild flowers that was strewn along the benches where the few guests were sitting, and along the low hanging tree where Haldir and Tyrael would stand and take their vows.
Though the day was cool and the sun glinted a pale yellow, the last of the summer's flowers had bloomed in their vibrant last hurrah, every shade of violet, yellow, orange, and blue imaginable. The last of the birds that had not flown south were soaring in the air chirping happily, and it seemed they too approved of the affair.
"Where will the ceremony take place?"
I noticed her looking around, a subtle frown creasing her lips as we passed the formal halls of the main house. I suspect she expected the vows to take place there.
"It shall be an outdoor ceremony, Haldir chose the spot. I do believe you shall approve."
I knew the wheels would be turning for sure. If she had more questions, nerves seemed to quiet them. I rounded a corner, and cut through a courtyard, and led us down a dirt path that was generously shaded by leafy bushes.
"Mind your dress, Ty."
I turned, and lifted her dress for her, while offering my arm to steady her awkward progress down the rather bumpy trail. It is funny how you never notice these things until you are dressed in your finest and your mobility is compromised. She blushed a bit at my having to help her, and I calmed the concerns she could not voice.
"I don't mind you know, Tyrael. It is nothing for a friend to help with your skirt."
She smiled softly, and then executed a neat trip on a stone, which elicited a particularly crass curse involving Morgoth's genitals and an amorous Balrog.
I chuckled, and helped her smooth her hair and petted her head fondly, "Are you nervous?"
She inhaled softly, and nodded.
"But not so much with you around."
I took her hand for a moment, and pressed my fingers into her palm, before guiding us closer to the site.
By the time we reached the bottom, soft music could be heard piercing the last of the bushes, and she smiled softly. I followed her gaze, and saw recognition light up her eyes.
"I know this place. I tripped over Haldir here, he was lying like a love sick adolescent in the flowerbed." She breathed, and I squeezed her hand fondly. I deposited her behind a rather tall bush, and murmured my intention of collecting her father, who would walk her down the aisle.
Elladan was up the aisle, speaking in hushed tones with his father, and his nervousness was written across his face plain as day. I knew this, as he was the mirror image of Tyrael.
"Elladan." I hissed, and he turned sharply. He nodded, and strode down the aisle quickly.
"It's time." I replied, and he ducked around the corner to collect her.
Elrond nodded at my signal and cued the musicians, who began to play a soft song that I didn't recognize. Haldir's brothers, who he chose as best men (not being able to choose between them) gracefully linked arms with mine, and led me down the aisle. Along the way, I met eyes with Legolas, and smiled fondly. No doubt he was moved just as I was, and was thinking of our upcoming wedding, which was a little less than a year away.
The music strummed up a new song, an elvish wedding march, and the small group murmured happily as they took in the sight of Tyrael and her father, almost gliding down the aisle, beaming happily. Haldir's nervous grin erupted into a full smile as he saw her, and she was a sight to behold. The sunlight made her look luminous, and a few leaves swirled down and around them merrily.
I looked down at Mithrandir suspecting a bit of magic, and he winked, before taking a puff of his pipe. Elladan's cheeks were rosy as ripe apples in the cool air, and his grey eyes shone with pride. When they reached the altar, he kissed her on her cheek softly, and I caught the gentle whisper of loving words, before he handed her to Haldir. Elrond waited patiently for the guests to sit down, before addressing everyone.
"We are gathered here to join Haldir and Tyrael in their union of spirit and body for all eternity. I admit when I first learned of their courtship, I was a bit baffled at their connection. My granddaughter seemed the opposite of Haldir. Where he was reserved and meticulous, she was flamboyant and carefree. Yet, one had only to see how dissatisfied they are without one another to appreciate the harmony of their union. They have taught me a valuable lesson. I might not understand it, but they suit each other, and it joys my heart to see the love that flourished between them."
He turned to Haldir, and smiled.
"Haldir, your vows."
Haldir turned to face Tyrael, and lifted her hand to his lips before he began.
"Tyrael," His voice squeaked a bit, and the crowd smiled and chuckled fondly. He cleared his throat.
"Tyrael, my life was perfect before I met you." She cocked an eyebrow in unison with the half-startled, half amused murmurs of the crowd, and with a smirk he continued.
"I was respected, I commanded an entire army of the finest elves in Middle-Earth."
This was interrupted by grunts of approval by some of the sentries from Lothlórien.
"I enjoyed peace, quiet, and harmony. I was not the best at everything, yet I was one of the best at some things. All in all, I was happy." He paused for a moment, and his eyes darkened a bit, perhaps with some unnamed memory.
I could feel the crowd shift uncomfortably, waiting for him to continue. In the back, a few mortals, rangers I believe Legolas called them, were whispering softly to one another, and my ears picked up their words of confusion.
"Are all elvish weddings thus?" I sent a sharp look down the aisle, and their hissing was silenced.
"And then I met you."
She added a smirk to her arched brow, and he continued, his eyes dancing with mirth.
"First I was assaulted. I lost control of my motor skills and bodily functions. I became the subject of gossip mongering, crude jokes, and undignified pantomimes."
Elladan, Elrohir, Rúmil and Orophin shifted uncomfortably.
"My credibility as a warrior was put in serious jeopardy as I became known for beating a woman into a bloody pulp."
She opened her mouth to object, but decided against it. A few soft chuckles could be heard.
"I lost my leggings in the kitchens, the courtyard, and Eru knows what other places."
Again, more amused chuckles erupted from the crowd, louder this time. Some one, a sentry I think, let out a wolf whistle. Haldir sent a grin in the direction of the sound and continued.
"I've endured plum stone injuries that could have led to concussion, suffered from bites that drew blood, endured rub burns from various surfaces, and let's not even go into the trauma hefting you has caused my knees. In short, this summer has been nothing short of a disaster and I am surprised I survived."
She looked down shyly, and he lifted her chin up.
"Then again, I never knew I was missing something in my life until I met you, Tyrael. I would do it all over again, without hesitation. I love you not for who you are, or what you do, but for who I am when I am with you. I never want to leave your side, and I promise I shall love you in this lifetime and beyond, heart, body and soul."
She looked up into his eyes, searching for sincerity, and a lone tear escaped her glittering eyes and fell. Elrond smiled, and cleared his throat.
"The ring, Haldir?"
"Oh, right." He replied softly, and looked over to Rúmil and Orophin for said piece of jewelry.
Rúmil's face lost all color, and he turned to Orophin.
"Where did you put the ring?" His voice was a forced whisper, loud enough for all to hear in the garden.
Orophin blanched, and beads of swear poured from his forehead, as he croaked, "Ring? I thought YOU had it!"
Both brothers turned to Haldir, who had been trying to maintain a grin that was steadily becoming the familiar scowl of the March Warden.
"They as good as a Drow." A sentry mumbled.
"Brothers, where is the ring?"
He released Tyrael's hand, and took a menacing step towards the pair.
Tyrael recognized the glint in his eye, and began to stammer words to calm him. "Now, Haldir, there is no need-"
"I cannot trust you two to follow through with this one simple task? All I had asked was that you watch the rings, give one to Kalia, and hold onto Tryael's until the ceremony."
"Well ah, we can-"
The two stammered in unison, and Haldir took another step.
"Have you any idea where the ring is? Did you even manage to give the other to Kalia?"
Phinny's eyes lit up, and he smiled slightly.
"We gave it to Elladan to give to Kalia."
Haldir turned to Elladan, who grinned smugly.
"I can follow through with a task, I gave it to Elrohir."
Elrohir opened and closed his mouth several times before squeaking, "I don't remember him giving it to me. Perhaps I, oh Elbereth, I don't know where they are!"
Elladan and Elrohir began to bicker amongst themselves, whilst Rúmil and Orophin waged a war with one another while trying to avoid Haldir's fiery gaze.
"So none of you know where our rings are?" Haldir's voice cut through the pandemonium and silenced them.
"Well, no." They replied.
"Well of course you don't, that would be because none of you ever had the rings. I knew better than that, I gave them to Kalia."
The crowed erupted into a fit of laughter, and Haldir bowed slightly, a grin plastered across his face.
I beamed at him, now able to break my cover, and pulled the rings from my bosom, where I had them hidden. Tryael smirked, her face similar to that when she saw Petrenella and I emerge from the stables covered in hay, and I was quick to reply.
"Think of their hiding place as an added bonus. I couldn't go down the aisle with a purse now, could I?"
"You mean to tell me you knew where the rings were the whole time?" Elladan demanded.
"What a cruel joke." Elrohir pouted.
"Agreed." Rúmil groused.
"Not humorous at all." Phinny grumbled.
"That's rich coming from you all." Haldir replied, and, now armed with his ring, slid the heavy band onto her finger, then kissed her palm.
"Tenna' lema tela ar' tar, amin naa lle, ar' lle na'amin.*" He replied in Elvish..
Elrond smiled, and turned to Tyrael, who seemed to be trying very hard to compose herself.
"Tyrael? Your vows."
After a brief pause, she held her chin up, and began, her lids drooped lazily, and her pretty lips curled. Ah, the face of the treacherous wench, I knew.
"My life was deliciously notorious before I met you, March Warden."
I smiled, and her eyes met mine for a moment. A few in the crowd snorted in surprise at her admission.
"I had men at my beck and call, showering me with compliments. I could wear comfortable clothes, albeit it a bit revealing, and did not have to worry about answering to a jealous lover. "
It was his turn to cock an eyebrow, but he gave her hand a tender squeeze again.
"I was free to drink, curse, and brawl as I pleased. And then you came along. You were stiff, rude, and as sensitive as a warg. You were judgmental, and cocky as a rooster during mating season. The first time I saw you, you assaulted me with your chest, and then offered no apology."
The corners of his lips curled.
"And somehow you wheedled your way into my fancy. You made me do foolish, silly feminine things the like of poetic drabble about your eyes at twilight, or dream of that seductive curve of your lips. You made me want to pull your hair out for your pompous arrogance, and turned my world upside down with your haughty gaze."
She took a breath and continued.
"I was like a child again, reduced to silly jealous pranks, pelting plum stones at your head and streaming your underthings in the courtyard."
I started in shock at her confession, and Haldir's gaze flickered over at me.
"I told you!" I mumbled, remembering his accusation that I hadn't minded his clothing.
He laughed sheepishly, and I rolled my eyes.
"And though you are stiff, and I mean that in the worse possible way, arrogant, bastardly, your nose could be smaller, and have way too much confidence in your golden arrow-"
"I think we get the point, Tyrael." He replied.
She grinned. "I wouldn't have you any other way. I love that you make the bed military style though you know servants are only going to come in and make it again. I love that you would kill for me without a moment's hesitation if you thought someone had questioned my honor. Honor that to some is non existent in the first place. And I've loved that from the moment I laid eyes on you, you made me want to be a better elleth. I look forward to spending the rest of this lifetime with you, and seeking you out in the next to love you again."
He smiled warmly, and she added, "Besides, if I am to continue in my quest of improvement, I am sure to surpass you in greatness before we join the Halls of Mandos."
He opened his mouth to retort, but Elrond interrupted.
"The ring, Kalia?"
I held out my palm, and she took the ring with long trembling fingers.
"Until the hearth has gone cold, I shall love you, in this life and beyond. I am yours and you are mine."
She slid the thick band on his hand, and mirrored his gesture by kissing his palm.
"You may now kiss the bride…I suppose."
"Gladly." They murmured in unison, before pulling each other into a lip-crushing kiss.
The brothers (both sets) and I clapped fondly, and Mithrandir conjured up glowing butterflies that circled around the kissing couple, and flew off into the trees, leaving a blue sweet scented trail behind them.
"The Valar be praised!" The crowd cheered, and as the couple made their way down the aisle, they tossed sweet smelling flowers at them. Tyrael blushed and Haldir beamed, and they led them to the main dining hall, where a feast would be held in their honor.
I sighed happily, and looked up at Legolas, who had joined my side without word.
"Soon it shall be our turn, mela. That is, if you still desire to marry me."
I snorted, and punched him in the arm lightly.
"Don't fish for compliments, it's very unbecoming."
He grinned cheekily, and I took his arm and joined the crowd in the hall.
"I would like to propose a toast."
I looked up from our table, and smiled at Tyrael's slur. It was uncertain if it was due to the ale or lust. In a few moments the couple would be allowed to leave the festivities to finish the second half of the wedding, the joining of two bodies in their marriage union, and after weeks of celibacy, I was sure she was dizzy in anticipation.
"To Kalia. You have been the best friend I could have ever hoped for, and I am sure Haldir agrees with me in saying you are one of the most important friends in our lives."
Haldir raised his goblet, and the hall followed suit.
"To Kalia, a true friend."
The crowd echoed their sentiment, and I felt the heat rise on my cheeks.
I scanned the sea of happy faces, mainly elven, though I noticed Aragorn was present, and at seemed usual for him, locked in deep conversation with Arwen. In the shadows, I saw Rathborn, he was leaning against a wall, seemingly trapping a young elleth in his gaze, his teeth glittering like knives in the candlelight. The elleth must have been spooked by whatever he said, for she shook her pretty head "nay" and scurried off to join the band of young single servant girls, who were lined on the other side of the room. Rathborn, for his part, seemed unfazed by the rebuttal, and decided to embark on what seemed to be his favorite pastime that evening: staring ambiguously at Haldir and Tyrael. The shade of violet that his eyes turned when he watched her made my stomach lurch.
My thoughts were interrupted by the raucous laughter of my grandfather, who chose that moment to pull another young elleth into his lap, and place a wet drunken kiss on her round cheeks. She seemed initially shy but pleased with the gesture, but when she motioned to rise, his large hands curled around her wrists harshly, and an ugly streak of mean flittered across his face.
Phinny chose that moment to gently place a hand over his father's shoulder and murmur something quietly to him. Once again, the jovial man I had been introduced to appeared again, and he shyly gazed at the young elleth, and gave her a soothing pat on the shoulder.
I could distinctly see the words, "Never knew my own strength as it was arwenamin," on his lips.
When I tore my gaze from my grandfather, chest strumming with a mixture of embarrassment and shock, I found my eyes wandering over towards Haldir, who, I found, wore the same expression as my own. Only instead of shock, his eyes were flashing with a well controlled anger. I gave him a re-assuring smile, and tipped my goblet to him, and he seemed to relax a bit. My eyes assured him that none save the girl, (who was besotted herself) and his brothers had seen the altercation but me.
It was as Tyrael leaned over to tell what I was sure a naughty secret, that Elrond chose to chime his glass for a toast. The hall fell into a low murmur, and I felt the familiar heat of wine and stifling air tug at my eyelids.
I would sleep well tonight.
"I have known Haldir of Lórien for several millennia. Even as a youngling he was achieving great things, starting firstly as a messenger for the Guard, then working his way through the ranks at an astonishing rate until he reached Captain. When I first saw him, I may have been intimidated, were it not for the broken nose."
The guests chuckled, and Haldir lowered his eyelids, his face a mixture of embarrassment and amusement. I vowed I would ask him who, or what, had inflicted such a wound.
"But all the same, I was impressed. Although, I never would have pictured him marrying my granddaughter – partially because until recently I did not know I had a granddaughter. A good way to rephrase it would be 'I would probably have never pictured him marrying Tyrael'. She seemed to go against his grain in every way."
Tyrael knitted her eyebrows, hoping the Lord would clarify, as did many other friends in the room. Lord Elrond simply continued, his face a bit mask-like.
"Perhaps they will take this the wrong way, but I do not mean it harshly – their relationship's progression has amused me greatly. And if I must say so, those were the most unique wedding vows ever heard in Rivendell. I thought that in weddings, you listed your partner's positive points, not the negative ones. Were I to have said that to Celebrían, I would no doubt have found myself being swept away by the Bruinen."
And then, the mask fall off, and the corners of his mouth twitched. He was jesting with them a bit.
"As time has gone by, I have realized that perhaps it is their differences that have drawn them together. Two halves of a whole, am I correct? " Elladan seemed particularly pleased with this analogy, and his eyes met his fathers for a moment. I suspected it was a reference to his love, Ava.
"Despite obvious clashes, I know that this union shall be a good one, and it will no doubt keep me amused for many millennia into the future. To Haldir and Tyrael – may they live long lives and refrain from killing each other."
He raised his goblet, to the amused laughter of the crowd, and took a sip.
Galadriel chose this moment to rise, her dress, which was uncharacteristially dark red, like the very apples that decorated many tables, shimmered a bit in the lights, and she looked like the very personification of fall. She raised her goblet, and began.
"I have known Haldir longer than Lord Elrond has. I knew him since the day he was born – I even assisted in his birth. I knew he was destined for great things, and still is.
He has worked hard and with an astounding dedication throughout the years, making errors only rarely, and bringing my husband much confusion as to the missing wines from his cellar." Her steely eyes twinkled, and Celeborn raised his own, and gave Haldir a look of mock sternness.
Tyrael, unable to resist the chance to rib Haldir, prodded him in the shoulder and leered, "And to think, you chastised me! You have proven yourself to be a hypocrite."
"And you have proven yourself to be a thief Tyrael, I knew it was you!" Elrond grumbled, and she blushed just as furiously as her husband, and sunk into his broad shoulder. Galadriel waited for the somewhat confused, but still amused chuckles from the crowd to die down, before she continued.
" I remember the day when he was made March Warden very well – as do I'm sure the group of maidens in the corner. Despite his many admirers, I could see that Haldir was not interested in long term commitment, and after some time, began to believe that he would never settle down with anything aside from his bow of Galadhrim and his flet."
Haldir's brothers and some close friends chimed, "Here here!" and tipped their goblets to the smiling lady.
"Then we came here. Tyrael, I have known for longer than she expected. I assisted at her birth also. She was not the healthiest baby, due to the circumstances of her birth, but she managed to pull through. I knew who she was, and perhaps it was a mistake when I sent her back to Rivendell with no warning as to who she was. I had hoped that their similarities would be obvious to the both of them. Mayhap love is blind."
Tyrael and Elladan looked at her sheepishly, and then down at their hands in the same exact gesture. This elicited a few smiles from guests who noticed.
"I left her briefly in the care of a Lórien maiden, Tasthë"
Haldir turned to Tyrael, recognition lighting his face, and exclaimed, "That was you! When you were but a babe, you pulled my hair and vomited into my mouth when I held above my head!"
Tyrael gave him a dark look, and unable to contain himself any longer, Erestor remarked, "She was in a swoon over your charms even at that age, Haldir."
Rúmil snorted into his glass and mumbled, "I couldn't have said it better myself."
"I did not know, when I sent Tyrael back to Rivendell, that Haldir and Tyrael would become a couple. My mirror was shady about it, telling me only that their paths were intertwined, but refraining on explaining in what way.
Although, it soon became obvious. They may not know it, but I have watched closely, and seen that through all the arguments and injury, they were coming to love one another. Tyrael still did not know of her roots, and Haldir did not know, as he said, that she had been the babe that had vomited down his Warden's outfit."
She paused, seemingly caught in rememberance, and mused, "So, now that I think about it, they have known each other for some time. And even back then, they annoyed one another!"
The guests all howled with laughter, and a few even clapped in agreement.
"I shall look forward to seeing how this relationship progresses, especially now that they are bonded for life. I have finally seen my March Warden settle, and he has settled with my great-granddaughter. I am very proud. "
With this, she leaned down and placed a warm kiss on her March Warden and kin, and the room raised their glasses in agreement.
Rúmil and Orophin chose this moment to contribute, and they rose from their chairs and tugged at their dress tunics a bit nervously. I could tell they were not only unused to speaking in front of crowds, but also unused to wearing such fine clothes. They were, after all, warriors at heart.
Rúmil began first, after a rough prod from Orophin, who, no doubt, was weary of speaking for the both of them all of the time.
"We shan't keep you long, we merely wanted to offer our sincere desires for health, happiness, and everlasting bliss in the marriage."
This was met with unintelligible words of approval, which, as Rúmil took it, was his cue to sit down.
Phinny stifled a glare, and then continued, "Haldir has, loathe though we are to admit it, always been a great other brother. He has been at our side, ever ready to scold us when we falter, and praise us when we grow and improve. He has been the consistency two naughty elves like us needed."
Haldir's eyes darkened and I hoped no one noticed the lightening quick glare at his father, who was smiling warmly, though the smile never met his eyes.
"We couldn't be happier to know that Haldir has met his match, for Tyrael is a phenomenal elleth. The Valar truly broke the mold when they crated her, not only for her stunning beauty, but for her kind heart, and passion."
Phinny regarded her for a moment, and then continued. "She will do well by my brother's side, and I look forward to welcoming her to out family, and being by her side, as a brother, a friend, and a confidant whenever Haldir vexes her to the point of her wanting to pull her teeth from her head."
Haldir grinned, and kissed Tyrael's hand.
"We shall always be there for you, brother, sister, until the end journey's end. Thus, I raise my cup to family, and our newest addition, Tyrael."
The crowd cooed at his sentiment, and joined them in the gesture.
This time, Elladan arose, and all fell silent, intrigued as to hear from the father of the bride.
"As many of you may know, I only recently knew Tyrael was my daughter. Despite this, I have known her since was knee-high to a Hobbit, having encountered her upon her eighteenth birthday with a scraped knee."
Both father and daughter smiled at the memory.
"I have seen her grow up to be a remarkable elleth – one who, unfortunately, has suffered much which I know she did not deserve.
Just as similarly, I have known Haldir for some time…"
- They shared a look that made me know that this had something to do with Ava, the one who saddened Elladan's eyes so. Ava had been taken to Lothlórien – was it possible Haldir had seen her?
"Haldir was always the most arrogant, overbearing and confident Elf I have ever known. He always seemed to attempt to treat me like a child."
"Then you should not have acted like one," Haldir muttered, receiving a quiet 'here here' from Elrond.
"I could not believe it when I saw Tyrael and Haldir's relationship progressing – and that was even before I knew of her relation to me! However, through observance, I have come to accept and support their union. I may not understand it, but all the same…
There is not much I can say, although I believe I do not necessarily need to say it – all of you understand. I can only voice my best wishes, and sincere apologies for the past few weeks…"
Those who understood laughed, and Tyrael rose to kiss her father on the cheek and hug him, before Elladan shook Haldir's hand, and both executed the Elvish gesture of respect. The crowd applauded, before the room erupted into a dizzying babble of chatter and clinking plates.
Others began to rise and extend one-line wishes for prosperity, happiness, and a hodgepodge of other warm sentiments, and I turned to Legolas to suggest a toast, but found he was deep in conversation with his father, speaking in the hushed tones I came to recognize as those that he used when discussing the orc situation.
Any merriment I might have felt fluttered away, as I was reminded of the reality we would face when this evening was over. We would be leaving at dawn, and I would not see my Tyrael or Haldir for a year. I felt a deep pang of worry in my chest, and sighed.
"…Father, their numbers are in the thousands, that is surely the largest party of Yrch we have spotted since-"
"Don't, speak of such things here. I shall not sully this occasion with talks of war. We can continue later."
I felt my head ache with tension. What did he mean, discussion of war? With whom?
I looked up and smiled. Tyrael came over to me, and pulled me into a firm embrace.
"I wanted to bid you good night. I have to go now, and I would be lying if I said I was not eager to get on with it."
"Indeed." I replied with a smirk. Haldir coughed.
"You looked so lovely today Kalia. I cannot wait until your wedding. I am sure it shall be a grand affair, and you will look like the daughter of Elbereth herself."
I smirked. "Nonsense. Though, I must admit you looked as fair as Tinuviel herself in the autumn sunlight. I expect Haldir will show his gratitude properly."
"I plan on it." He replied, and I grinned.
"I shall tell you all about it in the morning Kalia, so that you might snap and growl at Legolas for being a king's son."
My smile faded.
"Tyrael. You shan't see me come morning. I leave at dawn for Mirkwood."
Haldir stepped closer, and wrapped a hand around her waist.
"Trouble is brewing, Tyrael. I will explain in our quarters. Legolas must leave to defend his borders, and I shall have to patrol my own as well. I…I didn't want to worry you about it today, as it was certain to destroy our good mood. I should have told you sooner, but-"
"So much was happening at once you didn't know where to begin. I understand Haldir. Kalia, you will write me, yes?"
I clung to her hands, a bit desperately perhaps, and nodded.
"Of course, and I expect regular accounts from you as well. I have never seen the golden wood, you shall have to tell me all about it."
"Aye, I will. I will miss you Kalia. Mellonamin. Sister."
She added the last word in a whisper, and I pulled her into a fierce embrace.
"And I you Tyrael. Now go, do not fret of this dour news. It shall all pass. Peace in Middle Earth shall remain."
"I am not so sure Kalia, but I will take your advice."
"Now go, I shall see you soon. A year is a blink of an eye for an elf. Go on Haldir, we have said our goodbyes."
He nodded at me, clasped Legolas' forearm in farewell, and led Tyrael out of the hall.
"When did you say farewell to Haldir, Kalia?"
"We didn't. But I know I shall see him again."
He looked down at me, and then watched as the glittering couple faded into the cool night air.
Sleep did not come to me that night, not easily. Legolas and I held each other inside my room for a long while, sometimes kissing softly, but usually just clinging to one another, as if that would stop the impending doom we both felt. We tried to conjure the words to chase away the dank feelings that swept around us, yet, as was common for us, we found we had nothing to say. I felt tears prick my eyes, but I would not let them fall, choosing instead to stare out the window to the east, watching the dark fog roll in from the mountains. I shall never forget that moment, the feel of his silken dress tunic against my cheek, the icy bite of the cool air wafting in from the window, and the hopeless lonely feeling that swept over me. I took that memory with me until the day I died.
I knew I would miss the carefree summer I had in Rivendell, and I knew I would never know the abandon I felt in years to come. A new era was galloping towards us, and I clung to the last shards of tranquility I had left. I would tell no one of this sensation, keeping my feeling to myself, yet, I think, in a way they all knew. One could feel it in the air.
Hours later Legolas left me, after tucking me into my bed, and kissing my brow fondly. He too was a changed elf, a biting worry had settled into his heart, and his face became more mask-like and reserved. My golden elf was turning into the strong silent type before my eyes, all because of this unnamed growing threat.
Eventually sleep did claim me, and I was soothed by the happy memory of the wedding. I could recall Galadriel's serene voice as she offered her praise and hopes of happiness in the union. I recalled Elladan's choked up words of love, and the joy of fatherhood, as well as Haldir's praise of Legolas, and his gratitude that the Valar led him to this tournament so he might meet his soul mate.
By the time the room began to glow with the early dawn light, I had only a few winks of sleep and felt stiff and thoroughly exhausted. One of the queen's handmaidens came to help me gather the last of my belongings in my old quarters and as the servants carried the footlockers down to be loaded onto the carts I stood in the center of the room, a sad smile playing upon my lips. I was lost in memory.
"You are the most abominable wench this side of Rivendell."
"I try my best, milady."
I laughed softly, and ran my fingers along the small table where I would take many meals, and fletch many an arrow with Haldir
"This is…nice, Kalia."
"Aye, it is milord."
"Haldir. Call me Haldir."
Two birds battled viciously for a twig in the branches of the tree that grew near my window, and in the scuffle, one the the birds lost their footing, and fell off. It began to fly of course, and then landed back on the brach. The formal rival had found a bit of cotton to use, and in turn had abandoned the twig. I smiled, and was all but certain that the first bird looked remarkably like me.
"I want you to explain your relationship with the prince."
"What do you mean? It is simple enough. Are you doing things differently on your wing?"
Again I laughed, yet in the silence, I was sure it sounded more like a sob. I heard Legolas down in the courtyard, berating two servants who had loaded the queen's belongings on a carriage bound for lothlorian, and was glad he wasn't directing that tone at me.
"I have come to decipher what punishment is suitable for the shame you have brought upon my house…Tell me what motivated your actions."
"Foolish jealously, your majesty."
Had I known all that would befall me when I fist moved into my quarters adjacent to Haldir's would I have treasured each day more? Could I have possibly imagined, in my wildest dreams, the adventures, love, and friendship I would encounter for the sake of the "outdated seasonal ritual" elves embark upon? I knew, I could take these memories with me, but in the end, the ache was almost too much to bear. I ran my fingertips over the post of the bedframe, which had to be repaired compliments of Tyrael's penchance for spontaneity.
"You're my best friend."
"You're my best friend too Kalia."
A horse whinnied – Arod, from the sound of it – and I was snapped from my pensive moment. I was shocked to discover tears were drying on my face.
"Your majesty? The carriage awaits."
I picked up my travel bag, and left the room in silence.
As I approached the main carriage, I looked up into the smiling face of the queen and nodded briskly as I climbed in. I had said my hasty goodbyes to my other uncles, and grandfather, as well as to the Lady and Lord of Lothlórien and the line of Imladris. Now, it was time to leave. I was ready for this, well, as ready as I could hope to be. I knew I had an uphill battle before me, home in Mirkwood, as the new princess. And I knew I had a great deal of heartache to reckon with as I was parting from my best friend and dear relatives.
As if to punctuate this point, Haldir's steed trotted aside our carriage and I was face to face with his glittering gaze. His face wore the same pained expression as mine and in turn melted all the control I had had on my grief.
"I shall have a post sent to you as soon as we arrive and are settled. Have a safe journey."
I nodded, the tears I had battled to keep at bay slipping out from my eyes, and in a flash, leaned out from the window and wrapped myself into his embrace, which was made a bit awkward due to my position in the carriage, and his position on the horse.
"I love you, uncle. Please be safe."
"Do not trouble your mind over me. I will be fine, little girl. I have faced greater adversities. I am married to Tyrael, you know."
I let out a choked laugh, and closed my eyes against the pleasant rumble of his chest. I would miss that comfort.
He brushed a rough thumb against my cheek, and I looked over his shoulder to see Legolas hugging Tyrael fondly. I could tell from his expression that the words were akin to those between my own and Haldir's.
"Do not let them gobble you up Kalia. Though, I think you have at least one ally."
I frowned a bit in confusion, until I saw his gaze flicker from Nessa, who was mounting another carriage, to the queen, who was watching our exchange from inside.
"I will be alright. I am nothing if not a survivor, right?"
I hoped my voice sounded more convincing than I felt.
"That you are."
He brushed my cheek fondly, and I pulled myself back into the carriage as he trotted to join Tyrael, who was now on horseback. Her eyes met mine, and as the March Warden barked an order for the caravan to set off, I raised a hand in goodbye. Our eyes remained locked until we were forced to go our separate ways, just outside of the city.
Legolas rode alongside me and we watched the party as they rode away from us, slowly becoming tiny black specks along the pale horizon. At length, he took my gloved hand and kissed it fondly. I smiled up into his warm gaze.
"Come on Kalia, let's go home."
And so we did.
*.Until journey's end and beyond, I am yours, and you are mine.
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