Authors: Julie & Fianna
Disclaimer: We write fan fiction solely for our own enjoyment and do not claim any copyright or ownership nor do we have intent to make financial gain. All original concepts and characters are from our minds and remain our property.
Warnings: Het Romance
Cast: Haldir/OFC, Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn, Rúmil, Orophin, other OCs
Timeline: A.U. not following movie verse or canon
Summary: Determined to punish Haldir for toying with her sister's affections, Elanor undertakes to teach him a lesson. Will she succeed? Or will Haldir turn the tables on her?
"He is coming here at last! The March Warden of Lothlórien! My true love!"
Tossing her golden hair over her shoulder, Lana waltzed around the room, her blue skirt swishing as she moved. "Can you believe it? Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn have accepted this year's invitation to Arwen's birthday celebration, and you know they always bring Haldir along for protection." The beautiful elven maiden clasped her hands in front of her, almost rubbing them together in glee. "By this time next week, I shall be reunited with the one who adores me!"
Smothering a sigh, Elanor glared at the embroidery panel she was attempting to form into a pillow cover, but the mangled threads seemed to mock her every effort. Setting it aside with secret relief, she transferred her gaze to her younger sister, quietly assessing her as she continued to enthuse about her so-called suitor. Lana had many admirers, but Elanor was not so sure that Haldir of Lórien was one of them.
Elanor frowned, thinking of the Lothlórien Guardian. Lana had not seen him for two years, yet her sister's heart seemed fixed on him more firmly than ever. "You are certainly excited about seeing him again," she commented.
"Of course I am!" Lana said fervently. "I have missed him so! I love him so much!"
"But Lana, dear, he has not even written to you. I am afraid that he will break your heart. I have heard he is considered quite a catch in Lothlórien, but no female has as yet managed to hold his interest for very long. Perhaps he has long forgotten you." Elanor tried to say the words gently, but she saw the flash of annoyance that crossed Lana's face.
"He has not forgotten me!" her sister snapped, and stomped her little foot. "He is only busy. Very busy. And he told me he does not like to write letters. But I know he cares for me. I told you how well we'd got on the last time he was here. He looked at no one but me! Only me! And I have given him my heart. Oh, Elanor, he is so perfect! You cannot believe what an excellent kisser he is!"
Elanor gritted her teeth. For two years she had had to listen to Lana rave about the March Warden's virtues. She had heard about his accomplishments, his high rank, his masculine attributes, his beautiful eyes, his soft hair, his hard muscles . . . the list seemed as endless as Lana's adoration. And yet this so-called perfect elf had never deigned to write poor Lana a letter.
Elanor did not like him. She did not like him at all.
"Well, I think you were foolish to leap into such a strong relationship so quickly," she said firmly. "He'd only been here a few days. And you have nothing at all in common with him."
Lana laughed airily. "Nonsense! It was love at first sight, Ellie! You are only jealous because he didn't choose you." Humming a nonsense tune in her throat, she whirled about the room, her long hair flaring out from where it hung heavy and straight down her back. "But then, you were not even here, were you? You arrived just as he was leaving."
Remembering that moment, Elanor frowned. Yes, she had seen Haldir several times, and even admired him in a silly sort of way, but they had never actually met. And that last time, two years ago, she had been passing through the courtyard just when he was exiting Lord Elrond's residence. The March Warden had stood on the steps and looked straight at her, then proceeded to give her the most thorough masculine assessment she had ever received. And then he had smiled at her, a slow, lazy smile that could have curled her toes if she were not so sensible. It had taken all Elanor's resolve not to blush quite scarlet. His piercing look had burned her, made her more conscious than ever of how alone she sometimes felt, and how much she yearned for masculine company. But not his.
To add to this, she had had the oddest feeling that he had intended to walk over and speak to her, but then the Lord and Lady of Lórien had emerged, along with Lord Elrond, and Haldir's attention had been diverted. Elanor had turned and left, but she remembered all too clearly how she had taken one last glance over her shoulder, and in doing so, had caught Haldir's eye once more. And he had winked at her! This was the elf who was supposedly in love with her sweet, innocent little sister! Of course she had told Lana none of this.
"I do not know what it is you see in him," she said, aware that she sounded prudish, "I have always heard that he is arrogant and overbold in his behavior."
Lana scowled and turned away. "Well, you are wrong. He is sweet and romantic."
Elanor stared at her sister. "Romantic? Sweet? From what I have heard, an Orc would be sweeter in disposition than Lothlórien's March Warden. He is known for his haughtiness and hardened temperament, and from what I've seen it is no exaggeration." She pushed aside the memory of his wink, which had seemed more flirtatious than haughty.
"Perhaps he is that way with his wardens, but with me he is romantic! Elanor, he gave me a . . . a flower when we walked together in the garden. And then he kissed me many times. Many, many times. And more than kissed."
"More than kissed?" Elanor repeated carefully. "You did not tell me this before. Exactly what do you mean, Lana?"
Lana giggled. "Come, Ellie, do not tell me you do not know! Are you really that inexperienced?"
"Are you saying you gave yourself to him?" Elanor asked steadily.
Lana lifted her chin. "Do I have to spell it out? I told you, we fell in love, and I will say no more than that. If I gave myself to him, well, it is none of your concern." She must finally have realized how distressed Elanor was, for she ran over to give her a hug. "You worry too much about me, Ellie. I will be fine." With a light laugh, she left the room.
Elanor rubbed a hand across her brow, and sighed. Yes, she worried a great deal about Lana. Her little sister was far too free with her heart, and too easily swayed by male flattery. Lana was far, far too beautiful for her own good, with her golden hair, blue eyes, and perfect features. If Haldir broke Lana's heart, if he was only toying with her beloved sister, then by the Valar he was going to pay. Elanor clenched her teeth. And she'd be the one to make him do it.
Lana hurried from the solar and out into Elanor's small, well-tended garden. It was surrounded by a low stone wall, and she could hear the peaceful rush of the river on the other side. Their home sat on the lower course of the city, at the river's edge, parts of their home even overhanging the flowing water. Usually, the sound of the water soothed her, but not today. Lana flopped down onto a small stone bench and tapped her foot irritably.
This time she might have gone too far. She'd worked herself so deeply into her web of lies that she wasn't sure how she was going to get free. She groaned, leaning against the cool stone wall, scarcely noticing the heavy fragrance from the wisteria behind her head, crushed against the wall. What was she going to do?
Scowling, she folded her arms over her chest, tapping one finger against her mouth. Elanor was not going to believe that Haldir loved her if she saw them together. The humiliating truth was that he'd snubbed her when she had tried to flirt with him. He'd given her an amused look, lifted an eyebrow, and walked away, leaving her with his brother, Rúmil! To add to this, she'd seen the look he'd given Elanor that day in the courtyard two years ago. Lana had been standing on a nearby balcony, hoping to catch a glimpse of him before he left. She'd been looking particularly fetching, and she had hoped to make him sorry for treating her so badly. And then, Lana remembered angrily, and then he'd looked at Ellie in just the way she'd wanted him to look at her! In fact, he had given Ellie more of his time in that one look than he'd given Lana the whole two weeks he'd been in Rivendell!
Oooooh, it still made her furious, even now! And so the lie had begun.
Lana couldn't let Elanor know that all the stories she'd told her were lies. Elanor loved her, and thought the sun rose and set on her dear little sister, as she rightly should. Lana considered herself one of the most beautiful elf-maidens in Rivendell, quite as lovely as Arwen Evenstar herself, in fact. Haldir should have loved her. And he should not have looked at Ellie. It was all wrong. Quite wrong. Elanor was merely pretty, and she was serious and quiet and not at all flirtatious. Males didn't notice her, as a rule, at least not while Lana was around.
Lana rose, kicking at the flowers near the bench, uncaring of her sister's labor. What was she going to do? She must find a way out of this, a way that did not make her look like a fool. And quickly. Elanor might believe the stories, but she also had good eyes, and caught the nuances and subtle looks all too well. All at once, Lana's eyes grew wide as a plan came to her, and a tiny smile curved her lips. Of course! Of course!
Lana whirled about the garden, suddenly conscious of the flowers that she had trampled. She knelt down and picked one up, one whose petals already drooped in despair. She would be the wilted flower. She would droop with despair, and make Haldir look like a complete scoundrel. People might feel sorry for her, but at least Elanor would not know about the lies. Lana threw down the flower and resumed her humming while she mulled over her plan. First, she would give him one last chance.
Haldir stood at the window of his assigned quarters, gazing out at the pleasing view of the river and the joyous tumble of a nearby waterfall. He did not normally attend such events as Arwen Evenstar's birthday celebrations. He and some of his wardens accompanied the Lord and Lady of Lórien whenever they traveled from Lothlórien to Rivendell in order to give them additional protection, something he felt to be his duty. They did not come every year; indeed it had been two years since last they had made the journey.
He turned from the window with a sigh. The only reason he intended to attend tonight was because he had encountered Arwen herself unexpectedly, and she had expressly invited him. It would have been undiplomatic and churlish to refuse, even though he would have preferred to explore the gardens and pathways of Rivendell instead. The only consolation he could think of was that he might be fortunate enough to come across that dark-haired maiden again, the one he'd seen last time he was here. He did not exactly recall her face, but he knew he would recognize her if he saw her again. He remembered her eyes. And her figure.
A short while later, he stood in the largest room of the House of Elrond, his hand wrapped around a goblet of wine while his eyes roved over the crowd. He saw Elrond, Galadriel and Celeborn chatting with Arwen and a few visiting council members. Elladan and Elrohir were due to arrive although they had been known to be quite late for such events. Rúmil and Orophin were also here somewhere, and ought to be showing up any moment now.
Feeling unsociable, Haldir retired to an alcove with a padded window seat where he could glance out upon a lovely garden. In times of peace, he would have a garden of his own, he thought. Suddenly, a hand touched his arm, and he turned. Valar spare him, it was that blonde again, the one who had done her best to attach his interest two years ago. It had taken him only a glance to see her for what she was—a vain, spoiled, naïve young maiden who expected every male she met to fall at her feet. Such elleths bored him to death.
"Good evening, Haldir," she said, batting her long, golden eyelashes at him. "Do you remember me?"
"Aye," he said resignedly. This time neither of his brothers was here to help him out. Last time, he recalled, he had managed to leave her with Rúmil, who had commented later that she had not been at all pleased by such treatment. A brat, Rúmil had called her, which Haldir assumed meant that his youngest brother had been unsuccessful in any attempt to seduce the maiden. Or perhaps Rúmil was actually developing better taste.
"You do not look like the memory is a pleasing one," she retorted.
He thought she sounded a little snappish. Yes, his first assessment was correct; this one was spoiled rotten. He would have to put her in her place as carefully as possible.
"The memory is hardly a memory at all," he said, keeping his face neutral. "It is neither pleasing nor displeasing."
She stared at him for a long moment, then she turned on her heel and walked away. Perhaps he had been too harsh, he reflected, then decided that he hadn't. That maiden had likely broken many hearts without a second thought or a regret. She needed to realize her own lack of importance and learn some humility. A little discipline wouldn't hurt either. Whoever was in charge of her had let her get away with far too much. He thanked the Gods she wasn't his responsibility.
Once more, he glanced around the room, and saw no one of interest to him, so he decided to take a walk in Elrond's private garden. He recalled it from his last visit; it was quite outstanding.
Elanor had witnessed the exchange from her vantage point behind a potted plant on the far side of the room, and she was furious. How dared Haldir treat sweet, innocent Lana in such a cruel and heartless manner! She watched Lórien's notorious guardian leave the alcove and move to the opposite end of the room. Now he was heading out the door that led to Lord Elrond's private garden. How tempted she was to follow him and give him a piece of her mind!
Fuming inwardly, she raised her glass of wine to her lips and drained it. It was a strong wine, stronger than the sort she normally drank, and she could already feel its effects, especially since she had not yet had anything to eat. Well, perhaps it was all to the good, because giving the March Warden of Lothlórien a scolding suddenly seemed quite appealing. The wine provided that extra bit of courage that she needed.
Threading her way through the crowd, she reached the door to the garden and slipped through, closing it firmly behind her. She paused to listen, wondering if there were others out here, but she could hear nothing. She could not see Haldir; he must already have rounded the hedge and entered the central part of the garden. Very well, then, she would go and find him.
She found him easily and paused again, taking time to observe him closely. He stood with his back to her, his fair hair streaming down his back, his hands clasped behind him in a casual stance. He was gazing at a small fountain surrounded by the flowers for which she was named, those lovely, delicate and pale blooms called elanor. The night was warm and dark, the garden lit by a single torch.
He turned as she approached, though she did not think she had made a sound. His eyes met hers and his dark finely arched brows lifted. He actually had the audacity to look pleased to see her.
"Good evening," he said. They were simple words, but seemed to contain a wealth of meaning beyond the obvious.
"March Warden," she said boldly, "I would have a word with you."
"You may have several words," he replied with a slight smile, "but first tell me your name."
"You do not need my name. You know another's name, do you not?"
His smile faded and his eyes narrowed. "A maiden who speaks in riddles. This should be interesting."
He strolled toward her, his keen gaze seeming to take in her every aspect. Elanor suddenly noticed that she was having difficulty breathing. He seemed larger than a moment before, and more imposing. Intimidating, even. He wore a tunic of dark blue, with a silver gray undertunic and black leggings, attire which set off his broad shoulders and muscular physique to perfect advantage. He looked magnificent, as he always did, although she should not be having such thoughts when she disliked him so much.
"You know perfectly well what I am saying," she said stiffly. "And I have come here to tell you that I find your behavior reprehensible. You should be ashamed of yourself!"
He drew back a little, as though she had insulted him. "Indeed. And which behavior would you be referring to?"
"I know not why you play these games! I saw what happened! I have heard of nothing but Haldir, Haldir, Haldir for the past two years, and I tell you I am sick of it!" The wine had indeed made her reckless, yet she heard the small warning bell tolling in her head. This was not just any elf. She needed to tread warily.
He circled her like an arrogant cat, and abruptly his hand was on her shoulder, sliding down her arm, locking on her wrist. His fingers were warm and very strong. "I know not of what you speak, but I will tell you this—I would not accept such words or such a tone from one of my wardens. Do you know what I would do if one of them addressed me in such a way?"
"I neither know nor care." She attempted to pull away from him, but he did not allow it. "Release me at once," she ordered, "or I shall scream."
"Try it, and I will stop you, and in a way you might not like. Or perhaps you would enjoy my methods," he added suavely. "But I have not harmed you. Why would I? I would rather kiss you."
Elanor gasped, astounded by his flagrant boldness and disregard for her sister. Even if he and Lana had ended whatever sort of relationship they had—which they must have done, judging by Lana's face when she had left him—it had only been several minutes ago! And here he was, flirting with her, if such it could be called.
"You are despicable!" She tried to twist from her grasp, and to her surprise he let her go. She rubbed her wrist and glared at him, and he returned her look.
"I know not what I have done to offend you," he said evenly. "We have never even spoken. But if I have truly injured you in some way, I apologize for it."
Now he was trying a different method of enticement, and it was far more effective, for she could feel herself melting, wanting to forgive him. Wanting to touch him . . .
Sweet Elbereth, what was she thinking? This was only a ploy to get her to lower her guard. No doubt he had been honing such skills for centuries. Well, she was not going to fall for it! She was much wiser than Lana, who clearly had not been able to see past his very handsome exterior.
"I do not accept your apology," she informed him in a scathing tone. "You are a scoundrel, Haldir of Lórien, and if I had my way—"
She gasped as one of his hands closed on her upper arm and the other went around her waist, pulling her against him. "If I had my way, that lovely mouth of yours would not be talking." He stared down at her, his jaw hard. "I can think of a much better use for it."
And before she knew what was happening, he was kissing her. Elanor had been kissed a few times, but never by anyone who had aroused her very much. This was as different from those other embraces as light from shadow. For a few seconds she stood in pure shock as his mouth covered hers, his tongue nudging between her lips in a demanding way she had never experienced, and which sent shivers of desire racing down her spine. And to her horror, she realized that she was starting to return the kiss . . .
She grabbed great handfuls of his hair and yanked. "Let me go! How dare you!"
And he did let go. The look on his face baffled her, the play of emotions too fleeting to be analyzed. He gazed down at her and said nothing, the expression in his eyes telling her she had crossed a line that others dared not cross. But she was too furious to care.
"You are going to be sorry!" Her chest heaved with indignation and the pure agony of embarrassment derived from the knowledge that she had allowed him to know that she enjoyed his touch. "Very sorry," she repeated, almost on a sob.
He did not answer, but only walked past her and around the hedge. A moment later, she heard the door open and close, its sharp snap telling her that he was truly annoyed. Well, good! He was going to be a lot more annoyed by the time she finished with him. Never in her life had she felt such anger as she felt right now. On Lana's account, of course.
Still breathing hard, Elanor walked over and sat upon a stone bench, listening to the soft burble of the fountain, her mind a jumbled whirl of emotions as she looked up at the stars. Anger, frustration, and even desire all seethed inside her. How dared he kiss her! And he had never even acknowledged what he had done to Lana, but had neatly sidestepped the whole issue.
How devious he was! What had Lana seen in him? Besides his kisses, of course. Elanor now understood what Lana had meant when she had said he was a good kisser. He must be, to make her feel like that . . . oh, why was she thinking such thoughts? She touched a hand to her head. The wine was still affecting her . . . or was it him? Or both?
She must focus on Lana. She was not going to let him get away with treating her sister like that. She needed a plan. What could she do to punish him?
And slowly, it came to her, the most daring, brazen, wanton idea she had ever had in her life. Dare she do it? Why not! He deserved it, and he would be so humbled when it was over that he would never tell anyone that a mere she-elf had gotten the better of him. Elanor would teach the arrogant March Warden a lesson that he'd not soon forget. But she would need help. Who?
Telrion. He was just the elf she needed to help her do it.
She would have to catch him quickly before he left for the evening. He was often bored with these kinds of celebrations, and preferred to return to his rooms to peruse his never ending piles of manuscripts. Heading down a path that led around the corner and down the hill, she soon found him where she had expected, inhaling the fragrance of Arwen's rose garden which he often passed on his way back to his quarters.
The Rivendell elf turned. He was very tall and lean, with light blue eyes and long waist length dark hair. His eyes glowed with amusement in the near darkness. He brushed back the hair from his face with elegant fingers.
"Oh, hello, Ellie. You are looking for me?"
Elanor smiled, and reached out and tucked her hand in his arm, pulling him deeper into the shadows of the garden. "Telrion, I need your help, yours and Minden's. You must find him quickly and meet me back here in half an hour."
Telrion patted her hand. "My dear, I would love to be of assistance, but the night is young. You should be at the party, dancing!"
Elanor tightened her grip on his arm. "Telrion, my dear friend, do you remember when I saved you from Lord Elrond's wrath last month? When you took that whole stack of parchments from his desk without permission? Ah, I see you do. Who was the one who distracted him while you slipped in and put them back? And do you remember you told me that when I needed help, you would be there for me? Well, tonight, I am calling in the favor."
Telrion puckered his lips, clearly recalling that he had indeed uttered those very words. "What do you need? Have you lost something? Has someone insulted you?" The elf straightened, the blue eyes flashing. "Shall I take this person to task?"
She shook her head. "Nay, it is more complicated than that. Please find Minden, then I will explain. Please, Telrion?"
He studied her for a moment, then gave a nod. "Very well then, Ellie. I will find Minden and meet you right here in half an hour." He bowed and left.
The time passed slowly, but at last they returned. The two elves were both tall, almost the same height with the same dark hair, though Minden's eyes were green. Minden was a rogue, mischievous and wily, forever getting into trouble. He was just the kind of elf she needed, Elanor reflected as she turned to greet them.
Minden bowed low over her hand, kissing it gallantly. "Telrion says you need a favor? This is unlike you, Elanor, so it must be quite important. I am most intrigued and honored to be included."
Elanor took a deep breath, knowing some of her courage had already departed. Still, she had to do this; for too long had she simply drifted along, accepting all that occurred without making any attempt to change the course of her life's stream. She would not back down; it was time to take control.
"I ask you, Minden, because you are exactly what I need. You both are." She gazed assessingly at the two Rivendell elves, her closest friends, cousins to each other and like brothers to her. They were also close friends of Elladan and Elrohir, and the fun-loving four were often being chastised by Lord Elrond for various scrapes and misadventures.
"And what is this favor you ask?" Telrion asked.
Elanor took a deep breath. "I need you to kidnap the March Warden of Lothlórien."
Telrion stared, and Minden burst out laughing. "How amusing," Minden said, between chuckles. "I could swear you just said you want us to kidnap the March Warden of Lothlórien." He scratched behind his ear and flipped his long hair over his shoulder.
Elanor lifted her chin. "That is exactly what I said."
The two elves gazed at her in disbelief, then exchanged a meaningful glance with each other. She'd never seen them nervous before, but that was definitely the emotion on their faces. She set her hands on her hips. "Are you afraid of Haldir?"
Telrion scowled. "I would not use the word 'afraid', Ellie. Terrified might be more accurate. Why in Arda's name do you want us to do such a foolish thing? Do you not realize the consequences that could follow?"
Elanor pushed this argument aside; she had already had it with herself. "That is not your concern. I will take full responsibility. I must do this for Lana. Haldir has taken liberties with her . . . broken her heart. I am going to punish him, that is all."
Telrion and Minden stared at her in confusion. "But Ellie, this is insane! Haldir has taken liberties? With Lana? Are you sure of what you say? Lana may well have encouraged him, you know."
"He should know better," she stated angrily. "Lana is an innocent, you both know that."
Her two friends exchanged a strange glance, and Minden sighed. "Do you realize how difficult such a scheme would be? How would we do this? Hit him over the head? It just would not work. Haldir of Lórien is aware of all things at all times. It is not possible to sneak up on him."
"Minden, please. There must be a way. Do this for me or . . . or I swear I will go to Elrond about the missing robes. I know it was you who took them while he was bathing."
"You would not really do that, would you?" Minden protested.
"Try me," Elanor retorted. "I do not wish to resort to such tactics, but I will if you force me. I need your help and you owe me."
Minden grimaced. "Very well, you wicked she-elf. It seems you know too many secrets in this land." He laughed a bit nervously. "We will do this for you . . . somehow. What, er, exactly did you have in mind?"
Elanor sighed in relief. She'd actually been holding her breath. "I want you to drug him and take him to my room."
"Drug him and take him to your room," Telrion echoed sarcastically. "Is that all?"
Elanor folded her arms. "Drug him, take him to my room, and tie him to my bed."
Minden looked as though he had swallowed his tongue; Telrion seemed to be on the point of gagging. "Tie him to your bed?" Minden repeated with raised brows. "Pray tell, what are your plans? Dear Elbereth, do you realize what Haldir will do to you when he awakes? Or to us, for that matter!"
Elanor waved this aside. "He can do nothing if you tie him securely. I am not going to torture him, for pity's sake, but I want to be the one in control. It might be a good idea to gag him too. I want to talk to him, and it will be a one-sided conversation."
Minden sighed. "She's lost her mind, Telrion. This surpasses any jokes I have played over the course of my entire life." Minden looked at Elanor appraisingly. "Perhaps I don't know you as well as I thought I did, my little friend."
Elanor tightened her lips. No, she expected they didn't know her that well, even though they had been friends for more than a century. These days she scarcely knew herself. She was sick to death of being quiet and predictable. She hated sewing, hated embroidery, hated the lack of adventure in her life. She hated being alone all the time. Even when she was with Lana, she felt alone because Lana had no interest in anything other than herself. The only activity Elanor pursued that she enjoyed was gardening, nurturing something that didn't talk back or whine or need its gowns mended. What a disloyal thought! Why was she being so rebellious? She loved her sister! She had adored Lana from the day she was born, lavished attention on her constantly, bent over backward to keep her happy.
"You will do this, then?" she asked. "I have some sleeping powder. All you need to do is put it into his wine. After that, he will be no problem. You must do this tomorrow night. Lana will be away visiting a friend."
Both elves nodded, and Elanor smiled. "It is agreed then. Tomorrow night I will wait here until I hear your signal that it is done." She turned and walked on down the hill, taking another path that would lead her closer to her home.
Minden watched her leave, then shook his head. "And I thought we knew her well."
Telrion sat on a bench, his elbows on his knees. "Do you think she realizes what she's getting herself into? Haldir of Lórien! She plays with fire."
Minden sat down as well. "And all because of some imagined slight against Lana. Nobody but Ellie would believe that. Despite Lana's beauty, I doubt Haldir has given her a moment's glance. He is too good a judge of character to be fooled by that she-elf's ploys. Ellie is so intelligent about other things, yet so blind about her sister."
"Aye, and Lana has made sure to steal every suitor Ellie might have had, and I doubt Ellie even realizes it." Telrion rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Would it not be amusing if this time Ellie was the one to catch the prize? Do you think Haldir would be interested in our little Ellie?"
Minden gazed at a nearby rosebush, his eyes narrowing in thought. "Tying him to a bed is not likely to engage his interest. Or perhaps it will. Ha! Now that I think upon it, I did see him smile at her the last time he was here. I was there in the courtyard when he saw her. She ran away, but it didn't seem to deter him. He stared after her with quite open interest, I noticed."
"So there is some attraction there. Or was."
Minden sat up straighter, his eyes gleaming with laughter. "By the light, Telrion, of course!"
"Of course what? I cannot read your mind, Cousin. What is your thought?"
"We need help." Minden grinned.
"You can say that again. The March Warden is a large and sturdy elf, and Elanor's house lies on the far side of the city. How in Mordor are we going to get him there with no one seeing?"
"Perhaps we will not have to if we can get him as far as ours."
"Well, I don't want him tied to my bed! By Morgoth's balls, I would not want to be within a league of him when he wakes up."
Minden punched his cousin on the arm. "Be silent and listen. Who in all of Arda would be more willing to play a joke on the March Warden but his own two brothers? You've heard Elladan and Elrohir speak of their sense of mischief. If anyone can help, it is Rúmil and Orophin. And they are here, I saw them earlier!"
Telrion slapped a hand on his thigh. "You are right! We will talk to them tomorrow. But if they don't agree, we will have to go to Elanor and tell her it is not possible."
The following afternoon.
Rúmil stared at the two Rivendell elves, his expression carefully controlled. "Do you realize what you ask?"
Minden smiled. "Your brother has a sense of humor, does he not?"
Orophin snorted. "Humor? Haldir? Aye, he has a sense of humor, but you would be far happier if you did not experience it. This elven maiden may not like the consequences. You say he smiled at her, which I admit bodes well, but even so, this is a dangerous move on her part. There are far safer ways for her to gain his attentions."
Rúmil leaned forward. "She wishes him brought to her room and tied to her bed? No more than that? By the Valar, I will not put him in harm's way."
Telrion shook his head. "Elanor has not a cruel bone in her body. He will be in no physical danger. Besides, if you agree to help, we may just give him an advantage that Ellie will not know about."
Rúmil smiled and narrowed his eyes. "So what is your plan? Give us details and we will decide whether we will help."
Minden and Telrion looked at each other. Telling these two guardians of Lothlórien their plan was a risk, but it really was a jolly good plan! It might be good for both Haldir and Ellie, if things went well. Minden grinned and proceeded to explain. It took only a few moments to give the two Lórien brothers the details.
Telrion frowned suddenly. "You expressed concern about him, but what of her? Haldir will not harm our little Ellie?"
Rúmil and Orophin both laughed. "Nay," Rúmil said, "Haldir might take advantage and perhaps steal a kiss, but no physical harm will come to her."
The Lórien brothers looked at each other, seeming to consult silently. Then Orophin said, "We agree to help. Meet us at Haldir's room tonight at sunset. He has been in a black temper all day, though I know not why. But I do know he will be in no mood to go out, so bring lots of wine. The bloody elf can drink like a dwarf. It will take some time to get him to relax. Only then will you be able to drug his wine. But we can help you to distract him."
The elves shook hands, and the Rivendell elves left.
Rúmil turned to Orophin. "Why does he always get the best adventures? How I would like some beautiful female to want to tie me to her bed!"
Orophin grinned. "Aye, and perhaps we can make it even more interesting for her." He laughed aloud, and leaned closer to Rúmil, detailing his idea. The grin that crossed his brother's face remained for the rest of the afternoon.
To be continued . . .