A/N: It has been a pleasure writing this story, and I thank everyone who has offered constructive criticism, their praise, or their support as reviewers and readers. Never before could I imagine a story that I wrote to do so well and be liked by so many. Sadly, here ends the tale of two headstrong elves finding love in the people they least expected to find it. There will be a sequel of sorts, but our arrogant March Warden will be playing a loving father, and our flaming-tongued Indilisse will be playing a devoted mother. I hope you will all enjoy this one as well.
Nindë sat on the tree branch outside of Haldir's talan, veiled by the thick growth of leaves in this particular tree. She had been in this same spot all day, waiting for Indilisse to leave the confines of the talan, but when Haldir returned and she did not leave, Nindë grew suspicious. That was when the sounds of their lovemaking found her ears. The anguished moans and lustful gasps coming from the room had startled her at first, after all she had only just heard Haldir profess his love for Indilisse the night before, and Indilisse supposedly being the fine and well-bred elleth would have requested that they wait longer for such activities. Indilisse had made him leave her talan the night before as Nindë had been witness to, and seemed that there had been an unspoken promise that the next time they were together, they would undoubtedly bind.
That infuriated Nindë beyond all belief. She had worked so hard at keeping them apart, and still they saw past it and moved on. They forgave each other unconditionally. They loved each other unconditionally. Nindë let out her own anguished groan, though it was of pure distaste for Indilisse and not of passion. How could this elleth think that after only a few months in Lórien that she could have this March Warden all to herself? And how did Indilisse turn Haldir against her so quickly? Indilisse had changed the March Warden in more ways than just that one.
Shouts of release came from the talan beneath her, and she sighed to herself, seeing Arwen making her way up the path. She was carrying a green bundle and placed outside Haldir's door, disappearing once again into the trees. Nindë looked down at the bundle and found that it was one of Indilisse's gowns. She had a good notion to go and rip it apart, shred it to small pieces and make the elleth walk back to her talan without clothes. Frowning to herself, Nindë knew that Haldir would never make Indilisse do that and would sooner fight an entire band of orcs just to retrieve a new dress for her. But it still would not hurt her if she did a little something to the gown.
Quietly, after half a days debate in her head, Nindë let herself down from the branch and crept slowly to gown, and bent down to pick it up but heard the sounds of a chair scraping against the ground and the knob on the door turning. Dashing quickly away, Nindë found cover behind a tree trunk and watched as Haldir picked up the bundle and looked down at the parchment resting atop it. He smiled and disappeared back indoors. Only minutes later they stepped from the talan arm in arm.
Nindë did not have to look twice to realize that they had committed themselves to each other this day. Letting a frustrated and annoyed scream, she stomped off towards her talan. How dare that excuse for an elleth take Haldir from her! This was the last straw! Something was going to have to be done about her, and she did not care if Haldir was hurt in the process. He deserved it now after he had left her and gone to... to her!
She slammed the door to her talan and went to a chair, sulking for what seemed like forever until she heard a knock on the door of her talan. She called in an unpleasant voice, "Who is there?"
"Valaina." Came the soft reply as the door opened. Valaina entered and looked around the small, dark room before walking over to nearby lantern and lighting it. She looked down at Nindë and placed her hands on her waist, "What is the matter now?"
"They have done it." Nindë replied sullenly.
Valaina pursed her lips, "Who has done what?"
"Haldir and Indil...Indilisse." She stuttered slightly.
"And what have they done now that you cannot reverse?" Valaina queried as she walked into the kitchen and poured two goblets of wine.
"They have bound."
Valaina froze for a moment and then resumed her pouring. She carried a goblet to Nindë and sat down with her own on another chair, "How do you know this?"
Nindë snorted, "I heard them Valaina. And I saw them afterwards."
"We will surpass this, just as we have in the past, Nindë." Valaina offered. "There is bound to be some other elf that would suit your needs."
"I fear that the only other elf that could do that is Prince Legolas of Mirkwood." Nindë smiled, "He is young enough and far too trusting."
Valaina chuckled, "He would be easy cultivate, but you would have to gain a friendship with him first, and it is not easy doing that in Thranduil's kingdom."
"He is but a lofty goal, even for me Valaina." Nindë admitted, sighing glumly. "I have heard that he has been betrothed to another in Lindon. She is supposedly the daughter of Círdan, the exotic beauty and princess of Lindon."
"I did not think that elves betrothed that often." Valaina said, sitting back in her seat and sighing, "But I guess if you are a prince, you must marry a princess."
"Even though Legolas will never claim his title as King of Mirkwood?" Nindë laughed. "Maybe Legolas thinks as most elves do and expects to marry one whom he 'loves'."
Valaina chuckled, "If anyone has the power to turn him, it would be you Nindë."
"I hope so." Nindë said and stood up, walking over to the kitchen to put together a small meal for them. "Would you go with me to Mirkwood?"
Four days passed quickly for the elves of Lórien, for on this day they were to come together to celebrate the joining of the venerable March Warden and Indilisse, daughter of Targon. Many turned out for the festivities that had been planned so graciously by Rúmil and Orophin, though it was obvious that Narië had also had a hand in the planning of the event. There was much laughing and dancing, food and drink to be had by all the residents of the city, even for those who were not so inclined to come. Nindë and Valaina had shown up to the party, and sulked in a dark corner of the field the entire night, much to everyone's annoyance.
Indilisse had pushed them, though, as far from her mind as she could, as she not only had the binding to celebrate, but also the decision she and Haldir had made not to wait to start the begetting of children. They were not planning on many children, but Indilisse did not wish to wait any longer to have children as she wanted them to live some in Middle Earth before most elves had sailed West. She hoped that they would find the same joy here that she too found. And Haldir, being the compliant elf that he was, agreed to father these children. Indilisse laughed at herself for thinking that. Haldir compliant! That was like Sauron being cheerful.
She felt a strong hand on her shoulder and turned in her seat to find Haldir finishing a conversation with another of his higher stationed wardens. He looked down at her and smiled, "I have just realized that I did not ask you to dance, my lady."
Indilisse chuckled, "Why disappoint me now? Every celebration we have been to together, you have never asked."
Haldir held his hand out to her and waited for her to take it. With great ease, he lifted her out of the seat and close in to him, "Those were very large slights on my part, and I am sorry."
"Aye, very large they were." Indilisse smiled and leaned in to kiss him. They walked to the group of dancing elves, a path clearing quite easily for them. Before she could turn around herself and gaze up into Haldir's wonderful gray eyes, he had her pressed against him and his arms around her as the minstrels started up a pleasantly slow elven waltz. She had never pictured him to be the dancing type, but she found that his feet moved with a particular effortlessness that even she could not match. It was clear that many years of moving in battle had made him like this.
"Have I told you how lovely you look this evening?" Haldir asked.
She looked down at herself, and smiled once again for the iridescent white gown that had come from the Lord and Lady and also from Arwen. It looked much like many of Galadriel's gowns, and frankly Indilisse almost felt out of place wearing such an ornate piece of cloth, but she did know that she must look as stunning in her gown as Haldir did in his own gift of a fine white and silver tunic. She glanced up at him and sighed, "I think you have, many times. To which I reply how handsome you are this evening."
He leaned in to her and whispered, "But I think the dress would look much better thrown hastily over the back of a chair than on you right at this moment."
"And would have to say the same about that lovely tunic you are wearing," Indilisse replied, trying to mask her flush from his innuendo, though she knew he saw it. "A pity that such a fine garment could be so unceremoniously dumped on the ground."
"I would agree, but I think even the Lord and Lady would understand if that was what happened to it." Haldir smiled and leaned down to kiss her.
She giggled and shook her head. "Does it bother you that everyone here knows of what we will probably be doing later this evening?"
"It would only bother me if they all came and held vigil outside our talan." Haldir joked. "You do think of the oddest things, Indilisse."
"I do not." Indilisse defended, "It is an honest wonderment."
"However," Haldir said lowly again so only she could hear. "I would like to leave this celebration as soon as we possibly can. I wish to get a full night of children begetting in."
She raised a brow, "Do you not think of anyone else but yourself, March Warden? You do not even care what I want?"
He smirked, "Not really."
"On a normal day, that would cost you dearly," Indilisse said, "But I think I can make an exception for such an oversight tonight."
"You see, my love, I already knew this, so that is why I said what I did." Haldir chuckled and whisked her to the side after the dance was finished. They walked back over to the long head table and found their seats. Targon came back with Vanima and looked over them, Targon holding his sword and scabbard that was at least twice the size of Haldir's.
Targon smiled and bowed his head slightly before meeting Haldir's gaze. "I meant to give this to you a week ago when we sparred, but I feared that Indilisse would know what you were intending to ask her if I did."
Haldir took the sword offered to him, and looked over it, the hilt delicately carved and the scabbard intricately designed with Elvish.
"Amroth gave me this sword," Targon informed, "when I was first was made guardian of these woods. I was going to pass it to Indilisse upon my departure for Valinor, but I believe you should be the rightful owner of this sword."
"Master Targon," Haldir said quietly. Indilisse smiled warmly and knew that this was a rather large and wonderful gift for him to receive from Targon. She placed her hand on his shoulder as he again met Targon's eyes. "I do not know how to thank you."
"Do not thank me." Targon smiled, "You have deserved this for some time, but I was not willing to part with it. And I do not think I will need such a sword once I am in Valinor. Long may you protect Lórien with this sword."
Haldir stood up form his seat and he and Targon spent a few moments looking at each other, before embracing each other in a friendly hug. "Thank you for your confidence."
Targon chuckled, "It is not so much confidence as it is worry that you will need to protect my grandchildren. Knowing who their mother is, I fear you will have your hands full."
Indilisse was displeased with this and frowned, "I do resent that remark."
Her father laughed and looked at Haldir, "I do not need to tell you. You already know."
Vanima chuckled and motioned for Indilisse to follow her. Indilisse nodded, standing up and smoothing her dress. They walked for a bit in silence until they came to a quiet corner and sat on a bench. "Indilisse, I have never been happier for you than I am at this moment."
"Even happier than when I finally learned the virtue of silence?" Indilisse laughed, knowing she had been a talkative child.
"Aye," Vanima chuckled, nodding her head. She looked up at Indilisse and grabbed her hand, "Here is my last piece of motherly advice. The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children."
Indilisse burst out into another peal of laughter, and finally looked up at her mother. "What frightens me is that I have no doubt you are serious."
Vanima pulled her daughter into a long embrace, "I will miss you, my daughter."
"As I will miss you, Nana." She said.
Vanima produced a small velvet pouch and emptied the contents onto her hand. She handed the large mithril ring out to Indilisse, "This was your father's. I gave it to him when we first bound, but since then, we have given each other the ones we now wear. I noticed Haldir did not have a ring yet."
"No, he does not." Indilisse nodded. "Thank you Nana."
"You are very welcome." Vanima smiled and backed up a few more inches from Indilisse. Indilisse felt hands on her shoulders from behind and turned her head slightly to the side to find that it was Haldir there. He leaned down and placed a kiss beside her ear. She looked back to find that her mother was gone, walking back towards the head table and Targon.
Haldir whispered, "We can make an unnoticeable escape if we go now and from this secluded spot."
Indilisse looked up at him and smiled, "You would like that, wouldn't you?"
"Do not make me beg." He narrowed his eyes. "I am not a happy elf when I made to beg."
She took a hold of his hand, and pulled him towards the trees lining the celebration field.