Disclaimer: As always, all characters, names and places from the Lord of the Rings belong to their respective owners. I own nothing other than a couple of OCs. How could I anyway?
My unwavering thanks go to my beta-reader Anie, whose gentle prodding gave me the courage to post these new chapters.
Chapter 3: Haldir
After leaving a very disgruntled House of Oropher behind, once Legolas informed his father and grandfather what Olórin wanted him to do, the Maia made his way to the South, where another woodland realm was bordering the lands of Tirion. The Sindar elves under the guidance of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel dwelt there and it was Olórin's next and last stop before returning to Elrond on Tôl Eressëa.
Entering Celeborn and Galadriel's realm was certainly an experience quite different from walking under the shade of Oropher's woods. Closer in tastes with the Noldor thanks to Galadriel's influence, the elves here still lived among the trees, but their presence was easier to notice as they had grown an architecture of their own, one that allowed them to shape the living trees into their homes. And because they were closer to Eldamar's capital city, elves of Sindar, Noldor and even Vanyarin origin had gathered here in great numbers, making it look like a small city perched on the trees and built on the ground.
Walking under a canopy of shimmering leaves with hundreds of lamps and lights hidden in the branches, Olórin took his time observing the elves that passed him by bowing reverently or sending polite greetings his way. This visit was to be a less formal one since no nobility was included, but he had yet to find the elf he was looking for.
Finally a certain pair of fair-haired elves caught his attention and he quickly made his way until he was standing on their side. After all proper greetings had been exchanged, Olórin focused his attention to the ellon, whose face seemed eternally graced with a charming smile.
"My dear Rúmil, I am ever so glad to see you and your lady wife are faring so well, but the true reason behind my visit is that I wish to speak with your brother Haldir. Would you by any chance know where I might find him?"
Rúmil, the youngest of three brothers, even as a revered elf of many millennia had retained his sharp wit and easy sense of humor, so his next words hardly surprised Olórin.
"You know my brother and his ways, my Lord. He spends this part of the day on the training fields terrorizing the poor misguided younglings that are stupid enough to volunteer for his fighting lessons. Ever since we ran out of evil creatures, he decided that eager elflings barely of age can be second best to keep his boredom away!"
Olórin threw his head back and laughed with Rúmil's comment.
"Oh, come now, he cannot really be as bad as you describe him to be?" he asked once his laughter had somewhat subsided.
"Why don't you go and see for your self, my Lord?" the younger brother asked and winked, only to bow and lead the beautiful elleth he had come to call his wife away. Olórin smiled and let them go, intending to do exactly that.
The training fields were relatively easy to find. They covered a large surface, since they had to accommodate the large number of elves that lived in these woods. Warfare was now more like a luxury or a fashionable pastime rather than a way of life, but it remained quite popular among the ellyn. Even so, Haldir and his group of students were hard to miss.
In a corner quite separate from the main grounds where ellyn of all ages practiced their moves and sparred, a small gathering of young elves were sitting in a circle, their full attention granted to the figure of a broad-shouldered elf that was demonstrating a series of complicate moves with a long curved elven blade. Every now and again, the fair-haired elf would stop and explain the minor details that ensured the smooth shifting from one stance to another or answer any questions were asked. Olórin would have recognized the elf's proud figure anywhere, but the soft expression on his face as he was talking to his students or the looks of admiration that were staring back at him were somewhat of a surprise for his opinion of the once haughty Marchwarden of Lórien.
His little demonstration quickly over, Haldir left the young ones to spar with each other and practice the new moves while he walked to where Olórin was watching them, aware that the Maia had been there and waiting to talk to him for quite some time.
Another round of bowing and greetings ensued and once typicalities were out of the way, Haldir was free to satisfy his curiosity.
"Am I to assume that you are here for more than to just watch me take on some defenseless elfling with a blade, Lord Olórin?" he asked, once again the haughty marchwarden.
"Aah, your humor must be a common brotherly trait I assume… I believe Rúmil said something quite similar to me."
Haldir chuckled and his cold demeanor was gone.
"Similar humor among brothers is often commonplace, indeed. And, truth be told, I do often grow restless. A tedious affliction, I am sure, but one that is there nonetheless."
Olórin presented the elf with a bitter smile.
"And one that I fear I may be able to cure. Come, let us talk."
And talk they did. For the third time in a short span of days Olórin imparted the knowledge of Saruman's return and Manwë's decision to intervene. Only this time, the Maia was met with less questions and inhibitions and a more positive approach. Ever the soldier and one to follow orders with his own sense of duty, Haldir seemed to have but one objection.
"Lord Olórin, all you say is well and I agree with your cause, but if I may ask you one question… why have you come to me?"
Olórin seemed to find the answer evident.
"Why, for many things, of course! Your prowess in battle is a valuable skill. But you have also been gifted with a rare understanding of the languages and cultures of Men. It was part of the reason Lady Galadriel valued your services enough to ask you to become the Marchwarden of Lothlorien in the past, as it is a position that requires more than a mere understanding of the rotation of guard shifts."
Haldir knew it to be right. In the seclusion of the Golden Wood, he was one of the very few to speak the Common Tongue of Men of those times and even less to know of their customs and traditions. It was indeed partly why he had been granted a position of such responsibilities in a world surrounded by the realms of the mortals.
"I can name many more reasons if you wish, but that is not the point. Know that your being chosen has been approved by Lady Varda herself. The question is will you answer her plea?"
For the old Marchwarden of the Golden Wood who had long lived feeling useless as a warrior in times of peace, there was really no question. Haldir was not in truth fond of fighting, but the chance to be of actual service and prove his honor and worth all over again could not be easily set aside. Especially when the request for help came from the highest beings of this world themselves.
"I am always at the Lady's service. You may count on me, my Lord Olórin."
A/N: Sorry for the very short chapter, but more will be coming up soon! Besides, if I didn't end it here, it wouldn't stick well with the plot… I think… oh, what the heck, just enjoy the chappie:P
GREEKGAL: Since you're the first one to review on the revised version of Ilúvatar's children, now known as Memories of old, you get lots of cookies and the eternal devotion of the would-be-writer that is currently sitting in front of the monitor with a huge grin on her face… In other words, thank you for your kind words and for giving me the honour to count my stories among your favorites: )