Love truly can and does often change ones life. Sometimes for the better, and equally as often for the worse. The love of one changed my life for the better, and I thank her for it every day of my life.
The woman was my guardian, and her name is Rana. She was a middle aged woman of late 30's when I first met her. She lived in the small village that I spent the first 5 years of my life in. She was a lovely woman, and had many animals as she held a great love for them.
That was my draw to her as a young child, and kept me coming to her home as often as my dear mother allowed it. She always worried for me, always thought I was going to run off and unknowingly put myself in danger.
I don't recall the day my life changed so drastically but I was told about it any time I would feel like I needed a connection to my old life, and family. Rana was always very understanding and gentle.
She told me that I had run after a favorite goat kid of hers that had strayed too far from it's mother while out grazing in a field. My mother who was near by speaking with Rana over a recipe noticed me straying too far from her and called to me inadvertently alerting a party of orc that were hiding in a small cluster of trees that was normally protected and watched over by the Mirkwood elves that lived near us.
I never saw them coming, but my mother did, and she ran. Rana said she'd never seen such speed before. 'It was as if your mother had wings upon her feet.' She said. I'm told she reached me, and turned quickly, with me in her arms for the village as a group of men that had been alerted to the orcs presence came forward with their weapons drawn, and bows firing into the air.
Mother was shot down by an orc arrow tipped with poison in her shoulder. She reached the men, and Rana rushed her to the healers. They removed the arrow, but the poison overtook her in several days, and she passed.
Having never known my father, Rana took me into her home and raised me for several months in the small town until it was later burned to the ground by orcs. Fleeing the area Rana, myself, and several other surviving villagers took refuge in a small town near the Anduin river, and the great forest of Lothlorien of the elves.
I recall fearing it as a child, having heard stories of a great and powerful elf witch but with time that fear passed as the elves rarely were seen, and only were seen to protect their home. I could respect that, and began to grow a deep interest in the elves.
When I was 8 years old I had my first encounter with an elf. I found myself wandering the border of their great woods often. I believe they could see I meant no harm to them, and only wished to see their beautiful trees so they left me alone. That day I also encountered orcs for the third time in my life up to that point.
I smelled them first, and then I heard them. They were staring at me, and I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end as I slowly backed away. I did not know it, but I was backing my way into the woods.
When they began to run towards me, I turned, and promptly fell to the ground. I'd run straight into one of the tall great elf guards of the forest. He looked down to me, and frowned. "Come." He said, his voice low, and obviously angry.
He had plucked me from my place on the ground, and thrown me over his shoulder. He then proceeded to jump into the nearest tree. When he put me down again, I was surrounded by elves all looking at me like they had never seen a human in their lives.
I shrunk away from them, and cowered by the tree as they turned, their bows in hand, and took out all of the orcs that had come to the forest border in pursuit of me. When all were dead the elf who had carried me up into the trees said something I could not understand, and many of the others jumped down from the trees.
His attention was then turned to me, and I shrank further into the tree behind me hoping it would hide me from his cold ice blue eyes. He came forward, and crouched down in front of me.
"You need not fear me child. I will cause you no harm."
When I did not reply he continued.
"It is unsafe for you to linger at our border as you so often do. You should remain within your village."
He reached his hand out for me to take, and I again shrank away from him, looking to the tree behind me. He pulled his hand away, and sighed.
"What is your name young one?" He asked trying to get me to feel more comfortable.
I sniffled, and looked at him again.
"Lorelie." He smiled.
"That is a truly lovely name for a truly lovely young lady. Would you like to go home Lorelie?"
I shook my head with a smile now, and he frowned.
"The orcs are gone little one." He tried to explain. I shook my head again.
"I want to see the forest!" I exclaimed.
"I've been wanting to for so long. It's so wonderful, but I never feel brave enough to enter. I hope you don't mind my curiosity. What is your name?" I asked him.
He stood now, and reached his hand out again.
"Come Lorelie, you may see some of the woods, but I can not let you go far. My name is Haldir, and I am the captain of the wardens that guard these lands."
He showed me the woods that surrounded the border that day, and pointed out that in the distance to the north of where we were stood the heart of elvendom, his home, and the home of the Lady of Light, and her husband Lord Celeborn.
"Why can't I go there Haldir?" I'd asked with my best pleading eyes.
He was obviously immune to my tried, and true methods to get what I wanted.
"Those lands are for elves only little one. Perhaps one day when your ears grow points" He teased, pulling my ear lightly.
"But…but.." I whined.
"I want to know everything about elves, I want to see all the elves, and talk to them. I want to see the lady of light. Is she beautiful? I bet she is!" I cried, jumping up and down in front of him.
"She is Lorelie, she's the single most beautiful elf I've had the pleasure to know. I am sorry, I cannot allow you deeper in the forest. However, if it would please you, and to keep you from wandering the border, and safe you may come to me and I will tell you all I now of elves."
Lorelie considered this a moment.
"You would let me come here every day, and you would talk to me about elves?" She asked eagerly.
He smiled, and nodded.
"Aye, if your mother would allow you to. I will return with you to your home and speak with her concerning this if you wish to."
I nodded eagerly and he smiled, took my hand and we started back to the border. Once there he spoke to his wardens again, and then we left for my village.
As we neared the village I noticed that people there began to stop and stare at us, and some even went into their homes as if they were avoiding us. This caused me to frown, and look up to Haldir, and ask him why they were doing that.
"They are not accustomed to elves in their village little one. Do not think on it, I do not mind it."
I smiled then, and squeezed his hand a little tighter. That day I think my 8 year old heart developed it's first crush, which only intensified throughout the years.
She called up into the trees, spinning around, eyes searching in a useless attempt to catch a glimpse of an elf, any elf.
"HALDIR!" She called again, slightly annoyed.
He'd never not been here for her. For the last ten years he would always be here, and they would walk through the trees, talking. Or she would sit with him in a talan as he searched the vast lands for threats to his home as was his duty.
She sighed, and slowly began to walk away when no reply was given. She thought it strange that there were no elves on the border to reply, or that they would ignore her calls if they were there.
Then she had her sixth encounter with orcs. I supposed that it was normal for someone who left the safety of their village regularly, but it still got to her.
She heard a growl, and some foot falls coming her way. Turning to the east, she saw a huge band of dirty, foul smelling creatures running towards her. Beginning to shake, she took several small steps backwards, until the reality of her situation took hold, and she turned to the trees, and ran.
She did not know what she was hoping to accomplish by running to trees that were not guarded, but still she ran. She neared the trees, the sound of many feet pounding the ground behind her.
She turned to see there were a few that were faster than the rest, and gaining on her swiftly. She frowned, and wondered where Haldir was again, slowly resigning herself to the fact she would likely not be getting out of this one.
That's when she was yanked back hard by her hair, falling to the ground, an orc falling under her. The smell was horrible, and it's skin rough, and hard. She screamed, and tried to roll away from it, but the creature put it's arm around her waist, and stood, pulling her up with it.
Suddenly there were arrows flying past her, and over her, and she heard the thud of the falling of many bodies. The one holding her however remained, and she could sense him growing nervous.
He pulled a dagger from his thigh, and held it to her throat, a low growl coming from his throat. That's when she saw him.
Haldir fell gracefully from a branch in the tree, and slowly made his way towards the two. The creature took a step back, pressing the dagger to her throat a little harder causing blood to trickle down her throat.
Haldir readied his bow, an arrow notched, and slowly made his way closer.
"Lorelie, are you well?" He called across the distance.
"Yes." She managed to squeak.
"I want you to struggle against the creature when I say to, do you understand? Fall to the ground if you can."
"But the dagger, pressed..so tight."
He shook his head.
"When I say so, struggle. Trust me."
She closed her eyes, and managed a nod.
He smiled, and drew closer to the them. Panicking, the orc stepped further back, tripping over a rock and losing his balance for a moment. That was all Haldir needed, he rushed forward, firing an arrow into the creatures now exposed leg.
It fell to it's knees, crying out, a guttural, harsh sound. Lorelie was dragged down with it, and Haldir rushed the creature, and wrestled the dagger arm away from Lorelie.
"Now Lorelie, go!" He shouted.
She wriggled in the creatures grasp, finding it's arm tight around her waist. She scratched at it's arm, and hit it with all her might until it released it's grip for only a moment, and swung it's arm out, hitting her in the side of the head.
She fell to the ground, no longer restrained by the beast and Haldir had his open. He pulled a dagger of his own from his boot, and plunged it deep in the orcs chest. It cried out, and spluttered in it's own blood before dying. Haldir growled low under his breath, and pulled his dagger from the beast.
Then he turned his attention to Lorelie who lie unconscious on the ground, blood seeping from a gash across her temple. He shook his head sadly, and gathered her up in his arms, careful to rest her head on his shoulder.
When he returned to the border, he barked orders to his wardens before demanding the warden that was left in charge on his leave from the border be sent to his talan.
There he took Lorelie, and laid her on the soft blankets that he normally slept in during long stays on the border. He took a small pitcher of water, and brought it to her side, and taking a cloth dipped it in the water.
He placed it over her wound, lightly, and then took another to clean the blood from her throat.
"Lorelie, wake Lirimaer." He whispered near her, causing her to groan, and shift slightly.
When he was satisfied that her wounds were cleaned, and he had done all he could do he placed the cloths in the water and turned back to her. He stroked her hair, whispering softly in elvish to her. When she finally began to stir he smiled, grateful she would be okay.
Humans were different, they were fragile, and he loved this one dearly and worried greatly for her.
His smile was broken however, as the warden he'd sent to retrieve the acting captain returned.
"Sir, your brother Rumil was acting in your stead while you were away. I have asked he come to your talan immediately."
"Thank you Telandrir. You are dismissed. Help the others with the disposal of the orcs."
The warden bowed his head, his fist over his heart, and left the talan. Soon his brother entered the talan, taking a seat near his small table, placing his feet upon it.
"You summoned me brother?" He asked.
"I did, I summoned the warden that was acting in my stead. I have some questions."
Rumil smiled. "Ask away Hal."
Haldir grew frustrated.
"Do not call me Hal, Rumil. What happened? Why was Lorelie not within the forest safely when the orcs attacked? You should have seen them coming long before they had time to near her."
"I though that since she was coming that way, that we could use her to lure them in. Kill them all when they came close enough."
Haldir stood at that, leaving Lorelie's side, and stood over Rumil.
"You thought to use my dear friend of many years as BAIT Rumil!" He boomed, furious.
Rumil shrunk away slightly at the tone, and level of his brothers voice.
"It was a good plan, she is uninjured and the orcs are destroyed. She is just human Hal, her life is naturally short."
Haldir had to compose himself after that remark, and took a deep breath.
"Rumil, you are suspended from duty until I say you may return. If that is how you treat life, human or no, I do not think the Galadhrim guard is the place for you."
His brothers shoulders slumped immediately, and he frowned.
"But Haldir..You, you can't! Being a warden has always been my dream since I was little."
"You should have considered that before you made such a poor judgment call brother. Now return to the city, I will call for you when I wish your return."
He paused, and looked to Lorelie.
"If I wish your return."
Rumil looked to Lorelie, and shook his head sadly, quickly taking his leave.
Haldir turned watching his brothers retreating back, saddened he had to discipline his own brother when he heard a low groan.
Turning he found Lorelie was now away, with a hand to her head.
"No little one, do not touch it."
He said, taking her hand away from the gash.
"What happened? Why were you angry with Rumil?"
Haldir's posture stiffened, and a frown appeared on his face.
"The orc struck you Lor, you will heal. I have cleaned the wound. Rumil…"
"He has made a poor decision, and I will not tolerate such when the risks are high on the border guard."
Lorelie frowned. "What decision did he make Hal? Where were you? I called you and no one answered. I was leaving, and the orcs came."
His fury grew at that admission, and he shook his head sadly, taking her hand in his.
"I was away from the border. The lady summoned me to the city for several hours. I returned as swiftly as was possible Lor. I'm sorry I was not here."
She smiled up at him.
"Where were the other wardens? Surely you would not leave the border unguarded in your absence."
He reached his other hand out, and softly stroked her hair.
"They have as well made poor decisions. They will be spoken to concerning it. Now rest, you are injured."
She smiled, and shook her head.
"It just hurts a little here. I'll be fine."
She pointed to the point of her gash on her temple, and he quickly swiped her hand away worried she would touch it. She shook her head amused.
"Silly elf." He smiled at her in turn.
"I was greatly worried for you Lorelie, do not worry me so again."
She squeezed his hand a little tighter, as she did all those years ago.
"I shall try. Why did the lady summon you Hal?"
His smile immediately changed, and his face became a mask, no emotion visible upon it.
"It was a matter of great importance. A party will be coming through our woods, and she wished for me to meet them in a days time. I am told that there are creatures that have never been allowed within our borders in the party. Men included. Would you like to join me in meeting them Lorelie? If you are feeling well enough."
Her eyes went wide immediately, giving off the desired effect of his offer. To make her happy, he often went out of his way to see that look. The shock, the huge grin, the bubbly questions.
"You mean I can come see the city with the party!" She asked, sitting up.
He pushed her down again, with a shake of his head.
"Aye, I believe that you who have been a dear friend to me for years are worthy of entering the city if they who are strangers to us are to be granted entrance."
The grin on her face was contagious, and suddenly Haldir found himself smiling, helpless to stop.
She squeaked, and against his wishes, sat up, to wrap her arms around him in a hug.
"I LOVE YOU!" She cried, placing kisses all over his face.
She felt Haldir tense under her embrace, and she pulled back reluctantly.
"Sorry, I just meant.." She tried to explain.
"Sorry." She ended unsure how to explain what she had said.
Haldir smiled warmly.
"Do not be sorry, I took your meaning correctly. You must rest now Lorelie, I must attend to my wardens."
She smiled, and nodded.
"Be gentle with them."
He bent, and placed a kiss upon her head, and standing, took his leave from the talan.
"Life, human or no is precious. In the future I expect all of my wardens to protect the innocent lives that come near the border as if they were elves. Lorelei may be human, but she has been my friend for ten years now. Most of you have seen her here on the border every day for that time. I expect you to treat her with the respect she bestows upon you all."
Haldir continued to rant, pacing the ground before his assembled wardens.
"Is this understood?"
He asked, stopping, and turning to look into the faces of all that stood before him.
They all nodded in understanding, and places their fists over their hearts as the custom show of respect for their captain.
"Good, I have sent my brother Rumil back to the city for an undetermined period of time. I will send for him again when I feel he has paid for his actions. Do not think I will not show the same courtesy to all before me should any of you make such poor judgment calls in the future."
They all nodded in understanding again.
"Good, you are all dismissed."
Haldir watched as they all dispersed, and he quickly made his way back to his own talan.
He found Lorelie still laying on the blankets, eyes shut, fast asleep. He smiled, and took a seat by her side, and gently stroked her hair.
"I do not know what I would have done had anything happened to you little one."
He whispered, emotion delayed from the incident finally catching up to him.
"Come Lorelie, if you wish to see the city we must go now." Haldir sighed.
Lorelie stood chest deep in a small bathing pool within the woods. Haldir stood on the edge, his back turned, eyes watchful for danger.
"I'm almost done Hal, don't worry."
Haldir heard a splashing, then the sound of her wading out of the pool.
For a time there was silence, and then she told him he could turn around. When he did, she stood there fully dressed, a gown of sky blue, with silver accents draped over her shoulders. Her long brown hair spread out over her shoulders, and down her back. She wore a silver chain around her neck, with a small red jewel at the end.
"You look beautiful Lorelie," He gasped.
"that necklace, it's stunning. Your mothers that you have spoken about?" He asked, taking her hand in his.
She nodded, and looked to the necklace resting on her chest. "Aye, it is. Rana has allowed me to wear it to visit the city. She has kept it safely all these years in a box in her room."
Haldir smiled, and put a hand to her cheek.
"Come, we must go, and soon your eyes will behold the beauty of Caras Galadhon." She looked up, and grinned.
"The dwarf breathes so loud we could have shot him in the dark." Lorelie held back a giggle, recalling all the times Haldir had spoken of his great distaste for dwarf kind.
The look on the dwarfs face, combined with her joy of finally being allowed within the city, Lorelie found herself snorting to hold back the laughter she could not suppress fully. This alerted the small party to her presence. She smiled apologetically at Haldir who only shook his head in what she guessed was exasperation.
"Come, the lady is waiting." He announced to the group of men, elf, dwarf, and what appeared to be very young humans. She fell into step behind Haldir who led the way to the city. She noticed soon however that one of the young humans was walking beside her.
"Hello." She said, looking down to him with a smile only to be shocked. He was not young at all!
"Hello!" The short fellow beamed, a grin upon his face.
"My name is Pippin, what's yours? What are you doing in the elf forest? You are human!" He questioned, his eyes wide, and curious.
"Pippin? That is an interesting name. My name is Lorelie, and I have been allowed entrance to the city today as I have long desired to see it." She looked to Haldir with a warm smile, grateful to him.
Pippin saw this, and grinned more if it seemed possible.
"He's a crabby elf, he doesn't like Gimli."
"Is Gimli the dwarf?" She asked.
"Yes, that's Gimli. The elf is Legolas, the scruffy man is Aragorn, the other one is Boromir. Then there's us hobbits. There's me, Pippin, there's Merry my best mate, Frodo my cousin, and Sam his gardener."
"Hobbits? Is that your race? I wondered. I thought you all children upon first glance."
"Yes," He exclaimed, seemingly shocked that one would not know them as hobbits. "of course we are hobbits, what else would we be?"
She smiled, and shook her head, shrugging. "I know not. I have not had the opportunity to travel much."
"Do you come to the elf witches realm often?" He asked, as if he were asking about the weather.
"Elf witch! I have not paid mind to that myth in many long years. There is no elf witch within these woods. Only a wonderfully beautiful lady elf, and her mate." She explained, her voice light with laughter.
Soon Pippin retreated again to the middle of the queue and she was left alone to her thoughts. She found they centered on the elf in front of her. Haldir, the elf she'd known since childhood, and the elf that she spent so much of her time with.
She giggled to herself as she recalled times past, such as the time she'd tried to kiss him on her 10th birthday after he'd asked her what she wanted for her birthday.
"Hal! Guess what today is! MY BIRTHDAY! I'm ten today!" A small girl exclaimed, bouncing around the tall elf excitedly.
He smiled down at her, and knelt before her, taking her shoulders in his hands to stop her exuberant bouncing.
"Are you now? Well, what do you normally do on your birthday little one?"
The small girl stopped, and considered it a moment.
"Well, mom used to give me a treat, or toy she made. But Rana just asks me what I want, or want to do."
Haldir raised an eyebrow. "Is that so? Well, what do you want today Lor? Ask it."
She grinned, and he could see her eyes darting back and forth in her head, and he groaned silently at what she could be thinking up.
"Take me to the city?" She asked, knowing however he would say no.
"That is not a fair request Lorelie, and you know I cannot comply."
"Hmm," She began, taping her chin with her index finger.
Both of his eyebrows rose at that, and he looked at her with a crooked smile, and questioning gaze.
"A kiss?" He asked, removing a hand from her shoulder to place it on her forehead. "Are you well?"
She shooed his hand away, and frowned. "You said anything, I want a kiss. A kiss from you. A real kiss, not just a kiss on my forehead. You've done that before."
He frowned. "You are young Lorelie, you do not want to kiss an old elf like me." He tried to reason with her.
She shook her head, and frowned. "You said ask what I wanted. I want a kiss from YOU." She emphasized you by poking him in the chest with a finger.
"I wont tell anyone if you are worried it would get out that you kissed a human." She grinned, an eyebrow raised. Haldir frowned, that raised eyebrow frightened him, for it reminded him too much of himself.
"I would not be ashamed to kiss you little one. Are you certain that is what you truly want? Would you not prefer I carve you an animal of some sort?"
She frowned, and shook her head in frustration. "A kiss Hal."
He smiled, and shook his head. "Very well." Plucking her from the ground, he took her to a nearby branch, sitting her upon it.
"Ready?" He asked, his face close to hers.
She nodded her head slowly and swallowed hard. "Ready."
He moved in closer, his lips mere inches from hers, and looked to her eyes finding fear in them. He chuckled to himself, and placed his lips upon hers, soft, and gentle. The kiss lasted only a moment, and when he pulled away she had her eyes closed tightly.
Minutes passed as she sat there with her eyes shut. He coughed when he thought she would stay there forever.
"Well?" He asked, folding his arms in front of him, a grin on his face, and an eyebrow raised.
She opened her eyes, her cheeks immediately becoming red, and nodded slowly.
She felt her cheeks become hot at the memory. That had been an embarrassing moment for her, even eight years later. She was certainly grateful Haldir never mentioned it. She feared she would die should he ever.
"Caras Galadhon. The heart of Elvendom on earth. Realm of the Lord Celeborn and of Galadriel, the Lady of Light."
Lorelie was startled out of her thoughts by the sudden stopping, and Haldir's voice, and she was in awe of what lay before her.
A grouping of trees so tall she had to crane her neck to see the tops from the height they stood upon the slope lay below them. Her eyes found elves scattered among the trees, going about their lives.
She had to rest her back against a nearby tree to keep from falling over her shock, and awe was so great. The great silver trunks stretched onward, and the golden leaves shone in the sunlight.
She did not notice when the group began to move again, and Pippin tugged at the skirt of her dress.
"Miss Lorelie, we are moving again."
She tore her gaze away from the sight of the city, and looked down at Pippin, a euphoric smile plastered across her face. "Thank you Pip."
He nodded, obviously pleased with himself, and bounded down the hill after the group.
Lorelie shrugged, searched the heads for Haldir, and once she found him, did the same.
The group came to a winding stair under a great tree, taller than the rest. Haldir broke from the front of the group, asking them to wait there a moment. Coming to Lorelie's side, he pulled her away to speak with her.
"I must lead them up the stairs so they may take counsel with the Lord and Lady. I do not think that you should join them as they do not yet know I have allowed you entrance. Do you mind awaiting my return here? Should anyone ask on your presence here, tell them that you are a dear friend of mine, and it was my choice to bring you here. Should they have a problem with it, to speak to me."
Lorelie nodded, and looked around her.
"I do hope you are not away long. I do not know how long I can prevent my curiosity from forcing me to wander this great city."
Haldir smiled, and took her hand in his. "Fear not little one, I shall return to your side with great speed. Do not wander, for I wish to show you everything there is to see."