RE-EDITED 12/09/06

Summary- Anira was a maiden forced to find a new life after her parents leave her for the West. Haldir was, well, Haldir. Domineering, arrogant, and haughty. What will happen when she becomes his maid and they are pushed together in a most unlikely situation?

Rating- PG 13/ T

Disclaimer- All characters that you recognize as the great Tolkien's work obviously belong to the Tolkien Estate and not me. If they were mine, I would not be writing fanfiction, I'd live somewhere in England. I do not own any of it, except OCs I have created.

I narn heria!

Falling In Doubt

Warily, a cloaked traveler moved through the Golden Wood. She jumped at every small sound, her eyes racing in every direction. She quietly urged on her horse, looking up at the towering trees around her.

In Mirkwood she had heard many tales of Lothlorien. She had heard of its beauty, its people, but most of all, its protection. The Galadhrim prided themselves on their superior military force, and guarded their borders fiercely. Perhaps that was the reason that impelled her to travel all this way to a new land, to start a new life.

Then it happened, one minute the wood was peaceful, the next, a dozen Lorien arrows were pointed in the region of her face and upper torso. She froze in her tracks, her horse prancing nervously.

Suddenly, a cold, handsome voice rang out in the woods. "What business do you have in the Golden Wood?"

She pulled off the hood of her cloak; golden hair tumbled from beneath it. It looked so common and awkward next to the silver hair of the Galadhrim. Her blue eyes glinted with fear as they focused on her surroundings

"I-I have come to seek presence with the Lady of the Wood."

"For what reason?" the voice shot back.

His tone strengthened her for some odd reason, she felt compelled to challenge this arrogant voice.

"That is not your business to know."

The owner of the voice was suddenly in her face.

"I demand your reason. I am Haldir, March Warden of the Galadhrim and protector of the Golden Wood."

"And what will happen if I do not tell you?"

The maiden was trying to infuriate him on an already infuriating afternoon. His control and reason were quickly leaving him. His voice rapidly became low and lethal.

"If you do not tell me, we can easily throw you out of these woods and make sure you never step foot in them again. Understood?"


All he had to give her was stunned silence.

"By elven law, which I am sure applies to Lothlorien, I am entitled to an audience with the leaders so should I request. And I do."

He sighed impatiently, knowing she was right.

"What is your name?" he asked reluctantly, lowering his warden's arrows at the same time.

"Anira, my lord, at your service," she said, and bowed her head slightly.

"Follow me," replied his clipped voice

He led her through the woods, both of them on horseback, fuming silently. How dare this foreign maiden show disrespect? And did she have to be enticingly beautiful and stubborn at the same time? He shook those thoughts out of his head quickly.

She was nervous, but still overjoyed that she had overridden Lorien's famous March Warden she had heard so much about. Hopefully the Leaders would prove more easier to communicate with than their March Warden. Anira desperately hoped they would remember her Grandmother, Aglariel, who was born in these woods. Her grandmother was her only link to Lorien.

Anira looked at her travelling companion next to her. He had obviously been on the borders for a long time, traces of dirt smudged his clothing. She had to stop herself from admiring his pleasing form and long, silver hair. His silver eyes seemed to be made of ice, and his personality certainly reflected it as well.

Her first impression of Caras Galadhon was complete awe. The city teemed with life, animated people conversed happily in the market. Elegant talans were crafted in the highest branches of the noble trees, blending perfectly with the nature around them. Haldir looked over at her and knew she had fallen instantly in love with the city, her mouth was opened slightly and she could not take her eyes off of everything around her.

Up ahead, the biggest and most imposing mallorn tree housed a magnificent talan. Haldir dismounted his horse and Anira followed suit, thankful to be on solid ground again. An ellon smiled warmly at her as he led her horse away. She turned to Haldir to see that he had already began the ascent to the top of the talan. She hurried after him. After what seemed like forever, they reached the top of the stairs and overlooked the entire city.

Haldir let her look for a moment before he led her into the entry hall to meet with the Lord and Lady.

Anira nervously bowed in front of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. Haldir bowed as well and was dismissed.

"We have not had visitors from Thranduil's domain in quite some time," Celeborn said.

"We welcome any seeking shelter or guidance, as I assume that is what you came for?" Galadriel asked. Anira nodded.

She explained her situation and they answered with few questions, and to her great relief, remembered in great detail her grandmother who had lived there for quite some time. Then she enquired about an occupation, a place to stay, or anything she could to do help earn her living.

Lord Celeborn spoke first, "We have wardens who are gone often on the borders and upon return, along with being extremely tired, have to take care of entire talans and menial housework. Recently, we have arranged for single maidens to live with these wardens, in separate quarters of course, to clean the households and do other chores in exchange for shelter. The arrangement is broken when the warden, or the maiden, has been bonded to another elf. Are you willing to take a position as one? They are greatly needed."

She thought, pondered, and tossed the idea around in her head. It would take care of the necessary needs, but he never mentioned anything about being able to choose or meet the warden ahead of time. What if she was given a cruel one that wouldn't let her rest and kept her working dawn to dusk? Or worse, the idea revolted her; she might end up with Haldir. She'd be with him for a long, long time, and by the sound of it, she couldn't back out once she had answered. She remembered her father mentioning once that risks can often lead to greater things, and greater opportunities, and with that agreed to the arrangement.

She was directed to a separate room with tables piled high with scrolls and parchment. Quills and ink bottles littered the desks as well.

The elf that helped her was kind, registration was easy. She simply signed a pice of parchment that would be stored in their archives. He then gave her the parchment with the name of the warden and direction of the talan and sent her on her way. She was anxious to find out who it was she would be living with. Once she was out of the central talan she slowly pried open the rolled up parchment, and read the name.

In bold letters above the instructions it said, "Haldir, March Warden."

She groaned loudly, much to the concern of surrounding civillians who gave her odd looks. Anira quickly began to reconsider her hasty decision, but knew it was no use. Determinedly, she stepped forward and began to search for his talan.

Haldir was tired. He bathed and decided to rest after a long tedious week at the border. When was that maid going to arrive? Hadn't they said something about arranging for one to help him with the chores? He supposed he could wait. That thought brought to mind the stubborn maiden at the borders. They probably got her a job as one of those afore mentioned maids. Wouldn't that be sight if she were assigned to him? Though it would have its benefits. The smell of her golden colored hair came rushing back to him, her innocent blue eyes full of determination. She had surprised him. Greatly. Usually he had an intimidating affect on maidens and most elven males too. She seemed to at first, but quickly lost it when he questioned her.

His thoughts were interrupted by harsh knocks rapping on his door. He begrudgingly answered it, thinking it one if his equally annoying brothers Rumil or Orophin. It wasn't. It was she. The one who aroused but annoyed him at the same time.

"Mae Govannen, my lord. It has been a while, hasn't it?" She said sarcastically.

"Are you the maid assigned to me?" He asked, knowing the answer.

"I am. It was not my choice to be given to you, but I shall try and do my best," she said.

Haldir ignored this comment and invited her in.

"Come in, I will show you where you will stay."

She stepped into his spacious talan, marveling at the wall that housed his finely wrought weapons. A Galadhrim longbow hung above a broadsword, two curved knives, and several dangerous looking daggers. A wooden case of shelves held more elaborate weapons, more for show than for use.

"Here is where you will be staying while you are with me." He showed her a medium sized room, definitely nothing compared to the look of his. A small bed in the corner next to a mirror, nightstand, and wardrobe was all it was. A small table with a chair was in there also, covered in maps and plans.

"As you have probably noticed, here is where I come to arrange plans and such for battle. You will not have complete privacy for that is often what I do when I am back from the borders."

She was surprised at this. No privacy? How did he expect her to live?

"There is a bathing area attached to my room, and it is accessible through a door from the hallway," he waited for her to acknowledge him and tell him that she had understood what he had said, then gave her her first orders.

"Dinner will need to be made and I am low on arrows," he said. She looked up at him sharply.

"I do not know how to make them, my lord," she said smoothly. He was beginning to become annoyed when she called him 'my lord'.

"I will teach you how tomorrow, then. Please excuse me, I am going to rest now," he said and then left the room. Anira bit back a retort on how tired she was and began to prepare a meal.

Good? Bad? Give me your comments and I will be very grateful. Remember, this is my first fic, not a masterpiece. If you like it, I'll update soon, the story is mostly completed