A/N: I would like to start by saying I do not know everything about the Lord of the Rings world, I am not the best writer or fastest updater in the world and that I am not usually a good romance writer. I do try really hard, though and I will not use the 'maid' storyline or 'making arrows' scene.
Disclaimer: I do not own or make a profit from any of Tolkein's works.
The elf in the tree was as still as stone. His green tunic and dark leggings made him nearly imperceptible save for the sheen of his silver-gold hair against the dark emerald green backdrop. No matter. Anyone close enough to see was too close, and either deserved interception, or a discharge from service.
The elf's features did not change from the stern scowl he had set upon his face as he thought this. His position served a double purpose. He could see any approaching enemies and it kept his wardens in line. More than once this year had he dropped from the boughs of a tree to startle a young warden who had thought to mock him or another commander before his peers whilst unattended . Save a few, the young trainees were coming along nicely, and knew that he could be anywhere at anytime.
Mentally, the elf cursed. He had been found out and now needed a new lookout point. He turned his head quickly, like a hawk, to glare at the offender. Two pairs of gray eyes clashed for a moment, though the second pair was not whole-heartedly engaging in the fight as the first. As he ended the staring contest, Haldir's eyes landed on a rough tray of old tin, which held bread and apples that was held in the other elf's hands. He shook his head lightly, resisting the urge to sigh.
His brother's face broke out into a grin. "I knew it," Rumil muttered. Out loud he said, "I've got food!"
"So I see," Haldir replied, slipping effortlessly down from his perch to the forest floor. Leaves crackled comfortingly beneath his light boots.
Rumil, who could move just as gracefully as Haldir but did not bother to take the time to, promptly 'plopped' himself down on the ground, setting out the midday meal. Haldir sat with his brother, hoping to make quick work of the meal. No such luck, however, as Haldir knew Rumil would only disturb him if he had something on his mind. He sighed inwardly as he began to chew on the dried bread and slices of apple. Rumil took a short drought of madid, a weak wine the wardens used to take away the pain of minor wounds and the heartache of homesickness, before clearing his throat.
"Haldir," he began, "we at the north camp received a letter today from Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn." Haldir's ears pricked as his food dropped to the ground, forgotten.
"Haldir, you haven't been home in nearly five months," Rumil stated seriously, his friendly younger brother demeanor gone, replaced by a worried elf that Haldir could hardly recognize.
Haldir fixed Rumil with a hawk-like glare, "I see nothing wrong with being devoted to my job."
"Haldir, there is a difference between devoted and having a problem." Rumil said, exasperated. "You have been ordered home."
Haldir looked at his brother sharply before he set his face placidly, "If that is what the Lady and Lord wish, then their will shall be done." He took another piece of bread and bit into it, but this time did not taste it.
The elf siblings finished their meal with minimal talking and, after Rumil awkwardly excused himself, Haldir returned to his post. Though his sharp eyes were trained on the surrounding forests and hills, his eyes automatically taking in the surroundings and every movement, his mind was elsewhere."
Ordered home? The Lady and Lord must have a good reason for this, and to want me home can not possibly be the only motive for calling me home. I am the Marchwarden, after all. Perhaps my stay here had truly come past its time. A trickle of self-doubt entered his thoughts. Perhaps they have found my performance unsatisfactory. With obstinate stubbornness, he pushed the thought aside. Nonsense. We have not had an injury nor an attack in months. The Lord and Lady are probably just concerned for my well-being.
The thought comforting him to an extent, Haldir turned his attention back to the forest.
Haldir made sure the strap on the bag of the few things he took with him to the fences was in position one last time before mouthing the smoke-colored mare Rumil had acquired for him. As he took hold of the reins, Rumil clamped a hand on his bicep.
"You do not have to go tonight
Haldir inclined his head slightly, "It does not matter to me. I will arrive in the city rather late tonight and will be able to report early tomorrow morning."
Another elf approached the pair. He was smiling broadly and looked rather like Rumil, but was broader, and had the same nose as Haldir. The Marchwarden inclined his head to his brother.
"Orophin, you are to take charge in my absence. I trust you will do well and alert me to the first sign of trouble." The look Haldir gave his younger brother told him that he would expect nothing less.
Orophin made an elegant bow. "Of course, my liege," he responded far too courteously.
Haldir glared at his brother, trying to imprint his message in his mind. Orophin simply grinned and shook his head. Haldir nearly growled in annoyance, but his attention was diverted elsewhere. Rumil was checking him bag for what seemed to be the tenth time that morning, trying to stuff in an extra roll of bandages.
"Rumil, I will be fine. You've no cause to treat me like an elfling," Haldir said patiently.
Rumil gave his brother a half-hearted glare, "Darkness is falling. Though there are no orcs or wargs, there still may be something within the forest that could cause you harm. You should wait until morn, when your eyesight will serve you."
Haldir nodded, acknowledging his brother's concern. "There is nothing that would dare come within a mile of this guard. Nor will anything be within a mile of city. That leaves an hour at a gallop in between. Tell me, what creature will there be in that hour that could not be handled with sword and bow?"
Rumil hesitated before nodding and stepping back. Haldir's horse pranced in place impatiently, huffing and snorting, its breath visible in the late autumn air. Haldir placed a gloved hand against the stead's neck, rubbing it in small circles to alleviate its restlessness.
Haldir bowed as well as he could atop a horse and exchanged quick farewell with his brothers before urging the stead forward. With a soft whinny, the horse began at a fine gallop through the forest.
A/N: Well, I hope you all like it! Review!