Listen To The Wind
A/N: And here we have the wedding! Now I got all my information on Elven weddings from here:
www . Realelvish wedding _ vows . Php
Warnings for explicit content.
Silwen let me sleep late. The wedding feast would not be before sunset, so I had the entire day to prepare.
The sunlight rippled across my bed, waking me gently as I rolled over, looking blearily out of the sea of silvery covers. I blinked, pulling myself back to consciousness, as the sounds of birdsong and the melodious singing of an elleth somewhere in the city trickled through the gaps of the pavilion.
I smiled to myself as the thought of what was about to happen dawned on me. I was getting married today.
In my mind, the familiar warmth of Haldir's love washed over me, and I knew he was thinking the same thing as I. I shook my head exasperatedly, and sat up in bed, brushing my hair back from my face. I looked out of my window, at the sunlight streaming in through my window, and couldn't resist the urge to get out of bed and bask in its warmth. My shift was loose around me, billowing slightly in the balmy wind that filtered through the casement. I could hear the sound of Elven singing, the words effortlessly translating in my head, singing a prayer for happiness and endless prosperity for my Haldir and me.
The wedding would not be until sunset, so I rose and dressed in leggings, boots and a tunic, pausing only to grab some fruit from a bowl set on a table beside my bed, and ventured out into the city. The song of the Elves echoed in my ears as I walked, across innumerable bridges and walkways, sometimes going down, sometimes up, with no destination in mind, just wandering as my mind did so.
I thought about all I had experienced in the two years since I had fallen into this strange new world, a world I had come to love. This was still much to discover and my duties would not allow me to just go off whenever I wanted to, but I now had eternity ahead of me. Someday, I would explore Middle-Earth and all its secrets I had yet to discover, one day when the Shadow was gone.
I knew the Lord and Lady were troubled by the growing Shadow in the East, and my own limited knowledge frightened me. For all my skill and faith in the power of my friends and family, the fight that was coming would be a difficult one.
I heard soft voices, and glanced down over the railing of the balcony where I now stood, and looked down to see the travelling party that we had intercepted on our Western border, gathered around a table set outside pavilions on the forest floor, eating and drinking, all quiet, all grave. My eyes drifted over the Hobbit, Frodo, sat talking to no one, barely touching his plate of bread and fruit, staring into space. I felt again that same sense of dread and revulsion, coupled with pity, as my hand tightened on the railing.
"You feel it, do you not?" a soft voice called to me, and I turned to find the Lady gliding towards me, robed in shining white, and I bowed my head as she joined me at the rail.
"I don't know what I can feel," I shivered, swallowing around the lump in my throat. "Darkness and death and…rage. Rage so fiery and black, it could destroy everything."
"And is that all?" she enquired softly, and I looked to her, frowning. Her piercing blue eyes were curious and intent, as I looked down once more at Frodo, then back to the Lady.
"What else should I be feeling? What do you feel, my Lady?" I asked quietly, and she sighed, her gaze travelling to the curly-haired Hobbit almost…yearningly. A chill ran down my spine, and I shivered again despite the warmth of the sun.
"A temptation. I foresaw the coming of this Company, and the burden the Halfling bears. I did not expect to so desire it, with all my heart," she confessed, her white hand tense on the living wood of the railing.
"You must fight it, my Lady. Nothing good could come of that…thing Frodo carries," I breathed, as the Lady's eyes flew to my face, almost sparking with anger, before they softened and returned to their twinkling intensity.
"I know I must, Alphwen. What intrigues me most is that you do not feel it, the temptation that I, that all others feel, in the presence of that which the Halfling carries," she replied, and I frowned, as the wind teased a lock of hair across my face. "We will explore this more in the coming days, I think. There are gifts you have yet to discover in yourself, Swan Maiden. Now…" at that, her smile returned and her eyes lightened, and she laughed happily. "It is your wedding day, and you have wasted half the morning. The afternoon approaches, and we must prepare you."
I mentally groaned at the thought of what was coming, as the Lady took my hand and began to lead me away, but not before I stole one last glance over the railing and met the knowing, sad blue eyes of the Halfling below, sending a spike of dread and compassion through my body one last time.
The Lady led me to a great flet set beside the one she shared with Lord Celeborn, covered with a pavilion and I saw several of her maidens awaited us, along with Silwen whose eyes sparkled knowingly as I made a face at her.
"Custom would dictate that your female relatives would help you prepare for your marriage, but as you have none, I pray you accept our services in their stead," the Lady murmured gently, and I smiled. Inside the pavilion was laid out a great wooden tub, filled with steaming water and scented oils, while several screens made up an area to undress. Alongside were several trestle tables on which were laid out combs and carved boxes whose contents were a mystery. I really hoped they weren't jewellery.
I went behind the screens to undress, dropping the leggings and tunic to the floor unselfconsciously. Living on the borders with Haldir, Orophin, Rúmil and the others in such close quarters had successfully destroyed my previous self-consciousness when it came to nudity. I had nothing to be ashamed of, and I knew I was lean and strong and beautiful. I always had been, but now I knew it, instead of doubting myself constantly. This was the person I was born to be, it just took falling into another world and having my heart broken for me to realise it.
As I sank into the welcoming water, the Lady's hand helping me in, I remembered Edward and his love for me. I remembered the glow of his skin and the sadness of his smile, and rather than hurting me, I just felt pity for him. I truly hoped that somewhere, sometime, he would find peace, with himself and the world.
My new life had changed me so much, or rather it had revealed so much. Gone was the klutz, the uncoordinated child that could barely walk two feet without tripping over, and in her place was the honed warrior. And that night, I would truly leave my childhood behind.
I smiled to myself, feeling a blush rising in my cheeks, as the others laughed, and the Lady's eyes sparkled knowingly. Oh well, guess not all of the old me was completely gone…
The past year had been both torture and a blessing for Haldir and me. A blessing because it allowed us time to grow and bind together, as a couple, as a unit, and as comrades-in-arms. He knew me better than anyone and I knew him better than almost anyone except his brothers, and only then because they were older than I. But soon Haldir and I would know something no one else had ever known and my heart was thudding at the prospect. That was where the torture had come in, with every look, every touch, every chaste brush of our lips. Haldir was capable of igniting a fire in my a thousand times more potent than anything I had ever experienced before, even with Edward.
The maidens scrubbed my body and hair, helping me caress in oils to heal the blisters and calluses on my hands and feet, before I stood so I could tip a decanter of warm water of my head to wash away the suds. My skin steamed from the bath as I stepped from it, and was instantly shrouded in a soft grey robe, and led to a stool where I sat and the maidens once more set to work, working more salve into my hands and feet, and up my legs and arms, to leave my skin soft and glowing. Behind me, Silwen stood and brushed my wet hair, now trailing down past the small of my back. The Lady stood watching with a soft, reminiscent smile on her face.
"What is it, my Lady?" I asked, as the maidens drew away and left, leaving only Silwen and the Lady behind. She turned and glided across to one of the boxes laid out beside the ointments and salves on the dressing table, lifting it in her slender, lily-white hands. "I remember a young girl so afraid, so blind to herself and others, and now…" she began, trailing off as I blushed and looked down. "And still you are easily embarrassed, Alphwen. There are things we must discuss, what is expected of you tonight especially."
I went even redder, if that was possible. "I know the basics. I mean, you're not that dissimilar to mortals…"
"No, we are not, in the physical sense," the Lady agreed, advancing on me as Silwen laid down the brush and began twining my hair into intricate braids and twining them together into one long braid down my back. "But in others, it will not be like anything you have experienced before. The Elves are not like mortals; we are bound to the Earth, it is a part of us as we are of it. When you consummate your union with Haldir, you will become a part of it, as we are, and you will experience a new sense of the world around you. It may be disorientating for you, at first. You must be prepared."
"Well, consider me…prepared," I muttered, face red as a tomato, as Silwen chuckled behind me at my embarrassment and even the Lady chuckled. She opened the box in her hands, and set it down on my lap. I gasped at what was inside.
Inside was my swan pendant but on top of it was a beautiful circlet of gold and mithril, glimmering in the soft, silver light of the pavilion, tapering into sharp 'V's at either end, and at their apex hung a diamond tear-drop. "My Lady?" I breathed, as she smiled and reverently lifted the circlet from its cushion and placed it gently on my head, nestling it into my braided curls.
"This once belonged to my daughter, and she wore it to her own wedding," she told me softly, as Silwen placed the swan pendant around my neck and clasped it. "You have become very dear, Isabella, to us all. Accept this gift, if only for today, as I know how you dislike such finery."
That last was said with such an ironic twinkle in her eye, I could only laugh quietly and accept it with grace. The Lady had given me a gift dear to her heart, her own daughter's wedding circlet, Arwen's mother, and I gently reached up a hand to trace the twining strands of gold and silver, before closing a hand around the swan at my neck. They reminded me of my raven-haired friend, and I smiled through my tears. The Lady wiped them away, brushing a stray strand of hair behind my ear, before she rose and beckoned for Silwen to follow her. I smiled as she pressed my hand with a smile of her own, and I watched them leave as silently as the wind.
With a sigh, I rose and approached the previously unnoticed bundle of white cloth that awaited me, slung over the screens, and I rubbed the silken fabric between my forefinger and my thumb wonderingly.
I smiled at Haldir's voice in my head, before I stepped behind the screen and shed my robe, letting it fall to the ground along with the last remnants of my old life. Tonight I would take my first steps into eternity. Tonight, I would finally be Haldir's and he would be mine. At last.
I stood awaiting my bride as the twilight fell and the forest darkened with it, the sylvan light dimming to soft grey and midnight blues. On the forest floor, trestle tables had been laid out and spread with cloths woven by the Lady and her maidens, laden high with our wedding feast, while some of our finest musicians sang and played in one corner of the clearing. Our closest friends and relatives ate and drank, conversing merrily, as we waited for Bella to appear.
I stood with my brothers, of whom Orophin would act in our father's place, while the Lady had agreed to act in place of Bella's mother. My brothers needled and teased me incessantly, trying to keep my mind from its nervous distraction. Now we were so close, at last, fear had risen up to choke me, nebulous and illogical though it was. It would only ease once we had become one, truly, in all ways. Even with our bond, feeling Bella's certainty and rising excitement, the fear would not abate, not yet.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the Lord and Lady descend from the trees, robed in silver and white, and I inclined my head to them, as silence momentarily fell in respect for the rulers of our home.
"Please, continue!" the Lady called. "Do not cease your merriment on our account. Continue!"
They disappeared seamlessly into the crowd, conversing with many, while I still stood by the table at which Bella and I would sit as husband and wife, my brothers at my side, sipping wine from glass goblets chased with golden filigree. I saw a flash of dark hair and recognised the newcomers, the Fellowship, moving uncertainly through the crowd towards us, and I bowed my head to Aragorn and the Elven Prince Legolas respectfully. They, at least, possessed the manners their Dwarvish companion lacked.
"Haldir, congratulations for this day," Legolas began. "Your bride invited us to attend, if that is pleasing to you?"
I smiled politely and inclined my head. "Indeed, you are all welcome," I replied, with a glance at the Dwarf. "Even you, Master Dwarf. Please, eat, drink and be merry for a time."
"We thank you, Haldir," Aragorn inclined his head, leading the others away but not before the youngest of the Halflings smiled and spoke up.
"I say, good luck with your new wife and everything. She's a jolly nice girl!" he smiled before rushing off after his friends. I found myself inexplicably smiling at the fresh, happy tone of a one who could have passed for a child, yet was already grown in his people's reckoning.
I felt the slightest frisson of sensation along our bond at that moment, and I set down my goblet as I spotted the glimmer of white, gold and mahogany as she descended the stairway to the forest floor.
Her robe of purest white edged with gold skirted the grass beneath her bare feet, elanor and niphredril dotting the dark sheaves, the fabric glimmering brighter even than the silvery trunk of the melleryn surrounding us, a golden girdle dropping low on her waist. A hood covered her hair, but I could see the gleam of gold and silver filigree in her hair, and the swan pendant around her neck. She smiled at me, as she walked slowly but steadily through the crowd, and to my outstretched hand.
"Hey there," she breathed as she reached me, and I felt my fear dissipate slightly as I echoed her happy smile. "You ready?"
"For you, always," I replied quietly, as I felt Orophin take his place behind me on the raised platform, and the Lady came to stand beside Bella. Bella's hand squeezed my own, and I pressed a kiss to the silver ring there.
Soon it would be gold and she would be mine at last.
The assembled guests fell silent as the Lady smiled and spoke. "There is an old Noldorin custom on such an occasion as this. For my people it is custom for the father of the groom and the mother of the bride to give gems as gifts to the couple. While neither of you are Noldorin by birth, you are both worthy of it and I am proud to stand beside you both today," she announced, placing a silver chain around my neck, from which hung a single, elongated gem that glowed a deep red, stark against the grey of my tunic. Orophin moved forward and placed a similar gem around Bella's neck, and she looked down at the stone wonderingly. The Lady gestured to us to take the other's hands, as she stepped forward with her hands raised.
"Nai Varda Tintallë laruva ellor Haldir-va ar Isabella-va, ar nai Eru Ilúvatar alyuva tet!" she cried to the heavens, where the stars now burned fiercely in the sky.
"Nai Manwë Súlimo tiruva Haldir ar, Isabella ar nai Eru Ilúvatar alyuva tet!" Orophin echoed behind me, and together they laid their hands atop our joined ones, as I felt a thrill of heat rush through me, and I sensed through Bella too. Her eyes were on fire with starlight and moonlight, and I could feel her heartbeat thudding against my fingers on her wrist.
As Orophin and the Lady stepped back, we removed our silver betrothal rings and gave them back to one another, while Orophin handed me a gold ring, and the Lady gave Bella the same, and together, our eyes locked on one another, we slid the gold rings onto the forefinger of our right hands.
"It is done. You in one, together and indissoluble until the final days of this world," the Lady pronounced, and our assembled friends burst into laughter and applause, as Bella moved into me.
"There's a little custom from my home world, where the groom kisses the bride once they're exchanged vows and rings," she told me in a whisper. I frowned playfully down at her, triumph and love bubbling in me like a brook. Soon they would become a flood.
"But we have made no vows," I replied, and her smile deepened. "But I will kiss my bride, if she so desires."
"Oh, she does so desire," she assured me with a teasing smile, drawing closer still. I released her hands only to slide them around her waist and pull her into me, setting my lips to hers. Her hood fell back, revealing the glory of her dark hair and the circlet that sat atop her graceful head. At first the laughter was uncertain and shocked, but soon it cascaded around us in a sea of approval and joy. Despite all the darkness that would swamp this land, such moments were to be cherished.
When Bella deigned to release me, we ate and drank with our friends, received many blessings and gifts for our new life together, and spoke to many. But now a new impatience was driving me, tautening my muscles and shortening my breath. Our marriage was not yet sealed, and so much more awaited us.
The moon rose, and with it, the call in my blood. With one look at my bride, I felt it in hers too, and her uncertainty and sudden fear. She did not understand, could not have done, what awaited us tonight.
With a nod, she smiled prettily and drew away from the others, disappearing into the forest. I waited, fighting the call, before doing so myself, ignoring the knowing glances from my brothers and those I called friends among the wardens.
I slipped into the darkness of the forest and set out to follow my lady to whatever isolated, secret spot she had found for us.
To consummate our union and render it unbreakable for all eternity.
The forest was dark, lit only by starlight and moonlight, as I walked through it. I didn't know where I was going, only that I must go, that I had to walk and keep going until I found the place.
So this was what the Lady had meant, when she said I would experience things unlike anything else I had felt before. This call, this urge, this need, burning in my veins like…like vampire venom, but a thousand times more potent and pleasurable. I could feel Haldir coming through the bond we already shared, and I quickened my place.
Not yet, not here.
I lost track of time as I walked, only that the moon was fully risen in the sky, bright and full. It shed light over the forest as I walked, and I felt like a thousand ants were crawling over my skin, achingly sensitive, my ears hearing the echoes of rockfall in the mountains and the bubbling of the Silverlode far away. My heart was pounding as I finally stopped, hearing the ever-closer sound of twigs and leaves rustling under soft Elven boots, as my husband came for me, and my hands trembled as they rose to my hood and lowered it again, revealing my hair to the moonlight.
Something unconscious guided my actions, something stronger than fear or uncertainty, or even modesty. Something older than the light or the dark, the sun or the moon. Instinct.
I was about to become immortal, Elvenkind, and their instincts pushed me onwards, drowning my nerves and embarrassment in pure need and the urge to give myself to Haldir, to take him into my body and seal our bond forever.
I untwined my braids, but left the circlet in place, before hooking my fingers under the shoulders of my gown and pushing, feeling the fabric slide down along the curve of my waist and hips until it hit the floor. I stepped away from it, and further into the moonlight, basking in it as I finally heard my husband's arrival, and the sharp intake of his breath as he saw me.
I listened, my back to him, face upturned to the moon, as his clothing hit the floor. I felt everything fall away, the last shreds of modesty and uncertainty falling away, as I felt him finish his undressing and pace across the clearing to my side. This deep in the forest, we had no fear of interruption or discovery. This was Elvish nature at its most basic and primal, and no one would dare to intrude tonight.
His heat reached for me as he reached for me, his body pressing against my back as I shuddered and closed my eyes. His hands, usually so confident and strong, barely brushed my skin as he slid them along my hips to my waist, before they hardened and pulled me back into his arms. I felt his hardness against my back, and moaned. Fever spread from his touch, now certain and possessive, as he ran them over my body.
His arms hardened around me, and I twined my hands with his so I was doubly entwined, leaning into his strength. "Are you ready for me, Bella?" he breathed in my ear. I shuddered and exhaled, leaning my head back to capture his lips. Urgency drove me and confidence filled me as I broke his hold and stepped back from him.
"What do you think?" I replied softly. My body was aching and hot, ready for his. I bent down, never taking my eyes from his, until my bottom touched the grass, then I lay back, opening my legs and tilting my hips invitingly. I was ready.
Haldir's eyes burned, the gem around his neck glimmering like an ember. My swan pendant and the gem were cool against my skin, but they would soon turn warm against my skin. He walked unhurriedly towards me, his eyes fixed on my body, and mine on his. His words shivered over me as I drank in his sculpted form, ready and as aching to take me as I was to take him. "When we do this, Bella, our souls will join as one."
"More than they already are?" I asked, my brows rising.
"Indeed. A true union of our souls, indestructible and forever. There is no going back now," he stopped before me, a warning flashing through his eyes. I smiled and held out a hand to him.
"Wasn't planning on it. Now get down here!" I replied firmly with a smile, and his eyes flashed again, this time with desire.
"As my lady desires," his predatory smile appeared, as he knelt down and came over me. I leaned up to kiss him, our tongues instantly joining and twining, drawing a moan from both of us. He brushed against my wet centre, and I gasped, and spread my legs wider.
He took his hand away from my face where it cupped it during our kiss, and used it to guide himself into me, sliding in my wet, aching centre. Slowly, but unstoppable, I tensed as I stretched and my body fought to adjust. The urgency dimmed a little, just when I didn't want it to, and I whimpered.
But then he was fully inside me, filling me to my womb and the pain took on a new level of sensation, the fullness inside me bringing me pleasure even as it stung. But it was nothing compared to the pain of vampire venom or orc poison. It would not stop me.
Haldir's lips touched mine, and I opened my eyes to see his, concerned and apologetic but afire with need. "Move with me, my wife," he commanded gently, as he withdrew and I instinctively raised my hips. When he slid back into me, the pleasure accompanied by pain was intense, and I gasped. I rested my hands by my head for the moment and concentrated on rocking my hips in time with his movements, and as the pain slowly melted away, the fever in my veins reawakened and I moaned. I could feel Haldir through our bond, and I sought out his right hand with mine, joining them together, the gold rings on our fingers flashing in the moonlight.
The pleasure grew, like a pressure beneath my skin, my every limb shaking as my mind opened to his, joining on a new level and the last of the pain disappeared. Suddenly, I felt everything, my pleasure, his, the call of the moon and the stars above us, the feel of the earth beneath my body, the smell of crushed grass, the elanor and niphredril wreathing us in their perfume, driving us onward.
The lines between us blurred, and I couldn't be sure if it was Haldir or I who shoved him onto his back and straddled him proudly. I couldn't tell if I drew his hands to my breasts or he himself did it, but he was everywhere, inside me, around me, and my energy was unceasing.
Our hips bucked wildly together, and I was shaking and moaning his name to the moon above us, as his hand trailed down my breasts, across my abdomen to the apex of my thighs, caressing me there where we were joined, sliding over a single spot that made me cry out incoherently, my mind disintegrating into a wild, primal mess of need, urgency and desire.
I was dimly aware of more pleasure and more movement as Haldir's arms clamped around my waist, rising up and then I felt bark against my back, my legs slung tightly around his waist and he was surging into me, strong and dominant. The living pulse against my back, of the forest, the earth, the moon and the stars, all coalesced and centred on the place between my legs and deep inside, where Haldir filled me entirely, again and again. I sought his lips with mine, swallowing his groan gladly as he took me again and again, as long as the call in our blood lasted, sealing our souls together as one, forever.
I finally understood what the Lady had been talking about. And it was the most incredible night of my life, full of sensuality and feverish urgency, as far from my fantasies as I'd imagined, never coming close to anything I had ever felt with Edward.
Here, now, I was complete with Haldir within me and our voices joined together in a primal cry, rising to the moon and stars above.
To be continued...