30. What Goes DOWN, Most Definitely Gets UP
Murder: An act of aggression with the intent to maim and dissect the victim; mostly an act of passion, such as hate or jealousy; also a bi-product of being on the receiving end of absolute stupidity. In cold blood or the heat of the moment, the result is the same; bodily harm. Luckily for the Prince of Mirkwood, Fire was only slightly inclined to this act of passion at the moment.
Legolas almost choked to death on his wine, nearly ending his torture at the ranger's hands before it began. The sight of the Mirkwood clothes adorning the messenger, made the elf's heart sink. He was doomed to feel the wrath of a very irate ranger in the near future. Sending a plea to the Valar to make the messenger not see the necklace draped around Fire's neck, Legolas watched in dread as the messenger not only saw, but began to welcome the ranger as the new Princess of Mirkwood.
Her reaction to the news was NOT pretty. When she turned blazing green eyes towards him, Legolas could do nothing but nod in confirmation. He waited anxiously to see her response. Fainting was not on the top ten things the Mirkwood Prince would have expected Fire to do. He was up out of his chair and at the ranger's side in seconds.
Haldir caught the ranger in his arms a fraction of a second before she hit the floor. Staring down into her pale features, the March warden of Lothlorien realized he had been pursuing the betrothed of the Prince of Mirkwood; though in his defense, she had not known it either. Haldir was sure the other ellon was going to be in a world of hurt when Fire regained consciousness. Looking up into the worried and guilty face of Legolas, Haldir could not help but see the love that shined from his previous rival's piercing blue eyes.
With a deep laugh in his voice, Haldir made everyone turn in shock when he said dryly to Legolas, "Now would be a good time to run and get a head start. You may not have much skin left if you do not for I believe she is going to skin you slowly when she wakes." Thinking his friend would do something to the March warden, Aragorn moved forward to intercede only to be stopped in bemusement when Legolas replied in the same manner, "Aye she most probably will. Even with a head start, she is a better tracker then Aragorn, so I will eventually be doomed to torture, so I might as well stay until she calms down enough to let me explain." With a shared grin of two who had already been on the bad side of Fire's temper, Legolas waited patiently for Fire to come around.
The first coherent thought the ranger possessed after becoming semi-conscious, did not make much sense. 'The necklace can not be removed?' That her brain had latched onto this thought like a starving leech, confirmed the fact the ranger was not dealing with the revelation well. It then hit her like a hurricane. Sitting up straight and way too fast, almost caused the ranger to drop into blackness again. Stars danced at the edges of her vision for a few moments, and then everything came into focus with deadly accuracy.
Green flames glowed in her eyes, as she turned to look at the elves by her side. When her eyes met Legolas', they narrowed dangerously. Moving her head to the other side, she came into contact with concerned blue grey ones. "Haldir will you please escort me to my talan? Aragorn will you please make my apologies to the Lord and Lady as I do not wish to speak to anyone right now." Fire said in a low growling voice that showed her temper simmering just below the surface. Aragorn nodded his agreement as Haldir helped Fire to her feet, and led the way to her talan; leaving behind a very worried, guilt ridden elf Prince.
Fire walked into the talan. The shakes had gotten worse the closer to safety she came. As soon as she entered and looked around, she realized her mistake. Everything here was vulnerable to heat and flame, Fire knew if she stayed she would cause damage. Turning to leave again, she looked into Haldir's blue grey eyes and smiled sadly. "I am sorry!" She whispered.
Frowning in confusion, the March warden shook his head and drew her shaking form into his arms. "You have nothing to be sorry for, young one. You have done no harm, and I have seen with my own eyes how much he truly cares for you. I believe you feel the same or the Soul Stones would not have activated the Elven magic within them. Give both of you a chance to set things right."
"Haldir, I will give some thought to what you have said. I can not stay here as I am afraid of just what I might do. I have the power to control fire, but it is only banked right now by the force of my will alone. If I lose concentration in my angered state, I could burn down the Golden Woods without realizing it. I need to burn off this energy and anger before I do something I would not forgive myself for." Fire said in a forlorn voice full of pain.
Haldir kissed the top of her head tenderly. "Is there not that I can do to help you? You need not be alone in this. I pledge, to you, my friendship, young one, and I will be here if you need me. Ask and it shall be yours." The March warden replied gravely.
Fire tilted her head up from Haldir's chest and smiled. "You have my friendship, also. You need only to ask and I will try to help you in any way I can. In the spirit of our new friendship, and the dire need I have to hunt, I must tell you something that only Lady Galadriel and Legolas know, the white Feline that attacked you when the Fellowship first arrived, that was me. I am one of the Forgotten Ones of Anorak." She said softly, unsure of his reaction.
The snort of laughter startled her. "You were that overly annoying, walking fur rug. I must admit, young one, you are one of a kind!! You say you need to hunt, I expect that you mean to do it in cat form." At her nod, the March Warden continued, "I will have the Lady warn the wardens of your presence and give orders not to harm any white great cats that they may see. If you would like some company, I would hunt with you." Haldir said.
Thinking for a moment, Fire decided that company that did not lie was acceptable. "I would enjoy that very much, but please ask the Lady to inform the wardens that, unless forced to defend themselves from attack, all great cats within the Golden Woods be left alone, as another may or may not join our hunt." The frown creasing the March warden's forehead made Fire laugh. "I see you have already met Ice! The black Feline is one of my people, too. She will not harm you I promise!" Fire grinned.
With a resigned huff, the March warden of Lothlorien and former drool victim replied, "As long as she does not try to drool on me again, I will endeavor to refrain from doing bodily harm to the flea ridden beast. Now I will contact the Lady while you ready yourself for the hunt. Do you require the assistance of a maid to undo your dress?" Fire cocked her head and smiled wickedly, "No I do not need any more of those fiendish creatures, but if you would be so kind as to stuff a change of clothes for me into your pack, I would be grateful." About to question exactly how she would be able to get out of the dress without damaging it, Fire was covered in a blaze of blue shimmering flames. The dress dropped unheeded to the floor as the ranger was twisted and distorted within the flames, until finally she could not be seen. As quickly as the blue flame appeared, it was gone and in its place was a white great cat with laughing gold eyes. "Well that answered my question!" Haldir said dryly as he watched the cat sitting at his feet happily shredding the beautiful dress into little pieces.
Legolas stood staring at the door Fire and Haldir had retired through. His mind was in a chaotic state of worry, sadness and guilt. He was so lost in thought, that he did not hear Aragorn's approach until Aragorn placed a hand on his best friend's shoulder in comfort.
Sighing, Legolas turned pain filled eyes to Aragorn, and the Lady by his side. "I should have told her, as soon as the stones melded. No! I should have told her in the parchment I left for her, what the meaning of the necklace was in terms of betrothal. At least that way, she would have had a true choice if she wanted to be with me or not. I do not know if she will forgive me, Aragorn. I fear all I have done to win her, is now in vain. I have betrayed her trust, but I swear to you I did not know she felt so deeply already. I had thought that it would take time to win her heart. I had planned to ask her to bind with me, when she became less wary of my affections. Now I do not know if she will even speak with me."
"Give her time to adjust Legolas. That the Soul Stones melded so quickly, shows how much you have grown in her regard. She is confused and angry now, but once she has settled down again, she will see how deeply she feels for you. Do not give up hope, even if she argues or ignores you. You have time Prince of Mirkwood use it wisely. Woo her still, as you have been doing. Tell her your feelings, Legolas. Do not be afraid to give her your heart openly. She will rail against her own feelings for awhile, you must be patient." The Lady Galadriel spoke softly to the worried elf. Her kind eyes sparkled with faith and understanding, as she placed her hand on Legolas' unoccupied shoulder.
The three stood silently for awhile, and then Legolas gave a quiet sigh. "I will take your wise council to heart, My Lady. I will go to her and speak of what lays in my heart. It is her decision to make after that, but I will woo her until the end of all things, if necessary." The elf said in a soft, yet determined, voice.
Galadriel and Aragorn smiled at the elf's statement and both hoped it would not be too long, before the ranger forgave the love struck elf. Their eyes followed Legolas as he stalked towards the door of the Hall with a stubborn mule look on his face. It was going to be an interesting couple of weeks.
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