1. The Golden Wood
Haldir pressed his shoulder against a tall tree and peered around its trunk. He glanced to the other elves who were following him on patrol, and with a silent signal, they spread out in a ring around the clearing just ahead.
A figure was standing there. A human. They had been tracking it for most of the morning, as it ambled, somewhat aimlessly around the fringe of the golden wood, determined not to show themselves until clear trespass had been committed. Finally, as it crashed across a stream, the stranger was firmly within their borders. The breach could not be overlooked.
Moving stealthily, the Elf captain drew an arrow from his quiver and threaded it onto his supple bow. Then, with a nod to the others, he pulled his bowstring taut and stepped into view.
"Halt!" He commanded, and was gratified when the intruder instantly obeyed.
The other elves came forward, weapons draw and Haldir glided forward. His stern eyes glowed intensely as he leveled his weapon at the figure's throat. "You have entered the Lady's wood." He stated lowly. "Trespass is not permitted."
He was surprised when the remark gained no response. Humans rarely ventured into the forest of Lorien. The ones that were captured had almost always attempted escape- or at least a stammered excuse for why they should be set free. This one attempted neither. It raised its chin defiantly and met his glare with cool jade eyes.
"As you say."
It was a woman's voice. Haldir wondered at that for a moment. The cloak that the stranger wore was richly woven, and he knew that human gentlewomen did not commonly go wandering alone.
"Have you nothing to say for yourself?"
"No." The green gaze held. Sadness, as sharp and beautiful as the edge of a knife radiated from the lady's face, and he faltered somewhat, lessening the tension with which he held back the arrow
"The Mistress of this wood does not take kindly to disturbance."
The woman dipped her head in submission. "I am not afraid to die at your hands."
Feeling a grudging respect for his captive, Haldir lowered his bow at last. "You must account for yourself to the Lady." He stated flatly.
He returned his bow to his shoulder, and drew a long knife from his belt.
"Return to your patrols." He told the others. Their captive was a single, mortal woman. He had no doubts that he could handle her on his own.
When the other elves had slipped away, Haldir stepped forward. Jutting his knife in the direction of the stream, he indicated where the prisoner should walk.
He examined the woman closely as she stepped gingerly ahead. She was clearly frightened, but remained silent as she marched. He noted again the fineness of her garments: a blue silk dress with intricate embroidery on the sleeves and hem, covered by an inky velvet cloak. Soft slippers were on her feet. She was not attired for travel of any sort must less wandering through the woods. He frowned.
Perhaps her party had been attacked and she had wandered off the path by accident? After several moments of quiet observation, he could not contain his curiosity.
"How is it that you came to Lorien?" He inquired.
The woman turned to look over her shoulder, then spoke quietly. "I am not sure that I rightly know."
She was hiding something. He could see it in the hunched posture of her shoulders, and the secretive tone of her voice. Annoyance flared. Let her keep her secrets for now. The Lady would draw them out!
Retaliating for her coyness, Haldir drove the captive hard along the trail. The evening sun was bright atop the trees, trapping a moist, misty heat beneath the canopy of leaves. The elf did not mind the discomfort, but the woman was clearly unused to such exertion. She was panting softly. The hood of her dark cloak had fallen to her shoulders, and he could see the color in her cheeks.
She was comely for a human, though nothing to tempt an elf. There was a lack of grace in her movements that he found typical of her race. Still, there was beauty in her face. Her wide green eyes were pale and clear, and her hair spilled in auburn waves around her shoulder and back. A sense of stillness hung about her, and Haldir did not know if it was from resignation, or from peace. Altogether, there was an elven air around her, and he wondered ( not without slight distaste), if some trace of the elder kindred ran within her blood.
The subject of Haldir's musing turned suddenly, and he recoiled under the uneasy sense that she had read his thoughts. He covered his embarrassment with anger.
"March!" He snapped. "Dragging your feet will not postpone your doom."
The woman obliged, though not without difficulty. The incline of the path that they followed had steadily increased, and she struggled to find footing on the slick leaves and loose rocks of the forest floor. Climbing over a tree trunk, she stumbled and fell to the ground.
As he reached forward to drag her back to her feet, Haldir saw that the soles of her slippers had been tattered to ribbons. Bright blood stained the rent fabric. Though he would not own to the feeling, the elf felt a surge of compassion.
"Enough." He announced sternly. "We will rest." Gracefully, he took a seat on the fallen tree which had precipitated the lady's fall.
They were still walking near the stream. The woman looked toward it longingly.
"Are you thirsty?" The elf asked. "You may drink." Although he did not think she would try to run away, he followed her to the water's edge. He observed the lady closely as she carefully spread her cloak on the forest floor, then knelt upon it, tucking her skirts beneath her knees. She pushed the sleeves of her dress over her elbows to keep them dry, then formed her hands into a small bowl to gather water which she drew greedily to her mouth. The makeshift cup leaked liberally. Cool drops spilled over her lips and forearms.
The elf stared. The woman's arms were as battered as any warrior's that he had seen after a fight. They were blackened in places, with deep scratches running the length of the left arm. It looked as if mighty claws had been raked across the skin.
The woman noticed his scrutiny and sat back quickly, wrenching the cuffs of her gown down to her fingertips.
For a moment, they said nothing before Haldir inquired, in a tone more gentle than he had used before. "Do the dark forces tread so near the golden wood? You might have told me, lady, of your peril and received a kinder welcome."
The girl twisted the fabric of her skirt with restless hands.
"You see not the handiwork of an orc." She said at last.
Haldir lifted an eyebrow. "Then pray, what has befallen you? Bandits?"
A laugh leapt from the woman's throat, but it was a bitter sound: hollow and tarnished. "I cannot claim such adventures yet." Her features dimmed. "I have…displeased my husband..." Then, adopting the expression of resolution which she had worn when she first encountered the elves, she raised her chin and added. "...for the last time."
"Your beloved set his hand to you?"
The elf's astonishment must have shown, for the woman's lips twisted once more in grim amusement. "You forget, sir, that men do not often marry for love."
"More proof that they are fools!" Haldir answered hotly, but his anger faded as his eyes drifted once more to the wounds. Very tenderly, he lifted her arm and exposed its skin once more. "You are bleeding." He said in a chiding tone. "The walk has reopened the wounds." After a moment of hesitation, he slid his knife back into its sheath. Gathering the edge of the lady's cloak, he dipped it in the brook, then used the damp corner to wipe away the smears of blood.
When he was finished, he rolled the sleeve back into place, but he did not release her arm. "Are there more?" He asked carefully.
The woman' hesitated.
Without waiting for a reply, he reached for the hem of her skirt.
The woman bucked away in astonishment, and he heaved a sigh in frustration. Elven appreciation for physical form made few accommodations for modesty. He found the human preoccupation with it tiresome.
"Sit still!" He snapped, the glower returning to his features.
Wide-eyed, the woman complied.
"I'm not going to hurt you." He said in a more reassuring tone, then he peeled up the skirts again.
The ankle and foreleg were unmarked, but the backs of the woman's thighs bore scarlet welts. The lady hissed in pain as he grazed them only lightly with his hand.
Haldir felt his stomach clench in revulsion at the thought of the man who had done this.
Sauron's evil was not all that existed in the world.
"Is this why you were wandering?" Now that he understood the source of her sorrow, he found that he could not look at the lady's face. She nodded mutely. Her calm acceptance of the situation stung him.
Men were inferior to elves, and Haldir did not often spare his thoughts on their account, but something in this woman's plight stirred his pity. The lives of mortals were so brief! Why did they wish to squander them in unhappiness?
Truly, there were so much more pleasant ways to pass the days of life. Almost without thinking, he raked his fingertips along the inside of the woman's thigh. A smile curled on his aristocratic lips as she responded to his caress. Her breath rushed from her lungs in sudden, unexpected delight. She stared at him, the sorrow in her gaze momentarily replaced with curiosity.
Tentatively, he repeated the action, and the woman moaned softly. It was such a simple gesture. Was it possible that she knew so little physical tenderness that even this casual touch could bring her pleasure? His suspicion was confirmed as he moved his hands more firmly upon her legs. He swept his palms along the milky column of her inner thighs, beginning at the back of her knees, and moving slowly upward to the cleft where leg and torso met. The woman stared at him with the eyes of a hunted dear: the look of one staring into a drawn bow, wondering if the arrow will fly…
Her innocence- or at least naiveté, was exciting. Never before had he encountered such an unexplored wilderness of flesh. Haldir's lips twisted in a wry grin as he pondered what he could do: what he could make her feel, and the pleasure he would receive in return. He could not undo her hurts, but perhaps he might offer consolation?
Resolved to act, he leaned forward to sample the lady's lips. They were soft and full, and seemed to melt against his advances. She was wary at first, keeping her mouth firmly closed. Haldir licked at it, slowly coaxing it to open, until at last he could breach it with his velvet tongue.
She tasted of honey, and the elf-guardian sampled it greedily. As they embraced, he guided back against outspread cloak where she had kneeled to drink.
When she was prone against the ground, he released his hands from her shoulders, where they had eased her to the forest floor. They began to explore her body, beginning at the curve of her neck, then moving to her shoulders and arms. He was careful of her many bruises, and cuts, covering her with his warm breath in places where a touch would bring pain.
The woman's own hands draped warily around his neck, begging him for another kiss, and he obliged. She squirmed beneath him. Once again he was struck by how little care it took to win her trust. His single touch had ignited a flame within her. He did not think her wanton, merely neglected: like the mongrel dogs that sometimes roamed the towns of men, trading loyalty for scraps of a kindly word.
Haldir started a he felt the lady's lips travel from his own, along his cheek. She ended, at last, at the lobe of his ear, suckling it gently before exploring the ridge, and pointed tip with her own soft tongue. He reciprocated eagerly, matching her kisses with ones of his own, then moving his hands to the laces that bound her dress.
"There is so much that I can show you…" he promised "If you wish it."
"I wish it." The lady answered without hesitation, surrendered herself to his control.
The elf made short work of the bodice, and eased it from her shoulders before stripping her of her skirt. Only her shift remained, and he kissed her through the fine, gauzy cloth. His fingers drew the silk taut against her skin so that he could make could see the outline of her hardened nipple. He captured the tender peak between his teeth and sucked greedily, wrenching a gasp of pleasure from the woman's lips. He bucked against her restless hips, demonstrating his own body's arousal, and promising what was to come.
The woman's reached for Haldir's belt, but she could not unfasten the clasp. He came to her aid, impatiently loosening the buckle, then drawing his tunic over his head. He removed the woman's shift before attending to his own leggings and boots. At last, they were both naked, and they stared at each other with enraptured curiosity.
The woman, Haldir was forced to admit, was far more succulent unclothed than she had been wrapped in her cloak. Her waist and limbs were slender, but her hips and shoulders were rounded and broad. Her breasts were like two golden fruit, ripe and begging to be devoured. He captured them in his hand, first weighing them gingerly, then kneading them lightly together, exploring their softness. He captured her nipple once more in his mouth, swirling it in his tongue. It was not until he broke away once more that he noted the woman's hands had fallen still. She was staring at him with open curiosity, and though she had declared herself to be married, her face was flush as any maid.
"Do I frighten you?" He breathed against her neck.
She averted her eyes. "No...it's just...." She swallowed, then blurted. "I did not know that the Elves were....made as men...."
The seriousness in her gaze made him laugh. "As men?" He laughed, bemused. "Do you mean to insult me, lady?" Then, before she could answer, he captured her hand in his own and pressed it against the column of flesh that she observed so warily. He sighed her fingers folded about him, and he showed her how to bring him pleasure. When she had found the proper rhythm, he resumed his own attentions. A slender finger traced the ridge between her breasts, moving over her navel, and finally disappearing in the coarse dark hairs at the apex of her legs.
Her hips bucked upwards, and he soothed her in tones he would use on a skittish beast, gradually acclimating her to the sensations that he wrung from her body. He drew her to the edge of climax before he stopped, there was so much more he wanted to show her….
"You are so beautiful." She whispered in reverence, admiring him as he drew away to catch his breath.
"It is what my race is meant to be." He murmured between kisses along her neck. He paused at the base of her throat, pondering a compliment to pay her in return. "You are very strong."
"Strong?" She wove her fingers through his golden hair. "I wish that it were so. I have only the strength to run away."
"Even trees must bend in the wind." He commented, and then he pulled himself level once more with her lips. "I have had enough of talking..."
The lady sighed as he pushed apart her legs with his knees. He knew that she was ready for him. Still, he penetrated her slowly, taking delight in the glaze that clouded her eyes as he stretched and filled her with his flesh. For a moment, he laid still, reveling in the sensation of flesh against flesh, then he began to rock, calling on all of his control to move slowly.
The lady's head fell back against the cloak. Her sweet, honeyed breath came out in gasps as she began to move against him. She was an avid pupil, responding to each suggestion he made with ardor. Soon, his desire to please her was at war with his own growing need for release. His touch became less gentle as he pressed deeper into her core. At last he felt her break beneath him. Her legs began to tremble as her breath left in a shuddering moan, and he could feel the waves of rapture that consumed her flesh. The joy of his gift drew him swiftly to his own completion. The world grew distant an unfocused as he joined his lover in her bliss. She puddle against him, still shaking as their breathing began to slow. Haldir regarded her tenderly: warm and soft and spent. He wished that he could linger in her arms.
"Was it...magic?" Her voice broke the stillness between them.
"Magic?" He was uncertain of her meaning at first. Then realization struck him momentarily dumb with shock. Had she never been taught the pleasure of the act of love? Even that such things were possible? His face darkened, angry again at the husband who had broken her body and soul. " Aye. A magic men may practice if they wish." He punctuated the remark with a gentle kiss, then drew her head against his chest. The curtain of night was falling and he must present his captive to the lady soon. He had tarried too long...and yet he did not begrudge the time that had passed. He regretted only that he had but an hour to give, and that was not time enough to heal the lady's many hurts.
Sighing wistfully, he untangled his arms and arose, quickly applying his garments before helping his partner into her own. When she was presentable, they resumed their walk, moving slowly and speaking little.
Galadriel was expecting them. No doubt news of the capture had been brought to her many hours earlier, but she did not remark on her captain's tardiness.
Haldir stood stiffly in her presence, steeling his resolve against an making an improper appeal for mercy should the Lady of the Wood be disinclined to leniency this day.
He was so preoccupied with his thoughts that he barely heard the Queen's pronouncement. Indeed, he was barely aware of her presence, until he felt her in his mind. Her presence filled his thoughts, shaming him for his inattention.
Strange... Her sweet voice seemed to resonate in her mind....you are no lover of mortal men...And yet you have favored this one....or perhaps she favored you? Curious... And he felt that she was laughing in amusement, though his eyes saw only a face that was queenly and serene as she pronounced her judgment on the mortal girl.
" The world is full of sorrows. They grow every day, reaching to its brim. You bear many, but you may not leave them here."
Galadriel indicated that the woman should be brought forward. "You will be returned to your own lands and are forbidden ever to return. The Lady of the Wood reached forward. Haldir felt an unexpected pang of disappointment when he realized what she was going to do. The Elven Witch placed a hand on either temple of the captive's head, then closed her eyes in concentration before intoning. "You will sleep...." The woman's knees buckled automatically, and she hung bonelessly in the arms of the guards who had brought her before the Queen.
"You will have no memory of this place."
Then Haldir felt Galadriel in his mind once more.
No memory...save one. She whispered.
No one left the Golden Wood unchanged.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.