When I woke for the second time it was early morning and the fire had long since died down into the coals. Telir lay beside the faintly smoking remains, obviously sleeping soundly. I did not dare to disturb him, mostly because I thought that I did owe him a little rest. Yet a little light began to fall upon his face as the wind shifted the trees and he began to stir, ever so slightly.
My gaze was on his eyes as they were opening, kind but firm. I still had many questions in my mind, none of which were going to be answered if he remained asleep. Tossing a lock of brown hair from his eyes, Telir stood to his feet and stretched for a moment before walking over to me. Unlike the last time, I did not shy away, rather choosing to stay silent and wait.
“How does this day find you, Maeve?” He said, the words flowing like honey over his tongue. I took a moment to decide, finally figuring that the pain was down and every breath was not so painful. Another question began to tug at my mind, the question of how he had known how to heal me. In time, I did assume it would be answered.
“Where are we?” I replied, choosing to answer a question with a question. I could hardly remember the area in which I had fallen; though after last taking check I had been only a half-mile outside of Lothlorien. A grin spread across his face as he gently put some packs behind my back so that I was now in a sitting position and truly able to see my surroundings.
“Ten miles from the forest of Lothlorien.” He answered. I hid the shock on my face carefully, though it was more sheer delight really. Taking me back into the forest would be out of the question, seeing as he was apparently not heading in that direction. I was happy. This was finally my chance to escape.
“Would it be too bold to ask where you are headed to, Talir?” I said as he began to remove what I assumed to be our breakfast from another one of his packs. After doing that he then bent over, revealing a dagger that he began to use to cut up what looked like a tiny piece of meat. My stomach was rumbling as I thought about when I had last eaten.
“I am a ranger. Hence I am never really heading in any particular direction.” He responded with a grin. “Why, would you wish for me to take you back to Lothlorien? I am not blind, Maeve. I know that you are elf-kind.” I let out a sigh and held back a small growl of annoyance. Of course I was an elf. Last time we had spoken I was sure that I had mentioned being from Lorien. It also wasn’t like I was trying to hide the points on my ears.
“No, I do not wish to return to that place.” I spat the words out like they were poison. To me, they truly did hold that kind of power. “Take me with you.” At this, his head shot up as if he had never even considered doing that before. His eyes glancing over me caused another shudder, even though his eyes had never been anything but kinds towards me.
“You are an elf. A female one, at that.” He said, and then paused for a moment. My own eyes now fell upon him, as if daring him to say more. “But if it is what you want, then I will take you along. I cannot be responsible for your fate any longer. Whatever danger you face, I will never be blamed for the price that may fall upon your shoulders.”
I fear no danger. Not now, not after what happened to me. I was supposed to die that night and since I didn’t, my life was hardly worth much more anyway. I would gladly give it up in battle if the need arose, though I doubt that Talir would think that a good reason for joining him.
“I care not for what happens to me. Only that we leave as soon as I am able.” If it were in my hands entirely, that would be within a day. With Talir around, it might be at least a week of sitting here and being cared for, something I had never really cared for. In life there were always compromises to be made. I would assume that this was one of them.
“I can do that.” He said with a nod as he slowly tossed an appealing mix of meat and vegetables into a pot and then began to rebuild the fire. It was already a pleasant morning and just the feel of it made me happier. None of the trees would speak to me, making it even more quiet that usual. With a sigh slipping through my lips, I made a feeble attempt at small talk.
“Do you have a wife?” I inquired, assuming the answer to be no. The life of a ranger was a lonely one, that much I knew. There would be few mortal women who could bind themselves to men of this likeness, mostly because of the constant travel and rare visits. For a few seconds there was nothing but silence in the small area as I lay and waited for his response.
“I once did. She died, a long time ago.” His voice was gruff and he would say no more on the topic, making me feel a stab of pity for him. I had not yet known what true love was like, only the tricky kind that blinded you and then left you alone. Ah, how I knew that well.
“Any family?” I said softly, afraid that his answer would be the same. Humans lived for such a short time and yet they had so much pain. Whatever pain I carried could be resolved within my lifetime, making it much easier for me. All of his pain and worries would carry over to the grave when he died at what seemed to me a young age.
“Yes. A sister, kind of like you. Always getting into trouble.” He paused a moment to laugh. “My parents have been dead a long time now. Died when I was 15 in an orc raid.” How sad. I wondered what it felt like to loose your parents to something so permanent as death. I knew of few elves whose parents passed over the sea when they were small, but even then there was not much grief. In Valinor, everyone would be reunited. For humans, it did not work that way.
“I must sleep now. I am weary again.” I said, leaning my head back against the soft packs. “Do not let me sleep for so long again. Sometimes I fear never waking up.” It was an odd fear but a true one. I can sometimes remember my mother reminding me to pray for the Valar to grant me grace to live through the night. Back then it was a childish prayer. Now it was more real to me.
“I will wake you again tomorrow morning.” He said with a nod. “I never like to stay in one place for long, so we must move on. Even if it is only a few miles that you can manage.” Engaging in any kind of movement already was sounding good to me. For now I was weak, but tomorrow I promised myself that I would be stronger.
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.