42. Chapter Forty-Two
Three months passed so quickly that none of the lovers even considered it. At last, Orophin entered their camp, after an appropriate warning call.
Haldir rose and wrapped his cloak about him. "Brother! How fare you? What a fine day this is." His happiness near made him translucent.
Orophin paused after dismounting and looked upon his brother in surprise and delight. "You look well!"
"Of course I do. How could I not? Are these not medicinal springs? I must have heard that before. They must be medicinal for I feel my old self."
Haldirriel and Legolas threw on cloaks and left the warmth of the spring, walking to Haldir and holding him around the waist, one on either side.
"You all look wonderful," Orophin mused. "Mayhap, once we have completed our duties, I will return to these springs and see for myself what kind of healing they bring."
They all laughed and bid Orophin join them around their fire. A fine venison stew was bubbling away and their were even biscuits baking in a homemade oven nearby. "Where did you get the flour?"
"Ah, a wayward Beorning stopped by two mornings ago and we bartered for a bit of his. We ran out of lembas weeks ago." Haldir looked perplexed for a moment. "Mayhap a month ago. I can no longer remember. What is the day, and for that matter, the month?"
When Orophin told them, they all gasped.
Orophin continued, "I am sorry to have to end this, for I see you are entrenched in this camp and enjoying yourselves fully." Haldir wondered if that was a blush covering his brother's face. "However, I have received a missive from the Lady Galadriel. She bids you return to the Golden Wood so that she might offer you her fare wells. She leaves for Imladris in a fortnight's time. Lord Celeborn will accompany her. As you know, she has decided to leave our lands forever and sail West. Lord Celeborn will remain in Imladris with his grandsons."
"So soon?" Haldir's face fell. "I had hoped she would stay till spring comes again."
"Nay. Elrond expects them at the end of September. There is to be a meeting near the Shire in November. She must be there to greet the Ringbearer. I know not how, but it is said that Frodo is to sail West."
All grew quiet. Legolas stood. "Mithrandir will leave with them," he said quietly and walked away from them and towards the stream.
Haldirriel meant to follow, but Haldir held her arm and stayed her. "Let him have a moment to himself. The friendships forged on that quest were powerful indeed. It must be a difficult blow for him to bear the parting of two more of the Fellowship. All will miss the Grey Pilgrim."
Silently she agreed; they ate in silence, waiting for Legolas to return. When he did, Haldirriel stood. "We should return now. Though," her face took on a pained, wistful expression, "I would have loved one more moment..." She blushed and Orophin coughed gently. "But it is right that we return immediately. There are preparations we all must make. Legolas? Once we return to Lórien, will you stay with us for a few days, at least? You will then be returning to Minas Tirith?"
"I will go to my father's house first, then take the River down to the Falls, from there, I hope to avail myself of a horse at Gondor's garrison, and make my way to Aragorn's city."
"Haldir and I will go to Imladris with Celeborn." She saw the smile on Haldir's face and knew her decision was right. "When you are able, come to us?"
"I will." The Wood Elf hesitated. "Mayhap I should go directly to Eryn Lasgalen from here. It would save me many days' travel."
Orophin stood. "If you do not mind, while you make your decisions, I must go back to our camp and prepare my troops for the journey home."
Haldir thanked his brother profusely for giving them a moment's privacy. "We will join you within the hour."
"Perhaps it will be nigh unto two hours," Haldirriel whispered.
"We will join you in two hours time," Haldir agreed.
With that, Orophin left and the three stood, feeling profoundly disconsolate.
"We have an hour's time to bid each other fare well for who only knows how many months, perhaps even years." Haldirriel walked quickly towards the stream.
"Daro, Haldirriel. We have had three months of joy, passion and intimacy. One hour, more or less, cannot compare with what we have had," Haldir took her in his arms and hugged her fiercely. "I would prefer that we talk about our future."
She nodded and returned to the fire, sitting next to a dejected Legolas. "We are bonded; we know and have felt each other within our fëar. There is naught we need even speak, for is not the beating of our very hearts known to each other? Does not my body quiver when I feel your fëa touching me? I know the same is true for both of you. I think that distance will not sunder us, nor the touch of our fëar to each other."
"You are right in saying this," Haldir mused. "I have oft heard the Lady speak of her bond with my Lord. Even when he fought at the Battle of Dagorlad, they knew each other's thoughts. I deem the same will be true for us."
"It will be," Legolas stood up. "I will journey to Imladris and be there in the spring. I swear it." He quickly engulfed Haldir and Haldirriel in a passionate embrace. They returned it threefold. At last, tears flowing, they bid each other fare well with impassioned kisses and reverent touches. "If I do not leave now," Legolas moaned, "I will never leave. And I have promises to keep."
Within moments, Legolas was seated upon his horse and turned eastward. The Wood Elf did not look back.
Haldirriel sighed. "Another affected exit. I will so miss them!"
Haldir began to laugh. "He will bring us joy for all our lives, Haldirriel. We are blessed beyond measure with his love, are we not?"
"We are. Now, my husband, let us be off. Your Queen awaits."
A/N - 1) Maelvûl 'waur - literally, "lust-slave dirty/soiled" 2) Muin nín - My beloved; 3) Daro - stop.
I do so hope you have enjoyed this, my first slash+ attempt. The Elf who asked for this as a birthday present two years ago has suggested that a couple of Elves who live in Imladris might enjoy the presence of these two lovers. The idea intrigues me. We'll see what the Muse does.