Wanderer: 26. Chapter 26

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26. Chapter 26

Four o’clock. Too early for the first streaks of light to colour the sky, but I needed to be outside. Anita and Nicky were asleep on the sofa bed, the television screen the only light in the room. I would go for a walk I decided, the sight and sound of the ocean has never failed to soothe me before, for it is like music, the music that lives in my fea; that has always been there. The earliest memory of my childhood is not my mother, or any other of my kin, but of music. Sometimes when I was very young, before I understood what I heard and felt I was frightened. Now I found it familiar and comforting, and I would seek out the only thing in this crazed modern world that would make music for me.

Although I had not done this before, I left a note on the kitchen table to tell the ladies where I would be, for I felt they would wake early and might wonder where I was. I knew we would go early to see Bronwyn, but a short walk would comfort me much. I needed to think, and understand what my life would be now that the Oath was gone. Certainly I felt more content with the world than in many years, and it seemed as if a great weight had been lifted from me.

The sea was cold that morning, but it felt good on my feet. Somehow it grounded me, and brought me back to reality. I could not go on feeling guilty over Bronwyn’s injuries, what I had to do was ask for her forgiveness, for I needed to be forgiven and to make Bronwyn understand that I knew I was responsible for her hurts. Responsible, I thought, that is it, not guilty. I sat on the sand, watching by the bright light of the full moon a seagull flying low over the white capped waves, the moonlight making it’s wings shine like silver.

Silver, I thought, of course, a gift for Bronwyn! I had something I had carried with me since I followed my father and brothers on that fool’s errand to disaster. And I remembered well the lady who had refused to accompany me, who broke our betrothal, and nearly broke me. When I left Aman I had carried the slender silver bracelet with me, as a memory of her, for she gave back all the things I had given her. My brother Curufin had made the bracelet to a design I had drawn and although I had not his skill with metalworking, I knew I could re-shape it, for like all my brothers I had to take my turn at the forge and when I reached a skill level Father was happy with I was then released and allowed to do much as I pleased, in my case that music and art. I had three small emeralds that I could use, and a design in mind that I believed would please my friend, it seemed appropriate to let go of the original intended recipient for the piece, and give it to another lady. Feeling pleased with myself, I sat for a while listening to the waves pound the seashore, singing to the sea as it sang to me.

The first rays of the sun were touching the sea when I returned to the house. Nicky met me at the door, saying she was hungry, so I prepared breakfast for the three of us, which we ate outside listening to the early morning song of the birds in the huge pine trees next to the stables.

Anita had gathered some things Bronwyn would need in the hospital; I fed the little cat that was very distressed by Bronwyn’s absence. The horses Nicky and I would attend to later. Then, we drove back into the town, over to the hospital Bronwyn was in.

‘Why didn’t the ambulance come last night, mum?’ asked Nicky.

‘There was a bad car crash yesterday on the Highway, and the ambulances were off on the other side of town taking care of those people’.

‘Oh’, she said, then, ‘what if we hadn’t taken Bronwyn to hospital ourselves?’

Anita did not answer, as she was concentrating on driving the car through heavy traffic, so I spoke, ‘Bronwyn could have died, and it would all have been my fault.’

‘Your fault? How is that?’ asked Nicky.

‘Yes, Maglor,’ said Anita,’ what did happen yesterday. Why were you and Bronwyn in the middle of the sea diving in a cave? And how did she ‘collide’ with a rock wall?’

‘Very well, you deserve an explanation,’ I said. I felt as if I had a new life now, with the Oath gone from me. Part of this would be that I would be more trusting in my dealings with the few friends I had. So, as we drove I gave Anita and Nicky a brief version of what Bronwyn and I had been doing, why we had done it, and of course that lead to explaining what a Silmaril is, and why I had to recover it.

Dead silence greeted the end of my tale. Finally Anita broke the silence, ‘so all this was to fulfil a thirteen or fourteen thousand year old oath?’

‘Yes. I should have known it would only lead to disaster, for when my people left Aman, we were cursed by the Valar. Part of the curse was that all we began, no matter whether it is for good or ill would turn to disaster. Certainly that has been true this time.’

‘A curse!’ gasped Nicky. ‘Are you for real?’

‘Absolutely. Everything I have done has turned out badly. All the battles my brothers and I fought against Morgoth turned to disaster; we never came close to defeating him. Our personal lives were no better, with friends and family slowly turning against us.’ I sighed deeply. ‘Some of that our fault, because of that thrice be-damned oath. I even managed to make my foster sons hate me. So many people have hated me over the years.’

A little hand curled around mine, and I looked into Nicky’s sky blue eyes. ‘I don’t hate you’, she said with the conviction and sincerity of a child. ‘I’m angry with you for getting Bron hurt, but I don’t hate you.’

My heart felt light at her words, and I smiled happily at her. She grinned back.

Anita scowled and swore at a car that nearly caused us to collide with it, and I closed my eyes, reaching deep inside myself, murmuring a few words in Quenya as I placed a ward of protection on us, and the vehicle we travelled in. We certainly needed it this morning!

As we arrived at the hospital car park Nicky piped up ‘isn’t it a bit early to go in?’ as we got out of the car and followed Anita to the hospital buildings.

I had wondered the same thing, but Anita just gave a little smile, ‘yes, usually, but I know we’ll be let in because I know the nurses finishing night shift.’

She knocked on a door, and a dark haired nurse opened it. ‘Anita!’ she said cheerfully, ‘sneaking in early to see Bronwyn. I guess I can let you in.

‘Thanks Cheryl. You remember my daughter Nicole? And this is Maglor, a friend. He was with Bronwyn yesterday when she had her accident.’

Cheryl held the door open and let us in ‘Be quiet,’ she whispered, ‘room 32, west wing.’

We thanked Cheryl quietly as we crept quietly down to the room Bronwyn was in. Being an elf of course I could move absolutely silently, but I was surprised by the lack of noise the ladies made as we snuck into Bronwyn’s room, where she lay still sleeping. She looked so small and frail lying in the bed, her curly hair falling in a tangle around her face.

It was apparently nearly time for the patients to wake for breakfast so Anita woke Bronwyn carefully. I noticed the way she did this, and she automatically checked to see how Bronwyn was, her nurse’s training showing so clearly in her every action.

Bronwyn blinked sleepily, and smiled, ‘Glad to see you lot,’ she said.

‘Not as glad as we are to see you,’ replied Anita, kissing Bronwyn. Nicky did the same, but hugged Bronwyn as well.

I had held back, certain Bronwyn would not be pleased to see me, but she was.

‘Stop hiding back there,’ she said. ‘You’re too tall to hide that easily.’

I stepped forward, and bent to kiss Bronwyn too, feeling as shy as a young lad about to be chastened by his parents.

‘How do you feel?’ I asked rather nervously.

‘All things considered, not too bad. Leg hurts a bit,’ she said quietly, her left arm sliding around me to hug me. I flinched, aware for the first time that my back and right side were terribly sore.

Before I could stop her, Anita had pulled up my shirt, giving a low whistle of surprise as she did, and turned me to show Nicky and Bronwyn, ‘it’s been a while since I’ve seen such a pretty coloured bruise as that. How on earth did you not feel this? You must be terribly sore!’ she exclaimed, as she carefully examined my side.

I shrugged away from Anita, pulling down my shirt. ‘It is strange that I did not feel this injury earlier, but Elves are harder to injure or kill than mortals,’ I said, ‘and we heal quicker. But it is sore'

Anita snorted, ‘I suppose you had a violent contact with that underwater rock wall too. And don’t lie and try to tell me that it’s Ok'

She disappeared and came back with a small jar in her hand. ‘Come on, Maglor; give me a look at your back. I’ve got something here,’ she held out the jar, ‘that will ease the pain, and help the bruise heal.’ Reluctantly I took off my shirt, for Anita had a determined look about her. I had seen that look on healers before, and I knew that I would receive treatment whether I wanted it or not. As Anita spread the ointment on my admittedly extremely sore right side, I felt almost immediate relief. I had been wounded in battle many times in the past, but for some reason a simple bruise now seemed to be bothering me more than a sword cut.

‘There you are, that should feel better now,’ said Anita.

‘Thank you for your care, Anita, I do feel better. Like Bronwyn, you too are a kind lady.’

Bronwyn was sitting up in bed, laughing softly, to my amazement, at me!

‘What is so funny?’ I asked her, a little put out by her odd reaction.

‘You don’t know Anita that well!’ she said, earning herself a glare from both Anita and Nicky

‘It’s just that well; Anita’s not known to care about guys. You should feel privileged, Maglor, she wouldn’t bother to put most men out if they were on fire!’

All the ladies laughed at this, Anita tried between giggles to scold Bronwyn, but failed.

We stifled our laughter as Bronwyn complained her leg was hurting again. I stepped forward, and laid my hand on her brow, feeling her pain through our soul bond, and as on the boat I used my own mind to soothe her pain.

‘What the hell?’ I heard Anita whisper so quietly that if I had not been an elf I would not have heard her.

‘I have not hurt her,’ I said to Anita as she too approached Bronwyn.

‘I can see that, but how in god’s name did you take away her pain?’

I glanced briefly at Bronwyn, and was able to feel that she did not mind if I told Anita so I said ‘Bronwyn and I have a soul bond. I have been unable to understand exactly how this happened, but it is real, and I am able to use my Elven abilities, what you would call ‘magic’ to help through the medium of the soul bond.’

‘And that’s all’, she said with a look of complete disbelief on her face, ‘so simple, huh?’

‘No, and it’s not something that all elves could do. You remember I said I was born in Aman?’ Anita nodded. ‘All elves posses the abilities I have, but those who have lived a long time in Aman, or who were born there have extra strength in these abilities. I just joined my mind to Bronwyn’s and isolated that part of her mind where the pain was, and took it away.’

Anita was staring open mouthed at me, as was Nicky. Bronwyn simply had an ‘I told you so’ look on her face, as I gathered she had tried to tell Anita about the soul bond between she and I and had not been believed.

‘Isn’t that dangerous? Playing about with people’s minds like that?’ asked Anita.

I nodded, ‘it could be very dangerous, if one did not know what one was doing, however like all my brothers I was carefully trained in such things.

‘By who?’ asked Bronwyn from her bed.

‘My parents, and my grandfather, over many years.’ I replied, as a young man brought Bronwyn her breakfast. He looked rather startled to see us, and when Anita explained how we came to be visiting so early, he cheerfully asked us if we would like a coffee, which both Anita and I accepted.

‘Eat your breakfast,’ Anita said rather sternly to Bronwyn, who was toying with her food, clearly not hungry.

‘I’ve had half, and I feel sick,’ said Bronwyn, pulling a face. I did not blame her; I had seen less appealing food in my life, but not often.

‘Ok, I guess you’ve had enough,’ said Anita. She then put down her coffee cup, and looked at the clock.

‘Help, is that the time?’ said Anita. ‘We’d best go, I have an early appointment with my lawyer.’ She gave me a questioning look, one that I had no trouble understanding.

‘May I stay to talk to you, Bronwyn?’ I asked. ‘I think we have much to say after yesterday.’

‘Ok, why not. But I warn you, I may not be very good company. I don’t like hospitals, and I tend to be short tempered when I get stuck in one!’ she said, her green eyes flashing a warning.

Anita and Nicky left, saying they would be back in about two hours. As I watched them walk out of the room, talking to another nurse they knew, I drew a chair that was in the corner of the small room over to the edge of Bronwyn’s bed.

‘Before you sit, Maglor, could you please open the curtains? The gardens will be a better view than those yucky curtains!’ Bronwyn asked.

‘Of course,’ I replied, opening the curtains as requested. The gardens outside were dreary, no flowers in sight and badly in need of weeding and tidying up, but Bronwyn was right, it was a better sight than the horrible green curtains that covered the window. Undoubtedly practical, but quite ugly, a deep yet faded green with of all things little yellow sailings ships printed on them. A saying I once heard came to mind, that anything so hideous must have been obtained free!

I noticed that Bronwyn was slightly more cheerful than she had been when she first awoke. She had found a hairbrush on a bedside table and was attempting to bring some order to her curls. She was failing dismally; due partly to a lack of a mirror so was unable to see what she was doing.

‘May I’, I asked, holding out my hand for the brush. She stared as if astonished for a brief moment, and gave me the brush. I had never had occasion to brush a mortal’s hair, and I worked carefully, not wishing to accidentally hurt her. Her hair was coarser than that of a elf, and as I worked the brush through, I found that I was having better luck using my fingers too; noticing as I did that as her curls untangled they seemed to gain a life of their own, springing to wrap around my fingers. Strong hair, with a will of its own, like Bronwyn. That a mortal woman would have stood up to me over whether I was wise to head off diving for the Silmaril alone I would not have believed. My brother Caranthir once told me that Elves had a bad habit of underestimation the race of Mortal Men, and over the years I had wandered in the world of men, I had to come to understand he was right. I had certainly underestimated Bronwyn, and that inner strength she had, for without resorting to rudeness or anger she had stood firmly against my resolve to seek the Silmaril alone. I had thought she simply had not wanted to see anyone dive alone, against the strictest of diver’s rules, but now I realised that at some level, probably because of our soul bond that she had a shadowy, vague understanding of what the Silmaril could do to me, and the fear and concern I had felt had been because she truly cared that I not be hurt or lost to power of the Silmaril. I was lucky I pondered, to have met a person who did appear so genuine in her care for me. Luck! no, for Ulmo had hinted that what I believed was correct: that Bronwyn was meant to have crossed paths with me.

I had finished brushing her hair, and put the brush down. She shifted carefully in her bed, turning to face me. There was a strange, questioning look in her green eyes, as if she were wondering whom, or rather what I was. I held her gaze for a few seconds before speaking, ‘I am not just an immortal man, Bronwyn, I am an elf. I am a Noldor, one of the Deep Elves, friends of Aule the Smith, and a prince of the House of Finwe, he who was High King of the Noldor.’ Her face registered surprise at my almost arrogant words; certainly my voice was filled with the pride inherent in my people. She had not heard me speak so before, and as I looked at her I admitted to worrying if I had been right to do so now. I softened my voice as I took her hands in mine, ‘But I am your friend, Bronwyn, and I am very grateful for all you have done for me. Especially yesterday, for if I had been alone, and not scared half out of my mind about you, I should have done everything in my power to reclaim the Silmaril. And who knows what that would have lead to.’

Bronwyn’s fingers had gripped mine tightly, and her voice was hard when she spoke, ‘I should be angry with you. I was,’ her grip on my fingers loosened, ‘Now I know you’re hurt too, I can’t be angry anymore,’ She pulled her right hand free of mine, and stroked my hair gently, ‘Poor elf, you really didn’t know what you were doing, did you? It’s a miracle we weren’t both killed.’ She suddenly giggled, and then laughed out loud. ‘God, we’re both crazy!’ she said as she stopped laughing. ‘Oh, take that bewildered look off your face!’ she said.

‘Am I forgiven then?’ I asked

‘Depends’, she said smiling.

‘On what?’ I asked feeling more bewildered.

She reached out to me again, her hand warm on my face, ‘on if you ask to be forgiven for doing such a bloody stupid thing to us both. Mind you, I enjoyed the first part of the day, swimming with the dolphins and fishing. Perhaps we should do that again some time.’

‘I ask your forgiveness, Bronwyn. I should never have involved you in my mad Oath.’

‘You are definitely forgiven. Mostly because instead of insisting on going with you, I should have tied you up, or chained you to a wall to stop you going looking for that really pretty gem. Well, I guess the whales get to keep it now.’

‘Do you really think I would have allowed you to tie me up or chain me to a wall?’ I asked laughing.

‘No, I wouldn’t have had a hope. But I could have tried!’ she said, laughing with me.

‘Did I hear right yesterday, I thought you said something about being free of the Oath, that you should never have considered yourself bound by it in the first place?’ she said as she stopped laughing.

‘Yes, you did hear correctly. Lord Ulmo told me that no one except myself, my brothers and my father ever considered us bound by the Oath. It could not be fulfilled, and we should not have held ourselves to it. I understand now. And I am quite happy to let the whales have the Silmaril, for they seem to appreciate it’s beauty without being corrupted by it.’

‘Oh Maglor, that’s wonderful. I’m so happy that dreadful oath is gone from your life,’ said Bronwyn, her eyes glowing with happiness for me. It felt good, that someone could be so happy for me. ‘But one thing’s got me, who the heck is Lord Ulmo?’ she asked.

It had never occurred to me that she might not know who Ulmo was. ‘Ulmo is Lord of the Waters of this world. You might know him better as Neptune. He has watched over me all these years since I first threw the Silmaril into the Sea, and fulfilled the Prophecy that one Silmaril would fly in the skies with the Stars, one would live deep in the fiery depths of the earth, and one would swim in the Sea, and they should not be recovered until Arda is remade. Ulmo commanded the giant squid to cease its attack, and it was he who brought you back aboard the boat. He also said I was the last of my family to be freed of the Oath, and one other thing that puzzled me greatly.’

‘What did he say that could so confuse you, oh immortal one!’ she said teasingly.

‘That I must trust my heart in my dealings with you,’ I said very seriously.

The smile faded from Bronwyn’s face. ‘What on earth does that mean?’ she said. ‘Does it have do with our friendship, or with the search for the scrolls?’

‘I have no idea.’ I smiled at her, I hoped reassuringly, ‘But I too hope it means will continue to be friends.’

‘So, if you are free of the Oath, do you get to go home to Aman?’ she asked suddenly.

‘No, for I must atone for the Kinslayings. Apparently, I have to find those mysterious scrolls, and Ulmo did say that you are meant to help me. He also said I might find help unlooked for if I remain strong.’

‘Well, well, it looks as if we are going to be busy for the rest of the year. I reckon it could take us that long just to find out if there are any more scrolls and where they are for sure.’

I was about to reply to her when a nurse suddenly whisked in the door, ‘the Doctor’s doing his rounds and will be here any second,’ she announced, and glared at me.

‘Out!’ she said, making shooing motions at me. I went out into the corridor with the echo of Bronwyn’s laughter following me.

Now would be a good time to find some fresh air for a few minutes. After wandering down a corridor, I found a door leading outside and sat on a low wall, thinking. Trust my heart, said Ulmo, in my dealings with Bronwyn. My heart! That I had kept tightly under control for thousands of year, since Nandawen broke it, for I feared to let another lady that close again. Then again I had never seen in another elf-maid’s eyes what I had seen in hers, and I had thought I could never see what I longed to any woman’s eyes, or Fea. I feared rejection, I knew, but as I sat watching an elderly lady walking her dog in the park across the road, I knew I feared something else much more; that Bronwyn might not care for me as I believed I might be beginning to care for her. That she was a true friend I knew, and yes, she did love me as a friend, but was more possible? Or wise? After all, she is mortal, and one day the Gift of Men will visit her.

Sitting out here was making me feel depressed. Surely the doctor would have seen Bronwyn by now, and as it was apparently normal visiting hours I could openly go back to see her again. I did want badly to talk to her, for she comforted me greatly. Separated from her now, and last night, my hand had hurt greatly and now the pain had intensified. Why I knew not, but I knew the answer lay with her.

As I walked back to her room, I wondered how long she would be in here. Not long, I hoped, for I did not like this hospital and I would be happy once she was home where I could watch over her. When I re entered her room, she was sitting up in her bed, scowling.

‘Are you all right?’ I asked, concerned.

‘Yes, but the doctor won’t let me go home until the day after tomorrow, worse luck!’

I settled back down in my chair, and again took her hands in mine. ‘I will look after you horses for you, and you know Anita and Nicky and I will be here to visit you often.’

‘I know you will. But I just don’t like having to lie around in here. It’s pretty boring,’ said Bronwyn, scowling.

I had to laugh, she had a serious injury and all she was worried about was boredom! As long as I lived I would never understand women!

‘It’s not funny, Maglor!’

‘No, you are right, it is not funny that you are hurt. What is funny is that you are bored!’

‘Never been laid up in bed, have you?’

‘No thankfully. I have been injured in battle, but not so badly that I was confined to bed.’ I took her hand in mine, ‘Truly, I am sorry that you are here, and not at home. Maybe I can do something about your boredom, however.’

Bronwyn had stopped scowling now, and was looking a little intrigued, so I picked up the bag I brought with me, and showed her what was inside. She took the books out; surprised showed in her voice as she spoke, ‘What are these?’

‘This is the book my foster son wrote, or actually this is a copy I translated some years ago. And this one is just something I have written over the years I have wandered, I thought you might like to read it, too. I suppose you could call it a diary.’

‘But I won’t be able to read it, will I?’she said, opening my diary, and then she stared at me, quite surprised, ‘this is written in English!’

‘Yes, a few years ago I had a dream, and in it, Varda, the Lady of the Stars told me I should translate these two books into, she said, a common language. So I did, and now you can read them.’

‘Are you sure you want me to read these? There’s some pretty personal stuff in here,’ she said as she flipped through some of the pages.

‘I am sure; I want you know about me. You have been very open about yourself with me, and I thought you might like to know more of me.’

Bronwyn nodded, ‘although you certainly let a lot of yourself out to me that night on the beach. You’re right,’ she said, again turning through the pages, ‘I have been curious as what else has happened to you, and how it is that you are the only one of your people left in this world. I take it that you still don’t feel up to telling me yourself, that you would prefer me to read it?’

‘I would prefer you read it, but I promise that I will answer any questions you might have, and also that you should be able to discover what the scrolls are and why we have to find them.’

‘You won’t just tell me, will you?’

‘No, for you need to discover this for yourself.’

‘Ok, then I’ll read, and discover,’ she smiled.

‘You two finished your little chat?’ said Anita from the doorway.

‘Yes,’ nodded Bronwyn.

‘Well, we are going home. I’ll have to be at my place because my parents are turning up this afternoon,’ said Anita.

‘I brought you this,’ said Nicky suddenly to Bronwyn. She produced a small book of crosswords.

‘Thank you Nicky,’ said Bronwyn, hugging Nicky. ‘I feel better already!’

‘We’d best go,’ said Anita. ‘Coming with us Maglor?’ she asked.

‘I had better, if I do not want to walk?’

‘That’s the one!’ said Anita cheerfully.

One by one, we all kissed Bronwyn as we left, Anita saying we would all be back that night if possible.

The trip home seemed quicker than when we travelled into the hospital that morning. I spent the time thinking of how Bronwyn would react to reading about me. I had not told her of the Second and Third Kinslayings, nor how Maedhros and I had ‘acquired’ the final two Silmarils. Inwardly I was very nervous, but I would not tell her that. We arrived home, and Anita gave me the keys to Bronwyn’s house, telling me she and Nicky would see me later, as they had to collect her parents from the airport.

I busied myself feeding the horses and reading more of the papers that Bronwyn had lying around. Some of them related to the scrolls, some did not, but I was able to gather more information. The rest of the day seemed to drag without Bronwyn, and I thought of her often.

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.

Story Information

Author: Jillian Baade

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: Other

Genre: Romance

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/26/04

Original Post: 06/26/02

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