27. Chapter 27
Inside the house, I fed the cat, and found some herbal tea. Drinking a cup of the same, I looked through the cupboards and could find nothing I fancied to eat. I did not want light, so I sat in the dark, thinking. Of the scrolls, and how it came to be of all the mortals in the world Bronwyn was the one with knowledge of them. Of the prophecy Ulmo had made to me all those many years ago, long lonely years filled with sorrow and pain. A prophecy that a woman would enter my life, a woman who knew sorrow and loneliness and pain. A woman who could help me learn to forgive myself, and through whom I could find love. The frightening thought had occurred to me that Bronwyn was that woman. Why else the soul bond? Why else would she risk her life to help me in my quest to ‘see’ the Silmaril. Why else did Ulmo interfere as he had, and save Bronwyn’s life? Part of me was glad that I might have found a lady to love; another part of me was terrified of rejection and then there was the thing that scared me most of all. The thing that I had become aware of now I was separated from Bronwyn: that I loved her. And though I loved her deeply I feared not being rejected by her because she is mortal. Mortal and doomed to die, leaving me alone again.
So I sat on in the dark, alone and miserable. The cat leaped onto my shoulder, and sat purring while I stroked her. She missed Bronwyn too. Then came a knock on the door, which opened immediately revealing Nicky.
‘Are you Ok, Maglor,’ she asked. ‘We got worried when the lights weren’t on, so I came over to see if you’re all right.’
‘Oh yes, fine, I was just thinking.’
‘In the dark?’ Nicky asked, somewhat puzzled.
‘Elves see better in the dark then mortals. I had no need for light.’
‘Well, now I’m here, Mum wanted me to ask how your sore back is?’
‘Much better, thank you. Although, I might take a shower and see how it is after that.’
‘Ok.’ Nicky turned to leave. ‘Oh, if you haven’t eaten, Mum said to come over, and eat with us.’ Her eyes twinkled. ‘It’ll be more fun than sitting in the dark!’
I felt my heart lighten a little at the prospect of company, ‘I should like that. Will half an hour be all right.’
‘Yeah, of course. See you then.’ She left then, turning on the kitchen and veranda lights as she left, complaining about the strange ways of all adults.
It did not take me long to have my shower, and as I had a few spare minutes I looked back into a journal of Bronwyn’s work I had found amongst her papers. Several years ago she had apparently been working on a site in Europe. Mentally superimposing a map of third age Middle-Earth over the top I felt fairly confident that my first guess about the site was right, it was very near where I had lived in the Third Age. I turned the page, and stared at the drawing there. Not much of an artist, Bronwyn, but what she had crudely sketched was clear enough, a dagger. With what appeared to be my family’s mark on both blade and handle. It was not possible was it, that this dagger was the one that had been mine? That I had somehow lost. Or in a fit of rage with my dead father, had I thrown it away? I would ask Bronwyn what had become of it.
The Evening Star had risen, the light from the Silmaril clear and beautiful. Mortals could only see this as the planet Venus, and I felt sorry for their inability to see it as it truly was. Other stars were starting to brighten the sky too, and I stopped for a moment and in an instant of hope, I whispered a prayer to Varda, Lady of the Stars, and kissed my hand to her. Satisfied that if any of the Valar could hear and grant my prayer, I walked on.
Before I could knock on the door, Nicky opened it and beckoned me inside, where her mother sat feeding a buttered cracker to a large white parrot. She smiled in greeting and the bird spoke, ‘Hello hello’ it said loudly.
As I approached to look more closely at the bird, it grasped the cracker tightly in one claw, stating loudly, ‘don’t steal Jacko’s cracker!’
I laughed, what a funny bird!
‘His name’s Jacko. Bronwyn found him in a pet shelter a few years ago and bought for me. I’d always wanted a pet cockatoo,’ explained Anita.
‘He is a good talker,’ I said.
‘Yes, but don’t upset him, he can really swear,’ remarked Nicky from behind me.
‘Really! Who taught a bird that!’ I said.
‘Don’t know, maybe his previous owner,’ she offered.
Anita rose and went into her kitchen where she washed her hands and checked the pots on the stove. ‘Thank you for asking me to join you in your meal, Anita. It is very kind of you,’ I said.
She smiled, ‘you really should thank Nicky. She suggested you might be glad of some company.’
‘She is right, I am. But I thank you, anyway as this is your home. A very nice home,’ I said, looking around.
She smiled again, ‘Thanks; it’s taken me a long time to get it the way I like it. My husband didn’t like the way I renovated the house, but he’s not here to complain anymore.’
‘Bronwyn said he left you’, I said carefully.
‘Yeah, I was pretty cut up about it at the time. Now I know I’m better off without him.’
‘Does that mean you are free to marry again?’
‘That’s a strange question.’
‘I did not mean it to be, I was just curious as to mortal customs.’
‘Well yes, as soon as my divorce is final.’
‘Oh’, I said, my curiosity satisfied.
‘You’re wondering why Brian isn’t here, aren’t you?’
‘How did you guess?’ I gasped.
‘Sometimes I just know what people are thinking. And the answer’s that he’s in New York, something to do with the Black Robe’s retrial. He can’t even tell me exactly what. Any more questions?’ she asked, as she stirred a sauce.
‘Yes, can I help with anything?’
‘In a minute, if you really want. First, how’s the sore back now you’ve showered?’
‘Still a little painful, but better than it was.’
She indicated that she wanted a look, and I pulled my shirt up so she could see. ‘Gee that’s healed a lot in such a short time!’ she exclaimed, amazed. ‘But I’ll put some more cream on it just to be sure.’ She pulled another jar of the same cream she had put on me earlier that day in hospital and carefully applied it.
‘That’s a nasty scar on your side here,’ she said.
‘Yes, an old sword wound,’ I answered.
‘It looks as though it should have killed you!’
‘It probably would have killed a mortal. Elves are harder to kill, and we heal much quicker.’
‘Handy,’ remarked Anita as she finished applying the cream, and went back to checking the food.
‘Thank you, that feels much better,’ I said as I pulled my shirt back down properly. ‘Now, what can I do to help?’
‘Everything’s cooked, but you can help me dish up, if you like. Nicky usually helps, but she’s feeding the fish right now.’
I helped Anita with the food, pasta and seafood sauce. Very nice too, as I told her.
She laughed, shaking her head, ‘It’s one of the few things I cook well. Ask Bronwyn, she’ll tell you I’m not much of a cook!’
‘This really is very nice,’ I insisted, looking at my now empty plate.
‘Do you want more?’ asked Nicky
‘May I?’ I asked Anita.
‘Go ahead’, she said, as amused, as Bronwyn always was when I had seconds of everything.
‘Is it true you hadn’t had anything to eat for days before Bronwyn invited you home?’ asked Nicky as she followed me into the kitchen carrying hers and her mother’s empty plates, which she put into a dishwashing machine.
‘Quite true’, I said as I took a second, smaller helping of food.
‘You are a bit on the skinny side’, said Nicky.
I recognised that she was not being cheeky, just curious. ‘Elves are naturally thin, but you are right, I have lost a lot of weight. That is what happens to homeless people, we eat when we can get food, and we cannot, we go without.’
‘Homeless, YOU were homeless.’
‘Why do think I was staying with Bronwyn?’
‘I don’t know. I mean, I know she helps people, and she’s had homeless people stay with her before but you just don’t seem like the others. You’re different. Nicer.’
‘Thank you Nicky, I think you are very nice too.’
‘Yes, and she’s never invited a guy into her house before, only women and kids. You must have made a hell of a first impression,’ said Anita from the doorway where she stood sipping from a wine glass.
‘I suppose so’, I said.
‘Next, you’ll try telling me that you didn’t do that deliberately’.
‘I might have.’
‘Like I ‘might’ have deliberately bitten the doctor when I was ten.’
‘You bit the doctor!’ I exclaimed.
‘It was at school. We were getting flu shots, and I was last. The doctor hated kids, and he decided that instead of behaving and getting my shot, I was going to take off. He grabbed my arm, and yanked me so hard that had he nearly tore my arm off. He then jabbed me so hard with the needle that I got a fright and bit him. He still has the teeth marks.’
I stared in astonishment. ‘I thought my foster sons could be naughty. That I know of my foster sons never bit anyone.’
‘You try getting your arm nearly ripped off and see if you don’t bite the person who did it,’ she grumbled.
‘Were you punished?’
‘Mmm, I was expelled from that school, and my Dad sold my trampoline, which I thought was a bit unfair as most of the kids in the neighbourhood played on it too, so it was if they got punished too.’
‘You are right, that was unfair. I think that I would have, I believe the term is ‘tanned your backside’ for you,’ I said.
‘I bet you would have too,’ said Anita.
Nicky had been putting all the dishes in the washer while Anita and I talked, and having finished, asked if she could have some ice-cream. I joined her, and as we ate the ice cream, she pointed out an advertisement in a magazine to her mother.
‘Look Mum, IMAX is showing a film on dinosaurs. Can we go, pleeasse?’
‘Please, Mum, I really want to see it.’
‘When is it on?’
‘Tonight and tomorrow and then it’s gone.’
‘Hhm, we’d have to go tonight. I have a feeling that we might be busy tomorrow night. I was going to take advantage of the late visiting hours to take some extra stuff to Bronwyn, though.’
‘Bronwyn won’t mind if we go after the film. You know she understands that I’m crazy about dinosaurs,’ said Nicky.
‘I could go in and see Bronwyn, and take her things to her while you ladies see the film,’ I offered, badly wanting to see Bronwyn.
‘You could, at that. We could come to the hospital after the movie, and say Hi to Bronwyn before going home,’ said Anita.
This plan was agreed to, and Anita called a taxi, explaining that she did not want to drive her own car as she had been drinking with her meal. She was far from drunk, but sensibly decided not to drive as she said with her luck the police would just happen to pick her for a random breath test.
As we travelled in the taxi, Nicky almost talked the driver deaf. It appeared she attended the same school as his daughter, and this gave me some time to ask Anita something.
‘When do you think Bronwyn will allowed home?’ I asked.
‘I hope tomorrow. I spoke to her doctor today, and providing he’s happy with her she can come home tomorrow afternoon.’
‘But she told me that she probably would not be allowed home until the next day.’
‘True, but the doctor knows I live next door and I’ll be keeping an eye on her. And I said she has a friend staying with her, so she won’t alone at night, so the doctor said she could probably go home tomorrow. That’s what I meant when I told Nicky we’ll be busy tomorrow evening.’ She gave me a speculative look, ‘Bronwyn says you cook, that all elf-men do.’
‘Yes, among my people, the Noldor, the men do most of the cooking, women usually restrict their cooking to bread making.’ I said no more, wondering what Anita wanted.
‘It’s just that, I thought between us, we could cook a meal, something special for Bronwyn if she comes home tomorrow.’
‘An excellent idea. We do have those fish Bronwyn and I caught, Nicky put them in the freezer, I think.’
‘Did she. I wondered what happened to them, but I was too worried about Bronwyn to care about a couple of fish.’
The taxi pulled into the curb, and we got out, Anita paying the driver.
‘Well, that’s settled then, Maglor. We’ll work out the details tomorrow once we know if Bron’s coming home tomorrow,’ she smiled as she spoke, ignoring Nicky who was urging her to hurry, as they might miss the start of the film.
‘You had better go, Anita, before Nicky dislocates your arm pulling on it,’ I laughed.
Ok, see you in about hour and a half or so’, she said as they disappeared in the direction of the movie theatre.
I made my way on foot to the hospital, where I entered without being noticed. Visitors were coming and going from many rooms, but I did not care whether there were proper visiting hours on that night or not as I could have gained access to Bronwyn’s room without being seen if I wished.
I had no trouble finding my friend’s room again, and as I walked in I noticed Bronwyn was sitting up in bed reading my journal. She smiled when she saw me, holding out her hand.
‘Good evening,’ I said, taking her hand and kissing it.
‘Good evening yourself, gorgeous’, she said cheekily.
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.