1. Relax, It Won't Hurt A Bit!
“What is it, meleth? “
“Haldir. It is as if he has no emotions or feelings left. He is more remote then ever. “
“Two back-to-back tours will do that.”
“It has been longer than that, mell min. Rumil informed me he has not had a break in over a year. Not since our daer ionnath were here for the spring festival days. “
Celeborn frowned. How had he missed this?
Galadriel looked at her husband reading his thoughts. “He has never mentioned it and we have blithely assumed he was pacing himself as he always has in the past. He will never admit but he needs a rest and he will break if he cannot relax. My ladies say he has not sought any of their company for months and he only attended the last banquet because he was on duty.”
“Is there something that we can do that might allow him to relax? I doubt he will take a direct order to do so.”
“I don’t know. I will have to consider some possibilities.”
“Perhaps Rumil or Orophin can pursued him to take part in some diversion? “
“They have tried. He merely ignores them.“
Celeborn picked up a letter. “That reminds me, wasn’t one of Rumil and Orophin’s playmates called Nurael?”
“Yes. Her family moved to Imladris when her ada joined Elrond to become a healer. He had wanted to do so before Nurael was born, but he waited until his parents sailed to the Western Lands before going. Why?”
“Well, it appears she wishes to return here. She has also trained as a healer but feels she would be of greater value here where our warriors acquire battle wounds more often then at Imladris. Elrond agrees, she is one of several such healers there and he believes she would gain better experience here. He doesn’t say it but he will not send her to Mirkwood alone without any family.”
“I can guess why,” Galadriel lifted a delicate eyebrow.
Celeborn responded with a wry grin. “He isn’t as bad as you think, meleth.”
“Well he hasn’t earned that reputation for nothing.”
He shrugged and turned back to the letter. There was a long thoughtful silence.
“Nurael could travel back with Arwen when she returns from Imladris next month. We could send an escort to bring them back.”
Celeborn looked up at his wife and grinned. “Very subtle ind nin. I suppose you intend to sent the escort under the leadership of our tired March Warden?”
“Such light duty should help and our daer ionnath should be able to break through his reserve with a little help from Arwen."
Celeborn wrote some notes on the letter margin and nodded. “I will tell Elrond we will be happy to welcome Nurael back and suggest she travel here with Arwen next month.”
“You can also indicate that we will send an escort to see them both safely back. Maenestad will need to know that he will have an additional Imladris trained healer available to him as well. That should improve his temper a bit. He has not been happy since those two were injured last month. Says it will be months before they are ready to return to even light duty.”
“When do you intend to tell Haldir?”
“Not right away but before the next scheduled rotation for the fences are set. I don’t want him to have much time to think about it or arrange substitutions.”
Haldir slowly walked through the mellryn grove and wearily climbed to the walkway leading to his talan. Opening the door he was surprised to hear someone in the cooking niche and smell the odors of delicious food filling the small outer sitting area. Silently he moved to the corner of the sheltering wall that divided the talan into the three living areas of cooking, sleeping and sitting. He relaxed when he recognized the male voice of his younger brother Rumil muttered an impolite observation over an uncooperative loaf of fresh baked bread that was burned on the outside but still doughy on the inside upon slicing.
“Your cooking skills do not seem to improve with practice,” leaning against the wall cabinet Haldir chuckled at Rumil.
Rumil spun around and upon seeing him threw the bread on the counter. Grinning he reached for his older brother and hugged him.
“Actually I am just heating up the stew that Orithril cooked earlier today. She made the loaf dough too. I was supposed to bake it up as well, but I put it in at too high a heat. When did you get back? We expected you earlier this afternoon.”
“About two hours ago. I just left the lady after giving my report.”
Rumil studied his brother’s drawn features but only said “Why don’t you get cleaned up and change into something more comfortable then have something to eat. I will leave it warming on the firebox and you can eat when you are ready. There is wine or water on the table.”
“You are not eating with me?”
Rumil shook his head. “I am spending the evening with Ori and her parents. We can talk tomorrow after you get some rest. You look terrible!”
Haldir looked at his brother wryly. “Thanks, I will see you tomorrow.
After he had finished his meal, Haldir took his glass of wine and pulled aside the curtain that led to the small balcony off of the sitting area. Pausing, he hefted a stool from under the table and settled down to enjoy the soft evening air. Voices filtered up from below and he momentarily closed his eyes and smiled at the laughter that bubbled up. He briefly thought about going down knowing he would be welcomed, and that he would have no trouble acquiring an elleth’s company but knew he had not the energy to be a good companion. Shaking his head he re-entered the talan and sought his bed. When had he become so numb? He was going to have to snap out of it. His reflexes were not as sharp or quick as they should be and he realized he could be the weak link and the direct cause of danger to his fellow wardens while they were on patrol.
meleth - love
mell min-dear one
Nurael – nur : deep (quiet/still) ; ael: lake, pool, mere (water)
Maenestad- maen: clever; nestad: healing
Mellyrn-mallorn tree (plural)
Orithil- (S) moon-day (Q) Isilya – Moonday – Rumil’s betrothed.