Haldir tracked her for several minutes through the darkness until he was stopped by two of the royal guards dropping out of the trees onto the trail in front of him.
“You must return to the royal talan, March Warden.” One addressed him respectfully.
“I trail an elleth who chose to leave without proper protection or preparation.” He looked at them arrogantly.
“The Healer is safe and we are aware of her situation. When she is ready, we will assist her return to the talan. You will return now and await her pleasure.”
Haldir looked at the two warriors with frustrated anger.
“The Lord was most specific in his instructions, March Warden. You will remain at the royal talan until the Healer gives you leave to depart.”
Glaring at them, he turned abruptly and retraced his steps back to the royal talan. Reaching it he climbed the stairs and threw himself down on his couch his mind an endless turmoil of whirling emotion. Finally the effects of all the wine took it’s toll and he slept.
As dawn broke, he found himself enmeshed in a nightmare he had not had in decades. He found himself swirling down a narrow funnel in a spiral until he landed on the ground under a large mallorn tree with an abandoned and run down flet overhead. Peering over the edge at him was a pair of emerald green eyes with a mop of silver blond hair laying in tangled knots about a small pale face. Then the young faces of his two brothers appeared beside the first.
“Come down, muindor nin,” he found himself pleading, then moaning as they obeyed and jumped down shrieking in pain and landing in little piles of broken bones and bodies.
He glared up at the emerald green eyes and shook a fist at her. “It is all your fault, little she-devil, they are never safe with you around.”
He flinched as she laughed uproariously at him and slid down a ladder to stand before him. Scarcely larger then a half grown hen she thrust her hips out and swaggered around him in imitation of a sexy full-grown elleth. He watched her in desperation knowing what was coming and dreading it. She grew up before his eyes and he was ensnared by her wantonness. He found himself wrapped around her voluptuous curves and his hands full of burgeoning breasts as she tempted him rubbing herself over his sex.
Helplessly he was driven to impaling him self repeatedly within her undulating hips and could not stop. Then the horror began as he realized she was no longer an adult but was once more the half grown hen she had first been. Pulling free of the now sobbing hen, he watched hypnotized as elleth after elleth paraded past him chanting obscene verses praising his sexual prowess and his ability to pleasure even the smallest of ellyth. He moaned as pain and disgust overwhelmed him then he turned and ran from the horrible pageant that mercifully faded into darkness and dwindled into silence. He awoke to a horrible headache and his body bathed in sweat.
He sat up holding his throbbing head with his hands. He heard sounds in the outer portion of the room and forcing himself to stand up, he walking stiffly out from behind the screen. He was half relieved to find that it was one of the retainers setting fresh food and hot tea out on the table and not Nurael. He was not ready to face her just yet.
“Good morning, March Warden, I believe you will find the herbal tea helpful for your hangover.” He handed a large steaming beaker to him hiding a grin over his obvious discomfort.
Haldir grimaced and carefully nodded. “Thank you.”
Swallowing he gagged at the strong brew, then finished it quickly. He waited silently praying it would do its work quickly and sighed with relief when the pain in his head settled down to a gentle persistent throb. Looking on as the retainer finished straightening up of some of the disorder he got up his courage to finally ask.
“Has the Healer returned?”
Pausing and looking at the wretched figure that was now slumped on one of the divans, the retainer smiled. “Not yet, March Warden. Even now she is enjoying the effects of the hot springs. Breakfast along with a fresh change of cloths was sent down an hour or so ago. She should be along soon.”
He did not know how he was going to face her. He was troubled that he could not understand the meaning of his nightmare and why the young elleth that had managed to turn his world into periodic chaos all those years ago continued to appear and taunt him so within it. He had never been drawn to young ones in such a sick and repulsive manner nor had the young Nurael ever been more then a nuisance. He wished there was someone he could talk to about it but he feared reaction to such a disgusting tale.
His meandering thoughts were interrupted as the retainer finished his duties and made ready to depart the talan. “Perhaps you would enjoy the pool March Warden? It will help to sweep away some of those cobwebs left by the wine and refresh your faer.”
Haldir was suddenly aware of how disheveled he must look. He certainly felt rumpled and dirty. He wore the now wrinkled leggings from the previous evening when he had encountered Nurael on the balcony and his bare feet were covered with dirt and cuts from his travel on the rough trail when he had gone after her. Added to that the smell of the sweat and wine emanating through his skin and he was thoroughly nauseating.
He looked at the retainer gratefully. “That is an excellent suggestion, meldir, I definitely could use a bath and a brisk swim in cold water will certainly clear my mind and body. I have not worked my body for some time and it badly needs the exercise. Is there someone who might be willing to join me in some weapons practice?”
“One of the guards often works out with Lord Celeborn when he is here. I will seek him our and inquire if he will do so with you.”
“I would be most appreciative.”
It was several hours later before Nurael returned to the talan. She was surprised to hear the sounds of swordplay and cautiously peered around the entrance to see Haldir and one of the guards going at one another vigorously. She was interested to note that although he still had dark circles around his eyes, he was far more alert and alive then he had been since she had arrived from Imladris. She slipped up and into the talan while he was occupied with his workout and sat down to watch from her vantage point on the balcony.
Haldir found the guard a worthy opponent and understood why his lord would seek him out for sword practice. Even though he found himself stretched to the limits of his abilities he was strangely reluctant to call a halt. Finally the guard drew back and saluted.
“You need little work, March Warden. I doubt that Lord Celeborn himself could match you for more then a short while.”
“Will you join me again, Captain? It has been a long time since I have taken such pleasure in practice bouts. Few of my wardens will accept a challenge from me now.”
“I will be happy to. However it will be a few days before I will be
free to do so. I have enjoyed it as well, March Warden. I will send word when I am available. Will that satisfy you?”
“Most assuredly. One other thing, I would like to get in some archery practice and some running. Is there a training area I could use? I fear I have let myself grow soft these past months.”
The Captain smiled. “If you have time now I can show you where you can do so.” Chatting amiably, they strode off out of sight leaving Nurael to wonder what had happened during her absence.
For the rest of the day she was left to wander about on her own, much to her relief. She was not eager to face Haldir. It was turning dark and she had finished her evening meal alone when she heard him ascending the stairs whistling. Closing the book she had been reading she rose and faced the door.
Haldir stopped abruptly when he entered and stood there silently looking at her. He finally cleared his throat. “I am glad you returned safely. I tried to follow you but the guards refused to let me pass. It was only when they assured me you were being watched and would come back when you were ready, that I returned here.”
Nurael nodded. “They informed me of your concern. Thank you.”
He entered further into the room. “I owe you an apology, Healer. My actions were improper and I should regret them, but in all honesty I do not. You are an attractive elleth and I find that in spite of our somewhat dubious history I am drawn to you.”
“As your Healer such a relationship is not proper.”
“I know…” A shadow crossed his face. “There is also something else I must speak to you about and soon. Something I do not understand but I am not yet ready to deal with it.”
She nodded. “All in good time March Warden. Did you enjoy your day?”
He relaxed and smiled. “It was a pleasant change. It did not start well. I do not know about you but I had one very large hangover. I was happy for the heavy physical workout. I have found that it is the best cure for such ills.”
“Good, such activity is part of what I had in mind for you. A thoroughly tired body encourages a good nights sleep.”
He looked at her, his expression becoming deeply troubled. “Nurael, my dreams have been disturbed and unsettling for some time. If I am to have an undisturbed sleep I will need something that will let me do so without dreaming. Is this possible?”
She frowned. “Yes, but only for a short period. Continuous use of such a drug will interfere with the body’s natural rhythms and if you are prevented from dreaming long enough, the mind will go mad or the body will simply die. I could not agree to an extended use.”
“If that is the result then I agree such use would be unwise. I was thinking more in terms of a few nights or a week at most.”
“If you feel such a drug will help, a few nights will not be a problem. Any longer and I must refuse.”
“I will prepare it now.”
“I am grateful. A dreamless sleep will be a pleasant change.”
“We will have to explore the dreams and determine why they are so disturbing for you.”
He hesitated then sighed. “I know. I just have to gather my courage to face them.”
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.