20. To The City
Chapter 20 – To The City
Rhavaniel got to know the three Lorien elves better as they traveled along through the trees. Rumil seemed very kind, like a brother. He was concerned for her well being, always asking how she was feeling or if she needed anything. She liked Rumil. He reminded her of Antien in a way and made her miss her dear friend. He felt her sadness and asked her about it. They decided to stop for the night instead of traveling directly to Caras Galadhon. She took this time to tell them a little about herself.
"Antien is my best friend and I will miss him dearly. We went through training together and were at the top of our class. We were even assigned the same post. Well, that was until my dreams of becoming a guard were suppressed."
"And why was this so if you were as well trained as you say?" asked Orophin. He seemed to take an interest in her ability as a warrior. He was the serious one, she thought. Orophin had a job to do and he would not wander too far from his goal. But when he was allowed to relax and let his guard down, he was sincere.
"You see, my mother was one of the royal guard. She watched over the Queen. They had been friends since they were elflings and did everything together. One day they decided to forget about the daily troubles and spend a quiet day with each other. Unfortunately, the orcs had other ideas." Here she stopped and stood up, walking away from the small fire they sat around. This was something Rhavaniel had not talked about in a very long time. It was painful to relive that horrid time in her life. She felt she
could not go on.
Rumil looked at Orophin. "Now see what you have done? Why must you pry?"
"I did not know I was causing any discomfort or I would not have asked." Orophin countered.
Haldir gestured to them to quiet down. "Let me speak to her. You two just keep an eye out."
He went to where Rhavaniel stood, walking up slowly behind her. "My lady, I am sorry for you loss. You seem to still be rather distressed about this. If it is any comfort, I know all too well what it feels like to lose a parent. We all do for both of our parents perished a long time ago. Though the pain never really fades, it becomes easier to accept over time."
Rhavaniel turned to face Haldir. So far she thought of him as being unmoved by anything except being their Captain or Marchwarden as was his proper title. But now he was showing a softer side of his personality and she was thankful for it. Still, something told her he was not like this often and she should be grateful for this one moment. "Thank you Haldir. Long has it been since I have spoken of my mother. I did not mean to become so upset."
Haldir smiled and laid a gentle hand on her arm. She felt a warmth emanate from him where he touched her. It was an odd feeling that she had never felt before. There was something different about this one she thought to herself. She would definitely keep an eye on him.
He led her back to the fire and they sat down once again. Orophin handed her a cup of herbal tea and smiled. "Forgive me for my intrusion of your privacy Rhavaniel."
"It is alright Orophin. It's been a while since I spoke so freely of my mother. Back home, everyone knows the story and I never speak of it." she said with a slight smile.
"This tea will help to ease your mind." Rumil said.
She smiled graciously and sat back against a tree. They talked a little bit more about Mirkwood and the happenings in the south. Battle stories seemed to be their favorite conversation and she went along with it. At least it took her mind off of her other troubles.
Later, as they were resting in reverie, Rhavaniel woke with a start. She did not know why, but she felt worry for Legolas. Surely, he was well on his way to Mordor by now. She sat up and said a silent prayer for his safety. Unable to go back to sleep, she got up and walked to a small clearing in the trees. Here she could look up and see the stars above. She wondered if Legolas was watching the same twinkling lights right now. She'd never felt so disconnected from him. He was probably upset with her, maybe even done with her completely for running off in the middle of the night. She hoped this was not so but if it was then so be it. If he loved her as he said, he would come to accept her decision not to return to Mirkwood. But if he were to turn her away then they were never meant to be.
As she stood there, looking up at the night sky in deep thought, Haldir happened upon her. He was awake, keeping watch as the others rested. He silently watched the young elleth. She was different from the females of Lorien. There was a certain recklessness about her. She seemed primitive compared to the refinement of the Lorien ellith. He had not met anyone like her. He was curious to know more about her life and her story of how she got here. She held his interest in more ways than one. Not only did she seem a bit aloof and precarious, but she was also quite beautiful. He could not ignore the awareness he felt upon first seeing her. When she spoke dangerously to him, even with an arrow pointed at her, he felt a twinge of heat race through his blood. She was an untamed beauty, wild and unrestrained. He wondered in what other ways she was like this. The thought made his loins ache. Long had it been since he was with an elleth and never with one as free-spirited as her.
Haldir entered the clearing. "It's a beautiful night is it not?"
Rhavaniel gasped quietly at the unexpected voice. It was smooth and sultry, very unlike the first time she heard it. "Yes. It's so peaceful here, nothing like my home. One does not dare venture out too far into the woods at night, at least not where the free trees grow."
Haldir cocked his head to the side. "Free trees?"
She laughed. "Well, that's what I call them anyways. They are the forests that grow outside of the walls that surround the castle. They are more wild in thought than the protected ones. I have always felt a closeness with these trees."
Haldir walked to Rhavaniel and now stood next to her. He could feel her warmth and inhaled her scent. "I have heard of the Wood Elves being able to communicate with the trees, but I have not given it much thought. What do they say? What do they sound like?"
"It's all about their song. They vibrate and we feel it resonate through us. The different tones mean different things. Low tones are happy or relaxed. Higher tones mean anxiousness. We hear a lot of those anymore. Yet sometimes they are relaxed just enough to let us know that things are safe to come out and be ourselves. On those occasions we like to celebrate with food and dance, beneath the free trees. We revert back to our natural behavior and dance and sing around the fires. Long has it been since we had such a joyous affair though."
Haldir could just picture such a celebration in his mind. The Mirkwood elves were dressed casually with their hair long and flowing, holding hands and dancing in a ring around the fire. He could see Rhavaniel being there, carefree and lovely. "It sounds like a most splendid affair and one I would like to witness for myself one day."
Rhavaniel turned to the Marchwarden and smiled. "Maybe, if I am allowed to stay, I will teach you our woodland dance."
"Maybe so." Haldir answered as his mind instantly imagined her dancing around a fire wearing a free flowing gown. The light of the flickering flames would reveal the silhouette of her voluptuous curves. Why did this elleth bring out such thoughts? He did not know but allowed himself the brief enjoyment of the fantasy.
* * *
The next day, they arrived in the city of Caras Galadhon. Rhavaniel was wide eyed as she took in the sight of the giant mallorn trees. They ascended a spiraling set of stairs that took them high above the ground to the city within the trees. It had a silvery luminescence that made everything glow in white wonder. The city was breathtaking. It had such an ancient feel too, like there was no elf alive that had witnessed the birth of any of its mammoth trees.
Rumil and Orophin led the way. Rhavaniel followed and Haldir was behind her. His heart soared with pride to be home again. It had been a long time since he had been back from the borders. He watched Rhavaniel as she looked on in amazement and wondered if she could speak to his trees.
Finally, they brought her to a platform where she would meet with the Lord and Lady of the Golden Woods. Rumil and Orophin stood next to her while Haldir went to tell them about Rhavaniel. Now it would be up to Galadriel and Celeborn whether or not she would be allowed exile in Lothlorien.
"What am I to expect from these two rulers of your land?" Rhavaniel asked nervously.
"You have nothing to fear from either. They have ever been loving and fair. Galadriel and Celeborn will talk with you. They will want to know your story. Just speak openly with them." Rumil said.
"Besides, there is nothing you can hide from Lady Galadriel. She can see deep into a troubled mind. If she feels you will be helped here, then you will be allowed to stay." Orophin added.
Rhavaniel felt a little better, though she wasn't sure about the mind reading part. She looked to either side of her. It was strange how she just met these brothers and already she felt a friendship begin between them. The Lorien elves seemed more trusting than she thought they would be.
"And whatever you do," Rumil added. "Do not let that tongue of yours lash out as it did with us or you just might be on your way back home tonight."
"Well, I'm sure the Lord and Lady will not be sticking an arrow in my face before questioning me." she snapped back.
"You see? Right there. That is what I am talking about." Rumil said worriedly.
Rhavaniel had to laugh at him. He was very sweet and seemed just as anxious as her to get this meeting over with.
Just then, Haldir appeared through a doorway. He walked over to where the others stood. "Rumil, Orophin we are to be on our way now. The Lady Galadriel would like to speak with Rhavaniel in private."
The two brothers stepped away from Rhavaniel, following Haldir's cue to leave. Then the Marchwarden turned back to her and touched her arm. "Even if you are not allowed to stay, you will not be asked to leave until you are well rested. There is a dance tonight. I would be grateful if you would join me for this celebration."
Rhavaniel was thrown off guard. She could hardly imagine Haldir smiling let alone dancing. "If by some miracle I am not being asked to leave then you shall have my company."
"Good." Haldir said satisfied. "Then maybe you can show me this ritual dance you spoke of earlier." He looked long and deep into her eyes and she felt caught by him. Haldir was a very overpowering force. She had never met anyone like him before and still was not sure how to handle him.
The Lorien brothers nodded to Rhavaniel and took their leave. When they were far enough away, Rumil stopped Haldir. "What do you think you are doing brother? We hardly know this elleth and already you are asking her to the dance. You should watch yourself."
Orophin nodded in agreement. "We do not know her full story. There must be more to her than we know. I am worried about her intensions for leaving her home and seeking refuge in Lorien. She may not have left willingly. You have seen her carelessness with her behavior. I think she disrespected their King and was sent away."
Haldir remained unmoved by their concerns. "I am merely extending a hand and inviting her to the festivities this evening. Just because she is not as refined as our own kind does not mean we cannot show our respect for visitors. All are treated equally."
Rumil did not believe Haldir. His brother could be very stubborn once he set his mind to something and right now his mind was on Rhavaniel.
* * *
She turned back to the doorway and watched it slowly open. Out walked the most beautiful elleth she had ever seen, besides her mother of course. And very motherly did Galadriel feel to her. Her eyes were kind and her smile was warm. Rhavaniel instantly forgot about being nervous and wanted to leap into her arms and cry. Why, she did not know.
"Hello Rhavaniel. I is nice to meet one of our Mirkwood kin. Long has it been since we have had dealings with the Woodland folk. Come and sit. We have much to talk about." Galadriel said. Her voice was soothing and melodic.
Rhavaniel went to her and sat next to her on a chaise. The next thing she knew, she was relating her life story to Galadriel and wondering if she would be allowed to stay in Lothlorien. But most of all, she wondered if she would be allowed to join the Galadhrim for that was where her mind wandered now. And Galadriel knew how she craved this, as unusual as it was. She knew it was time. Rhavaniel would get her wish at last.
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.