21. At Home In Lorien
Chapter 21 – At Home in Lorien
Needless to say, Rhavaniel was allowed to stay in Lothlorien. The Lady Galadriel was moved by her story. She sympathized with her over the loss of her mother. She felt the love and uncertainty Rhavaniel had for Legolas. But most of all, she felt her determination to become a warrior. The battle-lust was strong within this elleth, but she had never been allowed to follow it through. This was maybe the most important thing to Rhavaniel right now, even more so than the Prince. And so, Galadriel agreed that she should be allowed to become trained as the Galadhrim. Already the Woodland elf had a great deal of training. She just needed to learn the ways of the Lorien warriors. She would make a fine addition to their troops.
Feeling rather content with her current situation, Rhavaniel made her way from Galadriel's talan to… well, she did not quite know. The city was grand in size and there were many pathways and platforms. It seemed she could get lost. Never had she been where a complete city was designed within the trees themselves.
She walked along until she came to a junction, left, right or straight. Which way should she go? Where did she want to go anyways? Living in Caras Galadhon was going to be confusing at first.
"Where is it you wish to go my lady?" said a familiar satiny voice. How was it Haldir always showed up just when she was unsure of what to do next.
"Well, I am not sure. I think I might like to…" Rhavaniel stopped midsentence when she realized he was smiling. "You already knew the Lady's decision didn't you."
"I must confess to this. She told me her decision before you even spoke to her."
"But how did she…"
Haldir interrupted her. "The Lady of the Light knows much of what happens in the world, but none more than the happenings of her own home. She knew of you before we even arrived in the city. It was she who told me to stop for the night since there was no rush to bring you to her. She was concerned for your wellbeing after your lengthy travels. Now, please tell me why you came from Imladris instead of Mirkwood."
Rhavaniel put her hands on her hips and eyed the pushy Marchwarden. "And why are you so sure of where I came from?"
Haldir got a smug look on his face. "Had you come from Mirkwood, you would have entered Lorien in the east, traveling along the Anduin. But you came in on a northerly track."
"And what makes you think I came from Rivendell?" she said accusingly, eyebrow raised.
"The Lady informed me of Elrond's counsel. As I said, she knows much of the doings in the world. Her mind sees much." Haldir put his arm out for her to take. Rhavaniel looked at him for a moment. He had a certain charm about him, but she questioned his intensions.
"Then I guess she also told you that I attended this counsel." Rhavaniel said as she took the Marchwarden's arm.
"Actually no. You just did that yourself." Haldir boasted. "I had my suspicions though. We knew there was a small party of Woodland folk at the meeting. Well, and here you are in Lorien. Your story has made me very curious as to why you abandoned your travelers and came here seeking refuge. Won't you share more of your tale?"
"I'm afraid I cannot say much more. This was a 'secret' counsel after all. But I will tell you this much. I met someone in Imladris who made me question myself and my choices thus far. This person's tale inspired me to move on and forget about certain things expected of me, putting aside others' wants and seeking out my own."
"And what is it you want Rhavaniel." Haldir said in a soft voice. Something in his tone sent goose bumps racing across her skin.
"I want to live freely, able to make my own choices and become someone I recognize not someone everyone else wants me to be."
By now they had gone a little ways and came to a sitting area. Haldir led her to a bench and gestured for her to sit. Then he joined her, turning so he was facing her. "Who was it that hindered you the most, if you don't mind my asking."
"I will start out by telling you who encouraged me the most. My mother saw my potential to be not only a guard of the castle or the borders, but a royal guard as she was. Then she died along with the Queen and so did my chance of becoming a guard of any type. My father was devastated by her death. I am his only link now. He may have faded if it weren't for me. And so, his fear extended to my well being. I just couldn't see him suffer anymore and decided to give up this dangerous life to become a representative of Mirkwood. I became a delegate of the court."
"That is a substantial change from warrior." Haldir said.
"Yes. And with each day that passed, a little more of me died. It was never what I wanted. It was what my father wanted. He never wanted me to train in the first place. He wanted me to become some noble's wife and then when the Prince and I…" She stopped herself from continuing. She had not spoken to anyone about Legolas. Somehow, talking with Haldir felt freeing, but she was not ready to discuss her love life with anyone, let alone the Marchwarden.
Of course, this did not escape Haldir. He had hoped there would be no complications in his pursuit of Rhavaniel, but to know that the Prince of Mirkwood had claimed her first, well… this might prove to be more of a challenge. He chose to ignore her slip of the tongue.
"Yes… well… you are here now and you will get your wish. Lady Galadriel has asked that you be given training of the Galadhrim, even though you already have extensive training. First thing we will work on is using a Lorien bow. Ours are much longer and require a stronger, steadier arm than what you might be used to."
Rhavaniel noticed how he breezed on by her mention of Legolas. "You say we. Who am I to train with?"
"Why myself and my brothers of course. We train all new recruits." Haldir answered.
"How convenient." she said under her breath. Something about Haldir made her stay alert.
The Marchwarden smiled graciously and stood up. "Now, where is it you would like to go. I know it can be a bit confusing at first, but soon you will learn your way around."
Rhavaniel laughed. "You must think it's strange for a Wood elf not to know how to navigate through the trees. Actually, I was wondering where it is that I will be housed."
"Ai, of course, where are my manners? A talan has already been set up for you. I will show you there now if you like." Haldir answered.
"That would be wonderful." she said and let Haldir lead her on to an area where talans were grouped together in threes. She figured these were the guest talans.
Haldir led her to the door of her flet. "This is just temporary of course. Being that you are to begin training, you will not be in the city much at first. Eventually you will have your own home though."
Rhavaniel slowly pushed the door open and went inside. It was quaint and cozy, just perfect for what she needed. "A place to rest my head at night. That is all I require." she said as she turned back to the door. Haldir was still standing well outside of her new home. "Won't you come in Haldir?"
Haldir stood straight and tall. "I am afraid that would be deemed as inappropriate my lady. Only those betrothed or bonded may enter an elleth's personal living space.
She had to admit that she was taken aback by this. Haldir seemed to be quite the charmer, yet here he was displaying such modesty she had never seen before. Legolas had been in her room numerous times and she never thought twice about it. On the other hand, she knew this would be her private space when she needed to get away and be alone without any distractions.
"I'm sorry. I did not mean to make you uncomfortable. Things are a bit different here than in Mirkwood. We consider it a gesture of kindness to visit each other's homes, betrothed or not."
"We have meeting places for such occasions. Perhaps you would like to join me now. I rather enjoy talking with you Rhavaniel." Haldir seemed to let his guard down.
She thought it was sweet of him to ask, but she still had her suspicions. "You mentioned a dance tonight did you not?"
"Yes and you agreed to accompany me if you were allowed to stay." he smiled knowing the outcome the whole time.
"I will join you then Marchwarden. For now I would greatly enjoy some well earned rest if you don't mind."
"Of course. I will meet you here and lead you to the dance hall. Until later then." Haldir turned to leave.
"Haldir, wait." she called to him. "What shall I wear? Certainly I cannot show up in my traveling clothes."
"It has already been taken care of. Look in your wardrobe. If there is something else you require, do not hesitate to ask."
Rhavaniel watched as Haldir strode away down a pathway. Then she closed her door and went to the wardrobe. Pushing aside a curtain, she found dresses and training attire. "How could they possibly have known…" she thought to herself. She decided it best not to question the hospitality of the Lady Galadriel and just be thankful for this unexpected surprise.
* * *
After some rest and a bite to eat, Rhavaniel picked out a lovely lavender dress. Again, she felt uncomfortable dressing up like this. She laughed at the thought of showing up in her training gear. Of course she would never do such a thing.
Looking in the mirror made her think of her mother, Faelwen. This was about the time she would have shown up to fix her hair. Now there was not even so much as a maid to help. Rhavaniel was completely on her own now. She smiled at her reflection. "Well Mother, I have finally done it. I have taken that step into the unknown. I am finally going to put my talents to the test, though I never would have imagined it being here in Lothlorien. Tomorrow starts a new day in my life. I have to put the old life behind me now. Those who were meant to be a part of it will come back. Those who weren't I may never see again." A tear escaped her eye as she thought about Legolas. She wasn't sure she would see him again and when she did it might not be a happy reunion. "He is probably quite upset with me. I gave him no chance to debate or to even come looking for me. But I felt I had no choice. He would have begged me to return to Mirkwood and after one look in those soulful eyes, I would have done as he asked. He hinders me." she said aloud, sadness in her voice.
Haldir stood outside Rhavaniel's door about to knock when he heard a voice. His elven ears listened carefully. 'So she secretly slipped out of the Prince's hands. And so conveniently into mine.' he thought to himself. He smiled, fixed his tunic and softly knocked on Rhavaniel's door. It opened slowly and his eyes fell on a most beautiful sight. His breath caught and he found he could not speak.
"Rhavaniel, you look stunning. And might I say that dress is perfect for you. The Lady chose wisely."
Rhavaniel blushed. "Thank you Haldir, that is very kind of you to say." She stepped out of her talan and accepted Haldir's arm that was already extended to her.
They made their way to the main dance hall. All eyes were on the Marchwarden and the Mirkwood elf, but none more than Rumil and Orophin.
"They make a lovely couple do they not?" Rumil commented.
Orophin was not as pleased. "He should watch himself with her. My senses tell me she is spoken for already. I do not want to see Haldir get his heart broken."
"Haldir's heart does not break. He would not let his emotions get that far. I think he is just testing the waters with this one. He knows there is another in her life. But he is not here and Haldir is. Let them be Orophin. Let them discover whatever it is that is meant to be."
The two brothers watched Haldir twirl Rhavaniel around the dance floor. She was smiling and laughing. They could see it was the most fun she'd had in a long time. "This is what she needs." Rumil continued after a while. "Too long has Rhavaniel been kept safe and hidden away. This is good for her. Haldir is good for her. It will make her a better warrior. She should have no doubts. If it is freedom the elleth wants then freedom she shall have. Tomorrow she starts her training and then we will really see her true colors."
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.