22. Training and Battle
Chapter 22 – Training and Battle
For what seemed like the millionth time, Rhavaniel was being corrected by Haldir. She knew she was a better shot than this, but the Lorien bow would take some getting used to.
"You see, your arm is not positioned correctly. Your aim will be off." Haldir said. He was standing behind Rhavaniel and moving her into the right stance. "You can shoot an orc but if the first arrow does not kill him, he will keep advancing. If he gets too close, your bow will do you no good."
Rhavaniel took a deep breath and let Haldir reprimand her again. Deep down, she was getting tired of him. Even Suiauthon was not this demanding. She waited until Haldir stepped away from her and then she took her shot.
"Good." Haldir said and hesitated. "But not good enough." he finished and what little confidence she had was gone with his stern words.
Rhavaniel spun around and glared at Haldir before throwing her bow to the ground. "You cannot possibly be responsible for training all the new recruits." she exploded. "I think you only took me on to torture me."
Haldir ignored her comment. Besides, she was correct in her assumption. Rhavaniel was different and needed special training, the kind that he thought only he could give. However, she was proving to be more trouble than he could have imagined. This latest outburst was unheard of in the league of Lorien warriors. No one ever treated their weapon with such disrespect. "I suggest you pick up your weapon now Rhavaniel." he said with authority.
She did not move but continued to shoot daggers from her eyes in Haldir's direction. "I am done for now. I need a break and your voice is beginning to irritate me." Her wild ways were beginning to come forth.
Haldir could sense the change in her and glared right back at her. "You would dare to go against a direct order from the Marchwarden? This is not how we treat our weapons. It is looked at as an extension of our body, our mind, even our very soul. Now pick up your bow."
Rhavaniel crossed her arms over her chest, tilted her head down and rolled her eyes in his direction. "And I said I am through for now."
"A Lorien elf does not…"
"Well, I am NOT a Lorien elf." she yelled interrupting Haldir mid sentence.
Haldir walked up to her and stood only inches away from her, face to face. "No, you are not are you? There is no mistaking your heritage. I have heard that the Woodland elves can be rather unreasonable, savage even."
"Watch your words Haldir. You do not want to test me. There are years of this 'savageness' built up inside and I would not want to let it loose on you, Marchwarden or not." she spat. There was a fire in her eyes.
Haldir felt a heat rise deep within his core. "You are untamable." he whispered. He could feel her staggered breath on his face, smell her desirable scent. "Others may want you to behave in a certain manner, but I never want to tame you. In this state, you are a deadly weapon. Your blood lust is strong, stronger than any other I have known. I cannot wait to fight by your side and witness the fierceness of the Wood elves with my own eyes. You are poetic savagery." As he spoke, she closed her eyes partly and fell under his spell. His eyes scanned her face, falling upon her full parted lips. Oh to taste her. He leaned in closer still. She did not resist. Dare he say she was even enjoying his advancement? Ah yes! He could feel her desire for it. He brushed his lips against hers ever so lightly and…
Suddenly, his legs were kicked out from under him and he hit the hard dirty ground with a thump. Rhavaniel was straddling him and holding a dagger to his throat. The blade was not sharp and he knew it was only for practice. Yet even a dull blade could do some very unkind things. He had not known she had any weapon on her. He did not know about her stealth either.
Rhavaniel glared down at her captive. "How dare you try and kiss me without my consent. I do not know what you have heard of the Woodland elves, but we never act without first asking for permission."
Haldir did not speak but let her calm herself. Funny, she did not mention any of the words he said to her, only about the kiss. He was enjoying the closeness of her body straddling his. However, she was in charge at the moment and he dare not make a wrong move in this vulnerable state.
Finally, Rhavaniel got up. Haldir sat up on his elbows and watched as she placed the dagger back into its sheath, which was well hidden at her side. Then she went over to the bow and picked it up. She picked up an arrow from her quiver lying on a stump, notched it, took aim and quickly released it at the target. It hit dead center. She laughed slightly and turned back to the Marchwarden where he still lay on the ground. She walked with an arrogant stride as she approached Haldir, then offered him her hand to help him back on his feet.
Haldir stood up and dusted himself off. Then he pointed his finger at her. "You see? That is what will make you a great warrior. Feel its power. You can control this wildness and use it to your advantage. Let your true self free Rhavaniel. You are no longer being controlled by your father or your country. Not even the Prince has sway over you now."
Rhavaniel's eyes turned to slits. "The Prince and I are of no concern to you." she growled.
"You are absolutely right. But I know your feelings towards him stop you from being what you were meant to be. You must let go of this. If he loves you as you think he does, he would not have tried to keep you tame."
Rhavaniel reacted before she thought about what she was doing and slapped Haldir across the face. As soon as her hand met his skin she regretted it. But the look on Haldir's face said something altogether different. He wore a smug smile as if he knew what she was about to do. "Let him go Rhavaniel. He is not one of us. He may be a great archer, but he has not the lust to kill. You do. I can feel it, smell it. It emanates from you. You can learn to control it and when in battle let it loose. This is what it means to have the heart of a warrior and yours my dear beats loudly."
Rhavaniel was confused. She never wanted to let go of Legolas. She loved him, but Haldir's words rang true. As long as she was with him, she could never really let go. She had felt this before, this lust he mentioned, when she went to the Lonely Mountain and fought. Her untamed spirit soared high that day. She was on her own then. Legolas was not with her. Was Haldir right? Was Legolas just as crippling as her father? His words came back to her, 'Return to Mirkwood where you will be safe until I return.'
"He made his choice without considering me. So too have I then." she said aloud. Then she looked at Haldir, the side of his face turning a bright pink. "Return to Mirkwood he said to me. I could not do it. I didn't want to go against his wishes Haldir, but I just could not go back to that dreaded life." Tears filled her eyes.
"This is your second chance Rhavaniel." Haldir said. He reached out and brushed the tears from her face. "You have never fully been allowed to be yourself. I am here to tell you to let go of everything you have been taught. When in battle, there are no rules to follow except to kill the enemy. Let the lust fill every of part of you. They will fear you and that is their weakness. But you cannot falter for that will be your weakness. Do you understand?"
Letting her anger subside, Rhavaniel's face softened. "Yes I understand." she responded.
Haldir kept her held captive a moment longer with his silver-grey eyes. "Good." He blinked and released her from his hold. "That will be all for today."
* * *
It had only been a few weeks and the Galadhrim were being called to the borders. The Lady Galadriel had sensed a change in the world like a ripple on a still lake. Evil approached Lothlorien. They would soon be invaded. The message went out and the warriors gathered their belongings.
Haldir went to Rhavaniel's talan. "Are you ready? You will travel with me and my brothers. It is half a day's journey to the border."
Rhavaniel came out dressed in full Galadhrim attire, weapons in hand. "I have never been more ready." she said.
Haldir noticed the change in her. She had matured much since being in Lothlorien. It did not take her long to find her niche. He smiled upon seeing her. "This will be your first true battle Rhavaniel. Remember all we have practiced or discussed and stay close. The orcs do not climb trees but their arrows fly far."
"Understood." she said in military fashion.
As they made their way to the borders, Rumil and Orophin watched the exchange between Haldir and Rhavaniel. They remained professional but Orophin could not help but notice the hungry glances Haldir would give her from time to time. "I don't like it Rumil. Haldir has never seemed distracted before. She will be the death of him." Truly, he liked Rhavaniel, but he worried that Haldir was becoming too involved with her. Although she had let Legolas subside from her heart and mind, Orophin could still sense her love and worry for him. It was buried much deeper but it was still there. On the other hand, he knew Haldir was intrigued by her heritage and this helped to stroke the fire that was slowly raging within him.
"I feel it to brother." Rumil replied. For the first time since Rhavaniel came to Lothlorien, he agreed. "But I can't help notice how his closeness has changed her, made her better."
"Battle is near. We need to keep an eye out for Haldir. Something just seems off this time." Orophin said as he watched Haldir lay a gentle hand on her shoulder, needing contact with her.
Rhavaniel felt Haldir's touch. Lately she had gotten closer to the Marchwarden. He had made no more advances since that day on the target field. She had been pretty clear with her message. Still, she had felt something between them. It was unexplainable. He made her blood race and boil. Her body heated because of it. But it was not like anything she ever experienced with anyone, not even Legolas. It was definitely not love. Maybe it was the fact that he let her be herself. He did not try to stop her or contain what emotions coursed through her veins. He allowed her to be natural.
As they approached the border, she could feel the hair rise on the back of her neck. Living in Mirkwood had made her more susceptible to the awareness of evil and danger. Her body went on high alert and Haldir took notice. "What do you see?" he questioned as they stopped for a short break.
"It is not what I see but what I feel. They are not far now. As soon as we reach the border, we should assume our positions." she said never taking her eyes from the tree line.
"Yes, I feel it too, though I thought they were further away." Haldir mentioned.
"My mother always said if evil was close enough to be recognized then it was close enough."
Haldir laughed silently. "Your mother was very wise then." He moved ahead to inform the other of their plans. As soon as they got to their camp, they readied themselves.
* * *
It was a well known fact that the Galadhrim remained well hidden amongst the trees. It was part of their attack formation. Today was no different. Rhavaniel hid amongst the leaves not far from the three Lorien brothers. Bows were ready in hand. Their eyes and ears were tuned in to every sound. It was not long before they heard the heavy footsteps of orcs down below.
Haldir gestured to the other troops. Using sign language, they signaled back how many orcs had been spotted. He turned to Orophin. "There are about one hundred give or take. Tell the others to prepare but not to shoot until I give the signal."
Orophin nodded and signaled the other troops. Rhavaniel did as she was told. She notched her arrow and watched below. The putrid smell of their rotted flesh invaded her nostrils. They were very close now. Her blood began to race. Her body warmed. Her senses were peeked. The elves around her sensed her changed and watched as her eyes turned to the color of coal. Rhavaniel was transforming into her battle mode. She was ready for them. "Come on you vile creatures." she uttered under her breath. An image of her mother flooded her memory. She would kill today to avenge her mother's death. Her arm pulled back tightening the bow strings.
A whistle went out, not unlike a bird call. It was their signal. One more whistle meant to attack. Rhavaniel was beyond ready. Her ears were ringing from the blood flowing so quickly. Her muscles were tense. Eyes were focused on anything that moved. She glanced down at the ground below. Orcs were pouring into the woods. Her fingers itched to begin shooting. "Come on Haldir. Come on." she whispered to herself.
Suddenly the second whistle was sounded. Rhavaniel smiled and immediately aimed at the nearest orc below. A hail of arrows were launched from the trees. Instantly orcs began falling. As soon as they saw them fall, the creatures began to disperse in different directions, trying to take cover behind the trees. The elves moved to different positions amongst the trees and another hail of arrows rained down on the orcs. Time and time again the elves released their deadly weapons until only a few orcs remained. Those that were left were more cunning than the others. They managed to stay hidden or move to a well covered spot. The elves, still in the canopy of the trees, tried to hit these few remaining targets while dodging the black arrows of the orcs. A few of the elves were injured but there were no deaths reported.
Rhavaniel saw one of the orcs move and she took aim. He saw her moving above and fired off a shot at her. The arrow just missed as it flew by her head. She looked down once more, eyes turned into slits. While she was dodging his arrow, he ran to a better hiding spot. She looked around. Haldir was busy with a different group of orcs. Orophin and Rumil were further away commanding their own troops. This one orc had attempted to shoot her. Now it was personal. He was not going to get away but she was in no position to kill him from up here.
"This ends now." she said and started to dash down the rope ladder. Just as she went over the edge, Haldir saw her and rushed over to where she disappeared.
"Rhavaniel no." he yelled but she was already half way to the ground. He looked around and spotted the orc hiding behind a tree. The creature spotted her and notched an arrow. Haldir was quicker and fired at the orc. He could not hit him from here and now understood why Rhavaniel left her post. It was foolish to say the least. Their best form of protection was in the trees. However, Rhavaniel was in a state of blood lust and nothing or no one would stop her now. Haldir was about to get his wish. He was going to see her battle and fight alongside her. His heart was pounding out of his chest as he flung himself over the side of the platform and hurried down the ladder. By the time he got to the ground, she was fending off three rather large orcs. They were trying to surround her and catch her off guard. Haldir noticed that she no longer carried her bow but was wielding a pair of long knives. These were the weapons of Mirkwood. He could see the silver inlay that signified the house of Thranduil as she flashed the swords through the air. Haldir bolted to her and spun around, leaning against her back. "Having fun yet." he said teasingly.
"What are you doing here Haldir." she said in a low tone. She was in no mood for his antics.
"You look like you have your hands full." he said as he watched two more orcs surround them. "Thought you might like some company."
"Bows are no use now." she said thinking he had no other weapons.
"Aye, but a sword will suffice." he retorted raising his shiny blade. "Care to dance my lady?"
Rhavaniel laughed under her breath. "With me or the orcs?" she teased.
The orcs closed in on them and they readied their stance. One leapt towards Haldir and he plunged his sword into its arm making it useless. He pulled it out and brought the now blackened blade down upon the creature's neck. "One down." he said.
Rhavaniel held her knives in front of her. An orc approached her and she just laughed. The tone of her voice was almost not her own. Her unusual response was even felt by the orc, who paused just long enough for her to bring her criss-crossed blades to his throat. She watched his eyes as he realized his head was being severed from his body. This excited her and made her body come alive.
Haldir felt her vibrations travel through his own body. He had never felt this sensation before. She seemed to call to him and deep within his soul, he felt her connect to him. His breath hitched. 'It is happening. She is the one, my warrior mate.' he thought to himself. Suddenly he felt emptiness and realized she had moved away from him. He turned to see her taking on another orc. This one fought back after seeing what she did to the first one. Haldir only had a moment to watch her jump and move with the greatest of ease. She would strike out at the orc, spin around and strike again. She moved so fast and unpredictably that the orc could not determine her next move. He could hardly keep track of her and when she had him thoroughly confused, she sliced through his throat using both knives.
The stunned Marchwarden was so caught up in watching this Wood elf fight, he did not see the orc approaching him. He could not take his eyes from Rhavaniel. She paused a moment and looked Haldir straight in the eyes. He was captured by her stare as she flashed him a wicked smile full of excitement and desire. Then her impish mood changed to hatred as she yelled. "Haldir behind you."
Haldir barely had time to react as Rhavaniel threw one of her long knives at the orc behind Haldir. It embedded itself in his arm. The creature only laughed and pulled it out. Then, looking at the blade, he licked his own blood from it. Quickly he threw the blade back at Rhavaniel. Haldir managed to get away but saw the knife flying towards her. Before he could yell her name, he watched as she jumped up in the air, somersaulting as the blade passed beneath her. She landed on her feet and her livid stare fell upon the orc. Haldir was suddenly frightened, not only for her but of her. She was completely taken by the blood lust now. Her eyes were completely black. There was no whites at all. Her hair looked a wild mess. She stood tall and unfazed by any of it. Killing was on her mind and that was all she wanted to do.
Rhavaniel took off running directly at the orc. He brought up his black iron scimitar and braced for the attack. She only had one long knife now. Just as she was about to approach the orc, she leapt up into the air so high she sailed right over the orc. As she passed over him, she impaled her knife into his back. Haldir could see the tip as it exited through his chest. Black blood poured from the wound. She landed on the ground behind the creature in a squatting position and waited for the orc to fall.
There was one orc left. Haldir was closest and began swinging away at him. Rhavaniel came running over and both elves took turns fighting with the last one. It was like watching a cat play with the mouse before it killed. Rhavaniel and Haldir seemed to dance around the orc, taking turns and slicing its black flesh here and there. Haldir was feeding off of Rhavaniel's energy. He had fought many battles but none like this. She was raw uninhibited power. She was a blood-soaked vixen. Her lust for battle mixed with her feminine desire and he wanted her in the worst way.
Rhavaniel also felt a vibration from Haldir as they fought. Never before had she noticed this, even with Legolas. Haldir called to her soul. What was this sensation? Why did she lust not only to kill but for Haldir? She shook the feelings from her mind for now but could not delete them from her warrior soul.
Finally, bored of their little game with the orc, Rhavaniel looked to Haldir with black eyes. "Would you like to do the honors or shall I?"
"It is all yours sweetling." he smiled, his own lust evident in his eyes. Rhavaniel had affected him deeply.
She looked the worn out creature in the eyes. "This is for my mother." she growled. Her long knife went into its gut. Then she twisted it to make sure the damage was done. The last orc fell dead to the ground.
Haldir and Rhavaniel stood there on the blood covered ground looking at each other. They were both breathing heavy and still at the height of their battle senses. Haldir approached her until he was face to face with her. "How do you feel now?" he asked in a sexy sultry voice.
"I have never been more alive than I am right now. I need more Haldir. I am too worked up." she said chest heaving in and out.
"You are in a battle frenzy. Too long have you been kept from this. It is just your body reacting to years of dormancy." he answered her.
"I don't want to stop. I don't want this feeling to end." she moaned. Her eyes bore down into his. "How do I stop this."
Haldir took her by the waist and pulled her close. He got close enough that his lips were about to touch hers. "You don't stop." he said and brushed his lips across hers. "Let it guide you." Another brush of lips. "Let it consume you." Seeing that she would not resist him, he covered her mouth with his and kissed her passionately. It did not last long as she pulled away from him and came back to stare at him.
His eyes were just as wild as hers. "Haldir, I can't…"
"Let go Rhavaniel. He has." Haldir stated referring to Legolas. "He let go the moment he made the decision to leave without you. What do you want Rhavaniel? To be a good little elleth sitting in the court or this?" he gestured to her. "I know how I would have you. Think of how this felt. It can be like this every time. And I will be right by your side. You are beautiful this way, untamed as you should be. Do not underestimate your powers. You have the true heart of a warrior within you. You do not regret killing. The lust to do so courses through you veins. I can feel you. You are strong and very persuasive. See what you have done to me." Here he pulled her tight to his body and she felt his hardened arousal against her thigh. He kissed her once more and again she did not resist. "Let go." he whispered against her neck.
And with those last two words, Rhavaniel's whole life was about to change.