7. Chapter 6
By the time Maglor caught up to his 'guest', Lindir was unpacking an array of food.
"What are you doing?" Asked Maglor.
"Preparing supper." Lindir continued to lay out fresh bread, fruit, smoked fish and cheese.
"Pen neth…" Maglor began.
"Here try this. I found a wonderful bakery, for an Edain bakery." Lindir tore off a chunk of fresh bread and looked up at the older elf expectantly.
Maglor sighed, "Pen neth…" Taking the offered food, all be it reluctantly.
"Well, do not just stand there, sit and eat." Lindir ignored the exasperated huff from the other elf.
"You can not stay here."
"It is too late for me to leave now; the sun sets. It would be foolish to travel; surely you agree. Anyway, I am too tired. Now sit; I cannot eat all this myself."
Maglor found himself sitting despite himself. It had been years since he had a feast like this and millennia since he had company. Still guilt ate at him; he did not deserve such kindness.
Lindir noticed the longing and indecision in Maglor's eyes. It made his heart ach. Since it was obvious the dark elf would not help himself, Lindir picked up a bowl and loaded it with food. He attempted to hand it to Maglor who just stared at it.
"Take it, please. Consider it payment for the use of your fire this night if you must; but please eat with me."
The pleading tone did the trick and Maglor took the offered meal. He could not help the moans of appreciation that escaped as he savored every bit. Lindir smiled at the sound. His plan, well at least this part of it, worked.
With stomachs full, the two elves made themselves comfortable around the fire. They sat in silence for some time; Maglor staring into the fire, Lindir staring at the older elf.
Throwing a stick into the fire, the Noldo spoke. "I appreciate the meal and your wish to learn from me, but come morning you will return to your people and leave me to my solitude."
"I will not leave until I believe I have learned all I can from you. Lord Elrond was kind enough to give me leave, I will not waste the opportunity." Lindir knew this was a low blow. But, if Maglor wanted to be difficult, Lindir planned to use every trump card he had.
Maglor looked across the fire at his companion. "Elrond? Elrond son of Eärendil?"
"Yes, he is my lord."
The ancient elf gave Lindir a thoughtful look. "He gave you leave to learn from me?"
"My lord is very supportive and agreed to let me expand my knowledge and experiences." As far as Lindir was concerned, he had answered honestly, of course he casually forgot to mention that Elrond had no idea he wished to learn from Maglor. "I will leave you to your peace IF you agree to instruct me from midday to sunset each day until I am satisfied with the knowledge I received."
Maglor could not help but smile a bit at the younger elf's determination.
"I will set up my own camp just around the bend and come to you at high sun." Lindir hoped that Maglor's loneliness would out weigh his guilt. He was not disappointed.
"It would not be safe for you to stay there. You may stay here, however you will leave my to myself until mid day and you will not ask me of anything but music."
Lindir stood and moved beside Maglor, "I will leave you to your own devices in the morning…agreed." He hoped that the older elf was off balance just enough to not realize the minstrel only agree to part of his condition.
"It is late." Maglor stood and moved into the cave. Lindir followed and was awed when he saw Maglor prepare for bed. The Noldo had removed his shirt and untied the braids that held his hair. Six thousand years alone did nothing to soften the former warrior's physic. Lean muscles rippled under taunt skin and when Maglor shook out his long mane, Lindir felt an odd tingle in the pit of his stomach.
Feeling eyes upon him, Maglor turned to find a slight blush on the minstrel's face. Lindir quickly busied himself with setting out his bedroll and blanket. He sat down, pulled off his boots, tied his hair into a single long braid and lay down to sleep with his back to his companion. He came there wanting to learn from the best. He had no idea how he would feel once he stood before the son of Fëanor. Part of him expected some bitterness, anger at Magor's past deeds, but there was none. Lindir found that he hurt for the Noldo; not pity really but something deeper. For some unnamed reason he wanted to see other's loneliness dissipate, at least a bit and he wanted to be the catalyst.
When Lindir awoke, he found himself alone in the cave. Using this opportunity, he began poking around. It was a comfortable cave, small enough to keep out the elements and big enough to not make the minstrel feel trapped. There were few personal items in plain view and since Lindir was not about to go opening the various packs and crates, he studied what was in plain sight. An old trunk, which probably kept most personal items, sat toward the back. There was a small area for a very small fire; the bedrolls were situated near it. There were no pictures or tapestries, nothing homey about the cave. Lindir spotted a longbow and pair of hunting knives leaning against one wall. No sword though…Lindir thought that odd. One thing caught his eye and he peeked under the silk cover. It was a beautiful table harp; 32 strings and stunningly carved. There was no doubt that it was old.
"Do you play?"
Lindir jumped at the unexpected question. He turned guilty eyes to Maglor. "Forgive me, I did not mean to pry. It is just that I could tell it was a harp and only wanted to see it. Since I said I would leave you be in the…"
The older elf held up his hand to stop the incessant rambling. "Do you play?" He asked again.
Looking down at floor, Lindir made a quiet reply, "Yes, but my harp had to be left behind."
"Play for me." Maglor's request was more of a command.
"You wish me to play it?" Lindir's expression would have been comical if the situation were different.
"You wish to learn from me. I need to know your ability. Now play." While Lindir was thrilled to play on nearly any occasion, his hands trembled as he took hold of the instrument. Maglor leaned against the mouth of the cave with a stern continence that rivaled Lord Erestor's. After some thought, Lindir began to play.
Maglor just stood there void of any outward emotion. He had to get this child out of his life. Lindir's fea was bright and trusting. All he could do is hope that Lindir played well and he could claim that the minstrel could learn nothing new from him. The Noldo was not disappointed. Lindir played flawlessly. When the last strains died away, Lindir looked up in anticipation; Maglor's face was unreadable.
"I am afraid you made your journey in vain pen neth. There is nothing I can teach you that you do not already know."
Lindir stood abruptly. "How can you now that?" He demanded. "I have only played one piece for you. You have not heard me sing and I do not know the music of the first age as I wish too!" Lindir began to panic. Maglor could not send him away, not now. The bard could not explain it, but he felt he needed to here.
"Pen neth," Maglor stated firmly, "you are a Teleri. Your people are gifted in the art of voice and music, trained by Ulmo himself. This is a dark place. Go home before your light dims, too." With that, Maglor turned and returned to the jetty's point.
Lindir looked after him with wet eyes. This could not be happening. The journey had been difficult and now that he reached the destination…he had to think of a way to stay. He prayed to every Vala he could think of and several Maiar as well. Then it hit him…
When Maglor returned for mid-day meal, Lindir was ready for him. "We had an agreement."
Maglor stared for a moment until his troubled mind caught on. "There is nothing new for you to…"
"The agreement was," Lindir stated boldly, "that you would instruct me until I believed I had learned all I could from you, not when you decided I was done." The silver elf stood by the fire pit with his arms folded across his chest and a look of satisfaction on his face. The older elf just stared. He had not been prepared for this twist. This elf was clever; Maglor had no response for there was none. He stared into those magnificent eyes and saw a twinkle in them and stubbornness. Maglor sighed, dropped to the ground and accepted the bowl Lindir passed him. 'What am I to do now?' the dark elf asked himself.
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