Between the Shadows - Chapter 3

The Lady Celebrian had no intention of leaving her parents and her beloved city immediately, which Lindalë did not mind. Lothlorien was beautiful, and Lindalë enjoyed her stay there. The day after her arrival, she sent a letter by messenger to her father and family, bidding them that she was well and to not worry even though she was not coming back. She was shown to a guest flet near the heart of the city. The city was magnificent. It was untouched by evil, unmarred.
She spent her days in the court of Lady Galadriel, a shadow in the corner, unless Galadriel or Celeborn asked her a question. In the afternoon, she went down to the forest and took long walks in the deepening twilight. It was on one of these walks that Lindalë discovered a new hobby. She had taken her leave from Lord Celeborn, and wandered down to a path she had not used before. She saw a clearing ahead and headed toward it to catch the setting of the sun. She heard noises, and was taken by curiosity. She stood at the edge of the glen and observed a company of elves- March Wardens, by the haughty look on each of their faces. They were taking turns in shooting arrows onto a wooden stump as a target. Arrows lay everywhere, with only a few in the bulls-eye. These were obviously new recruits. An elf looked up and noticed her lingering at the border of the clearing.
"Oy, you there, dim-wit, your horrible aim might just hit an unwanted target" he said to the elf at his side, who clearly was hitting everything in sight but the target with his arrows. The others followed his eyes, and noticed Lindalë. She wished they wouldn't.
She hated being the center of attention. Another warden turned his nose up at the sight of her.
"This is no place for a maiden" he sniffed. Some nodded along with him "She could get hurt". The others roared with laughter. "You are just worried that she will be better than you in target shooting, like Lissiel was last week" they chuckled. Lindalë hastily shook her head. "Oh no, I don't want -" But her words were lost as she was shoved to the front of the group where a sleek bow and arrow lay waiting for her.
"You are the maiden from Mirkwood, or so we have heard", said the leader. "It is said that the archers of Mirkwood are the best in Middle-earth." He paused as if he doubted this rumor. "If you could provide us with a little demonstration, it would be most appreciated". Lindalë shook her head violently. "Oh no, you see, I am not very skilled with archery, I-" but she was cut short as the leader interrupted her.
"Well, even you must have more skill than some of these er,... wardens". He made a point of staring straight at the elf that had smugly dismissed Lindalë. He faced her again. " Please just give it a try. I am sure some of our newer trainees could actually witness an arrow hitting the mark and not fantasize about it only". There were many grumbles at this, but Lindalë reluctantly took the arrow and fitted it to the string of the arrow. She tried to remember everything Legolas had said about aiming true, but before she knew it, she had let go of the arrow. Disappointed, she turned away, not daring to look at her failure. The group gasped. Had it been that bad? She wheeled around in embarrassment. To her lasting surprise, the arrow had landed cleanly in the exact center of the knot. The leader's eyes were twinkling.
Not very skilled with archery eh?" taunted Haldir. "Well, if that's not skilled, then the Mirkwood archers must really be the best in Middle-earth". Lindalë smiled, something she had rarely done since her arrival, as the others in the group looked upon Lindalë with renewed respect.
"Forgive me for not introducing myself", said the captain. "I am Haldir, a captain of the March Wardens. These are my brothers, Rumil and Orophin." He gestured to two similar elves that stood at his side. "We have few maidens here in Lorien that can shoot a bow like you can. In fact, I am sure we would be honored-".Again, he glared at the smug elf, "I am sure we would all be honored if you would assist some of our newest wardens to shoot like that". Lindalë hesitated, unsure of what to say. She timidly looked around at the elves, expecting her answer. "With pleasure, Lord Haldir." she answered. After that afternoon, Lindalë would trek down to the clearing around sunset, and help to improve the newer wardens' archery skills. She still had a few weeks before Celebrian would depart, for the Lady had already been in Lorien for a year before Lindalë had arrived.
Celebrian and Galadriel became like surrogate mothers to Lindalë- they fussed over her, gave her advice, and helped her with anything she was having a problem with. Lindalë gratefully accepted these motherly gestures, but she the grief of her past loss still haunted her. Even though she was extraordinarily happy in Lorien, she still longed for the time when she could leave it and go to Rivendell, where Celeborn had said her emotional hurts could be healed.
After Lindalë had been in Lothlorien for over a month, Celebrian announced it was time for her to return to Rivendell, and reunite with her husband and children. Lindalë had heard tales of this family even in far-away Mirkwood. Lord Elrond was rumored to be a descendant of the High Elves of the West and had magical healing powers above all other elves. Their daughter, Arwen was the most beautiful being in Middle-earth and was said to be an image of Luthien Tinuviel. The two sons, Elladan and Elrohir were excellent hunters and soldiers; their skill was said to be unmatched. Lindalë wanted to see these wonders for herself and began counting down the days till her departure. Not that she was happy about leaving Lorien. It was like no other place she had seen, and she was unwilling to leave it, regardless of what Galadriel and Celeborn had said. But her grief still lingered, and something deep in her heart was telling her that she must go. On the last day of her day in Lorien, Lindalë bid the Wardens good bye along with the other friends she had made in Lorien and turned her face to the West, to the towering mountains where behind them, Lindalë knew, lay Rivendell, and her future life. She looked back at Lorien in its entire splendor. One day, she said to herself, One day I will come back.

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