The Calling - Chapter Seventeen
9 days later
"It won't work Talen, I'm not built for that sorta thing."
"Nonsense Tae, believe you can fly and you will surely touch the sky" assured Talen with a corny grin.
"Hmmm, I'm sure I've heard that somewhere before."
"Come on, shut your eyes and do it."
Tae shut her eyes as requested and concentrated her mind on the elf in front of her, she tried to see into his mind but all she could see was the back of her eyelids.
"I can't do it." she whined slumping down onto a strategically placed chair
"Try it again Tae, you're not going to see Haldir until you have this mastered. What's wrong with you today, for the past week you have mastered every new skill and suddenly you are not interested, is there something you are not telling me?"
Tae thought hard for a moment, was it that she couldn't wait to see Haldir and the others and get out of the educational game or was she just plain crap with mind reading.
"To be brutally honest..."
"As you always are.."
"..as I 'sometimes' am, I'm just bored." she admitted after being interrupted by the elven mage.
For the last week or so she had become a lot closer with the 'dudes' of Lorien, though she had not been able to go to the welcoming party that Lord Celeborn had arranged due to illness she had more than made up for the socializing she'd missed. Tae had even become somewhat of a celebrity amongst the tree dwellers, everyone wanted to meet the half elf that had captured the heart of a Rivendell prince; though Tae was loathe to the instant fame and endless questions.
Thoughts of Elladan had finally started to come less frequently, after realising that she missed him Tae went into denial for a few days, then she admitted to Haldir privately that she felt for him, now she was trying to forget about him. Tae reasoned that, admitting she had a problem was the fastest way to getting over it.
"Try it again, concentrate on me- hear my voice, see through my eyes and listen to my thoughts."
"There isn't really much point.." She began, Tae cut short her reply when she noticed the heated glare from her tutor and stood up.
She shut her eyes once more, doubtful that it would work but mindful of Talen's mood with her, imagining the eccentric elf standing there in front of her Tae tried to picture what he was doing. She imagined him to be glaring at her still, annoyed at her lack of enthusiasm and tapping his foot on the ground in impatience. She urged her mind to focus on the male more deeply and gradually she the sinking sensation that always heralded the onset of a spell, she began to hear a faint murmuring which got louder until she could finally discern the elf's thoughts.
'Good, keep going- see through my eyes now child'
Tae narrowed her closed eyes and bit her lip in concentration, willing the enchantment to empower her so she could continue to the next level of the feat. She nearly faltered when her mind was next plunged into a dizzying whirlwind of colour that greatly contrasted with the darkness of the back of her eyelids, this signalled that her spirit had left the confines of her body and Tae opened her spirit eyes to look upon herself standing in the middle of the glade with her eyes shut.
She hoped she wasn't about to get attacked again.
'Well done, finally you can add this to your list of tricks' encouraged Talen, the unhidden pride of his 'voice' echoing around in her mind. The half elf looked down and saw the midnight blue robe of her teacher and wondered if she could control his body since she was at this moment in his head and looking down at him through his own eyes.
'Don't even think about it my lady' was her quick answer, Tae asked him another question, getting restless to be done here and go socialise for the night.
'Just think about something entirely different and the bond will be broken, we shall practice more tomorrow' answered the sorcerer elf.
Tae thought of the semi tame crouton loving squirrels that she had befriended back at Rivendell with the aid of a trusty packet of chicken and mushroom cupasoup, pretty soon her head swam once more and she reopened her eyes back in her own body.
Talen noticed that the girls eyes where fast returning to normal after her magic using excursion, after the first few days together he had realised that everytime Tae used magic her eyes went totally black, no white or colour visible. It was as if when plugging into the winds of magic her pupils opened wide to encompass her eyes completely to accommodate for all the other things she would be made aware of using magic. He figured Taes eerie new look to be a harmless side-effect, which did nothing more than make her look demonic for a short while.
"Will the individual be aware of someone fishing around in their mind?" Tae asked.
"If you will it to be so....enough of this seriousness Tae, go--"
Talen paused halfway through his sentence as he saw the girl take his advice and run off, her green skirts flying out behind her.
"--you look like you need a good night" ----------
Tae rushed off eager to meet the 'posse' on time after being late for them last time due to being waylaid by Lord Celeborn. Haldir's guard were off on patrol tonight and after much eyelash fluttering and pouting Tae had finally persuaded the marchwarden to allow her to tag along. Tae thought back with a wry smile as to Haldirs parting words last night as he had caved and agreed to let her come.
"Stay next to me at all time though---if anything happened---"
"I know I know, Elrond would murder you all if anything happened to me. Don't you think that jokes getting a lil old?" she answered with a frown.
Haldir had placed an arm around her and whispered his reply with a smile.
"We're elves Tae, some things are meant to endure."
The half elf practically flew up the stairs to her flet, dragging her dark green robe up and over her head and hanging it over a nearby chair. She went to the chest on the far wall and selected a pair of black pants and an indigo blue tunic which she secured with a black leather belt. Taking a parting glance in the mirror before departure she froze..noticing rapidly spreading stains marring the soft fabric of her tunic.
Cold dread settled across her heart like a smothering blanket and she touched the dampness soaking into the cloth with a fingertip. Bringing her hands to view she swooned...red...blood. The vision that Tae had so successfully buried in the back of her consciousness these past few day where a reincarnation of herself had gouged and clawed mercilessly at her resurfaced and Tae drew a shuddering breath.
Ramming shut her eyes Tae prayed to whatever God may be listening, feverently hoping that 'it' wasn't happening again. Allowing a few seconds to pass she eventually reopened her eyes to view the image in the reflective surface of the mirror- no blood.
Just like when she had first woken up in Lothlórien and watched blood soaking through the bed sheets that were wrapped around her, the results of her confrontation with her 'zombie self' had once again come back to haunt and remind her of the sheer terror of the encounter; imaginary though it was.
Shaking visibly now Tae reached out and steadied herself on the trunk of the mighty mallorn which supported her treetop apartment. Just as Talen had taught her a few days previously she reached out with her spirit to greet the living tree and was instantly calmed by the relaxing nature of 'Bob' the tree.
Talen had tried to get her to choose a better name, one which sounded a bit more respectful than 'Bob' but Tae had been steadfast on naming the majestic and kingly mallorn tree thus. Mentally aligning and adjusting herself until her breathing slowed Tae was soon on the same calming wavelength as Bob.
Some time later she remembered where she was supposed to be, she thanked Bob for lending a sympathetic ear and bolted out of the door, descending the steps three at a time down to ground level and speeding off to the guardhouse where she knew Haldir and the others would be preparing for tonight's patrol.
"Glad you could make it Tae, my brother thought you were going to be late." welcomed Haldir warmly, opening his slender arms to give the half elf her customary hug (a tradition started a few nights ago when Tae had been so hyper that she jumped on the marchwarden with her arms wrapped around him instead of just saying hello).
"Some elves have no faith." she answered in mock offence, sending a death glare over Haldirs shoulder to Orophin.
"What makes you think it wasn't Rumil who said it? He's just as much Haldirs brother as I am."
Tae let Haldir go and stalked over to him, glancing and nodding at the grinning Rumil on the way. She narrowed her eyes and looked searchingly into the elf's face.
"Rumil would not so openly slander a lady's time keeping habits in public~ thus balancing our new friendship on quite the precarious little edge."
The playful glint in her rich brown eyes sparkled as the guardhouse descended into silence; all waiting to hear how Orophin would respond. His brother beat him to it however, supplying an answer which left everyone sniggering and Orophin staring wide eyed at the retreating figure of Tae linked arm in arm with his two brothers as they headed out for the border.
"Aye, I saw what she did to that rock"#
A few hours later the border patrol had reached a spot where orcs had reportedly been sighted by another patrol, Tae crouched to look at what they had left behind and then stood up rapidly at the offending aroma; rotting entrails of some unfortunate creature and what looked like a femur- gnawed and cracked almost beyond reckoning.
The smell was so bad she walked to the edge of the clearing where she could stomach it without wanting to hurl, Orophin saw her grimace and chuckled.
"I am not surprised such a fair maiden has not the constitution for such sites...and smells"
"I'm just not yet used to it is all, I've experienced such bad smells that would leave you gasping for air back home."
"I am sure Lord Elrond would not like to hear such slanders against his home."
"No, not Rivendell, I meant where I came from before I got here."
"Was it that bad?"
"Only usually on a Friday night when my father would come home from the curry house." she laughed
"Err, curry. It's a traditional dish of my world, hot sauce, spicy meats and rice."
"You should cook something from back home, something different like--curry perhaps."
"That would be fun, except I don't know how to make it and don't really like it anyway, I tell you what though, if we get back in time I will cook us all something before we have to retire for the night."
"I will hold you to it Tae" said Orophin with a smile before he turned to go back into the clearing where he could get back to examining the area for clues of the orcs intentions in the vicinity.
"The cancer affects her more each day my lord, soon she will be lifeless and using her blood you will be returned to power"
"Soon yes, freedom will be mine. For over a century I have been stuck here because of that elven whore Palermo, since I cant get to her in the havens to release me I will use her only daughters lifeblood to fuel my own rise to power."
"Those elves will be so caught up in their grief at her death that they wont know what has hit them."
"Aye, how is the breeding program going general?"
"Good, though we find the Uruk-Hai in such moods that as soon as they come out of the mines they strive to kill whatever is next to them, be it enemy or not."
"Not too long! They'll stick to the pan and we'll never get them off!"
Lord Celeborn's attempt at helping Tae cook was mildly pathetic, the elf had chanced upon the returning patrol when he had heard a commotion coming from the kitchens, he had walked in to see Tae sitting on a table covered in flour mixing something in a bowl under her arm surrounded by the majority of the elven patrol that had been out guarding the borders that night.
The room had descended into silence as he had walked in, all within looking up guiltily as if the elf lord had found them stealing apples from the orchards. Curious and also a little hungry the elf lord had smiled at everyone warmly to break the ice which had suddenly formed in the room and to assure all that they weren't in trouble.
20 minutes later and Celeborn was up to his elbows in pancake mixture as he stirred it then passed it on to the next helper. Orophin however was having a flipping contest with Faráel while Tae and Seline were dripping honey all over the finished products.
Tae soon gave the word to break the chain and the pancake makers ceased their work and stood back to admire their handiwork, elves who didn't help with the cooking could be clearly identified by their lack of a floury covering. The twelve elves sat down at the table to eat.
"Beautiful Tae, we will be certainly having these again" said Orophin through a mouthful of the pancake, honey threatening to drip down his chin.
"Great aren't they" she smiled
"I vote that those who didn't slave over the fires to cook should clean up" Lord Celeborn suggested, glancing at the egg covered worktops and looking up at the pancake that Orophin had managed to stick to the ceiling when he got overexcited about flipping them. Of course he was backed up by the rest of the pancake brigade and the others soon agreed that it was only fair since they got to sit there and be cooked for.
When the lord of Lorien finished his meal he stood up and excused himself, with a promise from Tae that next time she was going to cook something from her homeland he would be invited.
"I'm sooo stuffed, I don't think I can move" Tae said from halfway down the table, she had sunk down on her chair and all that could be seen from above the table where her eyes glimmering out at everyone.
Orophin replied by getting up and moving around the table to where she sat, Tae edged away from the mischievous glint in his eye but was outmatched for speed as the elf picked her up as if she weighed no more than a pancake.
"Err...Fin, what are you doing?"
"Well my lady, you just said you cannot move so I thought I would give you a hand. If I may I will carry you from here to your rooms, save you putting strain on those dainty feet of yours."
"You have obviously never seen my feet before dude, dainty they are not."
Orophin or Fin as he was being called lately just smiled and carried the lady back to his seat where he positioned her in his lap, her arms wrapped around his neck.
"What are you doing now?" asked Tae confused
"Surely you do not want to go to bed just yet my dear, the marchwarden here was hoping you would tell us another story, weren't you brother?"
"Aye, a tale before bed if it would please you my lady." nodded Haldir with a laugh, he was amused that his brother had so obviously chosen to run against Rivendell's heir for Tae's affections.
Unlike his brother Haldir knew partly the extent that Elladan was winning the race; he didn't want his brother to end up hurt. The marchwarden had not been surprised when he had finally been able to coax the admission of her feelings from Tae, in a perfect world he knew in his heart that Tae and Elladan would be together, however he also knew that this was not a perfect world.
Tae reached up behind her head with one arm whilst the other gripped Orophin around the neck, she fiddled for a moment and then her hair fell down unleashed from their bindings. Examining her ringlets and corkscrew curls she thought hard about the tale she would tell them. She settled on Shakespeare, spinning the tale of Romeo and Juliet which left the elves quite melancholy at the end.
"My lady?" asked Orophin after Tae had finished the story, at her upturned glance in his direction he continued. "That was a story of terrible beauty, twas a tragedy that two families could hold such a grudge for so long that only the loss of their children's lives could remedy."
Tae smiled from her position on the elf's knee, her mind was elsewhere however- thinking about high school and the amount of times she had been forced to watch different film versions of the play. Her mother had loved A Midsummer Nights Dream and she used to read it to her when Tae was bored of hearing about elves. She realised now why her mother had always seemed upset when Tae didn't want to hear anymore about the fair folk, being one of them herself Helen probably didn't want her child to be without knowledge of her faraway kin.
She tried to imagine how it must have felt for her mother, living in a world where her own species did not even exist, watching as the majority of the great forests where destroyed and the only thing remotely star-like that could be seen through the polluted veil over the sky was the sun.
Should Tae be missing her human kin back home? This question had recently started haunting her as she began to miss the elves of Rivendell, particularly Elrond and Arwen, maybe Elladan as well though she was trying to faze thoughts of the dark haired elf lord completely from her mind.
She was never that close to her fathers side of the family, though that was not to say that she didn't get on with them as she did, like a house on fire. It was just that she didn't really feel like she was missing them or her friends, though most of them had moved from Merseyside to go to University in a different locality.
When the air moved around her Tae was jolted out of her memories, she looked up into the intense gaze of Orophin who had stood up with her still in his strong arms. Tae sensed that the elf had perceived her mood and made to take her away from the small company of elves, they made their goodbyes; Orophin leaning down far enough so that Tae could give his brother a farewell hug and left the room.
They made their way through the dark to Bob, glittering lights in the trees lighting the way that Orophin probably would know blindfolded. The woods were silent but for the faint tinkling of bells that chimed from somewhere further up in the tree canopy and no words where exchanged between the pair.
They reached the bottom of the mallorn where Tae's flet was and she insisted on getting down and climbing the stairs on foot. At the door to her room they paused, Tae turned to thank Orophin for carrying her and being perceptive enough to realise that she was no longer in the mood for socialising.
Just as she was going to open her mouth the elf lifted his hand to put a slender finger to his lips, he leant closer to her and placed a kiss on her cheek, looking searchingly into her eyes for a few heartbeats before turning and leaving.
Tae stood there while what had just happened registered, had Orophin just come on to her? She sighed and turned around, seeking out her nice warm bed and a quick meeting with the sandman.
Elrohir followed the bangs to his brothers quarters, being informed of his brothers state by the kitchen staff from where he had commandeered a bottle of brandy. He was giving up a night with Gilwen to look after his brother for the third time in the past week, his arrangement with the staff of Imladris meant he or his sister found out before Ada did.
He met Arwen at an intersection, she looked annoyed that Elladan was at it again and Elrohir hoped that she wasn't going to let loose her rare acid tongue on his emotionally unstable brother. Its not that Elladan was moping around, it was quite the opposite; after the first day when Glor had told him about what was happening in Lothlórien he stalked around the place like an angry wolf, now he was acting like an alcoholic who had been told he only had one week left to indulge himself before he had to quit.
As the bangs grew louder Arwen shot her brother a worried look, she worried for the state of his room when they reached him and the wrath of Ada when he saw.
Knocking on his door the siblings were greeted after a while by a few elvish curses before their brother finally opened the door.
"Let us in."
"YES" hissed the irritated Evenstar, glaring poisonously at her elder brother and pushing past him into the cess pit that was his once tidy room.
Elladan, slumped down on his bed while his brother took a chair and his sister stood there scowling at him. Suddenly he realised why some people described his grandmother as scary and why when mother had still been here he had never heard Ada arguing with her.
"You fool, what is it you are trying to achieve here brother? Are you trying to show everyone how easily broken you are or are you doing the opposite? Sleeping with Matarese does not make you seem unfazed that Tae rejected you."
"Why she did push you away is becoming all too clear to us and just about every elf in Arda, you have been acting so petulantly lately, as if someone has swapped your mentality with that of a orc." she spat
"Arwen is right brother, you are acting completely out of character for one who claims to be in love. Even if Tae was not in the equation you are bringing this families reputation down with your antics."
"Are you two quite finished?"
# Rumil of course was referring to an incident 3 days ago when he had watched Talen teaching Tae to move some rocks with her mind, Tae had only succeeded in blowing the rock up much to her amusement.