Ok. Lavi – special note for you: Yes, I do enjoy torturing everyone. I’m sadistic. You’ll be able to tell in this chapter and future chapters. Sil – No, actually, I had this part written a while before we met. It took me forever to write this chapter, but when I was typing it up, or just looking over it the other day, I saw “Isilme” and realized “Hey! GwenElf’s other nickname!” lol But, we can say the horse is named after you now. Chapter 4: Feelings Arise
Sil – No, actually, I had this part written a while before we met. It took me forever to write this chapter, but when I was typing it up, or just looking over it the other day, I saw “Isilme” and realized “Hey! GwenElf’s other nickname!” lol But, we can say the horse is named after you now.
Chapter 4: Feelings Arise
Slowly, Hetaura opened her eyes. Where was she? What had happened? Reaching up, she touched her neck impulsively, and felt an abnormality there. A bandage was carefully placed over her skin. Why? It was slightly damp, she took in. When she drew her hand away, her fingertips were lightly stained with blood.
Panic swept over her again. Why was her neck bleeding? Why? When? Where? How?
So many questions bustled beyond comprehension, pushing her to an edge. Her head hurt, terribly. It felt as though a Dwarf was crushing her skull with the flat side of his axe. She moaned lightly, but a quiet stirring was heard over the pounding in her head.
Looking down by her side, Hetaura saw Legolas, waking from sleep finally. He looked up at her in concern, and immediately clutched her hand in his.
“Hetaura,” the prince whispered groggily, “are you all right?”
She blinked, his words sounding muffled and distant, as though they were going in and out of her mind. Trying to process his question to make sense of it over the dull roar in her head, Hetaura looked down at the foot of the bed.
She was in the halls of healing. That little light blinked in her memory. But there were so many other lights that were not shining, indicating the things she couldn’t remember.
“What happened?” she asked, her voice scratchy.
And so Legolas explained to her what he knew: she had been almost drowned, and robbed, with stress there, and most likely in between the two. The stress had resulted in shock. That, and mild bloodless from the cut on her neck rendered her unconscious. She’d been brought to the halls of healing, but the most they could have done for her was treat her neck and let her sleep off the shock.
Not that she was awake again, and perhaps in her right mind, Legolas took his turn to panic. He held her hand in his firmly, and eventually pressed his cheek against her palm.
This greatly surprised and puzzled Hetaura. Legolas had never been so affectionate towards her, in this particular way. Yes, he had been very sweet when she was younger and still was. But this–this was different. The young girl watched him through hazy, blurry vision. The prince still held her hand against his cheek.
There was a strange feeling that went through Hetaura at that moment. It was like a sudden, inward chill, racing through her. A shudder ran from her stomach on out to dance a tingle over her skin. Her heart shook beneath her breast. It was different. Very different.
It was more than just a difference, it was a strange feeling. A feeling she would have to think about a lot and ask Sheelewen about when they next saw each other.
“Can you tell me what it is, Nana*?” Hetaura asked after lengthily explaining her strange sensation from days before.
It was nearly four days after her strange attack, and her `meeting’ with Legolas. No matter what the place or time, thoughts of that day always drifted back to her mind in some way, shape, or form. She could be in the midst of bathing or her studies when a distinct tingling sensation went down her back or a cessation of current thoughts, just as they had happened more than once before.
Upon the childish sound of Sheelewen chuckling, Hetaura looked over at her from weeding their garden. “What?” Embarrassment swept over the girl. She didn’t know what to think anymore–about anything. She had been avoiding Legolas–she hoped mutually–since the `feelings’ surfaced.
“You do not see it?” Sheelewen looked over at Hetaura and smiled. Her dark locks fell over her shoulder, and a mischievous twinkle sparked in her eyes.
Hetaura shook her head and pulled the weed out that she’d stopped paying attention to mid-yank. “No. What?” she asked in a breathless whisper.
“You are in lo–“
Hetaura looked up at the familiar voice and blanched. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Sheelewen giggling at her reaction.
“Nana, where are you?” Legolas yelled, already near their present location. Hetaura jumped behind some bushes, much to her adoptive mother’s absolute amusement.
“Nana, have you seen Hetaura of late?” he asked his stepmother when he suddenly appeared above the palace.
Sheelewen glanced briefly at Hetaura, saw her shake her head vigorously, then looked up at Legolas. “Nay, I have not, my love.” Unbeknownst to Hetaura, Sheelewen spoke with a grin and a wink at her stepson.
It took a moment for Legolas to catch onto the trick, but he finally feigned disappointment. “Oh, all right,” he murmured.
“But, if I were you,” the queen announced, tilting her head towards the bushes Hetaura was stationed in presently, “I would check in the grove, near that pool only a third of a league out.” At the same time as she pointed a delicate finger in the place she spoke over, she jerked her head back at Hetaura’s bush.
“Thank you, Nana.” Legolas took a few paces, and he was lost into the woods, much to Hetaura’s relief. She clambered out of the foliage, but not without a few bleeding scratches.
“Now that wasn’t very nice!” the girl hissed, wary of the Elf prince’s hearing.
“What did you expect me to do? Tell him your hiding place?” Sheelewen didn’t look up from planting from litter blue flowers.
“Halfway, I did, yes.” Hetaura continued to stand, which wasn’t her brightest idea ever.
“Well, I didn’t tell him,” the queen murmured, a smirk upon her features that Hetaura did not catch.
“Yes, yes, I know. Thank–“
Let us rewind a moment, and go into Legolas’ point of view.
When he had walked into the forest, he had heard Hetaura climbing out of the bushes, and had definitely heard her hissing whisper. But he walked a short distance into the trees, turned east for a few moments, and when he exited the patch of forest, he was some feet behind Hetaura. Immediately, upon seeing him, Sheelewen had looked downward at her work, which he knew she could do so blindfolded and one hand bound behind her back.
Silently, Legolas crept up to Hetaura, and in the middle of her sentence, he slipped his arms around her waist and lifted her up. She let out a shriek loud enough, it would wake the dead. The Elf prince set her down a moment after she finished her scream. She spun around to face him, but to say quickly, it would have been an understatement.
“Legolas!” she shouted at him, fully intending to give him the fussing of the age. “Why did you–“
He reached forward and covered her mouth with his hand. She was still trying to scream at him beneath his palm. “Mother, I am going to steal this lovely young girl away from you for a moment,” he said as though everything was perfectly normal.
“All right, Legolas,” Sheelewen consented absently, still planting flowers.
Uncovering her mouth, Legolas grabbed Hetaura’s hand and dragged her out to the pool his stepmother had spoken of earlier. When they were about halfway, Hetaura stopped abruptly to rub her shoulders. Not expecting to suddenly halt in movement, Legolas lost his balance and teetered backwards. Out of the moment, Hetaura pulled ever so lightly on his hand, so he toppled back onto the ground.
Since her movement had been thoughtless, she hadn’t realized Legolas would bring her down as well.
So, the two lay in a heap on the forest floor for a split second before Hetaura jumped up to her feet, still rubbing her shoulders. A light blush came to her cheeks, unnoticed by Legolas. A second later, he was crawling to his feet and looking at her questioningly.
“Why did you stop? We are almost there,” he justified.
“You’re pulling my arm too hard,” she lied. She really didn’t want to be around him at the moment. Plus, she was sore from hiding in odd places and positions the last three days. For instance, she had wedged herself into a tiny space behind an oil lamp, in a closet full of towels, and, of late, in a thorn bush.
Legolas blinked at her excuse before continuing at a slower, easier pace. In about twenty minutes, they reached the small, clear pool. Hetaura immediately sat down on a rock near the bank and rotated her shoulders. She tried not to appear too obviously in pain.
The prince, though, realized her feeble attempt, but ignored it for the moment. He sat on a rock a safe distance away, then cleared his throat. Casually, he began a conversation with, “The chief of security interviewed the half-Elf from the other day.”
“Oh?” Hetaura stared into the water, still tending to her shoulders.
“Yes. What he said was true, we’re forced to believe. He is the heir to some fortune. His name is Kaanel. He told Albinus** that he was traveling Middle-earth, looking for keys to his fortune, and he was, indeed, without much currency. You just so happened to be his unfortunate source of money. The same story he gave us.”
Silence followed Legolas’ monologue. Then: “That’s nice,” from Hetaura. More ominous silence.
“Why are you avoiding me?” Legolas asked her suddenly. He stood from his rock and walked over to her.
Hetaura swallowed, slightly uncomfortably. She couldn’t deal with his closeness, behind her, at the moment. “I don’t–” She cleared her suddenly dry throat “–I don’t know what you speak of…Legolas.” Placing her hands in her lap, making them stay there, was a bad idea. She wished desperately for something to keep her hands occupied.
“Yes, you do,” the prince said calmly. “You have been avoiding me at all costs for three days. But I have seen you.” Gently, he placed his hands on her shoulders and began to knead at the muscles there. “You think you’re well hidden, but, in essence, you aren’t. I can smell you.” As if to prove so, he bent down and smelled her hair lightly. “Your scent is so very unique.” He sniffed around her neck now, as though to try to find a different smell. “You smell of woods and spices, with a delicate addition of those strawberries you were planting earlier.”
This was different. A different Legolas. Where did this strange one come from? Where had the former one gone? Would he ever come back to her? This Legolas was more forward. And, Hetaura thought as his hand cupped her neck, just a little more frightening from the other aspect of his change. She leaned her head forward, trying to slip out of his grasp, but instead, her eyes closed. Was he different, or was she? she suddenly thought. Her perception of him or herself could be different.
Legolas pressed his thumb against the back of her neck where a tight muscle lay coiled. She winced from the pressure put upon it, but didn’t move, despite herself. A few moments later, he stood her up, and turned her to face him.
Hetaura whispered his name, barely audible even to the Elf before he lifted his hand to her cheek. Warmth seeped through both of them. Warm and thoughts. So reasons why they could never be together ran through Hetaura’s mind, while so many thoughts saying the opposite raced through Legolas’.
Warning bells went off in the young woman’s head. One look from Legolas, and the bells died away to nothing more than dull and quiet tinkles. Her eyes fluttered shut as the prince’s other hand framed her face.
Instead of his lips meeting hers yet, Legolas traced the outline of Hetaura’s facial features very gently before anything else. When she took hold of his wrists to, obviously, steady herself, a trace of a smile flashed over his face briefly. The prince tangled his fingertips in her black curls. Slowly, his face neared hers once more.
The afternoon sun caught in Legolas’ blonde locks, causing them to look like gold to the silent bystander. He watched, unblinking, unmoving, daring not to breathe. So this was she, the one being who could stand in his way? She looked nothing more than a girl, with hardly more than sixteen winters beneath her belt. She was going to stop his precise plan? Unlikely.
Just as his lips were a whisper away from Hetaura’s, the Elven prince heard someone shout his name.
“Legolas!” A moment later, a body appeared to match the voice.
Stepping away from Hetaura speedily, Legolas and the other Elf murmured very quietly of some matter or other. Hetaura tried to listen, but couldn’t hear them for two reasons: They were speaking too low, and the blood in her rounded ears was pounding too loudly.
As the Elvish conversation carried on, Hetaura let her mind wander finally. What had just happened? What had taken over both of them? She turned her head and found that the sunlight was slanted at an angle that made her think romantic and odd thoughts. Could that have been it? She looked another way, towards the pool, and saw the trees reflecting in it. Same thoughts.
But neither of those answered seemed to satisfy the girl’s curiosity. By the time she was stumbling a few appeasing thoughts, a touch on her arm surprised her. Hetaura angled her head a different way to see through the sun, and Legolas stood before her, a wary look in his eyes and spread across his features.
“Hetaura,” he whispered. The other Elf had already retreated quickly.
“Yes? What’s wrong?” She reached out to touch his arm as well.
“We must return to the palace immediately. There is danger lurking here, too much danger.” Legolas still kept his voice low, as if trying not to alert the said danger he had spoken of.
Hetaura gave him a strange look, but consented this order, nonetheless. She let go of his arm, still unable to understand his urgency. When his hand slid down to hers, he caught her eyes. In his sky blue orbs, there was a promise. A promise that spoke of finishing what they had started here. But what else? she wondered. Held in time for a moment longer, she heard his name whispered from her own lips. A new, different tone was in her voice, she discovered. She couldn’t figure out just what it was, but decided to leave it alone as the prince pulled her along with him, back toward the palace.
“I will explain once we are safe. For now, silence is called for, so they will not hear us,” he murmured breathily.
`They?’ That frightened Hetaura. Were there spies in the forest? Watching them now? If so, for how long? What did they want with them?
Of course!” The prince, Legolas. IF anything, they would want him dead. Unconsciously, Hetaura quickened her pace, wary of everything around her.
They were about halfway when Legolas stopped. The girl came crashing against him from the abruptness.
“What is it?” she whispered.
“They are upon us,” Legolas whispered back. Puzzled, Hetaura looked at him for more elaboration. When she heard a branch breaking above them, Legolas yanked her into movement again, shouting, “Run!“
Out of the corner of her eye, Hetaura saw a giant spider jump onto the ground where they had just been standing. She screamed and ran as hard and fast as she could now.
The spider pursued them, not wanting to lose a meal. Gradually, over a short period of time, though, more spiders appeared behind them, sometimes directly beside them, but always a second late. Suddenly, one of the larger spiders jumped in front of them. Hetaura shrieked again, and Legolas stopped. Time stood still for a mere second before the prince pulled Hetaura out of the way of one of the spider’s legs.
The palace entrance wasn’t too far now, Legolas thought. Bu he didn’t think Hetaura would be able to keep up her pace that much longer at the rate they were running. On a spur of the moment memory, he pulled her, sharply, to the right, and a second later, they were surrounded in darkness, safe from the perplexed spiders. For now.
When Hetaura opened her eyes, she expected to see a spider hovering over her, venom dripping from its fangs and a thick leg pinning her to the ground, possibly impaling her abdomen. She expected death, now what she really saw. Though his face was upside down, she saw Legolas. He was staring down at her in horror. Her eyes widened in the fear of reality, of what the weight on her stomach was. Her breath caught in her throat for a second, and she was null of all pain and thought. She awaited Legolas’ words.
“Are you all right? Can you breathe? Can you hear me?” he asked, his voice a frantic whisper.
“Yes, yes, and yes,” Hetaura murmured, forcing herself to return to calm. She knew that if she continued to panic, it would ruin any chance of hope. “But I–” she paused, trying to lift her arms “–can’t move.” She pushed, once she freed her hand, at whatever was keeping her against the ground, but failed to move it. At least it didn’t seem to be a spider’s leg, broken off atop her.
Legolas let out a relieved breath, and moved so he was sitting beside her body. He reached forward to touch her cheek. Hetaura felt his cold hands slip against her flesh. That was when the scent of fresh, sticky blood came to her. Regardless of telling herself to remain calm, a panic immediately followed the scent as the moment sank in.
“Legolas,” she gasped. She began taking quite, erratic breaths to the point of hyperventilation. She choked out his name again as her vision became hazy and dull. “Don’t…don’t leave me.”
“I won’t. But you, more so, need to stay with me. Do not move.” Shakily, the Elven prince shifted, so he was kneeling beside her waist. Hetaura couldn’t see him, exactly, but she suddenly felt the weight over her abdomen being lifted ever so slightly. She could hear the Elf let out a labored and strained breath as the heaviness decreased.
In a few more seconds, at least twenty, the weight–which was a branch, strangely, the size of a spider’s leg–was removed and tossed aside. Legolas rushed closer to her, and lifted her head onto his lap.
“Are you still with me?” he asked quietly and desperately.
“Y-yes,” Hetaura said, her voice quaking. Oh, it hurt all over, now; to breathe, to talk, and even to think.
Legolas let out a sigh of relief once more, and held her against his chest. Hetaura knew he was crying a moment later. This surprised her.
“What happened?” she made herself ask, despite a blinding pain when she did.
“We escaped the spiders in this cave. We both must have lost consciousness for a while, because, when I looked at you, I thought you had died,” he managed. “A tree branch had you pinned down. Let us hope you are not bleeding internally.” He held her close still, but the thought of internal bleeding scared Hetaura to no end.
When her hands went numb, she tried to clutch at Legolas’ tunic, as a life reserve, to keep him here. She was afraid now, more so than she had ever been in her life. She feared that death would take her in this painful way. Angels above, she hoped not.
Legolas could sense her fear. He knew she was frightened from the way she held onto him. In an attempt to soothe her, the prince leaned back to look at her. Her eyes looked glassy, almost distant. Her face was white as the winter snow.
Gently, he touched her cheek, and ran his hands back into her short, black locks. Combing his fingers through her curls, he saw some of her stress visibly disappear. Her eyes gained a little more life, and a tiny bit of color came back to her cheeks.
“Hetaura,” he whispered. Her eyes, which had seemed to be staring at nothing, snapped into focus over his face. Warmth seeped into her green orbs. “You will be all right. I promise you.” He told her that not only to calm her, but because he knew it was the truth. She would live. She would be all right.
*‘Nana,’ in Elvish, literally means mother, with two soft ‘a’s’. How Hetaura is using it, she is pronouncing it as some people call their grandmother, Nana with a short ‘a’ then a soft ‘a.’ But she doesn’t think of Sheelewen as her grandmother.
**Albinus is not an Elvish name. It is an Old English name that I had to use since I don’t have an Elvish dictionary to use to find names. So, please excuse my outward sorce of names. 🙂
Yay! I made myself type it all up! Aren’t you so proud of me? Now, just to type up the twenty-thirty OTHER pages in my notebook. LadyRiona