Mandy put on a warm nightgown and was putting away her riding clothes when she realized she didn’t have her cloak.
“I bet Orophin has it! Oh, well.” she shrugged. Crawling between the sheets, she fell fast asleep.
The next weeks passed uneventfully, with Orophin teaching her more fencing and archery as well. She wandered Lorien with Legolas, Tethcelebel, and Elwen. Tethcelebel gave her a horse to use while she was there, and they had many pleasant hours riding and racing. She kept her sword lessons a secret from Legolas, Celebel, and Elwen, though she guessed that Galadriel knew. Thus, Orophin would teach her at night. After one particular hard lesson, she practically fell into bed, with just enough energy to put on a silver night-shift.
She woke early in the morning. She started stretching, then grimaced. “Ow…” she said, sitting up. Her whole body was sore from her fighting lesson last night. She slowly got up, limping slightly. Her shoulders and entire back were all knotted up and sore. It hurt for her to even shrug.
“A hot bath would feel so good right now. But I fear that I won’t be able to get out of it.” she thought, pulling on a robe.
She picked out her riding clothes, a bar of soap, and went out of her room. She went down the stairs and headed towards the river. She found an enclosed part that was calm and had a waterfall. She slipped out of her night-shift, grabbed the soap, and went into the water.
“Oh….this feels so good.” she thought happily, scrubbing her hair, “I like natural showers.”
The water came up above her shoulders and was cool but not freezing. She soaked for a little longer, and then waded out. She pulled on the tight undershirt and pants of her riding outfit. She lay on the ground absorbing the sun, letting it dry her hair. She gazed up at the trees, thinking about her family. Next thing she knew, the sun was overhead.
“Whoa. What happened?” she said aloud.
“You fell asleep.” a voice answered her. She sat up quickly, then winced. She looked around, seeking the person.
“Who’s there?” she asked, “Show yourself!”
“If you insist.” a tall elf stepped into the clearing. He was broad shouldered, had long dark hair, and light grey eyes that stood out. His face was young, but his eyes held the wisdom of many ages.
“Man ne le?” she asked, taken in by the grey eyes.
“I am Elrohir, Elrond’s son.” he answered, smiling slightly.
“Elrond’s son? I didn’t know he had children…” she mused thoughtfully.
“Yes, he does.” he smiled broader.
“What were you sneaking up on me for?” she asked angrily, whirling around to glare at him.
He almost laughed again, stopping because of her glare. She made quite a picture, standing there in only an undershirt and pants, red hair everywhere, and a flush that made her even prettier.
“I had no intention of sneaking up on you. Honest. I was going by when I caught sight of your…hrm…clothes. I was just making sure you were alright.” he cleared his throat awkwardly.
“You mean you were watching me bathe?!” she seethed angrily, came closer to him, eyes growing dark.
“NO! No…I assure you, M’lady. I wasn’t doing that! You were already sound asleep when I came upon you. So I went back a little further to wait for you to wake up and keep anyone else from waking you.” he defended himself almost angrily.
Mandy glared at him for a few more seconds, then turned away.
“Thank you, M’lord.” she said softly, “I fear I have a temper to match my hair.” He laughed.
“I am glad you have not stayed angry with me. I meant no harm. I just didn’t want to leave you out here by yourself. You are close to the border of Lothlorien.” he answered solemnly.
“I was just startled by your presence. I didn’t expect anyone to be near me.” she explained.
“That is alright.” he answered, “Now…um…could you please get dressed. It is very distracting trying to talk when you only have on…”
“Alright. I get the picture.” she turned away, thinking, “He’s very honest. Back home, this would be fashion.” She smiled as she slipped on the tunic and gathered up her clothes. She walked back out to find him with a dark horse.
“Oh…” she gasped, looking at it, “he’s beautiful.” He turned at her gasp.
“Hanta le. He has served me for many years.” he stroked its nose, “Come, I will give you a ride back to Lothlorien.”
“Hanta le.” she walked over to him.
He mounted up and reached down. She grasped his arm as he pulled her up, wincing slightly as her whole body complained. He noticed but didn’t say anything. He nudged the horse into a walk back towards Galadhrim.
“Where are you from?” he asked her.
“Um…I traveled from Gondor.” she answered, not quite telling the truth.
“Oh…then you must know my sister, Arwen.”
“Arwen is your sister?” she said in disbelief, “then that would make me…” She broke off.
“That would make you my niece and I would be your uncle.” he finished the sentence, “That is if you accept Aragorn’s offer.”
“How did you know about that?” she gasped.
“Very few women have….red hair. Especially Elven women.” he laughed.
“Oh…that does give me away.” she put a hand up to her hair self-consciously.
“Though I was coming to see a mortal maid. I didn’t expect to find an elf-wen.” he pondered, “Do you mind telling me how you became an Elf?”
“I don’t know.” she chuckled at his look, “Honest. It just sort of happened. I’m not sure.”
“That’s very interesting.” he mused thoughtfully. His keen ears heard her soft intake of breath at every jolt the horse made. “Are you hurt?” he asked after a particularly loud gasp.
“No…I am not hurt. Just sore.” she answered, rubbing her neck gently.
“Sore? From what?” he asked, looking back at her.
“A lesson.” she answered vaguely.
Elrohir could tell she wasn’t going to go into great detail so he dropped the subject. Mandy laughed slightly, “I wonder if Orophin is as sore as I am. Probably not.” Elrohir looked around.
“It is good to be back in Lothlorien.” he thought silently, “It has been far too long since I have been here in peaceful times.”
As he rode into the city, elves stared at him and Mandy. This was the second time Mandy had ridden into the city with a man, this time Elrond’s son. Orophin came and greeted Elrohir and saw Mandy.
“Mandy…where were you?” he asked, helping her down, “Legolas was about ready to…”
“No, I wasn’t.” Legolas came up and took Mandy by the arm, “I was just wondering where she was.”
Mandy looked from one face to the other. “I just went down to the river.” she answered, “Then Elrohir was kind enough to offer me a ride into the city.”
“Elrohir. It is so good to see you, mellon nin.” Legolas grasped his arm in greeting, “From where did you come? Gondor or Imladris?”
“Gondor. I bring greetings to you both from Aragorn king. Also to Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn.” Elrohir smiled, “He wishes to know when you are coming back, Mandy. Though I think he is in for a surprise.” His eyes twinkled, taking in her hair, clothes, and ears.
“I think you are right. Do not tell him. I want it to be a surprise.” she laughed, putting a hand up to her ears.
“Elrohir!!” Tethcelebel raced up and hugged him, “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming to visit, Cousin?”
“I figured you already knew.” he teased.
“Oh, you’re right. I did.” she laughed, “I see you have already met Mandy.”
“Yes, I have.” he smiled at her.
“Well, don’t just stand there. Come eat something. You too, Mandy. I’ll bet you haven’t had breakfast yet.” Tethcelebel led them to a table set up with breads, drinks, and all kinds of fruit.
Mandy took a plate and filled it with a few fruit and a piece of light, but filling bread. She took a drink of something; she wasn’t sure what it was. It tasted like all different kinds of fruit and soothed her throat. She went and sat beneath a tree, legs crossed under her. Legolas came over to her.
“Can I sit down?” he asked.
“Sure, Legolas.” she moved over. She made a face as her muscles screamed in defiance.
“What is it?” he noticed her grimace, “What is wrong?”
“Nothing stretching won’t heal.” she answered, slowly letting herself down till her head touched the ground, “Oh…that feels good.” She sat up again and looked at him. “What?” she snapped, noticing the look he gave her.
“Nothing.” he laughed silently.
“Alright. I can see you laughing, but it does help when your muscles are all tensed up.” she growled.
“Oh. Turn around.” he understood.
She looked at him questioningly but did as he said. He slowly and gently started to massage her shoulders.
“Aih…oo.” she started to wince, then relaxed as he loosened the muscles that had been cramping, “That feels so good.”
She closed her eyes, leaning into it. Legolas smiled, his long fingers finding the knots and working them out. She glanced up at Legolas. He held her eyes. He started to lean down. Then, someone cleared his throat. Her eyes flew towards Elrohir as he came upon them.
“That’s the second time in one day you’ve sneaked up on me.” she teased blushing slightly, as Legolas stood. He laughed, catching Legolas’s eyes above her.
“I fear I have intruded. I was just going to challenge Legolas to a sword fight to see if I am still better than him, but I think he is otherwise occupied.” he started to walk away.
“No, he isn’t.” Mandy smiled at Legolas, “Hanta le. They feel much better. Go fight.”
She leaned up against the tree, her legs drawn under her and her hair falling down again. Legolas caught up to Elrohir. They slapped each other on the back and went to the training fields. Mandy watched them go, her thoughts all confused and jumbled. Finally, she sighed and stood. Walking softly, she went back to the clearing where the table had been. Tethcelebel smiled knowingly at her.
“Mandy? Do you want to go to the training fields?” she asked slyly.
“Sure.” Mandy laughed. Tethcelebel led her towards the field.
“Hey, wait up!” Elwen raced over to them, “I am going too.”
“I figured you might. Did you think we wouldn’t wait for you, Cousin?” Tethcelebel teased playfully.
“No, I just thought you might forget.” Elwen bantered back. They laughed good-naturedly, and they all walked to the fields.
Mandy looked around.
“Wow. That’s a lot of fighting.” Mandy found Elrohir and Legolas fighting strongly.
“Yes. All elves come here to train.” Tethcelebel waved at her cousins.
“Could I try?” Mandy asked her.
“I suppose so, but who are you going to fight? I would, but I am not dressed for it.” she answered. Mandy said nothing and just stared at Legolas and Elrohir fighting.
“Oh…you wouldn’t!” Tethcelebel looked at Mandy, who grinned mischievously at her, “You are crazy!” Tethcelebel started laughing.
“I know it. Do you want to watch?” Mandy turned to Elwen and Tethcelebel and waited, questioningly.
“Why not? This should be interesting.” Elwen shrugged and followed her onto the field.
The men practicing stopped and stared at the women as they went around or between them. Orophin waved and came over.
“Hello, Mandy. Tethcelebel. Elwen.” he nodded to them, “What are you doing here?” Mandy smiled and whispered her plan into his ear. His laugh rang across the field.
“Do you have a sword?” he asked, still laughing. When she shook her head, he called, “Las!”
A boy ran over. He was taller than Mandy though still a child in elf years. “Give her your sword.” Orophin commanded.
The boy was surprised and just stood there, “Sir?”
“You heard me. Do no worry. You will get it back.” Orophin nodded to him.
Las shrugged and gave it over. She took it and smiled her thanks. She sliced through the air, testing its weight. They proceeded to walk over to the guys fighting. Legolas and Elrohir had stripped to the waist and were fighting heavily. Suddenly, they noticed Mandy, Tethcelebel, and Elwen.
“Mandy. What are you doing here?” Legolas asked, looking questioningly at them.
“Just came to watch.” Mandy answered, “Winner plays me.”
Elrohir choked on his water and Legolas just stared, as if he didn’t hear what he thought he did.
“What?” Legolas glanced at Mandy disbelievingly, “You are not serious?”
“Oh, but I am.” Mandy’s eyes twinkled, “The winner plays me. Or are they afraid I’ll beat them?” She turned to Tethcelebel, eyes opened innocently.
“I’ll bet that’s it! They’re afraid they’ll be beaten by a girl!” Tethcelebel joined in the game.
“Legolas is just afraid that another girl will beat him again.” Elwen laughed, “Do not worry, Brother. At least it won’t be your sister this time.”
“Alright. Winner plays Mandy.” Elrohir agreed. Legolas nodded reluctantly. They started to fight, and soon Legolas was the victor. Mandy stood ready.
“Are you sure?” Legolas asked once more. Mandy met Orophin’s eyes and grin.
“Yes, I am sure.” she smiled.
Legolas shrugged and they started fighting. Legolas was using his two long handled knives while Mandy had the sword. He swung down slow by his account but fast for mortals. She blocked it easily. She came back with a blow that was a lot faster than his. He fought faster. She twisted around as he brought another blow down. He came at her, and she just dodged to the side. Orophin came up.
“How’s she doing?” he asked Elrohir.
“Much better than I would have expected. She’s holding her own with him.” Elrohir watched them intently.
“Legolas is in for a big surprise.” Orophin said, smiling to himself.
Suddenly, Mandy tripped and fell. She could hear him coming at her so she rolled onto one knee, her sword clanging loudly against his. They stayed that way for a little while, breathing heavily. Mandy’s eyes were twinkling while Legolas just stared down at her. A faint glimmer of admiration flashed through his eyes then disappeared as he backed up. She stood. Legolas fought swifter. Mandy kept pace with him, blow for blow. Mandy stumbled just for a second, and Legolas came at her. Mandy, in one fluid motion, tripped Legolas and lowered her sword to his neck.
“I won.” she gasped out, breathing heavily.
Legolas silently grasped his knife and brought it towards her. She saw it coming and ducked. She brought her leg around in a high kick, her foot connecting with his wrist. He let the knife fall.
“I won.” she said.
“You won this time.” Legolas admitted grudgingly. The Elves around them erupted into applause and cheers.
“Looks like we drew quite a crowd.” Mandy leaned down to help him up.
Legolas grasped her wrist. She wasn’t expecting him to pull so hard and lost her balance. She threw out her arms, trying to balance. She fell down as he fell back with a thud. She landed on her hands and rolled over. They looked at each other for a few seconds, and then she burst into laughter. He joined in, standing up. This time, he leaned down and pulled her up.
“Hanta le, Legolas.” she murmured, eyes dancing. She picked up the sword, cleaned it off, and searched out Las.
“Las!” she called, waving, “It’s a good sword. Hanta le.” She handed it to him. He took it, looking at her eyes wide. Tethcelebel came over.
“Good job, Mandy.” she congratulated, “But where did you learn to fight?”
“Lessons. From a friend.” Mandy laughed, eyes twinkling. They walked back to Legolas, who had been joined by Orophin and Elrohir.
“I would have to agree with Celebel. Nice work, taught some sense into my brother that boys can be beaten by girls.” Elwen laughed knowingly.
“Nice work, Mandy.” Orophin smiled. Elrohir just shook his head.
“Aragorn won’t be expecting to see an elfwen who can fight as well as any warrior to be coming back to Gondor as his daughter.” Elrohir laughed, “You will cause a big stir when I bring you back to Gondor.”
Mandy coughed and sputtered on her water, “You take me back?”
“Why yes. I was sent to escort you back…when you are ready.” Elrohir explained.
“So soon? I didn’t expect…” Mandy didn’t finish.
“Soon? Mandy, you’ve been gone for a month and a half. Not long by elf count but long by mortal. Aragorn and Arwen are anxious to see you, as well as all the hobbits have been pestering them about you.” Elrohir looked at her.
“A month? Then that means…” she stopped, going pale, “Please excuse me. I…I…need to think.” Her eyes had a wild light to them as she ran into the woods, back towards Galadhrim.
“Should someone go with her?” Legolas asked, looking around.
“No, she needs to figure this out for herself.” Tethcelebel spoke with wisdom, “Trust me, Cousin. She will be alright.” Legolas looked down at the small and slim elf that was his age, but had far more wisdom….and sadness than he.
“You are right, Cousin.” he hugged her.
Mandy wandered around Lothlorien, not paying attention to where she was going. She realized that she had been in Middle Earth for almost five months.
“I wonder how my family is,” she thought, walking through the trees and along a laid path, “I do miss them. How long am I to be here, Lord?”
She suddenly came into a clearing, with a fountain in the middle. It was enclosed in rock and the little waterfall came down from a source she could not see. The water was smooth and clear, except the part that the waterfall came down. The clearing was enclosed in trees with a paved path going towards Galadhrim. She walked towards the fountain, struck by the calm and almost severe quietness of it. She felt like she had just walked into a cathedral.
“Aaya, Mandy.” Galadriel appeared next to the pool.
Mandy nodded, hearing her voice in her head.
“I have expected you.” Galadriel seemed to float as she walked, “Will you look into the mirror?”
Mandy stood still, seeming to be frozen. “I am afraid of what I will see.” Mandy answered, coming closer.
“There is no need to fear. You will only see things that are or were, and some things that have not yet come to pass.” Galadriel drew Mandy towards the mirror. Mandy took a deep breath and looked in.
hey everyone! i hope you enjoyed this chapter…in the next one, some of your questions will get answered, i hope