Recap of Tale 6 . . .
I missed the edge of the cliff, landing instead on Legolas. In the most spectacular show of how grace can be lost on an elf, he tipped over onto his back, me on top of him. We stared at each other for several moments, both of us startled.
I quickly smiled. “Well hello, Legolas. Thanks for—!”
The kiss surprised me, caught me off guard. I froze at first, uncertain as to the abruptness. Then my mind slowly warmed up to the idea and I responded hesitantly, bewildered by this straightforwardness. I tried to pull back at one point, but he followed and put his arms around me, pinning me against him.
“Goblins are right behind us and you finally take my advice!” Aragorn growled. “You need to redirect your priorities!”
Someone grabbed my collar and hauled me back. I choked as my windpipe was cut off. “Careful!” I rasped, rubbing at my throat to ease the choked feeling as I stood.
Legolas sat up, blushing cutely. “. . . When you did not come out of the mines, I feared . . . Forgive me . . .”
I helped him up. “Beg not for absolution now. We must keep moving.”
We continued on our way, down the mountain and past Kheled-zaram, pausing when it was discovered that Frodo and Sam were lagging behind because of their injuries. Aragorn and Boromir carried them the rest of the distance we traveled that day.
We settled in a pleasant-looking dale beside the bubbling Silverlode and there Sam and Frodo were tended. Legolas was forced to sit on me to keep me still while he looked at the wound on my shoulder.
[You could have asked!] I spat. [I would have let you look at it!]
[Yes, look at it. But it needs to be wrapped!]
[Why bother? I have already bled all the wound will bleed!]
He popped my head gently but firmly with his knuckles in a disciplinary action. [You think I am going to let that go?]
“You two bicker as though you are wed,” an amused voice noted.
We each snapped our head around to glare at Aragorn, who was still working with Frodo. He glanced over at us, then did a double-take and asked innocently, as though unaware of the reason for our anger, “What?”
With a snort, Legolas turned back to me and grabbed my tunic.
[Do not rip it!]
[Well what am I supposed to do?]
[Just let me remove it! I can wash and repair it!]
He sighed tolerantly. [As you wish.] He let me up and I pulled the tunic off. [Just do not turn around.]
[I am not here to entertain you,] I snapped in reply.
As the bandages would jar loose with too much movement, my entire chest and shoulders were wrapped once the wounds had been cleaned. Admittedly, I felt far better with the wounds taken care of. I washed my tunic in the river and then, with a thorn and a very thin vine, I began to sew the holes closed. I had such stitches all over my clothing; I had purposefully made the tunic large so that it could be repaired many times before it needed to be replaced.
“Kyshri! Have something to eat!”
I continued my sewing. “Cannot. Busy.”
[Kyshri! You must eat something!]
I lifted my head and glared narrowly over my shoulder at Legolas. [You told me not to turn around! Do you really expect me to walk backward and sit at the fire that way?]
[I did not mean now and you know it!]
“You are quite right,” Boromir said, leaning toward Aragorn. “They do sound married.” Legolas whirled as I shifted my glare to the human, but Boromir was not at all impressed. “What? It is the truth. Ever since she joined us you two have squabbled like a pair of biddies.”
Legolas was scandalized. ” A biddy, am I? I will have you know that it is elven custom for—“
“I am well aware of that,” Boromir interrupted him. “And I also know that that does not apply to her, seeing as she herself is a warrior.”
Legolas froze as though struck, then hunched his shoulders and narrowed his eyes, muttering to himself angrily as he went back to his meal.
“Well done, Boromir!” I called. “I thank you!”
“Kyshri, come have something to eat,” Aragorn ordered. “You can finish that later.”
“Like this?” I queried.
“Yes, like that.”
I set my work with the rest of my things and joined the others around the fire. Face pink, Legolas was the only one who refused to look at me the few times I spoke to him.
Since we had traveled long after dusk, supper was late. We decided to rest for a few hours and because we were still close enough to the mines to be found, Legolas and I, with our sharper ears and eyes, were asked to keep watch in that time in case we had been followed.
About an hour after the others had fallen asleep, I got up from my place on the bank of the Silverlode and moved to where Legolas sat by himself, looking the opposite direction. I sat behind him and leaned back against him so that he was supporting my weight.
He started slightly and leaned forward as though to get away from me. I snorted and said softly, [Still afraid of me, are you? Stop your cowering and sit upright! We shall use each other for a brace!]
He sat up again and leaned tentatively back against me as I did the same to him. After a moment he relaxed, seeing that I was not playing a trick on him, and began to work once more on the arrows he had been fashioning. For lack of anything else to do, I grabbed the ones he had finished tipping and started winding the feathers onto the other end of them.
We whiled away the entire night that way, our ears listening for footsteps. It was not supposed to be the whole night the others slept, but at the end of the time we decided that if the orcs and goblins had not reached us, either they had decided not to come after us or they were lost and would never find us anyway.
Aragorn was furious, naturally, but we were unrepentant. The others felt refreshed and it was dawn; I knew that we would get to Lorien by evening if we did not stop too often.
I sewed on the move and Legolas helpfully carried my pack, though his face was still pink and he still would not look at me. I attributed it the fact that I was revealing much skin and it was elven tradition that only a female’s lifemate and immediate family saw more than the `decreed’ amount.
Twilight was approaching when we caught sight of Lorien. Our final distance was a wide meadow. I slipped my tunic over my head, tucked it into my trousers, took my pack from Legolas, and began the sprint across the field just in case there were more crebain on the lookout. But as I neared the forest I heard a rustle from the midst of the trees and reacted instantly, digging into the earth the heel of the foot that was currently on the ground.
Sheer momentum and the mud carried me on several feet. I might have fallen if Legolas had not been right behind me to catch me. [What is it?]
I glanced around. [We are being watched. Go ahead with the others–I will check through the trees.]
He nodded and headed into the forest after Boromir. I brought my ears up and out the scant quarter-inch they could go, listening intently. I could now definitely hear whispers that were not my friends’ voices. I leapt up into a tree, all the way into its highest branches, and began circling the area, spiralling inward slowly. Surprised cries led me toward the interior.
I paused high above the scene and relaxed. As I had hoped, it had only been the Lorien elves. Well, I had no desire to associate with them, so I would just—
I rubbed the bridge of my nose. So much for waiting. [I am here.]
[It is safe.]
Yes, but I am not welcome.
With no other choice, I hopped to the ground. The Lorien elves stared at me, clearly stunned. Several lowered their bows disbelievingly and a whisper broke out among them.
[Is it really her?]
[But she disappeared centuries ago!]
Haldir was surprised as well, but he quickly recovered and frowned darkly at me. No, I was certainly not welcome. [You know the law. How dare you set foot in a forest that no longer belongs to you.]
[Had I not been called,] I replied stiffly, [I would not have entered this forest that I was never part of.]
[You are supposed to be dead.]
[Are you disappointed?]
He struck me hard. My head snapped to the side so fast my neck ached. There was a scuffle behind me; Legolas was struggling furiously to get to me, held back only by Aragorn and some of the Lorien elves. He glared death at Haldir, who was not the least bit concerned.
I returned my attention to Haldir. [If that was supposed to be discipline, you will definitely have to try harder than that to succeed.]
He grabbed my head in a powerful grip as though he was going to crush it, but then relaxed and drew me into a hug, tucking my head under his chin and embracing me tightly. [They told me you were dead,] he whispered. [I . . . I hated you for running away . . . hated you for dying . . .]
I lifted my arms and rested them reassuringly against the small of his back. [Haldir, it was a lie.]
[It was not!] he insisted. [I searched for you for two hundred years! I traveled all over Middle-earth, but no one had seen you! When I returned I was told that the tracer hawk had not found you. A tracer hawk! We could only assume that you had indeed died.]
I managed to rest my chin on his shoulder. [I had changed greatly in two centuries. A tracer hawk cannot trace the past in the now.]
He squeezed me a little and my wound twinged, but it was not bad and I did not let on the pain. [Yes, you have changed. I almost did not believe it was you at first. Come, enter Lorien. I want to hear everything that has happened to you.]
[If you wish. There is little to tell.]
He took my hand. I turned to the others. “You may relax. We are safe here.” I immediately noticed that Legolas had separated himself from the group and was leaning morosely against one of the mellyrn trees. Telrak, who had been frightened by the Watcher outside Moria and had not been seen since, now landed carefully on his shoulder and chirped softly.
Aragorn looked at me. “Do something!” he hissed.
I sighed and freed myself from Haldir’s grip, walking over to where Legolas stood by himself. [. . . Legolas?] He flatly refused to look at me, either by turning his head away or closing his eyes or both. But my stubborn nature would not let that deter me from getting the answer I wanted. [Legolas, what is the meaning of this? I thought you were eager to see Lorien.]
He finally lifted his head and I could see the hurt in his eyes. [I would never have been so eager had I known I would lose you.]
I frowned. [ . . . Lose me? Whatever do you mean?]
He looked away again.
I stepped toward him and stretched out my hand. [Legolas . . .]
He flinched, though I had barely touched him, and I withdrew for a moment to come up with another idea. Well, wrestling had always worked for Sulaine, so I grabbed Legolas’ arms and whirled him around into an open space. Telrak took to the sky as I kicked his legs out from under him and sent him to the ground. He was too surprised to react at first, but the indignity of the situation finally hit him and he grew angry and flipped us.
I, however, had centuries of experience with wrestling. With five comrades who often needed some sort of physical release of emotion, I had learned very quickly how to wrestle and I knew how to read them for their next move. Male elves were devious wrestlers, but female elves had the ability to figure the trick and turn it against them.
I also knew that if I sustained any injury, at this point Legolas meant for me to have it. I was not sure what he meant when he said he would `lose me’, but if it was what I thought then he was severely mistaken and needed to be set right. And since the male half of any species learns best in a fight, wrestling was a perfect, controllable way to make him learn.
After several moments of thrashing about in the leaves on the forest floor I came out the victor in yet another match. Legolas, panting, stared up at me in confusion. [Why . . .?]
I was not the least bit winded. [Because you would tell me nothing. Will you tell me now or do you wish to continue?]
He looked away once more. [. . . You said that you had almost been married and—]
I could not help it. It was just as I had thought it was and just as ridiculous as I had known it would sound when I thought of it. [What, you thought Haldir was the one . . .?]
So, the big question that has been plaguing me ever since I wrote the Tale. Does anybody think Elves wrestle or are they too far above such nonsense? Did they perhaps do it for fun or maybe only if by some strange turn of fate two suitors felt the need to fight over a female? Let me know!