“Well?” Narbeleth asked Legolas, “which Haven?”
“Gardens of Galdalf.”
She just stood there several moments letting that sink in. “No, I will not go there. Anyplace but there!”
“Why? Because Elrond is there?”
“Because Glorfindel is there! You don’t know what happen after you left…”
“But I do know,” he told her, “you spent a month frolicking with Elladan and Elohir and Glorfindel found you.”
“He saw us. He was outraged. He whipped the twins with his belt!”
“He should have whipped you, too!”
“Whip me? Nay! I think he would liked to have killed me. I cannot face him!”
“But you shall, Narbeleth…and Elrond…you will apologize to both of them!”
“How can you ask this of me? And Galadriel is there? And Gandalf? How can I live around such as they?”
“They are exactly the type you need to be around. You want my name-ring? You want to someday marry me and have my children? You will do as I ask and stay there during the times I am away!”
“No! No buts! You will do as I want…or forget it!”
Narbeleth was angry and hurt and tired. So long she had loved Legolas and wanted him to be a real mate. Every other Elf to her had been but like a toy to play with. But she could see he was resolute. He could be so stubborn! “All right,” she finally said, “I’ll go there…but I think this is a cruel thing you do to me!”
Legolas sighed, glad she was at least willing to go. “I’m not trying to be cruel, Maiden, I’m trying to get you in a position where you will learn some valuable lessons…the main one being…staying faithful to me while I am away.”
“I could do that without having to live in a Haven.”
“I don’t think so,” he said, “and you may even carouse at Gandalf’s…Haldir is there now.”
That surprised Narbeleth and she almost smiled…but stopped herself. “How did that come to happen?”
“I won’t frolic with him. I promise you.”
“Don’t make me a promise I know you won’t keep.”
“You have no faith or trust in me at all, do you?”
“Not on this matter. But it is my hope in time you will come to realize if you do want me as your husband, you will have to be faithful to me.”
“And what of you of the times you will on Arda now? If you give me your name-ring?”
“I will be faithful to you. I am worthy of my word and trust.”
She couldn’t argue with that, for she knew he was, and would be if he promised so. “I will have a place of my own there, or will I have to live with some other?”
“You will have a small cottage of your own in one of the gardens.”
“There is no way I can change your mind about this?”
“Nay, it is made up.”
The thought of Haldir popped into her head again, but she chased it away. “Then so be it.”
Everyone at the Haven was on edge the morning Legolas was to bring Narbeleth. They all had breakfast together at Gandalf’s request.
“So what is this Narbeleth really like?” Gwindor asked Gandalf. “Is she really as terrible as all the stories I’m been hearing the past couple of days?”
“She’s worse,” Elrond grumbled, who was sitting next to Gwindor.
“But she was a warrior-maiden?” inquired Mablung. “She fought on the front lines?”
“She did,” said Glorfindel, “I’ll give her that much. She’s as bold and brave as any Elf, no one can deny that.”
“I’m rather anxious to meet her,” Voronwë said.
“She’s like no other,” Haldir ventured to interject.
Everyone looked at him. He grinned wide.
Galadriel gave him an admonishing look and said warningly, “Haldir, we expect you to be a help in this matter, we all know of your past experience with Narbeleth. You must now try to be a good influence on her and not be seduced by her. We are doing Legolas a favor. He wants her to change, understand?”
Haldir felt embarrassed now and stopped smiling and nodded. “Yes, Lady Galadriel, I do understand.”
But no one at that breakfast who knew Narbeleth really thought the poor marchwarden of the Golden Wood had a chance against the wiles of Narbeleth.
Everyone knew this was but perhaps the last calm before the storm.
Gandalf and Galadriel were the first two to greet Narbeleth when she and Legolas arrived before noon.
“Nice to see you again,” Galadriel said, giving her a little hug. “You will have a cottage next to mine. I hope we will become good friends.”
Narbeleth was shocked at this greeting. The Lady of the Golden Wood wanted to be her friend? Yeah, right.
Then Gandalf stuck out his hands to her. “Welcome!” he said too cheerfully, “May you find peace here.”
She managed to give him a little smile and let him squeeze her hands lightly then he let go. Gandalf, the Wizard! Oh, Legolas, she was thinking, what are you trying to do to me? But, at least she did now have his name-ring on her finger and that made her happy!
“Come!” Galadriel said, putting one of her arms around Narbeleth’s and locking her beside her. “Come meet the others…there are some you do not know.” And she led Narbeleth off toward the Big Garden.
Narbeleth gritted her teeth. Be nice, she kept telling herself. Be careful what you say!
Gandalf swapped a glance with Legolas and said, “So far so good?”
Legolas had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, but he managed a smile. And they walked to the garden in silence. They were both worried what Narbeleth might say or do.
There they all sat in lawn chairs in a semi-circle: Elrond, Celebrian (his wife), Glorfindel, Gwindor, Mablung, Veronwë, and Haldir…and then they stood up.
Galadriel walked Narbeleth right up to in front of Elrond. Everything got dead quiet; even the birds stopped singing for some reason.
Narbeleth met Elrond’s intense eyes head-on; not looking away from his angry eyes for even one moment. She knew she had to do that! She had to stay strong! But out of Edalie courtesy, she then bowed low to him, then straightening up, she met his eyes again and didn’t flinch. Slowly she spoke to him, choosing her words. “Lord Elrond, Lady Celebrian…too often I display poor judgment and callous behavior, I beg your pardons for my actions with your sons, I offer no excuses. I have deep respect for you both and all your family though you might not think so. I meant harm to no one. I am sorry I have caused you much distress…please, forgive me.”
It was obvious Elrond had a lot he’d like to say to Narbelelth, but he restrained himself, and just nodded to her apology accepting it, as did Celebrian.
Narbeleth was glad that was over!
But then Galadriel led her to stand before Glorfindel and Narbeleth grew anxious. She had a hard time looking up to the tall Great Warrior, but forced herself to face him. “In a weak voice she started to say, “Poor were my actions…”
But he cut her off. “Save your words,” he told her, “I’ll be talking to you later.”
She was happy of that. She didn’t want to have to apologize for what he saw in front of everyone there!
Galadriel led her to the next three: “Narbeleth, please meet Gwindor, of Nargothrond…” and he extended his hand so she took it and they shook. “And this is Mablung, of Doriath…” and they shook hands. “And this is Veronwë of Gondolin…”and they shook hands. “And this young Elf you know…” and Haldir gave her a nice smile and held out his hand and Narbeleth took it and gave him a nice smile back…” She was so thankful Haldir was there!
Then Galadriel took a hold of Narbeleth’s arm again. “Come, child, I will show you where your cottage is,” and led her off.
“Well! There are cakes and candy and tea and wine in my cottage!” Gandalf exclaimed, and he headed into the dwelling and Legolas and the others followed.
Inside, Legolas was pouring himself a cup of wine when Haldir walked up. “Nice to see you again,” Haldir greeted him and stuck out his hand. “I hear you are a busy little bee?”
Legolas shook it. “Yes, I’m very busy,” he replied, “and you?”
They had a few moments of awkward silence. Legolas downed his cup of wine without stopping and placed the empty cup on the table.
“Look, Legolas, about Narbeleth…”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m not going to.”
“You got a bigger heart than I would have.”
“Just treat her well. That’s all I ask.”
Gandalf walked up. “Legolas, you really got to leave right away?”
“Yes, I’ve got to meet Menelya in Avallone. I best go say good-by to Narbeleth and be off…thanks, Gandalf…I owe you.” And he walked off out of the room waving good-by to the others.
“So Menelya is a Maia?” Haldir asked Gandalf.
“That she is.”
“I’ve always been jealous of that Prince.”
“I know.” Gandalf returned, but you have admirable qualities also, don’t forget that. So, come, let us mingle.”
And they joined the others.