The man’s fine brows raised when the maiden fainted. This was his first day on patrol and he had not expected this reaction from an intruder.
He nudged her softly with his boot, hoping to wake her, but she did not stir. A frown appeared on his face as he pushed back strands of her hair to check for a pulse on her neck.
“Ai!” he gasped under his breath. ‘Tipped ears! The maiden is an elf!’ The man gingerly placed one arm underneath her knees and one behind her head. He picked up the limp form in his arms. His gaze settled on her face for a moment. A small smile spread across his lips. ‘ Such beauty.‘ he thought. No other woman in his home had such soft features. He snapped out of his trance and looked at the bandits ahead. None had noticed her absence. The man disappeared into the shadows. Someone placed a hand on his shoulder and he jumped.
“What are you doing, Beriadan?!” a man exhaled sharply.
Beriadan turned to face his uncle, Rumil. He guestured at the girl in his arms. Rumil stared and touched her firery hair.
“She could pass for a daughter of Feanor.” he gaped.
A cloud of realization dawned over him. “You should have left her alone! They’ll be looking for her soon!”
“Well, I couldn’t let her have the brooch of the Lady, could I? Also, she’s of our kind. Look.” Beriadan shifted slighly so the girl’s head lolled to one side.
“You’re a foolish Elfling.” his uncle muttered. His forehead creased as he thought. “You may bring her. Your father sould know what to do.”
The two elves walked away from the humans, concealing themselves in the shadows. Many hours passed along with periodical stops to check on the girl’s status. They finally reached the towering mallon trees of Caras Galadhon.
Ghostly music echoed in the distance. They began climbing the stairs to reach the main council flet.
That was where Beriadan’s father spent most of his time, in deep discussion with the Lord and Lady. When Beriadan stepped ontp the platform, all flutes silenced and songs ceased. At the other end of the room, Beriadan saw the Lord, Celeborn, and his father, Haldir, rise from their seats.
As he walked towards the great men, he could feel all eyes turn and watch him. A presence of uneasiness filled the air.
“What have we here?” asked Lord Celeborn.
“I…er…found her in the forest. She is of elven blood but was traveling with the bandits that camp near the mountains.”
Celeborn approached him and looked at the woman, tracing the outline of her ears.
“Let her rest…”the Lord said quietly.
“I could rouse her, My Lord.” Beriadan cut him off.
“Let her recover, Beriadan.” Celeborn demanded.”But keep an eye on her and tell me when she stirs from slumber.”
Beriadan turned to leave and his father followed him. When he reached a vacant room, Beraidan gently placed the girl on the bed. He then pulled the covers to her shoulders, ensuring that she would be warm.
“Beriadan.” his father said with a stern tone. “Come here.”
Beriadan obeyed Haldir’s wordsa and stepped outside the room, closing the door behind him.
Minutes passed and silence filled the air.
“Do you know what could have happened, my son?” Haldir asked. “Do you remember what I taught you?”
Beriadan looked down for he did not know. He could not meet his father’s grey eyes and admit it.
Haldir took a fistful of his son’s clothing and shook him in anger. “You could have been seen! You could have also been killed, and put Rumil in danger!”
Beriadan looked up with tears in his eyes.
“I taught you to be wary! Remember? Be cautious at all times!”
Silent tears streaked down Beriadan’s face, but he kept a cold gaze.
Haldir released the cloth, pushed past him, and stormed off.
Beriadan stood still for a few moments, feeling anger and regret build up inside him. Then he returned to the sleeping maiden’s room. He leaned against a wall and slid own into a sitting position. Sighing deeply, he looked at the girl. Her expression was peaceful. Some stray red curls fell about her face gracefully. He watched her chest rise and fall as she breathed.
Her deep and steady breaths lulled him into sleep; momentarily erasing his worries and filling his mind with sweet dreams.