45. Kindling Flames
Rumil watched in amusement as a determined Briar again dragged his brother, Haldir out among the dancers. The reluctant March warden was actually known as one of the better dancers of Lothlorien and had already danced with quite a few of the elleth before he had to perform his part in the private binding ceremony. The sentinel had already coaxed one dance from his brother and was set to have another if the frown creasing her forehead was any indication. The change in Briar was astonishing. Where she had be shy and a bit bookish before, she was now a vibrant and alluring female brimming with pride and self confidence. She had already apologized to him and Orophin explaining that she had been given a message by Gandalf to await Fire's arrival while drawing as little attention to herself as possible.
Dark enemies had been alerted to the returned presence of the King of Anorak's daughter, but Briar had been quickly veiled from sight by the wizard's power. Fire, being Keeper of the Flames, had been secreted away so completely, that even Fire herself had no idea of her true nature beyond her ability to transform into a cat. With very few memories of her time in Arda before being sent to the other world for the ranger's safety, the enemy was kept unaware that there was more then one of the Forgotten Ones in Arda. Her heritage had been kept safe from prying eyes until it was finally time for the ranger to fulfill the path Eru and the Valar had set for the sisters and take her place among the Fellowship.
Gandalf had known from the first moment of the sisters appearance, that the enemy had felt Briar's fea as the Elves called the soul. The enemy had already sent out minions to try and find the sentinel, but thanks to wizard magic they had not succeeded so far in pinpointing her location. Briar had confided in them only because she had personal designs on their brother's heart and thought it only right and proper that they know her full story. The sentinel felt that it would be unfair to pursue their older brother without telling them the whole truth of who and what she was. Briar asked formally for the brother's blessing to court Haldir, even if it was unheard of for a female to do so. She was ecstatic when they not only gave her their full support, but told her if she needed help with Haldir they were more then happy to oblige her slightest whim. Briar was as dedicated to honor, duty and family as Haldir himself. Now that Briar had revealed her true self, her arrogance and pride rivaled even the March warden's own. To Orophin and Rumil's way of thinking, Briar was probably the only female in Arda who could break through the wall of ice Haldir had placed around his severely wounded heart. They were more than content to quietly sit back and watch the fireworks that would come from Briar's determined courtship!
It was nearing dawn's break and Briar was dancing with Haldir for the fourth or fifth time. She was elated that this time the March warden had not grumbled as she pulled him into the ring of dancers. The sentinel knew she had a great amount of work on her hands before she won his fragile heart. Briar had heard many tales of Haldir's early days as a warden from his brothers over the last dozen years. She knew that an elf had won the March warden's heart when he had first joined the wardens a millennia or so ago. They had planned to be bound, but an Orc attack had killed the other elf who had also been a sentinel. Haldir had nearly given up and faded at the death of the elf he loved so much. If it had not been for a promise made to raise his brothers after his parents had sailed, Haldir would have died from grief. Briar vowed to win his love and heal the hurt left from the loss of the other sentinel. Briar had known they were destined for each other since the moment she had first laid eyes on the March warden. Her only problem now was convincing Haldir that she was right!
The March warden was escorting Briar from the dancing area when the sentinel's legs gave way with a cry of acute pain. Haldir grasping her arm at the last moment saved Briar from a face full of dirt. The March warden quickly seated her more fully on the ground and gently tilted her face up to his, "What has happened Briar? What pains you so?" Haldir took in her pain filled face and vague gaze. Expertly the March warden checked her for injuries but could find no reason for either her pain or strange vacant stare. Blinking slowly, Briar clung to Haldir as tears welled up and spilled onto her pale cheeks. Nearly panicked by her weird behavior, Haldir shook the sentinel hard enough to bring her back into focus. Gasping out words around a throat almost closed with alarm, Briar's fearful gaze drilled into Haldir's stricken one. "Something is wrong with Fire! There is so much pain I can barely see! Please we must get to her before it is too late! I-I think she is dying!!" Helping the sentinel to her feet, the March warden pulled her close to his side and placed an arm around her waist for support. Any other time Briar would have been thrilled that Haldir held her in his arms, but her urgent need to reach Fire blocked all other thoughts from the sentinel's mind.
Fire awoke to the strangeness of sharing her bed. She had always slept alone, even as a child. The ranger was a veritable bed hog and loved to sprawl out in the center of her bed on her stomach. The first real coherent thought Fire had as she tried to groggily switch gears from sleep to wakefulness, was her bed was lumpier then usual. The second was it smelt absolutely wonderful! A combination of scents drifted over the tired ranger's senses. The sweet scent of hydra flowers mixed with sandalwood, cinnamon and the deep green of old forests. Snuggling deeper into the mattress caused her eyes to come into focus, as she shook off the last of her reverie . Her lumpy mattress was breathing!! The sight that met her wide panicked eyes confused her even more; she had her face buried into a finely muscled chest that rose and fell with each breath.
The delightful scent was coming from the very naked torso she lay sprawled over. Blushing a dark red, Fire became aware that not only was the chest naked but every other part she was laying on was too. Unsure if she should ease off the sleeping form or spring away suddenly, Fire decided to lay quiet for a minute and try to figure out just what exactly was going on. Tilting her head upwards in a very slow controlled manner designed to not wake the person she was using as her bed, Fire got her first glimpse of the stranger. Her eyes went wide with shock when reality crashed in and memories of the night before rushed over her. Red to the tips of her pointed ears, Fire came face to face with her grinning mate.
Briar stumbled and screamed in agony! The pain was growing worse with every passing moment. She felt her twin's life force ebbing away. Pulling on Haldir's arm to hold herself upright, the sentinel swayed dangerously close to collapse. The March warden scooped her up in his arms and began to set her down under one of the giant trees. "Haldir please! I need to get to Fire before it is too late. Something is terribly wrong! I am afraid she may do harm to anyone, but me, should they try to come to her aid." Nodding his understanding, Haldir turned still holding Briar's pain wracked form close to his chest. He sprinted towards the newly bound couple's talan sending a cry for help to the Lady of the Light. The Lady's immediate answer reassured the March warden that she and Celeborn were on their way to Legolas and Fire's talan.
The happy grin produced a shy answering smile. Legolas had been watching his mate sleep. The sight of her tousled hair and sleep blurred green eyes brought a deep contentment to his soul. She was finally his in heart, body and soul. She reminded him of an elfling as she fought her way out of her reverie. Fire rubbed her cheek against his chest, burrowing deeper with a heartfelt sigh of utter enjoyment. Her soft murmurings of pleasure gave way to confusion. The slight frown that creased her forehead in perplexity and the baffled look in her slowly focusing eyes made the elf grin in amusement. Legolas could tell when she became aware of the fact she was laying draped over a warm, very aroused male body. The ranger's soft blush was endearing and the timid way she slowly peeked up at him, melted the elf down to his very soul. He saw the exact moment when memories swirled into her sleep fogged mind and turned her ears a very nice shade of dark red. Sliding his hands down her shoulders and across her back, Legolas greeted his mate with a mirth tinged voice, "Sleep well little one?"
An embarrassed groan and a muffled sound, that might have been an affirmative, came forth from the ranger who now had her head reburied in the elf's chest. A sudden rush of desire hit the ranger as Legolas rolled her under his lithe form with a soft laugh. It had been like that since their first joining. Grabbing a handful of golden silk the ranger brought Legolas' mouth down to her for a sweltering kiss. His moan of pleasure spurred the ranger to deepen the kiss still further. Fire suddenly broke away from her mate's kiss with a wicked smile, before tossing him onto his back. The wild light that gleamed in dark green eyes with feral hunger was accompanied by a low growl of need. An answering need slammed through the elf turning his blue eyes to indigo.
Moving to once more trap his mate beneath him, Legolas was dismayed to find Fire moving out of range of his reach. She let out a small snarl of challenge as she looked at him through narrowed eyes. The unbearable need to claim his mate flashed through the elf as he knelt on the bed facing Fire. With his lightning fast warrior reflexes, Legolas grasped her right wrist and yanked the ranger to him. Fire collided with his chest letting out a small gasp of pleasured shock. Releasing Fire's wrist, Legolas wrapped a strong arm around the ranger's waist to keep her firmly plastered to his exceedingly aroused form. A guttural moan of pleasure sounded in the talan as the elf raked teeth across the sensitized flesh of the ranger's neck and shoulders. Fire let out a whimper of pure lust as Legolas bit into her left shoulder leaving a small indent of teeth. The ranger let her head fall back as she arched into the elf's heated embrace. His passionate caresses became more demanding which flared an answering response in the completely aroused ranger. Growling in almost painful need, Fire knocked Legolas onto his back and licked a fiery trail down his neck, across his chest and greedily lower. The intensity of Fire's attack made the elf cry out blindly. Compulsion to claim his mate overtook Legolas and he flipped the ranger onto her back before joining with her in one sure motion. They moved together like two hungry beasts until they each cried out their mate's name. Exhausted again, they fell straight into reverie still wrapped in each other's arms.
Galadriel called for Celeborn and Aragorn to follow her to the binding talan. She was afraid that something had gone wrong with the bond and the couple was facing the mortal danger of death. A kindred and Elf binding was so rare because of the complications that could occur during the first hours after the ceremony. The books she had read thoroughly spoke of an off color glow of grayish green that was a sign of a possible binding rejection. When the glow had cycled through and came out the normal color of set bindings, Galadriel had been relieved and thought no more on possible rejections. Now Haldir informed her that Briar was feeling her sister's imminent death through their twin bond. If Galadriel could reach them in time there were a few things she could try to strengthen or repair a tainted blood bond. The Lady threw a silent plea to the Valar to watch over the bonded couple as she raced towards their talan as fast as she was able.
Fire came awake gradually. She could feel the warm length of her mate curled against her back with his strong arm wrapped loosely around her waist. A gentle peace settled over the ranger as she snuggled her back more firmly into Legolas' warmth. Laying quietly and letting her mind drift to the past night's activities, Fire was unsure if she should be embarrassed, outraged at herself or preen in satisfaction. The ranger had lost count of how many times Legolas had taken her. The first time they had joined, Legolas had encased her in a cocoon of gentle love and exquisite tenderness. Each time they had joined after that, their loving had ranged from slow, gentle and achingly tender to wild, uncontrollable and nearly violent. The compulsion to mate came over them and neither could fight the insane urge to reclaim their mate body and soul. As soon as they came to completion, reverie overtook them. They dropped quickly into their dreams until a new wave of desire surfaced and brought them awake with the need to mate again.
A rumbling noise from her stomach alerted the ranger to the fact she had eaten very little at the feast and nothing since the ceremony. Slipping gingerly out from under her mate's arm, Fire sat up and looked over to the table. Frowning hard the ranger walked over to the table and realized that it contained nothing to eat. The wine bottle was there, as were the plates, but the food that had been there was now gone. Shaking her head to chase away a slight dizziness that had surfaced when she left their binding bed, Fire padded silently back to the elf's side. The ranger placed a tender kiss upon her mate's temple and tucked the blanket around him. Sighing happily as she straightened up, Fire was glad the dizziness was gone as suddenly as it had come. Grinning to herself, the ranger decided to gather some food from the talan's kitchen and bring it back to bed for them to share.
A wave of dizziness hit the ranger as she made her way across the living area about half way to the kitchen. Grabbing the back of a chair, Fire hung her head until the worst of the dizzy spell had passed. Believing that lack of food was the culprit, the ranger continued to the kitchen to rectify the problem. Almost to the kitchen a wave of agony rammed through her system driving Fire to her knees with a pain filled cry. The ranger dimly heard a cry of agony echoing from the direction of their bedchamber. Fear turned her mouth to an arid desert. Biting her lip to quell another cry, Fire tasted the metallic tang of blood. Doubling over as her muscles convulsed in twisted horror, Fire screamed out Legolas' name before blackness took her.
Legolas reached out to pull his mate into his arms. The tired elf had an instinctual need to feel her close and blindly grabbed for the ranger. The shock of finding nothing within reach, woke the elf from reverie. The sudden undeniable certainty that his mate was in danger lanced his soul. Sitting up fast, Legolas scanned the room with a growing sense of panic. A wave of dizziness confirmed the elf's worst fear. Fire had moved too far away for him to touch. Angry at himself for failing his mate in such a dangerous manner, the elf slid to the side of the bed and tried to stand. Pain screamed through his system making the elf drop back on the bed's side. Breathing hard, Legolas forced himself to move again. Staggering towards the living area, the elf tried to block out the agony pouring into his soul. Legolas knew if he could not reach the ranger in time, they would both die. The elf made it into the living area just as another violent wave of pain engulfed him. Legolas barely registered Fire's crumpled form by the door of the kitchen before darkness overtook him and he collapsed in a heap.
A scream echoed among the trees. Haldir and Briar were only a staircase away from the binding talan when Briar screamed in terror, then began to convulse in the March warden's arms. Fearful he would lose the sentinel to whatever had befallen her sister, Haldir clutched her tighter and raced up the remaining stairs whispering a silent plea to the Valar to get him there in time to save them all.
She dropped to the soft grass writhing in pain. Fear screamed in her mind as hoarse cries were pulled from her throat. She could feel the flames of life flickering dangerously low in Legolas and Fire's heart, but she could do nothing in her current condition. Why it was happening she knew not, but feel it she could. Bowing her back against the pain, she cried out again. Fighting the encroaching dark, she heard a voice close by. Feeling herself gathered into a strong embrace, she lasted only long enough to hear Elrohir's worried voice, "Wood nymph what has happened? Where do you…" the world disappeared as Laurel passed out into the frantic Twin's chest.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.