21. Truth in the Flames
It had been a week, since Fire had regained consciousness. Galadriel knew it was time to speak to the ranger of all she and Elrond had found out. The Lady would summon her to the mirror tonight, but how without raising her suspicions? Feeling a hand upon her shoulder, Galadriel turned to find her mate frowning in concern. "Is there not I can do, my love? You seem pensive this morn. Would talking help ease your mind?", Celeborn's soft voice inquired. Reaching up to squeeze his hand, Galadriel faltered.
A vision swarmed in around her. 'A battle was in full swing. Bodies of allies and enemies were strewn together like a horrible carpet of death. Screams could be heard above the clashing of swords and the twangs of arrows being loosed. Moans of the wounded were drowned out by the sheer tidal wave of noise. On a rampart, stood Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood. His armor was dirty and stained with blood. His bow was pointed at a shadowy figure. It came at him, suddenly leaping into the air. Silver eyes gleamed with bloodlust. Fangs dripping with blood, the black furred cat bore down on the Prince of Mirkwood with a scream of imminent death.'
The vision blurred slightly then came back into focus. 'Fire standing on a wall. Her hair matted with blood and gore. Her eyes shining wildly in the heat of battle, searching for something or someone. A voice yelling to retreat. Fire swivels to the speaker and then looks to the recipient of the demand. HALDIR!! Fire running desperately towards the March warden. Fear, as sticky as the blood on her clothing, surrounds the ranger. A decision made in the heat of battle. A violent blue flame erupts from the ranger. Shimmering, her body dissolves into light, only to reform as a great white cat.'
Vision clouds again, then reforms to a new scene. 'The blood covered white cat leans over an enemy ripping out its intestines. A growl from behind signals danger. Pivoting, the white feline comes face to face with a snarling silver eyed black feline. A challenge is called and they charge at each other in a flash of claws and teeth.' Staggering from the vision, Galadriel grabbed onto the arm encircling her waist, as Celeborn held tight to stop her fall. Looking up into her dear mates eyes, Galadriel whispered, eyes wide, "There is another Feline."
The patrol Haldir was with finally reached the city. Not only were Haldir and his brothers in the patrol, but one of the few female wardens of Lothlorien. At only 5'4", it made the sentinel much shorter then most Elves, Her auburn hair was a rare color and the gold eyes were unheard of; for an Elf. She had come to Lothlorien wounded, about twelve years before and had been a warden for almost eleven. She was a quiet, and reclusive elleth. Rarely did she interact with the other Elves during festivals and was only really at home with her fellow sentinels. The ellon forgot she was a female most of the time. Those that noticed, were usually too timid or intimidated to court her, so she let duty, and a private mission rule her time in Lothlorien.
Stopping below one of the tall, majestic Mallorn trees, the sentinel stared up at the talan way at the top. *I see you found my home. I will be there shortly. I am glad you have come. After waiting so long, I had a feared you were lost. I have wine in the top cabinet, make yourself useful.* , the sentinel mind spoke to her visitor. With a light heart and a glad smile, Briar made her way to her talan and her most beloved guest.
Aragorn watched in contented amusement as Legolas plotted. The determined elf was planning his courtship of Fire, as if it were a major war campaign, instead of a simple campaign to win an elleth's heart. He had been at it for two days and Aragorn was now really curious about what exactly the elf had planned. The man knew of a daily ritual the elf and ranger participated in and the strange, but amusing, behavior that followed it. Every morning well before the ranger rose to greet the new day, Legolas would climb to her talan's balcony. Once on the balcony, he would leave her a piece of sweet, ripe fruit and a fresh hydra flower.
Aragorn had now become accustomed to the extremely strange sight of a sleep ruffled, hastily dressed Fire storming through the door of the talan that he and the elf shared. In her hands, she always held the ripe fruit and the Hydra flower Legolas had left for her. She would put the fruit back in the bowl with the others and then stuff the flower into the small vase with the rest of Legolas' Hydra flower. After returning the grinning elf's gifts, the ranger would turn to Legolas, roll her eyes and grumble, "Idiot elf.", then leave to get ready for the day.
At first, Aragorn was angry about the rude, insulting way Fire treated his friend, but Legolas pointed out to him something odd and surprisingly to him, a very hopeful sign of the ranger's growing affection for the elf. "The ranger's daily actions speak loudly to me, Aragorn. While she does not accept my gifts because she will not keep them in the talan with her, she also does not reject them." Frowning, at the frightening thought that the elf had come unhinged where the ranger was concerned, the man asked politely how the elf could see a good thing in her bringing them back every morning.
The elf's answer actually made a lot of sense with the way the ranger's personality was and shed more light on why the elf was so happy to see her do it every day. "Aragorn, she may not keep them with her, but neither does she destroy them. Fire takes the time to see the fruit returned to the very bowl they came from and the flower is put into the same vase the other flowers are. The extra effort it takes to return these things properly, instead of ignoring or throwing them away, makes me believe she enjoys that I take the time to bring her these things. She is just too stubborn to admit she enjoys receiving my gifts. The simple fact she does return them, as soon as she awakens, give me hope that she returns them because she wishes to see me as much as I wish to see her. It is only a matter of time, before Fire starts to bring only one thing back be it fruit or flower. When she bring nothing back, yet still comes to our talan, I will know my affections are at least partially returned.", the elf stated firmly. It nearly hurt Aragorn's mind to contemplate the courtship of the ranger and the elf.
Muttering loudly under his breath, the elf in question looked over his carefully written notes. Aragorn caught small fragments of the elf's rambling thoughts, and very nearly choked on his wine as the list grew. "wine .. yes, cheese .. yes, bread .. umm no, glasses .. yes, map .. yes" At the sound of "MAP" Aragorn could not resist asking what he needed a map for. With a cheeky grin, Legolas unfurled a small parchment. "This is the first of five such parchments. Four have different clues to the next one, but the fifth one has a small map with an 'X' to show the ranger's final destination and the rewards location exactly. Fire will not be able to resist such a challenge.", he exclaimed smugly.
Laughing, Aragorn looked at the elf's mischievous face. "Aye, my friend, that elleth has too much curiosity for her own good! A spectacular display of cunning on your part. Now what, may I ask is the reward for her sense of adventure?", the man asked teasingly. "Well you know that secluded glade by the waterfall, I have stashed a blanket and supplies in a tree nearby. When she begins her hunt, I will sneak over to the spot I picked out and set up a private picnic feast for her reward. I have all, but the bread there now.", Legolas said grinning ear to ear at the thought of Fire's reaction to the surprise. Not wanting to burst his Elven friend's bubble of happiness, he cautiously asked, "What if she is not pleased with you and your reward?"
An even bigger grin lit his fair features, "Well then, I will probably be thrown in the river and starve! She would not leave a scrap behind for me, if she takes the picnic basket again." A slightly perplexed look crossed the man's face. "Umm Legolas do you really think she would do that? Wait what do you mean by AGAIN?", Aragorn hedged, trying to think better of the ranger, then what was in his mind at the moment. He was shocked when Legolas laughed heartily and replied, "Aye, Aragorn she has done it three times so far!" Blinking like a confused owl, Aragorn watched his friend go back to plotting.
Haldir listened to his brothers as they bickered good naturally. His thoughts were drifting to the ranger, Fire. He had been upset to hear, that Legolas had taken a very personal interest in her, but the March warden was sure he could best the woodland elf and steal the elleth out from under the Prince of Mirkwood. The March warden let his mind relax, until he heard his brother say that it seemed to him, that Legolas was gathering together picnic supplies. A plot began to form on how to invite himself accidentally to the woodland Prince's little picnic and let Fire be reminded that HE was still interested in her as well. With a smirk, Haldir leaned back in his chair on the balcony and watched for Legolas to walk by so he could follow the Prince of Mirkwood to his destination.
Galadriel stood by her mirror. Evening was just beginning, but she knew it would be a long night. She would summon the ranger to her and try to get Fire to look within its glassy surface. An uneasy feeling settled on the Lady of the Woods' shoulders. The earlier horrific vision still plagued her and had repeated itself three times. What it could mean, for the future of the participants, she could not say and Elrond had no advice to give. Taking a deep calming breath, Galadriel steeled herself for the upcoming battle of wills. ""Fire, my child, will you please come to me. I have decided it is time we talked of things to come and things past. I will await you. "", the Lady sent mind to mind. Fire was not happy, at all.
Briar opened the door to the familiar sight of Fire sitting at her table with her feet up, and chair on only two legs. With an exasperated sigh, Briar stalked over to the ranger and shoved her feet to the floor. "For Valar's sake! Tygera you are almost 2000 years old, can you not at least TRY to act like you are over 300. A table is for eating and paperwork, NOT to be used as a foot rest for you as you damn well know. So when will you finally learn the difference?", the sentinel asked the grinning ranger. "Same year you learn not EVERY ellon is immediately under your spell.", the ranger retorted laughingly. In a sudden movement, the ranger was off the chair dragging the sentinel into her arms tightly.
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.