40. Feral Feasts and Binding Rites
Feral. A word that describes a primitive thought, emotion or action. It reaches into the very core of human existence and releases our baser nature. Love, hate, jealousy, anger and fear are all feral emotions that rise without warning. Fleeing, fighting or hiding are feral actions that are completely out of our control when outside forces choose to overwhelm us. The most basic instinct we have is to join ourselves with a mate. This feral thought lives inside all of us, but it takes meeting the one person your soul seeks to bring forth the blinding need to become one with another for the rest of your natural life.
It had been four exceedingly long hours since Fire's exciting arrival at the noon time meal. The King of Mirkwood, Galadriel, Celeborn, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Fire had excused themselves from the meal and convened in the King's talan. Aragorn and Gimli had flanked Fire's seat while Legolas stood behind his mate holding her shoulders. Unknown to Thranduil, Legolas was not only showing his loving support of his mate, but keeping her from doing bodily harm to his Ada.
The arguing had been going on for so long that Fire had tuned out most of it. Fire now knew the source of her mate's temper! Thranduil's words broke through her foggy thoughts. 'Did the King truly just say he would disown Legolas if he proceeded with the binding rites? Alright this has gone on far enough for any reasonable solution to be found, so I guess desperate measures are needed. He wants me gone from Legolas' life so be it but he will have to remove me himself! Let us see just how much of this blustering is not but a bluff.'
Fire began to stand only to find a steely grip on her shoulders. Turning her head to look into the indigo flames of her mate's eyes, the ranger smiled softly and reached up a hand to his cheek, "Legolas there is no worry. I will not harm your Ada or anyone else in this room, this I swear to you upon my honor. I wish to speak to him, but I will do so eye to eye. Please release my shoulders." The elf looked down into calm green pools with such a look of love that Thranduil caught his breath. He had not understood how much his only son truly loved the grubby ranger, but it was becoming quite clear. The king still did not trust the ranger's feelings towards Legolas and decided to hold his blessings until he could ascertain the depths of her love for his son.
Fire stood in a slow deliberate motion. She stalked over to Celeborn and to the shock of all asked for his dagger. At a nod from Galadriel, Celeborn gave his jewel encrusted dagger to the seemingly calm ranger. All in the room tensed as the ranger turned and stalked over to the King of Mirkwood. "You have done enough hurt to your offspring Thranduil, I will not allow you to disown him over me! If you wish me out of his life so be it. You will need this dagger to rid yourself of one so unworthy. I believe a stab to the heart would be less messy and as quickly finished as a throat cut. I only ask for a few private moments to say my goodbyes before you do it."
Fire turned to face all in the room, ignoring Legolas' outraged outburst. The King's voice stopped her, "You would ask me to end your life why? You could just leave and no harm would come to you."
The ranger let out a humorless laugh before replying, "Thranduil we have begun bonding in the way of my people. The blood rites will kill us both if we do not bind. The only way I can leave your son without harm to him is for you to take my life. I would do it myself, but it is against my people's beliefs. Now if you do not mind, I will say my goodbyes to those I care for."
The king's voice dropped to a resigned tone, "So you love my son enough to give your life. You will come to no harm at my hand ranger of the North. I see that Legolas has indeed given his heart to you and I see by your actions that he has yours as well. I am not completely happy with this binding for you are not of royal blood, but I will accept you none-the-less for my son's sake. Be at peace child you will indeed bind with my son with my blessings."
Everyone stayed silent as the two spoke. "My lord, I am honored that you would allow one such as I, not but an ill mannered harridan, to grace your halls with her grubby ranger attire and insolent tongue. I am afraid that is what you will see most times, but if it eases your mind Thranduil King, my true name is Princess Tygera, heir to the throne of Anorak and daughter to Gandalf the grey. I have actually been known to wear a dress on occasion if I am bullied hard enough." Fire said graciously.
Thranduil groaned loudly at her admission. "You are Istari and Feline! I should just take the ship to the Undying Lands, I think I liked the grubby elf ranger better!!" came the tortured reply from the elf king. Eyeing Aragorn who had a strong arm around Legolas' waist and a hand over the mumbling elf's mouth, the king laughed and announced the man could release his wayward son before he completely exploded. With a dubious expression Aragorn let go.
Legolas stormed over to Fire with such a ferocious look that she took a single step back. "You dare to do that again, little one and the consequences will be dire!! I will chain you in my chambers until I get your word of honor you will stop offering up your life for me!! If I lost you, I would not be far behind in reaching Mandos' Halls. You are my heart, my very soul, little one. I will love you until the ending of the world and beyond." The elf told the ranger angrily at first only to soften to an almost whisper, before he hauled her close for a heated kiss.
The clearing of throats brought Fire out of the delightful haze she was floating in and rolling her eyes gave the now smirking elf a gentle push "Idiot Elf!! You have already tied me to my bed and it did not work! What makes you think it will work now?" the ranger said in exasperation. Thranduil quirked an eyebrow at the ranger's words, while Fire went speechless in shock when the elf cheekily replied, "It still will not work I fear, but we would most definitely have ample time to go through most of the very interesting List three." Everyone laughed heartily at the ranger's blushing face and the elf's satisfied grin.
It was time. Fire could not believe that she would soon be bound. Looking over her shoulder, she took in Haldir dressed in his formal attire. She had asked the March warden to escort her to the ceremony as she had no guardian to do so. The ranger thought of all the changes she had been through in such a short time. She was most definitely not the same person that had sneaked into the Council of Elrond. Sighing she walked through the archway to the balcony for the last time. This night she would share a talan and her bed with Legolas, and Fire was extremely nervous, yet surprisingly enough a bit excited and curious as well.
She had broken down and read List three past the first two explanations. She still was not sure if they were possible. The Twins had assured her they most definitely were possible, as they had both tried all one hundred and six explanations personally! Elladan told Fire as soon as she and Legolas were finished with List three, they had more varied and unique suggests to offer. She had felt her face flame alarmingly at the wicked grin the Twin sent her way. Fire was not even sure she could figure out what to do with explanation one never mind the strange, seemingly reckless explanation fifty-seven!!
Feeling a bit inadequate, Fire looked to the stars for guidance and was rewarded by the Even Star glowing brighter then usual. Taking it as a good omen, the ranger turned to go back inside when she spied an apple and a golden Hydra flower sitting in their normal spot. This simple gesture melted the reservations in Fire's heart. Lifting the flower to her nose, the ranger breathed in the sweet scent before weaving it into her hair just above her left ear. Grabbing up the succulent apple, Fire walked slowly to Haldir while she munched on it.
Haldir patiently observed the ranger as she nervously paced the talan. Her mood was pensive and the March warden wished he could think of words to comfort his friend in her distress. He was still trying to figure out exactly what had happened last night, but brushed aside his own musings when Fire walked in from the balcony. He saw with surprise that she now had a Hydra flower in her hair and was snacking on an apple.
At Haldir's raised eyebrow, the ranger smiled and told Haldir, "Ever since I awoke, I have been greeted each morning to a Hydra flower and a piece of fruit. Every morning I have designed to return both to the Idiot Elf, because I was loathe to get rid of them. I think now that it was more an excuse to see Legolas every morning then a rebellion against his courting. Haldir tell me true, do you think I am severely lacking as a mate? There is part of me that agrees with that overbearing elf king. I am royalty in blood only but not in deed."
The worried expression made the March warden grin broadly at this sign of her regard for the woodland Prince. "Young one he could find no finer mate then you! While you may not dress or act the part you are every inch a noble lady. I have seen for myself the lengths you will go through to protect those you care for and the depth of your heart knows no borders. You befriend warily yet once won, your loyalty is unwavering and you share of yourself without restraint. I have seen you in proper female attire and believe me when I say you take away the very breath of all who are graced by such a rare gift. You would indeed walk willingly to your death for your mate. No elf could ask more from a mate, then such love and devotion I see in your eyes and actions. Fear not young one, Legolas is most pleased by the gift the Valar has seen fit to bestow upon him." Haldir said with great reverence. "I do have a question for you though, who is the older twin, you or Briar?"
Fire kissed Haldir's cheek before replying, "Of the two of us I am the older by mere minutes, but I never let her forget it!" A quick grin was then eclipsed by a serious look, "Fire, as there is no one else, I would ask how you would feel should I design to court your twin?" The burst of laughter from the ranger made the March warden squirm. "Haldir, I believe it is Briar that should be speaking to the Lord and Lady regarding her courting you!! She has broken tradition and designed to court you without permission. She has told me all about what she has already put you through. I am glad to see you might share her interest, and I will gladly give my permission for you to court her if she lets you."
Haldir offered his arm to Fire, not entirely sure if he was happy with the prospect of courting a potential mate or if his sanity had deserted him completely. Bed partners he had in abundance but a mate was a whole different story. Haldir's one consolation was he would have Fire as a law sister should he find himself trapped and bound by the sneaky sentinel. Sighing dramatically for Fire's benefit, the March warden shook his head and said teasingly, "Well it is too late to run! The Lady has put forth much effort into this ceremony. You know it is not a good idea to offend her as it would mean I would again be forced to make you apologize. So in light of the fact I wish us not to fight tonight, will you accompany me to your binding ceremony of your own free will?" A shy smile and a quick nod was the March warden's answer.
"For Valar's sake Legolas stop pacing! You know your mate will be here at the appointed time so sit and relax awhile. You have begun to wear on my nerves Elf!" came Gimli's grumbled exclamation Aragorn hid a snicker as he watched his best friend throw a surly look at the Dwarf before starting another circuit around the trees near the ceremony area. He had never seen Legolas so unnerved before and found it highly amusing. The ceremony would start as soon as the moon rose to its peak, but the man feared the elf would create a ditch before the ceremony could start.
They were brought out of their musings a short while later by the trumpet of a horn. It was the signal that they should escort Legolas to his place in front of the dais that had been erected for the ceremony. Aragorn and Gimli simultaneously reached out and grabbed the startled Prince of Mirkwood. While Gimli held the elf steady, Aragorn wrapped a cloth over Legolas' slightly panicked eyes and bound his hands behind his back. Once bound and blindfolded, the two roughly led the elf to the Lady of the Woods. Neither said a word to the elf as they took the leaf strewn path that ended in front of Galadriel, Lady of the Light. Pulling the elf sharply to a halt, Aragorn stepped forward and bowed low to the Lady.
"Why have you brought this elf before me for judgment?" the Lady's words were soft yet held an icy bite to them as she took in the sight of Legolas.
"My Lady, this elf is a thief and should be judged accordingly by your firm hand." Came Aragorn's reply
"What has he stolen and what value does it hold? I would know this before I pass judgment." The Lady inquired with great interest.
Elrohir and Elladan bedecked in formal attire of black and silver stepped forward. They bowed low to the Lady of Light. "This elf has stolen what is most precious to us. He has taken the heart of our sister and leaves her heartsick and fading. We demand he pay the price for his fell deed." The Twins intoned together.
"Unbind his eyes so I may see for myself this thief." Galadriel said motioning for Gimli to remove the cloth.
"What say you Thief of Hearts? Are their accusations correct or do they speak falsely to me in this hour of moon time? Speak now if you value your life!" Galadriel said in a menacing voice of ice.
"I have indeed committed this crime and await your swift justice." Legolas said regally.
"This is a grave matter! I will think upon a fair sentence for your crime. Kneel before me while I look upon the injured party." Galadriel said as Aragorn and Gimli pushed the elf to his knees. At her nod a bell chimed.
Legolas watched from his kneeling position as Haldir and Fire entered the glade. A ring of lights unlit circled the glade and only the four closest to Galadriel were ablaze. As was tradition, the guardian and mate to be took a candle each and lit the lights on the path to the dais. Fire had smirked when Galadriel had told her what her role would be and decided she was going to break with tradition slightly. They were already breaking tradition with the hasty ceremony, so Fire decided a bit of drama would be in order. That the idea she had would probably make her soon to be law Ada cringe was just an added benefit. Haldir tilted his head just enough to give Fire a wink. She had told him of her plan on the way to the glade and he thought it would be fun to see the faces of those assembled.
Galadriel called out to Fire, "You who have been grievously wronged come forward. If you wish this thief to atone for his crime light the Ring of Justice and so call out the thief's actions."
"He who kneels before you has stolen what can never be regained. My soul is forever in his keeping. My heart is his alone from this moment unto the ending of the world and beyond. Love he stole and only love returned will make right so grievous a wound. I call now to you Lady of the Light, my will shall be done. Give his soul to me! Make his heart forever mine. Through the darkness may it find the light, in horror may it find beauty, in sadness may it find joy. This is my will and with the lighting of the Ring of Justice so may it be done! Ashes to flames. Heat to cold. Darkness to light. As I will it so mote it be!" Fire called.
All gasped as the ranger raised her hands palm side up and dancing orange-red flames burst into being. With a slight bow to Galadriel, Fire cupped her hands together in front of her face and blew gentle on the flames. As the flames in her cupped palms blazed higher, all the candles of the Ring of Justice burst to life at the same time. Making a fist with both hands, the flames the ranger held disappeared as suddenly as they had come. Retaking Haldir's arm, Fire walked to the dais where Legolas awaited her.
Legolas could not tear his eyes away from Fire. His mate was clothed in the traditional dress of her people. She wore a forest green gown shimmering with moonstones that reflected the candlelight and made them dance with living flame. The arms were drawn tight to the ranger's skin with a slit that ran down the outside from shoulder to wrist criss-crossed with fine mithril thread to keep it in place. The neckline hung off her shoulders slightly and dipped low in the front. The skirt was full with slits that showed the underskirt as she walked. The underskirt was of crisp white to symbolize the innocence of it's wearer. Around her neck lay the necklace Legolas had given her. The turquoise soul stone lay close to her heart and matched the blue-green flower wreath that adorned her hair. Legolas' heart stopped then began pounding faster as he spied the single golden Hydra flower she had weaved into her braid. The closer she came to him the harder it was for him to either gather a coherent thought or just breath.
Haldir and Fire stopped in front of the Lady of the Light and bowed low. Galadriel rose and glided down the few steps to stand between the kneeling elf and Fire. Looking to Haldir, the Lady asked, "Do you freely bind this child to this Thief of Hearts forever more?"
With a voice full of pride and happiness, the March warden moved Fire closer to Legolas as he spoke, "He will be charged with the care of a treasure I hold more dear then my own life. If he should fail to care for her in loving reverence, my blade shall he find upon his throat! If he shall turn from her, his heart I will remove so he may forever walk the grey world between Arda and Valinor, forever without peace. Should he love her beyond all reason and cherish her as the treasure she is then shall his life's flame burn brighter and his soul walk the stars forever joyful!"
Haldir reached over and pulled Legolas to his feet in front of Fire. Reaching behind the Mirkwood Prince, the March warden unbound his wrists. "If you would take this child of mine into your keeping forever as your mate unto the ending of the world and beyond, then take her hand within your own." Haldir said gravely. Reaching out for Fire's hand, Legolas stared into the shining pools of deep forest green. The love that showed in his eyes made Fire heart swell with an answering joy. As their hands clasped, Galadriel moved to wrap a single strand of mithril around Legolas' arm starting at his shoulder. Slowly entwining it down the elf's arm, twice around their joined hands and up Fire's arm to the shoulder, Galadriel evoked the Binding Words.
"Two become one this night of nights. Under moon and stars they bind their hearts. Soul to soul forever more. Life to life be they joined to sing a single joyful song. Love weaves its spell in this moon hour. Never to be lost in this thy power. May Eru and the Valar bless your union this night and guide you throughout your long lives. Turn and face those that have come to witness your Binding. Through the blessed powers of the Valar and Eru you are now bound together for all eternity. All pay respects to Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood and his new mate Tygera, Princess of Mirkwood and of Anorak. Now seal your pledge to bind this night in flesh as well as soul with but a token kiss, so we may celebrate your union with a feast!" Galadriel said with a beautiful smile of happiness.
Hands still bound, Legolas drew his new mate into his arms for a sweet tender kiss. The crowd cheered as the elf leaned back from his blushing mate. Elrohir and Elladan moved forward and unwound the chain still around their arms. Freeing the couple the Twins bowed before them and moved to either side so the elf could lead his ranger to the feast that awaited them. Following close behind as personnel escort, Haldir and Aragorn shot amused glances at each other. They had the same thought running through their heads; if Legolas did not stop staring down at Fire, the two would soon collide with one of the giant Mallorn trees.
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.