39. Escape the Better Part of Valor
Escape: A notion that you can avoid the unavoidable by running faster and hiding better then that which pursues you. When what you wish to flee from is yourself, this can produce an incredible logistic nightmare. When you stop running, no matter how fast, your problems have kept pace and they are mad at you as well! In case of the desperate need to escape post haste, make sure your problem are from an outside force or have a really good argument for self denial handy!!
The drums of Moria screamed loudly. Enemies approached with heavy footfalls. A sound vibrated the air with horrifying volume making the sleeper cringe in terror. Flames flickered through eyes unseeing and the foul taste of moldy hay engulfed teeth and tongue. Again the sound blasted through the sleeper forcing the pain filled mind to focus enough to crack open an eyelid. There across the room was the evil, vindictive scourge that lay waste to the sleeper's sensibilities. The King of Gondor!! How such a noise could be transmitted from a seemingly nice human was a question the sleeper wished to know after she had killed the soon to be king very quietly. The eye roved around the room searching out any other nasty inhabitants, but from her position on her back, the man and ceiling were all that was in sight. Knowing that escape was the better part of valor, Fire tried to crawl to the talan's opening only to realize she was trapped. Frowning then wincing in great pain Fire forced her other eye open and turned her head.
Light registered about the time the drums picked up an overwhelming beat. Snapping her eyes closed against the coming dawn's break, the ranger reached out a hand blindly to her left. She felt a solid warm object that moved slightly when her hand came into contact. Trying to gage just what and how large said object was, Fire trailed her fingers down slowly. A very happy sounding mumble greeted her actions. Opening her eyes against the pre dawn light the ranger nearly groan aloud. There on her left side with arms wrapped tight around her was Elrohir! Looking at her sleeping friend blurred memories of the night before came slinking back like beaten cur pups. Lots of really good tasting wine, stories laughter those she remembered.
Songs drifted through her befuddled mind only to be cut short when a picture of her holding a knife to Elrohir's throat came clear. Fire went pale and a wave of sickness clogged her throat. She had almost killed him last night! Furious with herself, Fire shoved the younger twin enough to detangle herself from his arms. Free of Elrohir the ranger tried to move again but found herself trapped by an identical pair of strong arms, sighing in frustration, wiggled out from under the protection of Elladan. Taking a moment to look at the Twins as they slept, Fire was consumed by the love she felt for the two sneaky elves. Placing a kiss on each one's cheek, Fire crawled out of the talan and gently landed on the ground. She was lucky she had not fallen from the Mallorn tree as the world swam around her in dizzying circles of sound and color. Trying to be nonchalant, Fire waved at a nearby sentinel and began to stagger back to the city, unaware of the chaos she was leaving behind.
It had taken the rumpled, disoriented ranger far longer then it should have to find her way back to the city. Half way through the trek, Fire surmised that she had done one of those funny emotion switching things with Legolas. Who would have thought such a quiet reserved elf could have a temper like that, except for Haldir, when she had attacked the Lady of the Woods or the time the Twins had gone slightly insane. Or when she had been captured by Orcs and they had tracked her for six hours, Fire had never seen or felt such rage from Elves. She made a blurry mental note to ask Legolas where he got his bad temper from.
Two more hours and several curses later Fire was almost to the city's talan. She was tired, surly and every sound made her ready for murder. Not looking where she was going, Fire plowed right into an immovable object and ended up in the dirt. Snarling in Dwarvish, the bedraggled ranger glared piercing green daggers at the elf in front of her. It did not relieve her temper in the slightest when a pair of dark indigo eyes glared right back. Fire raked the insolent newcomer with flashing eyes and a disdainful sneer.
"You sir have the manners of a brainless Orc!! One would think an elf would at least have the decency to apologize to the person they got in the way of instead of giving them foul looks!" Fire hissed.
The elf's eyes blazed hotter and his posture went rigid at the insult. "You dare speak to me in such a manner!!! I can see by your attire that you are not deserving of respect or admiration one would dote on a worthier specimen of your gender!" The elf male snarled back in a frosty tone that would have frozen a bird in flight.
"Well considering what stands before me, as a proper example of worldly renown, I say you are truly lacking the manners and grace of the lowest elf servant. I know what true elven dignity and grace look like but sadly even Lord Elrond's stable boy has better manners in his smallest finger then you could ever hope to find! I pray you show more self restraint when talking to Lady Galadriel or you will feel the wrath of her March warden!," Fire snapped at the elf vindictively.
"Do you have any idea who it is you speak thus to? I could have you punished for such insults that you have thrust upon my personage! Mark my words well harridan you will apologize immediately or I will have you hauled in front of the Lord and Lady forthwith!" he said coldly still glaring at the ranger.
"As if your threat means anything to me, I have faced a Balrog and come out whole! I have seen more evil then you ever will, and I care not if you were Eru himself, I will not be cowed by such an insignificant elf who has not but delusions of grandeur!!! Now I suggest you remove your offensive self from my sight before I remove you personally!!" Fire growled in a low disdainful voice. She had had quite enough and this elf was overly annoying her in her less then gracious mood. Moving around the elf in question with a haughty sneer, Fire felt him grasp her arm. Instinctively, Fire whirled on the elf ramming her elbow up and back colliding solidly with his jaw as she swept her leg behind his and laid him out flat semi-conscious in the dirt. "Well I warned you to move! You would do well to listen next time, you son of an Orc!" The ranger said as she continued down the path in a now thoroughly vicious mood.
Celeborn sat at the table breaking his fast with his glorious mate. He was thinking of suggesting they retire to their bedchambers and not come out until noon time, when Galadriel's eyes widen in shock. Worried Celeborn leaned over and watched his mate closely. First she had gone quite pale, and then her color came flooding back in a fit of hysterical giggles that had her sliding from her chair onto the floor. Shaking his head at his mate's lack of decorum, Celeborn knelt next to Galadriel and looked into her twinkling eyes. "What has happened with our dear ranger now?" he asked in a resigned voice. Leaning forward to kiss her mate soundly, Galadriel smiled. "Our lives have become so much more interesting since Tygera arrived. The noon time meal should be rather invigorating!!" The Lady said cryptically. Celeborn rolled his eyes dramatically, "She made Haldir furious again?" Laughing sweetly Galadriel smirked at her mate, "Oh no, it was not Haldir, but she has raised the ire of another. You will see all in good time,"
Haldir opened his eyes only to swiftly shut them tight again. He knew better then to drink the vile brews that the Lady Galadriel's grandsons brought. Every time they were around, at least once he ended up with dwarves mining in his head. He thought back over what he could remember of the night before. It had been a wonderful time of revelry, but then Fire had come undone and tried to kill Elrohir with his own dagger. Briar had interceded in time, but the ranger and sentinel had proceeded to fight. Legolas had dragged Fire off Briar and he had caught the wild sentinel before she could resume the fight. Briar had been worried about Legolas harming the ranger, but it was Fire's virtue that was in danger. Briar had snarled at the elf Prince to let go of Fire and was ready to go hurt Legolas until Fire slid down the wall giggling. Frowning deeply, Haldir realized what Briar had actually said and that was for Legolas to unhand her TWIN! Stifling a groan of torment the March warden tried to sit up, but could not.
Glancing around curiously and cautiously the March warden took in his surroundings. This was not the guard talan he had been in last night. He lay in the grass under a Mallorn tree that sparkled in the dawning light. He also was missing his shirt, which was odd. Trying again to sit upright, Haldir was met by the sight of Briar curled on his chest wearing only his shirt. He blinked a few times slowly trying to comprehend this strange turn of events. The last clear thought he had was of Elrohir glaring at Legolas and Elladan telling Fire to sit by them, as he did not trust the Mirkwood prince's behavior towards his little sister. Then all went blank and here he was without his shirt.
Haldir was a bit worried. He usually was able to at least remember moat what happened after drinking with the Twins, but this brew had affected him greatly. Looking down at the sleeping form of his sentinel, Haldir's demeanor softened. She looked like one of the Valar cuddled upon his chest. Her beauty and innocence shone like a candle in the darkness. Without thought the March warden reached out and tucked a wayward lock of hair behind Briar's ear. He had never truly looked at the sentinel as anything but a friend, though at the moment his thoughts of her were of anything but friendship. Briar sighed in her sleep deeply and snuggled closer, bringing a tender smile to the March warden's lips. A sudden thought hit him and he jerked upright into a sitting position dumping the sentinel to the grass. 'Why was she wearing his shirt? Where were her clothes? What had they been doing in the forest? Why was he now feeling guilty??' With no answer forthcoming from the still sleeping Briar, Haldir sent a silent plea to the Valar hoping that he had not taken advantage of his sentinel in any way. Groaning in disgust of his vivid stupidity in drinking so much of that vile brew, Haldir leaned back against the Mallorn tree and gathered the still oblivious Briar into his lap and tried to relax while he awaited the departure of the evil mining dwarves.
Aragorn awoke slowly in the dawn's light. He cautiously sat up and surveyed his surroundings. The twins were curled up together like a pair of puppies. Fire had been sitting between them last he remembered, but she was nowhere in sight. Haldir had followed a weaving Briar from the talan when she announced she was heading back to her home. Legolas was sitting up and frowning heavily into the ashes. Groaning in pain, Aragorn moved over to the elf and sat down gently. The elf never said a word. Finally after 5 minutes of complete and blessed silence Aragorn had to know why the elf looked so forlorn. "Alright my friend, tell me why you are sulking?" The man said, as quietly as he could.
"Aragorn this is not how I had believed my binding day would be. We have not been able to court correctly or even plan the ceremony. I wanted everything to be special for Fire, but now all is rushed because of the blood rites. I have not even prepared a home for her! It is tradition that male wood elves make a home for their mates prior to the ceremony. In my case, I would have removed all but a few pieces of furniture that I value most from my quarters. Over the year's betrothal I would have made furniture by my own hand and added things to please my mate so it would then be our home instead of just my own quarters. Instead we will spend our binding night not in our own private quarters in Mirkwood, but a guest talan in Lothlorien. I wish I could do things differently, but alas I can not." Legolas sighed sadly.
Aragorn nodded very, very slowly. "Aye, my friend, I see why you are so upset. Nothing has gone as planned with either this quest or your binding preparations. Fire understands the need for such untraditional swiftness with the binding ceremony and will not hold it against you. She loves you, that is obvious to all who see you together! This is a sign of hope to all that will witness your binding. It shows that the darkness can not suppress the light and love will flourish no matter the circumstances. This is a gift to us all! We thank you for allowing us to be here for you both at this joyous time! Rejoice in your love and remember Fire is not a traditional elleth, so why should she have a traditional binding ceremony. Come my friend let us go prepare your talan for your mate." Aragorn reassured him. Nodding in agreement Legolas rose and followed the future king towards the city. The elf began thinking of what he needed to do to make his temporary home special for his mate. He promised himself that he would remake his quarters in Mirkwood to please his mate once they returned from the quest. His spirits lifted and Legolas looked towards the future with anticipation and happiness once more.
The noon meal bell pealed out a welcome. The nearly recovered Twins were one of the first few to enter the dining hall. They plopped gracefully into their chairs to await the arrival of the rest of their friends. The Hall's door opened to admit an amused dwarf and four chattering hobbits. The hobbits took their seats further down the table and Gimli sat across from the Twins. The Twins and Gimli turned as they heard laughter. Aragorn walked beside a happy Legolas. The others did not know that the man and elf had spent most of the morning preparing the binding talan to Legolas' specific wishes. The elf was thrilled with the results and had relaxed quite a bit during the whole preparation process. Taking their seats across from the Twins the friends began a quiet conversation about the ceremony to come.
The friends were concerned when, after the Lord and Lady arrived and took their seats, Legolas went completely pale and cursed violently under his breath. There in the doorway stood the Mirkwood King! Legolas slouched lower in his seat knowing the explosion to come. The elf had dreaded the day he had to face his Ada. He had sent a letter explaining that he was going to be bound. He had described his future mate to his Ada and told the elf king she was a ranger of the north. He did not want his Ada to accept Fire because of her royal blood but for herself. Legolas had asked Galadriel to refrain from mentioning Fire's parentage and she had heartily agreed. Now seeing his Ada walking towards him Legolas was filled with happiness that the king was here, but also the urge to run. Sighing the elf stood, turned and bowed with the others at the table.
"Legolas we need to talk privately when the meal is over. I have missed you my son!," the king said as he embraced Legolas, "So where is this ranger you informed me of? I must say I am quite surprised at the way things have been done. You were always very much a traditional elf! Now why is your intended not at your side like she should be? She is attending to the ceremony details I take it." Lord Celeborn broke in and saved Legolas from having to explain he had absolutely no idea where his betrothed was. "Lady Fire should arrive shortly Thranduil. She is a very unusual lady. I can see how she captured your son's heart so quickly. You must be excited and proud to be gaining such a unique female as your new law daughter. It has been a pleasure being able to get to know her. She has much courage and quite a strong spirit." Celeborn pretended he had not caught sight of Legolas' grateful look and proceeded to engage the Mirkwood king in conversation.
Fire had found her talan after many long and winding steps. She was so tired with her head pounding an evil beat that the ranger had just flopped onto her bed fully clothed. She was asleep before her head hit the pillow. The tolling of the noon time bell made the ranger cringe. She was to meet with Galadriel after the noon time meal to discuss Valar knew what. The Lady had told Fire to leave the planning to her and her court ladies and by Mordor that was what she was going to do. The ranger was not a fussy, feminine creature and would have been more than pleased to just get the whole damn thing over with. She was tempted to sleep until they dragged her pain filled carcass through the paths of Lothlorien for her binding ceremony. Elves unfortunately were sticklers for protocol and that demanded her presence at the meal. Sighing loudly Fire crawled off the bed and out the door. A groan escaped her at the thought of traversing all the stairs again. Shaking her head in disgust, Fire made her way to the Hall like she was going to her own execution and did not care to notice her grubby, disheveled appearance.
Leaning her head against the door, Fire thanked the Valar for ending her torturous ordeal. Knowing food awaited her was enough to turn her stomach slightly but figured it would not do to anger the damn elf witch. Fire was in no mood for a lecture on decorum and was loathe to incur Haldir's wrath again should she hiss at the Lady of Light. Breathing deep, Fire pushed open the door to the Hall and swaggered in arrogantly. She scanned the Hall and saw a place next to Legolas open. After the memories of her actions the night before where the elf was concerned, Fire wished Eru would send a bolt of lightning to cure her embarrassed misery. Then she saw him, staring at her with disgust! The same nasty elf that had gotten in her way earlier and it seemed his temperament had yet to improve. She allowed her eyes to rake his perfectly groomed form with a slightly haughty sneer twitching the corner of her lips. She strode forward her eyes locked with the nasty elf.
Reaching his seat, which was unfortunately on the way to the seat next to Legolas, Fire said in a contemptuous tone, "I see your manner have not improved since our last encounter." Snarling in a low voice, the newly arrived elf replied in kind, "As I see your attire is as pathetic as the last time and your tongue has not yet learned to control itself. I would be careful that I do not ask your Lord and Lady to take you to task for your behavior. I would suggest leaving until you can behave as an elleth should."
Legolas came to his feet to defend his mates honor at the same time Fire smiled at the nasty elf in a decidedly feral way and upended the full wine glass into the offending elf's lap. "You are neither my lord nor my mate and as such I take offense to your unruly tongue. You should take care with whom you call to task for now it is you who needs to change his attire. Do not speak to me in the future spawn of Mordor." Fire said sweetly as she walked past a stunned and pale Legolas who stared at his Ada with wide panicked eyes. Not knowing what to say, Legolas just stared blindly as he tried to find any words that might diffuse the situation. He cringed as he heard Galadriel's musical voice chime in happily, "I see you have already had the delight of meeting your son's mate."
The look King Thranduil turned on his son would have melted the one ring so hot was his gaze. The thunderous boom of his voice could be heard by every elf in Lothlorien as he hollered in a completely undignified manner, "That creature is your future mate!!! Have you lost whatever sanity you had?? She is an abomination and I refuse to subject our people to her presence!!!" Legolas' indigo eyes blazed blue flames as he glared at his Ada. Opening his mouth to retort, Fire called over to Thranduil sarcastically, "Your people seemed to have thrived despite your continued presence, so I would be a breath of spring air to them."
Popping a piece of cheese into her mouth Fire ignored the stunned silence of all except for the hysterical laughter of a lone dwarf and a very proud mate.
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.