41. Gift from the Valar
The Elves had set up the Binding feast a short ways further down the path. It was in a secluded glade much like the ceremony. This one was much larger and had been decorated for the feast with garlands of flowers, tables and lots of food and wine. Legolas led his new mate to the center of the clearing and waited until the elves behind them came to a halt at the edge of the clearing. In a loud voice that carried to all those in attendance, Legolas called, "Our family! Our friends! All who have witnessed this Gift from the Valar! Please come forward and bask in the light of the One. Eru has blessed us this night and we wish to spread our joy unto all. Eat! Drink! Merry make until dawn breaks with our warmest gratitude!" So saying, Legolas turned to Fire and threw her over his shoulder heading for the main table where their seats awaited them. Galadriel, Celeborn, Thranduil and Briar followed the newly bound couple and their personal escorts. The remaining members of the Fellowship followed the Lord and Lady, while the rest of Lothlorien in attendance followed the Fellowship.
The celebration was in full swing. Dancers twirled around the glade with abandon as minstrels played a wild rhythmic beat. Being Silvan elves, they were much more wild and free with their joyful expression then their Noldor kin from Imlandris. Legolas and Fire had danced freely with each other and with the well wishers. The wine flowed and food dwindled. It was when Fire saw Briar dancing with a semi reluctant Haldir, that the ranger lapsed into silence and walked partway from the celebration. Feeling a sudden loneliness and pain, Legolas searched the crowd for his mate. He saw her standing alone staring up at the stars with a distressed look.
"Little one what troubles you so? Will you not speak of it to me?" Legolas asked softly as he came up behind Fire and pulled her back against his chest.
Sighing sadly the ranger tilted her head to see the elf. "I did not mean to dampen the celebration. I was just thinking of another I wished could have been here this night."
"You speak of Gandalf. I too wish he was still with us. Do you think he would have been disappointed in our binding?" Legolas whispered.
"Actually, I believe the old goat knew full well what would happen. He knew of my healing method and the results it would produce, though I did not. I think that wily wizard knew full well that we were meant for each other somehow. Though I miss him, I can not help but feel I will see him soon. I can not explain why. It was not him I was thinking of, but one who was taken from me when I was in that other world." She whispered back.
"This other," he began hesitantly, "he was very special to you. Is this why you distance yourself from us all? I know you have given much of yourself to all of those in the Fellowship, to Haldir and most especially to me. I want to understand why you are so afraid to let us in. I love you little one, I would know you as deeply as you will allow. Would you tell me of this other that resides in your heart?"
Fire leaned back deeper into Legolas' comforting embrace and rested her cheek against his shoulder with a gentle sigh. She was reluctant to see an end to his caring expression, but he seemed to truly want to know her. The guilt, horror and loneliness she lived with daily was almost too much to bear sometimes. Steeling herself mentally for what she might see in his eyes after her story, Fire reached up and wrapped her hand around his neck drawing him down for a slow sweet kiss. If she was going to destroy his trust so completely, then for a moment she wanted this pure love she felt from him and for him, to give her a memory to live on when the nights turned cold.
Legolas felt her fear rise up as she broke away from their kiss. He could tell that her memory was something dark and painful. Guilt and horror rolled around him in waves of echoes, as if the feelings were old but never gone. He rested his chin on the crown of her head and tried to reassure her, "Little one, no matter the graveness of your words or the bleakness of that time, I will love you until the ending of the world and beyond. I know of who you are now, and you are more then I could have dreamed. I used to pray to the Valar to bring someone into my life that I could love and would be mine forever more. I am most pleased they finally heard my plea and in so doing, sent you to me. I am here to listen, but if you can not speak of it yet, I will await a time you can trust me enough to open your heart to me without restraint." The elf felt a gentle wet splash upon the skin of his arm and knew that his mate silently shed tears of grief long held back. Holding her tightly to him, Legolas lay his cheek against her hair as the tears flowed freely cleansing his mate's soul of the guilt she had so long tortured herself with.
It took several minutes for the storm of grief to pass, but the lingering sadness still clung to Fire. So many years she had not allowed herself to grieve, but within the confines of her mate's embrace she had finally done so. It was past time to tell the story, but she still was unsure how to begin or if she should wait for a more proper time then her binding feast. She felt the gentle brush of lips upon her cheek, following the still wet path of tears. Without thought she turned to wrap her arms tightly around the elf's neck and buried her fingers into his silken hair. The kiss he bestowed on her waiting lips nearly buckled the ranger's knees when the incredibly intense intimacy she felt engulfed her. Her whole focus narrowed to the feel of his lips and the brush of his hard muscular body along hers and she became lost in a haze of searing heat.
Legolas reluctantly pulled back from the kiss breathing hard. The feel of Fire's soft form molded to his own harder frame was almost the elf's undoing. He quickly prayed to the Valar that he could find some semblance of self control before he took his mate right there in the middle of the celebration. Shaking his head ruefully, Legolas knew he was acting like an untried elfling with his first elleth. The elf moved so he could contemplate the ranger's face and was delighted by the dazed expression she wore. She dreamily smiled up at him and Legolas thought his heart would fail at the wondrous sight. Throwing caution and good sense to the four winds, he bent to capture her lips once more with a contented moan.
Aragorn poked Gimli in the side and nodded in the direction Legolas had gone. They shared happy grins as man and dwarf watched Fire accept the elf's heated embrace. Aragorn had been worried for his best friend. He knew of Legolas' deep abiding love for the ranger and was sure Fire loved the elf in return, but Aragorn knew from their conversations that the Mirkwood elf was unsure of how Fire would react to having the intimacy of the binding night thrust upon her with so little warning or preparation. For all her skill and bravery in battle, Fire was still an innocent where males were concerned. The man was relieved to see the ranger's positive reaction to the elf's embrace so far. He hoped, for the elf's sanity, that her passionate response to his advances continued long into the night. With a huge grin plastered on his face, Aragorn turned back to enjoy the festivities.
By the time the newly bound couple came up for air, neither was able to think coherently. Suddenly skittish Fire backed away from Legolas. He smiled at her now shy demeanor, as she ducked her head and tried to look anywhere except in the direction of her mate. Reaching out his hand to capture a stray curl, the elf tugged lightly. "Little one there is no reason to scamper away from me. I have already given to you my word that I would go as slow as you need me to, this night. No harm will come to you, this I vow. Will you not look at me?" The elf beseeched his shy mate lovingly.
Fire lifted her head with determination, despite the rabid butterflies. The sweet sincerity in his sky blue eyes calmed the whirlwind of doubt that chased across her mind. The depths of feeling the elf awoke in her scared the ranger more then the thought of facing a horde of ravenous wargs with only a twig. The urge to lose herself in his arms was an unsettling desire for the ranger, yet it excited her in a strange way. She took a small step towards her mate, grasping his hand in hers. "I have faced evil in both worlds, yet I have never felt so out of my depth as I do when you get so close to me. I am sorry for drawing away, but you make me unaccountably nervous," Fire said candidly in a low voice, "You asked earlier who I was thinking of. I will tell you the story now if you wish to hear it, but I warn you it is not a pleasant telling. If you do not want such horrible thoughts revealed now during our binding feast then I will keep my thoughts until you ask again. I wish to build my life with you, but I am unsure how to leave the ghosts of the past behind for they haunt my ability to allow others close."
"This person was so important to you that you grieve his loss even at this moment. Will you speak of him now so I can learn about the one that lives so deeply in your heart? He must have truly been special for you to still feel the pain of his passing." Legolas said gently guiding her to sit beneath a Mallorn tree, while his heart tensed with wariness of her confession to come. For his mate he would do anything, even if it was to listen to her tell about the loss of one she loved before him.
Snuggled on his lap Fire thought of where to begin when a stray thought caught her attention. "Why do you keep saying HE? The one I was thinking of was most assuredly not male," she said with a trace of sad humor before sighing deeply, "Well the best way to begin is at the start. I came to be in another world where the days there are actually years here. I went as a young girl, half way to my majority, to live in that world, but I had no memory of Middle Earth until I again arrived here to find myself in Imlandris. We lived on the outskirts of a very small town and kept to ourselves. We rarely went into town except for supplies, but even that was a trial. The men of the town saw us as weak prey and did not hesitate to remind us of this. I began training with a master of hand to hand and sword fighting. Briar was the more adept of us in terms of archery and I think she could almost rival you as well.
Our guardian was an old woman when we arrived and she died after being with us for twenty years. To those in the town we only looked a few years past twenty, yet in truth we were far older by Middle Earth standards. I am over two thousand years old now, but that sometimes is hard for me to grasp. When our guardian died, the men of the town started bothering us at our home. By this time I was a fully trained warrior and had already come into my powers to control flames. We ran them off repeatedly but it was no use; they would just return angrier then before. One night I went hunting in the woods near our home when I heard Briar calling urgently to me. I raced home to find them battling a few of the townsmen. I was so enraged that I wanted them dead once and for all. In my blind fury, I changed for the first time into cat form. I shredded two of the men before the others ran into the night screaming of revenge against us. More then a few weeks passed and we stupidly thought, no I stupidly thought, the change in form had scared them enough to leave us in peace. I was so very, very wrong.
We were all asleep when they came. There were fifteen of them, all male and all intoxicated. They struck so quickly we had no warning. They tied me tightly to my bed and did the same to Briar. I was the luckiest one of us. While some of the men tied Briar and I up, the others took Raven with them into the night. We could hear the screams she made. It went on for hours until there was only silence. Laughing they came in again, but this time they took Briar. The leader told me I was next. He said they were taking Briar to their special meeting place so I would not be able to hear her screams. If I had been able to control my form changing I could have stopped them before they had hurt Raven! Now I was alone in our cabin, with Raven already hurt and Briar a captive of these vindictive men.
I finally was able to slip my bonds, so I ran outside to see to Raven. She was covered in blood and was no longer in the living. She was our younger triplet. If I had not changed to cat form, they would not have come in full force that night. Her death is on me and so is the dire hurt they dealt Briar. It had been raining and was so dark. I ran through the down pour. It was pounding so hard I could barely see except when the lightning flashed overhead. I finally reached where they held Briar and saw them standing in a ring around her. She lay at their feet and I could tell they had abused her horribly. Her clothes were torn and she was bloodied. I moved to attack them, for they were going to die for what they had done to my sisters! A loud crack sounded as lightning hit the tree branch above me. I looked up as it fell towards me and then everything went black.
I woke to see an Orc bearing down on me. I heard an arrow fly past me and the Orc dropped mere inches from where I lay. I passed out again and awoke in the camp of Elrond's sons. It took almost a year before I would speak to anyone. I should have protected both of them! I was the oldest of the three of us. It was my duty to allow no harm to come to them, but I failed them. One is gone forever and the other carries memories too hideous to imagine. Do you see now why I do not let anyone close? I failed to protect those I loved before. If I refuse to let anyone into my heart, I can not fail them as I did the others. It was Raven that stole my thoughts this night. If you find I am unworthy of your trust or your heart I will understand." Her voice trialed off sadly nearly broke Legolas.
Legolas tilted her stricken face upwards so he could look at her closely. Staring deep into turbulent pools of green the elf could hardly believe the ranger had lived with such overwhelming guilt and sorrow. "Oh little one, you are not to blame for what happened that night, but the men were! Your Raven would not wish you to carry her death so deeply in your heart as to turn away from life. Briar is a strong courageous lady to have gone through what she did and yet still reach out to others. I have seen the bond twins have from all the years of friendship with Elrond's sons, but I can not even come close to imagining what it must be like to lose one so tragically. Twins are rare enough that the begetting of them is a wonder, but I have never heard tell of three born together. It is no wonder you shy from me. Will you speak again of happier times with your Raven? I would like to know more about your family."
"I will tell you most anything you wish to know, for I trust you as I do no other save for Briar. My heart is yours and it will always be so. You are right! Raven would not want me to hide from life, for she lived every moment joyfully!" Fire said with a sigh.
Closing her eyes tightly for a second Fire threw a wish upon the wind that Raven would find peace in her death that she was denied in life. Opening them back up the ranger surveyed her mate thoughtfully before standing and reaching out a hand to drag him to his feet. "You are sadly lacking in enthusiasm my mate. The night grows long and we have still much dancing to do! Come away with me Elf before this music becomes but a memory," Fire said with a teasing glint in her eye and a sultry tone to her voice.
Legolas' grin was all the encouragement she needed to pull her mate to the center of the glade where they commenced to dance for another hour. The elf was enchanted by the teasing demeanor the ranger displayed. He was glad now that he had taken the time to talk to Fire, for now he knew why she feared such closeness. The Mirkwood elf sent a thank you to the Valar for bringing the ranger to him, as he looked to see the moon's placement in the sky. In an hour or so they could escape the feast and finally be alone to bond completely in flesh and spirit.
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.