12. Into My Own Hands
I managed to choke down some fruit. There was a lump in my throat; there was a lump in my stomach, neither of which was improved by eating. Placing the tray back on the table where Legolas had put it when he came in, I left the room, determined to find Legolas and my husband.
Justin. What hadI done? I definitely didn’t remember being alone in the woods with Elladan. I did remember wantingto be alone in the woods with Elladan. The memory of that gave me such a guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach I was afraid my light breakfast was going to rear its ugly head again.
But, wanting and doing weren’t the same thing, right? I mean, we all have moments of weakness, and I was but a mortal woman. What chance did I have against the charms of an elf? What chance did I have when his eyes were fathomless and they were looking at me likethat? It was a miracle I didn’t throw myself at him right then and there, in front of the seven other people playing that game with us.
You did pretty much throw yourself at him, said that rational little voice in my head. “I never kissed an elf.” What were you thinking? Even if nothing happened, that statement alone is incriminating enough.
True, although I was very drunk, and it has always been in my nature to flirt.
Tell that to Justin.
What had he seen? What had I done? Well, there was really only one person who could answer that, and I was going to find him right now. I looked around and realized that I wasn’t anywhere near the river. In fact, I wasn’t sure where I was at all. I had gone through the woods towards the river, I thought, but obviously while I was lost in thought, I got lost in the woods as well.
“Hello?” I called, hoping to hear a friendly reply. After all, Rivendell was well guarded, right?
“La la la lally?” I sang out hopefully. I heard a snicker behind me. I froze, inexplicably afraid to turn around.
“I see the nonsense of these half-breed elves is catching.” I did not recognize the voice, though it sounded vaguely familiar. Melodic, warm and beautiful though it was, it had a hard edge to it that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Slowly, I turned around and gasped when I saw who stood before me.
“What do you want?” My voice sounded shaky even though I tried to keep it even.
“What do I want?” he repeated smoothly. “I want for you to come with me.” He held out his hand to me, palm open, inviting me to take it. I stared, dumbfounded, at his hand and then looked back up at his face.
“Come with you?” My brain was not functioning as fast as I would have liked it to. Otherwise I may not have just repeated what he said. Perhaps then I would have come up with a brilliant response that would save my neck. As it was, that was not the case.
I saw his eyes flash dangerously before settling into a possessively tender expression. He dropped his hand back to his side.
“We must hurry.” He looked over his right shoulder and, placing his thumb and first finger at his lips, whistled loudly. From a distance, I heard something that sounded like hoof beats. I laughed nervously and he turned his head back to look at me.
“I’m not going anywhere with you.” I took a step backwards.
He smiled at me; a feral, ruthless smile. “I will take you by force, if needs be.”
I took another step back. “I am not your wife!”
Sadness crossed his eyes before they flashed angrily. “I may no longer posses your heart. But our bond endures until the end of Arda.”
“No!” I yelled. He didn’t understand. I wasn’t saying we were no longer married; I was saying we never were – I was notNerdanel! But before I could clarify, a large brown horse trotted up. The next thing I realized I was on the back of the horse with him behind me and we were galloping off through the trees.
There was no chance of talking while we rode that horse through the forest. There was also no chance of me getting off. I was aware of his arms on either side of me, his forearms pressed against my waist, painfully tight, ensuring I would not escape. Part of me watched his hands in awe. This harsh, rough elf was guiding – for that was the only word to describe it – the horse with just the barest touch of his hands on the horse’s shoulders. As tight as his grip was on me, it was with an equally gentle touch that he handled the horse.
Of course, there was that other part of me; the part that was desperately trying to figure out what was going to happen to me, how I was going to escape, and then a truly horrifying thought crossed my mind.
Nobody even knew where I was.
The last person I saw was Legolas, and he never saw me leave the room. For all he knew, I was still there. When would anyone even miss me? Legolas would not expect to see me again. If anyone came to the room to collect the remains of my breakfast, they would just assume I had gone walking in the gardens. And Justin…
Justin most certainly would not be looking for me. In fact, if I knew my husband, he would be patently avoiding me. But once he realized I was missing; what would he think then? I would hope he knew me well enough to realize that I wouldn’t just run off and not tell anyone where I was going. No matter how mad he was at me, or how much whatever he saw hurt him, I would think he still cared enough about me to worry. But how long would it be until any of them even realized I was missing?
No, I was not going to be able to rely on being rescued. I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. Of course, I had no idea how I would do that without getting myself into more trouble than I was already in.
The horse slowed down as we neared the edge of the forest and began to climb a hill. Maybe when they eventually figured out I was missing, maybe then Legolas would remember our encounter a few days ago. Or maybe Elrond would remember what Legolas had told him.
I didn’t like betting my future well being on the memory capabilities of men. Or elves. Whatever.
We reached the top of the hill and the horse stopped. The elf swung off and then extended his arms up to me to help me down. I swallowed my pride and the nasty remark that had sprung to my lips and accepted his help.
Once I was on the ground he motioned for me to follow him and walked towards a few logs set in a circle around a pit that looked like it once held a fire. I considered turning and running in the opposite direction but realized the stupidity of that action and, consenting defeat, followed him.
We both sat down on a log and he pulled out a pouch from under his traveling cloak. From the pouch he took out two rolls and handed one to me. I took it and sat and watched as he ate the other one. When he finished, he narrowed his eyes at me.
“Eat, Nerdanel. You will need your strength.”
“I’m not hungry.” I answered honestly. “And I’m notNerdanel.”
There was that hurt look in his eyes again. “Deny me your love. My heart hardened long ago. But do not deny your own being.”
“No,” I sighed in exasperation. “I’m not denyinganything. I am not your wife! I am not Nerdanel! My name is Arandil. You have mistaken me for someone I am most definitelynot!”
He raised an eyebrow and then narrowed his eyes again. “Arandil…” I couldn’t tell if it was a question or a statement.
“Yes.” I said simply, figuring it was a safe answer either way.
“Tell me something,Arandil.” The way he spit out my name sent a frightened shiver down my spine. “Are you purposefully hurtful? Or has your humor turned hateful after all these years?”
“What?” I shook my head. I honestly could not follow the conversation, and I was a part of it!”
“Never you mind.” His voice was almost a growl and he spoke through clenched teeth. “I came here with a purpose and by the Light of my Jewels, your venomous disposition will notdeter me.
Finally, my brain kicked into gear and I saw my opportunity. Because, obviously, reason was not going to work on him.
“If I am sovenomous, as you say, why not leave me be. Bring me back to Rivendell. Go on your mission, or whatever, and leave me alone.”
I was shocked by his wild laugh. “You aremy ‘mission,’ as you say. Or at least a portion of it.” He leaned towards me and my stomach clenched nervously. “We willbe a family again, Nerdanel.”
He slid onto a closer log. I fought the urge to move away from him, figuring it would only serve to provoke or antagonize him. I froze as he reached a hand towards my face. He must have caught my reaction because, after the briefest of pauses, he returned his hand to his lap.
His eyes burned with such a profound sadness I might have felt bad for him if, you know, he hadn’t kidnappedme.
“I know the rift between us is great.” He voice was barely a whisper, but it was no less intense for the low volume. “But it too can be mended.”
He slipped off the log and knelt at my feet. I realized that I was holding my breath and released it, sighing heavily. His eyes were burning with something that looked far too much like longing to me.
“It pains me greatly, the fear I see in your eyes.” He looked down at the ground. In a sudden change of mood, he was on his feet.
“Come.” He held out his hands to help me to my feet. “We will rekindle what passion once burned between us.”
I gasped, frightened that he meant we would do thatright now. He caught my reaction and laughed, sounding giddy and wild at the same time.
“Easy, wife.” Although his gaze was possessive, his voice sounded almost kind. “You need not fear me, but I have faith that you will come to desire me once more.” The corners of his mouth curled into a harsh smirk. “Unless you have grown accustomed to half-breed children as companions.”
And with that caustic remark, he left me alone with my roll and my confused and swirling thoughts and returned to the horse.
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.