5. A meeting of old 'friends'
I made sure that my dark green cloak was drawn tightly around me and that the hood was all the way up. If I were to tilt my head just the right way, it would be absolutely impossible to see my face. Though I did know that getting past the guards would take a bit of skill. It wasn’t often that they allowed just anyone into the Golden Woods. Also, it had been so long since I had last seen or talked to any of them. They probably saw me like they did Telir- a stranger.
The only noise that was echoing through the forest was the light sound of our horse’s hooves gently touching the ground. I did not dare to breathe, unsure of when the guards would choose to surprise us. Telir was seeming to be a little more afraid and I did not doubt the reason. It was said that an elven witch lived within the woods and it was a rumor that most humans and dwarves believed.
My own hand was now resting lightly upon my bow, knowing who would definitely be there to greet us. I did not dare to speak his name or even think of it, mostly because of the chief role he played in my injury two years ago. But the one thing I did look forward to was seeing the look upon his face when my bow mirrored his own.
“Halt!” It took even less time than I had been expecting for the guards to discover our presence. Quick as a rabbit, I leapt from my horse and notched an arrow, hardly surprised to be staring right into the eyes of Haldir, the March Warden of Lorien. I could not help grinning with pleasure. His eyes were just as cold and steely as they had been the last time I had seen them. Yet then it was I, lying upon the ground and dying as he held the knife that almost killed me.
“Fancy we meet again, March Warden.” I said, refusing to lower my bow. Meanwhile, Telir was continuing to pretend he wasn’t utterly, totally and completely petrified. At least five or six elves had bows pointed right at him while he held his hands up in the air.
“Who are you and why do you trespass upon the golden woods?” He said with a sneer. “Answer me and put down your bow, lest I decide to kill you for your rudeness.” I obeyed, lowering my bow and calmly flinging it over my back. A smirk was set firmly upon my face. Too bad he couldn’t see it, due to the fact that I still had my face hidden under my hood.
“We have a message for the lord and his lady.” I said, withdrawing a small envelope. He quickly snatched it from my hand before the words had barely left my mouth and began to examine it. I stood as stiff as a board, making sure to lower my head so that there was no chance that even a shard of light could creep in and reveal my identity.
“What is your name?” He asked me, eyeing me carefully. I snorted, but did not raise my hands up to lower my hood, nor did I speak. Angered, he reached up and pulled me from my horse, then pinned me against a tree. I did not move as he held a rather familiar dagger up to my throat. A bit of a smile might have even crossed my face.
“That is not important.” I replied, trying to alter my voice in such a way that he might not recognize me. “I suppose this is the wonderful, famed greeting of the elves.” I figured that he might not even be able to tell I was an elf, let alone one from the very earth that we stood upon. The dagger was pressed down upon as I stared into his eyes. It was then that Telir swung down from his horse, ignoring the fact that all the archers that stood behind Haldir still had their eyes upon him.
“Sir, all that we want is safe passage through these woods. We mean no harm; you may even take our weapons if you do not believe me.” Telir said, all in a very calm but quivering tone of voice. He might be a strong fighter and a good ranger, but when it comes to talking with people who have a serious advantage over him, that’s where he most often goes wrong. I stifled a laugh.
“Is this your wife?” Haldir said as he put away his dagger and released his grip on me. “You might want to tell her to keep a better hold upon her tongue, lest someone decides to cut it out.” Inside, I was fuming. My only desire was to slash him to pieces, but with all the other elves around us it was definitely not the right time. Instead, I went over and stood beside Telir.
“She is not my wife, but she deserves your respect.” Telir muttered, mostly in a tone of voice that meant that he did not really wish for Haldir to hear it. My gaze continued to jump from man to elf as they stared each other down, neither one really winning. As I swung up onto my horse again, I watched Haldir send all the other elves away. Until it was just the three of us left standing there.
“There is a flet nearby that you may stay the night in while I consult the lord and lady.” He said with a cocky smirk. “Don’t try to go any further into the woods, but do not turn around and leave. My warriors have an eye on you.” With one quick swing, he pulled himself up into a tree and departed. I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Did you… used to know him?” Telir asked with a laugh. I shook my head sadly, in a way that could only express the fact that words did not do enough to explain it. As soon as Haldir had gone, I lowered my hood and took a few deep breaths, surprised that I had not given myself away in any form.
The horses slowly plodded along and it took us until nightfall to reach the flet that Haldir had spoken of. ‘Not far from here…I doubt that ten miles or so is close by…’ I thought to myself as we unloaded our possession onto the flet and then slowly climbed up the ladder ourselves. I had no fears about leaving our horses down below, mostly because I assumed that they would be safe.
As I slowly closed my eyes once more, I fingered the dagger that I always had strapped to the side of my arm. If I had wanted, I could have killed Haldir right as he stood there. It wouldn’t have even been hard, seeing as I had sensed that since I had gone he had gained pride and even more ego. I doubt he would have even seen it coming. Sad, in a way. But I did have time for revenge.
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.